11265106 910295352356656 7944241936944143166 n

Mallorie Cheves

United States

I am a junior in high school and an aspiring writer. I love video games, reading, cooking (and eating) , volunteering, playing the guitar, and of course writing! That's all there is to it, really cx

Message from Writer

I would like to receive positive feedback, however constructive criticism, such as redundancy or bad grammar would also be appreciated. I'm very grateful for any reviews, favorites, or follows that I receive, so thank you so much for all of the support, it means a lot! Feel free to comment on anything that stands out to you as well, thanks c:

Bane of Burdens

February 16, 2015

Oh my goodness I hate when my patients refuse to speak, Simon thought to himself. He sat uncomfortably in front of a new face in his office. Her crimson tinted hair hung lazily across a little more than half of her face.

It's against regulations to force patients to speak. However, he didn't see a point in blankly staring at someone for $150 an hour, without so much as a "hello," or, "my name is (insert name here.)"

She reminded him of his high school sweetheart, Jane Swanson.

It would have never worked out with her, what with my mom's death, my dad becoming a nervous wreck, no, in the end our relationship would have been fatal.

I don't like to think about that.

Why am I so enticed with this particular patient’s reserved nature?

He decided to strike up a conversation, or at the very least attempt to.

"Well, I can't force you to speak against your will, but I am curious about who you are. Would you mind telling me your name?"

She cleared her throat and spoke with a heavily-influenced southern accent that lacked any perceivable emotion.

"I'm Claire."

Miffed by her stoic response, he replied just as formally, "That's a very lovely name. As you know I'm Dr. McWarren, but my first name is Simon. You are welcome to call me that if you'd like,”  

"Okay. Thank you."

He looked at the clock hanging above the espresso stained door, and counted fifty-seven minutes until the end of their session.

Great.

Fifty-seven minutes until break time, I suppose.

"You don't sound like a native Michigander, where are you from?" Simon asked inquisitively.

Claire pushed her bangs to the side and looked up. Her pecan colored eyes lacked a gleaming shimmer, and instead looked gloomily onto Simon's fixed gaze.

"I'm from Baton Rouge. I moved here to get a new start. Y'know how that is?"

"I do. My wife, my son and I moved here a couple of years ago for that exact same reason."

Once the words left his mouth, he saw the pink flush that was once present in Claire's face disappear, and her lips begin to quiver. Her eyes glinted in the dim office lighting, and she inhaled deeply.

"Did you say - did you say you had a son?" she asked quietly.

Warmly, Simon said,"Yes. His name is Bryson, and he's currently four-years-old."  He smiled when the thought of his son's precious giggle echoed through his mind.

"I used to have a daughter. Her name was Ebony. She'd the prettiest black hair in the world, 'nd the most gorgeous sapphire eyes you ever did see," Claire said, looking up and smiling from ear-to-ear.

The gap between her two front teeth showed, and she covered her mouth sheepishly when she realized this.

"She must be havin' s'much fun in God's kingdom."

Both Claire and Simon stopped smiling, and his son's giggle was hushed to a somber silence. He didn't know where to begin, or how to approach Claire without upsetting her.

"I'm terribly sorry about Ebony, Claire. I presume this is why you looked for professional help.” He hesitated before slowly asking “ If I'm not intruding, what happened to your daughter?"

Claire looked above her and watched the slow hypnotic ceiling fan rotate counter-clockwise; hoping that the wind from the fan would dry away her emerging tears.

"She was around your son's age that night, a month before she was five. I- I never lived in a fancy area you see, crime was typical in my neighborhood."  

Simon reached for his clipboard and fountain pen, and began filling out Claire's basic information while nodding at her to continue.

"I tucked her in, asked if she needed a glass of water. She said no and held ‘Horton Hears a Who’ in her arms. It was her favorite book, you know. I even got it tattooed on m'arm not too long ago. 'A person's a person, no matter how small,' it says."

Simon glanced at her left arm and filled in her description with, "Tattoo on left arm; 'A person's a person no matter how small.' Scar on left calf, and small mole near her right eye."

"I took a sleeping pill with my anti-depressant that night, and sure enough I was out within the hour. I must've woken up around four when I heard Ebony screaming for me.

I will never forget her cry for help.

Her window was left in pieces on her floor, and I ran out my door, yelling her name. I heard her yell “Stop! Mama please! Help!' but I found her in the community pool. I called e’ry got'damn emergency hotline that could help a drowned little girl like Ebony, but she never saw the sunrise that morning."

Claire's story became indecipherable as she clenched onto the throw pillow and cried helplessly.

Simon's pen escaped from his grasp and fell onto the floor as he held his hand to his gaping mouth. He could never imagine Bryson being kidnapped in the night and drowned in his own backyard pool.

"Claire I'm so sorry that you, a mother, had to endure something so traumatizing." Simon said loudly, trying to talk peacefully over her cries.

Her shouts in Simon's office abruptly ceased, as a wide grin  stretched onto her face.

"It's okay. I don't remember carrying her out of the window.”

" I don't remember a thing.”

“They all think it was Al who took her in the night. She never lived to tell anyone. Those security cameras at the pool never did work. No one knew. No one but me and my dear Ebony."

Simon stood silently in his chair; his hazel eyes screaming for help when it dawned on him that he was in the same room as a sociopathic murderer.

"I'm-I’m sorry,but could-could you please repeat that for me?"

"No, Simon, I can’t." She said cheerfully as she grabbed her purse and walked out of the office without uttering another word.  

Simon sat there, repeating her last words to him in his head like a broken record.

When the shock passed over him, he ran to the main office and had his assistant call the police.

"I have her profile on me right now! Her name, description, and even a few physical traits, please hurry I think she could be dangerous!"

When the police arrived, Simon had taken off his neck tie and had been pacing around his office nervously.

By the time they were finished investigating every nook and cranny in his office. It was 7:37 P.M. and Simon was finally allowed back in.

He sat down on his patients' chair, and began to think that maybe he was starting to go crazy.

No, not again, please not again, Simon thought nervously to himself. He was immediately taken back by the thought of his son's infant cries that rudely interrupted his tranquil slumber. Bryson was known to be restless in the night, but being only two at the time, Simon had began to feel that he was a long way away from a full nights’ rest. Lillian begged him to take care of Bryson just this one night as she nodded off to sleep. He looked down on his son and picked up a small throw pillow by the crib.

Put him out of his misery. Do it. Just like Ma, right Simon? Just put him out of his misery. Put him ou-

"Shut up he's my baby!" Simon cried.

The investigators in his room looked up from their notepads, and Detective Connor approached him cautiously.

"Are you okay, Mr. McWarren?"

Simon looked up and held his throbbing head.

"I think so, I'm just under a lot of stress right now. Sorry." he said as he looked at Detective Connor with a dazed glare.

"Well, uh, we looked through your notes on this woman, and we'd like to keep her profile at our department if you don't mind. In the mean time, you're welcome to go home. I'm sure there's not much work that needs to be done here at this point." Simon thanked the officers and drove home; following the rising moon to his house.

He heard his phone vibrate on the passenger seat next to him, and answered it at the next available stop sign.

"Hello?"

"Simon! Simon honey come home now! Bryson! Our baby!"

"What happened to Bryson? Lillian where's Bryson?!" Simon demanded.

"Someone took him, he's gone! The police are on their way, you have to come home, now!"

The adrenaline that coursed through Simon's body forced him to speed through red lights and ongoing traffic.

When he arrived home the officers were surrounding his front yard.

"Mr. McWarren, normally we don't show evidence until its been further examined, but it's a note addressed to you."

Simon's entire body began to quiver, and he didn't dare touch the note that was cluttered with cursive handwriting.

"I saw everything that you did with your son, Simon. Maybe we aren't so different after all." His face that was once composed of a radiant beige glow transformed into a lifeless gray.

He dropped the note and helplessly fell to his knees, sitting down without saying a word.

How does she know what I did to Bryson?

Wait -- I didn't do anything to Bryson, it was her.

She was the one who drowned Bryson!

"Officer, Claire is insane! She's the one who took Bryson, she's the one who drowned him in our pool!"

Lillian's gaze fixed onto the forlorn howls for help in Simon's eyes . He paced around in small circles while the police wrote down every word that unknowingly slipped out of his mouth.

"Simon, baby, where's our boy?" Lillian asked, choking on the end of her sentence.

"It was Jane! I mean -- Claire! I can prove it! Bryson -- he's in the pool, she put him there! Under the cover she put him there!"

Four officers rushed to their backyard and lifted up the plastic sheet that covered the pool. Bryson floated face down atop of the clear surface. His chestnut colored hair swayed back and forth against the gentle waves.

Lillian collapsed and cried out for God.

Two men grabbed Simon's wrists and proceeded to read him his rights as he raved deliriously.

"Al is out of jail! They all thought it was Al who took her in the night! She never lived to tell anyone! Those security cameras at the pool never did work! No one knew! No one but me and Ma!"

______________________________________________________________________

"We thought it would be best if we debriefed you on the uh, recent tragedies, that had occurred. To give you closure, so to speak." Detective Connor said solemnly to Lillian.  "He confessed everything. Everything he knew, anyway. He started off by confessing to his mother's murder."

"I don't mean to interrupt, but he told me that she died of an illness." Lillian said quietly.

"She was, she had pancreatic cancer at the time. But during the beginning of her diagnosis, Simon claimed that she was having an affair with a man she worked with. Does Allan Martin ring a bell?"

"Not at all." Lillian said, rummaging through her purse as she pulled out a piece of gum to calm her spiked nerves.

"Supposedly, the stress that accompanied his mother's illness and affair drove Simon practically insane.”

The officer paused and held his breath before continuing,“ He told us that he drowned his mother in the community pool by his house, and managed to frame Allan in the process. Simon told us that he never felt bad for killing her. He claimed that he felt relieved that his mother was put out of her misery, but more than anything he was curious about his mental state, so he studied psychology to find his explanation."

"He seemed so -- so crazy that night. How was he able to explain all of this to you?" Lillian asked, unwrapping another piece of gum.

“Throughout the past year, your husband has been uncooperative with us, but perhaps he finally came to terms with himself. He knew that there was no hiding what he had done, so he was finally able to explain everything. Simon said that when he met you, shortly after he graduated, his curiosity with death, for lack of a better term, disappeared. We believe that he may have repressed his memories of his mother's murder, and created his own explanation."

Lillian constantly glanced at the clock and out the window. The falling leaves danced in the sky and the bitter gust of autumn carried them through other trees. For a moment, she felt at ease. She felt as if Bryson were waiting for her to come home, and Simon was still at work diagnosing patients.

Her imagination got the best of her again, and she knew she had to snap herself out of her fantasies if she were to gain "closure."

"At the time of the-uh ‘incident’ with his mother, his girlfriend Jane was suspicious of what Simon had done. He would accidentally mention something about his mother's death that only the police were aware of for example, and eventually she managed to somewhat piece together what had happened. He was afraid that she would find out the entire truth, so he cut off all contact with her. A couple of days before your son's, uh, accident, he g-"

"That was no accident!" Lillian practically shouted. "Simon intentionally drowned him, there's nothing accidental about that!"

"Apologies for the offense, ma'am. Anyway, a couple of days before your son died, Simon got a call from Allan.

Supposedly, Allan was released from prison, and found a way to contact your husband. Allan's call was seen as a threat to Simon, and his paranoia returned.

He was afraid that Allan was out for revenge; that he would kill you and Bryson. He wanted Bryson to be put out of his misery before Al could get to your family. That's how he explained it to us, anyway. I assume you know the rest.”

The officer paused before asking her, “Pardon me, but how did you know your son was missing when you arrived home from work?"

"I saw him the night before, I tucked him in and read him ‘Horton Hears a Who.’ That's his favorite story, you know." Lillian stopped and held her head in the palms of her hands.  

Detective Connor motioned for her to continue, as she unwrapped another piece of gum and took a deep breath.

    "I usually go to work before Simon, and we had a nanny watch him in the daytime. When I came home I was surprised that no one was there. I knew Simon didn't get home in another hour, so I panicked and called the cops.” She hesitated before asking Detective Connor, “Do you have any idea who this "Claire" was, though? He kept going on about a woman named Claire, but who was she? Where does she fit in this?"

"We believe that it may have been a result of a schizophrenic episode. The guilt of his mother’s death may have resulted in the creation of this woman, and all of it was brought back when Allan contacted him. We checked with other police departments around the area where he claimed Claire was from, but they had no record of her or of a murdered girl named Ebony. He claimed that Claire's daughter was the same age as your son, but she died the same way as his mother. He may have gotten the two events confused, which is typical in schizophrenic patients. For now that's the best we can do. I'm terribly sorry for your loss, ma'am."

"Was there anything else he mentioned to you?" Lillian inquired.

"He mentioned that he was close to a nervous break down a couple of years ago, which was why he decided to move your family to Michigan. He said he wanted to run away from his problems, but that he explained this to you in a vastly different way. Do you have any information about that? Every detail helps, you know."

"He told me a completely different story. I knew he was incredibly tense, but he explained that he had a tough time finding work once he earned his doctoral degree, but I had no idea that -- that all of this -- was the reason."

"Okay, thank you ma'am.

"You're welcome, and thank you as well." Lillian sighed to herself as she gathered her coat and purse.

While starting her car, however, she unwittingly recalled a memory of the incident that had haunted her for the past year, but she shook it off.

There was something different about this year. I'm not going to spend every night writhing in my own depression over the loss of my dear little one at the hands of the one I loved. I miss Bryson, and I always will, but I'll be with him soon enough.

 


Login or Signup to provide a comment.

2 Comments
  • Jeremy H

    woah... did not expect that coming.


    over 1 year ago
  • Engi Abou-El-Kheir

    Oh my God. That story gave me chills. I was staring at the screen the whole time. You wrote it so well, lots of details and even making us think that Simon was the innocent one in the beginning. I read your feature and I can tell that you've been inspired by Stephen King! Really brilliant story. Love it, you should write more like it! x


    over 1 year ago