Christmas Eve and the heartless child

Once upon a time on a dark Christmas Eve the neighbours heard a familiar sound coming from the house next door. They say all they ever hear is raised voices and screams. They thought nothing out of the ordinary, but the very next day they saw police cars and heard whispers that proved otherwise. The whispers added up to a horrific, unexpected, and gruesome tale.

And this is how the tale begins…

“I told her not to watch tv, because she needed to get sleep,” the mother continues in such a way that makes the child angry. She was in fact not watching anything that night, but of course, the worst was assumed. She was, after all, the most spoilt brat who ever lived in the house, but still, like any other child, she wanted the truth to be told. The blood was boiling in her stomach, they thought she was asleep, what could she do? She knew the story had been turned and twisted to make her sound bad. The talking bad of her continued for some time. Did they know she was awake? Surely they did. Or maybe the parents enjoyed talking ill of their child any hour of the day, whether she could overhear or not?

Christmas was the very next day, the child was frightened that it would not be enjoyed because she had behaved in a somewhat disgusting way. Her sister would be coming home, and she just knew that she would not tolerate if the family lunch was disturbed by the child’s rudeness, because, after all, she does not like her family meals ruined because of her. Fearing that she had dug a hole almost too deep to subside from, the child thought of the perfect way to make it up to her mother and she was proud of her idea.

The next morning the child did not come down to open presents with the rest of the family, but the family continued to forget about her existence in the family when she wasn’t being rude and selfish, so they opened them all without her and only remembered when there were three mysterious presents left. Two were for the horrific excuse for a daughter and one was for the mother. The mother was confused; where had it come from? She read the card, which said, word for word: Dear Mother, your present is one that no one else can give you. Let’s just say it came straight from the heart. Excited, the mother opened the wrapping with carelessness and there it was, in a cardboard box – her daughter’s bleeding heart.

No one knows what happened precisely after that. Some say the mother went into shock and experienced several seizures as the ambulance arrived. Some say that the ambulance was called to take the heartless child who lay on her bed to be cremated and the heart that was pulled out of her was placed on the table next to the roast potatoes for the family meal that she so often ruined.

What?

Everyone says that near death experiences brings on the feeling of your life flashing before your eyes, and that, later on, makes you want to live a more fulfilled, happy life. I’ve heard this tale many times; I’m sure everyone has. I always wonder what would pop into my head at my last moments, or my near last moments. Truth is, we all think it might be something important; something life changing. What if the whole experience is useless? What if the only things you can concentrate are the meaningless things? Despite how amazing the whole thing sounded, I never, ever, wanted to go through it. Ever. But I guess people don’t have a choice in that sort of thing, I mean, if you believe in destiny.

I guess I should start with the day it happened . . . if you want.

I wish I could say it was a nice morning, but it wasn’t. It was raining, but it was hot at the same time and as soon as I left the house I could feel myself beginning to stick to my school dress. There was a lot of debate in my mind of which song was suitable to listen to in such conditions, and it took me almost the whole way down my hill to give up and just listen to one. Many things were running through my mind and the time passed quickly. I had already begun to regret wearing my hair down that day; it was sticking to my face. When I reached the first road I had to wait for a while to cross. There was nothing that got me angrier than waiting for parents in cars dropping off their children. Honestly, sometimes I would be late for school if I did not just walk in front of them all. They always see me, so they always stop.  Just as I walk inside the gates I change the song to one that reminds me of him. My heart skips a beat and my lips curl into a discreet little smile. Only he could make me smile like that without being around. As I turn the corner I hear a familiar voice call out my name and I pull out my headphones and turn around. There he was. My best friend.

We speak like awkward couples, only using small talk to fill the space between there and his locker room. I don’t mind though, I’m happy he even spoke my name. While putting my books away I smile into my locker, reliving every second. My unreturned love is a rainbow, it will never be returned, but it’s still beautiful. I tuck my hair behind my ear and sneak a glance in the bathroom mirror just visible from my locker and walk out with my books ready for my next class.

The whole day went by as any other, there was nothing special, nothing odd. It was normal. I would have expected some sort of sign. It would have been nice to know my life would soon be ending. There were so many things I would have done, so many things I needed to do. But that’s life, ironically. There one minute, and then it’s gone.

I was standing at that busy road again, my music playing loudly in my ears. I just wanted to get out of the heat and to be home. My hair had ended up in an old borrowed hair tie, and it was in need of some washing. I looked to the left, there was a car coming and it was turning. I grew impatient as it slowly made its way down the road. I tapped my hands on my outer thigh, trying to show them that I was in a hurry. When they finally turned the corner another car came. It continued like this for some time and I stayed put in the same place, but someone behind me walked straight out onto the road. Normally, my thoughts were that this girl was an idiot.

There was no sound when it happened, nothing but the sound of brakes squealing softly, it was no different to how they sounded at a red light. I stood in horror. What just happened? People began getting out of cars and the woman who was driving pushed open her door and ran around to the front where she stood crying, shaking and muttering something. I went over to look at the car. There was a dint in the front, but it was only small. “Don’t worry,” I said to the woman, “I’ll get my phone.” But she didn’t listen to me. It was obvious that she was in shock as more and more people came over, one person being sensible enough to call an ambulance. Under the car was a thick puddle of blood, I knew it was too late to do anything for this girl. I could just feel that she wouldn’t be waking up. I wanted to know who she was. Was she in my year level? Have I spoken to her? Who was she?

When the sirens broke the tense air something clicked into place and I started to feel very odd. I started to tap people on the shoulder, hey, I said, look at me. But their eyes never met me. My legs began to buckle, but they weren’t carrying any weight anymore. When the paramedics pulled the girl from under the car I saw the same face as I did every morning. I followed her into the ambulance, I followed her all the way to the hospital and I sat with her. Her bruised body was weak, and her parents were worried to the point of panicking. What would they do without their little girl?

When we had a moment alone I looked at her, then I asked her why she had been so stupid. It was all over now. Was there light in the future for her? I wanted to go, I was ready. She wasn’t.

As soon as he walked in, tear stained and unlike himself I knew what was going to happen. He sat beside the bed and cried the silent cries. He didn’t have to say it, but I knew he was thinking it, there was regret falling from his eyes. Regret of not saying what needed to be said. Slowly, he moved closer, his lips inching closer, closer to her – my ear, and then I heard the whisper. The whisper that told me it was okay. It told me that this was my life and it was flashing before my eyes. He was here, but when I stepped back into my body he was gone.

And so was I.