She gazed down at her body submerged in the steamy waters of the bath. She could hear the muffled voices of her parents coming from downstairs, the deep steady bass of her father and the frantic babble of her mother.
Suddenly, the low hum of her parents was abruptly silenced. The bathroom became cold and the girl sank into the tub to ward off the goose bumps forming on her shoulders. A pressing feeling weighed on her chest, making it difficult to breathe. He was here.
“Pinky-Pinky.” The sound of his soft voice sent shivers down her spine under the rapidly cooling water.
A dark shadow began to form in the corner of the room. She could not compel her eyes to gaze there. By an uncontrollable compulsion she was forced to turn and stare at the white wall of the bathtub.
“Hello Mary, oh Mary Lamb.”
She did not reply; she kept her eyes firmly fixed at the side of the bath, which turned from white to a very light pinkish hue. The source of the voice was directly behind her. She felt a gagging sensation upon seeing the dreaded obscure, nebulous blur of a reflection. She tried to speak, to tell whoever it was, whatever it was, to leave her alone, but her lips wouldn't move.
“Leave you Lamb? No darling, I’ll never leave you.”
She felt movement in the water, a disturbance which caused the bath to become freezing cold.
“Your bath, my dear, your bath is icy cold, you’ll catch your death.”
She closed her eyes tightly trying to imagine him away. Then he did something he’d never done before. She felt it on her bare thigh; a slippery latex touch. Her body convulsed and the touch turned to a grip.
“Listen to me you little bitch,” a voice hissed right into her ear. “Are you listening?”
She nodded and felt a tear warm her icy cheek.
“You must do it tomorrow. An opportunity shall present itself, you will seize it my little, itty-bitty lamb. Do you understand?”
She nodded again and let out a whimper. Mary felt the grip release and the hand retract.
“Such a beautiful girl; pretty lamb, little, little lamb chops, hmm.”
Behind her back Mary heard mock sounds of bleating.
Suddenly the soft silky voice was breathing in her ear again, “You won’t let me down, will you?”
A latex grip enveloped her neck.
“Say 'no I won't'.”
She choked and gasped, “No I won't.”
“Say; 'no, I won’t let you down'.”
“No, I won’t let you down,” she sobbed.
The grip released and she moved her hands to her neck and wept freely. Pinky-Pinky was gone. She knew because she could once again hear the basso voice of her father, and the crazed, twanged soprano of her mother.
Her father had started the engine of the car and was drumming the steering wheel impatiently, waiting for the aircon to dispel the early morning chill. Just as she was walking around towards the passenger seat she heard a rattle from behind. Looking up, she scanned the house and then her eyes locked onto it: the frosted window of the upstairs bathroom. Behind the blurred glass; there was a vague shape, that grotesque and sickening pink hue.
Mr. Leighton was late, as usual, for his English class. Monday mornings were always marked with a free period for Mary and her eighth grade classmates. While the children shouted across the room to one another, she sat silently. Suddenly her daze was disturbed by a prepubescent screech. “Sasha’s wearing pink panties! Ahaha I saw them, she’s wearing pink panties!”
“Fuck off you pervert!”
“Ahaha Pinky’s gonna getcha!”
The mention of Pinky-Pinky made Mary’s body go numb. For her class mates it was all make believe, a crude sexual joke mixed with the boogie man: but for her it was real. Pinky-Pinky was real and he did not just target girls with pink panties.
Emily, the girl sitting next to her, asked, “You’re not wearing pink panties right?”
“What’s the matter with you? You look really pissed off.”
Mary knew what she had to do. She knew what Pinky-Pinky wanted. Her teeth clenched together and she cleared her throat, “I’ve seen him, I’ve seen Pinky,” she declared to the whole class.
Silence was followed by chuckles.
“Where did he touch you?” came the childish squeal of the preadolescent class clown.
“I’m not joking. And he wants to meet all of you.”
Emily looked at Mary with a look of shock on her face, Mary hardly said a word and now she had the attention of the whole class.
“My parents are out tonight, you can all come over to mine and see him.”
All eyes were on Mary and underneath them grins began to spread like a contagious disease.
It was a small town and everyone lived nearby one another. Six o’clock was the agreed time for the eighth graders to arrive at Mary’s for an audience with the Pink Man. By a quarter past, the majority of the class had arrived. Mary’s face became progressively more blank and emotionless. The trauma she had been experiencing since the beginning of the year was about to come to an end.
“Is everyone ready?” she called over the cacophony of teenage babble. The response came in the form of faces plastered with eager curiosity.
She led everyone upstairs. Dusk had fallen, it was the time of day when one is not quite sure whether to turn the lights on or not. The palpable feeling of apprehension gave everybody butterflies and a hushed silence charged the atmosphere as Mary led the way to the end of the corridor, towards the bathroom.
The children hustled inside and Mary closed the door. The room felt cramped and the day had gone past twilight. The shower curtain was drawn around the bathtub and everyone gazed expectantly towards it. A boy suddenly felt it time to step forward and do what everyone was thinking of doing. The curtains parted with a sharp grating sound and everyone screamed: then began to laugh. Behind the curtain was a shop mannequin painted bright pink.
“Hahaha well done Mary! That was great! Can’t believe you managed to keep a straight face through all of it. Where’d you get the dummy?”
Mary stared at them all.
“What’s the matter?” All eyes were fixed on the girl.
She then stared at her feet because she could feel the air of the room gravitating to the corner. She averted her gaze by staring at her feet. The children moved towards Mary; curiosity mixed with concern.
Then they heard the voice, “It seems that Mary had more than one little Lamb hmm...”
Mary felt nauseous.
“It seems Mary had a whole flock,” the silky voice became eerily singsong, “and everywhere that Mary went: those Lambs were sure to go.”
The corner of the room had become blacker than a moonless night. The darkness created a nightmarish juxtaposition with the fluorescent pink of the spindly figure. Mary’s focus remained on her feet.
The darkness was spreading: but the wolf would spare the shepherd.