Last September

Last September is the story I feature in the Fiction Wednesday portion of my blog. 

Last September is the story of a young women and her search for her missing friend, Amy. Amy ran off into the night and was never heard from again. The police think Amy just ran away, but the police weren't chasing Amy, the police didn't get knocked out in the woods, the police didn't hear Amy's screams. 

You can read my story outright below or clink on the individual chapter links to go to the actually blog posts.



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

The wind blew heavy through the open balcony window of the faded ivory mansion. Tiny splashes of the coming rain created moisture on my pale face as I stood in the darkened attic.  Thoughts of defenestration crossed my mind as I look down at the seemingly endless drop to darkness. Lightning streaked across the night sky forcing my gaze upwards as the thunder struck instantaneously. Forcing me to remember.

"Amy! Stop!" I could hardly hear myself scream over the anger of the torrent rain as I tried to chase after Amy. It was my fault she had run out of the house in the first place; my fault she was out in this storm.

Over the last few months she had slowly been driving me insane with her obsessive compulsive behavior. When I had walked in the house a few moments before, upon seeing her standing there in the living room scrubbing at a stain in her worn out khaki shorts until the threads lay bare, I lost it. She heard me come in and turned to greet me with a smile and I started laying into her. Telling her how she was crazy and I couldn't stand to even be in the same room as her. The way her smile faded and her eyes bugged out and filled with tears didn't effect me; didn't make me feel sorry for her and pity her; didn't make me regret what I'd said. After i finished my tyrant and stood staring at her with my fists clenched at my sides, Amy slowly set something down on the coffee table in front of her and ran past me out of the house and into the night's storm.  I hadn't even noticed she had something in her hands as i was attacking her. I looked back at the table to see what it was. It was a tupperware container full of homemade macadamia nut cookies.  My favorite. Amy hates macadamia nut cookies.

As I ran after Amy in the chilling downpour, I lost sight of her. I swear, through the night, I caught the voice of a man yelling out "what are you doing here?" followed by the sound of Amy's scream. But there was a flash of lightning and a crack of thunder and suddenly everything was drowned in complete blackness.

I came to sometime later in the middle of the woods covered with dead leaves and mud caked on my entire body. I dizzily scrambled to a standing position leaning on a nearby tree for support and called out for Amy until my voice gave out.

Hours later I stumbled out of the woods and knocked on the door of the first house that came in sight. A middle aged woman in a pink house coat, curlers, and a small child attached to her leg answered the door. I began sobbing out incoherently for her to get the police. The woman, who's name I later learned was Wendi Prescott, reached out to me and I collapsed into her arms.

Amy was never to be found. I never saw her again.

The police didn't believe my story about the man in the woods. They thought my memory was distorted from the loss of consciousness. During their investigation a few of Amy's belongings were found to be missing from our house. Her purse, hair brush, and a few items of clothing. They believe she just ran away. Even though Amy had driven me crazy, she was like my sister, I knew her better than that. She wouldn't just leave and never come back. She would want to make up and talk about what happened between us. Something was wrong. Something happened to Amy that night to make her unable to come back.  I wasn't crazy.

My unmeasurable remorse is gut wrenching, but death is not the answer for me. I deserve to live with what I've done, how I drove Amy out into the woods that night. As I close the attic window I dismiss my dark suicidal thoughts and I  silently vow to myself  not rest until I find out what happened to Amy. To find out what really happened in the woods that dark stormy night last September.

Tom sat in his '74 beat up red Chevy pick up truck. Rain clouds were hiding the sun from view, so Tom had to turn on his interior lights to read the note he held in his hands. He couldn't believe it. How had they found out. He could have sworn there was no way anyone could find out what he'd done. Why were the police here asking questions. The note had been posted on his door when he got home from work today.

"I would like to ask you a few questions. Please call me as soon as possible."  was all that he could make out. The rest of the note was ineligible due the leak in the overhang above his door. He'd been meaning to fix the leak for months, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. He'd had other things on his mind. 

Now, he'd have to make a run for it. There was no way he was going back to jail. He'd spent eight months there for robbing a gas station in Shelby County four years ago. Jail wasn't a place he wanted to stay again and this time they'd lock him up for good. 

He heard a car pulling up the hilly driveway behind him. He quickly switched off the overhead light and ducked down in the truck. A black car pulled right up to his front door. A woman in a navy blue trench-coat got out of the car. She looked up to the sky as the first drops started to fall. She popped her collar and continued up the front porch. She didn't knock on the door, but rather ran her hands over the spot where the note had been pinned up. She turned her head and scanned the night. Looking right at the spot where Tom was hiding. Tom ducked lower in his truck, hoping that she hadn't seen him. She had to be the person who wanted to ask him "a few questions". Tom stayed ducked down until he heard her pounding on the front door. He slowly peeked his head to see out the window.  

"I know you're in there," she yelled, "I know you saw my note! I just need to talk to you please!" The rain was starting to drowned her voice out as she continued to pound on the door and yell out for him. He caught her last words. The words that would ring out in his head forever.

"I need to talk to you about last September!" 

"Please, I need to talk to you about last September!" I sobbed at the empty door. I turned and pressed my back against it and looked out at the red truck parked in the drive. Someone has to be here somewhere. That truck wasn't here before. "Please", I whispered one last time as my knees gave out and I slid down the door and landed on the wet porch.

I just sat there. I didn't have anything left in me. I didn't even have tears left to cry. I've been looking for Amy without the police for the last two months and I am no closer to finding her. There had to be something. Someone had to know what happened to Amy. She didn't just run away or disappear. Maybe I missed something. Maybe I should start over.

Sitting against this door reminded me of another door. A door I knock on not so long ago. The first door of many to come.

Two months ago I decided that I was going to start my search for Amy by retracing my steps. That meant starting at the house with the lady in the pink housecoat.

It took me awhile to find that house. I was a little disoriented the last time I had been there and I was also a little hysterical, after talking to the police for four hours, by the time I had left. I don't know how many country roads I drove down around those woods, but I finally found it. It was farther out that I would have expected. I knew it was the right house the moment I laid eyes on it.

Before I started I couldn't remember a thing about the house, not the size, the color, nothing, but driving up to it must have triggered some repressed memory from that night. Everything seemed to move in slow motion.  The surroundings seem to blur around the edges and the dull white of the two story farm house stood out against the bright red of the front door. This was the house. This was the door.

I pulled into the drive way and walked up to the front door. I stopped and took a deep breath before I knocked on the door.

The woman opened the door. I saw her standing there in her pink house coat and curlers, identical to that night. My eyes welled up with tears. I tried to hold them back as I stood silently starting at her. It took a moment for recognition to register in her eyes. "Oh, Sweetie, why don't you come on in and have a seat. I'll put on a pot of tea." All I could do was nod and follow her as the tears started to run down my cheeks.

She escorted me into her kitchen and pulled out one of the chairs from her kitchen table. I sat as she put the tea kettle on the stove. She turned back to me with a sad smile on her face and held out her hand to me, "Sweetie, I don't believe we have been properly introduced. My name is Wendi Prescott."

Wendi watched as the young girl sat crying in her kitchen. She wished she had more then a cup of calamine tea to offer her. The poor girl looked like she hadn't slept in months, she probably hadn't slept since the last time she showed up on her front porch.

"Can you tell me about that night?" the girl asked in a quiet sad voice. She stopped to take her first sip of tea, "Can you tell me what you remember?"

Wendi figured that's why she was here. She needed some type of closure. That night was etched on her mind and it often haunted her dreams, she could only imagine what the girl was going through.

"It was 11:36 that night," Wendi started. "Harry, that's my boy, was up crying for the third time that night. I remember the time because I was looking right at that clock," she pointed to the cuckoo-clock on the kitchen wall, "when there was a knock on the door." She paused and cleared her throat.

"When I got to the door you were a tangled mess, at first I wasn't sure what you were. There was mud and twigs and blood everywhere. Your wet dirty hair was covering most of your face and you were shaking like a leaf.

Then you started to talk. You were in a panic, slurring your words. I couldn't hardly make out what you were saying. I thought I heard you say police and maybe something about an Amy. Then you collapsed. I just barely caught you. You seemed so far gone I wasn't sure you were going to make it." Wendi's eyes started to tear up at the thought of this strange girl dying in her arms. This thought was were the nightmares came from.

"I dragged you into the house and laid you on the couch. I check to see if you were breathing and I called the police. They came and asked a lot of questions and eventually took you away in an ambulance." Wendi sighed loudly as her story came to a close. "That's it, that's all that happened."

Her story felt rehearsed. She had told the police the same story over and over about a hundred times. It was always the same. Except for this time. This time Wendi left a few of the details out. Like the fact the girl's eyes were wild and crazed when she first arrived or the fact when she tried to pull the girl in the house she started screaming and clawing at Wendi. The scratches were so deep Wendi still had the scars on her arms. She didn't think there was any point in troubling the girl more than necessary with these little details.

"Thank you," the girl sighed as she finished the last sip of her tea, "for humoring me and for the tea. If you remember anything else please call me." She handed Wendi a yellow post-it with a phone number and walked past her out of the kitchen to the front door.

Just as she was opening the red door and stepping outside Wendi called out, "Wait!" the girl turned to look at Wendi, "there was one more thing, I didn't remember until now, but when you collapsed I could have sworn I heard you say something about a Rebecca."

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