I’m a criminal lawyer at Dunrich Law. Dunrich Law probably isn’t going to be around much longer, but I’ve had offices in Toronto for the past 20 years. You’ve seen the billboards: “Charged with an offense you didn’t commit? Give us a call.” My team’s had clients for Molson, Belmont, Savage Arms…and we’re good. Damn good. You give us enough time and enough money, we can convince a jury that fast food is health food.
Anyway I have a particular client who we have a lot of trouble handling. Don’t get me wrong, he’s rich off his ass, so it’s extremely good for business. I mean this guy is the CEO of one of the biggest insurance companies north of Niagra Falls. He was handed the position by his father, who’s the owner, and as far as I’m aware his job description consists of fuck all; sign a few documents, go to lunch meetings, bang the secretary. He’s a straight yuppie if I’ve ever seen one. Breathes cocaine. Drinking by noon. Jets over to Vegas on a whim. Yeah. That kind of rich. Do-whatever-I-want rich. He’s got the money and the friends to support all his habits. But, again, he’s got the moola, and he’s got me.
Top of the world, right?
Well, it’s not always balloons and blowjobs for him. Some of those habits he has are, shall we say, very bad ones. Very illegal ones. He gets these “impulses.” And about once a year this guy comes into my office, a wreck of panic and paranoia, with a mind-numbingly absurd case. Every year. At least once. Never fails.
Take this one, for example, from two years ago. I had been reading through a casefile when he bursts into my office all wide-eyed and worried:
“Brett!” he says (my name is Brett, by the way), “Brett! Oh, thank God, Brett, you’re here. My girlfriend, God blesser soul, man, but dude, look, she was at my place last night and she starts asking me about my kniferack, you know how I’m a knife collector, and, look, she waltzes up to the kniferack, and whoop! She trips and she just fell on the kniferack!”
“She fell on the kniferack,” I repeated.
“She fell on the kniferack, man! Fell on them! Jeee-ZUS! Well, maybe I bumped into her, okay? She starts freakin’ out and waving her arms and legs and the knives are cuttin’ her all up, stabs all over her, and…well, she’s…she’s dead, Brett-man. You gotta help me out here, you know I didn’t do anything to her, right, Brett-man? If someone fell on a kniferack, it could do that, right?”
Or how about this one, from last year:
“Yes, Mister White. What can I do for you?”
“Oh, Brett, thank God, look listen to me now. So, I met this girl last night, she was standing at the corner of Bloor and Young, and I mean she was smiling at me as I drove by so I kinda chatted her up, and we get to talking and she says she’d love to see my place. So I take her to my place and, like, maybe we get into some really weird kinky stuff, with…a gag, okay? And then she starts asking me for money or she isn’t gonna leave. How was I supposed to know she was a hooker, for God’s sake? Man! So I told her I’m not giving her money, and she gets really angry, and get this, brother. She pulls a gun on me! So I had to defend myself so I grab the gun outta her hand, and I had to defend myself, so I, well…”
“You shot her. Accidentally, of course. You were scared.”
“YES! You feel it, Brett-man. You feel it already. This is why you’re my lawyer! And, look, maybe I got a little carried away, but I was scared, right!? I mean, maybe I cut her too a little…”
Those are just the first two off the top of my head. Tell you something: proving this asshole’s innocence over such clear-cut bullshit is something that would make O.J. Simpson cringe. But all of this is standard stock, you have to understand. This goes on all over the country, the trials are held in private courts, away from cameras and newspeople, more often than you would actually like to know. I just do what I’m paid to do. I’m a minnow in the pond. And if the water’s always dirty, how can you ever be clean?
Well, that’s how I used to think. There was only one time I have ever felt guilt about the nature of my job. It was during Mister White’s latest caper. It managed to scare guilt into me, I suppose. That, I believe, is why I’m going to tell you what happened.
About a week ago I had to stay late in order to finish indexing case citations in a brief. It’s long, tedious work, and I’d been guzzling coffee all day just to get a head start at it, which meant I was already strung out. Then in comes Mister White with his hair a tangled mess and eyes bulging from their sockets. Not entirely abnormal, for him, but still off-putting enough. The coffee certainly didn’t help my nerves, anyway.
“I have to talk to you,” he says.
I had barely even glanced at him before going back at the documents in front of me with my pen.
“Another sporting girl accidentally strangle herself while straddling you, Mister White? Look, I’m sorry, but I’m extremely busy tonight. Really. Can this not wait…”
“I have to talk to you right now,” he reiterated.
Now I looked up at him. Seeing him made me legitimately worried, I can tell you. He looked troubled, but not in the usual way. He looked…sober. One cheek twitched spasmodically below wild eyes. I fumbled with my pen. I’d been squeezing it.
“There’s something in the trunk of my car. Something I found out at that Hedonist place. Where the bikers hang out.”
“Your trunk? For fuck’s sake, White. How many times have I told you no matter what to leave bodies where you —”
“I’ve shot it and stabbed it and I can’t kill it. It’s not human.”
I stared at him in pure amazement. I almost laughed, but it just came out as a sort of weak, quiet cough. The thought crossed my mind to ask if he was high, but I knew he wasn’t. There wasn’t the low fear of panic in him this time, fear of consequence. It was clean fear. Sharp fear. A sobering terror of something that he didn’t know or understand. Or didn’t want to.
“It’s not human, and I can’t kill it,” he repeated.
I was a little scared now, I have to admit, but more so curious. I stood up, shaking my head.
“Christ. Give me your car keys,” I told him, deciding that, whatever it was, I’d have to see for myself, if not to better plan for the trial then to at least get a basic idea of what he was talking about.
He held out his keys with one trembling hand, causing them to jingle faintly.
I snatched them out of his hand and said, “Stay right here. I’ll be right back.”
He nodded and took the seat next to my desk, then put his face into his palms. Outside, a low rumble rolled across the sky. Rain was coming.
I took the elevator down from my office to the underground parking. On the way down, my anticipation and anxiety grew. As I’ve said, I had never seen Mister White like that. It was enough to get all sorts of scenarios creeping in and out of my imagination. What if it was some weird animal? Or a government lab experiment gone wrong, or…oh, Christ, what if it was an honest-to-fuck alien? Really. I mean, what kind of thing can you not kill? What if he’d be the first to discover extra-terrestrial life and I’d have to explain away to the press how this jackass had brought it to me.
White was definitely drunk, I reconsidered…drunk or high.
The elevator dinged and the doors opened to the concrete-laden parking lot. I knew his car, a silver Mercedes SUV, and at that hour it was the only one there aside from mine. I saw it right away, walked up to it, hesitated for just a moment, and then pressed the unlock button on the car keys. There was a faint click and then I slowly popped the trunk. It raised open with a hydraulic hiss.
Then I saw it.
My eyelids peeled back. My legs became wooden. My heart went cold. I crammed my fist into my mouth and bit down on the knuckle.
I slammed the trunk closed, looked left, right, and behind. No one else around. “This is…this is a joke,” I whispered. Then I gave a humourless laugh. “That’s not real.”
I opened the trunk again.
My eyes hadn’t deceived me. Not at all. It was still there, lying on its back in the compartment, squirming like a new born child: an adult female body, naked…and without a head. Its hands weakly grasped at air. Its toes wiggled and curled. Its body had about a hundred stab wounds, cuts, and bullet holes all over. It certainly wasn’t dead, however possible, but by the looks of it Mister White had certainly given it the old college try.
It slowly, impossibly rolled over and began pawing around the floor of the trunk space. It pulled its legs underneath itself. It was getting to its knees.
Impossible. Impossible! No fucking way! Fake, rubber animatronics! Guy in a suit! My faculties of reason made one last-ditch effort and I reached towards it with one hand, to feel rubber on my skin or press an off switch or find the zipper or —
It immediately grabbed my wrist and began writhing, bucking its hips and arching its back and swinging its weight around. Dread tore through me with black claws and I instinctively wrenched my arm out of its grip. It flopped forward, and I kicked it back. Then I heaved the trunk closed again. I speed walked away, towards the elevator (I want to tell you I sprinted, but this encounter had siphoned half the strength out of my legs). As I put one wobbly leg in front of the other I could hear still moving around in there, behind me. Muffled clunking. Wheel springs squeaking.
I got into the elevator and punched the button to my office, top floor. The doors closed and I sat down on my haunches, wishing the elevator would just go on forever, that I wouldn’t have to face this, that whatever I had just seen could be left alone for the rest of the world to figure out.
That sure as shit wasn’t going to happen, though, and I was a lawyer. And when things get bad, lawyers get to thinking. So that’s what I did. I needed a plan. I have always been very good at planning, and right then I got an idea. And Mister White was going to help me.
Even though there was one piece missing from my plan, so to speak.
The elevator chimed, the doors opened, and my office was in front of me. I got to my feet, somehow, and went in.
White was still in the chair, his hands held together in a knot between his thighs. He looked up at me and raised his eyebrows, as if to say, See?
I ran my fingers through my hair. “You better not be fucking with me, White. You better not be fucking around with me, or so help me!”
“I’m not! I’m not fucking with you! Jeezus, God, man. What, what the hell are we gonna —”
“Shut up, shut up!” I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. I had only one burning question that needed an answer: “Where’s the head? What’d you do with the head, you fucking psychopath?” I emphasised each phrase by shaking him.
“I didn’t dare!” he wailed. “I didn’t dare touch it! It…it tried to bite me, man! It…” He began to sob.
My head reeled as if someone had just given me a good wallop on the side of my face. “Oh, dear, sweet Jesus…”
“I left it. At the lake house. It’s…it’s still there. I can’t kill it. It won’t die, and I can’t kill it. It’s not human…” He was babbling now and he trailed off into sobs.
I let go of him and began to pace, reformulating my plan a little bit. His lake house was about an hour away, near, you guessed it, the lake. But it could still work. If we kept our heads, my plan could still work. “Listen to me, now,” I told him. “I think we can deal with this.”
White looked up at me and his wet eyes lit up a little.
I got to explaining what we’d do, in all of its mad absurdity. After a while he warmed up to it, as well as he could.
And we got to work.
Everything actually went smoother than I had anticipated, aside from a few foreseeable hitches. We used his car and took the body to my place, just a block away (I’m not married, I have no kids, so there was no one to see or question what we were going to do). White hauled the body out of the car. He wrapped his arms around it and dragged it out. Of course it started flailing and squirming and doing a sort of bicycle-peddling in the air with its legs and he knocked over the recycling bin in the struggle to control it. But with an effort I got both its ankles in my hands and White kept it steady enough. It seemed like that was the last burst of its energy, because by the time we carried it to the staircase it was pretty much limp.
As we ascended the stairs with the body, White and I noticed something strange. The neck, or the opening of its neck, was foaming. Tiny bubbles swelled and popped in pink clusters.
“Hey,” said White, “whyzzit doin’ that?”
“I’m a lawyer, Mister White, not a biologist.”
He nodded and right then this thing coughed a wad of bloody phlegm out of its severed windpipe. It splattered right into his face.
“Ugh! Oh, man…Brett, man…”
“Keep it together, White. You want 25-to-life?”
“No…” He winced and gulped another loud gulp. His face contorted into a sickly scowl that glistened with red, and for a second I really thought he’d lose it completely. Then, to my relief, he just wiped his face on his shoulders and we went on. He impressed me a little, I suppose.
We got up the stairs and then flopped the body into the shower basin. My shower is one of those new three-function walk-ins, with enough room for about ten people to all shower at once comfortably (very useful during drunken parties). I scrambled to find all the garbage bags I had in the house. Luckily, I had a surplus of three packs. Then I went to the garage and grabbed two hacksaws, garden gloves, and a box of Clorox. After some quick consideration I also grabbed a hammer and chisel. I brought it all upstairs.
We put on the gloves and began cutting. We never spoke a word. It was hard-going, at first; my blade kept catching on the bones, especially leg bones. I also had to take two vomit-breaks, and one dry heave break. White, apparently, didn’t have this problem. I guess after you’ve done half the insane shit he’s done to a human body, you develop a belly of steel. The hammer and chisel proved useful for the joints, especially when we got to the hips.
The whole grim deed took about an hour. The shower looked like a butcher’s kitchen by then. But it was done, and for better or worse the plan was still in effect. We had everything cut up into neat-enough pieces, all against one side of the shower, and, just as I had suspected (more like desperately hoped), the body parts were rendered useless on their own. The fingers curled and uncurled at random intervals, but couldn’t do more. The thighs and forearms flexed to no avail, with no governing joints to direct them. What they did manage to do, however, was wipe all doubt in my mind away of what we were doing. This was utterly unnatural. A thing that should not be. It had to be gotten rid of.
We used the highest power setting on the shower heads to blast away all the excess blood. It swirled down the drain like that scene in Psycho because I believe I was seeing black-and-white for a moment. Then we stripped and showered off anything that was on us, and we cleaned off the body parts. Bleach was perhaps the greatest invention man ever conceived at that moment. We double-washed our hair and the tools, and as we sprayed blood off our arms and legs I turned to White and shouted, “This is going to work, by God!” and yet another rumble of thunder passed outside, as if by cue.
We transferred all the now-clean pieces into my freestanding tub. The damp, pulsating flesh piled up in there was a sight to make Poe give applause. White kept saying that he could have sworn he stabbed the body a lot more times than there were cuts on it. I told him he was confused, and we didn’t dwell on it. I secretly had to admit that there did seem to be less wounding than I remembered…but a strained mind is a peculiar thing, and can play tricks on you like an imp. Besides, I wanted to just get this the all hell over with.
Bagging was easy. The limbs had bled out a while ago and we got everything triple-bagged without much more than a few red drops on the floor tile. Disturbingly enough, about half way through the pile the fingers and toes began to cover in that bubbling that pink stuff, as the neck had, only on a much smaller scale, and we had to spray them all down once more before continuing the bagging. I damn-near ran out of bags (and we still needed to save some for the last piece, the piece that was waiting for us at White’s lake house), but we made due. We had to put a couple fingers with the thighs and toes with the fingerless palms. We shoved our old clothes in with some of the parts. Then we tied the bags up tight and kept them bundled with plastic cable ties for good measure: one around the length, one around the width. The torso was the worst because it was heavy, and while it had been leaking a seemingly endless store of those bubbly pink juices from out of its neck while we were working, the drain sucked most of it up and by that point the seepage all but stopped. Still, we bagged that thing 10 times. No chances.
We put all the bags into his SUV, and then drove. Across town, downtown, uptown. That was the really time-consuming thing, scattering the bags all over the place in dumpsters. I don’t know if you’ve been to Toronto, but even during midnight, that eerie time when there’s a lot less traffic and some roads are actually bare, it took us over three hours. It’s a big city. It had started raining hard and steady just as we began, but I was grateful for it. Less people out. Harder to see us.
At around 2 a.m. we had all the bags in different dumpsters across Toronto. All that was left was the head, which we were prepared for, and an hour’s drive to White’s lake house, outside the city.
During the drive, I asked White exactly how he got into this mess. I gnawed the tip of my thumb as I listened, squinting through the wall of rain before me. He told me about how he picked this “victim” up at the bar. It was the standard White-procedure; wave some cash in front of a girl and take her home where he’d give her spiked drinks and have his sick way with her. But he’d certainly got more than he paid for…that was sure as shit.
He got to the part where he cut off her head, some inane nonsense about how he wanted to see the inside of a neck, and that’s when he had noticed she wouldn’t die…said the body walked around the room like a marionette on the strings of a drunk puppeteer, bumping into walls and tables and so forth. So he panicked big-time, and, after a long struggle, brought me the body. Apparently the head was shouting at him as he left. He said it was no language he had ever heard, ever.
Thunder boomed and lighting lit up the back roads briefly. This will sound crazy, and perhaps by then I was halfway there, but I felt somehow exposed to everyone and everything for that split-second. It was then that I realized that when you’re doing the legwork in a crime, paranoia is unavoidable.
White expressed some concern. “Hey,” he said, “Brett? You really think the trash is the best place to hide these things?”
I lied through my teeth. “Yes.”
There was a pause. “Why?”
I sighed. It wasn’t a perfect plan. Far from. All sorts of things could go wrong. I knew that. But in all truth what would have been best? Given the unique circumstances it was sure as shit the best plan I could concoct with the short notice White had so generously provided. And who knew how much time we really had? There might have been people already looking for this woman.
“Because,” I said, “if we throw all the parts into one place the cops will have an easier time identifying it. And we’re not going to bury this many bags. Forensics can find ground that’s freshly disturbed, and dogs can sniff out meat. Besides, we’d want deep holes. You want to be digging until sunrise? In this shit? And what if some happy asshole comes to our dig site on his late-night jog? Like that Arlen case. Remember?”
“Hoh, yeah. Caught him red-handed. Squealed right to the cops.”
“Exactly. Lake is no good, trust me. I’ve had a few cases go bottom-up because that water can be combed. They have machines that can dredge stuff up easy as pie, not to mention divers. Garbage? Inconspicuous. Difficult to sort. It gets all mixed around with other shit. You’d have to spend years sifting through the Toronto dump just to find one bag, and they constantly add more to the pile every week. That goddamn shithole is 10 kilometres wide if I’m Brett Dunrich.”
White nodded agreeably enough.
“Garbage is our best bet, right now. It’s fastest and quietest.”
Now White grinned, but it was a hollow, forced grin. “Well, brother. I hope you’re right.”
I hope so, too, I thought.
We eventually got to the lake house. The rain was coming down hard and the flashes of lighting were really agitating me. It seemed to reveal us to the whole world, lighting up White’s crazy eyes, fearful and worried and full of regret. I bet my eyes looked the same to him.
I pulled a burlap sack out of the back of the car and Mister White grabbed the sledgehammer; the last part of the plan, you see, was to nab the head in the burlap bag, then bash it up into a pulp so that it would, hopefully,be silent, then we’d put that into garbage bags and dispose of it as we had the other parts.
White frowned grimly and nodded, and we ran inside.
I flicked the vestibule light switch up. Down, up, down, and up again.
One more reason to hate that lightning.
I shook my head and motioned White to follow me. The place was doused low blue and it was hard to see, but not impossible. We found ourselves tiptoeing up the stairs; it was weirdly quiet aside from the rain pattering against the windows, and it just felt like the right thing to do. Besides, what if the head heard us coming? Would it roll away? Or hop down the hall? If a body can walk without a head, then who the hell could really be so sure about what a head could do without a body.
We approached the double doors to his bedroom. “I left it in there,” White whispered, so hoarsely that I jumped. He apologized. I shook my head and got the sack ready.
I opened the door slowly, so slowly. The hinges creaked horribly, giving us away with a sound that was like the death rattle of some small rodent.
We peered inside the room, and froze. I don’t think either of us could breathe.
The room was dim with that deep blue hue, too dark to see anything but outlines. Dresser. Nightstand. Bed. Painting on the wall. On the bed was an ill-defined lump. In the centre of the lump were two dots pointing at us levelly, glowing amber like ember. They blinked.
I heard White breathe a sharp, shaky breath inwards.
I very badly wanted light at that moment, but if I’d known what I was about to see in about a minute, I’m certain I wouldn’t have. In any case I was gripped by fear. I couldn’t even bring my legs to move, and I seriously doubt White was doing any better. My lips quivered and I felt my arm hairs raise. A chill glided up my spine as if someone slid cold fingers from my waist to the back of my neck. I opened my mouth to speak, the only thing I could think to do, and then closed it, simply at a loss for words.
That’s when it spoke.
Preceding what it said, there came a sharp hiss. Quiet at first, then it quickly intensified. Then abruptly stopped where the first word began. “You’ve come back.”
Could it see us? In the dark?
White spoke up. I could tell he was a dismal wreck. “I’m b-b-back to g-g-get rid of you.”
The thing laughed like the Cryptkeeper, a banshee’s scream. “Impossssssible…”
My lawyer’s brain, at a complete loss, became desperate for info. Info so it could plan. “Why?” I asked. “Why is that impossible? What are you?”
“Hh’sthen g’thyx thlyxia! Phlyghn!” That’s the best I can do to translate exactly what I heard it say, and it’s probably wrong. It was a guttural sounding mix of hisses and plosives and the sheer sound of it spun my head around. Even now it does, looking at it written out.
Lightning flashed, illuminating the room in neon white, and for one brief moment I saw its mouth. It was smiling ear-to-ear, a wicked rictus of mingled triumph and anticipation, its teeth gleaming ivory in the electric light.
A rumble of thunder followed and I felt my insides loosen. I was acutely aware of the ends of my sanity fraying. I was ready to hightail it. White be damned. Trial be damned. I’ll be damned.
I looked over at White. In the dimness I could make out that his mouth was agape, a black hole in the dark.
Just then the power came back, and the lights flickered on.
White dropped the hammer.
We saw it in full glory: the head, propped up in the middle of the bed, in a thick pool of dark blood. It was a vicious-looking woman with long coal-coloured hair and angular cheeks and chin. Skin white as winter’s first snowfall. Even in the light its eyes blazed hot amber. And that smile, it seemed endless.
I could see now that the pool of blood on the sheet where it rested was bubbling around where its neck sat — just like the torso was bubbling, before. But there was something else I saw in there. Something that was attached to the woman’s neck. Something even more horrifying than anything else I’d seen that night, if you can believe it.
At first I didn’t know what I was looking at. It seemed like a pink lump of raw beef. But after a moment I realized it looked almost clear…like membrane. Some clusters of bubbles popped and parted, and I saw tendrils…no, limbs. Tiny limbs. Moving. Two tiny arms, two tiny legs…
White screamed. “What the, what the fuck is that! Is that> Oh, God, is it giving birth!?”
Then it all slammed home.
The disappearing wounds.
This embryonic mass growing out of its neck.
A terrible, horrific thought entered my mind, adding another layer to the nightmare. “White,” I said, barely finding my voice.
“Brett? What, Brett?”
“How many pieces would you say we cut that body into? 20?”
“More than that. Maybe 30.”
“30,” I whispered softly. It sounded like a ghost’s lingering sigh.
I think it was right then that White understood as well. He looked at me and instantly whipped his hand around my arm, holding it vicelike. His face took the pallor of fresh provolone. He made a sort of pained expression, like he had just tasted something awful. “Brett?”
“Yeah, White?” His hand was squeezing so tight it was hurting.
“You know when that thing…sputtered its bloody spit on my face?”
“Well, m-maybe I…” His blinked hard and swayed a little. “Maybe I s-swallowed a bit of something. Like a bit of something that felt like…solid. Soft. And maybe I didn’t think it was too big a deal then, thinking about 25-to-life…but…but n-n-now…you don’t think it’s gonna…” His eyes rolled over white, his head swung, his hand slid off my arm and he fell flat on the floor.
The head giggled.
I couldn’t look at it. I couldn’t look at anything. Not White, not the head, not my own hands or feet. I wanted to leave. I wanted to leave before I fainted or I went totally crazy — and I felt both coming on, right then. Somehow, miraculously, my legs started moving, and before I knew it I was down the stairs and out the door, the head laughing its witch-laugh all the while.
That’s what happened a week ago.
A few days later the police came to me. They asked me if I knew anything about Mr. White. I told them he was my client and beyond that his affairs are his own. They seemed satisfied. They didn’t mention anything about a murder or body parts or talking heads. I think they’ll be back.
This morning I opened the paper, frantically searching for anything related to what we did, hoping I would not find anything, hoping to God it was a dream, hoping that I’d only lost my mind for a night; the alternative, that it really did happen, seemed so much worse.
No such luck.
Sure enough, front page. Not the main headline, it’s near the bottom. But I have a feeling the story will be making up there soon.
Here it is:
CEO OF STARLIFE FINANCIAL FOUND DEAD
Body Discovered, Authorities Unable to Pinpoint Cause
Investigators found body of Dalton White, 28-year-old CEO of leading insurance company Starlife Financial, dead in his lake side home, officials say.
The body was discovered by his friend and co-worker, James Hammett. When Dalton hadn’t shown up for work or answered calls for three days, Mr. Hammett went to his lakeside home to check up on him. Mr. Hammett claims that the body was found on the floor with his chest “cracked open,” with bloody footprints all over the home, many of them appearing to be a child’s.
Investigators have confirmed this remarkable claim, and have reported that there was also blood found on Mr. Whites bed in large quantities, though it was not his own. No suspects could be found in or around the house, say police.
Lead investigator Robert Ansley released a statement, Thursday:
“We are unable to pinpoint the cause of death, as of yet. Judging by the nature of this crime scene, it looks like the perp was angry at something. It was a sloppy job. We’ll track them down.” When questioned about the smaller footprints and the blood found on the bed, Ansley could only say, “That is something we will be looking into with a careful eye.”
The investigation is still ongoing.
Writing this down didn’t help at all. I thought it would give me some kind of perspective. Purge me of what terror I now harbor in the depths of my soul. Allay the guilt.
But that’s not going to happen. Sure as shit.
There’s a woman who’s been standing outside my building, across the street, for the past five days. She wears a black dress and a black sunhat. It could be anyone, of course. Anyone. But she stands there for long periods of time, and sometimes she looks up at my window.
I don’t leave the building until she’s gone.
This morning I thought I heard a child’s footsteps in my office. Pitter-pattering on the carpet behind me. I could tell you I saw bloody toddler’s footprints, too. I could tell you that, but then I’d also have to tell you they disappeared when I blinked.
I didn’t like that at all.
Tonight the woman is out there again. She has not left since sundown. I have written this down to bide my time but she is still out there. She is out there in her black dress and her black sunhat looking like a Grim Reaper. Waiting, waiting, waiting…
I wonder how many other people have their own Grim Reaper looking into their windows, now. 30?
And just now, in the darkness of night, she looked up at my window once more. The rim of the sunhat rose to reveal two glowing, amber eyes.