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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

“The Hair Over Her Face” Gothic Fiction

It wasn’t raining. It should have been. The sun should have been cowering behind the clouds, squeezing them out and forcing their misery to shower the earth in tears. But no. A bright, sunny day feels so perverse during a funeral. It’s a reminder that the world doesn’t care about what you lost. The sun shines all the same. It’s like she never even mattered.

There are a lot of people here. People who knew her, people who didn’t. Her friends are here. Our friends. They surround me now, pelting me with “I’m sorry for your loss” and “She was a wonderful person” and “I don’t know why she would do this” and “It wasn’t your fault”. I think it makes it easier on them, to pity me. The once younger brother, and now, only child. They can hide from their own grief under the guise of helping me through mine. It doesn’t bother me like it used to. The voices blend together after a while, and it’s like they aren’t there at all.

My mom is surrounded by voices too, but none are her own. She hasn’t spoken since she found my older sister hanging from the great oak in the backyard. First my father left us, and now her. I don’t think she’ll ever be the same. I don’t think any of us will be.

The loudest of the silent voices comes from a man in solid black, a cross on his chest, standing in front of my sister’s casket. He never met my sister, doesn’t know my family. Yet he was the first to speak on her behalf, preaching about the hearts she had touched, about how tragic it was that such a young life had been cut short, by her own hands no less. I wanted to be angry at him, for speaking about something, someone, he knew nothing about. But I can’t seem to muster the energy for that anymore.

Something caught my attention. It was quiet, but seemed to slip through the cracks of every other noise, worming its way through my ears and into my brain. A whimper. Quiet and afraid, echoing throughout my mind. My eyes darted to its source. A young boy, only a few months younger than me. Drystan. Dread welled in his wide, green eyes. He trembled like the Earth itself shook beneath him. His hand slowly reached up, pointing towards me. No one else seemed to notice. They never do. I knew what he saw. Only he and I could see it. His mouth moved in slow, petrified motions. The words withered in his throat, but I knew what he meant to say.

“T h e r e ‘ s   s o m e t h i n g   b e h i n d   y o u .”


I remember the last time I saw my sister alive. I’ll never forget it. It was concert night, our very first. We had both practiced extensively, usually together. Always, together. It was a duet, afterall. Her piano, my violin. We had only one song to play, but it was advanced. Far beyond my level. But not hers. No, of course not. Nothing was too much for her. She could handle anything and everything. Sometimes, it seemed she had too. It was probably for the best, anyways. No one could do it like she could. No one could do anything like she could.

She could even play my own violin better than I could. But not on concert night. Not while her fingers danced across the keys of a piano. Tonight, it was up to me. We would play together, brother and sister, as equals. That’s how it was supposed to be. But, my sister had no equal. She never did. I couldn’t keep up with her. I would slip up notes, play through rests, miss flats and sharps. It was just too much, too fast, I hadn’t been playing the violin for long at all. My sister used to tell me that I would get the hang of it. But it was concert night, and our rehearsal only a moment before hadn’t gone well.

She stormed out of the piano room, marching towards the stairs. I called after her.

“That one wasn’t that bad. I only missed a few notes, no one will notice if-”

My sister was a kind woman. Everyone talks about how vicious teenage girls can be, but my sister was always sweet as can be. Patient and caring, always ready to lend a hand. She never raised her voice. It shook me to my core when she screamed back at me. 

“I’LL NOTICE!! YOU’LL NOTICE!! It needs to be perfect, this is the big night, we’ve worked so hard for this, but it’s just not good enough! It HAS to be perfect, Cain, it has to be!!”

I paused, shocked at her outburst.

“Don’t. . . Don’t yell at me.”  She let out a loud, angry sigh, frustration radiating off her as she buried her face in her hands. Standing at the top of the stairs, she turned away from them to face me.

“Look, I’m sorry, but we have to get this right. We have to. We’re gonna go back in, and practice until we get it right.”

Go back in? The concert was only in a half hour, we didn’t have time to practice.

“We’ve been at it all day, I’m tired. It hurts to move my fingers, and we haven’t eaten since breakfast. We need a break.”

“What we NEED, is to get this perfect!”

“If that’s what you want, then fine, go practice, but I need a break! We’ve been playing that same stupid song since 9, and it’s 8 now! Please, I need a break.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but someone beat her to it.

“G-guys, please, stop fighting, the c-concert is soon, your mom s-sent me to come get you guys in the car.”

Near the bottom of the stairs stood Drystan, nervously tapping his fingers together, sweating worriedly.

“Tell her we need ten minutes. Me and Cain are going to go practice a little more.

“No, we are not!”

“Yes, we are!” She started walking towards the piano room, but I stepped in front of her, forcing her back towards the stairs. Being older, she was at least a head taller than me, but I tried my best to stand my ground. She took a shaky breath in, and spoke through her teeth.

“Cain. Get out of the way.”  She tried to step around me.

“No, we are going to the car, NOW!” I moved to stop her, keeping her at the stairs edge.

“We are not, we need more practice!”  We were both shouting now.

“Guys, p-please, stop fighting-!” Drystans voice was quickly drowned out by the sound of my heartbeat in my ears.

“Cain, get into that practice room, NOW!”  She stepped closer, and shoved me back by my shoulders.

“I said no! No no no no no no no! I won’t!” My vision started to blur with tears as I pushed her back.

“We aren’t arguing about this, just go! We aren’t good enough!”

“I SAID NO!!” I cried out in a blind rage, and shot forward, ramming my shoulder into her chest. She let out startled gasp, and flailed her arms about her, trying to regain her balance. But she couldn’t. Her foot fell backward off the top step, and the rest of her body followed. I stood in shocked horror as she tumbled down the stairs, crying out in pain before she landed at the bottom with a sickening CRUNCH.

Drystan stood in horror, my sister’s form at his feet. He opened his mouth to say something, but all that came out was a stifled scream. A small pool of blood was forming at his feet. At my sister’s head.

I stood at the top of the stairs, frozen. I hadn’t meant to do that. That wasn’t supposed to happen. I just wanted to push her back, I never meant-

I rushed down the stairs, nearly tripping over myself. I put my hands on her shoulders, and started shaking her.

“Sis, get up. Hey, get up, this isn’t funny. Get up. Get up!”

“C-cain, I-I think, I think sh-”

“Shut up Drystan! C’mon, I didn’t mean to, I never wanted to, I’m so sorry, get up, please, please get up!” I could feel the fabric of my pants start to soak through where I was kneeling. Her neck was twisted at an awful angle, but the blood obscured my vision. I buried my face into her chest, tears soaking through her shirt and mixing with the crimson puddle as I sobbed, begged, pleaded with her to get up. Despite being pressed against her, I couldn’t feel her heartbeat. 

“S-she’s. . . She’s not b-breathing, Cain. . .”  I couldn’t muster the strength to respond. I just looked up at him through my drowning vision, his terrified expression barely reaching me.

“She can’t be. . . I didn’t mean to, I. . .” Drystan shook his head quickly back and forth.

“No, no, n-no, it couldn’t have been you. I-I, I know you, you would n-never do something like this. Y-you couldn’t, I-I, I don’t believe it. Th-there, there must have been, s-something behind you, that pushed her, something I-I couldn’t see. Y-yeah, yeah, i-it had to be. Y-you wouldn’t do something l-like this. . . i-it has something b-behind you. . .”

I looked up to him in disbelief. I couldn’t believe what I had done, that she was. . . But, I did, didn’t I? I was the one that, that pushed her. Drystan’s whimpering took me from my thoughts.

“B-but. . . no one will believe that, they. . . t-they’ll think we did it. . . t-think you did it. . .”  I tried to speak. I failed. “W-we. . . we need to d-do something. . . I-it couldn’t have been you, y-you’d never. . . b-but they d-don’t know. . . w-we can’t let them. . .”  Drystan took a step back, still shaking his head. He turned around, and fled without another word.

I sat there, her body in my arms, tears and blood soaking through my skin and into my soul. This couldn’t be real. It couldn’t be. Drystan was right, I would never. . . but I did. . . there was nothing behind me, I just-

Drystan came back in, something coiled up in his hands. I couldn’t raise my head to meet his eyes. His voice shook with a terrified determination.

“I-I know you didn’t do t-this. . . b-but no one else d-does. . . I-I won’t lose y-you both. . .” 

I looked up to him, confused, and my eyes widened. Wrapped in his arms was a jump rope. The end, tied into a noose.

“Dyrstan, I, we can’t, I,” Drystan shook his head again, tears starting to spill down from his cheeks. 

“N-not us.”  He pointed beneath me. “H-Her.”

I paused for a moment, confused. Then it hit me. “Oh. . . Oh, Drystan. . . We can’t. . . no, I. . .”

“W-we don’t have a choice! You couldn’t h-have done it, I-I don’t believe it, t-there HAD to be something behind y-you. I w-won’t let them take y-you for something you didn’t do!”

I wanted to argue with him. That was insane. But. . He was right. Not about something behind me, I. . . I did this. . I. . . but, if anyone found out. . . Mom would never forgive me. Everyone would hate me. I’d be thrown in jail and left to rot. . . Mom would lose both of her children. . .

I stood up, and stepped towards Drystan. He backed up, taking a sharp breath in. I held out my arms for the jump rope. He stood there, frozen for just a moment, before nodding quickly and putting it in my hands. I leaned down next to my si- . . . next to the body. I didn’t feel in control of my own body. It was like watching someone else move my arms and hands. I felt nothing and everything at once as I slipped the jump rope around her neck. I could hear Drystan choke back a sob when it went over her head. 

I stood, my back straight and my lip trembling. I couldn’t look anywhere but at my feet, now dripping with the blood covering the hardwood floors. My voice was barely a whisper, scratchy and hollow.

“There’s a tree in the backyard. The fences are high, no one will be able to see. The cleaning supplies are in the bathroom for once she’s. . .” My voice trailed off. Drystan gulped, but nodded in understanding.

“O-ok. . .”

I got back down, and put my arms under her. I tried to stand back up, but. . . I couldn’t. She wasn’t heavy for her age, but she was 4 years older than me. I looked up to Drystan for help, but he shook his head.

“N-no. . . I can’t. . . T-touch. . . H-her. . .”  I paused for a moment, then stood. I grabbed the end of the jump rope, and pointed Drystan to the backyard   

I’ll never forget the sound of her blood smearing across the wood.

Drystan opened the door for me, his eyes glued to the ceiling so that he didn’t have to look at the end of the rope. He flinched when her head bumped against the doorframe. Everything seemed to be silent. The sounds of our breathing, the dull roar of traffic, it all seemed to disappear, erased by the slither of a corpse brushing against the grass. 

Everything else happened so fast. I don’t remember Drystan ever getting ahead of me, but he must have, because was the one who jumped up and lowered the branch down for me. I don’t remember where we got the chair from, either, only that I put it beside the tree. 

What I do remember is the way the first branch snapped under my sister’s weight. The way her body crumpled against the Earth. The way I had to cover Drystan’s mouth to quiet the sobbing as he helped me reach and tie the jump rope around a larger branch. The way we stalked towards the house, looking back at the ghastly scene we had set. 

Her body swayed loosely in the wind, her arms hanging limb. Thankfully, I couldn’t see her face. Her long, black hair fell in front of it, sparing my mind from her dead, open eyes. It seemed to move separate from the rest of her body, as if it took on the life that was stolen from her. Like some kind of parasite hanging from her skull. For some reason I can’t explain, seeing her hair fall from the noose and over her body was the worst part. It caught my gaze and latched onto it, refusing to let me go.

Something was welling up inside me. A horrible, horrible bubbling, like something in my stomach was trying to escape through my throat. I couldn’t take my eyes away. No matter how hard I tried. 

Out of the corner of my eye, stealing my attention for just a moment, was Drystan. He stood rigid, and I watched as every hair on his body stood at attention. His eyes widened, a silent plea parting his lips.

Suddenly, I felt it too. A paralyzing terror, locking up every muscle in my body, making every hair stand on end. I couldn’t move, I wouldn’t. Tears filled my eyes, and a strange, crippled noise forced its way through my lips. I didn’t dare look. I knew what it was, though it was the first time I felt it. 

There was something behind me.

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