(Content note: One of the darker ones; death of daughter and sister referenced.)
It was a rainy night on their quiet suburban street. The rain came down in short bursts, nothing major. Edgar wasn’t afraid of a little rain, nor the way the leaves shown black in the porch light, wet and sinister. He was only afraid of his sister, gone two years ago this month, October 2nd, from leukemia. His parents had struggled mightily with it. Petra was their younger child, their baby girl, their baby. That still didn’t excuse what they’d done, but sometimes, he reminded himself, he would sympathize with their reasons. A week after the funeral, they’d told him, “Don’t worry, you’ll see her again soon.” He’d though they were talking about heaven, the after life, reincarnation. Not his sister’s inexplicably returned spirit, seen here and there all over their house. He never knew where she would pop up next—a reflection in the glass of the microwave? A shadow in the hallway? Beside his bed, like she was right now?
“Edgar, play cards with me,” she said. Her face was wan from the hospital treatments and she emitted an unnatural glow from the effect of whatever unholy strategy his parents had embraced to bring her back. This version of her, at least.
“Not now, Pet,” he told her. Hoping this time she’d go away.
“Play cards with me,” she repeated. She sounded nothing like the sister he’d had in real life. She was not a child anymore, even if she was going to look like one forever. There was no arguing with her, really, and only one way to rid himself of her presence.
“Okay, Petra, just let me find my deck.”
He leaned down and pulled the deck out of his desk drawer. When he raised his head, she was gone.
Until next time, anyway.