At night the wind calls to me, whispering my name. I lie in bed, eyes closed, desperate for the solace of sleep, but it eludes me. As I drift away into fitful slumber, the soft sound of the breeze brushing against my window stirs me from my repose, my name carried to me through the surrounding darkness.
It speaks with her voice.
I do not look, afraid of what I might see...or what I might not see. It couldn’t be her, not after all this time. Not after that last, horrible night. To find her standing there now beyond the frail glass would surely drive me insane, yet the thought of throwing aside the curtains and seeing nothing frightens me even more.
I recall her final words, spoken in anger, defiance and finally, hatred. The way her pleas and denials became an antagonistic admission of truth, her fury boiling over, transforming once beautiful features into the menacing snarl of a stranger. The elegant face I knew so well now a terrifying visage of rage and malevolence. Forever will I remember the look those icy eyes had cast my way seconds before the light within them was extinguished forever.
Had she somehow survived? I took such care in disposing of the gun and locating a suitably remote place to bury her horrid remains. She was dead, I’d made sure of it. In all the intervening years, I have had no cause to doubt the outcome of that night. Still, after three sleepless nights haunted by the sound of her voice upon the wind, I had to be sure.
I came to the ancestral cabin in which we spent that fateful evening, high atop a bluff overlooking the restless sea. By day I searched the nearby woods, looking for her final resting place. But time wasn’t kind to the land or to my memories. I could not find her.
Can the vow made before her death be coming true? Could she even now be drawing upon dark, arcane forces to enact the promised revenge from somewhere beyond the realm of the living? I push aside such thoughts as fanciful imaginings, but when darkness engulfs the land and the wind rises, I think differently. I recall the unholy things she did and the lives ended through her deeds; all performed under the watchful eyes of the one whom she called Teacher. How could I not put an end to such evil when I finally learned of it?
Night has come again. I huddle inside, a fading fire my only source of warmth and illumination. The wind rises and falls outside, her voice a whisper and then a shattering scream. I dare not look through the window, for I know the only thing I will find is my end.
I cover my ears but the shrieking gale cannot be denied. I scream, desperate to drown out her mournful cry with the ragged sound of my own voice, but my tortured howls cannot overcome the intensity of that ghastly lamentation. The wind has become her voice, throwing my own name back at me in accusation and anger.
I hurl the door open, determined to heave myself from the cliff to the cold waters below. I stagger towards the edge, my fear of death at war with my desire for this madness to end. It’s then that I see her, standing a few feet from the ledge, waiting.
The one whom she’d called Teacher.
Teacher looks at me, eyes dark and penetrating. “You will replace the servant you took from me,” she says.
And I know that I will. Her voice is commanding, insidious. I must not disobey. I eye the nearby ledge, but the wind keeps me from jumping, blowing in off the sea and forcing me back, preventing my demise at my own hand. It pushes me forward into the embrace of the soulless thing before me and I scream with unbridled terror when I peer into those dark eyes, seeing the fate awaiting me.
Taunting and cruel, the wind laughs at me in her voice, the one I killed that night so many years ago. The one whose face I still see when I look in the mirror.
The one whom I called twin sister.
Jameson T. Caine has at one time or another worked as a carpenter, meat cutter, shipping clerk, forklift operator, assembly line worker, long haul truck driver and minister. Currently he drives a tanker truck by day and calls himself a writer by night, the latter fueled by a steady diet of soda and salty snacks. He has numerous stories appearing online and in print. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two dogs. Visit him online at http://jamesontcaine.blogspot.com/