Days started to become weeks. When the new month began, I remember it too well. My daughter’s school called when I was at work. “Hello?” I answered.
“Hello, is this Kirsten’s father?” The principal asked.
“Yes? Is everything alright?” It took me a minute to remember who the person was and why they were calling me.
“Well, I was calling to inform you that your daughter hasn’t been to school for the last few days, and we’re starting to worry. And-” I didn’t let him finish, and I didn’t tell my boss I was leaving. I drove home immediately!
It felt weird looking at the place again. When I was too drunk a co-worker or a friend would let me stay at their place. This has been the first time I been back in a long time. My ex wasn’t home.
I still had the key, and she hasn’t changed the locks. I knew she wouldn’t have taken off with Kirsten. My ex knew I would have called the police on her quicker than she could say oh s**t! And she knew I had all our Bank information.
“Kirsten!” I yelled the house was dead. Walking to her room, she wasn’t there. “Don’t panic! Don’t panic!” I repeat myself, calling my ex. She didn’t pick up the first time, but on the sixth time, she did. “WHAT!” She snapped. “Where are you?! Where’s Kirsten?!” I snapped back.
She didn’t say anything then spoke sounding a bit confused, “who?”
WHO!? Are you f*****g serious?! “Kirsten! OUR DAUGHTER!” I screamed! And it was just like that she remembered. “She should be in school?” She said still sounding confused I rub my face looking around the dark house. I told her how the school called me and how Kirsten hasn’t been to school for weeks! My ex lost it. “WHAT!” She screamed, “I’ll be home shortly!”
I stepped outside and started to pace in the driveway to wait for her. I stopped when I heard a weird clicking sound, looking up. That black bird was sitting on my roof looking down at me. Its talons held something that shined. Squinting to get a better look at what it held but the bird took off before I could because my ex pulled in. She slammed her car door and started to punch me in the chest. “Where is she! Where is she, g******n it!” She screamed.
Calming her down, we called the police. Yeah, I and my ex looked pretty suspicious, now noticing our daughter is missing. I told them I was working non-stop and would be at the bar after work because I didn’t want to go home, my alibi checked out. I had a lot of people confirming me.
When it came to my ex, she was all over the place and couldn’t stick to a story! They had nothing on us besides my ex. So, they let us go, but we couldn’t go anywhere and couldn’t leave the city because we were still suspects.
My ex didn’t speak to me as we drove home, fine by me! But she looked nervous. As we pulled into our driveway, I locked the doors before she could get out. “Where is my daughter!” I demanded not even looking at her.
“Don’t you dare blame-” She tries to speak but I cut her off, “I swear to god if you don’t f*****g tell me, I will f*****g kill you! WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER!” I screamed the fear in that woman’s eyes made me realize I’d gone too far. Unlocking the doors, she gets out and practically ran to the front door.
I wait before getting out and go in. “Bridget, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to,” I started as I came inside but my ex stood in the living room she was trembling and shivering. “What’s wrong?” I asked looking at her. She slowly pointed upwards. I looked and felt the chills crawl down my back like tiny little spiders.
A young woman sat at our table. She wore a black Celtic dress that stopped at her knees and had long fingerless gloves both black. Her nails were sharp like talons and painted red. Her legs were crossed, wearing black high heels. The points looked sharp like her nails. Her hair was neck length and was black as night. Her skin was sickly pale.
She sighed as she played with a stuffed parrot toy. Kirsten’s toy… “Someone broke the rule. Now someone has to pay.” She hummed then giggled.
When she turned to look at us, my ex grabbed my arm. The woman’s eyes were purple. Her lips were black the same with her eyeliner and eye shadow. “If you wish to forget a child, you must FORGET! That’s how it goes, that was our deal. But you didn’t follow the rule. You broke it! So time to pay.” As she stood up, there was a soft tapping sound on the window. She turned her head to it so did me and my ex.
A black bird was tapping its beak on the glass. The woman walked over and opened the window. The bird flew in and sat on her shoulder. She stood in front of us as the bird dropped the music box in her hand. Putting one finger on the metal handle, she started to turn it. When it stopped spinning it began to play. I knew what was about to happen. My ex did not. But I was wrong. Very wrong…
Instead of the children’s cries, it was just my little girl’s cries. “Mommy! Daddy! Please help me!” Kirsten’s voice echos, “please! I want to go home!” My ex covered her mouth, I wanted to throw up, but I ball my fists. The woman put her finger on the metal handle to stop it. She looked up at us. “She could have been forgotten peacefully, but you didn’t forget her like we agreed to.”
“Please… Give us back our daughter…” My ex begged, the woman smirked then started to chuckle before breaking out laughing! “Your daughter? Who are you kidding lady! You didn’t give a damn about that girl! I bet you don’t even know her favorite food? Favorite color?” The woman grinned, “or her name?” My ex looked away then started to cry.
I stepped up. “My daughter loves tacos. Her favorite color is orange! And her name is Kirsten!” The woman glared at me as the bird on her shoulder made a weird hissing sound.
“Why should I give her back? You both will just forget her again anyways?! You sure forgot about her when you were too busy with other men that weren’t your husband.” The woman giggled I looked at my ex as she let go of my arm and backed away.
The woman looked at me still giggling. “You had forgotten her too! You never came home! You tried throwing me away! Her only friend!” I glared at the woman she smirked.
“For how many times she cried and cried when you two fought over stupid little things! She held onto me. Asking me why! Why Raven? Why do mommy and daddy hate each other? Is it my fault? Raven, is it my fault? A broken family who doesn’t give a damn about their daughter! Why should I give her back?”
No Kirsten… this wasn’t your fault…
This was her fault, her! THIS WHY ALL HER FAULT! I started to breathe heavily and looked at my ex as she backed away from me more. “Don’t you dare give me that look!” She yelled at me!
“You were never here! You were always at work or at the bar! I had no one!” My ex keeps yelling at me! The woman sat back down crossing her legs and arms. “I forgot to mention the only reason I am here and became friends with poor little Kirsten because one of you WANTED your daughter gone, but I forget who it was.” The woman laughed. I keep my eyes on my ex as she started to shake her head still backing away from me, but when she hit the wall, she was pinned and had nowhere to go. I began to walk towards her.
“NO! She’s lying! How can you think it was me! Maybe it was you!” She screamed!
I loved my daughter! And I still love her! The day she was born, I swore I would NEVER let anything happen to her! I would do right by her! I wasn’t going to fail her! I saw red! Before I knew it, I had my hands around Bridget’s throat and started to squeeze! She clawed my skin, she gagged and tried to scream! But no sounds came out.
My ex’s body went limp. I dropped it to the floor when I no longer saw red. “Oh god. What did I do… What did I do!” I shouted dropping to my knees and started to perform CPR, but it was already too late.
Raven stood up snickering I turned and looked back at her. The bird on her shoulder jumped off and hopped towards my ex’s body. “Oh, now I remember! You were the one that wanted to forget your daughter! You wanted to start a new life!” Raven snickered more, “you were the one who broke the rule, and now you paid. Silly me to forget!” Raven crossed her arms smiling and started to laugh. I stood up and walked towards her. Ready to kill her, this woman, this thing! Took my wife! Took my daughter!
Before I could grab her flashing red and blue lights shined in from the windows.
“When you make a deal with me! Don’t go back on your words!” Raven glared at me, “you’ll still forget your daughter but very, very slowly now! And you’ll suffer more KNOWING you murdered both your wife and your daughter. You will spend the rest of your remaining life in prison on death row!”
As the police kicked in the door, they screamed at me to get on the floor. I slowly turned, putting my hands on my head as they handcuffed me then slammed me to the floor. My ex’s dim eyes stared at me the whole time.
They take me out of the house. My neighbors look on from the streets, probably happy to know the cops weren’t there for them. “Caw. Caw.” A bird calls out I turn to see a black bird sitting on my car. Beside it was a music box, it picks it up and flies away.
“Weird to see a crow out tonight.” A police officer speaks up.
“My grandpa used to tell me crows were the carriers of the souls.” Another police officer said before they put me in the back of a cruiser.
I sit in my cell with my head in my hands. They keep asking me where I buried my daughter’s body, but I can’t remember! I can’t remember! It doesn’t matter how many times I tell them that. They don’t believe me. They haven’t given me my last day, but I’m counting down…
There’s a damn crow that sits outside my cell’s window, always making sounds like its mocking me! That it’s free and I am locked in here! I even swear it plays a music box that plays a haunting melody! The guards and other inmates call me crazy. They don’t hear it! I even saw a woman wearing all black with purple eyes standing outside my cell a few times, giggling!
They don’t believe me! They don’t believe me! I’m not crazy! G******N IT, I’M NOT CRAZY!
My little girl’s bright smile still haunts me. Her giggle now reminds me of nails on a chalkboard. Day after day a few more memories of her are forgotten. I fear the day I can’t remember her own name, my sweet little Emily.