That Dark Night
That Dark Night6 mins 643 6 mins 643
April 16, 1938
The howling winds, the violent storm, the harsh thuds of hailstones on the roof. It's been exactly fifteen years since that unfortunate night. Fifteen years since little Amanda Jenkins was last seen.
I was there. I had been nursing little Ms. Jenkins since she was only a little baby. I tucked her safe in her bed at night, and the next morning she was... gone. Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins were devasted. Mrs. Jenkins locked herself in her bedroom for eight days. They have never been the same since. Her going missing has scarred numerous lives, including mine. She... she was only nine... she could never hurt a soul. I don't know why anyone would ever do something so horrible, so ghastly to a sweet, innocent girl like her, and perhaps I never will. Atleast, that's what I thought
After investigation the cops that said there was absolutely no chance that Amanda could have survived, but Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins refused to accept that their darling daughter was no more. Even after fifteen years, they still hope to see her, to hear her voice. They still believe that she will return to them, like nothing had ever happened. Then why were they shocked and terrified when today, after exactly fifteen years, they got a call from Amanda Jenkins, now a young woman, telling them that she was not gone, and was very much alive....
April 17, 1938
It was 11:42 pm when the phone rang last night. The shrill rings sliced through the silence, echoing on the ancient walls of the Jenkins family mansion. I rushed to the hall to answer the call, but Mr. Jenkins was aldready there. There was nothing unusual until then, he often got business calls at this time of the night. Then his eyes widened and he stumbled backwards as the mouthpiece fell onto the floor.
He then staggered towards their bedroom and locked the door from inside. I could hear their tensed and hurried whispers all night long. I was starting to get suspicious, so I waited, my ear pressed against the keyhole, hoping to overhear their conversation. I could only hear parts of it, but it was sufficient to understand who the caller was. It was none other than Ms. Jenkins, now all grown up. Oh, how I wished it really was her, all safe and sound. But, why were the Jenkins so worried after receiving her call, after waiting for her all these years?
Today, Mrs. Jennings came to the dining room, her eyes bloodshot. I had just finished setting the table. Her movements seemed to be quick and stiff. I mustered up courage and managed to ask what I had in mind.
"Mrs. Jennings, I happened to overhear your conversation last night. If you don't mind me asking, was it really our Amanda who called yesterday?"
I was met with a sharp stare. "That's who she claimed to be.", she replied after a moment of consideration. Her voice was strained, as if she was restraining herself from disclosing a secret.
"Madam, don't take this the wrong way, but you and Mr. Jenkins have been wishing for this day since such a long time. Shouldn't you perhaps be overjoyed by this happening?"
Her eyes wavered and she simply said, "That's none of your business, Julianne. Now go on with your chores and don't ask any more of your ridiculous questions. We would know if it was our darling Amanda. This was just somebody trying to mock us."
I sensed that something was wrong when Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins hardly left the bedroom all day. But I kept quiet.
It was 11:42 pm. It was after all a good thing that I had decided to spend the night in the hall. Over the years I had learnt to trust my instincts.
I picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Hello, Julianne." It was a soft whisper, barely audible. But it was her all right. I could recognise that sweet accent anywhere. It was 24 year old Amanda on the other end of the line.
My eyes swelled up with tears, threatening to spill out any moment. "Amanda, sweetheart, where have you been? Where have you been all these years? How worried we all have been! Are you all right, honey?"
I could hear shuffling of feet down the stairs. The Jenkins were probably on their way here after hearing the landline ring. I didn't have much time.
"No, Julianne. It was terrible. It happened at this very hour, this very moment."
"I... I don't understand. What..." The door flew open. Mr. Jenkins snatched the receiver from my hands in a panicked sort of way, and threw the phone across the room. It shattered against the wall. His eyes were wild and he glared at me. Mrs. Jenkins was at the door, terrified. She was breathing heavily, trying to catch her breath.
"One more of your rebellious acts" Mr. Jenkins panted "And you will regret your choices."
"But... but she was Ms. Jenkins. I know it, Sir. I'm sure of it", I stuttered.
"Go to you room!", Mrs. Jenkins shrieked. "I don't want to hear anything about it!"
April 18, 1938
They never left their room. At this rate, they would starve themselves to death. Nor did they call the cops. I did not trust them anymore. I knew that they were more than a middle-aged couple. They knew something that I didn't.
They didn't trust me either. At night, they locked me in my room. So that I do not do anything stupid, they said. They even bolted my windows. I couldn't sleep. They were spending the night downstairs, in the hall. As a precaution, they said. Against what, I did not know.
Then I heard a knock on the front door. It was 11:42 pm. This was enough of a coincidence to scare the wits out of me. I pulled the covers over my head. I could hear sounds below. They turned into screams filled with pure horror and dread. I could hear objects being thrown and smashed. I could hear cries of pain and misery. That's when I fainted.
April 19, 1938
I woke up to the sounds of sirens. I jumped out of my bed and banged on the door, screaming for someone to let me out. The door was smashed within a few minutes. Cops. Unfortunately, I knew what to expect. I slowly dragged myself down the stairs, my hand sliding gently over the smooth wooden banister. I was immediately repulsed by the horrifying scene. There they were, throats slit, and numerous stabs on the body. It seemed inhumane. And there was only one piece of evidence, the cops said. A newspaper cuttout dated back to September 4, 1914.
The Welltons had met with a tragedic car accident on the night of September 3, 1914. Mr. and Mrs. Wellton did not survive the crash and the body of their newborn baby girl was never found. That was the last of Charlotte Wellton.
Over the years, I had learnt to trust my instincts. And my instincts told me that young Charlotte Wellton was none other than my Amanda Jenkins. The Jenkins must had had something to do with the accident. They must have adopted Charlotte and given her a whole new identity. They lived in an aura of fear and secrets. They must have believed that they could erase their sinful past and live a new life under a fake pretext. And... and she must have found out something she was not supposed to.
Now I know why they have never been the same since that night. Now I know why they were scared to receive those calls, because they killed their 'daughter' that dark night years ago. But now she has taken her revenge and can rest in heaven for all eternity; in peace and harmony.
Now I know why someone would do something so horrible, so ghastly to a sweet, innocent girl like her. And I wish I never had.