Of course you think it was the wrong
thing to do. But the crazy bitch just wouldn’t stop following me.
have cracked, too.
anyone would have done the same in my position, in fact.
I live in the tiny little shithole
town of Devil’s Rock, North Carolina. It’s quaint, it’s rustic, and nothing
ever happens. Local lore claims that Mayberry in The Andy Griffith
Show, was based on Devil’s Rock, but I don’t buy it.
aren’t as exciting as Mayberry.
of the only human-interaction events that would happen in Devil’s Rock was the
monthly Swap Meet. Octogenarians in mumus would hock commemorative Elvis plates
as their tweenage grandchildren would sneak off in hopes of spying on Eleanor
Crosby as she went into her car to change the different clothes she modeled.
Old man Elbert tried to sell his oversized “Cuban” cigars. He called them
“brinquillos,” which I assumed mean “fraud” in Cuban. But he was there every
week, and the same customers came every week.
So when someone new showed
up, it took us all by surprise.
And she was beautiful. Her
flowing white hair contrasted with her dark skin. Eleanor couldn’t hold a candle
was selling jewelry, but I’d have approached even if she were selling blended
frog guts and razor blade milkshakes. I was probably the only twenty-something
eligible bachelor in Devil’s Rock, so I figured I’d use my best moves.
I offered seductively. She smiled.
should buy something,” she said.
should buy something,” I said.
was walking away from her booth before I knew what was happening. It was like
waking from a dream. I looked down to see a pewter necklace in my hand.
the hell did I buy this?
sort of pendant was dangling from it. I looked closer.
was a fish. A sturgeon, actually.
mean, what the fuck? I don’t wear necklaces.
walked home from the swap meet. Before going in, I tossed the necklace into the
trash can outside.
fish necklace was on my nightstand the next morning. While odd, there wasn’t
much I could do about it. I tossed it into the kitchen garbage, where it
slipped in with last week’s uneaten scrambled eggs.
saw the woman walking by the side of the road on my way to work. Her hair was
flowing wildly, even though there was only a gentle breeze outside.
was a lot of fun to look at. I almost crashed my car where the road wound round
was eating lunch with Bruce and Frederick, who worked with me in the smelting
plant, when they started laughing at me.
fuck, guys?” I asked through a mouthful of egg salad sandwich.
a gorgeous fucking necklace, man!” Bruce sneered..
was about to tell them to go fuck themselves when I instinctively reached for
fish pendant was wrapped around my throat.
blood ran cold. I immediately popped off of the bench and started to pull on
stopped when I saw the woman at the far end of the room. She was smiling at me.
her hair was flowing indoors.
tore the necklace away, breaking the clasp. Without looking back at the woman
(or those two dicks who called themselves my friends), I sprinted back out onto
took one more look at the thing before tossing it into a vat of liquid iron.
necklace was waiting for me on my pillow when I got home. This time, I cried.
opened my second-floor bedroom window, used a dirty sock to pick up the damn
thing, and reached back to throw it far away.
was staring up at me from the ground.
cried harder, and threw.
tore across her face. I slammed the window shut and locked everything in the
slept under the bed that night, cradling a baseball bat in my arms. I figured
it would be safer that leaving myself exposed.
still woke up three times before morning.
the third time, I stopped checking to see if the necklace had wrapped itself
around me yet again.
just didn’t want to know.
started my car for work that morning utterly exhausted. But I’m pretty sure
that I wasn’t dreaming when I turned to look in the passenger seat and saw her
sitting next to me.
walked the three miles to work that day.
was nice enough to give me a ride home after we clocked out.
was a fair trade, because he got ten uninterrupted minutes of berating the
necklace that I had around me at all times.
didn’t say a word.
knew that she’d be waiting outside my house when Frederick dropped me off. I
didn’t bother to ask him if he saw her.
slammed the door behind me and ran into the house as fast as I could.
course, I dropped the keys in my panic. I snatched them quickly off the ground.
The metal jingled in my hands.
stood on the front stoop, hands shaking, trying to find the right keys, as I
felt her breath on my neck. It was somehow warm and cold at the same time.
correct key was found. I slammed it into the lock.
then, for the first time, she grabbed me. Her fingers wrapped around my throat,
and they began to squeeze.
tore myself away and slammed the door behind me before collapsing onto the
ground. I pressed all of my weight against the frame.
pounded on it. It shook violently.
then she stopped.
did you take it,” she warbled, “if you didn’t want it?”
tried to respond to her, but only tears came out. Through the blurriness, I
could see something poking under the threshold of the door. It took me several
seconds to understand what I was seeing.
was a tongue. As I watched, two inches, then four, then ten slithered through.
It curled and elongated rhythmically, looking for all the world like an
earthworm the size of my arm. It left a thin trail of goo that glistened in the
setting sun that shone through the window.
tongue then raised its tip, spiraled around, and reached for my crotch.
sprang from the ground, ran to my living room window, threw it open, and
sprinted into the woods outside. I didn’t know where I was going, but the best
option seemed to be “never stop running.”
I would slow to a walk. That’s when the gentlest of finger caresses would
stroke my ear, and I would resume sprinting.
set in as I realized that I would never escape the woman. I ripped the necklace
free as I ran, and the imbalance caused me to stumble and smash my face on the
tasted the blood before anything else. It was in my nose and mouth, and I was
sure that something in my face was broken. The pain washed over me in a nauseating
wave at the same time that I felt a hand wrap around my leg.
was the worst moment of my life. In that instant, I knew that I would do
anything to be rid of the damn necklace.
necklace that I didn’t chose.
Why did you take it?
you made me take it, you bitch.
If you didn’t want it?
Apparently, it’s the giver who
then I understood.
ripped my leg free of her grip and staggered to my feet. There was a clearing
just up ahead, and I ran to it faster than I had ever run in my life.
our most desperate moments, the will to survive drowns out all other concerns.
If you’ve ever been near the edge, you’ll understand. If you haven’t, your
opinion doesn’t matter.
burst into the isolated front yard of a house. As quickly and quietly as I
could, I scrambled up onto their porch. A wooden sign that read “The Begays”
hung above the door, complete with a little heart etched next to the name. The
house number “3191” hung in descending letters next to a doorbell that I didn’t
dare get near.
was conversation inside, and happiness, and warmth.
ripped the fish necklace from myself for what I prayed was the last time. With
shaking hands, I slid it under the threshold of the door.
I sprinted from the scene like a coward.
watched from the bushes and prayed to every deity that came to mind that I
wouldn’t be found.
first, there was only silence.
Then a beautiful woman, her flowing
white hair contrasted with her dark skin, walked into view. She sang a
song, a beautiful, ancient song. It was happy, but also sad; a scary song,
but also a sweet song; a song to dance to, and a song to sleep to. It embodied
pure, unadulterated emotion in its beautiful, indecipherable words.
paced across the yard, hair flowing in the still twilight. She approached the
porch with purpose, and with equal purpose she pulled open the front door with
Of course you think it was the wrong
thing to do. But I bolted from the scene, absolutely terrified, and completely
unwilling to face the reality of what was going to happen next.