I made a wager in my last post, which I am sad to say didn’t seem to work out. That’s what I get for attempting fortune telling. It really just doesn’t work.
I wrote this some time ago, as part of the new project I have which is tentatively titled October 6th, and which I’ve written about here. A warning: this is very dark.
I dreamt first of the lamp, swinging, and the doors opening. Blood on the floor beyond. Paw prints leading away from the puddle on the marble floor toward oblivion.
I dreamt next of the captain of our high school football team, hanging dead, throat slit, from the lamp outside the double doors. This time the doors were closed. The body swung, dripping, and its legs suddenly scissored around my torso, latching onto me. It jerked, I fell down on the old worn stone stairway, and I woke up screaming.
I went about my days barely noticing the things I had been exposed to all that week, the events or images which I just assume were triggers of one sort or another. I was plagued by recurring thoughts, as I did my dull data entry typing each day, of a thrashing young man trying to grab me, swinging on a cord by his neck, a dark portal beyond with bloody paw prints leading into darkness.
I remembered, suddenly, as I sat quietly eating lunch outside, looking at a pot of rosemary plants. The rosemary smelled lovely in the warm breeze- today was warm for November, although I did not know what latitude the Campus was located at, or even which country.
I remembered a house. It was in Southern California, and had rosemary planted by the front door. A brown house, unassuming, with a pool in the backyard. No furniture. I had been invited by my coworker Laura to a barbecue and I went, and there was no food, no music, no patio furniture. Just Laura, a tall, sandy-haired man that I had never seen before, and the pool.
Laura and the strange man left me alone outside and I waited for them to return. I went inside. No one was there. I went looking for a bathroom and a woman I did not recognize found me. Dark hair, dark eyes, older than I was.
“Do you remember me?” she asked.
“Do you want to be helpful? I can really use some help.”
She took me to a bedroom- one bed, a table with a computer on it, the computer was on and the screen was white, a little bit of black text around the edges. There was no chair, and the table was set low enough that one could not stand and type.
“I need you to type something into this page for me,” she said.
“I need a chair,” I said.
“Come outside,” she said, and I did so.
“Are you thirsty? Here is a drink,” she said, and handed me what appeared to be a beer.
“Here, wait, let me make sure it’s ready,” she said, and took it from me, turned around. She gave it back with a wide smile. I took a sip.
She went into the house. There were noises, a chair scraping across a floor, something sounding like a struggle.
She came out, watched me drink the beer, then brought me back into the bedroom. There was a chair in the middle of the room, under the lamp. I could not see anything hanging from the lamp.
“It’s your decision,” she said. “Do you want to help me?”
“Why is the chair in the middle of the room?” I asked.
“If you want to help me you will move it,” the woman said.
“What is going on? Where’s Laura?”
The woman looked annoyed.
“She’s gone to get some food,” she said. “She won’t be back for some time. Now are you going to help me, or not? I’ll pay you handsomely.”
I moved the chair. It did not want to move at first. As I forced it, I heard a thwacking noise.
“What was that?”
“Justice,” said the woman. She held out a piece of paper. On it were scribbles I could not read.
“I can’t read that,” I said.
The woman rolled her eyes and said something under her breath.
“What was that?” I asked.
“I’ll dictate,” she said.
“I want you to write, ‘Jesus wept for he saw an abomination before him, and he swept the earth clean of it, and the seas also will rise up and cleanse away abominations before the Lord.’”
I typed it, then added,
Some lady with dark hair is making me type this, this is fucking creepy. If I am found dead it’s her that did this to me.
I hit the small gray SEND button in the lower right corner.
“What was that? I needed to see that, what did you send?”
“What you told me to write,” I replied.
She left abruptly. I got up out of the chair, the put it back under the lamp, where it had been. I still saw nothing hanging from the lamp. But something bumped me as I put the chair back where it had been. I felt for it. What was it? I felt- clothing, cloth. Something hard. I slapped it and it jerked. What was it?
“Come out to the pool and leave that alone,” said the woman, and she motioned me out to the backyard, handed me a glass of water. I was thirsty, so I took a sip, but I wondered what the hell was going on. Something was.
The water tasted heavily of chlorine.
“Come into the pool with the rest of us,” she said, but no one was there. And then she pushed me.
I closed my eyes and frowned.
Disjointed memories, just fragments.
Hands, pushing my face underwater.
Waking up underneath a blue tarp, coughing, tasting chlorine burning in my throat, my nostrils. I was cold.
The house was silent, empty. I went to each room, looking. I thought I heard something. I saw nothing amiss save that the chair was knocked over. I righted it and felt something hit me in the face, bump against my side. I tugged and it gurgled. I got up on the chair, felt for the noose, loosened it by lifting the heavy object and pulling the cord away. Whoever had made the noose had not done it properly, it had not tightened on the neck. The heavy thing and I fell to the floor. I got up, then found it by patting the air- I still could not see it- and I took it to the bed and placed it on as gently as I could. I aligned the body- head straight, arms and legs straight- and all the while I was so cold. I put blankets on the body, and then curled up next to it in the bed, under the blankets, and fell asleep.
I woke, wondered where I was. It felt late. I felt the body next to me- warm, breathing. My vision was blurry when I looked at it. I could not see who it was.
I went through the house. Surely Laura had come back. No one. The front door was unlocked. There was one telephone on the counter so I used it to call police and say that the door was unlocked and I was leaving the house, and a man had been injured. I felt, so strongly, that I had to leave as soon as possible.
On the way out of the house, I met a woman with a black Labrador. Dark hair, dark eyes. I did not recognize her, or remember her from the house. She was coming down the sidewalk toward me.
“Leaving the scene of the crime so quickly?” she asked.
“Never mind, you’ll find out later. How did you survive?”
I simply looked at her.
The woman petted her dog, who was interested in me. She pulled the dog back.
“Never mind. We’ll see how you do when you’re in jail, cockroach.”
The dog came to me and I petted her. The woman pulled the dog back.
“I did nothing wrong,” I said. I had a distinctly uneasy feeling.
“That’s what they all say, cockroach,” she said. “And thanks a lot, now I have to give my dog a bath, because you touched her.”
“I’m calling the police as soon as I get home,” she said. “You had better run while you can. Mexico is nice this time of year.”
Who was she, who was she, I wondered. I sat on the bench on the Campus, looking at the rosemary, and I realized: she was the same woman from Laguna Beach, the same woman from the pier in Santa Monica.
I don’t remember the end of my conversation with this woman- I recall being flustered, walking away when she started screaming at me in Spanish, and driving away in my car.
I wondered what happened to the man, who he was. I was fairly certain it had been a male body that I had taken down from where it hung, though I could not see it clearly.
I thought about this, thought about it long and hard. Who was he? What did he experience? Why could I see everything but him? Would he remember me? If he remembered me- would he protect me from the dark-haired, dark-eyed woman who smiled at me all while she called me “cockroach” and drugged my beer- the woman I suspect was the one I met in Vancouver, the one in the hotel, the woman who tried to sell me to the man in the gilded penthouse, and, possibly, has done so much more to me? I didn’t know who she was, why she was trying to hurt me, and who her other intended victim was, but I felt certain that time would reveal everything to me. I just needed to keep my true thoughts a secret from everyone on this subject until I could figure out who he was, and how to reach him.
“Tick, tock,” I whispered to the rosemary bushes.
Update: I often wondered how, in my dreams, one person was able to do so much alone. The answer is simple. There was more than one. I’ve known this for some time now but today I did a little genealogy research. This is going to go into a separate story than October 6th– I just wanted you all to have some insights into my creative process.