I wrote another horror short story for Reddit NoSleep. I don’t know why, but I really enjoyed writing sad horror genre. I feel like I could release some of the darkness inside me.
Disclaimer: All names and events in this story are fictional and not based on real persons or events. This story also includes child abuse, domestic violence and medical misdiagnosis. Trigger warning.
My normal body temperature is 34 degrees Celsius. Medically, it’s considered hypothermia and I probably should be dead. My parents and even the doctors were confused why I am still alive, breathing, and functioning normally.
Honestly, I wasn’t always like this.
My childhood was relatively normal. I was a timid child, preferring the company of dolls instead of playing outside with my older brother and sister.
My siblings, Oliver and Leann, were very rambunctious children. Our parents were used to going to the children’s clinic occasionally, after their horseplay. Unlike me, the two of them liked their scars. It was like a trophy or something in their minds.
But we loved each other, and they tried to include me as much as possible in their games. When they played dragon (Oliver) and knight (Leann), I was the trapped princess at the castle tower (sofa). I was the queen, the humble peasant or even just a passerby with no real roles in the game. But I was happy. I was happy to be included and still avoided stitches and bruises.
Until the morning of my 6th birthday. I woke up with a terrible pain in my leg. I couldn’t stand from the bed and Leann had to run to our parents’ room for help. When mom pulled down my covers, my right ankle was red and swollen. They took me to the emergency room, thinking I had an extreme allergic reaction to something. But the diagnosis was weirder than they thought.
My ankle was broken. And I had bruises on both my legs as if I had fallen down the stairs.
The doctors asked my parents if I did fall, but our house was a 1-storey bungalow type. There were no stairs or any high places I could have fallen from. And the injury was too recent that it could have only been possible a few hours before we went to ER.
My parents, my siblings and even I was confused how it was possible.
In the end, the doctors concluded that I might have fallen off my bed. They put a cast on me, and I got to stay home for the next couple of weeks.
It was my first time to get a severe injury, and I did not like the feeling at all. I avoided joining my siblings’ game after that, too afraid that I might get accidentally hit.
Over the next few weeks, I stayed in my room with my dolls. One afternoon, as I was playing alone, I had a sudden pain in my right stomach. It was like a truck had hit me, and I couldn’t breathe.
Luckily, Oliver ran past our room on his way to get his baseball gear. He saw me lying on the carpet with my mouth wide open, trying to get as much air as possible. He called mom who was in the garden, and they rushed me to the hospital.
I had a large bruise on my right stomach, and the x-ray showed the bone on my lower rib cage was fractured.
I told the doctors I was alone when it happened – no one in my family had ever hit me. I don’t think they believed it.
Child protective services were called to investigate if there was any child abuse at home. Us kids stayed with our aunt while I healed, and our parents dealt with the investigation.
I think it was Leann who planted the first seed of idea in my mind, “You know, Bea, I got hit by a ball on my stomach when you got that pain. Maybe you’re feeling the injuries I get. Kind of like a twin thing – but with sisters. I’m really sorry.”
In our childish minds, it made sense. We were too bonded, and I was too sensitive.
The CPS investigation found no evidence of abuse in our home. My parents were good people who loved their children unconditionally. The three of us finally got to go home, and Leann promised to be more careful if I was indeed channeling her pain in some way.
I didn’t get any more major injuries after that. But we noticed that I had a lot of random bruises on my body. Sometimes I even wake up with marks on my body like a cigarette burn. Those hurt a lot.
Over the next couple of years, my parents sent me to doctors and specialists – trying to figure out if I had some sort of disease causing all those injuries. All my tests were negative. I was in good physical health, but I continued to get marks and bruises on my body.
It eventually stopped. For a while.
And then, when I was 10, it happened again. The five of us were at the park, flying kites or watching the ducks on the pond. I felt the air rush out my body, and my throat closed in. I felt like I was being strangled by an invisible force. The last I saw was my parents frantically calling for help before I passed out.
My memories of that time are kind of blurry now. But I remember seeing a kid in my dream. He was around my age, and he kind of looked like me except that he was very skinny. He was limping, and he had bruises all over his face. He looked at me with the saddest brown eyes – eyes that were eerily similar to mine.
When I woke up, I was again at the hospital. It had become like a second home to me. My face and neck were swollen, and my throat was bone dry. I heard the doctors talking to my parents, saying words that didn’t make sense to me.
“…trauma on her face and neck…”
“…bruises similar to a thick rope around her neck and wrists…”
I just had an injury similar to a punching bag and we had no idea why. Once again, CPS was called, but there were a lot of witnesses at the park that day. They all said that I randomly started choking, with no external force whatsoever. The bruises also started appearing while I was unconscious, and the paramedics were trying to save me.
I felt very afraid. There was an unseen force trying to hurt me, or even kill me. My parents sent me to more doctors. They thought I might have epilepsy or mental disorder, and that I might have been subconsciously hurting myself. I was home-schooled, and my parents took turns watching me sleep at night.
When I turned 13, my parents decided to tell me the truth about myself. They thought that it might help understand all the things that were happening to me.
They sat the three of us down and told me, “Bea, we love you. Your brother and sister love you. And we always will, even if we don’t share the same blood.”
I was adopted. My biological mother and I were found living on the streets when I was just a few months old. She was bruised, battered, half-crazed and rambling about leaving my other half behind. The good Samaritans took us to an asylum, where she passed away shortly and I was given to an orphanage.
During a church charity event, my parents went to the orphanage to give out toys and stuff. My father said I grabbed his hand and he decided he would never let me go. They adopted me on the spot.
After that revelation, I realized I might actually have a mental illness of some kind. My biological mother obviously had it, and I had no idea about my biological father.
Since then, I stayed indoors a lot. Whenever I wake up to a new bruise on my body, I just thought that I might have done it to myself while I was asleep. I didn’t tell my parents anymore injuries unless I had to go to the hospital. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and my psychologist thought that I was subconsciously hurting myself during my sleep.
Still, I didn’t tell anyone about the boy I kept seeing in my dream. As I grew up, he also grew in my mind. We began to look more like each other, but his injuries worsened. I felt a weird connection to that boy in my dream, and I felt sad whenever I woke up.
The last major injury I had was when I was 16. I woke up in the middle of the night choking in my own blood. I could feel my lungs collapsing inside me. With the little air I had, I screamed for Leann, and she woke up and immediately called 911 as she raced to get our parents.
At the ER, I felt pain like I never felt before. I knew I was dying. The cold started at my fingertips, spreading like wildfire all over my body. It was cold and hot at the same time. I couldn’t breathe, and my vision was tunneling. When the pain reached its limit, I passed out.
I dreamed of the boy again, but he was brutally beaten. He was lying on the floor. And he kept whispering, “Ryan… Rachel.. Ryan..”
I woke up with fractured and broken rib cages, collapsed left lung, broken collar bone, swollen larynx, and multiple bruises on my arms and legs. I had multiple surgeries, and steel pins attached inside me. I had to be on 24/7 observation and they constantly drain water collecting in my lungs.
It was the most agonizing year of my life. Aside from the physical therapy I had to do, I was also subjected to multiple sessions with psychologists and psychiatrists. I was depressed and confused. My parents believed I did all those injuries to myself, and they were as depressed as me.
Even after my bones and wounds healed, I had to stay at the hospital for constant observation. My vitals were checked every 5 minutes because my heart rate was too slow, my oxygen level was also below normal, and my temperature remained at 34 degrees Celsius. In all medical sense, I should be dead. But I’m not.
After a year of daily check-up, the doctors finally gave up in finding the reason for my unusual temperature. I was allowed to go home to continue healing. My parents, my siblings and I continued seeing a family therapist to deal with the trauma.
During one of the private sessions, I mentioned Leann’s comment from so many years ago. How I was too sensitive to the pain of my siblings. And the therapist woke me up with this: “Probably. And even though they’re not your blood relative, your bond is still too strong.”
Yes, Leann and Oliver may be my siblings, but I was adopted. I shouldn’t have that kind of intimate connection to them. As Leann had said, it was a twin thing.
When I turned 18, I told my parents that I would go and find my biological family. I wanted to understand where I came from, and why those things happened to me. They were worried, of course, so Oliver decided to accompany me.
We went to the orphanage where I got to know my mother’s name: Rosalie Evans, and the asylum where she passed away. With a little help from my dad (who was a lawyer), I got Rosalie’s medical records from the asylum. She was indeed a little crazy in the end, but the doctors believed it was the result of years of physical and mental abuse. Her body had a lot of bruises and scars from old beatings.
I dug a little deeper into her life. She was involved in a lot of domestic abuse reports. It seemed her husband beat her a lot and their neighbors would repeatedly report him. But at the station, Rosalie would always deny the abuse and gave excuses about her injuries. She was blindly in love with that bastard, and she wouldn’t leave him. Until the day her children were born.
As I journeyed on to find my past, I was shocked by another revelation: I was a twin. I found my birth records using Rosalie’s name and found out my real name was Rachel Evans, and I had a twin brother, Ryan.
At that moment, everything clicked in my mind: the boy in my dreams was my twin. The man I refuse to acknowledge as my father was an abusive and disgusting excuse for a human being. My mother was able to run away with me but couldn’t bring my brother along. Ryan was left to be raised by that awful man, and he suffered all his life for it.
I tried to find Ryan, I told Oliver that I wanted to save him, but I knew in my heart I was too late. And I was. We never found where Ryan was buried, probably somewhere in a pauper’s grave. They moved a lot when he was still alive, so it was difficult to trace his life. But we found his medical records. Like our mother, he had many healed fractures and scars from years of abuse. At 16, he died of internal bleeding from a collapsed lung after an altercation with his drunk father who treated him like a punching bag all throughout his short life.
Everything that happened to me was because of Ryan. Leann was right, it was a twin thing. Every abuse and pain my brother felt, I felt. And when he died, I think a little part of me died, too.
I’m just glad that when Ryan left this world, he took the bastard with him to the grave. I found his name too, but I don’t feel like glorifying his memory in this post. He doesn’t deserve that. All I will say is that he was found at a roadside, crazed and mumbling something about his dead kid haunting his dreams. They took him to the same asylum where my mother died, and he was found one morning hanging from the window.
Years have passed since then; I have come to accept my weird past, and my even weirder present. I was lucky to find a man who was as warm as I am cold, and we are expecting twins in the summer. I think if I get boys, I’ll name one of them Ryan – for the boy of my dreams and the brother I never got to know.