I knew it was only a matter of time until they found me. I just didn't expect them to be so damn blatant about it. Then again, maybe they've had their eye on me for a lot longer...I shudder to think.
Last night, I worked the evening shift at Wawa (yes, lame that I had to work New Year's Eve, but I made time and a half, so there). On my way into the house, in that short wooded walk between driveway and door, I started to feel that wretched feeling again, but not nearly as strong as before -- more subtle, like he had been here and left. Somehow, that made it even creepier.
I ran up to my door, and sure enough, I found this:
I tore it down so my family wouldn't see it (they don't know) and went inside to count all thirty kinds of freaked out I was.
Let's start from the top. From what I could gather, the rhyme goes like this:
Trees and leaves and Rosie
On Zero's grave a posey
You'll all fall down
Not the most creative rhyme, but I suppose writing majors don't often attend the annual Slender Recruiting Convention. Now, some would call this a typical cryptic message, but I care to differ -- there isn't a single cryptic thing about this. There's no real message here. They're just laughing at us.
"Trees and leaves and Rosie." We have Rose, and you're never getting her back.
"On Zero's grave a posey." Zero's dead, we have his body, and you lost a major advocate of your cause.
"Ashes, ashes, you'll all fall down." We've already won, you stupid people, and there's nothing you can do about it.
But that didn't make me nearly as angry as this, taped to the paper:
These pictures were taken in...March? April? It had to be spring 2010, because my hair is brown -- although if you look closely you can see my natural red peeking through. That's me on the left, and Rose on the right. We look stupid, but that was the point; we wanted a stereotypical film strip of the two of us, that we'd carry around to show anyone who doubted we were best friends, like some kind of license. We kept them in our wallets. As soon as I saw it, I had mine out. My copy was still there. That means that this has to be Rose's copy. The one she kept in her wallet.
The wallet that disappeared with her.
It still almost smelled like her perfume. I nearly threw up. What does this mean? Where is Rose? Is she somewhere...else? Like a different dimension? If she is, how did they get this picture? Is she alive?
The morale blow didn't come from the teasing words. It came from this photograph. True cruelty is torturing someone with a scrap of their loved one while telling them they'll never get to see them again.
I told Violet, and although she was supportive, it was obvious that she doesn't think Rose is alive, or if she is, we're never getting her back. Am I being daft here? Am I grasping at straws?
Even if I am, I can't help it. I miss her. I just miss her so goddamn much I can't stand it.
So there, Hallowed. You dented my morale. Mission accomplished. Now leave me the hell alone.