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Estimated reading time — 2 minutes
After my parent’s divorce, and for too many years after, my twin sister Ginny would wake me up unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Her demeanor would always be frightened and scared when she did. It always reminded me of when we were kids and she would escape to my room, away from our drunken and abusive mother. Ginny would just sit on the floor at the side of my bed and brush at my hand as we stared at each other in a comforting embrace. Five, sometimes ten minutes would go by until she would start to pull away and I’d know it was over. We would never talk, but we never had to in moments like those. She just needed a place to escape.
A September night nearly four years ago was different. Ginny was exceptionally frightened and crying inconsolably. For the first time since we were children, I could feel her grasp my hand to wake me. Her grip was cold, damp and trembling in fear. She was so scared and helpless that I felt equally scared and helpless. This is a common empathy twins share, especially so for Ginny and I.
After 20 minutes of comforting her and holding her as tight as I could, I felt her slipping away again. This time she begged and pleaded to stay with me. We would never talk during her escapes, but this night was different. As I lunged and jumped to keep her from floating away, I lost my ability to feel and touch her. She floated up onto the popcorn ceiling and was dragged across harsh surface until she melted into the sheet rock and out of sight. The vision of her petrified face and desperately extended left hand will forever be seared into my memory.
Her husband must have been exceptionally rough that night four years ago, much like my mother often was when Ginny was a child. When I watched her fade away I knew I would never see her again. For some reason I just knew.
Confirming what I already knew, I received the bad news the next morning about her violent murder and rape at the hands of her husband. Even though I already knew the how and why, the police never could explain the scrape marks and dust on Ginny’s back. I guess I could have told them but what good would it had done anyway. Only a twin would, could understand.
I had not felt the embrace of my sister in nearly ten years prior to that moment. For whatever reason, I was able to feel her again for one last time, to be with her when she needed me most, like I always was when we were children. It never mattered that we were always a thousand miles apart.
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