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Sophia

sophia


Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

Sophia and her family – her mother Lila and her father Johnathan, lived in a little village where the grass carried dew in the mornings and the evenings were bright with the stars and the moon carrying faint rays of light over the fields.

She had been nine years old and had a fair complexion, blond hair and watery blue eyes. She liked to dance and feed the cats and animals that scurried through the village and oftentimes came running up the steps to her porch. She was a good kid and you could oftentimes see her staring at the sunlight or strolling through the fields, catching butterflies, her footsteps mixing in with daisies and colorful flowers, her head pointing upward, her blond hair dancing behind her while she trod.

It was Sunday and the sun was shining in the windows. It was nine o’clock and the family had gathered in the kitchen for a belated breakfast. Everybody ate and there was sunshine filtering in slow rays through the kitchen. Suddenly, Sophia began to choke over a sausage. Her body began convulsing and her pretty mouth started to tremble. It opened and closed for air in desperation a couple of times and then her body began to throb. She dropped onto the floor.

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Her parents did what they could to try and prevent suffocation. Her father even turned her upside down, but she had continued to choke regardless of his efforts. The village doctor took fifteen minutes to arrive and when he did, he was very sorry to declare that Sophia’s breathing had ceased. About an hour later they pronounced her dead in the hospital. The sunny girl would no longer smile at the sunlight or walk through the flowers. Everything was over.

The burial was a sad day filled with the immemorial dirge and faint tears and a faint, cold wind. Sophia’s body was lain facing upwards in the casket, her figure covered in a white dress, her blue eyes closed. Her parents saw the casket being brought and the earth dug up and it carried down until hitting the bottom of the pit and then earth being thrown over and flowers being planted near the gravestone. It was all very sad and tragic.

Sophia’s mother Lila had an uncanny dream that night. She dreamt of her daughter. She was dressed in the clothes they had buried her in. A rasping voice came out Sophia’s mouth and she couldn’t breathe, her body contorted violently and her skin seemed pale and faded. A persistent droning call kept repeating ‘Mummy! Mummy!’ All of a sudden, Lila woke up from her dream, finding herself in a cold sweat, her body shaken from the experience. She could hardly fall asleep that night. It seemed that the things that plagued her dreams throbbed wildly in the room; the darkness was heavy and there was complete silence. Lila just stared in her empty bedroom and shakenly wondered about her dream.

She told her husband all about it the following morning. She told him that they ought to visit their daughter’s grave because it seemed something was not right – her dream was filled with so much anguish and sorrow and things mere words couldn’t simply confer. He comforted her telling her that there was nothing and that after all the grief and sadness from the tragic loss it was fully normal to experience such dreams and feel synonymous notions; notions of sadness and worry and loss.

That night Lila had another dream. This time her daughter was sobbing and thrashing in the depths of the gloom. She was mumbling incoherent words and it seemed as though she was suffocating. Sobbing and mumbling; vile sounds dripping from Sophia’s mouth and the images flashing forebodingly in the mind. It was like that for an interminable while until Lila woke up. She looked at the ceiling and couldn’t compose herself. She started to cry and thought about Sophia and couldn’t fall asleep for the remainder of the night.

In the morning she confided to Johnathan the happenings of the night. She was hysterical and no matter how her husband tried to calm her down, she kept insisting that the dreams were real and that something should be done about them. Other, more distant relatives, talked with Lila on the phone that day and told her to calm down and not to think about the nightmares. They told her it was perfectly normal to feel that way and that it would pass with time. However, Lila still exhibited a strong determination that the dreams were real. She thought deep within her heart that her dreams were psychic and that all the strangeness and fatality wrought up within the visions meant that something was happening and she had to understand what that was. What all the people whom she’d confided in told her meant little; she felt that they didn’t and couldn’t understand what she felt, what there was to know.

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On the third night Lila couldn’t fall asleep. She lay in the dark room, her heart throbbing, her mind restless and determined; the throbbing permeating her conscience and the room and the world about her. It multiplying and becoming stronger and stronger as though reverberating off of everything; engulfing completely her mind. Suddenly, she got out of bed, descended the stairway silently, went inside the basement and grabbed both shovel and torch. She exited out the house and walked for half an hour until she reached the cemetery.

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All night she dug and dug, the image of her little girl in front of her eyes, stifled cries throbbing near her heart, her hands manipulating the shovel deftly by the dim light of the torch. Finally, she reached the door of the casket and opened it up with trembling hands. Sophia’s body had been dressed in white; she had not been facing upward, but downward. Lila turned the body to face herself only to bring out the unfathomable into sight. Sophia’s nails had been broken and frail blood marks trickled from her fingers, her mouth abated into bloody corners; the sides of the casket were lined with long continuous scratch marks and the air from within was stale and heavy. At the scene Lila dropped to her knees beside the grave and cried out –

‘Sophia! What have we done to you?’

Her words were muffled and sodden with tears, her body kept trembling while she cried; and suddenly she heard –

‘Mom! Aren’t you happy? Look at me! I can breathe.’

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Credit : Victor Grant

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