Home > Echoes of You(6)

Echoes of You(6)
Author: Margaret McHeyzer

She shakes her head, and lowers her saddened gaze. “I don’t want you to come back, Kate. You try to help me forget, but what happens here is too much for anyone to forget.” She turns her little body around, and slowly walks out of her room.

The air is thick with sadness.

Neve is like a twenty-five-year-old woman trapped in an eleven-year-old’s body. She’s wise, and smart. But so damn sad.

“Kate,” AJ says bringing me back from the brink of hopelessness. I look over to him. “We have to go.”

I nod my head, and step toward him. “What if I stay, and help her when she gets back?”

“She doesn’t want you here.”

“She’s a kid, AJ. She doesn’t know what she wants.”

“She’s the most mature one out of all of us. She’s the one who’s on the frontline. If she says she doesn’t want you here, then get out.” He runs his hand through his hair.

“Don’t be so rude,” I snap at him.

“Then don’t be so disrespectful to the girl who’s helping us all get through this,” he yells back. He takes a deep breath, and runs his hand through his hair again. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be so bitchy toward you. But Neve said she doesn’t want you here. We have to respect that. For her.”

I head toward the door, and stop just short of the exit. “She’s the strongest person I know. I just wish I could do something for her.”

“Come back tomorrow, Kate. I’m sure she’ll be better by then. You know, this.” He makes a twirling action with his finger, indicating this scenario we’re all in. “This is hard. It’s hard for all of us, but especially Neve. It’s my job to protect all of us, including M. But especially Neve.”

I hate how he’s right.

I hate how this is our life.

I vow to myself to try and make Neve’s life better in whatever way I can.



I’m worried for Neve. Outside has become dark, and Neve has yet to return.

I stand in her room, pacing. I’m also contemplating going out and searching for her. She’s never been gone this long before. What’s happening? Why is this taking so long?

Standing in the corner, all kind of worries are jumbling in my mind.

Does she know how to get back?

Is she okay?

Is she dead?

The hair on the back of my neck stands to attention. My skin crawls as I become hyper-aware of everything happening around me. Every sound, every smell, every feeling. I know something’s not right with Neve.

I shouldn’t have let her go. I knew something was off. I knew the moment she was called. There was a darkness when he said her name. A darkness so black, and so consuming, that I just had a gut feeling something terrible was nearing.

My stomach tensed the moment he whispered her name. I should’ve stopped him, should’ve done something to stop this happening. But how can I stop him? Who’d believe me?

I’m powerless to do anything.

I’m such a bad person. I send Neve to go into the slaughterhouse, and all I can do is feel sorry for myself. I should protect them. I should do everything in my power to safe guard them. Why can’t I be better? Stronger? Not so evil?

“AJ,” Neve whispers.

I open my eyes, and leap forward to hug her. But she holds her hand up, stopping me from touching her. “Are you okay?” I know the answer, but I still have to ask.

She looks up at me and slowly shakes her head. “I will be, one day.” Neve drops the bunny by the door. She carefully walks over to her bed and gingerly lays down, her back to me.

“Can I get you anything?” I offer.

“Yeah, peace.” My heart bleeds. “Can you leave now? And take the bunny. I don’t want to see that thing until the next time.”

“I’ll come back and bring you some coloring books. I know how much you like them.”

“I need pencils. Take the red one out though. I don’t like red. I found another one, and I want it gone.”

I’m not sure what she’s talking about. “Okay. Do you want or need anything else, Neve?”

I step closer, but catch myself before I reach out to rub gentle circles on her back.

“I want to be left alone.”

“Okay.” I walk to where she’s dropped the bunny, bend, and pick it up. I look at it in disgust. “Bye.”

“AJ?” Neve calls before I leave.


“Do you think M is okay?”

I shrug. “You were gone for a while. A lot longer than normal. Actually, you were gone for too long.”

“I’m worried for her.”

And she still has the compassion to be worried for M. But, if I’m being honest, I’m really worried for M too. It’s never been this long before. It’s usually done quite quickly, but Neve was gone for a lot longer than that. “She’ll be okay,” I say trying to give Neve some comfort.

I stay in the room for another moment, and when Neve doesn’t reply, I know she doesn’t want to talk any more. I look at the stupid bunny, and leave her room.



I hate being the person I am.

This is why I refuse to have a mirror in my room. I’m too scared of what I’ll see in its reflection. My life has never been easy. From the moment I can remember, all I’ve ever been is nothing. Nothing at all. Not a person, not a child, not a God damned thing.

As I lay on my bed, I can hear AJ’s footsteps becoming further and further away.

This is how I like it. I hate having AJ here, and hate it even more when Kate comes. What they don’t understand is how much I hate me. To my very core, I can’t stand me. I hate everything about me. Nothing about me is worth saving, nor am I worth anything.

But I don’t stay because of what I think of myself. I stay for M. M needs me. And if I left, if I disappeared into nothing, then M would suffer. And I can’t have that on my conscience. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

I have to protect M.

I’m left alone, and this is the way I like it.

When Kate comes to visit, she looks at me with such sadness in her eyes. I hate the way it makes me feel, which is why I barely look at her. She tries to cheer me up by doing things with me, but I just want to be left in peace, without her looking at me like I’m damaged or broken.

My head is heavy, and all I can think about is that song, and what happens when I hear it. I don’t like what happens. No, “like” isn’t a strong enough word. I hate what that song symbolizes. Because while that song plays, it means I’m no longer myself. I have to become someone else. I have to be quiet, and take the punishment for M. I can’t say anything.

I never do, because I don’t want to wake M. If I wake her, she’ll be hurt instead of me. And if she screams, then we don’t know what can happen. I fought once, which woke M and she screamed. It turned out to be so much worse for all of us.

So now, when AJ comes to my room holding the bunny, I know what I have to do.

I know how I have to prepare myself.

AJ doesn’t want this anymore than I do. He hates having to be the one to do that, but he’s the only one strong enough to do it. The first time he did it, he cried more than I did. It broke my heart, knowing he was here, waiting for me, and in so much pain.

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