Letter #1

Standard

Oh my god. I just came home from a run – it’s about 11pm here – and I found a letter in my mailbox, a strange one. I thought for sure I’d already picked up the mail on the way in from work tonight, but I have just barely been going through the motions lately and it is possible I missed one. I hate reaching all the way to the back of the box, something about it just absolutely frightens me.

I’m not sure what I expected to find. You read about this kind of crap on the internet and see it in horror films, but you never actually expect it to happen to you.

The letter reads:

I know what you did, you sick, disgusting, evil creature. It took me a while, but now I know the truth; I know about all of the lies you told and what you did to Kristyn that summer. I know. And I’m going to tell everyone.

For a moment I chuckled – a sinister something I learned to enjoy when I was young, an attribute of my dark side.

See the thing is, no one was around when I did it, so someone had to have been watching me; a thought I couldn’t bear. I have lived in paranoia since it happened, constantly looking over my shoulder while I work, double checking the backseat of my car before I get in it – sometimes I check my trunk, but I have to do it at least three times…my OCD won’t allow for otherwise.

I’ve spent the better part of tonight pacing my floor, trying to make out who could have sent me this letter. The incident with Kristyn was two years ago, approaching three. To think that someone has been following me this long gives me the creeps. I’m justified in this right? Shit, I am so scared to sleep tonight. I just keep thinking about it…I’m not that interesting of a person, my routine is boring – I can’t think of anything that even remotely makes me stand out to a potential stalker or whatever.

I guess you deserve to know what happened with Kristyn. I wish I had a more elaborate story for what I did to her, but I don’t. We were always running together, different marathons, different paths, different trails. We traveled together to find the best paths to train on – all over the country. We both loved the outdoors; we grew up spending our days seeing who could sweat the most, who could climb higher and who could swim the farthest. Kristyn was always better, always having to aid me in some way. I knew she was superior, or would find a way to be, but still I continued to allow her to beat me. I hated how humble she was about it too – like she didn’t know how great she was. This stretched from athletics and academics to boys and popularity. I was, of course, cool by association, but Kristyn was always the star. I never knew how much it bothered me, how much it consumed me, until I let it go too far. It was like in one instant, I snapped. In one instant, I killed my best friend.

It was the summer after college graduation, and we were biking some pretty serious terrain in Colorado, training for a competition. Kris hit a huge rock and fell off her bike. Then bounced off a giant old tree – a maneuver that no doubt cracked her spine or her head – and proceeded to roll down a hill that was completely covered in other branches, thorns and rocks. I ran down the hill as fast as I could to help Kristyn when it occurred to me: this was my moment. I had a choice to become the victim and the hero simultaneously.

I don’t know why, but that sentiment has always interpreted as, “villain,” to me. I just don’t feel like you can really be both without sacrificing something, and at a very high price.

I stood over her mostly lifeless body and examined her. She was beautiful, like a modern Kathryn Hepburn or something; bloody, different bones sticking out of different parts of her Lululemon pants, disfigured but still gorgeous; it made me sick. She looked at me pleadingly and I looked her in the eye and said, “I’m sorry,” and watched her die; I let it happen.

I convinced myself that for this to look real, so I wouldn’t look like I’d killed, that I had to be injured too. I biked back up the path and came down again, this time at a higher speed….just not fast enough to kill me. I aimed for the rock that Kristyn had hit and hit it in the perfect spot. I calculated that if I hit it just right of where Kristyn had, I’d end up in front of the rock, directly in the bike path so someone would find me – us. I mean so someone would find us.

I honestly don’t know what made me do it. I could have easily saved her. It’s amazing what happens to your psyche when you know no one is watching.

I laid there with my head bleeding, knowing I would survive. I had thorns everywhere, pricking my skin; I tried not to pick at them, which wasn’t hard since I couldn’t really move my wrist. I had to look like I was in real pain and I’d done a splendid job with authenticity. I was in mind-numbing pain. I just knew someone would eventually find me; it was still early in the day and bike paths were busy on beautiful days like that day.

No one came down the path that day. The plan had backfired.

I laid in a pool of my own blood for far longer than I cared. The second morning arrived and I woke with blurred vision. I had a blanket over me and there was an orange laying by my feet. I tried to sit up to grab it, but no use. I wasn’t strong enough. I assumed I’d lost too much blood.

Someone had been here to cover me. Had they seen Kristyn’s body? Why hadn’t they taken me to a hospital? The curiosity was killing me; I had to know what was going on. How had no one found me yet? Who had covered me? I turned my torso as best as I could so I could reach the orange with my left hand. With luck, I rolled it towards me and started peeling; it was just enough to get me back on wobbling legs and feet. Not only was Kristyn’s body nowhere to be found, but I wasn’t even on the same part of the bike path. I wasn’t in woods I recognized and our bikes were chained up on a tree about five-hundred feet in from where I was standing.

I kept my panicking brief. From long years of being an outdoor girl, playing in fields and forests and visiting my grandfather’s farm, I was unusually mentally prepared for a situation like this. I took a deep breath in and let out a loud sigh for Kristyn, the first of many I would make. A regrettable sigh – the amount of grief her death has caused me just hasn’t been worth it. Feeling like I was in her shadow constantly was nothing compared to her afterglow. It was like the rest of the world just wouldn’t let her die.

I combed that area for unusual things. I turned stones over and rustled leaves, looking for the key to unlock my bike. I searched for over an hour and knew I was losing speed, dizzying hotheadedness clouded my judgment on what was what – I had to get out of the woods.

I walked until I stammered. I crawled. The palms of my hands and knees were bloody and my head was starting to crust and smell with infection. Five days total in the woods and on the road without water or sleep, but I finally found my way to a park ranger’s lodge…about fifty miles from where Kristyn and I had been biking. I had no idea how I’d arrived here.

Those five days were the most horrific time in my life, and the days and months that have followed have been even worse. I’m numb from the experience, really. I am constantly asked for interviews and I decline. I have been asked to write articles and blogs and books; I couldn’t do it. The first year was the worst, but things have seemed better lately; I was finally starting to let go of my guilt.

That was, until I received this letter. I’m going to take some melatonin and try to get some sleep, though I doubt I’ll have any success. I’m really upset about all of this and I didn’t know where else to say something. I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

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