The Touch

Submitted by Samuel Blue to Contest #9 in response to: Write a story that focuses on the relationship between siblings.... view prompt

 In an instant, Rizzi Devlin was fighting for her life. Her whole universe was suddenly engulfed in water, Rizzi immediately knew she was drowning. The last image she recalled was standing on the old dock at Lake Travis, and now she was in total darkness in a world that was foreign to her. She was scared to death. When Rizzi was six, she was so afraid of the water she refused to take swimming lessons, and now her life was fleeting away a second at a time. Rizzi’s instinct was not to breathe, but the agony of running out of air was starting to take over. She knew she was on the verge of passing out and letting the dark water fill her lungs. Rizzi had fought with every ounce of strength she had, it was not enough, and now she knew this was going to be the way she died. Seconds before Rizzi passed out, she felt the touch, someone had grabbed her around the waist and was pushing her up, and then her world went black.

When Rizzi regained consciousness she was laying on the hard wooden dock, her twin sister, Raelynn was inches from her face saying, “Rizzi, please wake up, Rizzi can you hear me, please God help her.” Raelynn had tears flowing down her face, and her clothes were wet and dripping water. Rizzi sat up and starting coughing, Raelynn grabbed her around the neck and hugged her so hard, it forced what little air Rizzi had in her lungs to suddenly escape. “Rizzi, can you hear me! Are you Ok?” she shouted. Rizzi responded. “Yes, I think so. What happened, and where the hell did you come from?” For some reason, you were out on this old dark dock in the middle of the night, and your long dress caught one of the cleats. It looks like when you pulled on your dress, it ripped tossing you into the lake.” “No one was out here, how did you know? Rizzi asked. “I noticed you were not in the cabin, and after what Nick said to you, I just figured you walked outside. When I opened the door, I heard a splash coming from the deck and instantly knew it was you.” As Rizzi was helped up by her sister, she noticed the tear in her long dress and a piece of blue fabric snagged on one of the cleats at the end of the dock. Rizzi embraced Raelynn and whispered in her ear, “Thank God you were here, you saved my life.” Raelynn looked directly into Rizzi’s eyes and softly said, “I will always be here for you.”

It has been six years since that frightening night at Lake Travis, and now Rizzi Devlin was teaching high school in her hometown of Austin, Texas. Her parents lived three miles away from her apartment on Milam Street. Her twin sister, Raelynn, was attending St. Edward’s University in Austin, working on her masters in finance. Rizzi’s life was on the right track. She loved her job and enjoyed a very social life with her childhood friends and her roommate, Katie. She had met Katie in a Texas history class in their freshman year at the University of Texas. Unknown to Rizzi, her world was going to change forever with one phone call.

Rizzi heard a phone ringing, but she thought it was in her dream. Finally, she realized it was her cell phone. She glanced at the clock on her nightstand and saw it was 5 a.m., and the caller I.D. blared in bright white letters, Mom. Rizzi,s heart skipped a beat when she saw who was calling, thinking something must have happened with her dad. She grabbed the phone and immediately said, “Mom, what’s wrong?”. The voice on the other end was fighting back tears, and Rizzi heard her mother say, “It’s Raelynn, she missing!” Katie and Rizzi jumped in Katie’s car and drove the few blocks to her parents’ house. The whole time Rizzi kept thinking this is a bad dream and anytime now, she would wake-up. When they arrived at her parents’ house, the reality of the nightmare became real. Parked in front were two Austin Police cruisers. Rizzi ran to the door and standing there was her dad. His eyes were red from crying, and he took Rizzi in his arms and held her close.

 Sergeant Horn said her car was found a few hours ago, abandon at a remote park near Lake Travis. There were no signs of Raelynn, but they found her purse and backpack still in the car. They were still searching the area for any clues and would tow the vehicle back to the forensic lab. As Rizzi sat there listening to the officer, she remembered something. She was reading before she got in bed. She had dozed off and was awakened by what felt like a touch on her left arm. At first, she was startled but then realized it must have been the book when it slipped out of her hands. That feeling was the same one she had felt six years ago.

Three weeks had pasted since Raelynn had disappeared. The forensic lab had found traces of Raelynn’s blood type in the trunk of her Camaro. No other clues were found, and the only fingerprints discovered were from the steering wheel, and they belong to Raelynn. The police said it seemed the trunk area had been wiped clean. The police found her cell phone in a roadside trash can 14 miles from the location of the Camaro. The phone has been smashed, and the memory card was missing. Rizzi and her parents were in a state of disbelief and prayed each day the ordeal would end one way or the other. Rizzi kept going back to the night her twin sister had disappeared and being awakened by what felt like a touch. She thought about the sensation she felt that night and the sensation she felt when she was drowning. With no doubt in her mind, Rizzi knew the touch she felt that horrible night was from Raelynn, and she knew she would never see her sister again.

Raelynn Devlin was never found, and Rizzi and her parents finally let go of all hope. Her parents had moved from Austin, but Rizzi stayed and continued her teaching career. Katie had moved out to live with her fiance across town. Rizzi kept to herself, letting few people get close. She started running with the help of Matt, who was an English teacher and assistant football coach at her school. Rizzi liked running, and it was the one place she shut out the world and could be alone with her thoughts for an hour each day. She loved being with Matt. He knew her history but never asked questions, and around him, she was relaxed. After a few weeks of daily afternoon runs, she was able to keep pace with him, and the sweat and adrenaline seemed to clear her mind. Matt would meet her at the apartment, and they would run the 3 mile Crockett Trail which crisscrossed the UT campus. It was late October and the air was turning crisp. Darkness started creeping in around 6:30 p.m. Rizzi and Matt would start their run in fading sunlight and finish under the street lights on Milam Street in front of her apartment.

Rizzi had moved on with her life and tried best to live each day with hope for the future. She also left a small door open to the past. This Saturday had started like most Saturdays did, grading papers in the morning, and then at noon, she would drive to her parents in Round Rock and help them work around the old farmhouse.  As Rizzi was preparing to leave, she glanced at Raelynn’s picture on top of the mantle, and suddenly, she felt a cold hand touch her shoulder. Rizzi froze in place, she turned around, and she was the only person in the room. What had touched her was no longer there, and the sensation that shot through her body was the same one she had experienced on the night Raelynn disappeared. Rizzi regained her composure and walked to the kitchen and told her mom and dad goodbye. “See ya’ll next Saturday and dad stay out of the garden till I get back,” Rizzi said, walking out the door. When she got in her car, her body started shaking, and her hands became moist and clammy. She sat there a second, and there seems to be a presence in the car. Rizzi asked in a whisper, “Raelynn is that you?” She heard a voice whisper back, “BEWARE.”

The whole time she was running with Matt that evening, she continued to think about what had happened at her parent’s house. She wanted to tell Matt what she had experienced early today but didn’t know how to bring it up. She had convinced herself it was just her mind playing tricks. After the run, Rizzi said goodbye to Matt and headed up the stairs to her apartment. Before she reached the staircase, Matt said, “Hey Rizzi, if you need anything, just call me, OK?” She didn’t answer but thought it was strange because Matt had never said that to her before. Rizzi entered the apartment and headed straight to the shower so she could put on her lazy clothes and finish grading the papers she had started that morning. Turning off the shower and opening the curtains, Rizzi saw written in the fog on the bathroom mirror, REMEMBER THE PAST. Rizzi quickly grabbed a towel to cover herself and ran to the bedroom closet, reached for an old red shoebox, and removed a Glock 9mm handgun she had purchased the day after Raelynn disappeared. She pushed the magazine in the handle, and crouched to the floor, she pointed it directly at the bedroom door. Yelling out, “I have a gun; you have 5 seconds to get out.” Rizzi waited five minutes and heard nothing moving. Her cell phone was on the bar in the kitchen by the front door, she slowly got up and walked out of the bedroom. Entering the living room, Rizzi saw the door was still chained from the inside, and the bolt was still locked. Rizzi realized that no one had been in her apartment, she ran back to the bathroom, and the message has faded away. Instead of putting the Glock back in it’s hiding place, she dropped it in the drawer of the nightstand, leaving the magazine in place. The last thing she wanted to do was call Matt, but needing to hear a friendly voice, Rizzi did it anyway. When Matt answered, the first thing he said was, “Hey, Rizzi.” Immediately hearing his voice made the stress of what happened disappear. She didn’t mention anything about the incident. They just talked about school and maybe going hiking next weekend in the hill country. After 45 minutes of conversation, Rizzi’s nerves had returned to normal. They said goodbye with the promise they would run tomorrow. Shortly after hanging up, Rizzi was sound asleep.

 Hours later, Rizzi shot up in bed. Someone had violently shaken her awake. Panicked, her eyes shot around the room, but no one was there, and why were all the lights on. Before she got in bed, all the lights were off. She opened the drawer and removed the Glock and released the safety. Reaching for her phone to call Matt, there came a shattering noise from the front door. The sound startled her, and the phone dropped to the floor. Within seconds someone was standing in her doorway with a shiny object in their hand. With the gun pointed at the person now standing in the door. Rizzi shockingly recognize the face, it was Nick, and now instantly, she remembers what he had said that night in the cabin at Lake Travis. “ No one breaks up with Nick Harmon. I know Raelynn told you I was a piece of shit. Guess what? One day the past will catch up with both of you bitches.” Those words were now so vivid. Nick didn’t see the gun under the covers and was shocked when Rizzi raised the Glock. Rizzi looked directly at him, pulled the trigger four times, and screamed, “Go to Hell.” The impact tore through his throat, and he was dead before his lifeless body hit the floor. Rizzi burst into tears and placed the gun on the bed. She felt an invisible hand wipe away the tears, and as she looked up, sitting next to her was a misty image of Raelynn. “Don’t worry about me. I’m in a good place now, and remember, I will always be here for you.” Raelynn put her arms around her twin sister, and Rizzi could feel the warmest of her touch, and then the mist started to dissolve, and she was gone.

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