October 6th

This is [Edit: the beginning of] a rough draft of a short story which I plan to turn into a novella. I liked the bones of this story enough to share it, though I admit the writing is a little sparse. I hope you enjoy it. [I am taking out everything but the very beginning because I want to work on this a little more before sharing, but I am having a lot of fun with this one. It is based on true events.]

Liz

Every October 6th, starting when I was about twenty or so, something odd would happen to me. Let me give you an example.

On the Santa Monica pier, October 6th, 2005. A woman walked up to me and said she wanted to take my photograph. I demurred, she insisted. She snapped a photograph with me saying she wanted me to wave to her family, and feeling put upon, I did so.

“I’m done with you now,” she said, and pushed me, hard, toward an oncoming couple.

I stumbled but did not lose my footing, nor hit the couple. They stared at me. I turned around.

“What the fuck, lady?” I yelled, and the strange woman looked at me, smirked, then her face crumpled theatrically and she went to her family, pointing at me, clearly aggrieved.

For about a week afterward, everywhere I went, different women would follow me, walk up to me, tell me that restaurants or parking lots were closed, tell me that I had to go with them (I never did), tell me they needed my signature on petitions, they needed my address, they needed to see my ID.

Another October 6th, I was attempting to see a pageant in Laguna Beach, a display of tableaux of old masterwork paintings put on by live models. A woman claiming to represent the play gave me a free glass of lemonade. I drank it, sat down on my picnic blanket, prepared to enjoy the pageant. I woke up on my picnic blanket, the pageant finished, I had a headache, I was groggy, people were leaving or had left. The woman was there and said she would see me to my car, then when we were alone, she took my things, put them next to a trash bin, and said I needed to take off my clothes.

I objected. I was weak, I pushed her away but she was stronger, and my cries for help were weakened. I blacked out and woke up with my pants removed by the entrance to the men’s bathroom in a local bar.

Sometimes it was a woman. Sometimes it was a man. Sometimes it was someone I thought I knew asking me “Do you know who I am? Who am I to you?” who did not seem to know basic facts about our relationship. Sometimes it was merely a phone call. But it happened, like clockwork, on or around October 6th, each year, and each year toward the end of September I’d wonder what would happen this time.

They took me about a year ago, last October 6th. I thought I’d be returned home within a week or two, but I’ve been here almost a full year, here on this Campus, and I have no clear idea of where I am or why they took me.

[What’s been happening to our protagonist? Where are they? What is the purpose of the Campus? Answers to these questions and more in the finished version, expected in November if writing goes as planned. Depending on length I may make the work available on Smashwords instead of here.]