**Author’s notes: This is the eighth piece, the first is found here
You can find the complete, professionally edited and extended book here along with two short stories for $2.99.**
An obituary from the Liberation Times:
Julie Stone, 26, died August 12th 1988.
Julie was born on January 8th in 1962 and attended Memorial High School where she received her High School Diploma. She excelled as an artist and had plans to attend the Liberation Community College early next year.
She is survived by her aunt, Crystal Birmingham. A small service will be provided at Liddell’s Funeral Home.
I walked over to Vanessa’s apartment and knocked on her door. I asked her to lunch and guess what? She said yes. And then, you won’t believe this, we went to watch a movie afterwards.
I feel so much better after the other night. It’s like the hunger is almost gone. Of course it won’t be gone for long but at least I won’t pass out anymore. That note I got in the mail was a bit creepy. But I’m in control, not him.
So I knocked out more of my book in the morning and spent time with Vanessa. What a perfect day, Diary. We get along very well and I can tell that she likes me. The way she looks at me, the way she smiles at me, they way she touches me; I think I’m in love.
The hunger is fast asleep, at least for now.
I woke up thinking of her. I feel almost like a new man. The hunger that dwells deep inside seems to be asleep, snoring quietly.
I opened the blinds to my apartment and I let all the sunshine in. For a moment the sun blinded me but slowly the sun retreated behind some clouds. I then heard a slight knock on the door. It mustn’t have been more than 10 o’ clock in the morning; but she was there with a tray in her hand.
I let her in and we spent the whole day together on my couch. She thumbed through some of my books and even borrowed a couple. To Sarah was included in her stack. She left a little before the sun went down and I actually wrote more in my new book.
Today seemed like a very productive day, I even cleaned up a bit and that’s when I found a crumpled note. It was another page torn out of you. I never felt scared as I held it in my hand. I felt horrible. It’s a lie; a total and indisputable lie. He is just trying to trick me. He’s a liar.
The hunger is still sleep. Thank god.
From a torn page of Todd Casil’s Diary:
Sarah’s dead. I killed her.
It’s quite strange how we met. The patter of electronic signals passing through the lines. The sound of the computer fans buzzing by my ear. The moaning of the woman I was currently having sex with. Across from us was her husband who was having sex with a much younger girl. She was closer to my age than the couple was.
We stood outside the doorway to the apartment building fully dressed. “Got a ride?” I asked her. She seemed too innocent to be meeting strangers on the internet and having sex with them. She just nodded her head no. “Neither do I,” I said and she smiled. She was quiet when I first walked in the apartment. She sat on the couch next to Greta, the married woman. Greta played with her hair as I approached them. I knew their would be another person there but I didn’t expect anyone as young or as fragile as she looked.
“Catching a bus?” I asked her. She nodded yes.
“Do you live far?” I continued to attack her with questions. She took some time to answer and she kinda wobbled her head along with her hand.
“Does that mean maybe?” The whole night I never heard her voice beside the moans that escaped her lips.
“Let’s walk,” I suggested, “I’ll walk with you.”
I didn’t really have a home. I have a friend that lets me stay at his place once a week but usually I relied on these little hook ups to keep me warm and safe. I know it’s kind of odd to think of this as safe, but it’s the only life I trust. I mean, I have sex with a stranger, then sleep in a warm bed and most of the time they offer a quick breakfast before I’m forced out. It’s better then living on the streets.
She nodded and walked down the steps and she stopped to see if I would follow. She had short black hair that hung a little below her chin. Her skin was pale and her eyes were dark almost black. “I’m not going anywhere ’till you say something to me,” I said.
She smiled and at that minute I knew I was in love. Her beauty was multiplied by her smile.
“Come,” she said.
I did. We walked through the cold grey streets watching the steam pass through the vents. After the first block I held her hand. She blushed as she accepted it. The night before as we lay on our backs, our eyes met. She seemed ashamed to make eye contact with me at first but eventually she held her gaze on me the whole time. We didn’t make love with each other but I imagined I was making love to her, not Greta. I somehow hoped she did the same.
She actually lived a lot further than I thought she did. We walked for at least an hour before I asked for a break. I reached down to my calves and rubbed them. She laughed.
“How much further is it?” I asked.
She finally said a whole sentence to me. “It’s a couple more blocks,” she said smiling. Not far from us was a playground. “Come on. I’ll push you,” I told her hinting to the swings. I tried to run but my legs hurt. I still tried and eventually I made it to the swing. She slowly walked behind me and she quietly took a seat next to me. She stared at the ground and her smile faded.
I lifted her chin with my hand and said, “I know this may seem weird, but I …”. She kissed me.
We talked for hours as I pushed her on the swing. We never brought up what happened at Greta’s apartment or that night. We never brought up previous engagements or any other encounters like that, but I did ask her if she had a boyfriend.
“No, why?” she smiled.
“Well, if the position is open, I would love to apply,” I said.
“Well … do you have a job?” she asked.
“Um, no … but I’ll get one,” I promised.
“Where do you live?” she asked, the questions were already starting to get hard.
“Um … I really don’t have a place,” I honestly answered.
“Hm …” she said, “I guess you could live with me.” I smiled and somehow that caused her to smile too.
“My name is L, it’s short for Eli,” I finally introduced myself.
“My name is Autumn,” she said as she brought her face close to mine.
“Nice to meet you …” but before I finished we were hugging while our lips and tongues danced with each other’s.
I pulled away from her and at first she seemed upset. “Wait. I didn’t finish earlier. I don’t know what it is about you. But I …” It was a tough sentence to finish. I’ve only told one other girl I loved her and she ended up telling my best friend the same thing behind my back.
Autumn stood against me and said, “I know. I … I think I love you too.”
Ryan’s eye was swollen. His leg hurt and it made it hard for him to stand. He decided to sleep instead. Many of his paintings and drawings were missing and scattered on the floor, which was typical. Uncle John always took his best pieces and left the rest, like a pig that only ate caviar. He thought it was strange that the nude he had painted was destroyed and left on the makeshift easel. He had seen Uncle John punch hole in it with his fist. The delicate stretched canvas was torn like the ends of a popped balloon.
“Sorry,” she said repeatedly.
He didn’t know Uncle John would do that to him. He placed his hands on the bars of his new caged room and stared at his art supplies across the room far from his reach.
He cried in secret as he sat on his cot. Uncle John returned, his face was red and he took a willing Sam upstairs. “Sorry,” Ryan said after she had left the room. She returned, her head hung with shame.
She looked at him and they stared at each other for what felt like hours until the bulb that swung had flickered and then died. He was sure she couldn’t see him lip the words “I love you”. He tried to see her in the dark and when he realized he couldn’t, he pretended he could. He imagined her smiling, happy to see him. He saw her beauty for what it really was – a work of art.
“Sam,” he said.
“Yeah,” she responded.
“Let me tell you what will happen to you. And maybe if I’m lucky he’ll do it to me too,” he said.
Next: Piece 8