A tear fell from my eye as I watched the funeral procession. It wasn't right. How did we get here? How did this happen? More tears fell as I remembered Katelyn. She was too young. I promised myself that I would find Amelia and kill her. If that was possible. Maybe this is what Katelyn wanted. I shook my head. She couldn't have want this, could she? My memory faded back to three years ago.

I was only fifteen at the time. Mom was cooking dinner and I was setting the table. It was a normal friday evening. Casey had come up with big news. She looked excited she could burst. She was only seven at the time, so her little face looked adorable so worked up. Mom had just finished making dinner. We all sat down. Katelyn was in her high chair screaming at the top of her lungs. She was only two so we let her scream, she did it every night.

"I've made a new friend!" Casey said, proud of her accomplishment. Mom smiled

"Whats her name?" Mom asked

"Amelia." Casey said, her eyes filling with wonder.

"Where does Amelia live? We should invite her over." Mom said happily. She loved when Casey made friends. She wasn't the most social child ever.

"We don't have to invite her over." Casey stated. "She's in the basement."

"The basement?" Mom asked, worry started to show on her already withered face. "Can you go get her?"

Casey shook her head. "She can't leave the basement."

Mom nodded. "Can we go visit her?" She was careful. She didn't want to imply anything to Casey. Casey only shrugged.

"Sure." She led us down to the basement. When we walked inside we saw everything was in it's place. There was no little girl. Casey started laughing as soon as we entered the room. "Amelia!" She said loudly. "Your red hair is everywhere! It looks like fire or something!" Casey kept laughing.

That night mom came to my room. "Do you think she's playing a joke on us?" She asked me. I shook my head

"It's an imaginary friend. It's very normal for children her age. Especially if they're anti-social." This seemed to calm mom down and we never spoke of it again. Casey greatly enjoyed her friends company. That's when a problem arose. Casey started to act as if Amelia was REAL. Not like she had when she was little, though. It was different. It was maybe three years after Amelia had shown up. She was ten by now. Way to old to have imaginary friends. It scared mom that Casey was still hooked on Amelia, but she wanted to let Casey grow out of it herself. I had been packing for college when I heard Casey scream.

It was loud and scary as if she had seen something truly frightening. When me and mom rushed to her, there was nothing there. Casey only kept screaming. We had paramedics come and then the long process started. Casey went from doctor to doctor. Finally it was determined that Casey was mentally ill. She was sent to a special place. At least, that's what we called it around Katelyn. Katelyn was about six. I had moved off to college only a few days after Casey was submitted to the mental hospital.

It was a four good weeks. That's until I went home for dinner. It was almost like a dejavu moment. I was helping mom set the table while she was making dinner. That's when Katelyn ran up. "I made a new friend!" She said, her voice cheerful.

"What's her name?" Mom asked

"Amelia." This seemed to stop mom. She shook it off. There were many girls in the world named Amelia, right?

"What does she look like?" I questioned, not thinking of anything else to say.

"Oh!" Katelyn said, "She has bright fiery red hair!" This seemed to tickle my memory.

"Do you know where she lives?" Mom asked. There was definite traces of worry in her voice. I was still trying to remember.

"In the basement." Katelyn said normally. My jaw dropped. That's what I remembered. Casey had spoke about Amelia having red hair. Mom seemed to realize they were talking about the same (supposedly imaginary) person too, because she wore a shocked expression.

"What do you guys do in there?" Mom asked.

"We play games." Katelyn said. With that she walked off, leaving her dinner on the table.

The days passed and Katelyn spent most of her time in the basement as Casey had. Mom was hoping when Katelyn started kindergarten, Amelia would go away. This was not the case. It only got worse. As the weeks went on Amelia became all Katelyn wanted to talk about. Soon it was becoming obvious. Katelyn was obsessed. "What type of games do you guys play?" Mom asked one day. There was tightness in her voice. One that she tried hard to hide. "We like to play funny faces." Katelyn said. "It's Amelia's favorite, she plays it all the time."

"Oh?" Mom said, hoping for more of an explanation.

"This is Amelia's favorite face. She does this one all the time. I'm super good at it." With that Katelyn tilted her head back. Her eyes seemed to drift off and look vacant. Her tongue hung from her mouth. She also stopped breathing.

Mom looked as if she wanted to scream. "Katelyn? Katelyn? Katelyn! Stop it!" Mom cried as Katelyn held her lifeless expression. Finally Katelyn bounced back up, full of life again. She giggled.

"Told you I was good." She said.

"I want to meet this Amelia." Mom said, her voice final.

"Ok." Katelyn said.

"Tell Amelia to come up here." Mom responded, her voice hard.

Katelyn shook her head. "Amelia can't leave the basement."

"Why?" I asked remembering what Casey had said years before.

"She says the bad people put her there and she can't get out."

"What bad people?" Mom said, not bothering to keep the panic from her voice.

"The bad people that took her here." Katelyn said. "She says they are bad. They gave her a fake braid and then trapped her."

"Fake braid?" I asked. Katelyn nodded.

"Show us." I said.

Katelyn led us down to the basement. "Where's Amelia?" I asked once we were down there. Katelyn pointed to a corner. In the corner was a strong hook on the ceiling and a chair below it. In my mind I imagined a girl with fiery red hair sitting in a chair. Little did I know Katelyn saw something very different.

"How did Amelia get stuck here?" I asked. I looked to mom and was shocked to see her face. Mom had a terrorized expression, eyes wide. She was staring in the corner.

"The bad people put her here." Katelyn said, annoyed.

"How did the bad people put her here?" I asked my voice quavering. I didn't like the look on moms face. Katelyn shrugged.

"I can ask her, but she wants you to leave." I nodded and led mom from the basement. It was two minutes I think before mom snapped out of her daze.

"We need to go back in there!" Mom said with so much urgency it made me jump. We pushed the door to the basement and peered inside. Katelyn was playing with a thick rope. Moms look of terror grew. I didn't understand. "Katelyn I thought you were going to ask Amelia." I said.

I stopped myself. Why was I talking about her like she was real? "I did!" Katelyn said. "She said she would show me!" That's when something clicked. Like a little puzzle piece in my brain. It snapped together and it took me a moment to process. My eyes flicked from the rope to the corner. My mind dug up all the things I had heard from Casey and Katelyn. I almost fell over. Amelia was dead. She was hung by the "bad people". I looked back to the corner. The bad men gave her a braid and trapped her. I turned to the rope in Katelyns hands. It wasn't a braid but a noose

I ran down the stairs and snatched the rope out of Katelyns hands. Turning to the corner again I could finally see what Katelyn saw. There was a little girl with fiery red hair, her hair a total mess. There was a rope around her neck. Hanging her from the hook on the ceiling. Her face lifeless. My heart almost stopped. I practically dragged Katelyn up the stairs. Mom was still in her shock and Katelyn was screaming.

"No!" I yelled, my fear getting the best of me. "No more seeing Amelia!" My voice echoed through the house. Katelyn screamed so loud I swore it was going to break my ears in half. It took almost an hour for Katelyn to calm down enough for me to put her to sleep. I had locked the basement. Mom had kinda put herself to bed. Her eyes wide. She was vacant. An empty shell in an empty body. She was spooked.

I decided to spend the night, even though I had midterms the next day. It was too important to leave. I don't remember falling asleep, but I must have because I was awoken in the middle of the night with a startle. There was a deafening scream, ringing through the house. My head ached as I ran down to the source of the noise. I saw the basement door unlocked. My head spun as I thrust it open. The screaming stopped immediately. I peered around the room. I saw Katelyn in Amelia's corner. The rope was around her neck and she was standing in the chair. "Amelia showed me how she got trapped." Katelyn smiled. "My turn."

The rest was a blur. Katelyn had jumped off the chair and her neck snapped. It was so loud it seemed to echo around the house. Mom was sent to a mental hospital for the trauma and Katelyn died. I cannot believe I once said imaginary friends were harmless. A breeze of wind dried my tears as I recalled the story. I knew one thing for sure. Amelia was very much not imaginary.

#WhiHalloweenWriting