Friday, November 12, 2010


Maybe I should start from the beginning.

The day before yesterday, I got a phone call from my little niece, Kayleigh. She wanted to check in, and said her daddy even had her call the operator to reach me so that she'd know how (Poor Des still thinks that's useful information). I told her that was great, and now that she had my number, she could call me anytime. Then Desmond got on the phone and we talked for a while and everything was rather nice. I told him how everybody was up here, and then he said that Kayleigh just remembered something she'd wanted to say.

"Aunt Celie, it's stormy where we live," she said.

"It's raining up here, too. We're not so far apart, see?" I said.

"Yeah, " she said. "I feel sad sometimes when it rains. But you shouldn't feel sad, Aunt Celie. The rain just means he's close by."

A jolt shot through my heart. She couldn't...he didn't...

"Who's close by, sweetie?"

"The Operator. He told me to tell you that when he helped me call you," she said. "He said he just wanted to be your friend, and didn't want to you feel sad. I said he should tell you himself, but he's shy."

"Oh." That was all I could say. My vocal chords were paralyzed.

"Are you there?"

"Yeah, honey, I'm here. I'm gonna let you go. Give the phone back to your dad for a few, okay? I love you."

"I love you, too, Aunt Celie. Bye."

The Desmond got back on the phone. I told him to talk to Kayleigh about talking to strangers.

Now, to the real matter at hand.

Yesterday, I'd been at work for about two hours when Riley rushed in. He came straight around, told me I had to come with him. I contested, and said I was working, and asked him whose blood he had on his shirt as I started to realize, with dread, that something horrible had happened. He said Violet was in the hospital. My manager was standing right there listening. He told me to go.

I came home just long enough to pick up a few things and write that last blog post, although I forgot my computer (sorry, guys). We made it down to the hospital in record time and went to see her, but the doctors said she couldn't take any visitors who weren't family just yet. Riley got upset, but I managed to calm him down. We waited for a long time.

Riley told me there that he'd been with her the night before. She'd been angry about something -- he noted she'd been moody since they'd fought last week -- when suddenly she looked past him out the window. Out of nowhere (that was his exact expression) she pulled a .22-caliber pistol, told him to get down, and fired. The window shattered, and she stood for a second before she screamed, bent over, and started coughing. Then came the blood. She kept coughing up huge amount of blood, all the way to the hospital. Riley told them he didn't know what was wrong -- which was more or less the truth.

The doctors gave us the scoop a few excrutiating hours later.

"She's stable," said the kind-faced woman in her forties who came to talk to us. "Are you sure you don't know what happened?"

We both said we didn't. What else could we say?

She proceeded to tell us that it was as though Violet's lung had been hit by something hard. Not her chest -- her lung. Left lung, to be precise. There was no outer bruising, no cracked, broken, or bruised ribs. It baffled them. From the outside, you would never have guessed anything was wrong. But she was bleeding inside her lung, and if it had been anywhere less noticable, she probably would have died, because no one would have seen enough to do anything.

We eventually got back to see her. She looked terrible. Skinnier than usual, with her big, brown eyes, and her hair coming back into brown because she hasn't bothered with dying it. She looked like a little doll in the hospital gown. Once her parents decided to give us a minute, we talked about what happened. She didn't have the energy to say much.

"Is it still raining?" she asked, her voice ragged and harsh.

I told her it was.



  1. Dammit dammit dammit dammit dammit...okay, okay...

    Alright, first, you need to get into contact with your neice and ask her about the Operator. When did he come to her? Where? Was it just the one time, or has it been recurring visits? Has he shown her anything, has he taken her anywhere? Then you need to tell her father not to let her out of his sight. If it hasn't been frequent then there's still a chance.

    Then you need to talk to Violet. Where did she get the gun? Has she been completely honest with you? This action right now leads me to believe that he's been coming to her without her telling anyone. She needs to be completely honest right now, or this is only going to get worse for her, and you.

  2. Zeke, you straight-up started to damage my calm there. Then again, maybe calm isn't the right mood for a time like this in the first place...

    Concerning Violet, I saw her again today. The gun is registered to a college friend whose father is a hunter and was worried about Baltimore at night; she gave it to Vi when she caught on that she was being followed. Apparently, this happened only a week ago, right before she and Riley fought. I spoke to her about how things had been going. She said she'd been telling me the truth until last week, when things got way worse, way fast. She's still coughing up some blood every now and again, so she's really weak and the hospital's gonna keep her for a couple of days. She didn't have much energy for me to question her much further, but I'll keep at it and do a post with a full report.

    As for my niece...Kayleigh specifically said that it was the same Operator who helped her place the call -- which shows that either someone is pretending to be him (he's been known to have accomplices, as you of all people well know), or he's tech-savvy enough to handle a phone operator gig. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first she's seen or heard of him. Is he really interested in her, or just trying to get to me?

    And how do I talk to her about it? How do I tell her that there might be something absolutely and completely fucking evil out to get her and take her away from me and her parents and her brothers and stepsister and everybody who loves her for something she has no part of except being related to me?! How, Zeke, do I tell my favorite little girl in the world that her potential suffering is all my goddamn fault?!

    Sorry...I'm just really touchy right now.