I want to start off by saying that I’m not one to be paranoid. Really, I’m not.
But I knew Rachel was destined to kill people. To this day, I still can’t differentiate if she enjoyed it, or she felt like she needed to kill, like it was her job. There was one thing, however that I was certain of: if she didn’t kill someone, she failed herself.
And that failure of ones self could be destructive.
Let me begin by saying that I am a first year English student at the University of Maine. Coming from a small suburb in Pennsylvania, I had always dreamed of moving out and being independent once I graduated from high school.
It’s been almost over three weeks since I’ve moved in, and six days since I heard my roommate, Rachel, talk in her sleep.
I had never had first hand experience with someone who was a sleep-talker, however, I had plenty of first hand experience with someone who had night terrors. That being said, I have done my research and have had come across some information about sleep-talkers.
When someone is talking in their sleep, it can range from mumbling in gibberish, all the way to complicated, coherent narratives. What about in terms of the content of the sleep? I learned that it can be completely random, but it can also be related to past or present daytime experiences. It’s hard to decode when someone is sleep talking since it happens outside of conscious awareness. I also learned that if someone confesses to doing something wrong, it is not admissible in a court of law.
The first night, it was a series of gibberish, nonsensical words; I thought she was speaking in her mother tongue; it had a Slovak base to it.
While Rachel was deep in her sleep, I was wide-awake at this point. I’m a pretty light sleeper, and once I am woken up from sleep, it’s very difficult for me to go back, which is why I resort to sleeping pills most times.
Back at home, most noise died down after 11:30PM – but here in the dorms, there is always some sort of noise. Whether it’s some drunken students unable to walk a straight line, hitting the walls as they swayed, or someone having an argument – or my favorite (note: my sarcasm), a couple having sex. A good night’s sleep for someone like myself comes with the aid of sleeping pills.
I reached across to my nightstand, opening the drawer, searching around for the box of my sleeping pills. My fingers felt around for the small rectangular box, and finally! They clasped around it.
Pulling it out, I opened the box, pulling out the flap holding all of the pills, feeling around for a closed one.
Meanwhile, Rachel was still mumbling in her sleep, but now it was a bit more coherent. She seemed to be saying a name continuously: Amy.
Ignoring it, I picked my phone up from beside my bed and used it as a source of light. Damn it! There were no pills left. I closed my eyes, and rubbed my temples, looking at my phone once more: 5:17AM. I had an 8AM class this morning.
I gave up on sleep, so I decided to eat breakfast and go for a run around the quad. A little after 7AM, I got back to the dorm, and Rachel was just waking up.
“Good sleep?” I asked, sarcasm dripping from my voice.
She yawned and nodded, seemingly oblivious to my sarcasm.
Of course it was, you bitch, I thought.
“Are you aware of the fact you talk in your sleep?” I asked.
Rachel blushed. “Yes.”
I went to my desk, picking up the shower caddy, and rested my hand on the towel that was hanging off the chair. I tried to approach my next question with less hostility.
“Who’s Amy? You kept saying her name last night.”
Rachel looked like she was a little girl caught stealing in a candy store.
“Amy is girl I used to be friends with in high school, best friends, actually. After graduation, we went to some house party. After shots and drinks, it was time to go home. I told Amy she wasn’t fit to drive, in fact, I even offered to drive, but she was so persistent; so I got into the car. She kept swerving, and I kept yelling for her to stop – eventually, she crashed the car, dying instantly. I watched her die beside me,” she said, breaking down.
It was a believable story. Of course my heart went out to her.
That was until I did a bit of research.
It turns out Rachel was a liar. There really was an after grad party, and Rachel was there with Amy; but they weren’t in the same car. Amy had one beer that night when she got there, and cradled it for the duration on the night, not finishing it. Amy was driving alone, and according to witnesses, a car drove her off the road, into the tree, instantly killing Amy.
The car was registered to Rachel’s father, and Rachel was the one behind the wheel. From what I gathered, when Rachel was held for questioning, she didn’t seem to have any remorse; in fact she was giggling and doing jumping jacks, claiming it ‘helped keep her awake’. Not a normal reaction for someone who found out they were the cause of their best friend running off the road, huh?
I didn’t understand why she would lie to me. I thought she was ashamed at first, which was understandable. But the more I think back to our conversation, her reaction keeps playing like an image on loop in my mind.
Yes, she had broken down; but there were no visible tears, no signs of her eyes welling up. Instead, when she held her head in her hands, I was still able to make out a part of her face, it almost seemed like she was covering up her own laughter with a fake cry.
That following night, Rachel woke me up with her sleep talking again.
“You got away with it once, you can get away with it again. No-no-no-no. Make it look like another accident.”
I sat up, instantly reaching for my phone, my fingers hovering over the dial pad.
“Kill her. No-no-no. Yes – I love getting away with it, no – I can’t she’s my friend. Tonight – yes, yes – no.”
I closed the phone app, pulling up my voice-recording app, but by the time it launched, that was it – she had fallen back into deep sleep, mumbling incoherent words before becoming silent.
I stayed awake that night, my heart beating out of my chest, and my mind racing.
The next day, I arranged my schedule so that I would spend as little time alone with Rachel.
I had been studying in the library, writing notes on my laptop when it had happened. My screen had gone completely blank. I moved my fingers around on the trackpad, hit a few buttons, but no response. I powered it off, and back on, but all that appeared on my screen was a blank page and what looked like a series of coding.
Ok, don’t panic, it’s just in recovery mode, I coached myself. This has happened once before, and it had gone back to normal.
Once again, my laptop shut off. I waited a minute before powering it back on. My wallpaper, which was usually a landscape photo was now a photo of Rachel and I smiling – a picture we took one drunken night last week.
The change of wallpaper didn’t irk me, Rachel’s smile frightened me more. There was something so sinister about it. I looked around for my documents folders, but the whole laptop was wiped clean – there were only pictures of Rachel and me.
Some were selfies we had taken, others seemed to be taken on self-timer, candid looking. The hairs on my arms began to stick up; it was safe to say I was freaked out by this point.
I closed my laptop, packed everything into my school bag and began to run out of the library – the whole time telling myself that there was a logical reasoning behind this.
When I got to my dorm, the smell hit me before I could even open the door. The smell of a gas station – and then I clued in that it was the smell of gasoline. I knocked on the door, “Rachel! Are you in there?”
I opened the door, the smell overwhelming me. I took out my cellphone, calling campus security.
Everything was cleaned out.
On our fridge was a picture of us. I stared at it, and shook my head.
A box of matches sat on the table, with a small note that I quickly grabbed, hiding it in my pocket. The note said: “Until next time!”
Unfortunately, by the time I notified campus security and they came to our dorm, we had lost too much time.
She had left behind her IDs, and is probably on her way to Canada to start a new fake lifestyle.
I was just about to finish typing this, and hit ‘post’, but the ‘BREAKING NEWS’ on my TV interrupted me. I turned up the volume, and listened to the anchor:
“The search for a missing college student has concluded, as a hiker found her body off a trail. The victim’s roommate, Amanda Corder, has yet to be questioned.”
And there it was: Rachel’s picture. But now, I guess she goes by Amanda Corder.