Innocent Part 1 (Short Story)

 

It’s like a nightmare. I remember this path, the site, the smell. Even though I’ve only physically been here once in my life, I’ve been here hundreds of times in my dreams. As I get closer the old oak tree comes into view, the one that’s stands beside her grave. I stared at for what seemed like hours the day of her funeral.  It looks exactly the same. The branches are thick and twist in and out of each other. I still remember following the lines on the branch of the tree that hovered above my head.  There are no leaves on it; just old decaying moss. It leers over me and casts shadows all around me. Dead leaves litter the ground underneath it; they crunch under my feet as I get closer and closer to her.

My chest starts to feel tight and my heart is fluttering, I take a deep breath but it doesn’t relax me. I stop a few paces in front of it; I can barely make out her name on the grave. Out of everything in this god forsaken place it’s the only thing that’s changed. The flowers that were once bright and vibrant are gone and in its place, long, sharp weeds. I would have guessed, if I hadn’t known myself that no one had visited for years. The marble isn’t white anymore; the moss has changed it to a yellowy, green colour. The rain has weathered away the words but they’re etched in my mind.

‘Tessa Thorn

1985-1997

Loving daughter and sister’

And just like that, it’s back again, that horrible moment of impact.

The music is always the first thing I’m aware of, my sister’s favourite song at the time.  She is singing along laughing as I turn to look at her just for second.  I give an over exaggerated groan in pretend disgust. I turn to look at the cracked road, my hand tight on the steering wheel. I sigh as I start to think about the large amount of work I have to do this weekend. I can feel the strain in my forehead as I frown. She asks me what’s wrong and I tell her it doesn’t matter. She is quiet after that.

Suddenly there she is, the little girl. I’m never sure if I actually saw this or if my mind made it up.  She is standing on the side of the road. Her blonde hair is being tossed behind her by the wind. Her dark blue winter coat and her blood red tights are the only vivid colours that I see. The background behind is just black and gray. Then she darts out in the road. All I see is a blur as we get closer and closer to one another. I feel my heart freeze in my chest as slam the brake on. I see her eyes, those bright blue eyes widen in fear for just a second.

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