By: Adora Brown

London was beautiful in the winter. Ponds had frozen over so the children could skate after school. Snow piled upon every surface, and ice danced through intricate curves. My sister and I would skate every day after classes. We’d spend hours outside, Rose and I, until our cheeks were flushed and our fingertips were numb. Mother would make piping hot stew that would send a warm chill through our frozen spines. It was a good, simple life we lived. Until I got sick.

They warned us about tuberculosis. It was bolded in the newspaper as they highlighted instances of outbreaks around the world. But mother would hold us close and promise nothing nasty like that would ever reach us. We thought it was just a cough. A simple, winter cough.

I died December 14, 1907. I’m surrounded by this house, bombarded with memories like a rushing stream. Memories of the lake my sister Rose and I would swim in every summer. Memories of my mother’s cooking or of my father sitting in his chair reading the paper. The worst ones haunt me at night, when the air is chill and the house is silent. The only thing to fill the void, the silence, are my own twisted thoughts and recollections. That familiar pain settles deep in my chest, pushing through my ribcage and spreading through the expanse of my lungs. I can’t breathe, my vision blurs. There is pain and I remember this pain and it never ends. I’m drowning, but on the inside. I can’t swim to the surface and take a deep gulp of air because there is no surface. Only water and blood. Blood, that perfect crimson red singed into my memories. Reliving my death every night. Because I’ve forgotten my sister’s face and my mother’s laugh. I’ve forgotten the feeling of humanity and now I’m a shell of a girl who can’t escape her twisted fate.