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my imagination conjured up. Nothing ever showed up though. Time after time as I got older I would make up what-if stories of things actually appearing in the window, and they changed and morphed with age. The ones from the earliest time of my youth contained things of fantasy, like the boogy-man and scary monsters coming to take me away or goble me up. Then came the thoughts of the stupid boys from my class popping up at my window to annoy or pick on me even more than they already did at school. After that came the fear of government agents coming to snatch me away for a dangerous mission I knew I couldn't do or some crazy experiment (I watched one to many movies with government conspiracy I think). Lastly was the fear that some criminal like a robber or serial killer would smash through my window trying to hurt or kill me. As I got older the fears tended towards the more rational side, but were still a little farfetched. The likelihood of some notorious serial killer smashing through my bedroom window was a bit of a stretch. Now at twenty-six those fears seemed a distant memory of times passed. I'd come home for a short stint to visit the family the Christmas season. I sat down on the cushioned bench under the window, snuggled up warm in a blanket looking out into the dark, distracted from book as I got lost in memories. My husband snored loudly as he rolled over in bed, breaking train of thought. I smiled looking over at him. Aleksandr appeared to be such a brute of a man, towering over most at six and a half feet tall. He really wasn't though. Once you get passed the hard exterior, he is about as brutish as a teddy bear. When he sleeps is the so hysterical though, because he looks so innocent. Rather a funny sight to see such a large Russian man looking as innocent as a puppy. He was even funnier when his accent would fluctuate. He always tried so hard to sound American, but the accent was almost never failing. Thump! Something hit the window. My head whipped towards the sound. Staring back at me were a set of bright piercing eyes. I stifled a scream. The moment I blinked though, they were gone. My heart hit against my chest with a paced that matched a runner’s after a race. I swallowed down a lump that developed in my throat and calmed myself. There was no way someone with glowing eyes could have been looking into the twostory bedroom window. I promptly closed my book to go to bed. I got up, leaning down to grab the blanket as it fell from around me. I looked up again and there were the eyes. I screamed. I stood there petrified, staring back at the glowing eyes, set deep in the pale, dimly glowing body of a child. A hoarse whisper rolled from her lips. “The innocence is gone.” Again the second I blinked she was gone. By then my husband had already bolted upright in bed. “Vat happened?” his Russian accents apparent even in just the two words. “I… I thought I saw something.” I sucked in a big gulp of air. “Yoo’re probably just tired, come back to bed Serena.” I picked up the blanket and book I had dropped, setting them on the bench before hastily crawling into bed with Aleksandr. He put his arm around me and I curled up close to him before drifting to sleep. When I woke the next morning, the first thing I did after waking up was looking out the window. Nothing was there of course, but I looked anyways. Aleksandr wasn’t up yet so I went into the bathroom to take a quick shower before waking him up. When I walked into the bathroom, I was greeted by more than my reflection in the mirror though.
Smeared in large red letters across the mirror was the word ‘leave’. I touched it with my finger and saw that it wasn’t blood. It was my expensive red lipstick though, which pissed me off and made me scared at the same time. I rushed into the bedroom to wake my husband. But I saw the window was opened, a breeze flowing in, causing the drapes to dance in its midst. I shook Aleksandr awake. “Honey, let’s get out of the house right now, I’m scared.” “Ughhh,” he groaned as he awoke. “Vat is it?” He rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Come here,” I said urgently. He hauled himself from the bed and slumped after me into the bathroom. “Look,” I said pointing to the red letters on the mirror. “Vhy did yoo write on mirror vith your lipstick?” he grunted. “I didn’t! It was there when I woke up!” “Uhh, maybe your little niece did it?” he was sounding a tiny bit more awake. “My six year old niece? She’s barely big enough to reach the sink, let alone use my lipstick to write a message on the mirror.” “I don’t know vhat say. I didn’t do it.” “Well I’m scared. First I saw the glowing eyes twice last night before I went to sleep. Then this, and after that when I woke you up the window was open, and it was closed and locked when I walked into the bathroom only a minute before.” “Serena, I know your mazza doesn’t like me, and yoo hate coming home to family viz me. If bozers yoo zat much we can get hotel room for ze rest of ze trip. Yoo don’t need to do silly zings to get us to leave.” I was furious at the suggestion that I might have made it up. “Are you serious?! Why on Earth would I do that! I thought I made it clear I didn’t care what my mother thought about the two of us. We’ve been married for three years now, she can get over it.” “Vat yoo want me to say, zat zere is ghost? I have no cloo vhy zose zings happened, or if zey even did for zat matter. Yoo lived in zis house for eighteen years, and did yoo ever vonce see ghost?” “No. But what else could it have been? There was a glowing girl staring at me last night, first through the window, then again in the room when I screamed. She said the innocence is gone. Why the hell would I make up something so strange?” “I don’t know.” “What does the innocence is gone even mean?” “I’m not sure, maybe because I am here? Did yoo ever play around vith ze guys vhile yoo live here?” “None. You’re the only guy that I’d ever brought home, and this is the first time we’ve stayed here and not at a hotel.” “Vell zen zat could be ze problem,” Aleksandr said rolling his eyes. “You know what let’s just drop it, okay?” “Fine.” We spend the day with my sister and her daughter Julia, then after a long day or running around all over the place, came back home. It was dark by the time we got back, and when I went to the bathroom again, there was my red lipstick smeared on the mirror again. This time it said ‘Leave before I make you’. “Alek!” I called. “Vat is it?” he came walking in.
I pointed to the mirror for the second time today. He just stood there speechless. I walked passed him, through the hall, and down the stairs to my mother’s room. I knocked on the door. “Come in,” she said. I walked into her room and she was sitting up in bed watching TV with my dad. “I have something to ask you Mom.” “Mhm, what is it?” “How long has this house been in the family?” “Since the Civil War era, why?” “Has anyone died in this house?” “Yes.” “Who were they?” “Around early twentieth century, about five or six generations before you, a woman by the name of Nancy Langford lived here. She had four daughters, one of which was named Lolita. She died of the Spanish influenza during the Great War the day before her seventh birthday… What is the interest all of a sudden in the house’s history?” “How come you know this story?” “My mother told me this story when I was a little girl living in this house. She always said, don’t bring boys home, or lovely little Lolita will loathe you.” “Is that why you never let me bring guys home?” “No. I just didn’t want your innocence spoiled before you were married. Now what is with all of these questions, did something happen?” I lied. “It’s nothing, I was just talking about ghosts and stuff with Alek and got curious about the house since it’s so old.” “Okay then.” I was about to turn around a leave my parents room, but I stopped short. “By the way, Alek and I will be leaving tomorrow morning. He got a call from his company and they need him back at work pronto.” My mother was already preoccupied with the TV again by that point. “Mhm.” “G’night Dad, g’night Mom,” I walked out, closing the door behind me. I walked back upstairs down the hall and into the bedroom. Aleksandr was already in bed. “Honey, we are leaving first thing tomorrow morning. I want to go home.” “Vhatever yoo vant.” “And… I told my parents you got a call from work saying they needed you back home. So just go with it.” A tiny smiled tugged at the corner of his lips. “Yoo are terrible liar my little Serena. Yoo need be more original next time.” I smiled too.
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