My father found a corpse behind the back shed. I put it there but can’t remember when or why. I do remember slashing the throat watching the blood seep out, sticky, metallic, and thick. I screamed when he lifted the body from the snow, buried there frozen for months? Weeks? Hours? I couldn’t remember. I have so much trouble remembering things these days, but I remembered I had to scream or they’d know it was me. They knew anyway, they always did. They didn’t know there was another body there too though. Frozen, shoved against the wall in a half-hearted attempt at a burial. An old woman or a young woman I cannot recall, but she looked like me only shallower, emptier, and arguably more alive. The other corpse was a man with no face, that is to say he had a face but it was featureless except for a scratchy swath of stubble, a facsimile of a beard, and an expression of cruelty undeniable even in death. I didn’t watch the woman die, though I think I killed her. I did drag her body out behind the back shed, trying in vain to shovel piles of leaves over her-over my-body with half-frozen hands. Choking back tears all the while though I don’t know why. They knew I’d done it, they always did, but they didn’t do anything about it.
“He was hurting me.” I’d choke out through a deluge of tears.
“He was hurting me, she was hurting me, they were all hurting me, I was hurting myself,” and that would be it.
But all of a sudden I’m a different person. I am not myself, this is not my skin, these are not my tears, these teeth do not belong to me. They fit strangely in my skull. I remember now. I know there’s another fifteen bodies buried in the woods. Another fifteen men, creatures. Tricked by me, trapped by me, lured to their deaths. They were hurting me, but they weren’t hurting me, they were hurting another me, a different me, one who’s teeth felt at home in her own head. But nobody knew about the bodies in the woods, or the bodies by the back shed, or the bodies that litter the grounds of the grandiose estate that I keep in my mind. No one knows about the little girl whose teeth fit immaculately like pearly white soldiers in formation. The little girl whose skin doesn’t make her itch, whose mind doesn’t urge her to pluck out her eyes, maul her own face, or kill fifteen men just to feel something. The little girl who lies dead on a fountain at the center of my mind. The little girl sheltered away behind a thousand locked doors and padlocked gates, the gun clutched in her small hand still hot, and the hole in the back of her head oozing blood like sap from a tree. Her lifeless eyes still wet with tears even now five years since the gun went off, five years since the doors locked and the gates slammed shut.
I who am not, in fact, I but someone else entirely can remember only one of those fifteen men. He was screaming and crying and begging for his life. The sound split my brain like a concussion. It was all too much, the noise, the pain, and all this dreadful red leaking down my wrists. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe, not with all this noise. So I screamed at him, screamed to shut him up, to stop crying, stop begging, stop pleading, stop hurting me, and he did, he stopped. Everything was quiet, the forest, my mind, even route 25 below us seemed to still, and for once I spoke. Softly, quietly, and even as his life that may have been my life drained out, he listened. He listened as I told him about the estate and the little girl, and all the mes who had come after her who found their graves elsewhere in my mind. He listened as I told him, my voice barely above a whisper, about how sometimes in my mind's eye I can see myself there, I can see myself happy. Smiling wide, grinning as I spin in a field. The world is warm and yellow, and the sun is blindingly bright, and I am happy, even if it hurts. He listens to this all, he listens and he listens until he can’t anymore, and even then he does. It’s only then, as I watch the light reflecting red off the snow, that I realize, that maybe he didn’t have to die, maybe we were the same, and he wasn’t hurting me after all, and maybe we could have just sat in that silence forever, it wasn’t warm and it wasn’t yellow but it was quiet just for a moment. This is a world where I speak only in sobs, and I had a dream that I killed fifteen men and woke up screaming.