In My Reality

By: Cameo Renae

“Lizzy, will I go to heaven?” Annie asked, standing next to my bed, twirling a strand of her long blonde hair.

I looked into her wide blue eyes and wished I could hold her in my arms and comfort her. But I couldn’t. Because Annie was dead.

“Of course you will,” I breathed.

“Then why am I still here?”

“I think it’s because your parents need to know you’re okay, and you need to know they’ll be fine once you cross over,” I tried to explain. “That’s why you were sent to me. I’m going to help you find them.”

She nodded, sorrowfully. “Do you think they miss me?”

“Of course they miss you. I’m certain they’re heartbroken, and wondering what happened to you.”

Her hands fisted the sides of her frilly pink dress as she twisted side to side. “Do you want to know what happened to me?” she murmured.

No, is what I wanted to say.

I didn’t want to relive the gruesome memories that transpired before and during her death. Having witnessed Michael’s death, through his eyes, nearly killed me inside. The thought of what that sick bastard could have done to this beautiful eight-year-old girl made my stomach turn.

But he was still out there, and if there was any way I could help to put him away, which included witnessing the events which led up to her death…I would do it.

I accepted her offer, and when I fell asleep, Annie showed me what happened.

We’re in a parking lot, and I watch as Annie walks next to her mother, who’s pushing a cart full of food. After they load the trunk of their car, Annie’s mom pulls the cart toward a return area, nearly twenty steps away.

“Annie, wait right here. I’ll be right back,” her mom says, hurrying toward the return stall.

“Okay, Mommy,” Annie replies, fixing her doll’s dress while humming a tune. She has on the same pink dress she wears as a spirit.

From the right, a black Ford Mustang GT with dark tinted windows speeds through the lot, coming to a screeching halt next to Annie. The driver opens his door, yanks Annie in, and peels out of the parking lot.

I’m shocked at how fast it happens.

Annie’s mom screams, running after the car, but in seconds, it’s gone. She drops to the ground, wailing, before frantically grabbing her purse and dialing 911. The parking lot fills with people trying to console her.

My body leaves the scene at the parking lot and is thrust forward, until I’m sitting in the backseat of the kidnapper’s car. It’s filled with cigarette smoke, and beer bottles are carelessly tossed all over the backseat and floor.

Annie is screaming, calling out to her mother, but her cries fall on deaf, murderous ears. The asshole drives into an empty parking lot and threatens her. Spittle flies from his mouth as he screams at her to shut up. His eyes are dilated and bloodshot. His arms are riddled with track marks. He’s obviously a junkie.

When Annie doesn’t stop crying, he roughly grabs her and duct tapes her arms behind her back, and then her mouth shut. I want to vomit, knowing exactly what she was feeling. I could see it in her eyes. An indescribable fear.

After binding and silencing her, the man speeds away, down the highway, heading out of Anchorage. He looks young, in his mid-to-late twenties, with clean-cut, jet-black hair.

I don’t notice any tattoos or piercings, but he is wearing an onyx ring. In the center of the ring is a symbol, outlined in silver. After closer examination, I realize it’s a goat head in the shape of a pentagram.

He turns down a dirt road and continues to an area concealed by trees, somewhere near Eagle River.

I woke up, sobbing, my face soaked with tears. The rest of the nightmare had been all-consuming horror. I wanted to kill him, and I wanted to do it slowly. He didn’t deserve to live or breathe the same air that Annie once did. He deserved to suffer horribly, for the rest of his life and then some more in the afterlife.

“Don’t cry, Lizzy,” Annie whispered, standing beside me. “He can’t hurt me anymore.”

“I’m so glad, sweetie,” I said, wiping the tears from my face.

Every time I thought about what that son of a bitch did to her, I started bawling all over again. The only thing that kept me going was Annie…knowing she no longer felt fear, pain, or sadness.