Amya dreamed of the figure, reaching for her, but it couldn't leave the line of trees. It couldn't pass any further no matter how hard he struggled. The swirling blue eyes screamed as she reached to him from the back of the house. The moment she stepped off the porch she was surrounded by a blackness.
It wore away at her skin, scraping layer after layer like sandpaper. The pain was unbearable. Through the swirls of black sand, she could see Remington in his human form. He screamed at her, but she couldn't make out the sound, she only saw his lips pulled tight from words that would never reach her ears.
Amya woke drenched in sweat, to Remy crying in her room. She sat up and out of bed and tiptoed into Remy's room, crawling into the bed with her step-sister and cuddling close.
"Another nightmare?" she asked.
Remy nodded her head. Amya smoothed the moisture away from Remy's face. "My Abuela believes that if you want to ward away an evil spirit, you put a glass of water behind the door at night. I'm not sure I believe that one, but it doesn't hurt to try, huh?"
Remy laughed through her tears, "A cup of water."
"Hmm," she laughed as well.
"A cup of water it is." Remy agreed, "I'll tell you about the dream in the morning. For now, let's just "try" to get some sleep."
Remy snuggled Amya under her chin, and they lay there until sleep finally took over.
In the morning, Amya decided to learn more about her new family and her new home.
"Laura," She started as she took a piece of muffin and stuffed it in her mouth.
"Hmm," Laura acknowledged as she worked on breakfast.
"Why did you name her Remington? Isn't that a man's name, or the last name?" She tried to sound curious and not as if she had planned the whole conversation.
Laura stumbled at the frying pan, "Oh, well, Remy is named after someone very special to me."
"But, I mean, it's a man's name."
"Yes, a boy. My late cousin Remington. He passed away when we were young." Her voice was solemn as if the pain was still raw.
"I'm sorry." She really was. Laura had a sweet spirit; it was hard to see her unhappy.
"We were not much older than you, fifteen, he lived here in this house when we were kids."
"What happened, if that's not too much to ask." Amya pushed.
"We were close, like best friends, then he started pushing away, became obsessive, started drawing weird creatures…"
"So he liked to draw," Amya asked.
"Oh yes, he was very good at it too. I bet there are some boxes of his stuff in the attic still. Anyway, the doctor said he was schizophrenic. One day he just walked out into the woods. It took us a week to find him."
"That must have been horrible," Amya commented.
"I was inconsolable for months. Remington was like my other half. We were inseparable as children. I spent so much time here with him as a child. So, it didn't matter if I had a boy or a girl, they would be named Remington."
"That's a sad story," Amya told her.
"Life is full of them, but my Remy makes me happy, and now my Amya," Laura told her.
Amya thought she would feel offended by the suggestion that she belonged to anyone but her mother, but Laura was too well-meaning to gain offense by her words.
"Is it alright if I look in the attic, you know explore?"
"Sure, honey just be careful. There's a lot of old stuff up there I'm sure. It could be dangerous." Laura warned.
"Thank you!!" She grabbed another muffin and headed for the attic.
"Breakfast will be ready soon." Laura hollered after her.
Amya mumbled her understanding past the muffin in her mouth as she climbed the stairs and found the entrance to the attic. A door and stairs that lead to an attic that could be a set in a horror movie.
She laughed, imagining herself walking through the room like all the heroines of the movies, getting scared by mannequins, or coat racks. Both were there. Remy would get a kick out of it as well. She would have to talk her into coming up next time.
Amya walked through the stack of boxes, old furniture, painting until she found what she had come for. There, in a far corner was a big box with the name "Remington Peirce" written across it. After, unloading the other boxes from atop it, Amya pulled the tape and freed the contents that had been hidden for more than 15 years.
There she found sports trophies, jerseys, academic awards, and drawings. Was there anything this boy couldn't do?
"Save my own life," his voice made her jump.
"Do you make it a habit of ghosting up on people in the creepy attic?" Amya scolded Remington.
"No, I haven't been in this house since I died." His voice held a hint of sadness in it.
Amya felt bad for getting on to him. "Then how are you here now?"
"I don't know, hey, those are my things." He bolted forward but was unable to touch the box or its contents.
"I was confirming your story. Laura said the doctors thought you were schizophrenic."
Remington looked annoyed as he sat next to her looking around at the old furniture, "Yeah because I heard voices, it was all its ploy to drive me away from my family and out into the woods. Could you show me some of those drawings?" He asked her.
She picked up the drawings and flipped through them. Many were of Laura, she could tell by the kind smile and the beauty mark under her right eye.
"They must not have kept the drawings from after my diagnosis," Remington said. His eyes widened, "You have to get out of here. It's angry. It's angry I'm here."
He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to the stairs, but when they reached the banister something grabbed her other arm. Amya screamed, not because something had grabbed her, but because it burned. It was what Amya imagined lava would feel like.
Remington gave a hard tug, and Amya went tumbling down the stairs and slammed against the far wall. Laura was at her side in moments, looking her over checking for injuries, but Amya couldn't hear anything.
On her arm where it had grabbed, her skin had been scraped away, raw, in the form of a hand.