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“Get in here now!”
“Open mine first!”
“No! She’s opening mine!”
“Ok. Ok. Leave the birthday girl alone. How about this one?” Kayleigh suggested, taking a present from Katie and handing it to me once I’d sat down on the arm of our brown leather sofa.
I held the square baby blue gift bag in my hands, the tag read;
Happy Birthday! Love Abbey, Laura and Chris.
I reached inside to pull out its contents. There was a large neutral coloured scrap book titled; Farleigh Sixth form. I quickly flicked through some of the pages, it was what Americans would call, a year book. Pictures of everyone in our year with their hopes and dreams.
I looked up to Abbey, Laura and Chris, who were all squashed together on the laminate floor, and smiled. Chris winked, Abbey gave me the thumbs up and Laura returned a half-asleep smile.
Then there was a loud knock on the door, and before anyone could stop me, I jumped up and ran to the front door. My hopes were already so high there was no point in trying to calm myself down. I fiddled with the key but eventually opened the door, only to find it was the post man with a delivery for me. I nodded and politely thanked him.
I put the brown package on the bottom of the stairs and made my way into the kitchen. I heard the noise of my friends chatting; they seemed to be more excited about my birthday than I did. I quickly drained a glass of water and stood in the frame of the back door getting some fresh air.
As I did, I felt someone’s presence. Don’t get yourself wound up. I told myself over and over again. There’s no one there. You’re just being stupid. I tried to tell myself but it didn’t work.
“Missed me?” A cold voice echoed in my head, I knew exactly who it was by the evil laugh that followed. Straightening up, I shook my head, trying to shake him out of my head too.
“I’m not going away.” The ghostly whisper smugly said.
“Damn it Richard why can’t you leave me alone? It’s my birthday for God sake.” My back remained facing him.
“Well, I could leave you alone, but where would be the fun in that?” He chuckled to himself.
I shoved my trembling hands into my pocket. I felt him coming closer to me. His finger touched my cheekbone for a second, sending a shiver down my spine. I immediately flinched away.
“Seventeen. Look at my little girl; she’s all grown up now.” He whispered in my ear. One turn of my head and I saw his ghostly figure standing behind me. He was a paler shade of white and looked like he had lost a bit of weight, but he was still my abusive Dad.
Although I knew he wasn’t real and I was imagining it all, he still scared me even more than when he was alive, if that was possible.
“You’re still scared of me. I know you are. I’m never going away.” I swung my head around, pretending not to be bothered by his presence. “You killed me Kaz.”
“Don’t you dare call me Kaz! You killed Mum. You deserved to die. The others were just too scared to do it but I haven’t given it a second thought. Damn it Richard, I thought you’d be in hell right now, rotting with all the other scumbags who have passed on.” I shouted. Richard smirked; it was exactly what he wanted, for me to get wound up. Getting wound tighter and tighter, I knocked an empty glass over, causing it to smash into a million tiny pieces. Kayleigh and Katie rushed into the room immediately. Content, Richard sat on top of the washing machine and watched for my next move.
“Go on then, explain yourself.” He said smugly.
“Shut up.” I mumbled.
“Kara, what have you done?” Katie asked, standing in the doorway, shocked. I didn’t answer and instead, stood with my arms folded.
“Kara, you don’t have to explain yourself, it’s fine, you go back in there and I’ll clean up in here.” Kayleigh pushed past me to get the sweeping brush.
“She does! Come on then. We’re waiting.” Katie bossed.
“You heard her, she’s waiting.” Richard added.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me.” I apologized, there was nothing else to say, no other way to explain it without Kayleigh getting out my tablets.
“Kayls, pass me that, you don’t have to do everything.” Katie took the brush from her and began to clean up, Kayleigh opened a cupboard door and took out my pills. She filled a glass with water and handed them to me. My arms remained folded across my stomach.
“Take them.” Kayleigh ordered.
“Who’s going to make me?”
“Kara stop acting smart, just do it.” Katie interrupted.
“I don’t need them, I only knocked over a glass and now you’re calling me insane. Some sisters you are.” I sarcastically replied.
“Kara. Stop messing around. Take the tablets or I’ll make you.” Katie forced, she was almost finished cleaning the glass up.
“There’s nothing wrong with me. I promise.”
“I heard you shouting at Dad again.” Kayleigh replied in a small voice.
“Don’t call him Dad. He doesn’t deserve to be called that.”
“Woah wait a second. I put a roof over your head, put food on the table and put clothes on your back and I don’t deserve to be called your Dad?!” Richard exclaimed.
“Shut up.” I glared at him.
“Who are you telling to shut up?” Katie asked rhetorically, despite this, I answered.
“Me?” Kayleigh questioned.
“No. Not you either.”
“Then who? There’s no one else in here. That proves our point, you do need to take them!” Katie argued.
“So you’re basically calling me insane.” I stated.
“Well yeah we…”
“No we’re not. We just think you need to take some of these, that’s all. You’re not insane, the doctor said it’s normal for you to hallucinate after you’ve been through something at traumatic as you have.” Kayleigh corrected.
“I’m not taking anything. You can all get lost.” I pushed past Katie, which wasn’t so hard as she’s not much taller than me, and plastered a smile on my face before entering the living room.
Richard was at my side once more.
“Especially you.” I whispered. He ignored me and followed when I sat next to Chris on the floor.