About two hours later, Miranda came out of the bathroom. Having poured herself a large mug of hot cocoa, the girl went into the living room. Outside it was completely dark. But she did not turn on the light in the room.
Sitting comfortably on the couch, Miranda grabbed the mug in both hands and sipping hot cocoa. She began to inspect the dark room and the chair in which Carolyn used to sit when she came to visit her. The girl wanted to see her beloved friend again. Alive… A sweet and cheerful girl with big brown eyes and a smile that always shines on her face. But no matter how much Miranda wanted it, it was not possible.
– I’ll never see you again, – looking at the empty chair she said sadly. – Ah, my dear Carey… I do not understand how this could happen… It does not fit in my head. The police said you set yourself on fire! I can not believe this…
Miranda thought and a moment later continued as if Carolyn was there, next to her, and could hear her.
– You were so afraid of fire… Do you remember? We were out of town with your parents… Do you remember? Then, in childhood, when in our tree house burning candles fell on our drawings and magazines. And we talked and laughed so much that we didn’t notice it. And then everything flashed… We could not approach the exit… And shouted… We shouted, but no one heard… And then we jumped out the window… We had to do it. You broke your leg then, and I broke my arm… Do you remember? Of course you remember… You were so scared then. You slept with me in the same bed for a month because you were scared. And then, when we returned to the city, you still had nightmares for a very long time. Fire… Fire … – the girl sighed heavily, – They said that you set yourself on fire… But I know… I know how much you were afraid of fire! I know that you never had a match or a candle at your house… But they say that you did it yourself! It’s so hard for me to believe it! How could you, such a kind, nice, beautiful and cheerful person, do that? Do I really not know something? Did you really hide something from me?! After all, you can’t just do what you did! Did you do it?!
Miranda looked at the empty chair and tears flowed from her eyes.
– I want to see you so much, – after a minute pause she continued, – So I want to ask you what happened in your life, what I don’t know about… What pushed you into what you did with yourself?!
Miranda tried to imagine Carolyn entering the room and sitting opposite her in that chair.
– You know, Carey … – the girl sighed heavily, – I do not understand what happened that night… That night… You told me about Danny and you seemed so happy! And when you left… You all shone with happiness! And… I don’t understand what could have happened… You know… All this time, that you are not alive… Oh my God, it seems that an entire eternity has passed! And it took only two weeks… Carey… Carey, all this time I have been tormented by a terrible feeling of guilt… God! I think all the time, what would happen if I did not tell you that the apartment next to me is for sale? What if you didn’t buy it? Maybe you would be alive now? You lived next to me just a month… So close… Just a few steps from me… Just a month…
Miranda dropped a mug of cocoa on the floor and covered her face with shaking hands.
– Why? Why haven’t I heard your screams? – she sobbed, – You screamed! You should have screamed! Why haven’t I heard? Why didn’t I help you?
– Miranda … – suddenly a girl heard a quiet voice, – Miranda…
The girl immediately fell silent. She removed her hands from her face, peering into the darkness and began to listen to the whisper.
– Miranda… Miranda … – someone quietly repeated her name.
“This is Carolyn’s voice” – the girl thought with horror and frightened looked at the empty chair.
– It can not be… It can not be… I’m going crazy … – shaking her head she said.
– Miranda, – suddenly someone said her name loudly.
Girl with fright jumped up from the couch.
– Who is there? – she cried out.
– I’m here, Miranda, – said voice.
Miranda turned her head toward the door and swayed in fear. In the doorway, in the dark, someone was standing.
– Oh my God! Who you are? How did you get here? – she asked excitedly and frightened.
– You do not recognize me, Miranda?! – asked the dark figure and took a few steps forward so that the dim light entering the room from the window could light up her face a little. Miranda turned white with horror.
– Carolyn? Is that you? No… No… It can not be! You … – the girl only had time to say it and her heart almost stopped in fear when the phone suddenly rang. Miranda looked for a moment in the direction from where the phone rang, and then looked again at the place where her deceased friend had just stood. But Carolyn was no longer there. The girl looked into the emptiness, and the phone rang, making loud ringing sounds. Finally Miranda answered.
– Hello, – she said in a trembling voice, – Hello! Who is this? Do not be silent!
– Murderer… – someone hissed softly in a voice like Carolyn’s and hung up.
Miranda stood alone in the dark room. Eyes wide with horror, she looked somewhere in the void. She held a handset near her ear, from which came unpleasant short beeps. And tears flowed down her cheeks.
3. I will stay
Miranda woke up in the morning on the couch in the living room from some noise. Opening her eyes, she looked around. The room was bright and there was no one there but her. The girl began to listen to the noise that reached her from behind the closed door. There was definitely someone else in the apartment besides her. She heard someone’s quiet footsteps. Some kind of rustling. Then someone walked along the corridor. As he moved closer to the living room where Miranda was now located, his steps became clearer and louder, but after a few seconds it became quiet. Miranda listened with horror to silence, when suddenly the doorknob slowly turned. From fright, the girl jumped up from the couch. She stepped on a mug lying on the floor and flew down with a cry. She collapsed on her back and, hitting her head hard on the floor, lost consciousness.
– Miranda! Miranda! – from somewhere far away came to her mind a familiar male voice.
The girl opened her eyes. Everything was blurring around. Miranda tried to make out the man bent over her and when her gaze finally focused on his face, she happily discovered for herself, that in front of her was her beloved Aiden. The girl gasped with relief and smiled.
– What are you doing here? – she asked quietly.
– Strange question, – he grinned.
Miranda rose a little.
– Ouch! So painful! – grimaced and clutching at the back of her head, she said.
– Of course! – said Aiden, – Make such a flight! My heart almost stopped when I saw it!
A man helped Miranda up and sat her in a chair.
– Are you okay? How do you feel? – he was worried.
– It’s okay, do not worry, – the girl assured him. – It hurts a little and then stops hurting.