I heard the voices creeping closer to the shelf, to where we were hiding. I saw a Shadow approaching the shelf, approaching us. The Shadow was long, but wide; it looked like a man and he carried a giant baseball bat attached to his side. He had long short hair, and his hands were the size of a mammoth. The Shadow, it looked like me, and it even walked like me. I clenched my eyes shut and led out a heavy but trembling sigh, trying to forget my memories. I opened them up again, and I remember no longer seeing the Shadows; they disappeared and Lucy and I crept out from hiding with slime and moss trailing our feet. “What… what were they Robert?” asked Lucy who was holding onto my arm for dear life. I knew what it was, but Lucy didn’t. I didn’t want to tell her what it was. “Just bad people…” I said. Lucy continued holding onto my arm, and I tried to shake her off but she wouldn’t let go; I could tell she was terrified. “Let go of my,” I said after a long pause. “We need to keep moving. We need to find a way out of here, but most importantly, we need to stop remembering.” We continued down the hallway, away from the shelf we were hiding behind. I could hear Lucy’s shoes making loud squeak, squeak, squeak sounds as she walked with me. I was irritated by the sound of her shoes and frustrated by how Lucy continued clenching my hands.
The flickering lights reflecting off of the metal racks were the only things Lucy and I could see until we approached an unusual scene. Hundreds of pennies were on the ground, along with several dollars as they trailed from a dimly lit room ahead. The long blue door was slightly opened and as we approached closer, the stench of decomposing and rotting carcasses, as we presumed, prevented Lucy from wanting to go any further. I saw her back up in disgust, pinching her nose to stop her from smelling the stench. “I don’t wanna go inside,” said Lucy. “It smells in there, and it could be dangerous. Let’s just go the other way, yeah?” But I was curious as to what was in the room, but afraid at the same time to go in. I turned to Lucy and said, “Stop being a baby, Lucy. Let’s go!” And I remember hearing a metal rack fall to the ground; Lucy and I both stopped in our tracks. We were just chased by Shadows not too long ago and barley escaped. But this time was different. No Shadows, no sound, no memories, all was silent in the store. I saw Lucy slowly begin to sit on the ground, in defeat, she crossed her arms and didn’t want to move. I was pissed by now. “Listen Lucy. Do you want to live? To see mom and dad? Yes? Then we have to go in there to survive,” I said. “We rest in there, then we’ll come right back out.” But I could tell Lucy was unwilling to agree with me as she looked the other way. She stood back up, and I thought maybe she was going to come with me. Instead, she backed up further away from me and the room. “Lucy,” I said, “What are you doing? Cmon!” I saw her continuing to back up, with her head down and then she stopped. She looked up at me, with an expressionless face. “I… hate you Robert…,” she whispered. I tried to look at her face, trying to sense a frown or even a smile. But she neither bore a smile, nor showed any signs of sadness or anger. She grinned, and then made a dash into the empty darkness. “LUCY!” I remember shouting, as I began to chase her. “Where the hell are you going?! Lucy!… LUCY!” But it was too late. The darkness devoured her, and I couldn’t make out any of the objects. I remember standing there, whimpering as I fell to the ground, pounding my fist to the tiled floor. “Dammit Lucy…Dammit… The hell Lucy… The hell…,” I whimpered. My eyes began to overflow with tears, and I could feel the blood rushing to my face.
I began to move away from the door and searched as far as I could in the store. Every aisle, very corner, every shelf and rack I saw. I made sure Lucy wasn’t behind them. I couldn’t figure out how I could possibly be Lucy’s big brother after all we went through; after all my yelling and trying to push her away. I thought to myself about how I could ever allowed Lucy to call me her big brother. “Lucy…,” I remember whispering. “Are you there? Lucy, I’m sorry. Please come out…” I couldn’t believe it; all I had was Lucy after my parents died, and now my entire family was gone. I scoured throughout the darkened store, and then I remember coming across Lucy’s oversized backpack. The backpack was the near the frozen food section, floating in a pond of water near a moldy glass refrigerator door with decaying microwavable cheese pizzas, melted ice cream, and defrosted and soggy beef steaks. The smell was unbearable, but I knew I had to check the backpack. I crossed over to the backpack, stepping on meats and slimy water and I managed to reach Lucy’s backpack.
I opened the backpack and remembering seeing that her notebook was gone, and so was her pencil. The only thing left in the backpack was a piece of crumpled paper. I grabbed the paper and it felt old and dust, as if the note was there for a long time. I began to unfold the letter and realized there was writing on it, but couldn’t read it as tears began to overtake my face; I was so happy to find a clue. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate, and I was finally able to make out the words:
Date: June, 2016.
I love you Robert. You’re there for me. Taking care of me. Watching me. I’m such a party pooper, sorry if I am. Happy Birthday! I want to give you this and a flower I picked up for you. Hope you like it! 🙂
I smiled at her note and I was now more determined and motivated to find Lucy, I knew I had to find my little sister. I gathered my breath and shouted: “LUCY! WHERE ARE YOU!?” I looked around, no word, no Lucy, no Shadows, the store was silent. “…hehe…hehe…” a laugh coming from behind a counter.
I was terrified, “Who… who’s there? Show yourself,” I asked hesitantly. My arms were trembling, the air on my neck began to spike up and there was a long silence. I was afraid, but I thought it was maybe Lucy playing some sort of game with me. I walked over to the counter I remember seeing the horrific familiar face. I could feel my eyes widen, my skin becoming pale, becoming sick, stepping back in fear. “No…no… it can’t be… it’s been… three weeks… you’re still… alive?” I asked.
“Hehehe! … Hmph, it’s nice to see you too Robert,” replied Michelle.
“Are you surprised Robert. ARE YOU?! HAHAHA! You thought I died didn’t you?!”
“I didn’t think… I wouldn’t have thought… you would still be alive…” I said as I stuck out my hands out in attempt to see if Michelle was real.
“Why is that? Hehehe… Was it because you tied us up, allowed us to watch you hack Miranda into a lifeless corpse?! Or was it because you took all of the food and left me there to die?!”
“Michelle… I’m sorry. And I know you’ll never forgive me for what I’ve done, but please. I need your help. Lucy’s go—“
“Gone? I know she is… You’re over there shouting like a stupid idiot looking for her… hahaha! Don’t you know they’ll come for you?! Don’t you know!?”
I was terrified. I remember the lights flickering on and off. I saw Michelle’s peeling bloody face; she must have been trying to see if Miranda was alive, trying to kiss her and say her final goodbyes. Her dress was drenched in blood, and her hands and feet were blistering. Michelle was still alive, but she looked dead as I thought to myself.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Michelle,” replied Robert,
“HAHAHA! Of course not! Because you’re a dumb idiot…. No… you’re a dumb murdering idiot! HAHA!” shouted Michelle.
“Please…Michelle, I need your help. Help me find Lucy. Please.”
“You idiot. She’s already dead, dontcha know that? They got to her.”
“What the hell are you talking about Michelle?! Who got her? Where is she?!”
“…-…-…-…-The Shadows-…-…-… Hehaheha!”
“No… that’s not true…!”
“Don’t deny it you fumbling idiot! The Shadows! Dontcha remember the song we made up?! They come when you remember. They come when you forget. They come to remind you, to haunt you… then they kill you. Taking your soul! Taking your mind! Taking you! Two can’t exist in this world… Robert… don’t you remember? They day they came!? The news, the world!? How you ended up in this store?! Your parents?! Your home?! Miranda?! Robert… please… don’t try to remember!”
I couldn’t help it. Michelle brought back all of my memories, and I couldn’t stop remembering. I couldn’t stop remembering my parents, remembering my home, Lucy, and my sweet lovely Miranda. I clenched my eyes shut, trying to stop myself from remember, pounding my head to get the memories out. I opened my eyes again to the sight of Michelle and the frozen section of the store. “I can tell… you’re remembering aren’t you… You’re as good as dead now…” said Michelle. I could hear whispers coming from the corner and I knew they were the Shadows. “Run you idiot. Your sister’s dead… now you will be too. They’re coming… they’re coming for you… to get your memories… to finally become part of this world! You will be their shadow now! AHAHA! AHAHA!” shouted Michelle. I was afraid, and I bolted away from Michelle and the whispers. I turned back around, seeing Michelle close her eyes lifting her arms shouting, “My memories! My sweet, sweet memories! AHAHA!” I ran and I remember still hearing Michelle’s hysterical laughter, but suddenly they stopped. Silence filled the store again and I just wanted to go home, to remove these memories, and to go back to the way things used to be. If I could have traveled back in time, I would have. I would have changed everything; from the way I treated Lucy to how I ignored my parents. I would change if I had one more chance. “Lucy… I’m sorry… Now I know… I was too blind. If I find you, I’ll promise to be the big brother you should have had. To protect and keep you safe,” I thought as my eyes began to fill with tears, I smiled. I continued to walk and I saw the dimly lit room again, and I thought I went around in a circle. But something was wrong, the once desolate area was now filled with torn clothes, bookcases, shelves, and metal racks.