Thursday, 19 November 2015

Short Story: Lady Jane Grey

by Sarnaz Hossain

I want to give you a complex explanation but we haven’t got enough time. I never did. I have to be brief before it happens again. Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, concentrate and listen. It could be the only thing that keeps you alive.

I blame dad. Why did he have to lose his job? He was the person to cause my selfish mother to abandon us, when we needed her most. But when it happened, it was an especially cold winter’s day. I remember it as if it were yesterday. The day that changed the fate of the Tromwell family. After the divorce, we were forced to go somewhere else with our father. But why Old Portsmouth? Why in a deserted warehouse? We could’ve gone to London, York, Southampton. We could’ve even gone to the country-side or a farm. Anywhere but there!
Still. Why my brother?
Why not me?
It was once used as a self-storage company but was closed down unexpectedly, due to a sudden loss of staff. Unexplainable disappearances of course but even so, if I had taken that in to account, maybe I could have changed my father’s mind. The warehouse itself was in a horrible condition. There were two massive double- glazed windows that stared at ongoers, tempting them closer. Each pane was a vein that was somehow throbbing as if it was angered for some reason. The aggression of the building was as obvious as it was abandoned. The cobwebs were sprinkled throughout the building. A kamikaze of disorganisation flooded the main floor. Hundreds of scrunched up pieces of paper were stashed in a bulging paper basked, which was spewing with all sorts of unpleasantly smelling things. When I first entered the building, the first thing that popped into my head was, *what died in here* Soon to understand why.


The dust suffocated my lungs as I entered my room. I should have been happy; my brother’s room had contained a mutant looking tarantula followed by a rustic, brown covered bed. That was all. It had seemed a bit strange. Especially how it contained the only air vent in the entire building- eroded of course but still strange. That was when I picked up my phone. I didn’t know why I did it, while in the grimy room, but I did. It was a sudden urge of anger all to do with my situation- my mother. My scratched Samsung was all I had from her. I stared at her for what felt like an eternity, mesmerised by her silky blond hair and her glistening blue eyes that were like calm pools of water. Then my finger slipped and changed the view on the phone to a picture were ha d taken earlier that day. The image showed a picture of us in the car (me and my brother). We were smiling. It had been quite a special day for us, after over three years of constant bickering, shouting and being locked in my room with my bed shaking. The picture was only taken to capture the solitary moment of happiness. But the picture showed something strange…

Obviously, there I was with my brother having a good time but on the motorway there was something else that made goose bumps crawl up and down my back. Vertical to us was a gigantic, shimmering maroon bus, with huge glistening wheels and glooming see-through windows. To my surprise the bus was almost deserted. But not fully. There was a distinctive, ghostly white face peeking out of the window. She must have been about five with her curly pitch-black hair. It really spooked me out when I saw her staring at me wide-eyed and full of deceit- the anger all concentrated on me!
I dropped my phone. The screen shattered into a million pieces but that didn’t worry me. That girl had blood streaked across her face; a gouge of at least three centimetre depth covered her limbs- oozing with crimson coloured blood. The image still gives me nightmares today; I sometimes see it in the mirror but that’s not important now.After my disturbing discovery I limped my way to my father, still awestruck with fear. As I showed my father the image from the shattered phone, my brother came rushing out of his room. Apparently he had seen an image of a little girl. When my father heard about this his eyes widened for a few seconds, but that was all. He shooed away the suggestion as if we were insane. He said this had all been a coincidence and that we needed to man up. Obviously, my father had rejected all ideas to do with anything paranormal- that’s just how he was.
Terror was scraped across my brother’s face. His eyes were almost in tears and his whole body was clenched. It was as if he was expecting someone to jump out and murder him. To be honest, I probably looked the same but I just headed straight to my room. It had been an eventful day and I needed a good sleep. Unfortunately, something caught my eye. The rooms:
The first room, my father’s.
The second room, mine.
And the fourth, my brother.
I never really noticed the third one until now. All four corners of the door had gargantuan cobwebs, shielding the oak wood door. The green paint was almost dissipated and the rust-covered lock was concealed in a repulsive unknown liquid. Something was pulling me closer to that room, as if I was in a vortex. The lock was only a few inches away from my right hand and another sudden urge came over me and I reached out…
There was a force controlling my body, something that I cannot possibly explain. Maybe I never knew but it happened. The lock seemed to unlock at my touch. The door creaked open by itself revealing a pitch black room. My shattered phone was the only light source I could find. When I lit up the room, I spotted a solitary shelf, isolated from the rest of the room. Scratched on the shelf was the name MRS JANE GREY. On top of the shelf there was something that I would remember forever. It was a doll. Not only just a doll. A porcelain doll, that looked as if it had come back from the dead. It had hair as black as the darkest night and eyes that seemed to follow me as I walked around. It was mesmerising. Again and again it lured me into its tempting glare. As cold and as limp as a lifeless child, but as alive in my thoughts as any lurking creature that feasted on the fear in every inch of my soul. Its cold eyes fixated on me and her unusual never-ending smile sent shivers down my back, like a spider crawling along my spine.
I trembled back, horrified by the perfection of the doll; the simple curves of the cheeks and the proportional legs to the body. I ran as fast as I could to my father, every muscle in my body was tensed like my brother once before. Apparently the lock on the third room had been tightly shut and my father had tried as hard as he could to pry it open but he failed every time- strange. When we all went to investigate, my father laughed at me. He called me a baby but me and my brother always knew there was something cynical about that doll, more freakish than just a toy.
But to be honest, when I said it back to myself, it seemed completely stupid. “I want to lock up all the doors because an ancient doll looked at me funny.” It sounded horrendous, so I went back to my dust-ridden bed and dreamed about the events that occurred that day.
What I didn’t hear was the muffled screams and the gasps of terror.
If only I had been awake.
Maybe I could’ve stopped it but I didn’t. When I awoke in the morning I was met with an ear-piercing scream. I didn’t have time to change my clothes or brush my teeth. I just ran to the source the cacophonic scream. When I finally realised where it was coming from, I froze in total horror. My father had now fainted and I was worried that he’d had a heart attack but then I realised what he was staring at…
After I glanced at the numerous stab wounds at the side of his head, I saw the darkest scarlet blood spewing out of him like a waterfall, making a pool around his lifeless, pale body. The thick oozing liquid decorated the walls and his eyes were pure white, with no pupil to show life. His bed was torn apart and there were wild slashes of damage everywhere suggesting a well-fought struggle. Judging from the dents in his head and the near decapitated arms there was only really one winner; but I couldn’t bear to look any further, my queasiness was overwhelming me.
Then, with my veins throbbing with revenge, I scavenged for the creator of this madness. And the first place I looked was the third room. To my surprise the darkness didn’t worry me at all. I stormed in with aggression and determination to take down whatever had taken my brother’s life. But in a matter of seconds, all my confidence turned into dread and trepidity. Sitting where the doll had once stood was a book. A blank-covered book. It was barely within my grasps. I reached out and opened the first page… To my surprise there were already photos in them. Photos with extravagant detail and, most recognisably, with a huge red cross through them. I turned the next page and saw pictures of what looked like employees in a storage facility uniform, all with a red cross drawn through them. I turned several more pages of unrecognisable photos with crosses in them, until…
I saw a very recognisable figure. One that had been lying on the floor, with blood surrounding him- my brother. Again with a big cross through his picture. The next and final picture is one that electrocuted my whole body. I didn’t understand, as if my body has short- circuited and needed a reboot. Around me everything seemed to be in fast forward while I was still motionless in the middle. The shadows danced around the little flicker of light coming from my phone. The whole room seemed to be stalking me menacingly behind my back. How could this happen? It was a picture of me!
I pressed the heels of my palms into my eyes until I saw nothing but sparkles. The thoughts of my future were already planned. I was going to be murdered. Today or tomorrow or in a year I was going to get brutally killed. I couldn’t bear it. We (me and my father) had to get out and the sooner we did the less chance there was of us following the fate of my brother. With beads of sweat dripping down my forehead, I carried my father to the rusty Ford Fiesta and drove out of there.
From that day onwards life has never been the same in the Tromwell family. After the shocking death, or should I say murder, of my beloved brother. My father had been suffering from serious heart disease, from the shock and lots of Neurological disorders to do with the emotional effect it’d had on him. The police thought the case was simple in the end. It was a murderer that snuck in during the night and had left some clues of his whereabouts. Everything is alright now. Even though my father is mentally scared, we are alive, right? What was that in the window? I spotted just now. There it is again in the mirror. I’m probably just seeing things again. It can’t possibly be… 
Hello my name is Lady Jane Grey…

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