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Mystery Suspense Fiction

Ava did not know what to feel. She read and reread the note which she was holding in trembling hands but she was unable to make any sense of it. 

“DO NOT WATCH THE TAPE!” were the only five words that had been scribbled on it.

She stared at it hoping that something would click in her mind and that she would somehow remember when or why she had written it, but she drew a complete blank. She could not stop herself from feeling frustrated and, of course—very curious. The one thing that was bothering her the most was the fact that she was absolutely certain that she had written these words herself. Even if the note had obviously been written in a rush; she knew for a fact that it was her handwriting. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply trying to calm herself down before taking any decision. 

Ava was not one to make rash decisions, so when she looked at the tape sitting on the table, it perturbed her greatly. She opened her eyes slowly and picked up the black videotape on which was written in bold capital letters: YOUR PAST. Her eyes flitted back and forth between the videotape and the note she was still holding. What could it contain? She could not stop herself from repeating this question over and over in her mind. She could not, for the sake of her, remember having done anything wrong that she would want to forget all about, and she was definitely not the type of person to flee from the consequences of her bad decisions or mistakes.

Her curiosity was killing her. She tapped her feet against the floor impatiently as she tried to decide whether she needed to take into account the note or not. Had it been from someone else, she would definitely not have taken it into consideration, and gone ahead to find out what was on the tape, the only thing stopping her from doing so just now was the fact that this package—containing both the note and the tape—had been sent to her home, from her own address, which could only mean one thing; she had sent it to herself. Ava disliked surprises and mysteries, she would have played such a prank on anyone, let alone—on herself—so this was probably a very serious warning. However, the more she stared at her handwriting, the more she began to wonder whether it was indeed hers or not. 

Danger. It was another thing that Ava feared. This situation would go one of two ways; either she would heed the advice mysteriously sent to her and burn the videotape to stop herself from ever being tempted to watch it—she could not trust herself for that matter—and something potentially dangerous could end up happening because she had not seen the video, or she would end up watching it and regret having taken such a decision when something bad happened to her because of it. She was at a complete loss about what to do. Ava could not call up anyone to ask for advice either, just in case there was something on the tape that she would rather keep to herself. 

Ava got up, tossed the note on the table, where it gently landed on top of the tape and made her way to her tiny balcony. It was her special place. It made her feel relaxed and that was exactly what she needed right now. It had been almost thirty minutes since she had been pondering over what to do with the tape that came through the mail that morning—but which she had only gotten around to opening later in the evening—and now she needed to take a step away from it, hopefully, clear her mind, before coming to terms with her decision—whatever it would be. 

Ava stepped out into the tiny fairytale-like universe she had created for herself. Fairy lights and glittery garlands adorned the place beautifully. Although it was quite early, the end of autumn was slowly withering away to allow winter to take its place, therefore there was quite a chill in the air, but not enough to force Ava back into her apartment to find herself something warmer to wear. She dropped her body into the comfortable bean bag cushion that she had found on the corner of the street and patched up for herself. She untied her hair and let the refreshing air physically cool her head down. Above her, a few stars were already beginning to make a shy appearance in the sky and it soothed her to watch them twinkling faintly in the darkened sky. The moon was nowhere to be found, but she did not mind because soon enough her eyes closed and she began to reflect on her past and how part of it had ended up on a videotape—which she could not even remember being a part of. 

Ava had led a simple life up until now, in fact, she could not even think of one other person in her entire entourage that had led a less exciting life than her. She was twenty years old, born into a modest family and had never travelled outside the protective radius of ten kilometres around her home. She had always been a straight-A student in high school, with absolutely no social life whatsoever, and had chosen not to attend college in order to join the local family business: a pizza joint which she would one day own all by herself. She could think of absolutely nothing that had ever happened to her worth hiding, in fact, nothing ever seemed to happen in the small ghost town that she lived in. 

Ava got up and walked back into her living room. She could not concentrate on anything else but the piece of paper that was sitting innocently on her coffee table. She did not want to learn about her past, especially since there was a clear warning for her not to do so, but it was natural to feel curious as to what was on that tape. She paced the room, trying to keep her eyes off the coffee table, and off whatever was sitting on it, just waiting for her to make up her mind about what to do with it. She thought about her childhood best friend Irabelle, the one person whom she thought she could trust with anything, but now that this situation had cropped up, it had caused her to question everything—including her relationships. 

YOUR PAST... she kept mulling the two words that were written on the tape, in her head. It definitely meant more than what she was thinking of right now. There was something about these words that made Ava feel uneasy, but she tried to ignore this nasty feeling cropping up in the pit of her stomach. Everything was already so messed up, she did not want to add any more paranoia to the situation. She laid down on her couch, burying her head in her cushions, and that’s when a flash of a distant memory sent her hurtling down a road she had purposefully closed off years ago...

Ava’s hands were covered in a thick liquid that was quickly drying up, the metallic scent of the blood filled the air and tears were running down her face—smeared with blood from when she had attempted to wipe them away.

“I’m sorry—please hold on—please... pl... please... I did—didn’t mean to... you must trust me, I was not trying to—I can't control—” she was muttering helplessly in between sobs. 

She pushed her hands against the deep cut under the little boy’s ribcage, desperately trying to stop the bleeding. However, as she applied pressure to one of his wounds, blood began to gush out of another. She knew that he was now hovering between life and death, and she did not need to be a doctor to know which would be the winning side. His breathing was ragged and uneven, his eyes bloodshot as he stared into Ava’s. He could not speak, but his eyes said it all. The young innocent boy was staring straight into his murderer’s eyes and trying to find it in himself to forgive her. Ava wailed into the eerily calm night, but no one would be coming to her aid, she had made sure of that when she had assassinated every single person in this and the three surrounding villages. However, she had not meant to kill this boy, she was only trying to get the information she had been sent to retrieve—she was just doing her job. 

They had forged her into a weapon, unstoppable and indestructible, but little did they know that one day, as she stared into a little boy’s pleading eyes, that he would get through to her and save her from them. Ava was still on a mission, but she was now torn between moving on to the next village to carry out her mission and making a run for it. They would never be able to find her, she was sure of it. They had made her into what she was, but little did they know that once she turned against them, they would regret ever having turned her into what she was. They had forgotten one important thing about the people whom they had reaped and transformed into killing machines all those years ago: they had forgotten that each and every one of them was first and foremost a human being. It was the one thing that the Hierarks had not been able to erase from their identity. 

Ava sat up. Her heart was beating dangerously fast and beads of sweat were running down her forehead. 

“Stop... make it stop... make it stoppppp...” she whispered desperately as she grabbed her hair and pulled—hoping that the pain would get her mind to focus on the pain, instead of on that horrendous memory. 

These images... These memories—they just could not be true. Ava could not remember any of it, and now that she had seen a glimpse of something this terrifying, she did not want to remember any of it. Maybe the tape would help her clear all of this mess? Ava stared at it in disbelief. After what she had seen, she would rather not know the rest, and maybe hopefully one day she’d remember it all as a nightmare rather than a memory. It was disturbing, the innocent eyes that had freed her from the Hierarks' grasp kept making it back into her mind’s eye and she could not seem to get rid of them—no matter what. If these were, in fact, her memories, then somehow she had managed to erase them from her mind, and neither did she want to remember what the rest of her memories held, why she had chosen to forget them, nor how she had managed to erase her memories so effectively. 

A tear formed in Ava’s eye, a single tear that rolled down her sweaty cheek. It dropped onto her arm and rolled away, not leaving a single trace behind. Her skin tingled all along the path that the tear had taken, it felt as though something had been there a moment ago, but there was absolutely no trace of it anywhere for confirmation. It had simply disappeared. This was exactly what Ava decided should happen to her memories. She knew that there was something more to her story than what she could remember, but she had somehow chosen to forget it all and she intended to respect her previous decision by keeping it that way. 

Ava snatched the tape and the note that had accompanied it off the coffee table and walked over to the fireplace. It was much too early in the year to light a fire, but this is the only way to ensure that the tape would be destroyed forever and would never come creeping back to her. She lit up the fire and waited for it to become stronger. She paced the room back and forth, trying to convince herself that this was the right thing to do. Once the flames in the fireplace were strong enough, she tossed away the tape into the fire and watched as the plastic melted away, destroying her story along with it. Ava could not remember that portion of her past—nor did she want to. 

January 04, 2021 02:38

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3 comments

Doha Dookhith
14:00 Jan 06, 2021

Beautiful story! Well done, Urvasi!

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Urvasi Pauvaday
14:02 Jan 06, 2021

Thanks so much Doha! I'll be submitting more short stories soon, stay tuned.

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Doha Dookhith
14:03 Jan 06, 2021

Sure Urvasi.

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