Excerpts taken from the diary of Angela Pleasant.

Had the dream again.

*                 *                 *

I think I’m running out of air.

My room smells funny. I asked Mom about it, thinking maybe she’d installed some new air freshener or something without my knowledge, but she insists that not only would she never (although she has before, which is why I asked), but she doesn’t know what I’m talking about. She says my room smells “fine”.

But there’s an earthy smell in here, something damp and almost… sweet? Not in a good way.

I’ve searched everything, even the closet, but there was nothing to find. I finally gave up and tried to open my window, but the wind was doing that howling thing again, and I couldn’t stand it. I had to close it again.

*                 *                 *

Still smelling it. Can’t find a source.

I’m afraid it’s in my head somewhere.

Something rotting and meaty inside of me.

I can’t get it out.

*                 *                 *

I take the pills to help me sleep.

I can’t manage without them. Sometimes, I can’t manage with them. But when they work, I burrow so deeply in the darkness that not even the nightmares (and I know they’re looking) can find me.

Strangetown Gothic: Part 001

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There’s a nail in the door
And there’s glass on the lawn
Tacks on the floor
And the TV is on
And I always sleep with my guns
When you’re gone (x)

Sand and gravel crunched beneath the tires of her old, beat-to-hell sedan as she turned into the unpaved parking lot of the Deadtree Inn, the only motel she’d seen since she’d passed by the rusted sign that read “Welcome to Strangetown”, population: [ bird shit ].

Even with the windows rolled down, the hot wind of the unfamiliar desert night had her boiling in her own sweat, and she was relieved to have finally found a place where she’d be able to stretch her legs and maybe, if she was lucky, sleep for a couple of hours.

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Dear Lilith,

I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve decided to name my journal after you. I just like writing “Dear Lilith” better than “Dear Diary”. Who knows… maybe someday I’ll be able to give this to you, and you’ll finally get to know me. The me I became without you there to hold me together.

I should have started this sooner. There’s so much to catch up on now. It’s a little overwhelming.

I’m back in Pleasantview. What’s left of it, anyway. Back in our childhood home, with mom. If you’ve been watching the news, then you know about dad, but I’ll get to that eventually anyway.

I spend a lot of time in “my” room. It’s more like some generic, anonymous hotel room now, though. They even changed the paint. I try to sleep as much as I can, but the nightmares make it hard to really rest. Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom and just sit in the bathtub, like we used to do when we were hiding from mom and dad. It’s significantly more lonely and pathetic without you, though. Like, it was special back then, when it was the two of us against the rest of them. Now, I’m just some twenty-seven year old lying in a bathtub, avoiding her mom/life/the past/everything.

I’m in therapy now. Mom’s idea. She thinks I need to talk to someone (not her) after everything that’s happened. All the deaths and sadness. I’m so fragile now.

In case you haven’t been keeping up:

About three months ago, Dad went out for a late night jog. Except not really. He went out for a late night with Kaylynn Langerak (I know you remember her) – she later confirmed this. Mom just kind of brushes it off, dismissing Kaylynn as “fame hungry” and a “slut”.

Maybe. But you knew Dad…

At some point on the way home, he decided to take a detour through the park, where he was killed and partially eaten.

When I first heard about that, I thought of you. I imagined you, being you, bringing that news to its natural conclusion, you leaning in and whispering something terrible and inappropriate, like “My other casket is a pooper scooper”.

I almost laughed. Standing there alone in my half-empty apartment, surrounded by boxes and packing tape and styrofoam peanuts, with the phone in my right hand, and mom’s voice making this weird snuffling, wheezing sound in my ear, telling me over and over that Dad was gone, dead, dead, gone, deadgonedead, and I almost laughed.

The knife in my left hand didn’t even make a sound when I dropped it. Styrofoam peanuts. It caught my bare foot, though, on the way down. That’s the only thing that kept me from losing it right there in the kitchen. That sudden shock of pain and my foot drooling blood, it kind of reset my sanity meter.

I remember that I sat down next to it. Right there on the floor, and I picked it up and I was still thinking that I might, but there was mom’s voice on the phone, begging me to come home.

So I put it in the nearest available box and taped it shut and came home on the train, and she was late picking me up.

But I can’t really be mad about it, can I? I have literally no room to talk here, because Dad died, and I almost laughed.

It eats at me. I feel so bad, because I don’t feel bad enough. He’s dead, I should feel something, even relief, but I don’t. There’s just a lot of nothing where the grief should be. Sometimes I forget all together.

My therapist (Don Lothario – remember him? He’s married to Cassandra now, so I guess we were wrong. I don’t think he remembered me, though) keeps wanting me to tell him about dad, to talk about what happened and how it affected me, but I can’t. Not with him. He wouldn’t understand. And I guess I’m a little ashamed of it – my apathy. My father’s dead. Our father. The man who never held us, never changed our diapers, never fed or bathed us. The man who didn’t really want any part of fatherhood until all the “gross” bits were over, and by then, what did we need him for? Who was he but a pushy stranger mom let yell at us?

I don’t know how to talk about it. I don’t know how to admit to people that he was a shitty, disinterested father who thought he could just step in and take over once all the hard work was done and we were self-sufficient enough to be fun for a while. I don’t know how to admit that I don’t really care that he’s gone.

I wish I could talk to you about this. Shit, I wish I could talk to anyone. The problem is that there isn’t anyone left. The problems I’m having… who would believe me, but you?

– Angela