story by: Anna Grave
“I had another vision today…” I told my dad that morning. He looked up from the paper and gave me an odd look.
“You mean dream…” he said.
“Sure. Something like that…” I said frustrated. He never believed me. Even when it was true. I knew I was special. It hadn’t been the first time I’d predicted something that later came true. But of course the visions were so confusing, that I couldn’t understand what they meant until they had already happened. “And in this …dream,” I selected the more proper word. “I saw Sarah.” He stopped what he was doing completely.
“Shut your mouth McKenna. Don’t even joke about that,” he said in a voice so faint, that I couldn’t take him seriously.
“But I’m not…” I whispered as he got up and left the room. “She was there. And alive. And it felt …all too real…” I choked back tears, thinking of my twin sister, who was killed three years ago.
“McKenna!” I heard her voice. Just a fragile memory at risk of being erased forever.
“What?” I had asked her, alarmed.
“Come with me to the pier,” she insisted smiling.
“What’s so great about the pier?”
“The ocean… the sea salt filling every single breath. The monstrous roar of the ocean. The waves crashing onto the beach, making the world seem like an actual peaceful place. Isn’t a nice feeling? Peace. No war. No violence. No killing. Just looking out at God’s work of art. His painting, with its vast arrays of blues and greens.” She always had a way with words.
“Alright Madam Shakespeare, we’ll go,” I had said getting up. She grinned. We had walked to the ocean. It hadn’t been too far. Only a ten minute walk from the house. Halfway there and I could already see what she meant by the sea salt in the air. You could literally taste it. Finally at the pier we sat down. It was just as she had described. The sun had begun to set, and it made the sky range from an iridescent purple to a vibrant orange. They had blended together so well, it made me think it was just one beautiful indescribable color.
I fast forwarded the parts I wanted to forget. I briefly saw her convincing us to go swimming. I saw the tides getting stronger, the jagged rocks, and the fear in her eyes. I heard her voice, praying, as we were both drowning in the ocean she had so many times called serene. “ SOMMMEEE-“ My head bobbed under the salty water. “HEEELLLPPP-“ I heard her again when I resurfaced. The waves pushed me below the surface for the second time. “FOORR GOD’S SAKE!” was the last thing I heard. When I fought up to the surface a third time, I heard nothing.
What I saw was much worse. Sarah was nowhere to be found. “SARAH!” I screamed desperately swallowing tons of saltwater in doing so. I got no reply.
I was obviously saved, after battling with the tides another few minutes. I wish I could say the same about Sarah. Right from the moment I saw that she was gone, I began preparing myself for the words, “Your sister is dead.” It was bizarre actually hearing them. I felt like those words weren’t directed at me. Instead they were for some other poor girl, next to me. But they were for me and only me.
The sea was a very ugly place for me now. I had nightmares of it, swallowing me whole and dragging me down to the very bottom. But this ‘dream’ I was telling my father about, wasn’t a dream at all. It felt too real. I was too aware, for it to be an average nightmare. It was a vision. I was certain.
And in this vision, I had been walking along the beach, when I heard my name.
“McKenna…” It had whispered delicately like the wind. I spun around. No one was there. Then there was no sound. Like the entire world was on mute. I couldn’t hear a thing. Even the waves, crystal clear waters lapping onto the shore, had failed to make a sound. Then they stopped moving. They were completely still like a frozen frame.
I looked into the water that suddenly acted like a glass mirror. I had seen my reflection. The strange thing was that the mirror version’s mouth was moving a mile an hour, reciting some prayer or other string of words.
That’s when I had realized this wasn’t me at all. The expression began changing subtly, little by little, until it looked at me with furrowed eyebrows and an evil scowl. I leaned in closer to the water.
The reflection’s arm reached out towards my throat in a quick motion. Then my hearing snapped back to normal. “It was YOU that was supposed to die!” it had yelled coming out of the water.
And then I knew. It wasn’t me. It was Sarah. I fell back, startled. I began to crawl out of her grasp. Her arms were like crooked tree branches, desperately trying to grab hold of one of my legs. I felt her ice cold hand grab hold of my ankle. She had begun to pull me towards the water. There was nothing to hold on to. My nails dug into the sand, trying to get a grip. But it just slipped out from between my fingers.
I had begun to miss the silence. All the sounds around me had been amplified so loud, I felt my ears bleeding. The roar of the waves, my screaming, and Sarah’s vengeful cackle were all to blame. But then my prayers were answered. Everything got quite once again.
“You were the one who was supposed to drown,” was the last thing I had heard, before my head was forcefully shoved under the water.
My vision ended there. I learned two things. Sarah was alive. And Sarah did not like being dead. But how could Death get us confused? We did look very much alike, but someone such as Death never made a mistake.
There was only one way to put this case to rest. I walked to the pier. It was a haunting place to visit. A place that did nothing but taint my childhood memories. I looked out at the water. It was calm. “Nothing to fear…” I told myself biting my thumbnail. I took a deep breath and repeated that over and over again.
I looked out one last time, and was able to see it as I had the first time. A work of art, and not the black hole I’d feared. I began walking away with a smile on my face.
“If you’re not scared come closer…”I heard when I turned around.
“…no…” I whispered. I didn’t want this vision to come true.
“What’s the matter?” I heard a smile in Sarah’s raspy whisper.
“Leave me alone!” I yelled into the ocean. I should’ve started to run away. But the whisper continued to taunt me. I heard her laughing. There was nothing worse than this feeling. I walked up to the water. “If you’re gonna kill me do it already!” I yelled, tears beginning to well up in my eyes. I felt them run down my cheek, my voice as shaky as usual. I started to curse. I went through every single word I knew forward and backward.
“Silly Sarah. Why would I do that?” she asked. I opened my mouth to yell back, but I heard another voice.
“McKenna! Who are you talking to?” It was my father. I turned around and saw him standing behind me. I ran into his arms sobbing.
“Please make it stop,” I repeated over and over like some rehearsed chant. I looked back at the ocean. And heard what my father could not. Sarah’s vengeful cackle. I would say my vision had come true, even if I wasn’t pulled under the water that day. But I did drown.
Thoughts. Ideas.Words. They filled my head until I could not breathe. I wish I was Sarah. I wish I had died. I was actually drowning every day. I made an effort to stay sane all those years, after seeing my twin die. It was just like treading water. I really wish there was just someone who would drag me under. And put an end to everything.
McKenna’s father sent her to a mental hospital a week later, where she tried to learn to cope with her twin’s death. She continued to get these visions and still hears her sister’s voice.