I shot up straight in bed and shivered. Where had that scream come from? It had sounded as though the piercing noise had been made from the foot of my bed. I pushed my blanket and drew my knees up to my chest.
I'd lived in the house my whole life, and yet I had never heard the same noise I'd heard that night. I'd never heard the noise that shook my bones and made my eyes double size in fear.
After a minute, I decided I had to find out what had made the noise. I straightened my legs and slid off the bed. Remembering the lamp I had set next to my bed, I picked it up and fumbled for one of the matches I'd put beside it.
A minute later, my Victorian bedroom was bathed in a warm orange glow. After gathering my courage, I tiptoed to the foot of my bed.
"I'm sorry." Came the small noise. I turned and saw a girl wearing a blue gown. She had a washed out complexion and hands that were slightly see-through. It seemed as though I had seen her before. Maybe in a dream. Maybe in London. I didn't know, and I didn't want to know, either "I didn't know this room was occupied."
"Who are you?" Came the words.
"I'm sorry. I can't tell you that." She said. "Because that's the only reason I'm dead."
"You seem as though I've seen you before." I said to her. "The problem is, I can't remember where."
She looked down, diamond tears streaming down her face. "That's because he didn't want you to."
"He?" I asked. "Who's he?"
"Your father. Lord Thomas de Champion." She said bitterly. "I just wished he hadn't. Maybe then... maybe then I could be free, at last."
"I could help you." I said. "Just tell me what I would need to do."
The girl looked up, stunned. "I-I couldn't."
"Please." I said. "I have been useless all my life, don't make me be useless, again. Please."
"Fine." She said. "To help me, you need to grab ahold of my hand. Then you must get me to the place where I spent my last breath. You must take me to London."
"London?" I exclaimed. "Why, I can't take you to London!"
"I'm sorry, but I can't." I said.
"Very well, then," she sighed. "From now on, I will be quiet. I won't bother you."
That was the first night that she appeared in my room. The next, I walked to her and said, "I've decided to help you."
She looked up from her spot at the foot of my bed. "You will?"
"Yes," I said, reaching for her hand.
She reached and took it. I gasped as she wrapped her cold hand around my wrist. It felt as though she was pulling away my will, my life, everything.
I tried to pull away, but her grip was like iron. "What are you doing to me?"
She smiled deviously. "I am taking what is mine." She answered. "Our father was a fool to think he could protect you by keeping me a secret to protect you, little sister."
My eyes widened as the meaning of her words sunk in. "Let me go!"
"I'm afraid I can't." She said. "Our touch is bonding. I just can't believe that you actually fell for it!"
"You are despicable." I spat at her. As I felt weaker, she grew stronger. Stronger, and stronger.
"No." The girl said. "You are, Isabella. It was your fault I ever died. You pushed me out the window. It was all. your. Fault!"
"It wasn't." I panted, remembering. "You had gotten the idea of it in the first place. You hated how I was the favorite. You thought that if I hurt you, maybe Maman and Papa wouldn't turn a blind eye towards you, anymore."
My eyes grew even wider in fear as I saw the color coming back into her cheeks, her hair becoming glossier. And most of all, I found it terrifying that it was my life force causing it. My eyes darted down to my hand, grasped in hers.
It seemed as though mine was losing its color. It probably was. My eyes grew heavy and the ground rushed to meet me.
I heard a door squeak. Maman and Papa rushed in. I could imagine her eyes growing wide in fear as she saw her daughter dying, her dead daughter growing stronger. "Isa, no!" She would kneel next to me, extend a hand to stroke my forehead. But instead, it would fall through my head. I was too far gone, anyway.
I could feel it, I knew it. Papa would turn to the girl and pull her away from me. "No!" She would scream.
No would be what I would say, too. I knew that I was already to far gone to stay. I hoped that maybe one of us would get a chance. But my father had already ruined that. For both of us.
And yet a moment later, I felt a spark. Warmth. It bloomed in my chest.
Is this death? I thought. If it was, then it was so much more peaceful, much less painful, then I had ever imagined it would be.
That was the last thing I thought before I was gone.
When I'd thought about heaven, I'd thought it would be a city in the clouds. People clothed in white clothing. Welcoming me home.
But instead I was lying in a room very familiar to me. I sat up and gave up. Everything ached, my head throbbed. I turned my head and saw a girl with brown hair and green eyes rimmed with long, dark lashes. I knew I'd never seen her before, but she felt familiar.
A word rushed back to me. No, a name. Carolina.
I'd never seen this girl before, and yet she seemed like an old friend. A sister. One I'd spent every summer tromping through forests.
A sister, my sister, was home at last
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