John and I were working on the case in my office. It was weird not having Anna around. I was so desperately hoping that my suspicions were wrong, that she wasn’t dead, just hiding until the case was over or was taking a break. The office was cold, so cold we could see our breath. Neither of us really knew what to do about the whole Stitch thing.
We looked through the pictures, read the journals, and watched the tapes, God knows how many times. We would watch the tapes in slow-motion looking for any little clues that might tell us where to find him. But we couldn’t find anything. First, we were thinking he must be hiding somewhere outdoors.
He always seemed sort of dirty and disheveled, like he didn’t have access to a shower and was always running around barefoot. But then we wondered, if he’s an outdoorsman, why is he naked? Doesn’t he get cold? Then we played around with the idea that he lived in a cave somewhere.
Which would make sense – he’d have some warmth so he could wander around naked all he wanted. But it still didn’t quite work in our heads. Since when do supernatural creatures and serial killers not have homes and established lives outside of their murder sprees? Vampires, you think live in castles, mansions, and whatnot. Werewolves are only like that once a month, so they obviously have stuff to do the rest of the time, and have a house. Even zombies sort of have a home – their coffins until they rise from the dead. What would make Stitch want to be the outcast and not have a house and established life?
Nothing was making sense to us. Our heads hurt. Our coffee was running out. The sun was going down. The work week was coming to an end. Our options were running out. Thankfully no one else had been killed. But surely, it would happen again soon. Stitch wasn’t one to sit and do nothing for extended periods of time.
“What do you want to do?” I asked John as I stretched out my back.
Before he could answer, the door to my office slammed open and an FBI team walked in.
“We need you two to come in for questioning.” The only one in a suit said.
The rest of them were wearing the typical FBI uniforms, with their guns and everything. John and I were confused. What could we have done to catch the FBIs attention? We complied and went with the team willingly. We all walked out of the office quietly. My coworkers watched, just as confused as we were. Their eyes were all wide. Some of the mouthed words at me, asking what was going on. I just shrugged. I really had no idea. They shoved us into the back of a car and drove us to where they wanted to question us.
We arrived at the jail in Downtown Seattle. It was a tan building with small windows with bars over them, so the prisoners couldn’t escape. I was scared. I looked over at John. He was squeezing his hands together; I could see they were sweaty. He had wide eyes, like he was a child caught stealing candy. My palms were sweaty too. I’m sure my eyes were just as wide.
We were let out of the car. Two men grabbed both of my arms and pulled me into the building. I didn’t know what we’d done to deserve such harsh treatment. They didn’t give us time to look around the building, but I didn’t really mind. I’d been there countless times. I was just confused by why we were being brought there for questioning.
John and I were put into separate rooms. Each room had white walls, a white tile floor, a white ceiling, and a white light. There was a metal table in the middle of the room with chairs all around it. I was told to sit down and wait. So I did as I was told, in an attempt to stop the brutal treatment. The walls were entirely bare of everything, even texture. As I waited, I tried to find something to fix my eyes on. But I was so nervous I could hardly sit still. I tapped my feet and drummed my fingers and chewed my nails. What could I have possibly done? I’m just a detective! I’m the one who’s supposed to be solving the cases, not be a suspect or anything. Interrupting my thoughts, a man in a gray suit walks in with a file. He sits down across the table from me and just looks at me for what felt like an eternity.
“You’re probably wondering why we brought you and your intern in here,” he said.
His voice was deep and scratchy. He had a bird’s nest type of hair, mostly white with shades of gray. His eyes were tired and old, like they’d seen everything to be seen. I nodded at him, unsure if I was allowed to speak.
“What do you know about…” He looks at his papers. “Repetitive Routine… What do you know about his death?”
“I know what happened on the tapes,” I said. “I have them back in my office if you want to see them.”
“We know what happened in the tapes,” the man said. “What do you know? Is there anything we should know that can’t be learned through the tapes?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
The bright light was making my headache worse.
“What did you have to do with it?”
“Nothing!” I said, shocked. “I didn’t kill him, if that’s what you’re asking. He offered to help us find Stitch and that’s what ended up happening. Stitch came and killed him. We didn’t think that would happen, but it did. And from that side of the webcam you can’t really do anything.”
My speech got faster and faster as I kept talking. Was I really a suspect in his death? In my own investigation?
“Okay,” the man said. “Calm down. We’re just investigating his death.”
That made me fume. That was my case. I didn’t work so hard to become the best detective in the Seattle PD just to have my case taken from me. Even if it was impossible to solve…
“You’re free to go,” the man said. “We’ll be in touch with any further information on his death.”
I nodded at him and walked into the hall. As I waited in the hallway for John to come out from his interrogation, an idea crossed my mind. An illegal one, mind you, but an idea nonetheless. And despite its illegality, I decided to pursue it. I jogged down the hall to the man who’d questioned me and asked him where the nearest bathroom was. He pointed and said down the hall and around the corner. So I walked down the plain hallway and stood just around the corner, near the restroom.
I peaked around to see the man go into a room with the folder, and come out without it. When the coast was clear, I snuck into the room, quietly so no one could hear. The room was dark and dank with file folders covering all the walls. The files were organized in alphabetical order so I found the J drawer and searched for my file. At last I found it. Johnson, Ryan. I opened it and found a small notebook. Flipping through it, the pages were covered in notes. I smiled to myself. Suddenly I head the door opened so I stuffed the notebook into my pocket and closed the drawer quickly and silently. A woman with sharp features and a stern expression walked in.
“What are you doing in here?” she asked. “I was looking for the bathroom,” I said. “Wrong room. It’s down the hall and around the corner,” she said. “Okay, thank you,” I said. I walked out of the room and found John waiting at the end of the hall by the rooms we’d been questioned in.
I swiftly walked to him and gestured for him to follow me quickly. We stepped out of the building into the crisp Seattle air. I kept walking until we were a good distance away from the building. Then I pulled the journal out of my pocket and showed it to John. He looked at me with concern. “Did you steal that?” he asked. I nodded but didn’t care that he was worried. We were already in trouble. I flipped to the first page. It talked about how we were suspects in Repetitive Routine’s murder. John Freeman and Ryan Johnson – present at time of crime, could have orchestrated it in ploy to solve serial killer case, follow after questioning.
That made both of us nervous. We looked around as soon as we read that, looking for suspicious cars. Cars of different colors and models whizzed around us, but nothing was standing still watching us. We felt small rain drops start to hit our heads and neck so we started walking and fast as we could to the office. The rain started to really pour and get us soaking wet before we reached our cars.
“I was thinking…we should go up to Anna’s parents house. She might be staying with them,” I told John.
“Let’s go now,” he said. “Why not? The sooner we find her the sooner we can let our minds ease.”
I agreed with him and we both piled into my car. It was getting dark as I pulled out into traffic and eventually onto the freeway. The clouds were ominous. They were a dark gray. The rain was pounding on my car. John and I were silent the whole time. Neither of us knew what to say. We didn’t know what we were going to find. But both of us were praying to whatever God was out there, that we’d find Anna alive. A couple hours went by. The weather kept getting worse and the sun kept going further down until it was pitch black outside. That’s when I felt a bump and then it got really hard to drive all of a sudden. I pulled over to the side of the road and jumped out of my car. The front left tire was completely flat.
“Great!” I nearly screamed. “Just awesome.”
John got out of the car and looked at the wheel. I ran my hand through my messy hair and sighed. It was already getting late and I didn’t want to deal with this. Especially given the situation. What if Stitch found us? I shoved those thoughts aside and tried to focus on fixing the wheel. I opened my trunk and found my spare wheel. But only a spare wheel. All my tools to fix it were gone. Nowhere to be found. How was I supposed to fix my stupid tire without tools? I nearly screamed again. I shut my trunk and leaned against the driver’s side door and waited for someone to drive by and help.
“You okay?” John asked after a while.
We were both standing the pouring rain, in the dark, in the middle of nowhere. Neither of us were happy. Our suits were soaked; our hair looked like we’d just taken a shower; it was late; we were tired and stressed out. Things just weren’t looking good for us.
“What do you think?” I said. I wasn’t trying to sound rude, but I guess that was the vibe I put out because John scooted away from me a little bit and didn’t say anything else for a while.
We waited in the rain for half an hour before a car finally stopped to help us. A man and a young woman got out of the car. The lady had long brown hair in a braid down her back and hippie like clothing. She had a kind face and walked towards us with welcoming arms.
“What happened?” she asked, sounding genuinely concerned.
“Flat tire,” John said.
He sounded in a better mood than I was. Even if he had been acting strange lately, he was still more chipper than me.
“We can’t find Ryan’s tools.”
“Oh, that’s terrible!” the woman said. “We have tools. Go help them change their tire, Josh!”
The man she was with was tall and extremely muscular, to the point that it was kind of weird. He wore a plain white t-shirt and jeans. He didn’t seem like he would be dating the woman he was with – if they were dating, that is. He nodded in her direction and went to the trunk of their black car. Shortly thereafter he came back with the necessary tools and helped us change my tire. In just a few minutes we were ready to go.
“Thank you so much,” I said. “This really means a lot.”
“Oh, no problem at all,” the woman said, grinning. “Just one question though. What’s with the car with the two scary looking men in it back there? They’ve just been sitting there the whole time.”
John and I looked back at the car and then back at each other. Neither of us had noticed it until she pointed it out. It was sleek and black, nearly unnoticeable in the dark from that distance. I thought on my feet.
“Oh, that’s the FBI. We’re detectives working on a case with them. It’s nothing to worry about.”
It was something to worry about…
“Interesting!” the woman said.
The man stood beside her silently the whole time they’d helped us.
“Well good luck with your case!”
“Thank you. And again, thank you so much for the help.”
I smiled at her and John and I got back into my car, thoroughly soaking wet.
“What should we do about them?” John said, pointing at the FBI car trailing us.
“Just let them do whatever. There’s nothing for us to hide; we didn’t do what they think we did,” I said.
I started up the car and kept driving. John and I were silent the whole ride to Bellingham. The car kept trailing us all the way to Anna’s parent’s house. We tried acting like we didn’t see them. We tried to act as natural as we could. It was hard, but we did as good a job as possible.
Soon we pulled up to Anna’s parent’s house. It was a small little house just outside the city. They owned a little ranch with three horses. They were neighing in the barn a little ways from the house. They sounded panicked, but I didn’t know anything about horses, so for all I knew, that was what they sounded like all the time. John and I walked up to the front door of their shabby little house. Anna’s car was sitting outside. It had frost on the windows and what looked like fresh mud on the tires. Maybe she had just come back.
The paint on the house was peeling and the grass was unkempt. The stairs creaked as we walked up them onto the porch. I knocked on the door, but as I knocked it just opened. I pushed it further open and John and I walked in skeptically. The air was freezing cold and bugs were crawling on the ground. The first room we came to was the living room. The furniture had that typical old-lady pattern of canvas flowers. The furniture was covered in those plastic covers. The window next to the television was broken. Glass was all over the ground. The television was on. A news broadcaster’s voice rang through the silent house. It was eerie.
The floor creaked beneath our feet as we kept walking slowly through the house. We got to the kitchen. The fridge was open and the sink was running. Food was sitting on the counter like someone was about to prepare a meal. The food was rotting and there was a slight stench in the air. It was starting to get various colored mold on it. Flies buzzed around the plate, loving the stench of the disgusting food. John walked over to look at it. He winced a little.
“One of those flies just bit me,” he said.
He poked at the food and a bunch of fruit flies jumped off the food on the table. We couldn’t tell what the food even was. The table was set and one of the chairs was pulled out from the table like someone was sitting there watching the other person cook. I started to see specks of blood on the floor as we kept walking. We followed the blood drops until they turned into trails of blood. Some places it was hard to make out on the brown carpet.
The trail led into a room that appeared to be an office, but also kept going down the hall. We decided to go room by room and started in the office. It had a computer, printer and a desk with some cabinets. The blood trail went right past everything and up the wall. It stopped halfway to the ceiling. John told me to come over to where he was. I walked around the desk on the side where the chair was. The chair was covered in blood and so were the keyboard and the top of the desk. Some of the keys were missing from the keyboard, the monitor was completely broken and the mouse was hanging down, covered in blood. The damage and destruction of the desk area was not the most disturbing part. The worst part was, all over the keyboard. We found teeth. Like someone had gotten their face slammed into it repeatedly and their teeth had fallen out. They were white with yellowing at the top of them where they’d fallen out. The monitor still had glass around the frame. It was covered in blood and on one long shard of glass, there was an eye ball. It was brown and still had the veins attached to it. There was also some hair caught on glass on the side of the monitor. It was long, white, and sort of crinkly.
At least I knew it wasn't Anna’s. I went to pull the chair out from the desk, and as I did, I heard a loud thump. I look down and there was a hand coming out from under the desk. John and I crouched down to have a better look. It was Anna’s mom.
She was curled up under the desk, her knees against her chest, sitting up. Her left eye was out of its socket, some teeth were missing as well and there were a few holes in her scalp where hair and skin should be. We could see the white bone of her cracked skull. Her right eye was still in its socket. It was swollen and black with bits of blood trickling down her pale white cheek. Her nose was severely broken. You could see the cracked bone beneath the crusted blood. We decided not to touch the body continued down the hall way.
The blood trail was on the ground for a good five to six feet then it swerved to the left and went up the wall. We followed it on the wall until it came to a door. This door was locked and after several attempts to break it in with our shoulders, John kicked it in. It was Anna’s dad’s personal room - bachelor pad, if you will. It had a flat screen, computer, fish tank, various mounted animal heads, a gun cabinet and a cigar humidor. We didn't stay long in that room.
The first thing we saw was her dad’s body. He was ripped in half and replaced on the wall with his mounted bear head. His lower body was still standing up, right below him on the ground. On the wooden plaque, where it read the name, size and weight of the bear, someone had carved over it. It said "Collateral" and below that it said "You can't run". Maybe this will get those damn FBI agents to finally believe Stitch is real. Maybe this will get them off my back.
John and I went outside to find the FBI agents. They weren’t in their car so we assumed they were following us around the house. We turned to go back into the house and look for them and saw them coming towards us. Their guns were drawn but they weren’t pointing them at us.
“Do you believe us that Stitch is behind all this now?” I asked.
“Do you believe we didn’t kill Repetitive Routine?”
“We don’t know what to think,” one man said.
He scratched his head and rubbed his chin.
“Maybe we should call the local authorities. They might have some insight on this couple. Maybe someone was out to get them. We’ll also call in more field agents. This might be beyond your control now, if what you’re telling me is true.”
“Didn’t you see what was written on the plaque? It was Stitch!” John said, getting flustered.
“Show us,” the second man said.
We walked back into the house and tried not to look at the gore too much. We got Anna’s dad’s room and showed them the plaque. They looked at the words carefully.
“Collateral, huh?” the first man said.
“Collateral for what?”
“We’re thinking he has my partner, Anna. She’s been missing for a little while now. We don’t know where she is,” I said.
“We definitely need to call the locals. We need all the help we can get.”
The second man pulled out his phone and dialed 911. He told the operator about him being an FBI agent and needing back up. He asked for the address, I gave it to him, and we waited for the police to arrive.
“Maybe we should go check on the horses,” John said.
“We don’t know how long these people have been dead. They might be needing food and whatnot.”
We all agreed and walked back out into the cold. It might have been dark and freezing cold out, but it was a nice change to the disgusting sights inside the house. I loved the open field that lay between the house and the neighboring house. Although, it did remind me of the dream I had a couple days ago.
As we walked further into the field, my heart began to beat faster. I found myself staring into the woods that surrounded the property. I can still hear that loud groaning sound from my dream. I know it was just a dream, but it still makes me nervous. We walked towards the barn quietly. Part of the thought maybe Stitch was waiting for me. The barn was like a typical horse barn. Red outside and stalls inside with open windows so the horses could get fresh air when they were inside. We opened the door. It squeaked loudly.
You could smell the stench of decay from 20 feet away from the barn. I doubt I was the only person who noticed it. All of the straw and hay on the ground of the barn was damp and stuck to the bottom of our shoes. It felt...gross...beneath my feet. I almost slipped a couple of times. The horses were in the back of the barn in the last three stalls. As we got closer, we noticed only 2 of them were alive and they were just skin and bone. You should see every bone in their body and their neighs sounded like they were in pain and scared and they could barely stand. Their legs were close to collapsing underneath them. As I checked them out, I noticed they had rope around their necks. Why would they have ropes around their necks?
When we found the horses, three more police men showed up.
“We were the closest officers to your location. We checked out the house and we called for more back up though,” one of the officers said, almost out of breathe.
“Oh my god... what is that smell?” another said. He put his hand over his nose and mouth.
“That's what we're here to find out,” I said.
I opened the stall where the third horse should have been. I wish I didn't. The only thing left in there was the scalp of the horse... It's whole mane and the horse tail was on the ground. The tail had a giant chunk of meat at the end, still connected, where someone ripped it off the horse. Next to these things on the ground...there were three of it's hooves.
“Jesus Christ! Where did the other hoof go?! Where did the body go?!” John yelled.
We all walked away from the stall and one of the FBI agents ordered another officer to take the two remaining horses out of the barn and take them to a veterinary clinic. As we opened the stall to one of the live horses, blood was everywhere. All over the horses feet, it's mouth and in its hair. We couldn't see any wounds or anything on him though.
Around the food trough, there were flies flying around it. I walked closer and my nose started to burn. There was a lot of meat in the trough. Some of the meat was still connected to bones. But... they didn't look like... human bones. They were much too long...much larger than human bones. The joints were different. The horses had been eating the third horse whose body we couldn't find. Who the fuck does this? I thought.
“Guys... I think I found the third horse...” I said, trying not to puke.
“Holy shit,” John said.
“I'm going to go back to my car and get some gloves. I'll bring some for everybody,” I said, as I walked away from the crime scene.
I started walking across the field again. I was dragging my feet as I walked to try to get some of the hay off of my shoes.
It was odd. I felt as if I was being watched as I walked through the field. I looked left and right, along the tree line, but I didn't see anybody. I turned around and still, I did not see a single person besides the officer who took the horses out of the barn. He was crouched, picking up grass, attempting to feed the horses. I turned back and walked towards the car. From the field, you walk along a fence that was along the side yard of the house. The house has 2 windows on that side. I could have been seeing things...but I swear I saw a curtain move and someones hand go behind it.
I decided to go back inside the house. I figured it was just the other officers who were called. I walked up the front steps and into the door. As I entered, I got light headed and dizzy. Everything I saw flashed and went from blue to green and back to blue. It happens though. I think I remember reading somewhere it's from adrenaline kicking in really fast.
I made my way towards the room I saw on the side of the house with the moving curtain. I've only been in this house a handful of times. Usually just Christmas or other major family events. I knew Anna from High School so her family and I were close. I found the room I'd seen the hand in and walked in. It just had a bunch of boxes in it, like a storage room. I went to the window and moved the curtains. The curtains were dusty as if they hadn't been moved in a long time. The air started getting heavy. It was almost suffocating. I didn't see anybody in that room or the room next to it which had the second window on the side of the house. I started to go to my car and I ran into one of the officers who were in charge of the crime scene in the house.
“We're almost done here. We have 1 body and... well, one head, correct? I mean... you were the first officer to enter the house, right?” he asked.
“1 body? No. There is 2 bodies and there wasn't just a head. It was a whole body and a body split in two. The upper half is mounted.” I said.
“Oh. Uh. We have the mounted body, but not a whole second body. There's the body mounted on the wall and the lower half beneath it, and a head outside. No second body,” he assured me. I walked as fast as I could into the office. He wasn't lying. The body of Annas mom was missing.
“Nobody took the body of the old woman out of here? None of your officers?!” I demanded. I was getting pretty mad.
“No! We just got here!”
“Well bodies don't just get up and walk away! Then where is the head you found?” I asked, but I assumed it was the head of Anna's mom.
“You didn't see it?” The officer asked. “It's outside. Now... keep in mind we did not touch it or move it or anything. We found it right where it is”.
I walked outside. There was a trail of brown dried blood in the dirt path going to the gravel driveway. I followed it around the back of my car and along the drivers side. The head was sitting on my hood. Who the hell put it up there? There wasn't just a decapitated head when we first got here!
I walked around to the front of my car. The head was facing that way. It was Anna's head. It was terrible. Every single one of her teeth were out of the gums and were shoved into her cheeks and forehead and her eyes were missing, as usual when it comes to Stitch.
I lost it right there. I got on my knees and began to cry. It was the first time I cried since I was a kid. With the never ending disappointment from my parents as a kid and the constant beating, I learned how to hold back my emotions at a young age. It felt good. It really did. My eyes burned and my chest hurt, but it was worth it. It felt like a sack of bricks were lifted off my chest and shoulders. I could think clearer.
“Did you know her?” the officer behind me asked.
“She was my partner at the Seattle Police Department. I've known her most of my life.” I said trying to make out a clear sentence.
Stitch is going to pay for this, I swore to myself. I got up off the ground and opened the driver side door and popped my trunk. I grabbed a pair of disposable gloves from a box along with a pair for the other officers in the barn.
“I don't want to see that on my hood when I get back. And would you mind hosing down my car?” I asked.
“Sure, I guess” he said.
I turned to walk back to the barn and just as I did, I heard a loud neigh from one of the horses. I quickly walked around the house and hopped the fence going into the pasture. I jogged over the officer who was with the horses. One of them was on the ground.
“Is it dead?” I asked.
“Yeah, it passed. We're calling in some people to come take care of this one though, if it's not too late. They should be here soon.” He said.
I walked back into the barn. Everybody else who I left in there were all standing in a circle. Everybody but John, who was sitting in a corner sobbing. I walked to the back of the barn to see what everybody was looking at. There was the rest of Anna's body. Her upper torso in the middle. Her legs and her right arm ripped off, laying feet away. She still had rope around her wrist and ankles. Stitch killed her just as the people in his village killed him. I definitely think he was trying to send a message by killing her the way he died.
“I’m gonna go, John. Do you want to come with me or catch a ride with the FBI?” I said.
“Don’t leave me here with them!” he said.
I nodded at him and hopped into my car as fast as I could. John got in a minute later after telling the FBI we were leaving. I didn’t think they would be following us now. I looked at the clock. 3 AM. I yawned. I was getting really tired now that the gore wasn’t fueling my adrenaline. We started driving out of Bellingham, in silence once more. Both of us were exhausted. I put the radio on to try to keep us awake.
After a while, the buildings of the city started to become sparse again. As we left the main part of town, the radio started to go to static. Every channel I tried was static. I started getting nervous because of how the videos went to static in the second victim’s death. I saw a white building start to appear in the distance ahead of us. As we pulled up, we saw it was a Catholic parish. A giant church. I usually laugh at those, but Catholic parishes aren’t considered mega churches… Something in me clicked. With all the blood, guts, and gore I’d been seeing, something in me needed to go talk to God. Maybe He could provide some insight to this case. Maybe He could help me regain my sanity and get on track to solving this case. I pulled over and parked the car.
“I’m gonna go in and talk to God for a little bit. I need some help,” I said as I unbuckled.
“I’ll stay here. I’m not Christian. Jewish,” he said.
“Okay,” I said.
I opened the door and got out of the car. Back into the cold. I walked into the church. I was enormous inside. It had to be to hold 2,000-plus worshipers. I walked past a few stone pillars with holy water in them. Then I walked out of the lobby and into the worship area. There were candles lit all over the place. It shown on the stained glass and made Jesus’ statue look really eerie. His crown of thorns created a shadow on his face and the blood on his hands was black as night. I walked down the aisle between the pews. I walked down one and kneeled on the ground in the middle. I put my hands together and set my forehead on them.
“God?” I started.
I didn’t really know what to say.
“I need help… I’m scared all the time. Paranoid…”
Then all of a sudden all the candles went out. It was weird enough being alone in a church in the middle of the night, but it just got scary when all the light was gone.
I got up off my knees and looked around, spinning in circles. As I turned back around to look at the candles behind the podium, I heard loud bangs. All of the doors were being slammed shut. I turned back around to look at the doors I came in through. I slowly started walking towards them. I could barely see two feet in front of me. I stumbled a couple times on some benches, startling myself each time I made a thud. As I reached the door, on the wall next to it, I saw my shadow. There was a flickering light coming from behind me. I turned back around and saw the first and last row of candles were lit. That was when I started to hear a cracking sound.
It wasn’t a cracking sound like the fingers and necks and spines I’ve been forced to listen to the past couple of months, it sounded like plastic or even porcelain cracking. I looked up at the statue of Jesus on the cross. He had a big long crack going across his chest. It was crumbling right in the middle of his chest. I got closer, and as I got closer, it felt like the room was getting colder. I reached out to touch the statue, and as I did, the crumbling center of his chest fell out and knocked over a bunch of candles.
It knew it was Stitch. The hole was right where his heart would be. The statue started bleeding. Out of the hole, his hands, his feet, his head and his eyes.
I was back on my knees, and I closed my eyes. I’ve never done it before, but I began to pray. I didn’t know how, so I just pleaded for protection. As I was pleading, I heard laughter. That awful laugh that has been haunting me since the beginning of the case.
I needed to get out of there. I ran to the doors, but they were all locked. I started to panic. I started banging on the doors. I turned back around when I heard a loud thump. It was to the right of me. I saw a bible go flying across the room and hit one of the confession booths. I took a step forward, and as I did, more bibles began flying across the room smacking into the confession booth. Was it a sign? I had no idea. I started walking towards the booths. I knew I still wouldn’t be safe, considering what had happened to RepetitiveRoutine, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to see Stitch’s face again.
I opened the first booth and went in. I sat on the bench, buttoning up my jacket all the way and pulled the top over my mouth. Then it all started. The flame of a candle went shooting into the air in the next booth, hitting the top of the booth and going flat. As it died down, I could make out someone in there.
“Hello, my son,” the familiar, dark voice said.
“Uh... Father?” I asked, gulping.
“You can call me that if you like. It’s much better than what you have been calling me,” the voice said, beginning to chuckle.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked.
But I knew I wasn’t going to get a straight answer.
“Why?” Stitch asked. “Well you went into the confession first. I am here to forgive you for your sins”.
“You’re not a religious man. You’re a monster. A demon!” I yelled.
Stitch then began to laugh hysterically. I sat there looking at him through the mesh between the two sections. This whole time, he was looking at the confession booth door. He didn’t look at me once.
“I am going to kill you for all that you have done. For Anna!” I yelled again.
I looked back up to the other booth and Stitch had his face pressed against the screen. He was smiling at me. I moved from left to right, and his face moved with me. I still don’t know how he was able to follow me like that, what with the skin stitched over his eye sockets.
I closed my eyes and put my hands on my face. It was silent. I could hear my own heartbeat. After a couple minutes, I look back up. Stitch was gone. I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair. I sat back on the bench and just stared off. I can’t remember what I was thinking about, but it was deep.
All of a sudden, I heard a door open in the distance. Footsteps were getting closer and closer. They were fast paced and small. I could tell it was a girl.
“Is there anybody in the church?” she said.
“Yeah. I’m… I’m in the confessional,” I said, still not fully thinking straight.
“Are you ok? You sound distraught,” she asked.
“Yeah I’m ok. Don’t worry about it,” I assured her.
“Well why don’t you come out of there and get some fresh air,” she said.
I came out of the booth. It was still dark. There were about 5 candles lit by the podium. I tried focusing my eyes to the darkness and I began looking around. I finally saw the woman. She was a nun in the back of the church, on the opposite side of where I was. She was standing in the shadows. All I could see was the upper half of her body and her head. Something didn’t seem right about her. She just stood there. Not moving at all. Staring at me.
“Would you like to talk about anything?” she asked. As she talked, she looked almost puppet like. Her mouth moved straight up and down and her face never changed. It was expressionless.
“Are you ok?” I asked. I wasn’t sure about her.
“What do you mean?” she asked, as she blinked.
Again, she blinked and her face didn’t change. It stayed stiff and plain. Her skin was extremely pale. As pale as the trimming on her habit. I felt sick. I decided I’d just go home before anything else happens.
“Uh.. I’m going to go now,” I said while walking towards the door.
The nun started moving. I could tell she wasn’t walking. It was like she was… bouncing, kind of. She stayed in the shadows though, only showing her upper half.
“I don’t trust you,” I said.
The nun started laughing. She had a high pitched girl laugh that echoed. Half way through her laugh, it started getting deeper. I knew it was Stitch now. But where was he?
“I see I can’t fool you,” his booming dark voice echoed. “Would you like to see my latest toy?”
As he said that, the nun started bouncing towards the candles. I walked backwards as she got closer to the podium. My back was almost against the door.
She got in the light of the candle. I was horrified. Stitch was standing right behind her, and he also was wearing a habit. Not only was he wearing a habit, but he also had a crown of thorns on his head. It looked like his arm was around her.
“This is one of my favorites,” he said while laughing.
He started humming. I saw what was going on. He started spinning around with the nun. He wasn’t holding onto her at all. He had his left arm in her back. A big bloody hole in her back. His elbow was bent, as if his forearm and hand was in her head. He made her bounce, like a child would make a Barbie doll bounce when they would pretend the Barbie was walking. As she bounced around walking around the stage, her arms flailed in all directions. Stitch repeatedly opened her mouth and closed it. I could hear her teeth slamming shut even in the back where I was. It made my mouth hurt. He made her blink a couple of times, then he picked her up with both hands and slammed her on the ground.
“She was fun. But I’m done with her now,” he said. “I need a new thing to play with.”
He finished his sentence and I started looking around for a way out. I looked towards the statue of Jesus at the front of the room. Something about the statue was different than minutes before. I could see something in the chest. I squinted my eyes and got a little bit closer. I saw hands coming out of the hole in his chest. They were facing opposite directions. I started to get closer and with each step, I could hear someone singing some sort of religious song. It wasn't in English though so I had no idea what they were saying. I started going up the steps towards the statue. I froze in terror at what I saw next.
The hands started pulling apart the chest of the statue and a head popped out. It was RepetitiveRoutine. I recognized his hair and his face from my dream. He didn't say anything. He just crawled out of the statue and fell to the ground on what was left of his legs. He landed right on his femur and the cracking and snapping sound made me want to rip my ears off. He started pointing behind me. I didn't want to turn my back on him, but I couldn't help it. I turned around and saw Stitch standing right in front of a big stained glass window.
He ripped off his habit and started to rub his chest. He rubbed from his chest, around the burned cross on his chest up his neck and onto his face. He started humming again. And as he hummed, the main door opened again. I turned around as fast as I could to run out. I took 2 steps and then I heard bubbling. I looked up and saw the holy water was boiling. I didn’t know what to do. I turned back around and saw Stitch running towards me, full speed and yelling like a mad man.
I blacked out. I don’t remember anything after that.
When I woke up, I was in FBI custody. I was lying on a bed in the infirmary of the prison downtown. I jerked up and rubbed my face to wake myself up.
“How long have I been out?” I asked the woman on the other side of the room.
“Just a few hours. It’s 11 o’ clock in the morning. Some FBI people want to talk to you when you feel up to it,” she said. I put my feet on the ground and stretched before standing up.
“Where do they want to see me?” I asked. She pointed out the door.
“Someone’s been waiting for you outside,” she said. I walked out the door into the familiar plain hallway.
On a wooden bench on the wall, there was the man who interrogated me the first time. He gestured for me to follow when he stood up. We walked down the hall and walked into the same room we’d been in before. I sat down at the table again and waiting for something to happen. The man left the room and came back with a folder. He sat down across from me.
“Okay, first things first. We know you stole the journal in your file. But that’s not the real issue here. You’re being charged with vandalism,” he said.
“What?!” I said loudly.
I nearly burst from the chair I was sitting in.
“What do you think I vandalized?” The answer was obvious but I couldn’t be sure. They were pinning all kinds of crap on me.
“The church,” the man said. I just shook my head at him.
“I didn’t do anything. Just watch the tapes. It’s a mega church, they probably have cameras everywhere,” I said.
The man looked stunned. Apparently I was better at his job than he was. How hard is it to look at tapes before trying to convict someone of something?
“Fine,” the man said. “We’ll call you back in when we prove you did it.” I thanked him and stood up.
I walked out of the building and the sun burned my eyes. It was sunny for once. Maybe that was a good sign. Maybe my visit to the church did some good. I found my car outside. They must’ve towed it here after they found me. I got into my car and drove back to my apartment. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but the sun made me hopeful.
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