For My Sister | Teen Ink

For My Sister

November 2, 2021
By Kniol710, Alliance, Ohio
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Kniol710, Alliance, Ohio
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Author's note:

Mystery is very interesting to me. This piece reminds me of the movie, The Call.

I took the pepper spray out of my back pocket and grasped onto it, as if it were going to save me from such a feral being. I heard him open the basement door, and he chuckled lightly as he heard Melanie crying. 

“How wicked does a person have to be to do these things?” I thought to myself. 

I used my shaking hands to peek my head out slightly from underneath the table, he left the door wide open. “Why? Does he know I’m here? Is he watching me?”

 All of these thoughts race through my mind, and all I am able to think to myself is, “You got yourself into this; you are going to get out of it.” 

I couldn’t leave Melanie here; I am risking my entire life to help a girl I don’t even know. A tear rolls down my cheek as I realize the predicament I am in. 

“Why couldn’t I have done this for Myah?”

    It is early October, the air is cool and the days are somber. On this particular day the wall of rain makes me feel more secluded from the world. I spend most of my time indoors and mainly by myself unless I fixate on a task that revolves around people. My mom shows up to pick me up from school about five minutes later than usual, which is strange because she’s never usually late to anything. In fact she’s always about 5 minutes early. My mom is a 5’5 blonde lady with a curvy figure and she’s the mother of attitude, but she has her soft spots. I see her car pull quickly into the parking lot and she looks exhausted. I open the car door to hear Pink Floyd's song “Comfortably Numb” playing quietly. I get in the passenger seat and buckle myself in to realize my mother has been crying. I look over at her to see her beautiful button nose is as red as Rudolph’s. 

“What’s wrong?” I ask softly, being gentle enough not to pry. Every time my mom cries since the incident with my sister and dad, my stomach drops and I get this weird tingling feeling in my fingers. She isn’t the type to normally cry but when she does, it really worries me. 

“There is a girl who looks exactly like Myah and she went missing. She lives only about 15 minutes away.” She said it with urgency in her tone, as if she were going to go search for her herself.

 “Mom…” I said lightly, “we can’t do this again.”

A few months ago a woman went missing from another city and it reminded her of her first born daughter, so my mom felt as if she needed to search for her. In the end my mom was put into a looney-bin filled with a bunch of wackos and the missing woman was found dead with war needles in her eyes. She looked at me with glossy eyes and another tear rolled right off her face onto the ring my dad gave her. I felt awful but I had to teach myself to become numb to these types of things, so it wasn’t hard for me to process. She began to mutter something but stopped and just drove away. We pull into the driveway of my house and somewhere in between she was able to find her composure and smile at me. I step out of the car and lean back in to grab my book bag and she tells me she picked up another shift, like the obsessive workaholic she is. 

“I hate being alone all the time,” I thought to myself. I nod my head, grab my bag, and shut the door. 

I go to my room and changed into sweatpants because my jeans are just too tight. I lay on my bed and cover myself up with a blanket, I open my phone and get on TikTok to pass some time. A few minutes pass and I come to this video about this girl who looks exactly like my sister. She has gorgeous long blonde hair with hazel eyes and beautiful bone structure, as did my sister just with chubbier cheeks. Around this time a year ago my sister, Myah, went to school as she normally did, she was 17 so she drove by herself. She disappeared that morning and wasn’t found until a month later in the woods, not alive. I loved my sister more than life itself and I still do, I just can’t think about it for too long or else I get a sick feeling in my stomach and I don’t leave my bedroom for days. My mom got the worst of it though. My dad used to be around until we found out Myah died. Then he went on a drug bender and left my mom and I by ourselves and we haven’t seen or talked to him since. I try to look at things with a positive attitude, but it hurts me some days that he left us without hesitation. I’m fine now and I know I don’t need him to be great, but it still would be nice to have him around. 

I relook at the picture of the missing girl and I feel distressed. I don’t know why, I have no clue who this girl is. I decide to continue to look further into the situation. As I read further, I find out she’s a nineteen year old college student who goes to one of the colleges nearby. Her name is Melanie Hackins and the last time she was seen was about a week ago at one of her classes. I’m  extremely intrigued by her, not just because she looks like Myah but because she looks very familiar. She graduated from my high school about 2 years ago. I was a freshman when she was a senior and I remember being so confused on how much she and my sister look alike. 

I read the comments on the video and everyone seemed pretty adamant in believing she's gone forever. The probability of missing people being found in my town is very low, and the cops are always busy doing shady drug busts or pulling people over for a broken tail light. I continue to look at the comments, eager to see if any new information has been found. I see a comment post her account name, and the same person wrote about how weird it is that she posted her whole life on social media like she did. She was a stranger who posts her every move on this account, and yet just disappeared out of nowhere. The account name isn't anything special either, it's just melanie.c101. 

For a split second in my mind I believe her disappearance is just a stunt to try and grow her fame. I quickly snap myself out of this imagination and realize that I should take it seriously, even if she is just trolling everyone. I scroll down and click on a few of her older videos and see a normal teenage girl. Some videos are just her talking about her day and others are about her outfits or her perfect golden retriever and white picket fenced family. I get absorbed into watching almost all of her videos over the span of two hours. I watch almost all of her videos and I feel like I know her on a personal level. I figured out that her boyfriend had broken up with her recently and her grandfather was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. I also found out personal things like what size pants she wears, what type of guys she goes for, almost everything. 

I find it really bizarre how her and my sister look so similar but have almost polar opposite personalities. Myah was loud, outspoken, and had a lot of sas to her; which made it hard for her to keep the same group of friends around, she definitely got that from our mom. While Melanie seemed preppy, privileged, and prearranged. Her more recent videos do seem a little odd, considering her outfits and where she was filming. She seems to have wore trendier clothes that cost an arm and a leg just for a top, but the past five or six videos she was wearing the same clothes and they got dirtier and more ragged each video. I checked the date on the videos and there was only one video posted a day, which is not typical for her because she used to post multiple times in one day. I try to give myself a break from looking at her account. It gives me anxiety knowing someone who seemed so perfect and put together, is gone without explanation. 

Late that night I went downstairs to make myself some dinner, I check the clock and it’s only 9:00. I heat myself up some pizza rolls and while I’m waiting for them in the oven I get back on tiktok and one of the first videos on my for you page is a video of Melanie, which I found totally abnormal. I wasn’t able to shake the thought of her earlier so I go back to her account and follow her. I have a gut instinct telling me to turn on her notifications just in case she posts something. Her last post was four days ago which was extremely weird because she had gone missing six days ago. 

“Why has nobody checked this and found it weird?” 

The video was of her in a dimly lit room with an eerie ambiance doing some viral dance. Her clothes were the same as the last five posts which were posted one by one, only a day apart from each other. I observed the room she was dancing in and it had never shown up in any of her other videos. It's plain and simple, which wasn’t too weird considering she looked like a minimalist at a first glance. There's a white bed in the background and white walls, and I can’t see the floor from the angle the phone is sitting at but there is a window behind the phone set up. I can tell because of the glowy orange tint, which I’m assuming is the sunset that is shining on her face. 

At around eight seconds into the video her head turns to the right and just for a split moment you can see a bruise on her left upper cheek bone. I’m astonished by the fact that nobody has analyzed her videos like this, or even thought to check her social media to see if there are any clues. Deep down inside I want to put the phone down and pretend I didn’t discover what could potentially be a lead onto this missing woman, but I’m intrigued and drawn to her energy. I figure that since her last video was in a different location, she could possibly still be there. As I’m looking at the video I try to catch any clues as to where this house would be located. In the corner on the room there is a small heart mirror on the wall, you can’t see anything except the other wall, which looked to have smoke stains on the wall. I start to slip into a deep thought thinking about where this girl actually could be. Nobody knows if she’s even alive and I’m the only one that sees this on her account. She has a few thousand followers and the media hasn't noticed this? It seems extremely odd to me, but I try to brush it off. I eat my pizza rolls and go lay back in my bed, I fall asleep quickly trying to avoid thinking about Melanie. 

    I hear the ringing of my phone going off, I thought it was my school alarm so I groan as normal and I rolled over and grabbed my phone. The screen lights up like a firework and burns my eyes immediately. After I adjust my eyes I see I had gotten a missed call from someone, which is off putting because it’s 3:30 in the morning. The phone number is random and they didn’t leave a voicemail so I figure it’s not important. Since the light wakes me up almost entirely, I’ll get on tiktok to pass the time or until I can fall back asleep. 

As I’m scrolling I see a notification at the bottom of my screen, I tap on it thinking one of my friends sent me a video but it was for a live. On Melanie's account. Blood rushes through my face and my entire body and I feel nothing in the moment, pure adrenaline. I’m speechless, how could this be happening. I click on the live not thinking about anything else. It lasts for fifteen more seconds after I join and all you can see is a white wall and it seems like the phone is laying on a bed with blankets all around. The wall looks the exact same as the one in her last video. At that moment I knew I could find Melanie if I tried, and nothing was stopping me. 

I get on her page and start to deeply analyze the room she was standing in. It says she's live yet again, I quickly click and this time it’s just a window and it was clear what road the house was sitting on. It ends and I sit in silence for what feels like hours. I spring out of bed, pack a bag, and climb out of my window before I can even think about what I am doing. I get on my bike and start pedaling to the road, I know where it is. Outside of the house is a fire hydrant with a yellow top, it's the only one that’s different in our whole town. The second time Melanies account went live and was pointing out the window, it had that same exact fire hydrant directly out front. I go in and out of alleys as quickly as I can when reality hits me. 

“What am I gonna do when I get to this house? What am I supposed to do? What if its not even Melanie and its just some troll who’s trying to play some sick joke?” I turn onto Kensington Lane, the road with the yellow capped fire hydrant. I ride up to the hydrant and look directly across from it. It’s a mid sized suburban home, nothing out of the ordinary from a first glance. I look up into the window to see if I could see anyone and I see nothing. The front porch light is on but it seems like the rest of the house is just dimly lit, the door is open though. I feel energy racing through me and I swallow any fear that I have and I run across the street. 

I quietly but quickly get up the steps and look inside, the house is nicely furnished and seems completely normal. This isn't adding up, why would she be in a house with what seems to be normal people. I hold my breath and step inside, being careful not to be loud. My phone starts to buzz and I mute it as fast as I can, my heart is racing and my face feels like fire but I had a gut feeling to keep going. I scope out the area for escape exits if I need them. I see the dining room isn’t too far from where I am standing and there is a long table cloth on it. Perfect for hiding. I hold my breath for 5 seconds so I can stay as quiet as I can and listen very carefully to see if anyone is coming. I tiptoe over to the table and get underneath, it works very well for how long the cloth is. As soon as I get under the table comfortably I hear yelling coming from upstairs. It’s a very deep voice, he sounds angry, you can tell he is serious. After a minute or two of consistent yelling I feel my bones quiver in fear. 

“What am I doing right now?”

Reality finally sets in and I am too far to give up now. Suddenly loud bangs come from the steps and more yelling, only this time the yelling is getting louder. As the yelling gets louder, so did the weeping. I peek my eye out of the corner of the table cloth and see a very large old man. His white hair and white beard did not show peace, his eyes seemed to glow like the devils and his snaggle-tooth stained with cigarettes and coffee. He is carrying a beautiful but bruised blonde girl. It’s Melanie. She has tape around her mouth and the same clothes on that I seen in her last few videos, she has had to be in those clothes for days. I feel astonished and amazed with the sight of her, but what was I going to do about it? The man carries Melanie down the steps to the basement. The fear that overwhelms my body is so immense I have to sit down entirely on the floor. I hear the man come back up the steps and Melanies cries are heart wrenching, they aren’t loud sobs, they are quiet, painful, and consistent. You can tell she lost hope. The man shuts the door and stands there for a moment which makes me think he knows I am under the table. 

Grabbing my pepper spray with shaking hands, I start to cry when all of a sudden there’s a loud bang which immediately makes me stop. I peak my head out of the corner again and the man runs to the front door, policemen flood inside of the living room pointing guns at the man. I pull myself out from under the table quickly and throw my hands above my head and take the biggest breath I have ever taken. The feeling of the anxiety being lifted off my chest made me come to my senses, they need to find her. “She’s downstairs” I yell quickly and point to the basement door. The feral man looks at me with disgust but more confusion, he had no clue who I was or why I was in his house. Three policemen rush downstairs and in the meantime the rest of the cops take us outside. They detain the man and put him inside of a cop car and place me in a separate car. An officer walks near me and begins to ask me questions, he then says my mother is on her way and knows where I am because of my location. 

“If it wasn’t for my mom checking my location, where would I be right now?”

I look around the officer and see Melanie being escorted out into an ambulance. I just found a missing girl. 

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