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The Roommate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ROOMMATE

Patricia Morais

© 2016 Patricia Morais

Shakespir Edition

Blog: [email protected]

Facebook: facebook.com/patricia.morais.pt

Twitter and Instagram: @TrishM27

Goodreads: Patricia Morais

I walked the halls of my new student accommodation with both fear and excitement boiling in my veins. These were certainly different from the ones I was used to before, white and empty with equally white doors on each side of the walls. No, here the halls seemed bursting with life and colour, fit for young people about to start their lives with the prospects of adventures and passion.

Then why was I so nervous?

Perhaps was my fear of not being able to fit in once more. Or, perhaps, even though the other halls had been so gloom, they provided me with a since of security that the Halloween decorated walls did not. Seasonal decoration meant constant change and, after the year I’d had, I was not ready for constant change.

I opened the already semi-open door of my new room. On it there was a chalk board with only one name written, I could tell the other had been deleted with a sleeve or a dusty eraser not so long ago. I shivered.

My room was bright and clean with one window that covered one entire wall. On one side there was a bed with red and yellow duvet and a mural of pictures and quotes above it. I saw the books that sat at my roommate’s desk: management, law, fashion, literature. It seemed like a wide range of subjects, certainly she did not expect to major in everything!

As soon as I let my things rest in the empty bed I heard a voice behind me that made me jump. “You must be my new roommate.” Her face changed at my scared expression. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“No, it’s okay. I guess I’m a little nervous.”

She sat on her own bed with her feet dangling a little.

“I was beginning to think that I would have the room all to myself for the rest of the semester.” She winked at me but upon realising her words, her eyes opened wide and she covered her open mouth. “God, what a horrible thing to say. A girl just died and here am I thinking about an empty room. You must think I’m awful but I didn’t really know her that well. She didn’t spend much time in the room.”

“I wasn’t thinking that. I understand.” That after what has happened this last year I have to sleep in the old bed of a murdered girl, sure I could certainly understand that.

“I’m sorry, I really am rude. I haven’t even introduced myself. My name is Shiobban, and yours?”

“Melissa.”

“Can I call you Mel? It’s just easier. But anyway, Mel, what brings you here in the middle of the semester? It’s too late for clearance and I didn’t know they accepted transfers.”

“It was a special case.” I said, not wanting to discuss more.

“What kind of a special case?”

“I’m a foreigner. There was a lot of bureaucratic paper work that took time and got lost. In the end, the university understood it wasn’t my fault and allowed me to enrol if I made sure I passed all first semester subjects.”

“And where are you from?” She asked raising an eyebrow. She then put her hands up and added. “I’m sorry, I’m naturally curious. That’s why I can’t make up my mind on a single subject. Right now I’m torn on whether I should become a lawyer or a runway model”

I smiled. “Poland.”

She didn’t make any follow up questions. She did, however, rose and directed herself towards the closet, where she started looking at clothes. “You should get changed. We are going out for drinks.”

“Drinks? I should be unpacking.”

“You have a lot of time to unpack. This is Halloween weekend, you should be worried about having fun and taking the time to be someone else. Besides, a girl just died, what better time to be grateful to be alive and appreciate that life is short and we should enjoy each moment it gives us.”

I had the feeling that Shiobban wouldn’t be the person to take an easy no, so instead I obliged. When she started taking too long to get ready, I told her I would go for a walk along the halls to get acquainted with the school and would wait for her outside the room in a quarter of an hour.

In the halls, an old creepy gramophone was playing. I tried to ignore the thick cobwebs, the paper bats, and the ghosts made out of bandages.

A happy faced girl passed by chained to a bored guy and smiled at me. I tried to smile back but my lips seemed glued in place.

I didn’t dare move to far from my room.

A student dressed in black and a grotesque mask of grey skin that squished blood rose his arms at me. I pressed myself against the wall and upon realising he managed to scare me, he started coming closer.

I let myself slide. He was so close now I could sense his deodorant among the fake blood.

I started yelling!

The boy kneeled beside me without realising he still had the mask that was scaring me on his face. Shiobban came running.

“Get away from her.” She squatted in front of me, making a barrier between me and the mask. “Get the hell out of here! Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I just don’t really like Halloween.”

***

The pub was also decorated for the 31st of October with scary leprechauns and bloody Irish flags hanging from the walls. People seemed to have gone out for drinks in masks, and costumes. And although my roommate was not wearing a full costume, she was also wearing a long lace black dress that matched her pale skin and dark hair.

Shiobban looked around the crowded pub till she met the eyes of a red curly haired girl sitting at the counter and looking around. She waved at her, led us through the horde, and took the empty seat next to the girl. I took the one available next to my roommate.

“Cara, I present you my new roommate, Mel. Mel this is Cara.”

I nodded at Cara. She turned to Shiobban feeling unease. “Your new roommate? Does she know…?”

“Yes, she knows,” Shiobban assured her. Then she turned to me. “I mean, you do, don’t you? What happened to my last roommate?”

“That she was murdered? Yes.”

“Not just murdered,” Cara insisted, keeping a low voice as if someone might hear us. “The police have no idea how it was done. It seems like it’s the work of magic. There were signs of a struggle but there were no entry wounds that are visible from outside, only inside.”

I shivered. “And how was she murdered?”

“With huge needles stuck in her brain. Her brain looked like a needle cushion.”

“Cara studies criminology. That’s why she is interested in all these disgusting details.”

“You should too. I don’t know how you two can live in there.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Your room. That’s where the murder happened. I’m just happy that we were out drinking that night, imagine that could have been you, Shiobban.

Shiobban took a sip of her drink to hide the discomfort. “Right.”

A distinctive smell filled up my nostrils and made me shiver. I could swear I had smelled it somewhere else today and it wasn’t associated with a good memory.

“Could I have a vodka tonic, please?” Asked a male voice behind me.

I turned to see who was the portrayer of that voice: a medium height, brown haired guy I didn’t know. Before I had the chance to turn back my head, he caught sight of me and he pointed.

“You’re that girl? Aren’t you? The one that fell today when I tried to scare you? I’m sorry I didn’t have the time to apologise. Are you okay?”

So that’s where I had smelled it, no wonder I didn’t associate it with anything good. I still nodded, though.

“I’m Aiden,” he continued. “Here, let me buy you a drink to make up to you.”

Shiobban cleared her throat. I almost forgotten she and her friend Cara were there. “Excuse me, in case you haven’t noticed, she is with friends.”

Aiden put his hands up defensively. “I don’t want any quarrel. I’m just trying to be a good Samaritan and repay the lady for the scare I gave her.”

I touched Shiobban’s shoulder. “I guess a drink won’t do me any harm.” I reassured her. She eyed me for a second and then open her palms flat to the sky giving me the green light.

Aiden smiled and ordered. When the drink arrived he directed it towards me and started talking.

“I don’t think I caught your name, did I?”

“No,” I replied making no eye contact while I stirred my drink.

“So?”

I looked at him embarrassed but he was smiling. “I’m sorry, it’s Melissa. Mel, if you wish.”

“I think Melissa is fine. So, Melissa, you don’t like Halloween masks?”

“It’s more the whole Halloween thing I’m not fan of.”

Aiden put a palm to his heart pretending to be shocked. “You don’t like Halloween, why?”

“I don’t see why we should celebrate a day that means death. Life is scary already, why would we want to make it scarier by using horrible masks? Besides, I prefer to know when my fears are real.”

“But that’s what makes it so fun! Life is scary. So why wouldn’t we enjoy and make fun of that fear? It’s like life is trying to makes us fear it, and on this day we just mock its attempts and say ‘no, not today, today I’m not scared of anything you throw at me’”.

“I take it you like Halloween?”

He gave me a guilty smile. “That obvious, anh? I can’t deny it, but me and myself we are fans of the gore.”

“What about the people that use this occasion to commit horrible murders. Doesn’t that scare you? Take the other girl, for example that just died two days ago.”

His eyes grew dark. “Horrible people will kill innocents, every day of the year, whenever they please. Perhaps, maybe even on Christmas. That shouldn’t be a reason to stop us from living our lives.”

I brought my drink to my lips. I didn’t want to keep on thinking about murdered people.

“When you say you are a fan of the gore, what do you mean?”

“The all supernatural bunch, love. The scarier the merrier.”

***

My first night in the new dorm had been uneased by nightmares of white halls, dark figures and a murder in a mask following me. Cara’s confession about the room last night had made it hard to fall asleep. And, when I found myself awake early in the morning I decided to take the time to do something productive, rather than haunt myself with thoughts.

“Mel, thank god I found you.” Shiobban found me at the library at late afternoon. She came running towards my desk and dropped her bag on top of my scattered books, making a loud noise that made people around us shush us. She held up her hands to apologise. “What are you doing in the library on a weekend?”

“Studying. I need to make up for the lost time.”

“Oh, yeah, your…,” she stopped mid-sentence and looked at me uncertain. “… bureaucratic problem. I was worried sick. Where did you and that weirdo run off yesterday?”

“Nowhere, we went for a walk around campus and then he left me at the room. You were still sleeping when I left this morning. Why are you so worked up about this?”

“There’s been another murder. And since I didn’t know where you where I was scared that maybe you too… I can’t even think about it. With one roommate I can live by, but two? It’s too much for a person to handle.”

“I’m okay.” I looked at Shiobban and wondered if performing arts was also one of her chosen subjects. She seemed to be quite dramatic about not finding a person she had only met a day ago. “But what happened?”

“A second year guy. He was found dead in his bed this morning, apparently caught on fire. They don’t know if it’s the same person who did it.” Shiobban rose and grabbed my wrist. “Come, we need to find Cara, I’m sure she will know all about it. She is probably already at this Halloween party happening in the boys’ dorm.”

“Halloween is only tomorrow, and besides I need to study.”

“Tomorrow is the big party, and then we need also to celebrate your birthday.”

I looked shocked at her. “How do you know my birthday?”

She shrugged and tried to give me an apologetic look. “I may have snooped at the file sitting in Headmaster Rosen’s desk when he wasn’t looking. Don’t worry I only caught your last name and date of birth.”

I wondered why would Headmaster need to check my file. Was he having some suspicions about me and all that was happening?

“Now, come on! You have the whole rest of the semester to study.”

I gathered my textbooks unwillingly. “You are going to be a bad influence on me.”

“You have no idea.”

***

“Cara, hi!” Greeted Shiobban after finding her standing next to the apple bobbing tank dressed in a bloody gown costume and a face mask. “Dead doctor?”

“I’m a coroner,” she explained. “Slutty witch?”

Sexy witch!” She corrected, swirling in her witch costume.

“And you, Mel? What are you supposed to be?” Cara eyed my regular clothing.

“A person that doesn’t celebrate Halloween.”

“Mel, just enjoys being boring…” Shiobban rolled her eyes at me. “Anyway, we wanted to ask you if you know anything about what happened to that poor second year student.”

“I’m just an intern, they won’t tell me much.” Cara admitted. “There are whispers at the lab about spontaneous human combustion.”

“I thought that didn’t exist.” I said.

“It’s a sceptical subject in the world of science, yes. But the guy didn’t even move from his bed as he caught on fire, it’s like he slept through the whole thing.”

“Poison?”

“No. There were no traces of poison or fuel.”

Freaky!” Shiobban tried to scary me in a spooky voice.

“Anyway,” Cara ignored her, “I’m supposed to assist the official coroner on Monday. I will know more by then.”

“If the murderer doesn’t get you first.” Aiden showed up from behind the tank with a beer in hand, making us all startle. “Sorry for eavesdropping, I was curious. How are you, Melissa? I see you still haven’t caved to the magic of All Hallows Eve…”

“No, not really.”

“I wanted to ask you if you want to go for a walk?” He invited. I looked at Shiobban, uncertain. “Do you need to ask permission from your mum?”

I rolled my eyes at him and started walking. He followed right behind me.

Outside the night was dark and cold, with no glare of the moon’s presence. The sidewalks were lit by dim orange lights that didn’t seem to stretch out very far. We spent the first minutes walking in silent.

“Did you ask me for a stroll to save me from all the Halloween gore, or were you actually planning on speaking?” I finally broke the silence.

“Would it make me look more chivalrous if I did?” He replied with an innocent smile. “No, I wanted to ask you how you’re doing?”

“How I’m doing?”

“You know, considering that Halloween it’s not your favourite time of the year, you just move to this uni and already strange deaths are happening. It’s not the most inviting induction.

“I’m surviving.” I said with a factual tone. It hadn’t been the strangest thing that had ever happened to me at this time of year. And, honestly, no matter how horrifying it was what had happened to those people, I was just glad that for once it was happening away from me.

“Are you okay?” Aiden asked. “You seem to have tuned out for a second there.”

“I’m fine. What about you? Is Halloween still your favourite time of the year?”

“I don’t you choose to focus on the bad part of Samhain. I focus on the happiness of it.”

“Happy?”

“Since the Gaelic times, the 31st of October has been a cause for celebration. And yes, people were scared of all the veil thing between the dead and the living being weaker, and the fact that monsters from the underworld roamed at night on that day, but it was also a time when people ate and drank, and spent time with their families. This was a day when people reminded themselves of how lucky they were to be alive and how much they would lose if they weren’t. If you care to ask me, whoever invented that bogus story about demons coming to get us on this day, he was a very clever bloke.”

I couldn’t help smiling at the fervent passion with which he spoke of a holiday that was so wretched to me.

“So you don’t think that these deaths have one bit of supernatural cause, even though they were all very strange?”

“I think these deaths are the work of someone highly intelligent and screwed up.”

A loud scream filled the midnight sky. I felt my heart stop and an overpowering wish to run away but my legs seemed to have been petrified. I grabbed Aiden’s arm tightly. My whole body was stinging from the goose bumps on my skin.

Aiden hugged my shoulders.

“Don’t worry. That’s just a barn owl, they are known to mate around this time.” I could see him trying to hold his laughter and I felt grateful for that. “Curiously enough, they are also the animals that originated the myth of banshee cries, because of their loud screech. I don’t hold it against you, they are spooky.”

“Banshee cries?”

“You know, those creatures that cry really loud when someone from an important Irish family is about to die?”

I let go of his arm.

“Never heard of.”

“Man, if you don’t like ghost stories you are going to love Ireland.” The sarcastic undertone was unmistakable.

I came back to the dormitory feeling happy and giddy. I was starting to enjoy Halloween this year. Maybe if I had someone to explain to me the other side of the story; not the creepy-things-go-bumping-in-the-middle-of-the-night way I had experienced all my life, maybe then I could stop fearing the day of my birth.

I lit the nightstand light so I wouldn’t wake up Shiobban.

In Shiobban’s unmade bed was sitting a black shadow.

“Christ!” I put a palm to my chest and let the other fall on the bed looking for support. “Damn it, Shiobban, what the hell are you doing standing there in the dark?”

Her dark hair fell in front of her pale face, making her look eerier. Her expression was empty. “I was waiting for you. I was worried.”

“Worried? What for?”

“That Aiden guy. I don’t trust him.”

“Aiden? He’s harmless.” I started pulling the linen from my bed.

“I think he is trying to use you.”

I sat on the edge of my bed, looking at her still scary posture. “Use me for what?”

“I think he might be the killer and will use you for your past. To pin it on you. I’m sorry, Mel, I was curious and I saw more than what I told you I’d seen. I know!”

I felt my throat drying. I tried to swallow but no saliva was forming. Those files were supposed to be kept secret. My heart was pounding when I was finally able to speak with a shaky voice. “Know what, exactly?”

“About your friend. Your best-friend, wasn’t it? I know she died in a freaky accident last year. October 31st. I know that you were with her but you couldn’t explain what had happened. The police had no choice but commit you into a psychiatric ward and that’s why you only got here in the middle of the semester.”

I couldn’t explain what happened. How could I have explained them? If I’d told them the truth, what I’d seen? My time in the psychiatric hospital would have not been a year but my entire life. How could I’ve told them that she had simply started to panic in a schizophrenic act, as if taken by a demon or an act of magic. That she had started to throw herself against the walls and no matter how I tried to pull her she wouldn’t bulge, and by the time she had died, her body was full of bruises and cuts, made by an invisible hand.

Should I have told them about the figure that seemed to be following her days on end before she died? Would that have helped? I had been prone to imagining monsters in the dark since I was very young. My whole life I remembered being scared of the dark and telling my parents that there were creatures that wanted to harm us when we slept, but they had never believed me. No one would have believed me if I spoke about a man or woman in a dark cape following us.

“I don’t believe you did anything to your friend,” Shiobban reassured me. “I think I’m a very good judge of character and you don’t strike me as a murderess. But he might try to put suspicions on you. Strange, mysterious girl, shows up in the middle of the year… do you know where I’m getting?”

“I was not even here when the first death happened.”

“But you were already in the country weren’t you?”

“I understand!” I snapped. I lay on my bed and pulled the duvet with much unnecessary strength to cover me up. “I get the picture. Let’s just sleep, I will deal with it tomorrow.”

***

But I couldn’t deal with it tomorrow.

After waking up, tired and with swelled eyes from a restless night filled with night torments, I walked the halls, on the day of my birthday, followed by whispers and sideway glances.

I was looking for Shiobban without finding her. She hadn’t been in her bed when I awoke. I tried to ask some people but they would either look at me appalled, or run away from me like peasants from a leper.

I was starting to get desperate when I finally bumped into Aiden. He also seemed frightened. I felt my heart sink, of all people, seeing Aiden’s shocked face was the hardest of them.

That’s why I almost got scared when I saw his hands coming in my direction. I cringed.

“Are you okay?” He asked cupping my face and forcing me to look at him. “I was scared senseless that something might have happened to you. Have you heard the news? Your friend…”

Oh, god, no!

“Shiobban? I can’t find her. Did something happen to her?”

“No, your other friend. The red one. It’s all over the newspaper. She died last night.” Aiden showed me the newspaper and I saw Cara’s picture in black and white. I didn’t know her that well but from what I gathered about her, she didn’t seem like someone who deserved to die. “Apparently, she was from a very important family. Only child. The last of the Ó’Conchobhairs.”

I remembered last night’s shrilling scream.

“The Banshee!” I exclaimed in shock.

“What?”

“Last night. You said the banshees cry for important families when someone dies.”

“Melissa, those are myths. Last night it was an owl.”

But part of me couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something strange going on. No matter how logic deemed it as impossible I could sense a supernatural cause.

“How did she die?”

Aiden looked at the newspaper uncertain.

“Apparently there was an electrical incident in her room last night.”

I tried to grab the newspaper from his hand but he tried to hide it. “Give me that.”

I read it quickly after I managed to take it from him. “Strange electrical incident. All of the electrical equipment was knew. Police is looking into further investigation.”

He looked at me bewildered, as if only now he was starting to realise how strange I actually was. “What’s your point? You think this is supernatural?”

I paused. I often forgot how careful people were about labelling things with a supernatural cause. Even Aiden, who liked those sort of things, didn’t exactly cross the barrier into believing them. Just because I’d believed that supernatural had followed me all my life, didn’t mean that others would take it as a plausible option.

“You’re right. It’s all probably a strange misfortune.” I admitted, not entirely convinced. “But I got to find Shiobban, I haven’t seen her since yesterday.”

“I saw her this morning, when I was coming back from my morning run. It was really early, and she didn’t look happy.”

“Did she say anything?” I asked hopeful.

“No, but she never much acknowledged my existence.”

“Did you see where she was going?”

“I don’t know. She looked like she was leaving campus.”

Between the commotion that was Halloween, Aiden tried to pass through the masked students to solicit information about my lost roommate. I’d caved in and accepted his help since I knew that no one would speak to me.

I waited nervously, away from the crowd and recoiled from the hate looks that insisted coming my way. Shiobban’s last word rang in my ears. “I think he might be the killer and will use you for your past. To pin it on you.” But he isn’t, he is trying to help me find you.

But he had also been the last person to see her. Had she confronted him upon finding Cara’s death and he’d decided to take care of her too? What about what he’d said to her last night…

“One of her classmates said Cara’s family owns a chapel nearby.” Aiden’s voice broke my inner monologue. “She said she might have gone there if she was mourning for her friend. I have a car, I can take us there.

The Ó’Conchobhairs’ chapel was a small church built in with the rocks of a cliff falling to the sea, ten minutes driving from campus. I didn’t know if Shiobban had a car, and if she had left by foot it seemed unlikely she would have walked that far.

Aiden leaned in to my side of the car and I jumped to his sudden movement. He barely seemed to notice it as he took a flashlight out of the glove compartment.

“You just happen to have a flashlight in your car?” I asked.

“You don’t?”

I tried to silence my suspicions of him. Assuring myself they were the product of an unnerving mind. And even if he was a murder, it didn’t change the fact that I still needed to find my roommate. But when he took a crowbar out of the boot I felt my legs quaver. I wasn’t a brave person, I’d been scared of the dark since I had memory of it, what on earth was I doing trying to be a hero?

“For protection,” he told me.

I swallowed hard and nodded slowly. Then we walked inside the chapel.

Its interior was damp, with the humidity coming from the sea making it ten times colder.

When I’d heard of the Ó’Conchobhairs’ chapel, I’d imagined something more rich and refined. Not an old Celtic, probably cultic, chapel made of stone. Its centre was a simple squared room with a small altar and glassless windows.

There was no one inside.

“Come on,” Aiden pulled my sleeve and pointed at the passage that led to the tunnels inside the cliff.

I felt something strange creeping in the cracks between the rocks. I hated being all superstitious, but it felt like some kind of dark energy around us. Or maybe it was just my brain’s way of telling me that following a murderer into a murder spot, wasn’t being my brightest idea.

“What do you think she would be doing in a place like this?” I had no idea of what I was doing, put keeping him talking to see if he would let something slip seemed like a good idea.

I walked behind him, trying to look for a rock that I could use for protection. He had a crowbar, it seemed only fair…

“I don’t know her very well. We only have a class together and she always seemed a little bit stuck up to me.” Motive: check. “And she has some nerve!”

I detected a hint of anger. I tightened my fingers around the rock.

“What do you mean?”

He hesitated. “It’s nothing. We should keep moving.”

“You realise we are risking our lives and coming to dark places to try and save her. I would at least like to know what kind of person she is.”

“She was probably just trying to be overprotective, even if in a possessive way.” Evasive: check.

“Yes…” I insisted.

“She told me to stay away from you. She said your kind wasn’t for the likes of me.”

My kind? “When did she tell you that?” He kept silent. “Aiden, when did she tell you that?”

“I may have lied about her not saying anything to me this morning. I just didn’t think it mattered.” Story doesn’t check out: check.

I rose my rock above his head and hit him with it. He staggered and fell to his knees but didn’t lose consciousness. “Melissa, what the…”

I hit him again with it. This time he fell onto the floor.

I picked up his dropped flashlight and started running.

“Shiobban?” I yelled.

It was a straight tunnel but it seemed to have no end. I half walked, half run pointing the light straight ahead, scared I might see a dark shadow out of nowhere, scared that Aiden knew a way I didn’t and would show up right in front of me.

“SHIOBBAN?”

From the dark and silence, it came a sound. It was low and unclear but it was constant. I tried to follow it, even though it was the last thing I wanted to. As the sound grew louder my steps grew slower. It was definitely human. More a humming than words.

“Shiobban?”

Someone was singing a lullaby. I pointed my flashlight everywhere till I saw it, the dark shadow. But it wasn’t the kind I was expecting. It was someone dressed in dark clothes with silk black her falling on their back. The person was rocking back and forth, humming and it seemed to hold something in their arms.

“Shiobban, it’s me, Melissa, it’s okay. We can go home now.”

All of the sudden, there was light. Around us, torches had lit themselves at the same time and I could see my roommate’s figure clearly, now. She straightened herself out. She was holding a doll, a creepy, expressionless doll with what looked like blood on its white hair. She was sitting on another altar but, unlike the empty one from the entrance, this one was full of old books and bones and plants.

When Shiobban looked at me, she didn’t seem frightened or helpless. She was confident and… smiling!

“Shiobban, what are you doing?”

“I’m sure your supernatural sensitive brain has figured out by now, no?” She rolled her eyes and groaned. “That poor bloke you just left for dead is not actually the killer.”

“What do you mean?”

“Cara’s family doesn’t really own a church. But mine does. I just told that blithering knob it was to make it sound more interesting.”

I couldn’t think straight. “So… so you?”

She frowned and shook her head repeatedly. “Me! You’re kind of slow. I don’t know why the witches want you so bad. But I guess your blood as its perks.”

“Witches? My blood?”

“I must have skipped that part on our introduction. My family is part of a witch coven and I’m in the process of becoming one, and in order to make the coven I need to pass through an initiation. It started with all the killing in preparation for Samhain but then you showed up and… Plans changed. Now they want you.”

“Why?”

Shiobban seemed bored and frustrated with me. “Does it matter? When you’re dead, do you think the why will make any difference?” She jumped from the altar. “Now, how on earth am I going to make you move without using any magic on you?” She asked out loud, although I sensed it wasn’t a question I was required to answer.

“You’re a witch that can’t do magic?”

She sighed. “Not on you, no.”

My head was about to burst. I wanted answers. I wanted to know why me, why did strange things had to keep happening to me? And the only person that seemed to hold some answers was not only trying to take me to some weird coven, but also refusing to explain.

I approached the altar. It seemed stupid to get closer to her but something told me that running away from someone that could do magic when I couldn’t would also not work out. While she was looking into the pages of a dusty, yellowed book I grabbed some dark powder from one of the containers.

She started enchanting in a low voice. I felt the wind around me rise and the dust and colours turn brighter. It felt as if energy was taking life. My chest swelled and I almost felt like I was choking on my sense of peace and happiness. FOCUS! A voice yelled inside me.

Fire had started to take form around my steps, forcing me to move.

“I may not be able to do magic on you, but I can use magic around you,” she said.

I tip-toed trying to get away from the fire building around me. She kept on enchanting more insistently.

Finally, I threw the dust at her face.

She screamed in agony grabbing her eyes.

“You idiot!” She yelled. “Do you have any idea of what that is?”

A candlestick flew across the room but I manage to cover myself with my arms before it hit me.

“I’m going to kill you!” She kept screaming but she didn’t seem to have enough concentration to keep the magic lasting for long.

I tried to run but a bone interceded my way and I tripped, falling onto the floor. Before I’d risen, Shiobban was on top of me with a dagger. “I don’t care if the witches want you alive. Your blood will be just as valuable to me dead.”

I couldn’t take my eyes out of her blood injected eyes, she was going to kill me and I couldn’t look away.

A loud noise, like a gunshot, echoed in the walls.

It took me one second to realise Shiobban had been the aim of it and that she had staggered backwards. There was a second one and she fell. Unmoving.

I looked at the entrance coming from the tunnels and I saw two men I didn’t recognise holding their guns out. Were they the police?

“Blimey, this one was easy!” Said one of them.

“I wish all of them were like this.” The other replied.

“What would be the fun in that?”

***

I found Aiden outside, with his brown hair covered in blood and holding a cloth to his head. I felt a wave of relief washing over me. After, I’d found out his innocence I had been overwhelmed with a sense of guilt that I may had killed an innocent person.

I run to him but he flinched away from me.

“I’m so sorry, Aiden. I was so scared, Shiobban had put these ideas in my head and I didn’t know what to think. I thought you were the killer.”

“I was only trying to help!” He was trying to keep calm but I could sense his fury. “I didn’t even know your bloody friend and I was willing to risk my life to help you.”

“I know… but when I found out you had lied, I…”

“I lied ‘cause I didn’t want you to know that Shiobban knew I was interested in you. I didn’t want to be that direct.”

My chest was heavy with shame.

“I’m so sorry.”

“I need to go.” He dismissed. “Will you be okay with those two?”

I looked at the two men who had saved me and taken Aiden out of the tunnels. I didn’t believe they would save me to then harm me, so I nodded. “Yeah, in them you trust.” He said before getting into his car.

I walked back to them and thanked them.

“Don’t mention it.” One of them said, a red haired man with a small frame. “It’s our job.”

“Your job? You’re witch hunters?” I asked feeling insecure. Perhaps, Shiobban was not even a witch and she was just a crazy, maniac with a sense of importance.

“Not only witches.” The other dark-blond guy answered. “We could explain everything to you if you’re interested in working with us. We could use someone like you.”

“Like me?”

The other red haired added. “You know all of those strange feelings you’ve always had that there maybe is something evil at night? We can explain why you’ve been feeling it all of your life. Why does the supernatural follow you.”

“It all started with Samhain…”

 

 

This short story is part of a world created in «Sombras» from the same author published by Coolbooks (www.coolbooks.pt/sombras). Some of the unanswered questions in here will be revealed in its sequel «Chamas», out on November 10th.

 

If you liked this short story don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads page and leave your opinion at: www.goodreads.com/book/show/32826926-the-roommate

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Writing is my passion, travelling my mistress, and translation my wife!

On paper, Patricia Morais is a Translation graduate at London Metropolitan University. Author of “Sombras” published by Coolbooks. Volunteer translator for NGOs. And a blogger recording her writing challenges and adventures. (http://trishmorais.blogspot.pt)

In real life, Patricia has a master’s in the art of travelling developing countries and being robbed. A degree in life´s experiences wonder. And student to some of the lessons acquired along the way.

Her favourite hobby is procrastinating with a popcorn bucket and watch supernatural movies (or tv shows) while calling it “research”. Her second hobby is to roam Wikipedia, looking for strange monsters while actually researching.

Right now she is living in China and discovering her procrastinating habits are not only exclusive to writing but also extended to her love for martial arts. She is also discovering a deep hatred against running. Let’s just hope she is not chased by monsters!

22

 


The Roommate

Melissa just moved into her new dorm. She hopes that new friendships will help her forget the events of last year that brought her there. But while her past keeps on creeping in and a chain of mysterious murders start happening around her, Melissa is left without knowing who to trust. An Halloween short-story, based on the world created in «Sombras», with new characters.

  • ISBN: 9781370719334
  • Author: Patricia Morais
  • Published: 2016-10-31 15:05:09
  • Words: 6525
The Roommate The Roommate