The moment Ashlee opened her eyes that morning, she knew something wasn’t right; it was different, unusual, but at the same time, it felt incredibly familiar. Familiar, the way a memory does, when you think back on it. She got up, out of bed and looked around, noting how hazy around the edges everything looks. A dream. Yes, that’s all it is. “No, not a dream. Dreams don’t have feelings associated with them,” she murmured, still only half awake, though she knew the truth in her own words. This – whatever it was – had a dark sort of feel about it, like a looming fate. Ashlee suddenly and horribly felt a fear, stronger than any she had ever experienced. Something wasn’t right. Hell, she didn’t need someone to tell her that. The obvious is always the worst thing anyone has to face. Regretfully, Ash made her way to the door of her bedroom, and yanked it open, despite the fear of what was on the other side. She wasn’t sure she was ready to face something as awful as it felt like. Everything felt all too familiar to her. To her immense surprise, the rest of the world was in order, the way it usually was. Everything looked perfect, and orderly, which is what made it all strange. “Morning Ash,” a cheerful voice calls out. “Mum?” “Who else?” Ash cautiously found her way to the kitchen, scared of what she would find there. All she found was her mother, making a breakfast of bacon and eggs, whilst singing happily to herself. “Mum, is everything all right?” Ash asks, edgily. “Of course honey, why wouldn’t it be?” her mum replies. Ash wasn’t convinced. Her mum seemed too cheerful. She was usually OK, but this morning, there was definitely something wrong. “It’s just, you’re acting too cheerfully, in the way that adults do when there is bad news.” Ash’s mum frowned, and pushed a plate of bacon and eggs towards her. “What do you mean?” “Nevermind,” Ash muttered, with a dismal wave of her hands. Without eating the offered food, Ash strolled back to her bedroom to get changed for school. She left quickly, not answering any of her mother’s frantic questions. Not that she even really heard them.
A few hours later, police turned up at the house. Seeing the commotion on her way home from school, Ash ran as fast as she could, pushing people out of the way, eager to find out what had happened. The dark feeling was almost unbearable by then. When she had finally pushed her way into the house, she wished she hadn’t. On the floor lay her mother, her body limp, bloody and lifeless. Vacant tears streamed down Ash’s cheeks as she saw the slashes across her wrists. Her mother, her life, her family – all gone in two simple sweeps of a blade. She heard her own sobs, but it was as if she was parted from her own body. As she collapsed to the ground in terror and grief, she screamed as she realised the memory had replayed itself again, and would continue to until the day she somehow forgot it.