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In A Dark Mirror - Eleven

Written by afanen Hits: 15791

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Eleven

They had come to retrieve the body. Police was there, and they had asked questions. Nobody had talked to Heather or Aifric though. There was so much Aifric wanted to tell them, but why would they listen to her? Mary-Jade had been known to be mentally unstable, but a doctor had confirmed, that she was no danger to herself. That had turned out to be wrong. So this wasn’t the sisters fault, right? All the sisters where deeply shocked by the young girl’s suicide, even Agatha; if this was an act or the truth, only Agatha knew.
That was the official story. A bureaucrat had been mistaken. A tragic incident. But no one was to blame. That didn’t stop Heather from blaming herself, of course. She had been big sister to all the smaller girls, but Mary-Jade had always been closest to her.
This morning Aifric had been running outside, to see what was going on. She had seen the girl fall from the roof, the tiny body smashed on the concrete. It was Eoghan all over again. The only reason why she hadn’t collapsed completely was Heather, who laid on the bed curled up like a fetus, her head resting on Aifric’s lap.
“I can’t give in, I can’t break now. She needs me.” This thought has been on her mind all day. Kept her going, although there was nowhere to go. The silence was unbearable. Aifric could hear the blood rushing in her ears. Eventually, the policemen went away, and Sister Claire sent in Mercedes. The blonde girl was pale, her eyes still widened in shock. She came over to Aifric’s bed, sat on the bedside, and leaned herself against Aifric. Aifric put one arm around her, while she kept caressing Heather’s hair with the other hand. Mercedes started to cry. Weirdly, Aifric almost welcomed the girl’s tears because they broke the unbearable silence. And it gave her something to do.
It was nearly dark, when Mother Agatha finally came for Heather. Aifric had known Agatha wouldn’t let her get away with striking her. Heather had really done it this time. Agatha had a black eye, and her lower lip was swollen.
“I hope that hurts!” Aifric thought.
“Heather! My office! Agatha bellowed.
Aifric helped her friend up, and Heather followed Agatha without resistance.
“You wait here!” Agatha commanded when she led the girl down the stairs.
Aifric sat on the stairs, Mercedes by her side. They could hear the wooden office door fall into it’s lock, then there was silence.
A second later, Agatha’s screams were heard, muffled through the door. And again and again, the whip. Aifric bit her lip, every time she heard the Whack! of the whip. It went on and on, until finally, a terrible scream echoed through the hall. Mercedes began sobbing, and covered her ears.
Aifirc jumped up and ran down the stairs. Then paced up and down in front of Agatha’s office, unsure, if she would make things worse, if she stormed in there now.
Before she could make a decision, the door opened, and Heather stumbled out. She stood upright long enough to wait for the door to close, before she collapsed onto the floor. Her white blouse was torn, and soaked with blood. Obviously the old hag had torn it to pieces before she started the whipping.
Mercedes was standing at the foot of the stairs, her mouth opened, and her eyes wide in terror.
“Help me! We need to get her into the lavatory!” Aifric commanded.
Mercedes rushed to her aid, and together they managed to get Heather up the stairs, and into the bathroom.
Carefully, Aifric removed the remains of Heather’s blouse, after sitting her down on the floor.
“Mercedes, go to Sister Claire, get me some bandages!”
But Heather shook her head. “No.” She said. “Get the camera first!”
For a moment Aifric stared at her girlfriend, in disbelief. Heather’s injuries were severe, but on the other hand: It had been the plan, to document the abuse in pictures. Then she turned to Mercedes. “You heard her. It’s under the loose panel left of my bed. Hurry!”
Aifric looked at Heather’s back. There was hardly a piece of skin intact, there were streaks and bruises everywhere, many of the streaks were torn open, and where the whip had hit the barely healed flesh from her previous ordeal, it had literally been torn to shreds. These gaping wounds were drizzling a constant stream of blood.
Aifric got up to get some water to clean the wounds, but Heather grabbed her arm.
“First, the pictures!” She said though gritted teeth. “It needs to look bad!”
Aifric looked at her friend pleadingly. “This is beyond bad!”
Heather nodded. “If it looks like it feels, then yes.” She pressed Aifric’s hand. “We have to get through this.”
Mercedes came back with the camera-phone and handed it to Aifric. It beeped when she turned it on, indicating that the battery was dangerously low.
“I go get Sister Claire!” Mercedes announced. “Hurry up!”
Aifric took a dozen or so pictures of her girlfriends injuries, before she turned off the phone and slipped it into her pocket, because she heard Sister Claire in the hall. She grabbed a fresh towel soaked it in warm water, and carefully began to clean Heather’s wounds. By the time the Sister arrived, the ginger girl had fainted.


* * *


Sister Claire had made the sign of the cross, when she saw Heather’s bleeding back. Together, they brought Heather to the infirmary.
“Oh, why did she have to do this? She knew Mother would have to punish her.” Claire murmured over and over, while cleaning and bandaging the wounds.
“Why didn’t you stop her, if this is so horrible to you?” Aifric thought.
“Are you going to call an ambulance?” She asked instead.
“She will be fine in the morning!” Claire shook her head. “Doctor O’Connell will see her.”
“Doctor O’Connell is a quack!” Aifric hissed.
Claire seemed genuinely shocked. “Magdalena!” She exclaimed. “Be glad Mother Agatha didn’t hear that! Under these circumstances, I will pretend you never said it. No go to bed! You can see her in the morning!”
Aifric sighed, but she knew there was nothing she could do. She slowly walked upstairs, and let herself fall onto her bed. She felt hollow and fatigued. She wanted to cry, but she had no tears. The helplessness she felt added to her pain, and she felt bitter hatred boil deep inside her.
Mercedes came over, and slipped into her bed. She put her arms around Aifric. “Everything will be alright, wouldn’t it?” She asked.
“Yes, love. It will. Our time will come, and we will make that old hag pay!”


* * *


After a sleepless night, Aifric finally got out of bed, carefully avoiding to wake Mercedes, who had fallen asleep eventually, and put on her dressing gown. The sisters were already awake, and normal morning routine would be expected to resume in half an hour.
Before she went to the infirmary, she checked on the other girls in the opposite dormitory. Yesterday, she had been so involved with her own pain, and later that of Heather, that she had forgotten, that she wasn’t the only one, who had witnessed Mary-Jades horrid death. Despite the situation, the girls were fast asleep.
Luckily, they had been sent to bed, before the drama around Heather unfolded, so they were blissfully unaware of what Agatha had done to her.
She silently closed the door again, and ran across the hall to the infirmary, where Heather was lying in her bed. Sister Claire was there, trying to feed Heather some porridge.
“Good morning!” She said, when Aifric entered.
“How is she?” Aifric asked.
“Not good. She won’t eat.” Sister Claire was obviously concerned.
“Let me try!” Aifric stepped forward.
“Alright, maybe you get through to her.”
“Am I excused from breakfast then?” Aifric asked.
Sister Claire nodded. Then she got up. “I leave you two alone. If you need something, call me.”
When passing by Aifric, she stopped, and put a hand on Aifric’s shoulder. “I’m very sorry for this.”
“She needs to be in a hospital!” Aifric insisted.
“I know. But that’s Mother Agatha’s call.” Claire’s voice was trembling. It was just now, that Aifric realized, that Claire was as afraid of Mother Agatha as she was. And that she could not hope to get any help from her, even now.
When the sister had closed the door behind her, Aifric went to her girlfriends bed, and knelt beside it.
“Hey sweetheart, it’s me!” She greeted her.
Heather’s eyelids fluttered, and her eyes opened. A feverish shimmer radiated from them.
“Hey, sweetie.”
“You really got yourself into trouble this time.”
“That’s what I’m good at!” Heather tried to show an encouraging smile. It turned out a grimace of pain.
“Don’t you wanna eat? Sister Claire made you some breakfast.”
“Not hungry. Besides, it tastes like moldy old socks.”
“That’s because it is moldy old socks.” Aifric joked. She took a tip of a spoonful of the porridge and tried it. “Mercedes’ pink ones, I’d say. At least a week old.”
Heather grimaced again. “Don’t make me laugh, it still hurts too much.”
“Sorry. I just wanted to make you feel better.” Aifric sighed. “I hate to see you like this.”
“I’m sorry, Aifric.” Heather grabbed her girlfriends hand.
“For what? You have done nothing wrong!”
“I did, sweetie, I screwed up big time!” Heather tried to lift her head, but managed to wince in pain. “I promised her, I’ll protect her. And I didn’t even see, when she needed me most. I betrayed her.”
Aifric was confused. “What happened to Mary-Jade wasn’t your fault. Agatha is to blame, and…and Father Geoff, but you…”
“I didn’t see what was right under my nose. I left her alone.”
Aifric didn’t understand. “You did all you could!”
“Forgive me, Aifric.” Heather whispered.
Aifric had no clue, what there was to forgive, but she knew her girlfriend wanted absolution. And she would have forgiven anything, that Heather might have done.
“I do. I forgive you.” She whispered back. “I love you, never forget that!”
“Thank you.” Heather closed her eyes again. “I love you too!”
Heather drifted back into her feverish sleep, leaving Aifric mystified. She knelt by the bedside, until Sister Claire came back.

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