“Hey Sylvia, look what I found,” I called out with hushed voice at my friend, Sylvia. Sylvia and I had sneaked into Mrs. Whales attic two hours after she vacated the premises. Mrs. Whales was an old neighbor occupying one of Sylvia’s father’s houses on the east wing of 57 Picacent Street. Her son probably figured that his mother was old and needed to be around young folks, so he decided to bring her over to Texas to live with his family. Good tidings for old Mrs. Whales, I thought with relief, remembering how she would chase I and Sylvia around with her three-wheeled walking stick whenever we teased her.
Seeing the way she wobbled without balance always made us burst into laughter. I never knew I would miss her till now, just the way I felt that being in her apartment even after she left was felony and theft.
Sylvia lifted her head a bit from inside the big box, she had been bent over for the past ten minutes, searching for unidentified object to auction off course, I thought with a snigger.
“A statue,” she said and scowled her face in disappointment. The way she did it made her look like old grump from penny’s adventure book—if you get what I mean. “Not good,” she said and shook her head in disapproval. I stared her over, wincing at her poor taste of choice. “You’re such a dunce, Sylvia to call Mary Morris’ statue trash.”
“Who’s Mary Morris?” she asked befuddled.
“Mary Morris is the best Giselle ballet dancer. Remember we use to read a lot about her then when we were younger attending Miss Flash’s ballet classes, down at Norway streets.”.
“Gawd!” she exclaimed with a loud chortle. She looked more like the blooming of the hibiscus flower. “The famous dancer that reigned from 1920 to 1925. She made her break when she did the Giselle dance?” I nodded like a kind of dummy and she yelped wildly then snatched the gold statue from me without the slightest polite world as an excuse. She took her time examining the statue with pride and happiness. She must really think she had won a jackpot. Well I just hope that she doesn’t forget that I found the statue.
“Its truly her, Lois, and it’s all pure gold. Old Whales must really had been a fan or something,” Sylvia said more like a statement than a question. “Such a rare and genuine antique, I wonder why Old Mrs. Whales could have forgotten it for the world.”
“I think it’s rather,” I said, a question of why she abandoned such a beauty in a grotty attic.”
“Because she is nuts,” Sylvia said and caught my mean stare. “Am I not right?” she asked asked me. “I have always known that old woman was weird, but I did not know that she nuts as well. I didn’t mention that she was also blind technically not to have noticed the beauty in this,” Sylvia said without a second thought to the words she altered. “We are keeping it,” she said and began to tuck it away in the daffy bag we came up with.
“I think that should fare better and would be of more value to the City Museum,” I said.
“The museum?” She was dazzled by my utterances as she kept moping at me unbelievingly. “You’re so ridiculous, Lois. I can’t believe that we risked our asses, trespassed by getting up here, searching this stall, smelly, contaminated, dingy attic filled with old junks only for you to suggest that we give away this beauty to the museum, just like that?”
“I thought that’s the best and safest place for something of that worth,” I stuttered not comprehending Sylvia’s view point.”
“I will tell you where this statue will be and be safe—in my room,” she said and threw the statue into the daffy bag and zipped it. “Instead of standing here representing the museum spokesman, I think you’d better bend down and see if you can find something worth, something that fits staying in a museum, forever,” she whispered to me, stressing the word ‘forever’ as if mocking me or something. Either way, I clearly deciphered the sarcastic tone of her voice and ire knotted my intestine as I watched her bend towards the same box she’d been searching for the end of the world.
An hour later, we both settled in Sylvia’s room, the medium gold statues gracing her vanity table like some kind of special award. I envied her for the different but paramount look it gave her room. “Remember I found that statue,” I said as I chewed on the fried chicken, her mother had served us with diet Pepsi once we got to their apartment.
“Remember the attic is part of this house which belongs to my father and the vacated tenant was our tenant,” she fired back without even looking my way.
“It’s just not fair,” I cried.
“Nothing’s ever fair, Lois, so get used to that,” she said without the bit of emotion and chewed on the bone marrow in her hand, she sucked it clean. “Nothing like leaving a clean slate,” she said with a sly smile. I kept mute knowing there was no way I could fight her. I have never been able to, ever since we grew up together.
Our house was down the west side on the same street. My father had built the house just like her father built theirs, except that we have a married couple as tenants and not some old weirdoes. I thought about old Mrs. Whales; she was kind and gentle, except of course for her weird look and hysterical attitude. She was no fun to be with except when she chased us around when Sylvia made me poke or play pranks on her. She always made me do several wrong things. Maybe because she was more heavily built than I was.
We were of the same age—fourteen—but not with the same right amount of protruding breasts. Her boobs were fuller, making me look like some wimp to her. Sure enough, she made better use of the opportunity by turning me to one. Because of her rapid growth and massive appearance, she bossed me around and I hated it when I was bossed around, most especially when cheated. Sylvia was used to that quite a lot. Once she had snatched my boyfriend when we were thirteen because she thought that she had it all to keep a boyfriend, and now she has taken away the statue I found.
Yet I could do nothing about it. I found the statue and as such, it should belong to me and should be decorating my room and not Sylvia’s. I was highly embittered and anger swelled up in my head and settled in my stomach in vengeance.
“I am pressed,” I heard Sylvia say as she stood up. “I want to use the toilet. I will just take a minute,” she added. I watched her rush out through the only door in her room, heading for the toilet down the hall, downstairs. Once she was gone, my eyes returned to the beautiful statue of the most beautiful ballerina that ever lived. It made me feel bad that I couldn’t have her. I watched her, her two hands were raised and linked over her head, both her toes on a tip toe, pinned to the ground. Her ballerina skirt, hung on the air in a swirl, around her thin waist. She was all in gold and yet very beautiful as ever. I wondered what cloth she wore the day she took the snap shot.
Consciously, I fell to the bed, my face raised to the white ceiling, my eyes closed. I tried to envision her dancing in her time. I wasn’t born during her era, but I have read lots of books and archived articles about her. I have also watched a lot of her dancing documentary videos of her. I had admired the legend, the first time I read about her, I fell in love with her, the moment I watched her video. I idolized her, made her my role model when I joined the ballerina dance school. She was indeed very beautiful but died painfully and shamefully too. She was stabbed seven times on the chest after a brutal rape, the night she performed the thrilling Giselle dance. I shook my head sadly in pity.
Abruptly ire consumed my soul, daring to suffocate me. I still couldn’t stop feeling cheated and used by Sylvia. A gush of anger jabbed at my chest and I felt as if my whole being was being tied into a knot. Suddenly, I heard a clarion bang somewhere around me and raised my head to find the cause of the noise. Something must have fallen, I thought. Afterall, what else could explain the noise?
The noise came again as a heavy gust of wind stole my breath. My chest palpitated rapidly and I froze immediately as the turned off ceiling fan came alive causing, me to sweat profusely. The whirling noise tortured my ears; it was like the sound of a butcher’s knife slashing a succulent flesh.
The light in the room began to go off and on. I rose up and rushed to the door but it shut to my face before I could get out. My back to the door, I stared around searchingly. Everything in the room seemed to have come alive. I thought I could hear them talking all at the same time. You know the experience when you have this spooky feeling that you are being watched?
That was how I began to feel the instance the room stared to talk. I turned to the door and began to banged on it, screaming at the top of my voice. Somebody had to hear me, I thought as raw, hot tears cascaded down my face. The airs on my back stood as if something was behind me. I swerved around in time but I saw nothing except for some weird laughter that filled the room and pungent stench like rotten egg that polluted the air. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I turned to the door and began to bang on it again, this time more fiercely and desperately.
I called on Sylvia’s name, I called on her mother, but no one came. Suddenly, the room was plunged into darkness. I held my breath and waited, my eyes searched the darkness as my whimpering was overshadowed by the zillion voices coming from all directions in the room.
I thought I saw a bat fly towards me, I closed my eyes afraid that it would poke on my eyes but it vanished like a gust of wind just before it got to me. The room was still laughing when I heard a soft call of my name in the darkness. I refused to answer and shut my eyes tightly. Someone was calling my soul away, I thought as the voice came again. I clasped my hands to my ears, My eyes shut tightly. I hate to see how I die, I mumbled as my feet wobbled beneath me.
I felt myself almost urinate on my panties. Someone was pushing the door suddenly. It took me a while to register that it was from outside. Just as the door gave way, all the noise died away. Sylvia entered from the open door and stared at me amusingly.
“Are you alright?” she asked. I nodded. “You sure look like ghost,” she said and headed to the vanity table and picked up the statue just in time for me to see its cold, bloody eyes, smiling in hatred.
“Drop that!” I screamed.
“Are you nuts?” Sylvia asked me as if I was some weirdo. “I told you, you can’t have it,” she said with a mischievous grin. I ran out through the door without turning back. I heard her laughing at me and knew it wouldn’t last long. “The gold statue is mine!” she screamed amidst the laughter. I ignored her and ran to the only place, I knew I would be safe—my room.
The next morning, an ambulance came down the street and parked in front of Sylvia’s house. As the her dead body and that of her parents were brought out the next morning, I blamed no one but myself. I alone knew the mystery behind their death. I had brought their death and Sylvia had claimed it. The instant her body was led towards me, to the ambulance, I saw the golden statue clasped tightly in her arms, lying on her bosom. It was looking as shinning as very and its face most lovely. A patrol policeman took it just before I could reach for it.
“This is lovely,” he said and hid it in a small bag he carried. “Marian would be so glad I brought the statue of her idolized role model home.”
“Who’s Marian, sir?” I asked.
“She’s my six-year-old daughter, she is a ballerina,” he said and bent towards me. “Hey,” he whispered, “don’t tell anyone that I have this.”, Then he smiled sweetly. I nodded just in time to comprehend what he meant.
I searched out in the large crowd looking for him but I couldn’t find him, so I asked another policeman about him. “He just left now,”, the policeman said. “This isn’t his case”, he added as if knowing I would ask him why he left. “Why are you looking for him?” he asked. “Any problem?” I shook my head and raced home, knowing that I and Sylvia has unleashed a terribly plague on the world by releasing the soul of the dead Mary Morris.
And that each day somebody dies because of that statue I would feel very guilty and responsible, just as I feel now about the demise of my best friend and her parents.
Well, there will be no more deaths as long as I can stop it, I mused and ran home to make a call. I had seen the policeman’s badge and his name before he left with the statue. All I have to do is find his name in the phone directory, call him with explanations and have that evil statue buried somewhere far away.
If only it will be so easy, I thought idyllically. Now I know why old Mrs. Whales locked it up in her attic. She was aware of its evil and was trying to keep it away from the world. Maybe, she was really not so nuts and old as Sylvia thought.
As I picked the telephone, I suddenly realized that someone was staring at me from behind. I felt the presence because the hairs at the back of my head stood on ends and my feet wobbled beneath me, but when I swerved around, I saw nothing but two red eyes that suddenly vanished as my eyes meet it.
It was then that it occurred to me that the statue feeds also on anger. I was angry that Sylvia took it from me thereby, I unconsciously roused the statue as well as fueled its powers.
If only anyone in possession of it could put their ire in check, then maybe, the evil could be stopped for a while, I thought as I began to dial the ten-digit number belonging to the patrol policeman. I have got to warn him. The phone rang for almost ten times without answer. However when finally it was picked, I heard a raspy, hushed, ghostly whisper at the end of the line and knew that the lightning had struck yet again.