*Part Seven of my “Poppy McLain” series. The main character’s last name is pronounced VER-OH-SIS-CA. I made up the last name. Gacha Club character designs are on my wall. Enjoy!*
I’m holding a pale, gaunt baby in my arms. We agreed, after a long conversation, that having another child is the best thing for us.
This time I have Sheila as my doctor and not some frightened youth like I did last time.
"Congratulations, it's a girl!" She beams.
Derek leans over to get a better look at her. He’s smiling and I can’t blame him.
“What should we name her?” I ask him. He named Carmen, so I see fit that he names her.
“Maria. That was my mother’s name.”
“Maria it is.”
We’re back home now. I can’t thank Ashley enough for watching over Carmen. Seriously, she’s the best friend anyone could ever ask for!
I’m on the couch, feeding Maria her bottle of blood (such is the life of a siren-vampire baby). Derek is upstairs, reading a book.
Carmen is sitting cross-legged on the carpet, giving the two of us this really creepy, wide-eyed stare.
“What’s her name?" She asks. She sounds a little angry.
"Maria." I reply.
"What does she do?"
"Um...she's a baby, she can't do anything."
"Well, if she's a baby and she can't do anything, then why are you giving her more attention?” Carmen raises an eyebrow at me.
Alright, Miss Sassy-Pants. I’ll tell you what the deal is since you want to know so much.
"More attention? Carmen, I'm not giving her more attention. Well...maybe I am, but that's because she's a baby and babies are a lot of work. Hey, want to feed her?” I hand her the bottle.
Carmen looks to me, Maria, and then back at the bottle.
Finally, after what feels like years, she shrugs and sits next to me. I hand her Maria and the bottle.
“Be careful with her.” I warn.
“It will be fine.” Carmen rolls her eyes at me, holding Maria tenderly while feeding her.
She’s such a good girl. She loves her sister. She’s caring for her.
This moment almost makes me forget that I have to see my sister Jessica today.
Jessica started hearing things after I ran away. She saw things that weren’t there. She stopped seeing her boyfriend, Levi, and her friend, Erica. She was…different.
Our parents sent her off to a mental hospital, to help her get better.
But there’s just something I don’t understand. The place they sent her to wasn’t there when we were kids and yet they found it right when they were searching up things to help her.
Our Mom is a siren, so she’s no stranger to the supernatural. She would be the last person to call Jessica crazy. Dad, maybe, but not Mom.
Dad’s a police officer. I guess when all the supernatural stuff started happening, he worked offsite to investigate the crimes. Mom said he worked offsite last time I saw her. She didn’t really specify, but it doesn’t matter. I can’t call him and ask about Jessica. He’s always busy. I can’t call Mom either because she won’t tell me.
I can’t help but wonder if she’s hiding something from me.
Focus on the road, Poppy. You’re going to see Jessica.
I’m here now. I see her, in her padded cell. I recognize her long, dark brown hair billowing on a pillow. Her large, brown, bloodshot eyes look up at me. She’s very frail and bony. She’s wearing a hospital gown.
It’s Jessica’s skeleton staring mournfully back at me.
“Where have you been, Poppy? Why did you run away? Why?" Jessica asks. She sounds pretty sane to me.
I wish that it was so easy to say. It feels too stifling to talk about it here, though.
"It's not what you think, Poppy. I'm not crazy." Jessica says with a look in her eyes that I’ve never seen before.
A sign that she’s in trouble.
“I believe you. Tell me, why are you here?”
"I'll tell you the real reason that I’m here." Jessica whispers. It feels as though we’re being watched.
“I hear voices! They tell me about where people I love have run off to, how they were doing. I know everything, Poppy. You are a siren. Derek is a vampire."
"While I was locked up in here, the voices kept telling me all about you. You are in danger. Get out."
Jessica stops speaking and stares at me. She’s searching my soul, trying to see if I believe her.
I believe every word.
But how am I to say this to my family? I don’t.
I’m in the attic, searching for the family photo book in a nondescript cardboard box. I need a breather. I need to think of a time before all of this happened.
Instead, I pull out a diary. Jessica’s diary, no less.
It’s locked and titled: Jessica. Do not open unless needed.
I remember Mom giving this to me when we were moving out of the house. She said that it was "The truth about Jessica" and that I couldn't open it unless necessary.
Now seems like a good time to open it.
In the box is also a slender, silver key with a plastic pink heart engraved on it.
Well, aren’t I just the luckiest person alive?
I open the first page:
I keep hearing these strange voices. They tell me where my loved ones have gone off to. It's very useful, to have these voices tell me about them, but I still don't understand.
The voices say that I’m a siren! Pretty cool, right? I wonder why no one told me before though.
Yet another page:
The voices tell me that Poppy will run away, but I don't believe it. She would never do such a thing. She’s too…too Poppy.
The last one:
She did run away! I should have believed the ghosts. The voices are GHOSTS. Ghosts of my ancestors, they were never wrong before.
My parents are taking me to a mental hospital. A mental hospital that has never appeared until now.
The ghosts said that it’s a place where supernatural kids like me go to die.
I don’t know what is going on, but I’ll find out.
It wouldn’t hurt to see her again, would it?
It’s cold and dark in this place. Everywhere I look, there are mannequins in cells. Jessica is the only real person here.
Except for a weak boy with black hair and large, doll-like eyes.
He points at something behind me.
I turn around, but all I see is an open door leading down a dark, industrial hallway. What was he pointing at?
I turn around to face them.