The day Daisy died was one of the most difficult days Amelia had ever experienced, even more so than the day she was taken from her mother. Amelia had felt connected to Daisy from the day the two of them met, and even during the most recent couple of years that they’d been apart, she still felt that Daisy was a major part of her life. There was no one who could take Daisy’s place, they’d been through too much together.
Amelia had been in her home office planning a weekend getaway with Liam, who she was officially dating, when she answered a frantic call from Daisy.
“Meelie, I think somebody’s after me!” she shouted into the receiver upon hearing Amelia’s “Hey girl”.
“What do you mean somebody’s after you?” The line was silent. “Daisy!”
“I mean I think someone is after me.” Daisy whispered it this time. “I feel like someone has been following me, watching me. I think they want to kill me Amelia.”
“Daisy that’s ridiculous,” Amelia chuckled, “nobody is after you. Get a grip girl. Have you been smoking again?” This wasn’t the first time Amelia had heard such paranoia in Daisy’s voice. Even in high school Daisy would sometimes get into her own head and think the teachers were conspiring to fail her so she had to repeat the year. Amelia could usually calm her down with some good chocolate and some time at a local park—the fresh air helped clear her head, and the playground toys made her smile real big. Amelia knew she couldn’t solve this one with chocolate and a play date since she and Daisy were in different states. Instead, she went for her backup plan. “Say it.”
“I don’t think that’s going to help, Amelia, come on.”
“Say it Daisy,” Amelia insisted.
“I am not alone…”
“Your eyes aren’t closed. Close your eyes and say it. You know how this works,” Amelia scolded.
“I am not alone in whatever seems to be going on. I am loved, and I am safe. There is no one out to get me, and there is no reason to be afraid.” Daisy took a deep breath after that last word and exhaled slowly.
“Feel better?” Amelia questioned.
“That helped a little, but I still don’t feel right. I can’t explain it, but something is wrong. Really wrong.”
“Go take a nap Daisy, everything will be fine when you wake up.”
The next morning Amelia was woken up by her phone ringing. “Feel better Dais?” she mumbled into the phone.
“Can I have your full name please mam?”
Amelia looked at the phone screen again to make sure it was Daisy’s phone number and icon that she had seen just before she picked up. “Who are you?” Amelia sat straight up in her bed, “and where is Daisy?”
“Are you family to the deceased?”
Deceased. Amelia could hear the man on the other end of the phone fussing with someone in the background about protocol and sensitivity, but the words seemed to swirl around her head instead of sinking in. Deceased. Deceased. Deceased. She couldn’t make her brain connect with the word as she kept repeating it over and over in her head. Amelia hung up the phone.
When the phone rang again, Amelia ignored it. With her eyes facing the wall, she felt around until she found the volume buttons on the side and silenced the chirping. She needed something, anything, to stop the tumult of thoughts in her head. She did the only thing she could think to do. She dragged herself from her bed into the bathroom and fell into the shower, turning the faucet handle on her way down.
Amelia let out a short cry of shock as the cold water bit at her skin. She sat frozen, shivering, until the stream of water began to get warm, then hot. Steam floated around her and filled the bathroom. She leaned her head against the shower wall, her arms crossed over her chest, under the scalding stream, inhaling the humid air and exhaling it out in short bursts of coughs. She replayed the phone call again in her mind. She must have misunderstood what the man on the other end of the phone was saying. Maybe Daisy was playing a trick to get her back for choosing Liam over their friendship. Maybe it was all a mistake. Her breathing slowed to a normal pace as the hot water rinsed away some of the anxiety that had built up within her. She stood up and began to wash herself, letting go of what she feared most. Again, she heard the sound of birds chirping. Someone was calling.
Amelia shut off the faucet and scrambled for a towel as she made her way towards her bed. She picked up the phone and swiped up the green call icon to answer. She placed the phone to her ear with a breathless “hello?”. There was no voice on the other end. She moved the phone from her ear and looked at the screen to view the caller ID. It was a name she hadn’t seen in a long time. A name she wanted to forget but couldn’t. Every time she tried to delete it from her contacts, she would stop just before confirming the action, and promise herself to do it next time. It was an old foster brother, one that she and Daisy shared, who was never the kind of brother Reuben had been; never the kind of brother you’d want around for long.
“Talk to me,” she said, placing the phone back to her ear.
“Amelia…Daize is dead.”
The crack in his voice as he said her name raised goosebumps over Amelia’s entire body. She stumbled backwards and braced her back against the wall as the phone hit the floor. Tears flooded her eyes, and the sickness in her stomach roared from her throat as a deafening wail. She fell to the floor and pulled her knees into her chest. Daisy and Reuben were the only real family Amelia had ever known, and now they were both gone. She had no one left.
There was no wake, no funeral, no memorial service. Amelia locked herself in her home for a week. The first few days were the most depressing—some days she ate whatever she could get her hands on, and other days she ate nothing at all, and when her refrigerator ran empty, she ordered takeout. Her friends called, her employees called, her clients called, but she would not answer, not even for Liam. Finally, after two days with no answer, one of her guys sent a text saying he would call the police to check on her if she didn’t answer. “I’m fine” was the only thing she typed in return before silencing her phone completely.
Amelia sunk deeper into herself after that, pacing the house, walking up and down the halls, alternating between crying and screaming until she lost her voice. Then she started throwing things—plates, pillows, candles, picture frames, anything she could lift over her head. She needed to get a grip on herself, but she was so far from her own reach that she couldn’t pull herself out of the darkness.
After five days of pacing, crying, screaming, breaking, Amelia had reached her limit. She was walking back and forth across her living room, and as she took her final step before turning around, just in front of the television, felt a sharp pain at the bottom of her foot. She dropped to the floor and crawled into a corner, lifting her heel towards her face. Sticking out of her foot was a small piece of glass. She picked it out and threw it towards the kitchen, not caring where it landed. She looked over at the forever blinking light on her cell phone, and picked it up to smash against the wall. She sat still for a minute, holding the phone in the air, then lowered it and double tapped the screen. Liam had sent her a message: “just checking on you”. She wiped the newly formed tears from her eyes as she typed the words “save me”.
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