She Whispers~ A Short Story
“No Sis, you can’t do that. You’re gonna get me in trouble again.” Sam shuffled into the kitchen where his mother was talking on the phone while making dinner. He watched steam billow up from the boiling pots on the stove. A small silver pot on the front burner began to slide forward.
“Mom!” Sam clenched his eyes shut as he screamed.
Sarah covered the phone receiver with her hand. “Sam, can’t you see
“I knew you’d get me in trouble,” Sam whispered out of the corner of his mouth.
“Are you talking to that imaginary friend again?”
“No Mama, it’s Sis. She was gonna pull the –” “Samuel please, just go to your room until dinner.”
“Samuel please, just go to your room until dinner.”
Sam lowered his head as he turned away, crying. “Now look what you’ve done, Sis... is too your fault.” His head jerked to the right. “Ouch! Stop pullin’ my hair.”
Sarah returned to her phone conversation. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with him. He does things and blames it on his imaginary friend.” She poked her head around the corner to make sure Sam was in his room before continuing. “I’m thinking about taking him to see a psychiatrist. Of course, you would think he’s fine, he is your grandson...but you don’t see him every day, walking around, talking to himself, and blaming his fake friend for all his mischief...Yes, I know... I know he’s just a kid... I gotta go, but I’ll call tomorrow. Bye Mom.”
“Sam, come on out. Dinner's ready.”
Sarah set two plates on the table. She gave Sam a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes and a chicken leg. She sat down in the chair beside her son. “Mommy needs to talk to you about what happened today at pre-school.”
Sam stared at his plate, swirling his mashed potatoes with a fork. “I didn’t do it. Sis knocked over the trash bin, and then she colored all over my picture with a pink crayon. She was going to knock that pot off the stove, but I –”
“Sam, you’ve got to stop this. I know you like having this little made up "friend," but you can’t use that as an excuse when you’ve done something wrong.”
“No, Sam, you are doing these things, and it’s not okay. I’m going to make you an appointment with a new doctor. “
“But, I like Doctor Reins.”
“This is a different kind of doctor. We’ll hear from Doctor Reins soon about your last visit.” Sarah held Sam’s little hands in hers. “Is that what’s bothering you?”
Sam shook his head. “No.”
“I want you to talk to a new kind of doctor, a psychiatrist.” His large brown eyes widened. “What’s that?”
“It’s a doctor that wants to know all about your little friend.” Sarah brushed Sam’s dark hair from his eyes.
“Yes, and I want you to be brave and tell him everything. Okay?” “Okay, Mama.”
Sarah gave him a hug, patting him on the bottom. “Go get ready for
Sam started to skip away but suddenly stopped, turning to his mother. “Sis says she wants a hug too.”
“Sam, I can't hug someone who only exists in your imagination, now can I? I'm sorry, but I really don't feel like playing along. Go on, and don't forget to wash behind those ears, mister.” Sarah took a deep breath, closing her eyes. Oh God, I could use your help with this.
While Sam was bathing, she began clearing the table and cleaning up the dishes. Suddenly, a muffled scream come from the bathroom. She bolted down the hall, bursting through the bathroom door. “SAM!” He was lying under water, struggling to get up. “Sam, grab my hand.” Sarah pulled him out of the water, wrapped him in a towel, and cradled him in her arms.
Tears streamed down Sam’s chubby face, his body trembling. “Sis…she...she wouldn’t let me up. She’s mad cause I told. She said that's why you didn't hug her t...too.”
“Sh... you’re safe now. How about you cuddle up with me tonight?” “Okay,” he sniffled, wiping away his tears.
Sarah lay awake for hours staring at the little angel sleeping peacefully beside her, wondering what was wrong with him, worrying about what had happened, and wishing she knew what to do about the situation. Dr. Reins told her it was normal for children his age to have an imaginary friend, but hurting himself was anything but normal
She stroked his hair and admired his little face. He looked so much like his father. “It's a shame you never got a chance to meet your father,” she said softly. “I knew marrying a police officer was risky, but I loved him. I’m grateful for the time we had together.”
She remembered all the misery they endured when they were unable to conceive for so long, and their joy when the in vitro gave them what they had longed for: a child. Sam wasn't perfect physically when he was born and now mentally he may have some problems as well. But he was all Sarah had left; Sam was her life, she had to protect him.
* * * *
The ringing phone woke them both the next morning. Sarah rushed to throw on her robe. Hastily twisting her long blond hair into a bun, she quickly walked down the hall to the phone. “Hello...Yes, I can bring him in today. You can’t tell me anything over the phone. Oh, I see.” She squinted trying to see the hands on the clock. “Okay, we’ll be there. Thanks, bye.
“Who was that, Mama?” Sam rubbed his eyes, yawning.
“Dr. Reins wants us in his office in about an hour, so can you go get dressed for Mommy?”
“Okay.” Sam skipped down the hallway to his room.
The usual ten-minute drive to Dr. Rein’s office felt more like thirty. Cursing under her breath, Sarah was weaving in and out of traffic. Glancing in the rear view mirror while waiting at a stoplight, she saw Sam laughing and wriggling in the back seat as if someone were tickling him.
“Sam, what’s going on back there? We’re almost at the doctor's office.” Sarah caught a glimpse of her own reflection in the mirror; she didn't look like herself. Her puffy eyes wore dark circles. Her hair was in a messy bun with stray hairs framing her face. Suddenly, her attention averted back to Sam's voice in the backseat.
“Stop poking me, Sis. I don’t like it,” he whispered. “Sam?”
“Yeah, Mom?” He swatted at the air.
“Is there a bug flying around back there?” “No, it’s Sis.”
“Let’s not start that today. Save all your stories about Sis for the psychiatrist.”
A car horn blared behind her bringing her concentration back to the stoplight that had turned green. Hurrying to the doctor’s office, she quickly found a parking space, and together they rushed inside. Sitting in the waiting room, Sarah impatiently shifted her weight from side to side in the squeaky chair, glancing at her watch every few minutes. She kept asking herself, “What could be wrong?” staring at her little boy in the chair beside her looking through a children's magazine.
“Look, Sis,” he laughed quietly, pointing at the pictures.
“What Sam?” Sarah leaned forward to hear what he was saying. “Nothing, Mom. I was showing Sis –” he stopped abruptly, covering his mouth. “Sorry Mom, I forgot.”
A perky, blond nurse came through the door, smiling, clipboard in hand. “Sarah, Sam, the doctor is ready for you now.” They followed the nurse down the hallway to a small room.
Doctor Reins asked Sarah to join him in his office. He gave Sam a coloring book. “Can you sit right out there, Sam?” he pointed to the hallway, “and color me a nice picture while Mommy and I talk?”
Sam gazed up to the round shiny head above him. He took the coloring book and crayons from Dr. Rein’s thick hands “Sure,” he said. “Thank you, sir.”
Dr. Reins sat across the desk from Sarah, opened up Sam’s file, and folded his hands on the desk. He took a deep breath before speaking. “Have you ever heard of a human chimera?”
Sarah leaned forward. “A what?”
Dr. Reins cleared his throat. “A chimera is a person who in the womb had, at some stage in development, fused with their fraternal twin, thus giving a person two sets of DNA.”
“So, you’re saying Sam is one of these…uh… chimeras?”
“Yes, after his exam at the last visit and looking over the ultrasound, I thought it might be a good idea to check his DNA. Chimeras are rare, but it does happen.”
“I was supposed to have twins? What does that have to do with...”Sarah hesitated. “I don’t understand what that has to do with his problem.”
“You see, he was born with only one testicle because the other ovum was female, and when they merged in the womb, he received some of her internal sex organs. He has a fallopian tube and an ovary on the right side. I discovered this abnormality while looking over the ultrasound. There are ways we can correct the problem.” Dr. Rein’s pager beeped. “I’m sorry, excuse me for one minute.”
Sam had a sister in the womb? Sarah heard Sam outside the door talking to himself. She slowly rose from her chair and walked over to the door, opening it enough to see what Sam was doing.
Sam sat in the hallway coloring. “Stop it, Sis!” he screamed. “You’re going to ruin my picture again.” He leaned over his coloring book as if he were protecting it.
Sarah’s body went numb as she observed a pink crayon rise up out
of the box, float over to the coloring book, and scribble all over Sam's picture.
“NO!” Sam started to cry as he swatted at the pink crayon, but he couldn't stop it.
A cold chill ran up Sarah's back, and the prickly sensation became goose flesh all over her body as she watched her son.
“Now, look what you did.” He threw his crayon down and rested his head on the floor crying. “Why did you have to go and make my picture ugly?”
Sara walked into the hallway.“Stop!” Sara hesitated a moment,
The pink crayon fell to the floor. Sarah ran out to him and held him in her arms, rocking him as he sat in her lap. Tears flooded her eyes. She was relieved that her son wasn't crazy. But then, a sense of dread overwhelmed her as she realized they were now dealing something more sinister.