Are You My Mother?

You're sitting at home on a rainy evening, relaxing with a mug of hot chocolate in your favorite armchair. You thought you were alone until you hear the small voice of a child behind you, "Hello. Are you my mother?"

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1. The Story

I clutch my warm hot chocolate and listen to the pitter patter of rain outside. The cup is royal red that has always been my favorite color. I completely relax in my armchair and let my head drop to one side. My mom would tell me not to do that for fear that I would get a crick in my neck. I never found that to be true. I think I will just go to sleep here. My eyelids flicker closed, and I watch different colors perform under my closed eyelids.

"Hello. Are you my mother?" A small voice calls from far away. It sounds like a young girl that can't be older than ten. I immediately jump on my chair, bringing my knees to my chest. My back is pressed up against the back of the chair. No one is there, I tell myself, you were just dreaming. Yes, that is a realistic explanation. I was just slipping into a dream. I am glad that I slipped out of it. I sit back, stretch, and move into a more comfortable position.

"Hello. Are you my mother?" I leap to my feet and feel a shooting sensation in my leg that must have fallen asleep. I shake it for a moment until it doesn't tingle anymore. It was closer this time. I guess I will not sleep here. It is probably some child from the neighborhood. I walk down the hallway, and my bare feet cling to the floor. All this fretting has made me hot, so I pull up the sleeves on my long sleeve t-shirt. I wish my husband were here. Sadly, he is off on business, and he won't be back for another three days. I am almost to my door, and I am about to touch the door knob.

"Hello. Are you my mother?" I can feel warm breath on my neck. It feels like when someone whispers a secret in your ear. I whip around, and I can feel my breath becoming faster. Adrenaline is starting to fill my veins, and my fingers twitch in response. No one is there. There is no little girl behind me. I am alone.

I think I see the lights flicker, but I tell myself that it was just me blinking. I always wonder if you miss anything when you blink. Once, a boy in my high school said there is a whole alternate universe that exists in the moments in which we blink. I hadn't thought of that memory in a long time. Of course, it isn't true. I open my bedroom door until I feel a cold hand tap my on the shoulder. I resist the urge to turn around. I want to, but it will just make me more scared.

"Hello. Are you my mother?" Goose bumps form all over my skin. Those words will never hold the same meaning after tonight. I suddenly think of when my husband and I first got married. We were going to have a baby girl, but it was s stillbirth. That was seven years ago. No, that is impossible. All of these thoughts are impossible. I want to say no to whoever this is, but I am all choked up.

"N-no." I finally manage to say. I turn around, and no one is there. Why do I expect someone to be there? I turn off the lights in the hallway at the last possible moment. I hear a rustling and turn the lights on.

I could here her feet padding against my floors, and sure enough there she is. She has thin blonde hair that envelopes her pale face. She is also wearing a red jacket. She looks healthy. She looks normal except for her black eyes. People can have black eyes though, I tell myself. Yes, my grandfather had black eyes, according to my mom, I think she said something about it being an inherited recessive trait. I turn off the lights again only to hear the same rustle. I slam my hand onto the light switch, and my hand stings. She is closer than before. I flicker the lights on and off, and each time she gets closer and closer. I am quivering with fear, but what could someone so small do to me?

I can feel her breath on my face for the second time tonight. I could touch her if I wanted to. Her eyes aren't moving, and neither is her chest. Her mouth is slightly open, and I can see her breath as if it was a cold winter day.

I turn off the lights in the hallway, slam the door shut, turn on all the lights in my bedroom, and sit on my bed. That is when the doorknob starts to jiggle. I go under the sheets. Surely I am safe.

The door creaks open. It has to be my imagination playing with me.

"Hello. Are you my mother?" She asks. It is so quiet I can barely hear her.

"No!" I yell at the top of my lungs.

"Oh." I hear her tiny feet touch down against my carpet. Then, I feel her weight press down on the corner of the bed. A shadow appears over the covers. The lights in my room flicker once, twice, and the third time they go out.

My breath has made the space under the covers warm. I am clutching the sheets, but they are ripped from my hands. It is pitch black, and the cold air hits my face.

"Hello. Are you my mother?"

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