“Don’t Die” for Story A Day May: Day Five

“Don’t Die”

Ophelia sighs. That run was just what she needed – and, with Marilyn finally safely in rehab, she was able to just run, without worrying what was going on with her sister.

Strange, that she’d always thought the daughter Sean Martin had with his lawfully wedded wife had it better than the illegitimate one he’d made on a Hawaiian fling. But she’d had a loving, stable mother, and a happy home. Her mom had always told her that she was “the pearl of great price” in her life.

That’s not how it had been for Marilyn.

Her mother had resented the child she’d been left with, and hated the man who left her. She’d gone into a downward spiral of alcohol, then drugs.

Maybe it’s no wonder Marilyn is in the predicament she’s in. She’s been exposed to those things since she was only a baby. Maybe she’d never had a chance.

Ophelia is trying not to feel guilty about that. It’s not like she was there, and it’s not like Marilyn’s father had told her own mother that he already had a wife and child. No, he’d saved that until later, when he was ready to go home to that family, leaving Misa to discover she was pregnant, and raise Ophelia alone.

But now she’s here, and she’s seen what happened to Marilyn. She wants to call her mother, thank her for bearing the burden of raising a daughter all alone, and doing in it a way that always let her think that burden was some kind of a gift. She wants to go back in time, to fix things for Marilyn, but that’s not possible.

She can only help fix them going forward. And only if Marilyn’s ready, and willing to do a hell of a lot of very hard work to get herself clean, and learn other ways of coping.

Ophelia hopes she is.

She gets to her door. She’s got a tiny studio apartment, with an alcove by the door she calls her “office.” She loves this place – the first one she’s ever had all of her own.

She lets herself in, and turns to hang her keys in their place in the alcove –

Her hand covers her mouth, the keys jabbing into her lip, cold and metallic-tasting.

The whiteboard in her office alcove has a message that wasn’t there when she left.

“Whatever happens, don’t die. See you Monday.”

It’s scrawled, but not in dry-erase marker, because it’s dripping. Paint?

Is it meant to be some kind of joke?

Is it a threat?

Who wrote it?

There is a sudden sound from further into the apartment – from the corner where she had her daybed, screened by mosquito netting, to remind her of home. She clutches the keys, wriggling them so they poke out between her fingers like weapons, and peers around the corner in the direction of her bed.

She can see something mounded there. It isn’t her laundry – that’s overflowing its basket beside the bed, not on it – or the bedding, because she made the bed before she left.

Then the shape moves, with a soft moaning sound.

What or who is in Ophelia’s apartment?

Is it the same person who wrote the message?

Is the message a warning – or a threat?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another installment, and we can explore this new story seed together!

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