I always told myself I hated coming here, to the one spot where I knew there was nothing I could do to change anything, but I still kept coming back. No matter how much I starred at my mother’s grave, I knew I’d never see her again. Yet, when I looked at my father’s headstone, why was he the only one that chose to show themselves? Why not my mother? Out of all the advice I could ever think of asking for, she was the one I wanted solace from, the only one who could calm me back down to a more rational state. Out of all the people in my life, my mother was the only one who’s opinion mattered to me. Even my own wife couldn’t do my mind justice and so far, it seemed a little weird to me that even she couldn’t since I’ve been with her for more years than I ever even knew my mother. But, like the old saying goes, mother knows best, I don’t plan on disappointing her anymore. I admit that looking back on all of it now, if I had never lost my parents, my life would more than likely be completely different and probably going up a more genuine and fulfilling path with less chaos and torment, but there was no way to change any of that now. I am where I am, but that’s what scares me so much, too.
The annoying rain didn’t help my already agitated mood. I should be happy, my father hasn’t showed his soul-quivering face around me since the night that Lucy had gotten home from college, which was roughly a week ago and she’s back there now to take her finals. But what bothered me more was why he suddenly just stopped. He goes as far as to come back from the dead and toy with me from beyond the grave after all the pain he’s already caused me and my sisters. And now, he’s nowhere to be found. What the hell is he trying to prove to me? Why does he try so hard to go out of his way to treat me like this?
I came here to talk to my mother, to let go of some stress and to maybe feel like I have nothing to worry about when seeing Mrs. Hughes after all of these years. I took Lucy’s advice and knew something wasn’t right, but I haven’t told anyone that I’m trying to seek help again like when I was little. I wanted to come here and tell my mother my plan to get better, how I won’t let anyone else but me control my life, but I can’t focus. Every glance that I try not to do towards my father’s grave only makes me think about him more and wonder why, out of the passed 4 years of constant torment, was he not here now? I don’t know how long I was standing there, feeling my expressions turn from one emotion to the next as I try to contemplate if I’m doing the right thing. When my father was around, he tried to convince me to do the most unthinkable things and it helped me say no to not only him, but to myself as well. But now, without him here, telling me either to go to Mrs. Hughes or don’t, I don’t know if what I’m about to do is going to be what he wanted or not.
The longer I stood there, the more I realized that nothing was going to become of itself unless I act. As I looked down to my parent’s graves, the ground below me getting softer and I had sunken in a little to the soil soaked by rain, I decided that it was finally time to leave and try to figure out if going to Mrs. Hughes was the best thing for me. Maybe if I went there just once and see how it went, things might get better, or things might get worse. If they get worse or if I don’t feel some kind of change, I just won’t go there again. If things go well, then maybe there still is a chance for me to let all of this go and just live out a normal life with my family.
I left their graves and went back to my car, turning it on and letting the inside warm up a little before making the fifteen minute drive into the city to see Mrs. Hughes. Even as my fingers grew warm and the heat had brought me back to a comfortable temperature, my hands shook the slightest bit and I rubbed my hands together roughly to get it to stop, or at least to keep me from seeing it.
I got to Mrs. Hughes’ office and walked in, shutting the door behind me as to not let in anymore of the chilly winds from outside. A grimace took over my face when I looked around and up towards the second floor where I knew she was. I looked back briefly towards the front door and did just as I did when I was here as a child, I looked back at it and contemplated bolting out and not giving this a chance at all. But, the moment I did, I could hear the secretary calling out my name to say Mrs. Hughes was ready for our appointment. My mother was the majority of the reason why I came here in the first place. She’d want me to go. I guess I have my mother’s intuition when it comes to knowing something isn’t quite right with me.
The secretary wasn’t here today. It being a Saturday, this might be her day off, so was Mrs. Hughes here all on her own? The door was open, but maybe they just forgot to lock it?
I finally made my hesitant ascent up the stairs and could almost hear my mothers footsteps going up the steps before me, waiting for her to reach back and tousle my hair as to calm me down, knowing I didn’t want to do this. But, I felt nothing. I stepped down the hallway and stopped at Mrs. Hughes’ door, but before going in, I looked over towards the couch by the window and could picture my mother sitting there just as she had done before. I had asked her why she wasn’t coming with me, but she told me I needed privacy. I could hear the next thing she said to me back then over and over in my head now, “Go on, it’ll be fine. I’ll be right out here if you need anything at all..”
Her words were like a symphony now instead of how it sounded like just a sweet lullaby back then. I could picture her encouraging smile, hear the hum of her soft nature as she gestures me to go forward. At first I was nervous, ashamed a little, even terrified that whatever I said wouldn’t stay behind this closed door and somehow my father would know and only resent me more. My mother’s words repeated again and I took a deep breath, feeling the nerves within me calming again and I was ready to step through the door of the office and try to get help for myself.
I opened the door slowly and quietly, seeing that the light in her office was on and I knew she was there. I opened it more and the door didn’t so much as creek in the slightest, keeping my presence unknown for the time being. I saw Mrs. Hughes sitting on her sofa, the one I had sat on so long ago and old memories filled my mind as I looked around the room. The room still smelled of old lady perfume that seemed to have gotten more potent and aged over the years, just as Mrs. Hughes had. The last time I had seen her it was at Lana’s funeral and we only had a few-minute chat and then I left.
I shut the door behind me quietly and Mrs. Hughes still seemed to not notice me, continuing to stick her nose in the book she was reading and I stepped more into the room. I cleared my throat louder than needed and she looked up, closing her book and adjusting her glasses to try better at making out who I was. “Yes? Can I help you?” She asked and it took me a moment to speak up.
“Mrs. Hughes, it’s Jason.. Dubois?” I eventually replied.
She squinted her eyes a little to help focus better and soon a smile spread across her lips, “Jason! It’s wonderful to see you!” She said happily, catching me off guard a little, but I soon smirked in return as to not be impolite.
Mrs. Hughes made her way over to me, holding out her arms and requesting a hug as she continued talking, “My goodness, it’s been years since I’ve seen you. How have you been?” She asks as I hug her in return warmly.
“I’ve been all right.. Lucy is taking her finals now in college.. So are the twins and my youngest daughter in high school.. I couldn’t be more proud, I know they’ll all do wonderful,” I replied with a confident grin.
“My gosh, are they all to that point already? It must be driving you mad with all those young adults running around the house,” she said with a gentle cackle.
“Oh, it’s not so bad.. I love having them around, even if Bennu and I want to rip our hair out sometimes,” I replied with a chuckle, “Enough about me, how about yourself?” I wondered back.
“Good.. Very good, don’t worry about an old woman like me when you already have enough on your shoulders.. You seem well, though, you get more and more handsome every time I see you,” she compliments and I let out a soft chuckle.
“Not as beautiful as you with each passing day,” I replied.
“Oh, come now..” She contested with rosy cheeks, “Well, don’t let my blabbering keep you from making yourself at home. Please, sit, dear,” she offers and I nod in acceptance.
I took a seat where she was upon the sofa and she took the single chair to my left, the one she always sat in during any of her sessions. “So what brings you back here at this time? Usually I don’t make appointments on Saturdays and just look over my patient files. Or, like you’ve caught me, catching up on a relaxing read,” she chuckled gently.
“Oh, well I apologize for intruding. I was just hoping to catch you and maybe ask for a little help. Like old times,” I answered and her wide smile faded just slightly.
“Like old old times?” She questioned and I nodded. “Well then, please.. Continue. What’s on your mind? The last thing was discussed was you talking about your father, we even tried the hypnosis, didn’t we?”
“Yeah, I don’t remember what happened though. You’ll have to remind me,” I replied and she nodded slowly, her eyes wandering around the room as she tried to remember.
“Well.. While in hypnosis, you were in your bedroom and there was a baby boy crying. You couldn’t open the door to leave, you heard your father talking to someone, a dog barking. Your father came in to calm the baby and to get him to go back to sleep. You got a little rattled, hearing your father coming back up the stairs after leaving the room and you hid in a corner. You said the dog sounded scared. That’s when you started not to respond calmly anymore and I was forced to wake you up.” She replied and I was impressed by how much she remembered of the situation for it being almost 35 years ago.
“I had been seeing the dog before my mother brought me here, that’s the biggest reason why we came..” I honestly answered, “I still saw him after I left here and he helped my sisters and I escape my house before, from what I’ve come to believe, my father was able to blow it up. I still don’t know if my sisters were telling the truth, that they really did see the dog like I did, or if they were only humoring me.. But, either way, we got out.”
Mrs. Hughes seemed bothered by the news, but she didn’t act on whatever she was honestly thinking, “So, are you seeing the dog again? Is he what brought you here for more help?” She asked and I withdrew from her a little, looking down to my lap and eventually shaking my head ‘no’.
“Then, what is it, Jason?” She continued.
It took me a moment to reply, she would only think I was crazy, but then again, I came here to get help and withholding anything now would render this visit pointless. “I’ve been, um.. Seeing my father, instead..”
“I see. What does he say to you? How often does he just show up?” She wondered, seemingly not wavered by my words, so I continued with less hesitation.
“He’s.. He’s been telling me to do things that I just can’t do. But it’s driving me up a wall because no matter how many times I say no, he continues to persist as if I’ve never told him no in the first place. It’s an ongoing loop that just never seems to stop.. He used to show up only every now and then, but the more years pass, the more I see him, and I’ve been seeing him for a while every day up until about a week ago.”
“Well, if he’s gone now, then why have you come? Do you think he’ll come back at some point, maybe you won’t have control?” She wondered and I thought for a moment before finally nodding.
“Yeah, I just.. I don’t know what’ll happen the next time I see him, or if I’ll be able to stop whatever he tells me to do,” I replied.
“Well, how do you usually feel when your father comes? Are you sad or angry? Lonely?” She asks and I think for a moment.
“I’m never lonely or really that sad. I suppose it’s when I’m stressed or mad,” I reply.
“So you’re already angry when he shows up and he only increases your anger then, would you say that’s correct?”
“Yeah.” I replied quickly, seeing that maybe we were getting somewhere.
“It seems to me that you still hold on to your father more than you may think. As much as you might resent him, hasn’t he been someone that you’ve maybe strived for approval from?” She suggested and I grew a little angered. “I know you may be a little reluctant to believe this, but maybe you wanting to make your father proud is passed the time you’re able to, so you go to him now for approval since you didn’t get to when you were a child. All you did was stay away from one another, but didn’t you always, somewhere deep down, want to find a happy medium with him?” She continued. As much as I hated to think about it, the last time I saw my father was when he and my mother were telling my sisters and I goodnight before he carried out his gruesome plan. I had asked them for a puppy, something to distract me from seeing Archor and my parents had agreed, my father was first to say yes. He compromised for me, agreed to give me something that would make me happy and maybe even like him more, but at the same time, I feel like he was only doing that to give us something happy to think about when we went to bed before he murdered us all. Mrs. Hughes’ voice snapped me out of my thoughts, “Jason, would you want to try hypnosis once again? We seemed to get pretty far when you were a child, maybe we could surface some more things now that you’ve matured?” She offered and I nodded, agreeing to her logic and we went through the routine there was to put me under.
“Jason..? Can you hear me?”
“Where are you? What do you see?”
“I’m in the backyard. My mother is scattering hay for her horse. She takes a break and looks over to me. Her smile is as bright as the sun.”
“How old are you?
“I.. I think I’m 5.”
“Good.. What else do you see?”
“My mother comes over to me and throws me around. I’m laughing.. She takes me inside and puts me on the couch to watch TV. My father is in the kitchen and she goes to him, but they.. They start fighting.”
“Why? What are they talking about?”
“I can’t hear them. My father’s voice is so low, my mother only speaks a loud whisper so I don’t hear.”
“What’s happening now?”
“I get off the couch. I’m mad. Madder than I’ve ever been.”
“What do you do? Why are you mad?”
“I go towards the kitchen. I want to stop their fighting. I want my father away from her.”
“Jason, it’s all right.. Calm down,” Mrs. Hughes says as I can feel myself squirm in discomfort.
“It’s my first time standing up to him. I want him to stop, but he grabs her arm. I’m scared.”
“Scared? Scared of your father? Scared for your mother? Yourself?”
“I.. I just want him to stop.. Stop it! STOP!”
My eyelids flew open and the whole room had changed. I felt.. So different. My entire body was hot with rage. I could remember Mrs. Hughes and I talking, I was calm.. Yet out of nowhere there was this anger inside of me that I couldn’t extinguish. I was out of my realm of comfort. I had felt this before.. But where? When? ..Why?
“Do you feel it?” I heard Mrs. Hughes voice, yet it felt as if my ears had been plugged and her words were muffled. I could make out what she was saying, but barely.
“Feel.. What?” I asked, blinking harshly a few times as I looked to her and I sat up slowly. I looked around the room, noticing that the whole room had grown heavy and it seemed as if gravity had increased tenfold. It was hard to move, like how you feel in a dream, like when you want to do something so bad but your blows are lessened greatly and it feels as if you’re causing no change at all.
“The anger.. That hate.. You feel that, don’t you?” She asked, yet her voice grew deeper and more menacing.
I looked back to where Mrs.Hughes was sitting and my eyes widened in shock when I saw my father, “How do you feel, son?” He asked, his voice getting less muffled and easier to hear as he continued his words, “Do you feel at ease where you are?”
“No.. Of course not. I feel terrible,” I replied angrily, “Why the hell are you here!? Now out of all times to show up!” I yelled.
“Calm down, Jason.. You’re only acting on what you’ve been feeling from day one. Hatred.”
“Shut up! Why are you here? Where is Mrs. Hughes!?” I demanded to know.
“She’s here. But she can’t help you anymore. Only I can. Weren’t you worried that you’d never see me again?”
“Pah! Don’t put yourself so high on a pedestal, you piece of garbage,” I replied angrily.
“Come now, Jason.. I can’t be all that bad. You once wanted to accept me just as much as you wanted acceptance from me, is that not true?” I held my tongue, not wanting to give him the satisfaction he much desired. “See? Even now you dare not talk back to me when you were so willingly able to when you were younger. You just wanted attention, didn’t you? ..Well, now you have it.” He continued.
I didn’t know what to say really. That could’ve been the right answer, then again I was never sure of what I wanted.. I was too young to realize, but now at a grown age, not knowing anything that may have been, I had no idea what I wanted from him anymore. “Why are you here? What the hell do you want..?” I asked in a defeated tone, my comprehension of things seemingly at a loss.
“You know damn well what I want!” He raised his voice, stirring me a little and I hate to admit that I flinched in fright towards him, “You know what you must do yet you refuse to admit it!”
“I will not kill my children!” I yelled back, recalling what he has always told me now, “I’m not you! I can’t act on something when I don’t believe it! I’m not crazy, and neither are my boys. Just leave them out of it. Leave them out of it all!”
“Like I have a choice! If it were up to me, I’d let them live. But they are an abomination. So are you, and so am I! Stop denying it and see it for what everything really is, dammit! Stop being so stupid and get rid of the things that are only going to cause more pain like everyone else in this family before you has done!” He called back, refusing to back down from what he’s been telling me for the passed 4 years of first seeing him.
“No..” I tried to reply calmly, “Nothing you can say will make me change my mind about my sons or my own life,” I replied, seeing him get more angered and he stood to his feet. Adrenaline forced itself throughout my body and I wanted to stand as intimidatingly as he had, yet for some reason I couldn’t move my legs.
“How dare you talk to me like I am a stranger passing you by on the sidewalk! I am your father and you will do as I say! Whether you choose to believe it or not, this is the truth and it is what needs to be done, Jason! The sooner you realize that, the better!” He yelled back, his booming voice no different and still completely terrifying just as it was when I was a child. But, I wasn’t a child anymore, I had my own family to protect and he hasn’t been a part of it ever since he died when I was still but a few years younger than being a teen. I’ve told him no before, I can do it again.
“Everything is my choice now, my decision! Not yours! These are not your children to just do as you wish with them and cast them out like a common piece of trash!” I retaliated.
“Don’t worry Jason, since you’re not man enough to do it, I’ll just have to do everything myself!” He threatened, catching my full attention. I knew he wasn’t real, I knew he wasn’t there, but his words were something I couldn’t escape and just what he’s been able to do to me proved that maybe he could do worse to my children. I grew.. So angry.. So, so enraged.
“You.. Will not, touch them!” I yelled with a voice I was unfamiliar with myself, even though it came from me. I jumped up from my seat upon the sofa and lunged at him, quicker than he could react and before he could stop me, my right hand was tightly clenching his throat and I refused to let go. His hand clawed at my wrist, but it held tight even under his immense pressure in trying for it to stop and I could feel my grip only tightening around the strained tendons in his neck. I never wanted him to get away, not this time, not again. He can’t leave me now and I finally have him where I want him. He’s at my every whim, he’s at my mercy where there is absolutely none and I hope he soon realizes that there is no hope for him anymore. There is no getting out of this. What happens, happens, and what happens is final. I won’t let him control me anymore.
I managed to keep my grip on his throat but the more he pulled back, the more I lost my balance and I tumbled slightly over the fabric covered table that doubled as a coffee stand, falling over him but making complete sure that my hand never let up upon his throat. I fell over the coffee table and on top of him, straddling him and my left hand was then brought to his throat without a second thought. I clenched as hard as I could, hearing his throat gurgle and beg for air, but the more air he let escape from his lungs, the tighter my grip became and it was impossible for him to breathe. He reached out, flailing his arms and squirming his legs as if to try to get free, but the struggle he put up for air was more than the struggle to get free, causing him to ultimately give in to me and cease fighting.
It took longer than I’d like to admit to make sure my father was dead for the second time, and for good. The moment I felt his last dying breath, I felt calm, almost euphoric in a way and I couldn’t describe how happy I was. I was nostalgic. I couldn’t feel his strong struggling heartbeat under my fingertips anymore but I continued my wrath, making sure there was no return after he had fallen unconscious. For the first time in my life, I was proud of myself. I even maybe thought that my father himself would be proud of me for overcoming such a terrible, gut-wrenching obstacle. Is it all over? Am I.. Can I go on with my life? Can I live without you on my shoulder every day now? Please, let it be true.. I shut my eyes for a long moment, trying to gather myself as I still knelt over my once again dead father, trying to breathe, trying to make sense of everything. But, I opened my eyes and the last thing I had ever wanted lying before me upon the hard, thin carpeted ground.
“M-M.. M-Mrs.. Mrs. Hughes..?” My throat caught multiple times, speaking in a struggled whisper as a gasp then engulfed my lungs.
She was dead..
I had killed her..
But.. No! She was.. My father was.. He was there! He was.. He was the one I was strangling the life out of.. He was the one that drove me to this.. He..
He had finally won..
He showed me who I was..
He proved to me that I’m no better than him, I’m no better than my murderous sons..
“O-Oh, God.. What.. What have I done!?” I called out, scooting as fast as I could away from Mrs. Hughes’ limp body until my back reached the softened coffee table. This.. This is what my father wanted, he wanted to show me what I was capable of when everything was out of my own control. This.. This needs to stop! How do I stop it? “Oh, God..”
I couldn’t fully grasp what I was looking at. I had killed Lana, and now I’ve killed her mother, the woman that introduced me to her daughter and I thought I had fallen in love with. It was a false love, but what else do you feel when you’re so close to someone and find out they’re pregnant with your child, even to find out later in life that it’s not yours? I was thinking of everything.. Why did Lana trick me? Why did I act like I never knew Lucy wasn’t mine when I knew she wasn’t from the very beginning? Why did I continue to nurture them both when neither of them technically were my responsibility? Why did I murder Lana? Why is Lucy still here? Why does she love me after what I’ve done to her and hers? “What do I d-do now?” I continued to quiver and contemplate what I should do. There was nothing else I could do. She was dead, I made sure of that thanks to my father. There was no bringing her back and I didn’t know what to do.. What do I do!?
I.. I panicked. I’m a coward, over emotional.. I can’t handle this.. I just can’t! I stood quickly from the floor, jumping over Mrs. Hughes’ still limp body and I rushed out of the door. Tears still falling down my face, I didn’t know what to think or how to grasp myself back on solid land when everything felt so thick and made of mold. Each step that I took running away from her felt as if I was running through sand. That hard, forced, muscular pace I needed to keep up weighed down on my thighs and it was hard.. So, so hard to get away from it.
Running down the stairs felt like running down a rocky waters edge leading down to a deep pool in which you’ll never get out of. My feet kept slipping and I couldn’t seem to get a good grip anywhere.. On the way down the stairs, I contemplated stopping, calling the police, telling them I found her this way, but I couldn’t.. I just couldn’t.. I couldn’t look at her lifeless body again and I couldn’t talk to anyone about what I had seen. I couldn’t lie. I was too fucked up now to even try to be good at it. I’d fail. I’d be the laughing stock. The moment I reached the bottom of the stairs, I knew there was no going back. The moment my feet hit the carpet, I dashed through the small lobby and rushed out the door, running to my car and pulling out my keys from my pocket, yet stumbling to stop my fast pace when they fell to the grass from losing my shaky-handed grip on them. I knelt down quickly and gripped my keys along with a handful of grass and dirt, continuing to race to my car then and I pressed the unlock button as hard as I could multiple times. I got into the car and slammed the door shut, my quickened breathes making my chest work harder than normal and I felt as if I could vomit at any moment.
I’m panicking.. Slow down.. Calm down.. You didn’t..
“You didn’t mean to kill her.. It.. It was an accident..” I said out loud quietly to myself, hoping it would calm me, but it only did a little and not nearly as much as I needed it to. I started the car and backed out as calmly as I could, only to almost back into oncoming traffic that I either failed to acknowledge or even care was there. I had no idea what state I was in. I was bothered beyond belief, I could barely drive, and I had just killed someone..
The only place that I saw fit to hide my dismay was my own home.. By this time, the twins were either sleeping or still out doing whatever they do.. Bahiti was for sure asleep, and Bennu was either asleep on the big couch in the living room from watching a movie, or she was asleep in our bedroom.. Knowing my family, I knew the boys weren’t home, I knew Bahiti was asleep, and for how long I’ve been gone, Bennu was asleep on the cough in the living room. I could go upstairs without a fuss and I could hopefully gather my thoughts and try to think of what to do with all that has happened. I pulled into the driveway, waiting for the stupid gate that opens for what it seems three inches a minute and I finally pulled in after my car could fit through the very small opening that I couldn’t wait to get any wider.
I came in through the front door silently and I heard nothing throughout the house, causing me to lessen my panic only slightly and I rushed upstairs with light feet, barely causing a sound on the steps I touched. I finally reached my room, running in and closing the door quickly yet quietly and I noticed that I was right, Bennu was probably asleep downstairs on the couch and I could let loose. My eyes never stopped watering, yet once I realized I was alone, my tears fell harder than ever and I couldn’t stop them.. I was horrified by what I had let happen, but more so on what I had done to my daughter.. My little Princess Lucy.. I had killed her mother.. And now, I’ve killed her only other relative that was close to her.. What kind of person am I? …Is this what I was always meant to do? Is this what my father has wanted me to be..? Nothing more than a plain old insane killer?
I could barely breathe, I could barely contain myself. My knees buckled and I couldn’t support my own weight anymore. I had.. I had just killed someone.. I had just killed someone. My father warned me of with so many times before.. “Just off yourself! Everything will be fine if you’re gone!” Maybe he was right..? Maybe I should’ve just taken my own life. Maybe I could’ve stopped it all together. My sons, they’re.. They’re killers.. I’m a killer.. I’m the one everyone should be afraid of, not my father that no one else can see but myself.. I’m trying to protect my family, trying to protect all that I have left, yet I just killed someone wrongfully for what my father put into my head.. What the hell am I? What the fuck am I supposed to do with this kind of stress!? This kind of torment? This kind of absolute nothing that I’ve been dealing with all of my life? How am I supposed to stop anything bad from happening to my boys? To my wife? To my entire family!?
“What the fuck do I do!?” I yelled at myself, wanting to vomit and having this constant gagging feeling in my throat, yet nothing would come out. Nothing would give me relief. Nothing would give me solace in the horrific situation of which my father has put me into.. This horrific situation I have willingly put myself into.