Estimated reading time — 22 minutes
I’m writing this tonight in desperation. I need help. I need answers.
I have seen her for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory is even of her. I was gazing out of my classroom window and that’s when I saw her, standing towards the back of the school playing field. She was too far away to make out any features, but she wore a pale yellow dress. and as she would always be… she was waving.
I initially thought it must be someone I knew who had sneaked onto the field and was simply waving hello to me. I didn’t wave back, but I smiled and squinted my eyes to try and make out her face.
‘Benjamin!’ my teacher, Mrs. Emerson said sharply, placing a skeletal hand onto my desk.
‘What are you looking at? Am I boring you?’ she continued tersely.
I was scared of Mrs. Emerson, she was a tall and bird-like woman, a face of sharp features and even sharper nails which she would tap upon her table like the countdown to an unstoppable horror.
‘Sorry,’ I muttered.
‘What’s outside which is more interesting than learning the form of a Haiku?’
I turned my head back to the window and told her, ‘The girl.’
Mrs. Emerson walked over to the window and looked out over the playing field, right in the direction of the girl in the yellow dress.
‘Well, if there was a girl, she’s gone now. Your attention please, Benjamin.’
This was the moment I knew something was wrong, that there was something unusual and different about the girl. Mrs. Emerson said she had gone, but she hadn’t. She was still standing in the field waving.
That lunchtime the girl had gone, but I decided to stay close to the school building, something in my stomach was aching and the left side of my head was throbbing.
‘Where’s your imaginary friend?’ the class arsehole Katie asked, whilst her gaggle of friends giggled.
‘You didn’t see her?’
‘No, none of us saw your girlfriend. She doesn’t exist!’ Katie said matter-of-factly, before running off with the rest of the giggling girls.
That was the first time I saw the girl, the first time that I remember at least. I wouldn’t see her again for several years, but when I did I realized that she was not just my young imagination playing tricks. She was real, in some way she was real. In some strange and unexplainable way, she was as real as you and me.
The next time I saw her was brief. Mum and I were on the way to London on the train to see The Lion King in the West End. I think I was 12 at the time. Yet again, I was gazing out of the window and there she was, standing in a field. She was closer this time, but still not close enough for me to make out her face. I remember sitting bolt upright, wiping my eyes, but she continued to wave, continued to exist until the field disappeared behind the hedgerows.
Coincidence? I had thought. But, no. It couldn’t have been. The same dark hair, the same pale yellow dress. It was her, I was sure of it. Again something made me feel sick and the left side of my head hurt. She hadn’t changed. In the six years since I had last seen her, I hadn’t forgotten, and she hadn’t grown. She was still a little girl, in a yellow dress, waving to me.
I am 16 years old now, and since the time on the train, I have seen her a dozen or so more times. Each time she gets closer, but I had never seen her face, until today.
At my local vocational college, I am studying for a motor engineering diploma. The classroom where we learn our theory is on the third floor of an L shaped building. I was busy making notes, jotting down something I didn’t understand about exhaust systems when I felt it. The pang in my brain, the turmoil in my stomach. I needed to get up, I was going to be sick.
‘Where are you going, Ben?’ Mr. Jim Taylor the mechanic who teaches me and the rest of the class asked.
‘Toilet,’ I replied, which was difficult as I was scared of opening my mouth and throwing up in front of the class.
I hurried towards the door, turned the handle, looked up through the glass door pane and there she was. No more than ten feet away from me, waving from across the hall.
I screamed, jumped backwards, tripped over a chair leg in the process and was sick.
Some of the class laughed, Jim picked me up and sent me home. I was too scared to walk out into the hallway and out of the building, but luckily Jim also walked me to the college gate.
That was this afternoon.
On the way home, I rang my mother. I broke down in tears on the phone. I had never told her about the girl. I hadn’t said a word about her since that day with Mrs. Emerson and Katie. I expected my mother to worry and say she would take me to a doctor, a psychiatrist, someone to find out why I’m seeing things, why I’m seeing her. But, my mother didn’t say any of that.
She listened to everything without saying a word and then asked me a question.
‘Have you ever waved back?’
‘What?’ I said, almost bemused by the question.
‘Ben, I need you to tell me now, have you ever waved back to her?’ She was serious.
I thought about it for a second before saying ‘No, I never have.’
‘We will talk when I’m home from work. Listen, listen, Ben. Listen carefully. Promise me if you see her again you will not wave back. Promise me!’ I could hear the desperation in her voice, so I promised. I told her I would never wave back. We said goodbye and now I’m here, alone in my bedroom, alone in the house. Waiting for mum to get home and explain what the actual fuck she’s talking about. Waving back? What does she know? What am I not being told?
However, there’s one thing I haven’t told you yet, I wasn’t sure if I was going to, but I will, and please, please, please! If anyone has seen her too, then tell me. Tell me who she is. I’m so confused, so fucking scared. What does she want?
I’ve just heard mum’s car pull up. She finished work hours ago, God knows where she’s been. I tried calling, but there was no answer. It’s the middle of the night, she has never done this… I was worried. It’s time for questions and it’s time for answers. I’m going downstairs now to talk to her. I will let you know what she says tomorrow or whenever I get the chance to. And shit, the thing I was going to tell you all. Well, I saw it. I saw her face. Fuck. You’re all going to think I’m losing it, but I promise I’m not mistaken. It was mine. The waving girl had my face. The same eyes, the same fucking mouth and nose. I must be ill, something must be wrong with my head.
Mum’s calling me. I have to go.
* * * * * *
I stormed down the stairs and embraced my mum. I had been terrified since what had happened at college and having her with me made me feel safe. I asked her straight away what had she meant by not waving back to the girl. This is what she said to me.
‘Do you trust me?’
‘What?’ I replied.
‘Ben, do you trust your mother?’
‘Yes, of course, but…’ She cut me off.
‘I can’t explain everything right now, but I know someone who can. That’s where I’ve been this evening. We need to get into the car and we need to leave, now.’
I nodded. To see my mother so serious scared me, but at the same time comforted me. I know that sounds strange, but she was taking charge, she was helping. I suppose it was comfort in not being alone.
We drove out into the countryside, not far, but a good ten minutes outside of my hometown, down dark country roads.
‘Where are we going?’ I asked.
‘To see a friend, her name is Morgan, she’s a doctor of sorts. She used to look after you as a child. Do you remember?’
‘No.’ I didn’t remember. I had never even heard of a woman called Morgan before, mum had never mentioned her before that night.
Eventually, we arrived at a cottage in the middle of nowhere, a warm light shone from a window and I could see the silhouette of a person standing inside. Mum parked and we walked over to the door.
‘Ben! It’s so good to see you again. Please, come in,’ the woman who mum had called Morgan said as she greeted us on the doorstep.
Morgan is a strange-looking woman. Her hair is white and frizzy, it sticks out all over the place. If someone asked me to draw a mad scientist, I would use her hair. She’s short and plump, but doesn’t have the charm which can come with it. Her lips and cheeks are pale rather than rosy and she smells a bit like cat piss and the bottle of mixed herbs mum uses in the spaghetti sauce at home. Still, she was friendly and kind, that’s the main thing.
I won’t bore you with what happened next, we had a cup of tea and went to bed, nothing more to it than that. Morgan said she will explain everything in the morning, but I need a good rest. I was tired, too tired to argue, so I went to sleep in the room Morgan had made up for me.
Today we spoke about the visions. Morgan is a psychiatrist, she specializes in cases like mine. Apparently, it’s rare, but not unheard of. She believes that I have some sort of gender dysmorphic disorder, that for whatever reason I am not comfortable in my own skin and I see the little girl as this is how subconsciously I feel. I know that sounds strange, trust me it’s weird enough for me. Anyway, we did some mind exercises which seemed to calm me, but there was one thing which was still bothering me…
‘Mum, why did you tell me not to wave back?’ Mum looked at Morgan and Morgan shot my mother a concerned glare.
‘She said that because it’s best not to engage with the visions, it’s best to ignore them. Don’t worry, Ben, we will get you back to yourself,’ Morgan answered for her.
I suppose in some really, really, super weird way this kind of makes sense. Like, there’s obviously something wrong with me, but I’m in safe hands now.
So… I’m afraid there’s not much more to this story than I secretly seem to want to be a little girl. Hahaha! It’s so strange, I honestly do not feel in any way that I want to be anyone other than myself, a 16-year-old guy. I guess this goes to show that the human mind is a place we don’t truly understand. I mean surely I should know myself better than anyone, yet apparently I have this gender dysmorphic thing. Ah well, I suppose it could be worse, right?
I’m sorry for anyone who was expecting something a bit more paranormal or scary, but I’m actually relieved. I’m spending the next few days with Morgan, mum is staying with me too. I’m getting the help I need. So, I’m going to go to the bathroom, clean my teeth and get into bed, a long day of unscrambling my brain tomorrow. Night everyone.
* * * * * *
SOMETHING IS WRONG! THE DOOR WON’T OPEN, THE DOOR IS LOCKED!
I’VE TRIED CALLING TO MY MOTHER AND MORGAN, BUT THERE’S NO REPLY.
I’M GOING TO LOOK FOR A KEY.
FUCK. FUCK NO.
THERE’S A DRESS IN THE BEDSIDE DRAWER. IT’S PALE YELLOW, IT’S NOT MADE FOR A LITTLE GIRL, IT’S MADE FOR A WOMAN.
THIS IS FUCKED, THIS IS WRONG. I’M CALLING THE POLICE.
THE POLICE WILL NOT COME, THEY SAY THEY NEED TO SPEAK TO MY MOTHER OR MY DOCTOR. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. WHAT IS GOING ON?
I TRIED CALLING OUT AGAIN, I HEARD LAUGHING FROM SOMEWHERE IN THE HOUSE. I’M SO SCARED.
SOMEONE, I THINK IT WAS MY MOTHER HAS JUST SPOKEN THROUGH THE DOOR. SHE’S CALLING ME OLIVE? SHE’S TELLING ME TO PUT ON THE DRESS AND SHE WILL LET ME OUT? ‘PUT THE DRESS ON, OLIVE AND WE WILL UNLOCK THE DOOR.’
I’M MAD, I’M FUCKING BAT-SHIT.
LOOK IF ANYONE READS THIS I’M IN A COTTAGE JUST OUTSIDE OF COLCHESTER. THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE IS A WOMAN CALLED MORGAN. MY MOTHER’S NAME IS SERENA JACOBS AND MY NAME IS BENJAMIN JACOBS. FOR FUCK SAKE PLEASE SOMEONE FIND ME.
I’M GOING TO SMASH THE WINDOW. I’M GOING TO SMASH IT AND JUMP.
I’M GOING TO SMASH THE WINDOW NOW. PLEASE GOD, OH PLEASE.
* * * * * *
I lost my head when I saw the dress.
I did smash the window and I did jump.
Thankfully cottages tend to not be very tall so I only twisted my ankle during the fall. Looking back at it now if I had broken something and had been unable to stumble into the woods then I dread to think where I would be now.
I ran the best that I could into the woods in excruciating pain from my ankle, sweat was dripping from my face and behind me, I could hear them.
‘OLIVE!’ my mother cried out.
‘WE WILL FIND YOU, OLIVE. WE’VE WAITED SO LONG FOR YOU!’ screamed Morgan.
I didn’t even think about the words then, I was completely focused on getting as far away from the cottage as possible. I knew I wasn’t too far from my hometown, but in which direction I needed to go I was unsure. There was no signal on my phone and I decided not to try and hitchhike as I believe they would have been searching the roads for me. Instead, I followed the roads from behind the hedgerows, hoping they would lead me back to the town.
Thankfully, by first light, I had found my way back to Colchester. Of course, going home was out of the question. My mother, the one person I have ever truly trusted is involved in whatever this is. I’m trying not to dwell on this, I don’t want to get emotional, I need to survive.
My phone died shortly after I made it to the town center, which is why I am only just updating you all now. I thought about going to the police, but as I stood outside the station door I realized that this might be just as dangerous. If I tell a police officer this story they’re going to think I’m mentally unstable, they will contact my mother and then they will know where I am. Instead, I slept rough last night in Castle Park, which is a large green area in Colchester town center. It was dark and wet amongst the bushes where I concealed myself, but at least I was hidden.
I woke up this morning in pain, my ankle is badly swollen and my back aches from sleeping on the floor. It hit me then that I need a better plan than hiding in bushes and hedgerows for the rest of my life. I need to figure out what the hell is going on. So, I had an idea…
The Colchester Town Library is free to use, it has computers and as you can imagine, a lot of books. However, I wasn’t interested in reading any fiction or otherwise on this visit. I wanted to use the computers which have access to the town records. I got a few strange looks as I hobbled in, damp and probably stinking from not having washed in a couple of days, but I found a computer and got to work.
The first search I did was for my own name, but strangely nothing came up, not a birth certificate or anything. That was an alarm bell.
There was no point in searching for Morgan, I didn’t have her surname or an address. Instead, I typed in ‘Serena Jacobs’, my mother’s name. She came up.
Two birth certificates appeared on my screen. I clicked on one of the birth certificates, it was her own and there was nothing out of the ordinary about. It was the second birth certificate that chilled me to the bone. It was mine, at least I think it’s mine. It had the correct place I was born and my birthday, but it was the name. The name reads ‘Olive Jacobs’. I swore loudly when I saw it and one of the librarians gave me a furious look.
As you can imagine so many questions started to run through my head at that moment. I didn’t seem to exist. Benjamin Jacobs wasn’t a recorded person, but Olive Jacobs, a name I had first learned a couple of days previously did.
I decided then I would go to the police, I had run out of options. I mean I’m not sure what I was even trying to find, I just wanted something, something to tell me what’s going on. I was about to close the computer window and walk back to the police station when something caught my eye. There was a name next to my mother’s on Olive’s/my birth certificate. The name read ‘David Jacobs’ right next to the parent’s signatures.
I did a search for ‘David Jacobs’ and clicked on the one which was born in Colchester at around the same time as my mother. It was the right one as the birth certificate popped up alongside a dozen or so ‘change of address’ forms. David Jacobs has never stayed in one place for more than a year, by the looks of it. I clicked on the most recent form and noted down the address. I’m not going to write it here in case they are reading… If you are reading this, Mum and Morgan, I have some bad news, I’m afraid I have deleted the records for David Jacobs, so good luck trying to find me!
So, yeah, that’s my plan. I’m going to find David Jacobs. It might be a long shot, but I don’t have many options. Maybe he will be able to give me the answers I so desperately need.
My phone has just finished charging in one of the library plug sockets. I’m going to post this and then get out of here before they have time to find me. I will update you all as soon as I am able to, hopefully when I have some answers.
‘We’ve waited so long for you!’ Morgan had screamed. Well, looks like you’re going to have to wait a little longer, bitch.
* * * * * *
I have found him. I have found David Jacobs.
I took a train yesterday in the late afternoon to a location I will not disclose here. As the train sped past the fields that patchwork this country I looked away, down towards my feet. The memory of seeing her, seeing the girl in the yellow dress still palpable in my mind.
When I arrived it was raining, as it so often is at this time of year. My money was running low so I decided not to take a taxi to the address. Instead, I used the map on my phone to plot my route and find the place I believed David Jacobs lived.
It took me about forty-five minutes to set my eyes on the house, if you could call it that, which was the same as the address I had scribbled down from the town records the previous day. It stood alone, distinctly separate from the other houses nearby. It was a wreck of a building and old too. Tarred timber sagged from its roof, the windows dirty, two of them smashed. I picked my way through the garden which looked as if it had never seen a lawnmower before and knocked upon the door.
From the inside, I heard a man call out weakly, ‘Who’s there?’
‘My name is Ben, Ben Jacobs. I’m looking for David Jacobs,’ I called back.
Immediately I heard the clunk of metal bolts unlocking from the inside. The door opened and a man rushed out, before I could ask him who he was he embraced me, wrapping frail arms around my back.
‘Ben, Ben, it’s you. I’m sorry my son, I am so sorry,’ he whimpered.
I couldn’t say anything, I was stunned. You see, my mother had gently broken it to me when I was ten years old that my father had died. That he had left when I was young, but had passed away several years later. Eventually, I regained my composure.
‘Are you David Jacobs?’
‘Yes.’ The man said, taking his hands and placing them on my cheeks. He was crying.
‘Come in, come in,’ he said and stepped aside so I could step inside.
If the outside of the building was bad, the inside was worse. The floors were bare, the furniture in the living room broken and covered in filth. I tried not to react to the smell, but it was unbearable and caused me to cough violently.
‘Yes, I am sorry for the state of this place. It’s temporary,’ he added.
We both sat down in the kitchen on the only two wooden chairs that had all their legs. It felt like an age before one of us spoke.
‘You have questions, is that right?’ David began.
‘Yes, I do,’ I replied.
‘Go ahead, I owe you that.’
‘You are my father?’ The words felt strange to say out loud.
‘I am, yes. Where have I been? It’s a long story,’ he replied sheepishly.
I stared at him until he caught my gaze and then he continued.
‘When you were young, your mother met a woman, a terrible and twisted woman.’
‘Yes, that’s right. Things began to change after that. Her personality switched almost overnight. She would be gone for days at a time, at first I thought she was having an affair… so one night when she left I asked some friends to look after you and I followed her.’ He paused and looked over his shoulder.
‘I found her car parked up at the roadside, but it was empty. Behind it was a wood and the entrance to a small woodland trail. I went down it, until I could see lights in the distance. When I got close I saw them, dozens of them.’
‘Dozens of what?’
‘Women. All women dancing around a fire like something from the medieval times. They were naked and singing, all together, singing strange words that I did not recognize.’
My heart was racing, my head pounding. ‘Then what happened?’
‘I spotted your mother and before I considered the situation I burst from the bushes and ran towards her. As soon as I did they all stopped singing and dancing. Instead, they began to scream and like wasps began to swarm towards me. I ran. I got back to the car, but it wouldn’t start, their screams were growing louder and I had no option than to continue running. I called the police when I could no longer hear them, they said they would send someone immediately. I waited for an hour or so, but nobody turned up. I called Steven and Abigail who I had left you with, but there was no reply. I had no choice, but to walk back to town.’
‘This is fucking mad!’ I said loudly. David, my father, nodded.
‘When I got to town I got a taxi to Steven and Abigail’s apartment. When I arrived the door was open, I called out to them, but there was no reply. I ran up the stairs and there I found them, there I found you too…’
‘What did you find?’ I beseeched.
‘Dead, you were all dead,’ he whispered.
I laughed, I couldn’t help it. ‘Clearly, I wasn’t dead….’
‘You’re alive now, but then, at that moment you were dead, your throat slit. I cradled you in my arms, your lifeless body and wept. Eventually, I heard sirens, I looked around at the scene, covered in blood, I panicked. I ran. I’ve been running ever since.’
‘Running from the police?’
‘No, my son, from them.’
‘Who are they? What do they want with me?’ I was so confused, these answers only leading to more questions.
‘They call themselves The Daughters of the Merciless. A cult, a band of witches. I have been researching them ever since that night, hoping one day to get my revenge for what they did to you.’ He leaned forward as he said this, his forehead almost touching mine.
‘What did they do to me?’
‘Fuck off,’ is all I could reply.
‘It’s true, Ben. But something went wrong. It is what they long for, what they are trying to achieve.’
‘You see her, don’t you? The girl in the yellow dress?’ he leaned back in his chair, eyeing me curiously.
‘She is who they were trying to resurrect. Her name Is Olive Pendleshem. They believe she was the original, the first witch who made a pact with the devil for ungodly powers.’
‘But, what does that have to do with me?’ I questioned.
‘For some reason, the resurrection spell failed. Yes, they brought you back from the dead, but who, what, they really wanted was Olive’s soul to occupy your body. They believe once Olive Pendleshem returns she will gift her followers powers such as her own.’
‘It is remarkable, my boy. But I swear you were dead and now you live. I am so sorry for leaving you, it is my deepest regret. I wanted to come and find you, I did, but as long as Olive’s soul is twisted with yours they will always be able to find you.’ He looked over his shoulder again.
‘You mean, they can track me? They know where I am? THEY KNOW I’M HERE?’ I stood up sharply.
‘Yes, they will always know where you are. They will know until Olive’s soul consumes you, or you rid yourself of her.’
‘HOW? How do I get her out of me?’ I grabbed my father by his shoulders.
‘By killing the conduit. By killing the witch who led the ritual to bring you back… By killing your mother.’
I couldn’t comprehend this right then. I had found answers, impossible, insane answers.
‘I need to get out of here. If they know where I am they will be here soon.’ I finally said.
My father shook his head.
‘You can leave, my son. You can run the rest of your damn life, but they will never stop. Or…’
‘OR WHAT?’ I snapped back.
‘Or we make a stand, together. This house might look like a shit hole, but look around you.’
I looked around the room properly for the first time and saw what my father was talking about. The back door was covered in crucifixes, the window frames weaponized with nails sticking out of the timber and behind my father, mounted on the wall, was what I believed to be a gun cabinet.
‘You’ve booby-trapped the place?’
‘Yes, Ben. This is my fortress. And now you are here they will come and I will take my revenge for what they did to me… what they did to my son. Will you fight with me?’
I looked at my father blankly, but I could tell he was serious.
‘And if I leave? What if I choose to run?’
‘Then they will come here and kill me. Then they will hunt you down. I’m not sure how much time you have left before she consumes you.’ He said concernedly.
‘What do you mean until she consumes me?’
‘She’s getting closer, isn’t she? Olive, when you see her… she’s close now.’
I thought about that moment at college, when she was no more than ten feet away. He was right, she was getting closer.
‘When she reaches you, there will be nothing we can do. Olive Pendleshem will rise again and Ben Jacobs, my son, will be lost forever.’
I stood there for a few minutes, looking down at my feet once more. This was crazy, absolutely fucking mad. But what choice did I have?
‘Will you fight, Ben?’ My father stood up too then. He unlocked the gun cabinet and passed me a shotgun from inside.
‘Will you fight?’
I looked my father in the eye and I spoke….
‘Yeah… fuck it. Let’s finish this.’
We are waiting now, waiting for them to come tonight. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but what I do know is I’m going to fight. I’m going to stand by my father and end this madness. I want you all to know that If I do not update you again, then we lost. If you do not hear from me again then I hope anyone who has read what has happened the last few days will do something for me. Please, please promise me you will end what I couldn’t. Find Morgan, my mother and The Daughters of the Merciless and rid them from this world. Find me too, I will be Olive Pendleshem then, you must kill me too.
I hope that doesn’t happen. I truly hope I survive this night. I’m going now. I wish I had longer.
I hope this isn’t the last time I say this…
* * * * * *
They came that night, just as my father said they would.
They tore through the defenses he had made by sheer mass of numbers. We fought the best we could, but there were too many, far too many for two people to fight alone.
I could sit here now and write about how we killed them in their dozens. I could describe the carpet of corpses that piled in and around the house, the screaming, the blood which sprayed the walls, and the flesh which littered the floors, but I won’t. Because this is not important. What is important is what happened next.
We were retreating down the upstairs hallway when something heavy was thrown, striking my father in the head rendering him unconscious. I dragged him into the bedroom and locked the door behind me before pushing a dressing table against it. It was a pitiful barricade and I knew it was only a matter of time before they broke in and that would be the end.
That’s when I felt it. The sickness in my stomach, the pain in my head. It was unbearable, my stomach caused me to cripple in half and as I did I lost my footing. I stumbled forward towards the window with my eyes closed, all I could hear was howling and laughing from the witch women who knew I was trapped. I caught myself with an outstretched hand against the windowpane, I could sense her then, I could feel her looking at me through the glass. There was no way out, I had all but given up, so I opened my eyes and of course, there she was on the other side of the glass, and as always she was waving.
I stared directly into her eyes, they were blue, I had never noticed that before. I could hear the women clawing and kicking at the door. What did I have to lose? Any minute now they would break in and I would be as good as dead. In fact, I would have rather died than been captured by those freaks.
So I did it. I waved back.
Suddenly I was blinded as the room filled with light and then I felt it, her hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see Olive Pendleshem smiling, standing before me.
‘Thank you, Ben,’ she said sweetly.
I couldn’t say a word, I was stunned, but my face must have said it all as she continued.
‘My name is Olive Pendleshem, I have been trapped for over six hundred years. You have set me free.’
‘What do you want?’ I mumbled, frozen stiff with fear.
‘I have what I want now, to be free.’
I collapsed in a heap on the floor. I didn’t understand, not any of it. Olive kneeled down in front of me and took hold of my hand.
‘Let me help you.’ She whispered and then something happened I cannot truly explain, it was like I was transported to another time and place, but still in the room at that moment, both at the same time. I was in her mind, just as she had been in mine.
I watched her strapped to a wooden table, surrounded by nude women. I saw as her eyes turned black and how she broke free from her restraints, before slaughtering the naked figures with her bare hands.
Next, I watched as she skipped through the woods in her yellow dress, followed by women, hundreds of them, naked and covered in blood, dirt and debris.
I witnessed the charge of the men with crosses painted on their shields and the battle which commenced.
Finally, I saw Olive Pendleshem retreating from a man in a white robe holding a crucifix, into the arms of more men with swords who butchered her into pieces.
I woke up from the vision and finally I understood.
‘What was it?’
‘A possession, a devil inside of me, given by those women,’ she answered.
It was at that moment it all made sense. My father was wrong. Olive Pendleshem was no witch, she was not evil. Olive was the victim of evil people and evil beings who used her to cause death and decay in this land centuries ago.
‘There’s one thing I still do not understand,’ I said, grasping her hand tightly as the sound of someone hitting the door with something sharp echoed cracks around the room.
‘A wave. All you needed to be free was a wave. I could have given that to you so long ago.’ I felt ashamed at my own fear.
‘One day you will learn, just as all people on Earth will learn, there is magic and power in the smallest of things. I was never waving hello, Ben. I was waving goodbye. I needed you to wave goodbye to me so both our souls could be free.’
I began to cry then. Morgan, my mother and The Daughters of the Merciless were not interested in Olive Pendleshem the girl. They wanted whatever was put inside her by their kind all those years before.
Olive had been trapped by whatever once was inside of her, but the resurrection of myself went even worse than the witches realized. Their failure had freed Olive from what had possessed her and instead, she had possessed me.
‘They’re going to kill us,’ I wept.
‘No, Ben. I have watched over you for so many years. I shall watch over you now and for all the years to come. I will return them to their mistress, who will punish them for their oversight.’
With that, she let go of my hand and faced the doorway. With a swipe of her hand, it flew from its hinges smashing into the wall. There was Morgan in the doorway, an axe in one hand.
‘Great Mother, you have returned!’ she cried, falling to her knees.
But whoever Morgan thought Olive was, she was not, and as Olive tore Morgan’s head from her body I saw the last look of someone who had just realized they had made a terrible mistake. Olive flew through the doorway, screams echoed from the hallway, growing more distant as Olive took her revenge upon the kind who had cursed her.
She returned to the room soon after the final scream had been screamed. There was not a drop of blood on her or her dress.
‘I have to go now, Ben.’
‘To be at peace,’ she said gently, and with one last touch upon my hand, she turned into the most dazzling golden light which skipped around the room before flying out of the window and up toward the heavens.
When dad woke up, I explained what had happened. He nodded solemnly as he understood the events which had taken place. I found my mother with her rib-cage torn out of her chest, her eyes open in a fearful expression, the color of her cheeks fading to gray. I stood there with my father beside her body for a moment. I was angry that these women had brainwashed someone I had loved and now she was dead. It was difficult to see the person I had been closest to like that, despite what she was trying to use me for. Still, I truly believe, in her own twisted way she loved me too.
I bent down, closed her eyelids and said goodbye, as did my father.
We left the house that night. We are now traveling northwards, to rebuild our lives. Dad says the police will investigate the house at some point and find the massacre, but we need not worry about them looking for us.
‘There are organizations that deal with situations such as these. They will cover it up… like they always do.’
So, we are on our way to find a new home, a place to live in peace. A place to grieve and to let the truth of what happened sink in, but not swallow us.
I know I will no longer see Olive and I hope wherever she is that she’s finally resting. This experience has changed everything for me. Not just the fact that I have lost one parent and gained another, but… there are things in this world that are a part of something much greater. Call it Heaven, call it Hell. Call it what you wish. I now know these things are real, they exist, and one day… so will you.
My last goodbye,
Credit: Matt Deeping
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