The three sudden knocks of the judge’s mallet propelled a wave of fear through her body. Without hesitation, the guards standing at the door were now striding over to her small sister. Forcing her fragile hands into strong metal handcuffs. She screamed and clawed at the guards. Too young to fully comprehend the consequences. The memory of the last time she saw her sister.
The cold air of the September morning started to roll through from underneath the door. The air grasping for life as it filled each corner of the house and started to attack the candles that were lit. The azure sky concealed every inch of Madeline’s window. She cracked opened her eyes slightly, and took a deep breath of bitter air. She lifted herself out of her bed, leaving behind the imprint her small stature made. Sweeping her long blonde hair into a bun while strands of blonde hair tumbled out of the sides. She tossed a quick glance at the old mirror that hung crookedly on her dusted walls. She couldn’t help but to observe the small collection of freckles running across her nose and up towards her sparkling blue eyes. Walking towards her door, Madeline realised it was somewhat open. She vividly remembered closing it that night. Confused, she firmly walked towards her hallway and peered out cautiously. At the end of the long corridor was Madeline’s parents room. The door covered in what now seemed to be dilapidated wood and holes, stood tall and menacing towards her. She picked up the soft sound of her parent’s television in their bedroom.
Were they up?
After Taking several steps towards the door, she softly placed her hand on the handle and turned it with ever so patience. As she did a blow of brisk, unfriendly air flew from behind the door. She braced herself for the gushing winds that lay ahead. She turned the handle and opened the door as fast as she could, as if to fight against the strong force pushing the door closed. The cold air propelled her hair back as it danced in the air. She felt a warm trickle glide against the bottom of her foot. She focused her vision to the floor and saw her mother and father lying in an expanding pool of blood.
Madeline shrieked as loud as her lungs would allowed her. The shrill sound stopped abruptly as her vocal chords strained. Her sister Kaitlyn scampered from downstairs, thudding against the wooden staircase, only to find the same horrific sight Madeline had, with the exception of Madeline now on the ground wailing in disbelief and terror.
The two girls both scrambled to the upstairs living room where a silent phone stood, unused and untouched. Madeline frantically dialed the police, while standing there listening to the soft, repeating tone. She hadn’t taken notice of her sister, but as she glanced towards her she realized that Kaitlyn was drenched in blood. She had not seen her sister go anywhere near their now dead parents.
Madeline started to race through multiple ideas of what to do. Madeline’s one desire in that moment was to escape this nightmare, but instead she was stranded in complete confusion and madness, exasperating to make sense of it all.
The calm voice of the phone operator only made her aggravated. How could she not understand the agony she was in? Madeline stumbled to the corner of the room and with each step her stomach tightened and ached. She clung to the phone as if it was a life raft, while she broke into a cold sweat. Shaking and screaming at the operator to hurry, she swung her head to look at her sister. From Madeline’s perspective she looked calm except for the small trail of her sorrows left in the form of a tear.
The short moment of tension before the police arrived was petrifying. Countless thoughts scrambled through Madeline’s mind. She closed her eyes and covered her ears, as if doing so would stop the overflow of thoughts, impelling her insane.
While Madeline was questioned by the police, her mind was elsewhere. She responded with short, sharp answers and was making an effort not to collapse into a crying heap, as of the trauma she had just suffered.
An hour passed before the sister’s grandparents arrived. For the week Madeline and Kaitlyn were settling with their grandparents, hardly a word fled anyone’s mouth. Madeline used this time to reflect. She thought about her parents and her childhood, trying to focus on memories, a way of grievance. She strained to think of a good commemoration but found herself wandering into a childhood of relinquishment and desertion.
She took herself back to her 11-year-old self rambling in on her parents in the early hours of the morning after having a nightmare. She couldn’t help but observe the white powdered substance they were gathered around on the tabletop. As they threw her out and slammed the door in her face, she was abandoned in a state of curiosity and fear. Again and again, Madeline would glimpse her parents amongst this unknown white substance. The overpowering curiosity left her wandering through her parent’s room, digging for anything that could give her a clue about what her parents were doing. Eventually she was old enough to uncover her parents were inhaling crushed sleeping tablets. The constant neglect and disregard for the children left them frustrated and frightened.
A knock on the door roused her from her daydream and her grandmother opened the door. “Please get out the clothes you are wearing tomorrow, so we aren’t late.”
A simple response was mumbled, as Madeline laid her finest dress over the desk chair. She had almost forgot about going to court tomorrow. Her thoughts drifted to whether it was wrong of her to tell the police her sister already had blood soaked into her clothes when she stumbled up the stairs claiming it was the first time she had seen her parents. Had she destroyed the possibility her sister had of being innocent? Did her sister murder her parents? Did years and years of frustration make Kaitlyn snap?