This is the part of my story I had intended to be the conclusion. Not just an ending – no, that would never satisfy a mind like mine – but a real first-rate, proper conclusion, with lessons learned, themes brought together. The whole nine yards, as they say.
But now that I have arrived here, I find that it is merely the end. There were no lessons learned. No grander themes. Some people died, others broke up, and most kept on doing things exactly as they’d been doing them before.
So little has been learned that I have what I will call a creeping suspicion that I have been brought here – to the future, to 2017 – probably with a promise that I would be returned to my own time once the coast was clear. Yet here I am. Abandoned. Stranded in the future.
Oh, it’s not much a theory, I admit, which is why I have not mentioned it before. Certainly not to Mad Slaughter when she came knocking at my back door with another oleander flower in her hair.
I had not seen her in two years.
“You never call me,” she said.
“I did not want to seem too eager or stalky,” I said.
“Your beard’s gone grey,” she said.
“It’s a well-documented side effect of time travel,” I said without elaboration.
The reason for her visit – or its inspiration, I will say, if visits can be said to be inspired – was this: While flipping through old photographs at her father’s, she had stumbled upon a picture deemed relevant to me and, unknown to her, relevant to this story as well.
“You told me once that you had known Stonie,” she said. The photograph she brought me was of a young girl, somewhere between the ages of, well, four and eleven, for I am no good with this sort of thing. It wasn’t a baby or a woman.
The girl in the photograph wore a one piece bathing suit and held up her arms as though showing off muscles. To comedic effect, it is supposed. A moment’s reflection revealed the girl to be not only a younger Mad Slaughter, but the girl by Jamie’s pool in 2003, to boot.
They were one and the same, you see!
In the background of this picture – it had been taken at a curious upward angle – was a balcony and on this balcony were three blurry figures. To one side sat Stonie, looking, as best as I could make out, young and beautiful and still very much alive. It was obviously me on the other side, I could see that, but why on earth did I appear so shiny?
Was I always as shiny as this?
Regardless, in the photograph, in between Stonie’s youth and my gleaming, and looking directly into the camera, was Jamie. She appeared… satisfied. She appeared as though, at that moment, there was nowhere else in the whole world where she would rather be.
“Part 1: A true crime story” is HERE.
“Part 2: A boy who killed some people” is HERE.
“Part 3: The other voice” is HERE.
“Part 4: Stonie’s bottle” is HERE.
“Part 5: Murder in Montrose” is HERE.
“Part 6: The time I thought Jamie was dead” is HERE.