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Notes of the Past

by Melissa Webb about a year ago in fiction
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The Trailer

The trailer at the end of dirt driveway was foreboding. To anyone else it was just an old mobile home, a sight not uncommon to the area. This particular one had been sitting on this property for a lifetime. For Skye this was a dark part of her past. She had left here and never allowed herself to think of it again until that lawyer called her. Just like that she was thrown back in time. She was 11 again walking through those doors. Watching her mother drive away for the last time. Skye was probably better for the loss of her mother but living here had caused her trauma worse than anything her mother had done to her. Reaching for the key she had stashed in her pocket she readied herself for the feelings she knew she would face once she made it inside. This was a place she had sworn to herself to never return. Yet here she was. The sole inheritor for her grandmother. Skye had toyed with the idea of not coming at all. After a considerable amount of time staring at her account on her bank’s app, she decided to suck it up. Times were tough and after what her grandmother had put her through; what she had done to her… Well, if there were anything of value here her grandmother certainly owed it to her. Or at the very least she owed it to herself to take it.

Inside smelled like mildew. Coughing, she walked into the living room trying to work out where to begin. Only a few steps in and Skye nearly fell through the floor. She hadn’t noticed the sinking carpet until she had stepped onto the concave spot. “floor damage, likely roof damage, I guess I won’t be selling the house…. maybe I can get something for scrapping it?” she wondered. The smell from the kitchen was the worst. It was horrifying. An overflowing garbage can, a sink with standing water and dirty dishes. No doubt the fridge would have been full of food when the old lady bit the dust. This was going to be work, she wouldn’t be in and out as quickly as she hoped she would be. “I should have just left the place to continue rotting” she thought. “I guess I’ll start in the kitchen, I’ve got to get some of this smell out of here before I vomit. “

The outside trash can was filled in no time. Multiple trips between the kitchen and the trash with all the fun breaks she was forced to take when the smell overwhelmed her. Her grandmother was torturing her even from the grave. Skye took a sip of her tea she had stashed in the car. She swirled it around and spit it into the grass. Anything to get the sour taste out of her mouth from the last “break” she took. Her grandmother would not win this. Walking back into the house she stood and stared into the satisfied smile of her grandmother’s face in the picture on the wall. That horrid, hateful face. That smile was the same one she wore every time she had reminded her that her mother was a dead-beat junkie. The same smile from when Skye was 12 and her grandmother told her that her mother had overdosed. There seemed to be no room in her grandmother’s heart to care about the daughter she had just lost or to care for the heartbreak of her granddaughter who had just lost a mother. Addict or not, she had still been her mother. Skye grit her teeth together. “I will not break down! I will get this done and get out of here and leave this all behind me again.” She squeezed her eyes shut attempting to force the water that had accumulated there to disappear. She’d be damned if she were going to allow herself to cry. Picking up an ashtray from the coffee table she spiked it at the picture. It crashed to the floor. The glass shattered, pieces of it littering the old carpet. It was a mistake. Now she had more mess to clean up in addition to everything else she had to do before she could be done with this place. Carefully, Skye picked up the shattered pieces and the broken frame. “I’m glad to be rid of you.” She said, as she pulled the picture out of the shambles and tore it into pieces. Underneath was a little black notebook. “What the hell?” Skye breathed picking it up. She tossed it onto the coffee table to deal with later so she could finish getting all the glass out of the floor.

Most of the kitchen she bagged up into trash bags for donation. Here or there she would find some spare change or a small random stash of money. Skye estimated she’d raked in around $60 so far. The light was dimming outside, and she glanced at her phone for the time. It was starting to get late. She’d been here for hours already. “At least this crappy town has a pizza place” Skye sighed as she called in a delivery order. Deciding she would just stay here and work through the night. “The sooner I’m out of here the better.” She worked until the pizza got there. Using some of her found cash to tip the delivery girl. She sat on the couch to eat. Her feet draped onto the coffee table as she dug into her first slice of mediocre pizza. She’d had worse. Skye glanced over at the notebook still sitting on the table where she left it. It was a strange place to stash it. She picked it up with her free hand. “what could possibly be in here?” she wondered. Skye opened it to the first page. The first thing she noticed was it wasn’t her grandmothers handwriting. It seemed like possibly an agenda of sorts at first glance. Times and places were recorded on the first few pages. Lines between some. Notes that didn’t make sense to her. Like black 4-door, or parks around back. Then stranger ones like leaves window open at night. Skye flipped through until she saw a page that looked more organized. This one had an address and a name. Her grandmothers address and name. Once again notes or details following her name in bullet points. Descriptions of her grandmother at a much younger age. And what time she would be at the grocery store she worked at. Skye flipped pages trying to make sense of what she was looking at. Then she came to another woman’s name. It was followed by similar details she could only assume were about this woman. Then another name and another. “What is this?” she asked herself. She flipped through the book. There were at least a dozen names in here. Not a single page was left at the end of the notebook. Words were scrawled on the inside of the back cover of the book.” More to come… “

Skye was having trouble figuring out what this meant. Not to mention the more to come note in the back. Was there another notebook around here filled with these? What did it mean? Skye put the book down. Not knowing how to wrap her head around whatever this was, she picked up another slice of pizza. She walked to the master bedroom. She would work in there next. Maybe she could find some old jewelry she could pawn so she could make her car payment this month. The next two hours were spent filling garbage bags with clothes. Another big pile that would get donated. She crashed on the couch when the exhaustion hit her. It was difficult for her to sleep in this house, even being as tired as she was. In the end she had only slept for a few hours before sunlight was streaming in through the windows. Skye groaned. “I can’t wait to be out of here!” Then she rolled herself off the couch. A cold piece of pizza and a trip to the restroom, and she was back to it. Pulling clothes out of the closet and dumping them straight into trash bags. All the way in the back she grabbed a pile of blankets. Underneath sat an old cedar chest. She drug the chest into the bedroom. Grabbing a fresh box of trash bags, she sat down beside the chest and unclasped the lid. Lifting it she peered inside. “Blanket” she said, pulling the blanket from the top, now expecting a whole chest full. Instead, she found unsent love letters from her grandmother to a man named Douglas Allen, two more notebooks, and some odds and ends. As well as a few clothing items, pieces of jewelry wrapped neatly in paper, various locks of hair, a tube of lipstick, and a copy of Wuthering Heights. The inside cover of which read: this book belongs to Cindy Smith. She looked closer at the items she had already pulled out. Two of the locks of hair had names written on the papers they were wrapped in. None of them belonging to her grandmother. Skye took her phone from her pocket. She typed Cindy Smith into google. To common of a name. She went into the living room and grabbed for the notebook. Opening it and typing names into google. The third name she put in brought up a missing persons report. The fifth brought up an article on a homicide case. Skye dropped the notebook. “No… no, no, no, this isn’t what I think it is, oh my god I hope this isn’t what it seems like!” Skye was shaking as she called the sheriff’s office. Initially, she had been treated like a child with an active imagination. That changed quickly and her grandmother’s house became a crime scene. The house had already held so much negative energy, so many traumatic memories. Then Skye got the biggest blow. One of the notebooks contained her mother’s name. Weeks went by. Constant nightmares haunted her. She distanced herself from the case as far as she could. It wasn’t easy as the story had hit the news. After months they made an arrest. Douglas Allen, they were calling him The Wolf. He had gotten away with this for so long and never been suspected. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. He had stalked and killed a minimum of 35 women. They were working to physically connect him too more. Having him behind bars didn’t stop the nightmares or the lingering questions she refused to face. “Turns out facing your fears can lead to bigger ones.” Skye said. One of the few phrases she had uttered this therapy session. She could afford that now, therapy. Thanks to one of the more recent victims, Rose Clark. A 24-year-old girl who had went missing only three years ago. Her family had set up a reward of $20,000 to anyone that could provide information leading to an arrest. Until a year ago it had been for her safe return, but reality had set in when a body was found. Skye didn’t want to take the money at first. She felt the family having the real answers might be worse than not knowing. In the end she took it anyway. She felt she was making good use of it. The trailer still sits on that property. Left there just in case the police still needed it. Skye knew one day she will return there one last time. One last visit, to watch her nightmare turn to ash.

fiction

About the author

Melissa Webb

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