The Mysterious Letters

Submitted into Contest #51 in response to: Write a story about someone who's haunted by their past.... view prompt

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Adventure Mystery Thriller

“Oh! We have reached,” I said as the car swerved left, entering a once properly trimmed garden, but now had rather unruly bushes.

“I am so angry with Tina; she had promised that she would come.” Pam was really upset.

“Yes, Veronica’s gone for a vacation and Stella’s gone to her gran’s and now Tina...” said Susan.

“Hey, I forgot to mention, she called me yesterday. She told me that her elder brother had come home for the Christmas and thus she was unable to come. Gals why don’t you enjoy the beauty of this place!”

“True, it’s an enormous garden,” Susan exclaimed.

“Yeah. My aunt and uncle loved gardening. Agatha, Amelia and I used play here…” I paused.

“It’s really sad, I know,” Susan said.

“What? I don’t know anything,” asked Pam.

“Aunt Ruby and Uncle Alex had gone to Agatha’s university. It was the holidays and they had gone so that they could accompany her back home. It was all a surprise for Agatha. But sadly, their plane crashed when they were returning. After their death, we told Amelia to come in our place. But she was not ready to leave this house,” I said in a hushed whisper as we were climbing off the car, taking down our luggage. “Amy is a shy person. Doesn’t mix with many people. After the mishap, she shut herself in her room for a month, hardly spoke a word with anybody. That’s the reason Mum suggested that I should come here and spend some time with her. It’ll be a quiet Christmas, not much merry-making—almost none—but at least Amy will have some company.” I quietened as we came up to the front door.

After a few seconds we rang the bell, the door opened. Amy was peeping wonderingly from behind.

“Amy it's us!” I exclaimed.

“Hi Alicia. Um… who are… they?”

“They are my friends. I told you about them. This is Susan Richards and Pamela Turner.”

“Nice to meet you Amelia,” Susan said brightly.

“Good to see you,” said Pamela coming at the front.

“Glad to meet you both,” Amy said shaking their hands with a forced smile. “Um… please come in.”

The house I remembered was not this. It had always been filled with huge collections of antiques. Spotlessly clean, not a single corner would be kept bland and empty. I hadn’t expected it to shine as before, and it didn’t. It was moderately clean, but that was all I could say. But I couldn’t blame Amy for it. It was a big house, which had always been busy and filled with music. Now it was like a big, hollow shell. Living here completely alone was itself miserable, let alone Amy’s condition. I could understand her pain. Even if she shouted, her echo reverberated a hundred thousand times, but there was no one around to hear her cry. I glanced at Amy. She had dark shadows under her eyes and looked tired. Yet, she was trying to talk to Susan, who was in a deep conversation about badminton. Amy loved badminton… I could play a bit with her. That would make her a little happy. “Alicia it's yours,” Amy said showing me a room. “Oh yeah… thanks,” I said wondering all the time how to make her feel better.

At lunch, I noticed something unusual in her behaviour. Amy, whom I had seen a month and a half before, was scared, subdued and shy. But never had I seen her downright scared. But now, whenever we were not directly talking to her, she looked down, bit her lips, looked about, afraid, and again stared down. I thought that maybe it was all my imagination, but once in the afternoon when we were in the sitting room, she did get up and go out of the room and again came back in few minutes.

“What happened Amelia, are you okay?” Pam asked.

“Oh nothing. I was just…” she said and sat down. We never learnt the actual reason for her going out.

At night, when Pam and Susan had already gone to the dining room, I went to Amy’s room.

“Amy can we talk for a while.”

Amy looked at me. “Yeah sure.”

“Is anything wrong? Why did you suddenly go out in the afternoon?”

“Oh, that’s nothing. I just went to see if the main door was locked.”

“Surely you remember that you only did it just after lunch?”

“Just went to check once more. That’s all.”

“Amy… am not stupid. I noticed even in the lunch. You were fidgeting to go out. And looking scared. Is anything wrong? You can tell me, you know.”

Amy looked nervous and swallowed. “A strange thing is happening, with me.”

“What?”

“Someone… someone’s writing me letters.”

“Letters?” it was the last thing I had expected. “What about?”

Amy gulped. “About me. About my life.”

“What do you mean by ‘about you’?”

“I’d better show you.” She went off and brought a set of letters. I read one after the other.

Dear Amy, how are you? We are really sorry we couldn’t celebrate your birthday. We all missed it. Hope you are all right on your own. It must be very hard for you staying alone. I wish I could come back to you again. Dad and Aggie feel the same. They send you all their love. Love, Mum.’

‘Hi sis. You remember last year this time we were off to the Alps. I miss those days. Hope everything’s right at school too. I wish I could return to my school days. But even university has been taken from me. Such things occur with death. But I hope you are fine. Your sis, Aggie.’

‘Amy are you all right? I wanted to stay with you this Christmas. But I heard that Alicia called you over to inform that she and her friends were coming. So, you won’t be completely alone. Don’t worry. We’re all here, in this house. Just that you can’t see us. Any worries, call out for us. Love, Dad.’

‘No Amy! Don’t dream such things. I learnt that last night, you were dreaming of dying and death. Forget about all these and live. Be strong dear. I know its tough but you have to fight. You can do it. Mum and Dad.’

‘Sis, might be a very boring letter, but please don’t keep my diary on the left shelf. Keep it on the right one, at the top. I understood that you were in a dilemma where to keep it and so thought about penning it. Don’t be hacked off. Aggie.’

All the letters were like these: either of memories, dreams and things. At the end, I was feeling… puzzled. No wonder Amy’s frightened.

“From when did all this start?” I asked.

“From… like… mid-November.”

“How are they delivered to you?” a voice asked behind knocking me off the chair. I turned back to see Susan and Pamela were standing. Apparently, they had come in as we both were not going for dinner. 

Amy stood up; I could understand that she felt a bit awkward in front of them. I held her shoulder, “Amy, Susan and Pam are my secret keepers, don’t worry, you can speak up. Where did you get all these?”

“Not at any particular place. They are spread over the house. The last one was in… Aggie’s own room.”

“Could someone play a prank?” Pam said.

“Yes, maybe,” Amy nodded.

“But how are they knowing about your dreams?” I frowned.

“Maybe she told one of her friends and the vacation letter is quite plain. Many know that, don’t they?” Susan said.

“I never told anyone about my dreams and my personal feelings” said Amy.

 “Who is doing it then?” Susan asked.

“Can’t you all accept that… the letters are written by the person by whose name its signed here…” Pam said, when I stopped her.

“Don’t be silly. It was nothing paranormal.” But it was not quite normal too I know. I told. “Let’s have dinner now. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”

It was a silent meal. Pam talked a bit with Amy about books and Susan again started talking about badminton. She loved badminton and I had told her that Amy had the skills to be a good badminton player. But my thoughts were fixed only at a single thing – the letters. Somebody was writing them, surely. But how did they know about those personal details? How were they even delivering these in any place of the house? Did they have access to the whole house? How? But they can’t have access to Amy’s dreams, thoughts and feelings. How did they know about them, then? And there was something in those letters… something… familiar to me. But what was it? I couldn’t figure out that?

I lay awake almost half the night, thinking. I don’t know when I had fallen asleep when suddenly I woke up. I was trying to figure out what woke me up when I heard a creak in the stairs. I got up and opened the door slightly. Someone was climbing down wearing a heavy robe, it was quite dark so I couldn’t see the face. I waited for the person to descend completely. Then I tiptoed out of my room. I couldn’t see the face as the back was turned, but it was a lady. What I understood was that the person was engrossed in writing something burying her head on the table. As I edged a little forward, I accidentally knocked off a vase on the floor and the intruder was alerted. I had expected the person to get out of the main door but she scampered upstairs. I too followed her but she was too fast. I took a round of the house and the terrace but she was nowhere to be seen. I climbed down and noticed that the main door was locked from inside. How did the person enter? I kept on wondering and when at last a light flickered over the horizon, I finally felt sleepy.

Next morning, I narrated my experience to Susan and Pam when Amy was busy making breakfast. Because I didn't want to trouble her anymore, pretending the whole day that nothing has happened.

“You know maybe Pam’s right,” Susan said. “Maybe some super natural power is there.”

“Of course, not,” I replied.

“But there was no other entrance, how did the person come in?” Pam asked.

“I don’t know,” I said pacing about, thinking about the letters. What familiarity did they have…? “Got it! It’s the handwriting,” I exclaimed, taking up the letters from the table.

“Yes, the same person has written it,” said Pam testily.

“I’ve seen this handwriting somewhere else too,” I said.

“Where?” Susan asked.

“In a letter,” I said closing my eyes. “I can’t remember who wrote me the letter.”

“That means you know the person. So, it isn’t a ghost or a friend of Amy’s but someone who knows Amy and you very well?” Pam asked.

“But how do they know about Amy’s feelings?” Susan sat down again.

“Maybe it is a coincidence that the writing and the dream is same,” Pam said.

“Coincidence?” Susan was flabbergasted. “Have we, your friends ever predicted the exact dream you had dreamt last night, even by a lucky guess or coincidence?”

“Alicia what do you think? Was it a coincidence?” Susan asked.

“I can’t tell anything in certainty unless I’ve proof.”

We had to stop our discussion then because Amy was calling us for breakfast. I really had no idea, what I was eating because the only thing I was thinking was, that I had to find a lot of things. I had to find out how all this was done, how they were possible. To find that, I had to find out the culprit. To find the culprit, I had to figure out the handwriting. To figure out the handwriting, I had to remember where I have seen it…The whole day we spent decorating the house for Christmas as per our prior plan so that Amy felt happy and she was. I was watching her thoroughly; she was behaving quite normal the whole day. We are almost done with our decorations, so, in the evening, when we settled down in the living room with coffee, Pam asked Amy to get a pen and paper to make the list for the rest of the items we need, so that we could go to the market tomorrow. Amy got up to get those and started doing the list herself. We started chatting in a lazy mood.

After finishing the list, Amy handed it over to me to see if anything was left and announced that she was going to make dinner, Susan and Pam got up hurriedly to give her a hand. I was sitting on the sofa, blank, couldn’t believe my eyes. Oh gosh!  

I was eagerly waiting for Amy to go to her bedroom after dinner. The moment she went off I closed the door and told Susan and Pam, “Its critical”.  

“What?”

“It’s Amy…Amy is writing the letters. Her handwriting is matching with those of them.”

There were a few seconds of silence.

“But why?” Pam asked.

“I don’t know,” I gulped. “Even, I couldn’t believe it.”

“Maybe you know… maybe someone is copying her handwriting.”

“Her handwriting is a bit stretchy and a bit of a sprawl. It is a bit hard to be copied. I’ll talk to her tomorrow." I announced.

None said a word and went off to their bed, leaving me alone and awake the whole night. This night too, I was jerked off, as I heard a creak in the stairs. Again, a woman wearing a heavy robe, was climbing down. I tailed her this time too, without knocking off anything or any sound at all. The woman again sat down at the table and began writing like the previous night. I crept up slightly and caught her by the arms.

“Hey!... Oh, it’s you Alicia,” said the woman looking back.

As suspected, it was Amy. “Amy what’re you doing?”

“Am Agatha, Alicia,” said Amy looking at me. “Why are mixing me up with Amelia?”

“Amy… stop blabbing nonsense,” I answered her.

“Why would I blab nonsense, cousin? Am Aggie. Can’t you recognise?”

“Hey what’s wrong with you?” I was now feeling frightened.

“Nothing’s wrong with me, Alicia, you need sleep, maybe. You are having problems in identifying people.”

I shook her hard by the shoulders. “Amy it’s enough,” I said firmly.

Suddenly there was a change in her. Her eyes rolled over, she started trembling like mad and became pale. She was having serious convulsions… She fell down on the floor. “AMY!” I shouted as I kneeled beside her. “Amy. Amy!” By now, she had fainted. As I tried to regain her senses, Susan and Pam joined me.         

“Oh my God!” Pam exclaimed covering her mouth.

“Ambulance… Susan call for ambulance.” I vaguely remembered the next few minutes. What happened to Amy? Oh God, it was all my fault. I should have handled her more patiently. But how would have I known that she was going to faint? I heard Pam calling my parents.

“What happened exactly?” doctor asked us.

“She lost control and fainted.” 

“How did she lose control?” the doctor asked.

I explained the thing in brief. She heard patiently. 

It seemed hours that we were sitting in the waiting room, while Amy was inside. Finally, the doctor called us in.

“You are her cousin?” she asked me.

“Yes.”

“Well, she is okay now.”

That was the moment when my parents entered looking scared.

"Come in Mr and Mrs George," the doctor said. "I talked to Amelia. It seems that she has faced a horror just a few months back. Her parents and her sister died?"

"Yes," Dad answered.

"Sometimes when such a massive shock occurs in one's life, they can have serious psychological disorders. The same goes for Amelia George. She was so desperate to get her parents and sister back, had such a strong desire to talk to them, that she became them at night and wrote the letters to herself. She has a dual personality."

Mum and Dad were staring at each other, shocked. I, too, looked at them, helplessly. I could see that Susan and Pam were glancing, each face bearing an expression of horror.

"How can she be cured?" Mum asked.

"Continuous counselling can help, regular treatment. And she must not stay alone anymore. You are her only family, I guess?"

"Yes," Dad replied.

"We'll keep her with us," Mum said firmly.

I was just staring down. How could this be possible? How could Amy have dual personality? Through the glass window, I could see the rest of the hospital and Amy sitting in a room. Shy but playful, nervous but brave; I'll never forget the Amy I knew.



July 21, 2020 05:21

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12 comments

Atmadip Ray
08:23 Jul 25, 2020

Hmmm... interesting. Keep up the good work

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Aarshia Ray
17:52 Jul 25, 2020

Thank you :-)

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ADHI DAS
16:53 Jul 22, 2020

Interesting to read😊

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Aarshia Ray
10:38 Jul 23, 2020

Thank you.

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Batool Hussain
19:03 Jul 21, 2020

This is really good! Mind checking out my new story and sharing your views on it? Thanks.

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Aarshia Ray
19:07 Jul 21, 2020

Thank you, happy that you loved it. Will surely read your story.

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Liz James
13:00 Jan 21, 2021

Oh! It's such an interesting story! I was actually thinking that it may be a psychological thriller and it was! I was looking for this kind of story and I came across yours! It was enjoyable, keep it up!

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Aarshia Ray
17:47 Jan 28, 2021

Thank you Emma. Happy that you liked it :-)

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Karin Venables
17:15 Aug 22, 2020

This is well done. I only had a hint of foreshadowing, and it was extremely well done. Mind you I have always had an interest in mental illness and the way the psyche deals with major stress. Technical stuff is good, no obvious grammar or punctuation issues. I'd love to know how Amy does with treatment.

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Aarshia Ray
16:59 Aug 23, 2020

Thank you :-) But time will tell what will happen to Amy :-)

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Rana Das
15:36 Aug 19, 2020

Well, can a story have multiple endings? Based on different situations, different contexts, different conditions ... Think about it!

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Aarshia Ray
16:53 Aug 22, 2020

I'll surely think about it. Thank you :-)

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