124/366 – Bad Parents

“Hello?” Macey Harper said as she put the receiver to her ear.

“Macey Harper?” a woman’s voice replied.

“This is she,” Macey replied as she sat at the table, pulling her manicure set close to her, “How can I help you?”

“This is Joslyn, your daughter,” the woman said.

“That’s not funny,” Macey replied, hanging the phone up.

“Who was that, honey?” Lucas asked from the next room.

Macey stood and walked into the living room. It was a small room, decorated mostly with old, hand-me-down furniture and a large television. Lucas was sitting in his recliner, watching the daytime programming on his favorite channel.

“Jesus Christ, hun,” Lucas said, seeing her face as she stopped at the door, “You look like you saw a ghost. You okay?”

“Some bitch just called saying that she’s our daughter Joslyn,” Macey said.

“Fucking scammers,” Lucas replied, shaking his head, “they’ll go to any length to try to get money from people.”

The phone rang again. Macey looked down to see RESTRICTED on the screen.

“Hello?” Macey said, answering the call.

“Don’t hang up, Mom,” the woman said on the other end.

“How dare you try this after all these years!” Macey exploded, “We lost our little girl. She’s dead. Stop this!”

Macey threw the phone across the room, shattering it against the wall. Pieces of the phone flew in every direction, leaving shards of glass and plastic lying everywhere.

“Holy fuck, Macey! You need to calm down. That phone was four hundred dollars,” Lucas said, climbing out of his chair. He began picking up the larger pieces of the phone that he could find. “We both know it’s not her. You shouldn’t get so upset over it. It’s just some-”

The smashed phone began making garbled ringing noises as a tiny piece of the screen lit up a foot from where Lucas was standing. He looked down in his hand and saw the phone’s battery.

“Macey, what’s happening?” he asked as he held up the battery.

“Dad?” a voice said from the phone as it stopped ringing, “Is that you?”

“Who the fuck is this?” Lucas asked, stepping closer to it. “How are you doing this?”

“It’s me, Dad, Joslyn. Please, don’t hang up. I’ve been looking for you and Mom for ages. I can’t believe I found you!” Joslyn said.

“Our Joslyn is dead. She went missing fifteen years ago, and we never found anything,” Lucas said. “You need to stop this. You’re upsetting my wife, and I’m starting to get angry.”

“We both know that’s not what happened, Dad,” Joslyn replied. “We both know I didn’t go missing. You buried me where no one would find me.”

“What are you talking about? I would never have done something like that to my daughter,” Lucas argued.

“Just like when you told me I’d always be safe as long as I was with you? What about my favorite dress. Do you still have it? How long did you wait before you threw out all my things?” Joslyn asked as the room went cold around Lucas and Macey. “You said that you would protect me, Dad, and you didn’t. Even though you didn’t have your hands on the pillow, Mom, you’re just as guilty as Dad.”

“H-how would you know that?” Macey said, dropping to her knees. “How could you know any of this?”

“I told you, Mom. It’s me. Dad smothered me, and you just let him take my body out of the house and bury me in the woods,” Joslyn replied. “How could you, Mom?”

“I’m sorry, baby!” Macey bawled as she crawled to the phone. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t want-”

“It’s too late for you both to apologize,” Josylen said, “I’ll see you soon.”

The screen went dark.

“Joslyn, wait! Joslyn?” Macey said, cradling the phone against her chest.

Lucas stood there, looking down at his crying wife. He felt the familiar burst of rage that frequently surged through him.

“Stop it, Macey!” Lucas yelled, wrestling the phone from her grasp. “You’re being ridiculous.”

“It was our baby, Lucas! It was her! You heard her!” Macey cried, “She knows everything. She knows how you killed her and how you got rid of her body.”

didn’t kill her, Macey, we killed her, remember that,” Lucas said as he turned toward the kitchen. “This is all some kind of hallucination. She’s gone, Macey. She’s gone forever.”

“She said she would see us soon,” Macey said, shakily pushing herself back to her hands and knees. “She’s coming, Lucas. Joslyn’s coming.”

“That’s enough! Joslyn’s dead!” Lucas screamed as he marched out of the room. He threw the phone in the trash and turned back to see his wife in the doorway, tears ruining her mascara as black lines ran down her cheeks. “Go clean yourself up, Macey. You look horrible.”

Macey nodded and walked down the hall to the bathroom. She turned on the light and locked the door behind her before turning on the water and splashing her face a few times.

“What the fuck is happening?” she muttered after a minute. “How can any of this be possible?”

“Are you okay in there, Macey?” Lucas called down the hall.

“Yeah, I’ll be right out,” she called through the door. She wiped off the last of her mascara and stepped back into the hallway. Lucas stood at the end of the hall, blocking most of the light from the windows behind him. “What are you doing?”

“I was waiting for you,” Lucas replied as Macey walked toward the kitchen.

“You know I hate it when you do that,” Macey said, pushing past him. “It’s creepy.”

“I wanted to make sure you were okay,” Lucas replied as he followed Macey into the living room.

Macey stopped at the doorway, making Lucas bump into the back of her.

“What the hell, Macey?” Lucas said as he saw what she saw.

In the center of the room, a woman wore a pink, floral-patterned bedsheet like a gown. Her long auburn hair matted with moss and mud swayed as she tilted her head and looked at them with a sweet smile.

“Hi, Mom and Dad, I’m home,” Joslyn said, taking a step toward them.

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