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Dear Greg,

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Dear Greg,
I screamed. That’s all I really know how to do these days- scream and beg for it to stop. But it never stops. And the louder I scream, the more it hurts. But I can’t stop screaming.
Honestly, you’d say I was over reacting. After all, after so long, it shouldn’t hurt anymore, right? Wrong. It hurt even more than it had when the pain first started.
It started that Tuesday, do you remember it? The last day we ever say each other. It was October 14. It was pouring down rain. I’d caught you walking back from the park, to who knows where. Maybe to your aunt’s, maybe to Ice’s. I didn’t know then, and I definitely don’t know now.
I was standing in the middle of the street. I was soaked, and freezing too. I’d been out since the rain started, about forty five minutes earlier. It was only about seventy degrees that day. I couldn’t stop shaking. When you saw me, you ran up to me. You tried to make me go inside, saying I would get sick. I refused. You tried to reason with me. I just stared at the sky. I tried to ignore you. When you realized that, you tried to throw me over your shoulder and carry me inside. I slapped you. Then I walked away.
Did you know that you were the last person that saw me? In the thick pouring rain, I disappeared in seconds. No one could see me. But that also meant that no one saw the man following me. No one saw the knife. In the booming thunder, cracking lightning, and pounding rain, no one heard the barely audible threats. No one saw or heard the small van with blacked out windows driving away carefully.
Now I lay here. I won’t tell you what he threatened me. It would just hurt you. And it’s my job to hurt, not yours.
I’m really good at my job, you know. I’ve always felt pain excruciatingly. He likes that. He really likes my screams.
Even if it could ever stop, you wouldn’t recognize me anymore. He shaved off my long, pretty black hair. I can count my ribs now. My pelvis sticks out sharply. I don’t even remember what it’s like to wear clothes anymore. And my mostly unblemished skin is completely gone. Now, I’m covered in scar patterns. Across my clavicle, he carved ‘my screaming beauty’ with a letter opener. But don’t worry. He always makes sure that the old cuts heal before he does new ones. And when he does my backside, he even lays a towel down so my face isn’t pressed into the dirt.
I’ve got a rose burned into my upper right arm. Did you know, if you do it drop by drop, venom leaves scars? He took almost three months on my rose. He did it, drop by drop, layer by layer. It’s quite stunning, really.
I don’t even recognize myself anymore. Not just physically too. When he first took me, he promised if I cooperated, it wouldn’t hurt. When he first ordered me to strip, I resisted. He made it hurt. Under all my patterns and words, I still have the scars of where he cut my clothes off. I haven’t worn clothes since. He likes it better that way.
It started with rape. Everyone thinks that’s the worst possible thing. It’s not. I’d rather have the rape back than this. I’m not a mom, though. He thought a baby would get in the way of his designs, so he got a friend of his, who’s a doctor, to come in and… ‘render me infertile’, as they said it. Instead of paying him, the doctor got me for a week. He didn’t hurt me unless I resisted. He was gentle when I was compliant.
I used to think it’s ironic. I told you I wasn’t ready to have sex, not now. I was too young, and too confused about my feelings for you. Now all I want is the sex from him.
You have to understand that when he got bored with just penetrating me, day after day, night after night, he started designing me. My first cut was on my lower ribs. The word ‘mine’.
From that first day, he’s kept me on a strict diet. All the water I want, but only one piece of bread a day. It’s made me thin as a rail, but he says that’s perfect. There’s no extra skin or fat to ruin the designs. Honestly, that just means I pee a lot. I suppose that’s not too terrible. Because of so little solids, I almost never poop anymore. I’m sorry. This is very descriptive. I just had to tell someone.
The advantage of being infertile is I don’t get a period every month anymore. After my first one, he was glad to be rid of them. He didn’t like having to wash the blood off my legs and butt so much.
He doesn’t tie me up anymore. I’m in a locked shed, with no windows. Last winter, he kept me furnished with millions of blankets, but I was still chained to the floor then. He’d climb in the blankets with me, and do whatever was on his agenda that day. But now I’m free to move about the shed. He did warn me that if I made any noise, he’d be forced to tie me up again, and do his ‘surgical’ cutting. That means he scoops out a chunk of skin and…. Well, you get the idea.
I bet you’re confused now. I said earlier all I do is scream. But it’s actually silent screaming. He’s rendered me mute too. Another week with his doctor friend… The ‘louder’ screams are actually just a look in my eyes, my mouth widening even more. He likes my expression of terror.
I can’t tell you who he is. It’s not because you don’t know him. You know him very well. That’s why I can’t tell. But don’t worry. He promised me that once I was completely carved, he would completely erase any and all evidence and then claim to have found my body in the woods. Some people would hope to break free. I don’t. I hope for my death. I wish he wouldn’t wait until cuts were completely healed to start new ones… I could never go back to my life now. I’m too ruined.
I’m guessing you’re wondering how I got this paper and pen. Well, he said that since I would probably die sometime this winter, I could write a goodbye letter to my family, if I wanted. As long as I didn’t name him or describe him in any way. But I knew a letter would just hurt my mom and dad. I don’t want them hurting anymore after they finally find me, destroyed and dead.
So I thought of you. No, it’s not to torture you. I asked him today what the date was, and he told me “October 14.” It’s been exactly a year since he took me. Since I last saw you. I wanted to say I’m sorry. I should have listened to you. But going with him saved you, so I don’t regret it too much. I hope you’re able to move past this. I hope the police haven’t been hounding you too much.
I know you don’t believe in Heaven the way I do, but I believe after he lets me die, I’ll be in Heaven and be able to watch over you. I’ll protect you forever if I can.
He let me have a rosary last May. And he’s continued teaching me French. For a while, every time I got something wrong, he’d leave a little cut on my… private areas. So I’ve become completely fluent.
I’m sorry about this letter. But honestly, it’s really just memories of you that have kept me going. I’ve been almost happy at times. He got me a picture of you, actually. I can’t look at it though. I don’t want you to see me like this. But I don’t need a picture of you to know what you look like. I’ve got an image of you burned on the inside of my eyelids, the sound of your laughter constantly echoing in my ears, the smell of your skin filling my nostrils, the taste of your mouth on mine coating my tongue, and the feeling of being beside you. Those memories have helped me keep my sanity. I hope you remember the sound of my voice… I don’t.
Actually, to be perfectly honest with you, he told me I’d get to die as soon as he did the head designs. And that’s what next. As soon as the cross on my left shoulder blade heals, he’s starting my head. I’ll bleed out as he carves. He said he’ll try to make it as least painful as possible. I hope so. I don’t like pain.
It’ll be over soon. So, in days, weeks, months, and years to come, if you feel my presence, know that I’m watching over you. Because I love you. You remember the only time I said ‘I love you’ in person? I wonder sometimes if those three simple words echo in your head, forever reverberating the sound of my truth.
Love,
Shannon



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