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This week I wanted to share something I came across that I found interesting, if not a bit concerning – something that seemed a bit off – less organized than some of the other documents.
Most of the pages are faded and somewhat damaged photo-copies of notebook paper, bent around the corners and segregated by lines where they were likely once folded, and attached is a newspaper clipping detailing a missing girl. There’s also an obituary and an unfinished letter from who I believe to be Ron addressing a Mr. Brian Pierce, but I’ll talk more about that later.
I’m sharing this with you because despite the lack of any evidence of followup, or notes, or really anything credible or official, I feel that both the unfinished letter and the nature of these documents – the coffee stains on the pages and overall messy way they were handled – stood out to me.
The following is what I believe to be a set of journal entries recovered from the bedroom of one Alice Pierce, a 16 year old High School student from Signal Hill, reported missing on Sunday, June 17th, 2007.
June 13th, 2007
Okay, so I promise I’m not a weirdo.
No matter what my idiot brother thinks…no matter what my Dad thinks. I am not a weirdo. I’m not crazy, I’m not on drugs, I’m not having nightmares…
The time now is [11:43] PM, but it’ll be later by the time I finish writing this. He…it…comes at [1:00]. At least that’s the time when the hands on the clock stop moving. When everything just sort of…stops.
I remember the first night he came. I woke up soaked in sweat, my hair stuck to my face, draping across my dry frozen lips and pulling into my mouth as I took shallow stunted breaths. I looked around my room, my eyes rolling in their sockets; the pitch black a bitter contrast to the dull brown-amber glow of the night-light I had switched on before bed.
I tried to move my arms…my legs…my body wouldn’t respond. I let out a dry whimper – well, more of a barely audible squeak – as I tried to cry out for help.
That’s when I first heard it. I don’t know if I can even describe it….
Have you ever opened up canned dog food, and upturned it in to a bowl? It sort of slides out slowly…this deep, sloppy wet schlup. That’s what it sounded like.
My eyes darted around before I saw it in the window. Dull grey pointed eyes, round and wide open, but still very much human. I couldn’t see much else, but I could see its lips…curled into a wide smile as its tongue slid across the glass.
I lay there, like I had woken up during surgery, paralyzed as I witnessed something I was never supposed to see.
His tongue lapped at the window and hunger danced in his eyes. The longer I stared into his pupils, the smaller I felt. Waves of grey and black crashed together and swirled behind his eyelids until I was lost in a chasm of inky black tar.
It’s been that way every few nights since…lately it’s been happening more often. after what feels like hours, the clock ticks to [1:01] and he disappears in to the darkness. Sometimes I black out and I wake up in front of the window, just as the second hand of the clock ticks past the 12 – not sure how I got there.
I have more – a lot more actually – but as crazy as it sounds, I think it might be best for me to try to get some sleep. Maybe I can sleep right through it…I think sometimes I do.
I’m not sure what else to say. I guess If you’re reading this, I just want you to know what’s happening. I think I just want to tell all of this to someone who will listen, even if its just a piece of paper.
The next journal entry is harder to read. There’s a grey spider web of creases where the paper was crumpled before it was copied, though I was still able to make out all of the words.
June 14th, 2007
I still have the little plastic glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling. You can see the little blobs of sticky putty that Mom used to put them up. But they don’t glow anymore. Whatever magic there was in them is all dried up now. They’re just plastic shapes. Sometimes I forget they’re even there.
I wanted to continue where I left off last night, but I don’t think it really matters. It’s always the same thing – the same story night after night. I cry and I plead to my father and I know he sees the pain in my eyes because I see it in his…but he just doesn’t believe me.
Nobody believes me. The school psychiatrist, my friends in message boards and chat rooms…someone on a paranormal forum asked me if this was a cry for help – I told them that it was.
I’m not sure if it’s a testament to my will or a sign of my weakness that I’d gotten so used to it. So used to trying to fall asleep before the monster comes to my window. Last night however…last night was different…
…I couldn’t fall asleep and I don’t think I wanted to. I lay awake, looking for constellations in empty gray plastic stars and listening to tinny classic rock music whisper through the small radio on my desk – my arm reaching back and gripping the wooden bedpost. The last click as the clock hand snapped to attention drew me out of my daze – like a snap as the hour hand turned to [1:00]. The night light dimmed away and the music stopped abruptly.
Soon I could hear his tongue slapping against the glass and I turned my head to look. I was so focused on him – his smile…grey eyes…the fat trail of saliva…I remember finding it odd that his breath never left a fog on the glass – I don’t think I registered that my body was moving.
I slowly squirmed backwards across the sheets, shuffling my body and then dangling my legs off of the bed until my feet found purchase. I never lost sight of the features in the window. Before I knew it, my back was against the door of my bedroom and I was grasping at the knob. It wouldn’t rotate.
His hands slapped against the window, and joy danced in his eyes at my discovery.
Just as before, I couldn’t speak. Yelling out for help felt like someone swallowing the air out of my lungs. I beat my hands against the door but it didn’t make a sound. Absolute silence but for my heartbeat and the man…or creature at my window.
I don’t know how long I stood there, tears rolling down my chin as I screamed in silent whimpers and beat soundlessly against the bedroom door. I wanted nothing more than it to fall open and I fall into my father’s arms. The part of me that held out hope for that died a little more with every inaudible wail.
The eyes squinted outside the window, I could tell – hidden in the shadows – he was smiling wider than before, his palms pressed firmly into the glass and the tip of his tongue twirling like a ribbon across the length of the window.
I looked into his eyes and I felt so small…so powerless. The best way I can describe it is that I felt disappointed in myself. The desperation was slowly leaving my body and being replaced with an overwhelming feeling of acceptance and dread.
Every crashing wave of grey and black in his eyes drew me closer and before I knew it I had approached the window, and I was pressing my thumb and forefinger against the lock. Tears filled my vision, muddying his swirling black eyes and I sort of snapped out of it. Whatever hold he had on me was gone for the moment.
I was now face to face with the thing outside of my window and I knew more than ever that I had to shut him out. I had to block out his hypnotic gaze. I reached for the curtains and yanked at them but they didn’t move. Even with all of my weight, they stayed perfectly in place.
I tugged at blankets, pillows and chairs…anything to hide myself from him. But everything stayed perfectly in place, too heavy to move.
I think it’s always been this way when he comes…stuck. I just hadn’t noticed because I was stuck too.
Before I continue on to the next journal entry, I just want to put you in my shoes for a minute. What’s sitting across from me is a pile of photocopied pages of notebook paper. Each page is more weathered than the last, both before and after being copied. It looks like more attention was put towards these next pages than the last. I hope I’m not betraying Ron when I say this, but I think that he may have been a bit more bothered by this case than some of the others.
If you haven’t paid much attention to Ron’s attitude up until this point, he’s rather stoic. He’s not exactly unshakable, but he tends to keep his emotions in check. Something tells me there might be more to this story than what I’m looking at right now. I can’t be certain but I have a feeling that this might be bigger than what it seems.
There’s a case to be made that the pages that look to have spent the most time sitting on a desk being pondered over are also the ones that seem to have seen the most damage before being copied. As we crawl further towards the final entry, the handwriting gets darker…shakier. I’m ashamed to say I find it immensely interesting to see Alice’s state of mind reflected in the slowly degrading handwriting, and I can’t help but wonder if the damage on these copied pages is any evidence that Ron might have felt the same.
This is the next entry.
June 15th, 2007
Last night I sat with my father as he watched TV – some sort of black-and-white western movie – the edges of the screen giving off a soft white glow. The shadows on the wall are different when you watch something in black-and-white. The bright things aren’t as bright and the dark things are more of a dull grey. The sound is softer – the voices are more gentle and the music has rounded edges – it can pull you into your own thoughts if you let it.
I sat with a knot in my chest and a pendulum in my stomach. I closed my eyes and pretended to drift off.
I’ve all but stopped begging. My father doesn’t believe me and during the day I can only do my best to pretend that my nightmares have passed. I couldn’t do it to him…I couldn’t open my eyes and plead with him as he picked up my passive body from the sofa and carried me to my room, placing me gently in my bed.
I know I’m too heavy for him to lug me around like this, but I think in his eyes I’m still the little girl I was more than half of a decade ago. I don’t have the heart to remind him that when mom died…that little girl died too. When he told me goodnight and switched off the light, I held on to the lie and stayed silent and still.
Time passed as I lay there, curled into a ball in the place my father had left me. The clock struck [1:00] and I stayed as I was. I may as well have been frozen like everything else surely was.
I was already feeling hopeless – infinitesimally small – but as I opened my eyes and looked into the swirling black eyes staring at me through the window I felt somehow even smaller. I felt as though I was falling through an endless black hole. I closed my eyes, squeezing them shut and letting the feelings of dread subside.
I think that when I look at his eyes, something happens to me. It’s like all the pain and sadness and regret that I carry somewhere deep inside myself leaches out. His gaze loops around my insides like fishing line and pulls until everything inside of me is leaking the same thick black tar.
I wish I could say his hold over me ends after [1:00], but as time passes I feel more and more of it during the day. The same feeling of uselessness and dread.
There’s this idea that won’t leave my head – wrapped around my brain stem like tree roots. I am weak but he is strong – or at least stronger than me. Without him I am nothing, and with him I have purpose. The voice in my head whispers harshly to open the window. The voice tells me everything is okay…everything is as it should be…the pain will pass.
But…I know I’m not supposed to listen. It’s like that nagging part of your brain that keeps telling you to do something you know is wrong…that part of your brain that drives you to look for cash in a lost wallet…to skip to the last page and see how the story ends.
When I picture him in my mind I see him for what he truly is – the monster from under the bed, that eats little girls. But when I look into his eyes, when I feel him watching me, it’s not the same…my sole purpose is to give myself to him. I belong to him, as do we all.
Every day I feel weaker than the last, and if I don’t do something I will lose these fleeting moments of self preservation. If I continue down this path without letting that part of myself intervene, I will be choosing to accept my fate.
I have one last idea, and I think tonight might be my last chance to make it work. If I wait…if I subject myself to this for even just a day longer, the part of me that doesn’t want this will have decayed into nothing.
The next set of pages were a lot harder to transcribe. Aside from the crumpling, which was more of a distraction than an obstacle, the pen marks seem much more heavy handed and the pages are marred with scratched out sentences and smeared ink. Maybe I’m adding something to the story that just isn’t there – looking too far into it, I guess – but it looks like she was crying when she wrote it. I think that might explain the stark shift in tone. The pages are dotted with spots where the letters and the lines of the paper blur, and it looks like she went over those parts again to make them legible, though I can’t say it made the words much easier to read.
Thankfully with some effort and a few educated guesses I was able to continue transcribing the pages into a much easier to read word document, which is what I’m currently reading from. The next entry is dated June 16th, 2007, two days before Alice was reported missing by her father.
It’s like the pitter patter of rain on a tent – his finger nail tapping against the glass. You don’t really tune it out, you focus on it…live in it as it envelops you. Nothing else exists. nothing matters except right now.
I think I know why the clock stops – why everything gets stuck. I guess I’m stupid for not figuring it out sooner. Nothing is really stuck except me. I’m still just as stuck as I was the very first night that he came, just in a different way.
His tongue squirmed against the glass, dancing and squealing, and when he dragged his fingernail across it, it sang to me. I think I made him angry when I blocked him out.
I thought about moving the dresser I’d used to block the window, though I don’t think I could if I wanted to…it was surely stuck like everything else. But what if it wasn’t? What if I could push it aside…open the window? Would I be letting him in or letting myself out? letting myself free…
I thought about the clock – the slow movement from one moment in this forever to the next. I’d only be gone a minute…but to me it would feel like hours, maybe days, maybe a lifetime. Where would he take me? Would I ever come back home? Would he take me away to live forever in that minute?
It’s an odd feeling when someone has power over you. It can feel comforting – knowing that nothing else matters…you don’t have to be yourself, the decisions aren’t yours to make.
I see him in my dreams now…that is…when I am actually able to sleep.
He glides across the walls and beckons for me to follow. He wants to take me someplace dark. Somewhere that the sunlight has never touched. And just like my trembling hand on the window latch, it becomes harder and harder to fight it. I’m frozen in the pulsing feelings of comfort and terror. My stomach feels sick…like I might vomit.
I see her hair…my mother’s…sliding back and forth across the wooden floor just outside of the closet, peeking out of the darkness. I can’t make out the top of her head – weaving…making figure eights – just her long dark auburn hair cascading and swiping across the floorboards. I wasn’t old enough when she died to really appreciate how beautiful it was.
The door handle turns, like someone is opening it, but it never stops. It just keeps spinning and spinning and never clicks…never opens
I don’t know what it means. I don’t know if these dreams are mine or a product of the creature that eyes me from the window, licking the glass and looking through my flesh at my bare bones.
What I do know is that they hurt. When I wake up I hold my hand to my chest – to my thumping heart – like a little girl poking her tongue at the hole of a missing tooth.
I can’t control my emotions anymore. I don’t feel like there’s really much a part of me that’s myself anymore. I find myself thinking more and more about just putting an end to it. I think I’m ready to find the little ball inside of me that wants to keep fighting and squeeze it until it pops.
There’s one last entry; it’s not dated, but we can assume it was written on June 17th, the day before Alice was reported missing. The condition of these pages was unfortunately just as bad as the previous ones and were just as challenging to transcribe. I’m of course relying once again on my word document transcription in order to read the entry without stopping to guess at the words. It’s fairly short so I should be able to get through this one fairly quickly.
It reads as follows:
Everything is a loop. Spirals that meet back at both ends, just to make you feel like things are linear. But they aren’t – nothing is. It’s all just moving around in circles.
Like feeling so cold you feel warm again…so much pain that you get lost in the beauty of it…so small that you see the bigger picture – see your place in all of it. You can’t change your place…you take a hard left, and then a right…moving down the spiral, just to make it to the same place you were always going to be. Where you’re supposed to be.
I feel it…so cold I feel warm, so comfortable in all of the hurt. They’re all around me now.
Burn all of this and forget about me. Don’t come looking for me. I won’t be in a place you could ever find.
I may be making assumptions, which I guess I’ve already done quite a bit of in this episode so far, but if we are to believe Alice’s story, I’m tempted to say this was a type of goodbye. Whatever part of Alice that wasn’t yet under the creature’s control was letting go.
The police however, would take this as a suicide note. I have to admit, it’s fairly grim and for lack of a better word…fatalistic…but I don’t know that I agree. In fact I almost certainly don’t, and neither did her father. There was a manhunt…how thorough I can’t say as it’s not corroborated in anything more than this single newspaper clipping – which curiously also seems to slant towards the opinion of the officer they’d interviewed for the piece.
There’s a part of that last entry that stands out to me, I’m not sure how many of you caught it; “they’re all around me now”. This seems to imply that whatever it was outside of Alice’s window…there may be more of them.
As promised, before I conclude this week’s episode, I’d like to share the contents of the envelope that was included in the folder. I’ll start first with the letter.
I’m writing this to you because I can’t always be there to tell you this. At least not when you really need it. My hope is that you can come back to this letter and come back to these words when they matter most.
When we last spoke, I asked you how you coped with losing your wife. At the time, I kicked myself for salting old wounds right after you’d lost your daughter. But what you told me stuck with me, and I think I was meant to hear those words so I could remind you of them…
You told me that she’d have wanted you to keep moving.
I found it interesting because you didn’t say move on, you said keep moving, and that doesn’t mean letting go. That doesn’t mean forgetting. It means you keep trying…you keep moving forward and you keep growing and reaching towards newer and better things.
It struck me how much impact there was in just that slight adjustment to the phrase.
I don’t want you to forget it…
There’s no signature at the bottom or a stamp on the envelope, but there is one other thing. Tucked behind the letter is an obituary, but it’s not for Alice Pierce…as far as the world is concerned Alice is still missing. No…the obituary is for Brian Pierce, though no cause of death is listed.
After recording this episode I did a bit of extra research on the death of Brian Pierce. I think it’s wise I don’t share my method of obtaining this information, but what I found was quite interesting. Benjamin Pierce was found dead outside of his home on July 11th, 2007. His cause of death is listed as an animal attack, and interestingly his time of death is listed as sometime between [1:00] and [3:00] AM.
I’ve sort of glossed over Alice’s brother – Gregory Pierce – as he was only briefly mentioned in her journal entries, but I find a bit on him as well. According to records, he is also considered to be missing, as of the same date that Benjamin’s body was discovered.
As I stated previously, I have a suspicion that there may be more to this story…I’ll keep you updated if I find more.