“Okay Bri, you have to tell me what happened! It must have been awful… are you okay? What was so bad that you had to vomit like that?” Sarah sat me down on my couch and tried to comfort me.
“Awful is the understatement of the century.” Feeling nauseous and weak, I told Sarah the entire dream in detail. She was just as confused when I mentioned that, in the dream, I couldn’t see my own body. This wasn’t strictly weird as far as dreams went, but for some reason, we were both unsettled by it. Why had my hand just been a shadow when I looked down? I shook away that thought and continued with my story. Finally, when I got to the part about the box of pictures and the small bag of teeth, Sarah also looked sick.
“Dude, how can anyone do that to someone else? Whoever this guy was, he was a monster. But at least we have some leads to go off of when we research missing persons cases. He seemed to have a pretty distinct signature…” Her fingers lightly grazed her mouth as she said this, probably thinking about her teeth being pulled out. I was thinking about it too.
“Yeah I know. How long was I asleep?” I looked out the window and saw that it was starting to get dark. Great, I thought, I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight. I will be up for hours.
“Ummm… I think like three hours? Yeah, it’s getting kind of late. Did you want to get something to eat before we get back to researching? At least something small, since you pretty much voided your stomach. You need to eat something.”
“Hmm. I guess I better. But I sure don’t feel hungry. I think I can force down, like, one pepperoni roll. But nothing bigger than that.” Even though I felt sick, pepperoni rolls were my comfort food when I was stressed or anxious.
Sarah placed the order while I began searching online for serial killers with such a… disgusting… ritual. Almost immediately, I found a dozen or so articles about missing persons cases. The string of cases had happened in the early 1900s. For some reason, the dates weren’t overly specific. The only real information, in terms of setting, was that they had all taken place just ten minutes away from our town. In the town where I had gone to school as a kid.
All of the murders had been linked together when their corpses were found, each one missing both top canine teeth. All of the victims had been girls. Each one was about 10 to 15 years old. Sick. The town didn’t even have any suspects. There had been no forensic evidence left on the bodies, and they had all been dumped in different areas across the town. What was crazy was that the drop sites had all been relatively busy on any regular day.
Why hadn’t anyone been seen dumping them?
As I scrolled farther down the articles, I came across an image that sent a shiver down my spine. In a grainy black and white scan of an old newspaper was the exact shed that I had seen in my dreams. Twice now. There was the work table. There were the chains. And there were the torture instruments. Nauseous all over again, I kept scrolling.
At the back of my mind, though, I had even more questions. The articles all said that there were no suspects. How were there no suspects when the murder site had been found? Had it been an abandoned building? It was infuriating how little important information had been included.
Whoever had written these articles had focused on the atrocities that had been committed instead. I almost couldn’t bring myself to read all of the horrendous things that had been done to these innocent girls. But I did. And the more I read, the sicker I felt. If I didn’t feel like eating before, I definitely didn’t now. And I definitely didn’t feel like repeating any of these things out loud. They were too sadistic.
“Hey Sarah, I just found a lot of murder cases that fit this guy’s twisted pattern. But as far as I can see, none of them were ever solved…”
“Bri. Maybe your connection to your past life could answer some questions… what if we can find out who it was? And by we, of course I mean you.”
Her attempt to lighten the mood was half-hearted at best, but I appreciated the effort. We both needed to take a break from this darkness, and then we could come to it later. I wasn’t even sure why I felt so strongly about this case, but something inside me felt an unceasing drive to figure out what had happened. It affected me in no way, as this had happened years ago, decades even. But still, something made me uneasy about the whole situation.
Was it because it was possible that my past was some how interlinked with this monster? I would just have to wait and see.
“Alright, Sarah, we’ll see if I can answer some questions with my dreams. I wanted to think that that’s all they were. Dreams. But there’s just too many coincidences between the dreams and these articles. I mean… there’s a picture, right there, of the shed. That’s where they have been taking place so far.
“Dude really?” Sarah seemed a bit too excited. “We gotta keep going! You need to—”
“Look, I need a break. This is making my head spin! This is all just too much to take in at once. Please… just let me rest some. I want this too. Probably more than you… I just need some rest.”
Shocked, Sarah replied almost in a whisper, “Bri I am so sorry. Of course. Let’s do something to take your mind off of it for right now. I shouldn’t have pushed this so hard. It’s like me forcing you to have nightmares over and over again. I really am sorry.”
She looked like she was going to cry. Without saying a word, I hugged her.
We decided to go for a long walk. She knew that this was how I coped with stress. I loved taking nighttime strolls. Something about them felt so anonymous and secret.
We walked in complete silence. The streets were damp from a storm that had happened at some point while I slept, and the air was crisp and cool. It felt good after having sweated so much in the last 24 hours. I should probably shower, I thought absently.
While I was feeling a bit better, there was a pit in my stomach. At some point I would have to sleep again, and I was terrified of the nightmares. I both wanted It and feared it more than I could explain. Something was drawing me in, but my own well-being made me hesitant.
The hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end, and I felt nervous. I didn’t know why, per se. I just knew that I was scared. More scared than I had been in a long, long time. There was no reason for it.
After about an hour of silent walking, we subconsciously made our way back to my apartment. When we were inside, I finally broke the silence.
“Hey Sarah, I was thinking a lot while we walked. There is just a lot that doesn’t make sense about these murders. The ones I found online. It’s so weird that no one was ever arrested, yet there was so much evidence found. Like, he had this shed, and somehow it was never linked to him. I wonder how that happened. You’d think that, since they found it, they would have been able to search the owner or something… And on top of that, there was no information that could help anyone figure anything out… It—”
“Bri, you have to calm down!” She put her hand on my arm and led me to the couch.
I hadn’t even realized that I had started yelling, nor had I noticed the tears that had begun to stream down my face.
“Sarah, this bastard got away with it. It’s not fair! These girls deserve peace, and deep down I feel like they can’t have that until this is solved.” I sagged into the cushions, feeling surprisingly tired. But I was too scared to sleep. I wanted to figure this out, but something in my gut scared me, almost immobilized me.
“I don’t know if we should do this. I mean, you haven’t slept without a nightmare in over 24 hours. You look exhausted, and you haven’t eaten much. I am worried about you.”
“Look, I am scared, but determined. I need to figure this out. If my past life was one of his victims, I need to find closure. For her.” I know that if anyone else had heard this conversation, they would have thought Sarah and I were lunatics.
“Fine, but tonight I am staying here.” She looked at the clock on my wall. “Yeah it’s midnight. I am sleeping in your room, that way if you start freaking out like before, I can wake you up. Maybe that will save you from exhausting your body more than it already is.
Together, we hobbled into my bedroom, both melting into the bedding. Sarah didn’t seem to mind that my bedding was filthy with sweat and tears from my previous nightmares. As I began to doze off, I heard Sarah say, voice thick with sleep, “please sleep well, Bri. Love you.”