Thank you for your patience. Below is the conclusion of Alma. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it . . .
Alma (part 2)
Frustrated, I kicked it and lashed out at it with my fists, pounding and yelling. I could feel panic rising inside me like flood waters. Holly, eyes wide and sparkling with tears, had backed into a corner. With both hands over her mouth she watched me bash at the attic door. I knew that my irrational behavior was frightening her. I must have looked like a candidate for a padded cell.
Finally exhausted, I put my back to the door and took deep breaths, trying to steady my nerves.
Holly was sobbing now.
Across the room, a ray of sunlight hit the glass of Alma’s old picture and sparkled there like a tiny light bulb.
(I should never have come back here.)
“I should never have come back here.”
“Mom,” Holly whispered through her fingers. “What’s the matter? Dad knows we’re here. He’ll come and get us.”
I sighed and plunked down on a box next to my daughter. “Of course he will, Honey. Of course he will.”
I felt the need to explain my actions to my daughter, although I wasn’t sure she was old enough to know about Alma.
“I was always afraid of Alma,” I began with a hoarse whisper.
(Alma could always hear . . .)
Briefly, I explained my fears. How Alma, born with a caul over her face, could do things: like move things and make herself or us bleed. Alma could roll her big blue eyes back until only the whites showed and make things happen.
What I didn’t tell her was about the day when Alma was twelve and I was thirteen. About the day when I put my hands around my little sister’s throat and squeezed until blood oozed from her nose and ears. Squeezed the nasty life out of my own sister right here, in this attic. Tied her heavy, lifeless body to the huge beams above and scrawled her suicide note.
When I had finished the story, I looked up—expecting that Holly would have questions.
I wasn’t prepared for the smirk on her face. Blood trickled from her little pug nose.
“Honey, did you cut your . . .”
A hideous chuckle gurgled from my daughter’s smiling lips. I watched as her eyes rolled back until only the whites showed.
Horrified, I heard the tinkling of the nails inside their dusty glass jars. Like a hideous torrent of black rain those nails flew toward me.
Blinded by the flying steal, I heard only part of Alma’s words before the tip of Dad’s screwdriver stopped my heart.
“Now, we’re even, sis . . .”
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