by Poppy

I watched in horror, unable to stop myself from pulling the cord tighter around his neck, n ot stopping until his chest attempted to heave in one last breath but only managed a gasp as he crumpled to the floor, now a lifeless corpse.

Mother says I am different from most children. Special. I knew she thought i was some kind of strange, loner child, though she did not speak it aloud. But I was nothing of the sort. Just waiting for the right companion, I thought. Normal children, I cannot tolerate.

At this precise moment I am 14 years and 67 days old. Mother had always tryed to arrange "play dates" as she liked to call it with many other children and their mothers. But they would sit and watch as I would read one of fathers book and pretend the other child was non existent. Of course. I suppose deep down I did know I was different as well. Because when I was three I knew that alphabet and by five I could write perfect script.

My Mother did not have a job, she was a housewife. Though she did not approve when I told her that. Father worked in the bank like most of the children at my schools fathers, except he was the boss of all the banks. Which meant he had a rather large income. It was lucky that father made his fair share as Mother had a knack for shopping, her favourite being antique shopping. She would bring home all sorts of items, exquisite rugs from all over the world, French vases sent directly from Paris and other tasteful items.

One evening like any other Mother brought home a new item. This one was a painting. I'd never really taken an interest in Mothers gift for antiquing. But this particular painting drew my attention. Why? I could not work out. When the sheet fell off the painting it revealed a beautiful white gold frame, from what I had learned from Mother was that the painting was definitely from an English era, which era was not to my knowledge. The painting was of a petite girl of around my age it seemed, with pretty ivory skin and a pink blush rising at her cheeks. She was beautiful, like a porcelain doll. I couldn't help but feel a surge of jealously when looking at this girl, but then quickly pushed it away as it was only a painting.

For days I stared at this painting. Morning after morning. Night after night. When ever I walked past it I was drawn and left staring. Mother and Father thought it was just because I was awed by her beauty, but I wasn't anymore. I felt as though I had some sort of connection, as if she was trying to tell me something. I'd read one of fathers Psychology books, I was sure I was not insane.

A month later Father had one of his nights. When ever father had one of his nights I was told to go to my room as soon as possible. But this time I did not. Because of course I was in front of the painting staring, as usual. Father came in slurring his words and crashing in to each wall as he walked. He walked past me at first but then once he realised I was there he stumbled back. What he said I could not tell. As I looked in to his blood shot eyes, I knew he was not happy. When Father drank he became very angry. As he paced forward his eyes blinking open and closed I could see he was coming for me. But just as he raised his hand, I closed my eyes, waiting. And nothing. Mother was quickly behind him pulling him away, towards the stairwell. This was not the first time Father had raised his hand at me. Once it had landed me in hospital with a few broken ribs. But of course he had told the doctors I had slipped and fell down the stairs. "How clumsy she is" he sighed as he patted my head in the E.R room. I knew to keep quiet or I would be worse off.

From then I tried to keep myself away from the painting as it only got me into trouble Father and Mother said I should go and play out with all the other children and be normal. For some reason I felt a prick of anger at this. Though I had heard it all before, it really got to me this time. Another thing that made me different from other children as I never, not once, had I had a screaming fit if I got annoyed. For a girl my age and all the hormones, I was extremely tame.

Three months later I started to notice that the more I thought about the painting and the more I tried to keep myself away the more I was drawn to it. I started to visit it at night in my dreams when my Mother and Father were a sleep. But in my dreams the ivory skinned girl came out of the picture and her name was Emily. I now saw Emily every night. Emily intriguing, she was just like me in a way but also completely different. Emily had a cruel outlook on life. One night Emily came to visit me at my bed, she told me to follow her and so I did, Emily was my friend now, a companion, perhaps the one I was waiting for. I followed her all the way into the neighbours yard where she gave me and angelic smile and plunged a knife through the neighbours dog. I went to scream but nothing came out, Emily's angelic smile vanished from her face only to replace it with a look of comfort. "Don't worry, this is the dog that keeps your Father up at night, with its continuous barking...you don't want your father to have another one of his nights now...do you?" she whispered in a voice that was velvet soft and so sweet it was shocking after what had occurred. But I found myself nodding in agreement. This dog had caused father to have one of his nights.

When I woke up the next morning to a shriek of Patty our neighbour. I peered out the window into the next door neighbours yard to find the dog dead in her arms. I was not utterly shocked as in knew Emily had done this but it was only in my dream. For some unreasonable reason I became fascinated rather than scared by this incident. So as the next night went on more incredulous crimes you could call it Emily committed and I watched every morning out my window with a grin of satisfaction. Some small part of me knew that what Emily was doing was wrong, but that small part was overrun by the larger quantity of me which found it astoundingly, intriguing.

Then father had another one of his nights this time to protect me Mother was strewn across the room by Father her head making a loud crack against the stone on the fire place. This enraged me. No matter how much Father yelled and abused Mother she still loved him, unconditionally. I suddenly saw red with fury. Then out of nowhere was Emily she lunged forward with the phone cord and wrapped it tight around fathers neck. I began pulling. I yelled for Emily to stop this was my Father. No matter how much I now hated him, I had to help him. This was not the way. But it was too late, Father fell to the floor in a heap. I started to cry. Uncontrollable sobs tore out of my chest. When the sobbing slowed and I could see again and the blur had gone. I noticed it in the mirror. I had blood dripping all down my dress. I felt something in between my fingers. A phone cord. Then a series of images replayed in my mind. Me cutting up the neighbours dog. Me committing a series of horrendous crimes. Then lastly, I watched in horror, unable to stop myself from pulling the cord tighter around his neck, not stopping until his chest attempted to heave in one last breath but only managed a gasp as he crumpled to the floor, now a lifeless corpse. I had done this not Emily. ME!

I turned to look at the painting, it had changed now. Emily stared blankly at me with that same angelic stare I am sure she showed me in the neighbours yard. My body became numb.

So I ran.

I continued to run, not knowing where I would end up just that I had to get away, knowing that I could not go back only made it harder. The pain seared through me now, the safe numbness had gone. I could see everything, feel everything, replaying over and over in my mind.

I heard the sirens now, but I did not pay much any attention, they were at the back of my mind now. The back of our mind. I had Emily to think of now, as she replaced the pain I felt with sudden excitement.

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