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Slipping

Chapter One: Evidence

January 23rd, 2007

[a click, the sound of scraping and heavy breathing]

“Okay, okay? Is this... is this on?”

“Yeah, Daray.”

“Here's the story. And this is where it began and this is what they won't tell you. When I was little, I used to have this dream. I thought It was a dream, at least? It could have been a dream. He used to stand outside my window and ask me to come out.”

“Okay...?”

“No, you don't get it. He with a capital H. Always. I'd go outside and we'd just talk for awhile. He'd lead me into the forest-- which was weird, I lived in Baton Rouge, but whatever. Bayou. We'd go out and he'd show me these things-- god, terrible things, blood and...”

“Daray, shh, honey!"

“Sorry.”

“But I never thought it was weird. He talked and talked. Had no mouth, though. No face. Nothing, just a white slate and these hollows where his cheekbones would have been if he were human. His face would shift, move, like muscles rippled under the skin to try to make him smile or laugh or growl, but he just had no mouth to match. It was like bugs crawling under his skin.

But I'd sometimes say no, try to walk away, and then he'd just... he'd be all around me, hands holding me still, but he had so many hands? [hysterical laughing] You know? It was like running into a spiderweb, if a spiderweb was like a million trees slowly digging into my skin.

I remember-- I mean, it couldn't have been real, but I remember after Tasha went missing, I dreamed (I had to have been dreaming) that he made me bring him all these bags. Black, thick garbage bags, the strongest Mom bought. I brought this box of them out, there must have been thirty, and... oh. He, he brought me to this mangled, bloody puddle with hair. She... she must have been real at some point, I mean,I saw her necklace and I recognized it as Tasha's. But he just stood me there. Held me there until I pulled the bags out, stretched them on the ground, and we scooped the...

[sobbing]

… the body, we put the body into the bags. I... I had to pick her jewelry out of the puddle and I tied the bags shut with them. I kept saying no.

His hands would shift and he'd stroke my hair, softly, soft soft soft if I said no, until I came out. His tie was blood red and shiny-slick against the dull black of his suit. Had the dream over and over and over until we moved to New Orleans, then Minnesota. He just went away. But...”

“Did they find Tasha?”

[laughing]

“They found bits of her in garbage bags hung from the old oak tree behind her house. The bags were tied shut with her necklaces. I hid my bloody clothes in my closet until I was left alone one day.”

"Wait. Daray, I thought you said you didn't do it?"

[extended silence, then-- whispering, there's the sound of a window opening with a soft click]

"I say a lot of things, Johnathan."
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January 2012

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