Manifest

One Chapter Short Story about Casey, Mike, and Stephen.. or is it Oakley.. or Salem.. who is this kid?

#horror #shortstory #split #personality #loveinterest #suspense #murder #identity #disorder

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1. From Beginning to Finish

Something was wrong with Stephen... One day he was fine, everything seemed okay. But then, there was a day that he wasn’t himself. It was like something took over him, I felt like I didn’t know who he was and he didn’t know me.

It was nearing the end of the first semester when Stephen Hansom showed up to Belfast High School. Since this town was so small, it was always exciting when new students showed up. I remember him walking into class a little late. He was smaller than most boys in the junior class, but he had a kind face and seemed like he was a good person. Stephen sat in the middle of the classroom, a couple seats away from me. I couldn’t resist turning to him and introducing myself and offering to help him with anything he needed.

During the duration of a couple weeks, Stephen and I became close friends, always walking to classes together, sitting with each other during lunch, and also hanging out after school. It turns out that he moved to Maine from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He used to play soccer at his old school and also had some trouble with his parents, so now he lives with his aunt and uncle. The transition was hard for him, but he said he likes it more here than he ever did in Philadelphia. It made me wonder what happened to him and I wanted to push farther into the details, but I decided to keep quiet and just go on with my life.

It was about two months after Stephen arrived that I missed school one day for a funeral for my great grandmother. I hadn’t talked to Stephen that day which was highly unusual for the both of us. I remember trying to call him but no answer, or reply, for the whole night. The next morning, everything seemed normal. I got to school at the right time, and I am at my locker when a hand flies past my head and slams on the locker next to mine. I let out a half gasp, half scream and looked to the person who caused the interruption in the silence. It was Stephen.

“Where were you yesterday!” he screamed at me, not really asking me. I looked at him with wide eyes, slightly filled with anger.

“I told you, I was at a funeral for my great grandmother.” I replied with annoyance.

“But you weren’t here, I needed you here!”

“I wasn’t coming back to school, what happened that you so badly needed me here?”

“I- Nothing. Forget about it.” he said before hitting the locker again and storming off down the hallway. I looked around at all the people that were looking at the scene that just unfolded in front of them. My other close friend Mike stepped forward and stood beside me, motioning for me to start walking down the hallway with him.

“What was that all about Mike?”

“Well, at the end of the day yesterday, around sixth period, he was walking to his locker when Chad, Jaxin, Beau, and Dean all shoved him around like they were playing doubles tennis and he was the ball.”

“Why are the such douchebags? They always have to hurt new people in some type of way.”

Mike shrugged his shoulders, slightly shaking his head. We walked for a while longer and didn’t talk about the situation any more that day.

I went through my day thinking. Thinking about Stephen...and Mike...thinking about the strange interaction that happened earlier in the day. I waited at my locker the whole passing period after each class, waiting for Stephen, wanting to apologize for how I didn’t help him this morning. Wanting to apologize for getting annoyed with him. But he never came by, not once. Maybe he left earlier in the day and didn’t tell me, maybe he was avoiding me on purpose. Whatever the reason was, I just felt alone. The only human interaction I had that day were with Mike. He stopped at my locker at the end of the school day and offered to take me home. I kindly declined him but he still offered to at least walk me outside. Once we went our separate ways, I started my journey home.

On my way home, I pass Stephens house and I look in the windows from the sidewalk. I see him, but he doesn’t look like himself. The way he was standing was different. He was slouching, his shoulders really far in front of him. This wasn’t normal. He usually had really good posture and never slouched. As he would tell me all the time to stand up straight, it’s bad for your body. Did he have a twin brother that I didn’t know about? He wouldn’t keep things like that from me. We’ve almost told eachother everything about our lives. Except his family, which he didn’t talk about much. That makes more sense when I talk about it now.

I was caught in a daze when all of a sudden Stephen is standing in the window, staring at me. He really didn’t look like himself. Usually, his attire was made up of some kind of khaki shorts or sometimes jeans, along with either a flannel or other type of button up shirt. But now he wore dark sweatpants, a graphic t-shirt and a grey zip up jacket which was currently zipped a fourth of the way up. His normally groomed short hair was messy. This wasn’t Stephen. I don’t know who it was, but I knew that it wasn’t him. Even when we were together after school, his comfortable clothes were clothes like basketball shorts and an older soccer t-shirt. I only got a good look at him for a couple of seconds before he slammed the curtains shut as he looked at me. I stood there stunned for a couple minutes before continuing home.

The next day, Mike picked me up and took me to school. This was a perk for me because it was nearing Christmas and it was beginning to get chilly outside. We walked in and headed to our lockers. When we turned into a new hallway, Stephen was at my locker. I looked at Mike, telling him that I would meet up with him later. He nodded and I approached Stephen. He was wearing the same outfit that I saw him in the day before in the window.

“Hey Stephen, new style?” I asked, trying to seem nicer to him than I did before. He looked at me confused. His head tilted to the left ever so slightly.

“My name isn’t Stephen, it’s Oakley.” the boy replied. I was taken aback and backed up from him slightly.

“Oakley? Uhm, okay then.” I looked at him and just decided to go on with what he was saying. When he talked, he didn’t talk with the vocabulary that Stephen did. He used slang word and short sentences. He didn’t sound like Stephen did either. He had a deeper voice that almost seemed dark.

Our conversation was short, it didn’t last even half of the passing period before it ended. I watched him walk to class and I went off to find Mike. When I found him, he was at his locker, accompanied by Chad, the wondrous leader of the douchebags. Even though I didn’t like him, they were on the same basketball team and he was still Mike’s friend. I held my anger back and walked up to them anyway. Mike looked at me, but I didn’t let him say anything before I cut him off.

“Something’s up with Stephen.” I said. And before Mike could say anything in reply, Chad had to step in.

“When isn’t something wrong with the queer?” he said. The rage that flew through me was noticeable and slightly horrifying.

“When isn’t something wrong with your steroids Chad, I wasn’t asking you.” I said and pushed my way between him and Mike, making Chad walk away. Mike was slightly laughing but stopped when I looked at him.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Well when I was walking home yesterday, I stopped in front of his house and he was standing in the window. He didn’t look like himself. He was wearing all black clothes and looked messy. Then he slammed the curtains closed as he looked at me. Well he was wearing the exact same clothes this morning, and when I called him Stephen, he corrected me, calling himself ‘Oakley’. His talking wasn’t him and he had a lower voice than he usually does. Something is up.”

“Do you think he has a twin brother or something that just took his spot for today?”

“I thought the same thing too, but he told me that he left all his family behind in Philadelphia and he only lives with his aunt. And I know that Stephen wouldn’t lie to me like that.”

“Well Casey, I don’t know what to tell you, maybe this is something that he may be lying to you about. I know you might think differently, but it could be true.”

A couple weeks later, Christmas Break had started and everyone was with their families. Mike and I had been hanging out more than usual, but we weren’t sure where our relationship was going or even what it was. But what we did know is that Stephen was changing. He was no longer Stephen. He was Oakley, a mysterious, dark clothes wearing man with a deep voice and a love for chemistry and dark novels. But he was also Salem, someone who we couldn’t decide what gender they were, who was exceptionally smart, always on top of their work, nicely dressed in unisex clothing.

“So what’s his deal,” Mike said out of the blue as we were sitting on opposite sides of the couch doing our over break reading assignment in English. “is he having some sort of identity crisis or something?”

I looked up from reading and said “I don’t know, but I can’t stop thinking about it, and obviously neither can you.”

“He comes to school with a new persona every week it seems like. This isn’t natural. Something has to be wrong, or he may even just doing it because he really is weird.”

I knew where he was coming from, and Stephen didn’t even really talk to me anymore. We stopped talking a little bit after he introduced himself to me as ‘Salem’. I didn’t know who these people were, but he talked to me like he was still Stephen. But he wasn’t and it was scaring me, so we stopped talking.

“Maybe we can figure out what’s going on.” I said. Mike looked at me, confused, maybe scared of what I was going to propose.

“What do you mean? What do you want to do?”

“I want to talk to his family.” I got up, putting on my coat and putting my shoes on.

“Casey, are you sure about this, maybe we shouldn’t be messing around in his personal life, maybe it’s just best if we let him be weird.” Mike said, as he slowly put on his shoes.

“As you put on your shoes.” I said, raising my eyebrows. I got a backpack together with some random stuff and when I walked out, Mike was standing there, ready to go. I smiled, walking past him, heading outside. We decided to walk because it was just down the road, a couple of minutes away.

The front of his house looked bland, there was no sign of Christmas decorations, his house stuck out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the festive houses on the street. There were no cars in the driveway, or anywhere on the street. I walked up to the front door of his house and turned around for Mike and he was at the bottom of the steps, looking at me. He shook his head for a second before I turned around and knocked on the door. I waited for a while with no answer. I waited a couple more minutes before turning the doorknob, it was unlocked and I walked in without Mike. I looked around and the living room was empty, but I heard a noise in the kitchen, then the door shut behind me. I looked back and Mike was now inside. I acknowledged him, then turned back, heading to the kitchen. I peeked into from the other side of the wall. It was Stephen's aunt. I guess she heard me because she turned around. She jumped slightly, but then noticed it was me.

“Hey Casey! How have you been? I didn’t hear you come in. Oh! Who is this handsome boy you have with you? I’ve never met him before-”

“Hey Ms. Hansom, I’m good, this is Mike. We were wanting to talk to you.” I had to cut her off because she would never stop talking and we didn’t have much time to waste.

“Of course, what about?”

“It’s about Stephen.”

“Oh,” she sounded like she already knew what we were going to ask her about. “is it about his DID?”

Mike and I looked at each other, confused. “His what?” we exclaimed at the same time.

“DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder? He has multiple personalities, some of them dangerous. It’s like he’s a new person.”

How could we not have thought of that in the first place? It was the only answer that made any sense and we didn’t even think of it. “That makes so much more sense, I didn’t know if he had a twin brother or some-” I started to say

“What do you mean some of them are dangerous?” Mike asked, slowly moving in front of me.

Stephens aunt motioned us to sit on the couch while she sat across from us in her chair. “The reason that he’s is here in the first place, is that,” she hesitated “well, he murdered his sister and badly injured his father.”

“Wait, what, no, okay, we’re done, we’re leaving right now, Casey we’re leaving.” Mike said, standing up. “How is he even here if he killed somebody? Shouldn’t he be in jail?”

I grabbed his arm, looking at him. “Mike please, I want to figure this out. Maybe we could help him somehow.” Mike sat back down, looking at me and grabbing my hand.

“Many have tried to help him, it just doesn’t work. He always finds a way to get worse. It’s like he doesn’t want any help. The only reason he’s here is because his mother took the blame for all of it. She made a pretty convincing case. She made him promise to come here with me and go to therapy and then start going to school here.” Ms. Hansom said. My outlook on this situation became dim and I was almost frightened by the thought of him killing another human being. I didn’t get scared much, nothing really bothered me, but I was thinking of how close I had gotten with Stephen and it was unsettling.

“Which of his personalities are dangerous, and how haven't you been hurt...or worse.” I asked, curious about learning more about this strange, confusing boy I had befriended.

“He has twelve as of now that I have found out about.”

“Twelve? I’ve only met two. None of this makes any sense. Where are they hiding, or like, when do they come out?” I was confused, hurt, lost. I just didn’t understand.

“I’m going to assume you’ve only met Stephen and maybe Oakley.”

“Wait, Stephen is one of his personalities? What’s his real name, who is the real him?”

“His real name is Tyler, he made up Stephen when he was around four or five and that’s what we’ve been calling him ever since. He never really liked himself, even with him being so young. He just wanted to be someone else, and that someone else was named Stephen, who was good at school, nice, and tried to make some close friends. But then, one day, when he was fourteen, Oakley was introduced to the family, he has an interest in bones, and decomposing bodies, along with dark poetry. That’s who murdered his father and put his mother in jail. Oakley came about when his father made him angry, somewhat betrayed him, he was so mad that he told him that he was going to kill him. Then they got in an argument, his sister tried to intervene, and that’s how all of that happened.” Ms. Hansom said, crossing her legs, leaning back in her chair slightly.

“What was the argument about? Do you know?” I asked, leaning forward.

“Yes, Stephen wasn’t really getting good grades in school, and his father wanted him to become a neurologist, and his grades weren’t making the cut with dad.”

Salem. That must be where they come from. They were smart, and that’s what Stephens dad wanted. “Is that where Salem came from?” I asked before she could continue talking.

“Oh, so you have met him? Yes, Salem is exceptionally smart, he is what Stephens father always wanted. Tyler’s personalities always appear when something bad happens, or if there is something traumatic happening in his life.”

I nodded my head, finally understanding how this boy’s life was being affected by all this trauma.

“But back to Tyler, he has twelve personalities, Stephen, Oakley, Salem, Peter, Quincy, Kevin, Brendon, Taylor, and four more that don’t have names, but their personalities are not the same as the ones that we know. Stephen appeared early on, Oakley, when his dad betrayed him, Salem came when he needed to be smarter, Peter appeared when he moved here, just as a new life I guess, but he didn’t stay long and returned back to Stephen. Quincy and Kevin are twins, apparently, and whenever you ask him something and you say Quincy, he’ll correct it as Kevin and vice versa. Brendon is very musically talented, something Tyler never was, he never had an interest in music, but Brendon does. He’s always singing, or tapping on his desk in his room as a drum. Brendon was one of the nicest personalities, but got overthrown by Taylor. Taylor is one of the worst human beings you can ever come in contact with. He will take things from you, hide them, burn them, threaten to hurt you, kill you even. I’ve only met Taylor once, I don’t know where he came from, or why he manifested in Tyler’s body and mind. He took every family photo I had with Tyler’s dad, took them out of the frame, broke the glass, and burned the pictures.” she uncrossed her legs and moved the rug in front of her with her foot, revealling a burn circle. “He tried to hurt me when I tried to stop him. I thought it was Stephen so I kept screaming ‘Stephen, Stephen, what are you doing!’ and he spun around fast and grabbed my shirt collar and said ‘Stephen’s dead’ and pushed me to the floor. The only reason I’m pretty sure I’m not dead is because I know how to call Tyler back from all of these manifestations.”

She got up to stretch her legs, going into the kitchen to get some coffee, and I just leaned back into the couch, grabbing Mike’s hand, gripping it tightly. He looked at me with furrowed brows closing over his brown eyes.

“I’m worried Mike, I feel like something isn’t right.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I feel like something is up with her story-” I was cut off when I saw a shadow walk behind the couch. I quickly sat up, looking around the empty living room.

“Did you see that?”

“See what? Where?” Mike asked, sitting up, looking around as well.

“I saw something move behind us.” I got up slowly and pushed Mike’s hand away when he reached for my arm and I walked down the hallway, peeking into all the rooms. I didn’t see anything, but I wasn’t convinced. I saw something but I didn’t know what. I quickly walked back into the living room. “Mike we have to leave.”

“Why-”

“No questions, let’s just go, please. I don’t feel safe in this house.” I grabbed his arm, pulling him towards the door.

We left the Hansoms’ House, almost running back to my house. I saw that my parents were home and I looked at Mike, telling him to wait outside while I went in and grabbed a few things. I told my mom that I was going to Mike’s house to do some reading and that it might be late before I get back. Once I got the approval, I walked back outside and told Steve to head to his house. He didn’t question me and got in his car right before I did.

We got ready to leave when there was a thump that sounded like it came from the back of the car. My breath hitched in my throat and my hand reached for Mikes. Everything around us became silent, an eery silence.

All we could hear was the sound of footprints crunching in the small amount of snow on the ground. You could probably hear my heart beating too. I looked at Mike slowly, trying to keep as stable as possible. I could tell he was nervous, but I couldn’t tell if he was scared or not. Maybe he was trying to keep calm but I was anything but calm.

I couldn’t hear anything else. We sat there for a minute, long enough for a large hand to come in contact with the passenger side window along with a

“Hey! Casey!”

I let out a high pitched scream, throwing myself away from the window.

“Casey! It’s Stephen! I need help!”

My hands covered my face, trying to keep from screaming at everyone in my sight. Should I trust him? I kept my body away from the windows’ general area and slowly looked in the direction of the voice. It was Stephen, he had his normal button up shirt on, but he had a sweater over it due to the chilling weather that was heading near the twenties. I rolled down the window about an inch, still looking at the boy with frightened eyes.

“Casey, I really need your help!” He said again, urgency in his facial expression.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s my aunt, she fell in the kitchen and she won’t get up, I called 911, but they said the roads were too dangerous but they would be there as soon as they could. I don’t know if she can make it until they get here, she hit her head on the side of the counter.”

I looked at Mike and he nodded, both of us getting out of the car, running with Stephen to his house. We all ran inside.

“I’ll go down in the basement to find some kind of first aid kit or something.” Stephen called out as he ran down the hall, opening the door that led to the basement stairs.

Mike and I walked into the kitchen where Stephen’s aunt lay on the floor, clearly unconscious. I felt my eyes wet with tears as I bent down beside her, looking at her head. There was no sign of her hitting any side of her head. I then stood up and looked at all of the edges of the counter tops. Nothing. Clean. A wave of emotions crashed over me all at once. I quickly knelt back down, examining her head. Her neck was swollen near the bottom and I looked at Mike, motioning him to bend down beside me. We both looked at Ms. Hansom’s head and neck, Mike slowly felt where her neck was swollen.

“It’s broken.” I said quietly

“Did she fall?” Mike whispered

“I don’t think so, there’s handprints on her neck near the base.”

“Who do you think did it?”

There was a sound then it was calm. The calm before the storm. We slowly looked behind us. There he was, his face wore an evil grin that took up the lower half of his face. His green eyes dark, his body was slightly hunched over with a hand behind his back.

“Who are you?” I asked, tears falling from both of my eyes, already knowing the answer.

There was a pause that was filled with tension, anger, regret, horror. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the manifestation that stood in front of me, I barely noticed when the handsome boy beside me grabbed my hand, linking our fingers together, knowing he felt that it was over. I clenched my eyes together once more, letting more tears fall down my face whispering the words “Who are you?” once more underneath my breath.

“It’s Taylor.”

END

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