Life Altering Literature

Streams of cold water run down my body. It does little to soothe the pain in my head. Images of my continual nightmare infest my brain. Why does this keep happening? For years I thought it was only there to torment me. To bring me pain. Lately, I can't help but feel that maybe there is more to it. Each time I have it the nightmare becomes more real. Not only is it becoming more intense, but it's becominng harder to distinguish it from reality. I used to wake up and automatically know it was a dream. it becomes harder to regain my senses each time it floods my mind. Why am I being forced to see this? What is it that my mother keeps trying to say to me? I feel like if I ever managed to understand what she was saying I would be able comprehend the meaning behind all of this. Then again, maybe I'm going insane.

I shut off the shower and step out onto the cool, tile floor. I dry off and wrap a towel around myself. I move to open the bathroom door, but find myself stopped from following through. Turning I face the mirror. I stare into my wet- haired reflection.

Fallon: What do you want from me?

The reflection doesn't answer. It just continues to cruelly mock me by maintaining its synchronicity with my every move. With a heavy sigh, I open the door and leave the room. I pass by my room. Fi's still asleep in my bed after carrying me through another horrible night. My poor sister might as well be having these nightmares herself with as much as they affect her life too. I decide not to go in and get dressed. She deserves some sleep. I head to the kitchen and poor myself a cup of coffee before sitting down at the table. A pile of mail sits in front of me. I take a sip before flipping through the stack. Bill, coupons, news paper, contest winner scam....hmmmm, large manilla envelope with no return address. Wonder what this is.

I open the end of it and peer in. A folder stares back at me. I pull it out slowly and set the envelope inside. The folder has the Holbrook Group logo on it. That's the company my father and Felicia work for. I hear Fi's footsteps coming towards the kitchen, but I say nothing to her as I open the folder. I feel the color drain from my face. My hands shake.

Fallon: Wha...What is this?

My voice sounds distant to me. It's as if my body and mind are far from each other. Fi immediately comes over with a worried look. I stare down at the paperwork. In big bold letters it says "Level 7 Factory Clearance Required". Below it is "Autopsy: Cecilia Parker". What is this Factory and why do they have an autopsy report on my mother? I read the next line..."Cause of Death: Multiple gun shot wounds". Multiple gun shot wounds?! Mom died in a car accident. What the hell is going on? I look for further information, but there's nothing else there. My voice becomes as shaky as my hands.

Fallon: Where is the rest of the report?

Tears slowly make their way down my cheeks as I clutch the paper tightly. I pound my fist on the table a few times in frustration. Fiona moves to say something, but I'm unable to listen. I shove the folder forward in anger.

Fallon: This doesn't make any sense!

My headache grows in intensity. Fiona looks the paper over before throwing the folder across the kitchen. I want to stand up and hold her and help her keep her anger in check....but I can't even stand up. There's no strength in my legs. I can't help her with her anger when my own holds me so tightly. She presses herself against the wall and slowly bangs her head against it while appearing to think about things. It's a couple minutes before I manage to pull myself back together. I look over. She's as much a mess as I am.

Fiona: Who sent this?! Did Mom really die in a car accident? Why is this in a folder from Dad's company?

She punches the wall a few times. The skin on her knuckles getting more torn up with each blow. I get up from my seat and wrap my arms around her from behind. I speak quietly trying to soothe her.

Fallon: Shhhh. Calm down Fiona. We'll figure it out.

She hits the wall again almost as if from desperation. She's clinging to her anger. I need her to relinquish its hold on her.

Fallon: I need you right now Fi. I need you thinking clearly.

My voice falters at the end. Somehow it snaps her out of it. She turns around and we hold each other for a few minutes. All we know for sure is that one piece of paper has just changed our lives completely.