by Kate Ward ’23
Like every other house on the street, their house was modern: a sleek black exterior with a white interior and a veiny granite counter. The house was sparsely decorated and resembled an emergency room in its cleanliness. It seemed to have a permanent draft as the tan curtains always fluttered as if a pixie was shaking them. However, for the newlywed couple, this house was home, despite all of its shadowy corners and harsh lines. Saoirse and her husband Dominic married shortly after graduating college and didn’t hesitate to have children. The pair was blessed with one child, a baby girl named Ada. As Ada grew, she developed a wild imagination and didn’t hesitate to create elaborate games with her father, which involved running around the house draped in blankets, shouting made-up spells. Saoirse was a worried mother and always fretted to her husband, cautioning them to be more careful and not to trip over the blankets.
Due to Ada’s imagination, it came as no shock that as she entered elementary school, she would come home bursting with vibrant stories of a girl named Victoria who helped her through science and math. However, after consulting the teacher, the parents found out there was no girl in Ada’s grade named Victoria. In fact, there was no one in the school with the name. Saoirse began to worry, fretting to her husband each evening about their little Ada. As a precaution, the pair had Ada evaluated. The doctor assured them that Victoria was a figment of Ada’s imagination and that it was a very common occurrence in small children, especially children with no siblings. The parents were able to breathe a sigh of relief as they finally got to the root of Victoria, but the buck didn’t stop there. As Ada grew, the stories grew as well, both in detail and in sinister nature. Victoria had begun to appear in Ada’s room, however, when Dominic went to check, no one was there. Yet, Ada insisted that Victoria was there, insisted that they were just talking. Finally, after nine years of stories, Ada stopped seeing the girl.
The day Ada turned twelve, she told her mother that after three years of not seeing Victoria, she saw Victoria in her bedroom last night. And thus, the stories began again. Ada progressed in school and was acing her classes through middle and high school, excelling particularly in science and math. She began college and, like every other pair of parents, Saoirse and Dominic were proud and mostly relieved to finally be rid of the tales of Victoria.
Things were calm while Ada was away, but then they slowly began to spiral out of control. Dominic flicked through the news each morning, paying close attention to the crime reports and how murder rates had begun to climb. He and Saoirse invested in new locks on the doors and cameras, both indoors and outdoors, but it did little to ease their minds. One evening while Saoirse blew her hair dry, the bathroom door eased open.
“Dominic, what do you need, love?” she asked, shaking the blow dryer back and forth over her hair.
“Oh, nothing,” said a female voice. “Hello, Saoirse.”
Saoirse jumped out of her skin, the dryer clattering to the granite counter. She looked at the woman and asked, “I’m sorry, who are you?”
“You know exactly who I am,” she said, lifting a bloodied knife to her lips, sucking the arterial blood from it.
Cold sweat slithered down Saoirse’s spine, tears bubbling over her lash line, “Where’s Dominic?”
“You know.” She smiled and lowered the knife. “Turns out I was real all along, hm?”
“Victoria,” Saoirse whispered. A terrible squelching noise came from her stomach as the knife was rammed into it.