!!Warning!! This story is not for the squeamish. What follows is more "sensual" than "erotic," and it is neither pleasant nor kind, so consider yourself forewarned that somebody in this story is about to get hurt. Although this is a work of pure imagination, dangerous people and situations are all too common, and such real-life monsters can do a lot worse than I've portrayed here. Please understand that I do not intend to demean the tragic fates of any actual victims of such attacks. But, read no further if you're not prepared to hear about deceit, violation, and every kind of abuse, because you just can't mess around with dark forces in a dramatic plotline and expect that they'll play nice.
* * * * *
From the diary of Anna B., August 30
"Whew! Sorry I haven't written in you for a few days, but I'm all moved into my dorm now. Registration is in the morning, and I've got the class schedule I want all figured out now. Classes start Monday the Fourth, and they've planned a whole weekend of orientation activities for the freshmen. It'll be a bunch of parties and raffles and get-to-know you games on the quad, it looks like fun. My roommate's name is Elizabeth, and she seems really nice! She and her boyfriend enrolled here together, and he landed a single in Perlman, at the bottom of the hill, so I wouldn't be surprised if she'll be spending most of her nights with him. They've been going out forever and want to get married when they graduate. I can't wait to meet some boys. College life is going to be great! Just so I have it on record, I promise-promise-promise not to gain the 'freshman fifteen!' Boxer Hall has a pretty well-equipped exercise room, so I've got no excuse!"
From an interview with Elizabeth R., recorded October 20
"Anna seemed okay for the first week or two, I guess. She was just nice and normal and friendly. I liked her. I just wish I could have seen it coming."
From the diary of Anna B., September 3
"What a weekend! I got all the classes I wanted and I've met soooo many people who I just know are going to be great friends! Elizabeth's boyfriend is really nice. His name's Todd and he's so sweet to her. I wish I had someone who would be that sweet to me. I don't think most boys are sweet- most of them are big dumb jerks like Ronnie who make promises they don't mean and will say anything to get a blowjob when he's got you out parking, then they forget that you even exist. But that was high school, and those guys were all so immature and childish. I can put all that behind me now. I'm starting off my career here with a clean slate. I wish I could meet a guy who's tall, dark, handsome, and mysterious, and who thinks about me all day and all night. I wish I wish I wish. Most of the boys on this floor are very friendly and nice, and I'm sure I could get a few of them to go out with me. Oh, well. Big day tomorrow!"
From the Spirit journal of Alonzo M., September 5
"It's started for me, so I'm doing what Gramma said. She told me that if the spirits ever decide to talk to me, that I should write everything down immediately. I'll call her tomorrow and talk about it, try to get myself oriented, but I've got to write it down first, so I don't forget anything. I had a horrible dream last night: there was this guy, eighteen or twenty years old, and this THING was attacking him. I don't know how to describe it. There is nothing I can think of that looks like what I saw. It was loathsome, a vile, crawling, evil creature. It didn't have any skin, but it had fangs. That's about all I can say for sure, I couldn't even tell how big it was. There was a terrible fight- the guy DID put up a fight, and the screaming… Oh, god, the thing was EATING him.
"The dream woke me up in a cold sweat, and I was shivering. I've had nightmares before, but nothing like this, it was so vivid, so awful. Normally, I'd just try forget about it. But this time, everything was different. I had this weird metallic taste in my mouth, and I swear the room was ten degrees cooler, like Gramma's rear parlor! Even so, I probably wouldn't have thought I'd been Touched, but after I took my shower, I saw the word "HELP" written in the steam on the mirror. I think this is something very bad. I'm scared."
From the diary of Anna B., September 6
"Wow, they don't expect you to do ANYTHING the first week of classes! Just little stuff like finding out where everything is and buying books and getting settled in is all I've really been given to do. Elizabeth has practically moved into Todd's room, but she said we could still see each other whenever we want. Nobody's asked me out yet, so I'm still looking. I saw one guy, all dressed in black, so he's probably an art student or something. Sexy… I didn't get a good look at his face, but I saw he had these bright green eyes! Yum-yum! I know he didn't catch me looking at him, though, because I saw him reflected in the picture window of the lounge, and when I turned around, he'd already left. The chase is on!"
From an interview with Todd A., recorded October 20
"I didn't really knew her all that well. I met her a few times around Elizabeth, but that was, um, before…y'know."
From the diary of Anna B., September 9
"Okay, the Teaching Assistant in my English class is really cool. Her name's Bev and she dresses up in these really wild old clothes that she gets… oh, I don't know where, but she makes them all her own. She wears these glasses with thick, bright blue frames, and she had a man's silk necktie that she unfolded and sewed some little gold brocade around, and she was using it as a scarf! I'd never be able to get away with that, but she can pull it off because she's so pretty and self-assured. Her section of that class will be fun. Elizabeth's in that section with me! I've seen some more of that cool guy, too, but I haven't actually met him yet. I just see him out of the corners of my eye, around the crowds by the elevators or in the halls, but then I loose him. I'll get you, you gorgeous boy!"
From the Spirit journal of Alonzo M., September 10
"Talking to Gramma the other day really helped. Like I told her, I really never expected to have the family gift. I thought it happened around the age of thirteen, like cousin Christianne. I had no idea Uncle Roy didn't get Touched until he was past forty. Anyway, the dreams have continued, but they haven't been as bad. I haven't seen that THING again, I've just been falling, or watched that same guy falling. He's also let me see his face. I'll guess his age at nineteen, he's got dark hair in a very short, old-fashioned haircut from the late fifties or early sixties, and deep brown eyes. A very pleasant-looking and polite young man. He looks really upset. I've asked his name several times, and I keep getting the letter 'R.' Just 'R.'"
From the diary of Anna B., September 11
"I saw him! I saw him! He was in the lounge again last night, and he was looking right at me, so I smiled at him! He smiled back and introduced himself! Well, he didn't actually walk over and introduce himself to me, but he mouthed the name 'Richard' at me before he was gone. Good to meet you, Richard… you're cute!"
From an interview with Scott S., recorded October 21
"Yeah, I remember Anna, she was that creepy bitch. She was kinda hot when she first got here, but man, she went downhill fast. After about a month, she started just kinda wandering around, muttering to herself, slamming doors, and knocking all kinds of shit over. Some people just can't handle college life, y'know?"
From the diary of Anna B., September 13
"I started looking around, trying to figure out what room Richard lives in. I know it must be on this floor, since this is the only place I've ever seen him, but I haven't found him yet. I asked Elizabeth about him, but she didn't know. I'm not surprised, she's almost never here. It's a shame, I really like her. I had dinner with her in the dining hall last night, and we have so much in common… we were both in drama club AND the yearbook committee! How weird is that?"
From the Spirit journal of Alonzo M., September 14
"He tried to write on the mirror again, but it just came out as 'NNNNNNNN.' Now I'm reaching out to him, trying to find out what he wants. The dreams are still just about falling, and I can feel him in the windows and mirrors. I also think he's pretty agitated, because he hasn't been very clear. I don't want to use a Ouija board because I know better than to try that alone, and I do NOT want to bring in anyone else at this point. I'm still very new at this and I don't want people to think I'm crazy, or a fraud. I remember Uncle Roy's Rule all too well- 'If you've been Touched, for God's sake try not to make an ass of yourself about it.'"
From the diary of Anna B., September 14
"Hey, Dear Diary, can you keep a secret? I played with myself last night thinking about Richard. The picture I had in my mind of his beautiful face with his bright green eyes was so real, it was almost like I could reach out and touch it! He was smiling at me! Elizabeth's never here, I have the whole room to myself, so I didn't have to be embarrassed or worry about getting caught, it was so free! I don't usually put my fingers up into my vagina when I touch myself, but last night I sure did! I even made myself all tingly! Tee Hee!"
From an interview with Elizabeth R., recorded October 20
"The first time she mentioned this 'Richard' of hers was probably sometime in the second or third week of September. I know how it is to have a crush on a guy, okay, but first of all, she was, like, obsessed, okay, and second of all, the guy didn't even really exist. She was running around asking everybody on the whole floor, but it was like she'd just made him up. Nobody named 'Richard' lives there. I think that was when everybody first started to wonder if she was crazy."
From the Spirit journal of Alonzo M., September 16
"I'm glad Mom called. I took her suggestion and brought a set of scrabble tiles into my bathroom by the mirror where he first contacted me. It's a good thing that a private bathroom is one of the many perks of being a Boxer Hall Resident Advisor. At first, I didn't get much from drawing the tiles but 'DANGR' and 'HELP' a few times, and again, 'NNNN.' He also said 'GRL" once or twice. He's plenty strong, and from what Mom told me, he should come through better than this. Maybe it's because he's upset, or hurt. Besides all that falling, he hasn't given me anything else about that nightmare. The best thing I've gotten from him yet is 'HELPHERE,' and that was just now."
From an interview with Scott S., recorded October 21
"Now that I'm thinking of it, she came into my room once. I think that was the first time I saw her. She wanted to know my name and Dave's name, like it wasn't written right there on the tag on the door, and she asked if anybody else lived in our room. Then, like, she asked if I was sure! As if there was some other guy hiding under the bed or something. Whoever she was looking for, I don't blame him from hiding. That girl was bad news even then."
From the diary of Anna B., September 17
"I'm sorry I haven't written to you in a few days, dear Diary, but I met him! I was in my room on Friday getting ready to go out, and I saw him in the mirror! The first thing he said was not to turn around, so I didn't, but I was shocked! I didn't know how he got into my room, the door was closed and everything! But as soon as he said not to move, it was like I was bolted to the floor. All I could do was look into the mirror at his green eyes behind me. He said that he wanted to be 'a secret,' and that I shouldn't be going around asking everybody about him. So I promise-promise-promised him I'd stop and I wouldn't tell anybody else, and I tried to ask him who he was and how he got in but he shoooshed me and stepped up closer behind me.
"My heart was jumping up into my throat and I thought I'd just die right there. I closed my eyes and I could feel him moving up behind me, like you feel a shadow fall over you when you're laying out in the sun. I could feel his breath on the side of my neck and it was like a cool jungle mist. My skin was crawling with anticipation and I wanted his hands on me, I wanted his hands soooo badly, and I don't know why, but I said 'Touch me.' I actually said it out loud! I was soooo embarrassed! I can't believe I said it, but I'm glad I did! Omygod, dear Diary, he touched me right in the small of my back, and his hands were so COLD, they were like ice! But God, oh god, they felt soooo good, it was such a thrill, they felt like a white swell of cool water on my back and I just somehow broke a sweat (sorry, 'glow,' girls glow when they're excited), and his hands ran slowly up my back like a shiver, then they were on my neck, kicking up white sparks, I was covered with goosebumps and my hair was standing on end and I wanted to scream!
"I finally spun around, I wanted desperately to catch him in my arms and kiss him, but he wasn't there! I knew I wasn't imagining him, I felt his hands on my back, on my shoulders, on my neck, and they were as real and as solid as if they were carved from marble. But he was just gone. Then I remembered that he was a secret. I had to do it his way, and keep quiet about it, or he just wouldn't be there. I understood it as clearly as if he'd said it out loud."
From the Spirit journal of Alonzo M., September 16
"It works better from the window, of course. I should have realized it sooner, my bed is right by the window, and that's the place he really first contacted me, in my dreams. Duh. It seems so obvious in hindsight. He comes through much clearer now. He's still saying 'HELP' and 'DANGER,' but he's also trying to say something about a 'GIRL,' and he hasn't stopped saying 'NNNN.' I think it's supposed to mean something. I've asked him his name again, but all he gives me is the 'R' tile, and sometimes a 'J.' I get the impression that he's got some kind of issue about his name, because he also gives me 'NOT ME' when I try to press him about it. 'NOT ME.' I wonder when Christianne goes on her fall break? Maybe she could help."
From the diary of Anna B., September 17 (continued)
"So, the next night, which was Saturday, I told everybody I wasn't feeling well and that I'd be going to bed early, which was almost true. I did go to bed early… after I'd put on a sexy little magenta slip over my favorite little bra and panties from Vicki's Secret… and I wasn't just feeling well, I was feeling incredible! My stomach was turning summersaults! I just lay on the bed, and I said "I'm waiting for you, Richard," and just lay there with my eyes closed until he arrived.
"He came to me, just like I knew he would. I don't know exactly when he arrived, but he was just there after I'd waited for a while. I called out to him, but he told me not to speak. He said that he loved me, and that he wanted me, and that he was so pleased that I knew what to do, and how to call him. He said to do it that way every time, and he would come for me, every time. He said I was beautiful. He called me his Destiny. Isn't that romantic? His Destiny. My heart was hammering away in my chest, and I wanted to reach out to him, but I remembered what happened before, so I kept my arms at my sides. It took every last bit of my willpower, but I kept them there and waited for him to reach out to me. It felt like I waited a million years, I was just shivering, hungry for his touch. I felt cold, maybe I WAS cold lying there in just my lingerie, but I felt like I was submerged in ice water, and I was gasping for air, too, like I couldn't draw another breath without his touch to break the surface.
"Then he was there, on my bed, on me, laying on top of me, and I felt him across every inch of me! Except I didn't feel the weight of a body, I felt the weight of his… his presence. It was like he was a silk sheet across my skin! Oh, I never thought anything could feel so good! I mean, I'd heard that sex feels good, but I'd also heard that it takes practice and it's not usually so incredible the first time, especially for girls. But it wasn't true, whoever said that was so stupid and wrong, it was just ridiculous! It felt like those wonderful drugs they gave me when I had my appendix out, but it was ten times better, and that was just from him touching me!
"It was his hands, they were the only part of him I could feel as if they were real, the rest of him was like cool steam, plastering itself to my skin. But his hands, oh, he touched my shoulders first, pushing me down into the bed under him, and then my neck! As you know, dear Diary, my neck is the most sensitive part of my body, and even though he just touched me with his fingertips, he might as well have wrapped a cold-pack around my throat! I had to bite back a scream, but I knew that if I made a sound, he'd go away. I don't know how I held my arms at my sides and how I kept from shrieking, but I did it, somehow I held still and let him touch me, and I'm glad I did! He moved his hands down to my breasts… my nipples were as hard as pebbles in the bottom of a stream… and he twisted and pinched at them, up and down and in little circles, I just lay there and took it. You know how your arm feels when you bang your funny bone? All tingly and sharp and numb and painful all at once? That's how my whole body felt, especially my brain! He trailed those magical hands of his lower, and he touched my vagina… and I couldn't take it, I screamed and passed out. When I finally came too, he was gone, so I touched myself again, thinking about him and wishing he was there, and I gave myself a little orgasm and fell asleep. What a night! I felt like I finally lost my virginity!
"He will come to me again. I know this as sure as I know the sun comes up in the morning. I'll call to him and wait for him, and he'll be there. I will let him make love to me, and it will be the most wonderful thing in the world! I won't tell anyone. I promise. I don't need to tell anyone. He will make me complete."
From an undated note in the margins of Beverly W.'s gradebook, section 011 of ENG 115, by an arrow clearly indicating Anna B.'s name
From the Spirit journal of Alonzo M., September 17
"'NNNN' is now 'NNNNA,' every time. I think it's because R has calmed down a lot, and he's coming through more clearly. He seems less panicked, anyway, but he's still definitely worried about something. I asked him what he wanted, and he said 'MY ROOM.' I got 'MY ROOM' in response to different questions, too; I asked 'What's wrong?,' 'Who is the girl?,' and 'How can I help?'. Same answer: 'MY ROOM.' I thought he was stuck, so I asked where his room was, and he said 'UPUPUP.' I live on the second floor, right above the lobby. He could be anywhere in the building. When I asked him where it was again, he said 'NO,' and that's all I got from that point on. I don't think he wants me to find the place. How does he expect me to help?"
From an interview with Elizabeth S., recorded October 20
"It's true I didn't see much of her, I mean, for a roommate. I spent a lot of time with Todd. But for the first couple of weeks, we would go to the dining hall together, we'd work out together, we'd hang around a little. Then, she sorta… withdrew. It started right after her frantic search for Richard. She stopped working out. She stopped eating with me. I scarcely saw her. I don't know whether or not it would have made a difference if I'd been around more."
From the diary of Anna B., September 20
"I am in love with Richard. I thought I wanted to meet a boy. I thought I wanted a boyfriend. I didn't know what I wanted. To hell with boys. Richard knows how to please me like nobody else ever could in a hundred years. I love Him. Love Him, love Him, love Him, love Him. I will be His forever if He would have me.