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black forest part 6
11. My heart has never pounded so much. An intense flashback occurred. I have never had a flashback before, but I knew it at once. A distant memory was stimulated by that one glance inside Shawn’s room. I didn’t speak, shout, or even use an exclamation. I simply kept following my father through the hallway, never daring to look inside another cell.
“Beautiful,” This high raspy voice spoke. It was part of my memory. I didn’t see this person’s face just his knees which were covered in patched jeans. I smelled smoke. And the clown’s masked face suddenly popped into my mind. I’ve always hated clowns.
Without realizing it I had stopped following my father, I was simply staring into space. My hands were once again sweaty, and my mouth was insanely dry.
“Dale, what’s that matter?”
“I just had a weird memory thing happen,” I answered. I shook my head, and tried to find comfort in my father’s eyes. He just looked confused, “Do you need to go home?”
“Yes, you better. I need to do more work anyways, and it would be easier doing it alone. You know your way out right?” said my father. I nodded.
I turned around eyeing the elevator and nothing else. All I kept thinking about was the clown, and I didn’t want to step past his room. But I had too. I walked quickly.
“Beautiful,” This word repeated in my mind. I suddenly felt pressure holding me back. It was as if a strong wind blew, strong enough to flip me back. And I couldn’t breathe. I turned my head in reflex and there he was staring at me through his windowed door. The clown named Shawn grinned. He was bald, but his face was not wearing a mask, for his whole face was painted white, except for around his eyes and mouth. Red tear drops unceasingly fell down his cheek. He put his hand on the wall, revealing long sharp nails and then proceeded to kiss the window leaving two blood red lip marks. I became nauseous and fought my way to the elevator. I threw up.
12. As I stumbled back home, I had no idea Ben was waiting for me, until I ran into him.
“What’s wrong, what happened, was it really that terrible?”
“You have no idea,” I said, and then everything was black. I woke up in my front lawn, with Ben staring at me.
“You’re awake!” Ben spoke. I sat up slowly.
“Obviously,” I mocked.
“Dale, how horrible was it? Inside those walls?” Ben asked, wasting no time. I looked at him, no smile.
“It’s a place of bad memories. It’s a place for people who’ve done awful things, and I happen to be the victim of one of those awful things. There’s mysteries inside that place, that should never be solved, should never come out of the depths, and yet they will because nothing can stay hidden forever. Unfortunately.”
“What do you mean you’re a victim?” Ben asked. I didn’t answer. I felt some pain in my shoulder, and touched it, it was sensitive.
“Ben is there a scrape or something on my shoulder?” He leaned forward.
“Whoa, actually it looks like a nasty burn!” Ben spoke, looking away in disgust. I saw that my whole shoulder was covered in melted skin.
“What is this?” I said, Ben looked at me, we shared a concerned glance.
“I think it’s a clue.”
13. My shoulder hurt for the rest of the day. I treated it with cream and wrapped it, but the pain seemed to be deeper than just the burn, it seemed like deep down I had this wound, that was affecting every part of me. I never thought of myself as wounded, until now. I suppose everyone is wounded somehow, I guess we just deny seeing it. Sometimes it’s easy to deny, but sometimes fate or chance or God, has something else in store. A revealing of sorts, like taking of layer after layer of wall paper until you suddenly facing the bare wall of truth.
I decided that evening to find out the truth, no matter how painful it would be. There’s no room for cowards in the Black Forest. Though I was tired, and it was late into the night, I decided to pull out every childhood scrapbook we had.
Nothing caught my eye until I found my birthday picture from my fifth birthday. I was wearing a tiara, and a pink tank top. I noticed that on my left shoulder was a discolored blotch. Also, I have no memory of this birthday. I guess I had gotten a set of toy horses. I looked closer to the picture; I quickly realized that I had the exact same burn mark. I guess I’ve always had it, but never so noticeable, it was usually a faded mark. Nothing else in the picture stood out. Then I realized no pictures from my fourth year existed, my life jumped from a cute three-year old to an obnoxious five-year old. Was my whole fourth year just erased from my mind, from everything in this house? The only thing that couldn’t be erased was this burn, which has come back with a vengeance.
I sat in my dimly lit living room, a maze of picture albums lay on the floor. My parents had never come home. Ben had decided to go home and research on his computer. I was all alone, and not afraid. Not afraid until I looked at the windows. I always hated windows at night. The mirror effect, where I would see something move but it would just be me, never ceased to frighten the crap out of me.
` Later that night I found myself stuck in the bathroom. I didn’t want to come out. I ended up falling asleep on the tile floor.
14. “Dale” I heard Ben’s voice. Every part of my body hurt, the most intense was my shoulder, but my butt was in competition. I realized I had spent the whole night on the bathroom floor.
“Ben, did you break into my house?” I asked. He nodded.
“Well, I wanted to make sure you were alright, and I noticed that your parents weren’t here, so I came in. I wanted to make sure you were alright,” He repeated himself. I smiled.
“Well, other than being very sore, I am doing surprisingly well.”
“Should we debrief?” I nodded, gesturing to him that I needed some time to awaken myself, and un-knot my body. I found him waiting on the top of the steps. I sat down next to him.
“Oh, yeah, tell me what you’ve found out?” I said.
“Well, I researched the history of the Black Forest, and in the past it has had issues with runaways.”
“Like, people running away from the asylum?”
“Exactly. A couple of times, the residents have killed themselves and died in the forests, and sometimes they would run away and harm other people. There was a police report about something that happened in 1997, but I couldn’t view it. But I thought, 1997 was around the time when you were four … right?”
“Yeah, I turned four that year. So do you think the police report had something to do with me?”
“I don’t know. Anything’s possible.” We sat at the top of the stairs, silently. We weren’t particularly thinking about anything, just resting our brains. I was still very tired. I could tell that Ben hadn’t been getting much sleep either.
“Are you hungry?” I suddenly interjected. He looked at me confused.
“Me too, especially since I couldn’t keep down my meals yesterday. I think I’ll make some pancakes.”
I did just that and after a good and filling breakfast, I fell asleep on the couch…with Ben who had also fallen asleep. This was not good. It must have been an hour or so later, that my parents found us.
“Ehem,” My father’s voice seemed to be in my dream, but then I realized that I was not dreaming, that I actually saw my dad’s legs right in front of me, and mother standing right behind him. I sat up quickly. Ben had gotten the hint too.
“I was tired,” I said. I didn’t want to make an excuse, but it just came out. My mom looked worried, but I don’t think it all had to do with the fact that Ben and I had been alone together. My father nodded in understanding. He actually looked kind.
“Well, Ben should probably go home. I just talked to P.J. and he was worried about you,” My dad turned to Ben. I sighed a little. Ben looked at me, he looked a little crazy, but then his eyes cleared and he said goodbye.
I suddenly found myself sitting in my living room with my parents.
“Busy at the asylum?” I asked.
“Yes very, I’m sorry I missed you yesterday. I thought I would see you there, but you had already left. Dad said you seemed a little disturbed.”
“A little?! I threw up, and then fainted and then proceeded to feel horrible, and found this horrible burn on my shoulder, and was without my parents a whole scary night. And thankfully Ben showed up or else, I probably would have gone crazy.”
“A burn?” My mother didn’t really speak this, rather she whispered in a shudder.
“I’m sorry Adele, I really am, but I have to admit something.”
“What?” I looked at my dad.
“You’re mother and I don’t know what to do- How to treat you or how to help you.”
“You could always tell me the truth.”
“No, this is something that cannot be told.”
“Your mom is right. For now,” My father ended the discussion. I watched them as if not in my own body as they kissed my forehand and walked out of the room. I felt slightly broken, suddenly finding out what happened to me was not important anymore. And I began to think that maybe the past is not important at all, maybe I don’t need the answers to feel whole.