"Why are you still ignoring me?"
Rebecca sits on my red barrel chair with her arms crossed, glaring up at me from under furrowed eyebrows. The colorful rainbow graphic on the front of her white shirt contrasts her angry demeanor.
"Susan, I'm talking to you!"
As I start to get ready for my engagement party tonight, I glance at Rebecca standing in the background of my reflection in the mirror. I look away and press my eyes shut and repeat my mantra: Rebecca isn't real. Rebecca doesn't exist. I'm in control.
"Stop ignoring me!" Rebecca's tone softens to a whimper. "Please Susan, you're my best friend, my sister. I love you."
Rebecca has been at my side through most of my life, good times and bad. She was the one who comforted me when Mom and Dad died in the car accident. She insisted I was a hidden beauty and urged me to be confident with boys in high school. And when my house was burned down to the ground, it was Rebecca who helped me put the pieces of my life back together. She's been my confidant, my best friend, for as long as I can remember.
But when I met Michael, Rebecca became jealous. Her envy physically manifested itself and got worse when Michael proposed. I finally sought after professional help with Dr. Lawrence who insists that complete and total rejection is the key to controlling Rebecca. I must reject all aspects of her existence, even the good parts, by any means necessary.
"Is this about my prank last week?" Rebecca throws herself down onto the red chair. An incredulous smirk appears on her face as she shrugs and rolls her eyes. "I already apologized, what more do you want?"
I close my eyes and take another deep breath. Rebecca isn't real. Rebecca doesn't exist. I'm in control.
When I open my eyes, I see her pursing her lips at me in the mirror. I shake my head and proceed to brush my hair.
"Fine." Rebecca raises her right hand as if taking an oath. "I promise not to smash any more dishes or toss any of Micheal's clothes. And I won't leave lipstick messages in the bathroom mirror for Michael to see. Although," she giggles, "his reaction when he read it last week was pretty funny."
I shoot her a glare, and she stops laughing.
"You're right. It wasn't funny. I'm sorry about that. I promise it won't happen again. No death threats or messages of any kind. I swear. He won't know I'm here." She chortles. "Scout's honor."
I narrow my eyes at her. You're not real. You don't exist. I'm in control.
"And I promise to leave you two alone in the bedroom, not that you need the privacy anyway." She scoffs and adjusts herself in her seat. "I mean, you guys are so puritanical. Waiting until your wedding night? Who does that?"
I shout back at her in the mirror, "You are the reason for waiting!"
Rebecca leans back in the red chair, lifts her eyebrows, and then rolls her eyes to the side.
"That's it. I'm done with you!"
I reach for the prescription bottle on my dresser and recall Dr. Lawrence's words. "Take these if nothing else works. You might feel drowsy, and it might make you nauseous, but you will control her. The drug might make her look distorted, or gory as if she died and is rotting away. Or, she might disappear. The effects of the drug are different for everyone, so be prepared."
I pop the top of the medicine bottle.
"No!" Rebecca jumps up to her feet. "I know what those are. Please don't take those. I'll… I'll be on my best behavior, I swear!"
I roll my eyes and shake my head. "I gave you enough chances."
"No, no, don't—"
After I toss the pills into my mouth and take a few sips from the water bottle on my dresser, Rebecca sobs. "Why are you doing this to me? I love you. Please. You have to forgive me. You're my best friend, my sister, my soul—"
I turn on the hair dryer to drown out Rebecca's pleas. She continues begging over the noise, but I can't hear a single word and continue drying my hair. If this new trial drug works and Rebecca disappears for good, I will be forever grateful to Dr. Lawrence, and to Micheal for sticking by my side. I imagine our wedding, our honeymoon, and waking up next to Michael every day for the rest of my life. Marrying him will be the best thing to ever happen to me. Everything will be perfect.
After several minutes, I yawn, stretch out my arms, and slowly sink to the floor. My mind spins out of control, and everything goes black.
~ * ~
Rebecca's chuckle awakens me. When I lift my head, I see her standing in front of my mirror wearing the black dress I bought for my engagement party. In the mirror's reflection, I see myself sitting on the red barrel chair wearing her white tee shirt with the rainbow graphic.
"Hi, sleepy head." Rebecca places her hands on her hips. "How do I look?"
"No." I shake my head, feeling nauseated. My skin is gray with rotting patches. "No."
"Yes," Rebecca says, nodding in the mirror.
"Dr. Lawrence… Michael… this can't be happening."
"Oh, I'm afraid it is." She dabs her scarlet lips in the mirror and flips her hair. "I must thank Dr. Lawrence for the prescription. I feel so alive!" She narrows her eyes at me. "Don't worry about Michael, I'll take good care of him."
The light around me dims. I can't lift my arms or legs. I feel myself fading.
"Susan isn't real. Susan no longer exists." Rebecca's voice drifts into the distance as my eyes close against my will. "I'm in control now."