Sorry about another cliffhanger guys. I didn’t want to write after my mom talked to me, I just went to bed.
In an effort to pretend I didn’t leave that post on a total cliffhanger we’ll just start here:
And then Georgia said, “I know what killed Bella Short.”
I blinked at her.
“It’s going to seem…” she glanced at me nervously. “You might not believe me.”
“Try me,” I urged her. So she did.
Apparently Georgia has been running her own investigation into all of this. It hasn’t been anywhere near as successful as mine, but then Georgia didn’t wake up out in the damn woods next to Madelyn’s phone so you can’t really blame her.
Mostly she’s been hunting the woods. It literally kills me to imagine her tromping through the woods all Fall, half certain she was going to find Madelyn’s body under the next fern.
(Then again, maybe if she hadn’t shouted at me and hid things from me we could have been in this together. Not that I’m bitter or anything.)
But here’s the thing: Georgia didn’t find Madelyn, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t found anything.
A list of the crazy shit Georgia has seen in the old logging woods around Black Lake, WA:
+A lavender owl with three faces
+A tree that was floating off the ground. Like, it’s roots just floated in the air
+A stag-like creature with an almost-human face and antlers that were covered in yellow leaves
+ A great ape. This girl literally thinks she saw big foot
+ A huge creature that looked like a hyena covered in feathers. Enormous black feathers.
“The first time I saw him I thought I was going to die,” Georgia said. “Like I literally thought, ‘This thing is going to eat me.’ It was huge, like I would have had to reach up to touch it’s back. It came right up to me, and like smelled my hair, and I thought that it was the creature that killed Madelyn and now I was next and it was all for nothing, but then it just walked away. So I got the fuck out of there before it could change it’s mind.” She paused and tried to control her trembling chin. “I should have told someone, but who would believe me? And then he sort of started… showing up a lot. Like when I was out there in the woods. He’d reappear. I think he was lonely. And like, I thought he was harmless, you know? He never hurt me. But then when I saw Bella… the way she was…” and she lapsed into crying.
I got out my phone and called Julian.
He picked up on the first ring and he sounded frantic: “Shiloh?”
“Yeah it’s me,” I said. “My friend thinks she saw the thing that killed Bella.”
So I explained to him everything she explained to me, and he said, “oof — great, okay, yeah sounds like she’s describing pretty much what we thought it was.” And then there was what I thought might be a gunshot.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
Julian managed a breathless laugh. “Oh yeah, everything’s fine. We just pissed off an ape and now we’re —”
And then his phone cut out. He called me back like ten minutes later to tell me everything was fine and the next thing they were going to do was track down the creature that killed Bella.
“Did you say it didn’t hurt your friend?” he asked. When I confirmed he said, “Neal isn’t going to like this, but we might need her help.” He stopped when there was a thump and some muffled shouting in the background of his call.
He said, “I have to go, I’ll be in touch tomorrow.” And the line went dead.
Cut to this morning. No one is sure whether or not the school is even open, which means that my ass isn’t going. My mom is puttering around in the kitchen and I’m fielding phone calls from Georgia and Julian, making plans for when I’m meeting them.
I didn’t notice my mothers expression getting tighter and tighter. Not until it was too late.
I hung up.
“Who was that?”
“My friend Julian,” I said. “I’m meeting him for lunch.”
“Did you say you’re going to the woods?”
Shit. “We might go for a walk.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“We’ll be careful.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be going out like that right now.”
I tried to argue but she turned on her Mom Voice.
“Shiloh,” she said, turning away from the stove to look at me at last. “I think it’s time we treat this like what it is.”
“And what is it?” I said.
She said, “I’d like you to stay in for a while.”
“For how long?” I asked.
“Until we know what happened to Madelyn and Bella,” she said, and then when I started to argue she interrupted me: “Girls are dying. You’re staying in this house.”
And then I stormed into my room and slammed the door, and now I’m writing this. I feel bad for making a scene because if I were her obviously I’d feel the same way.
I called Julian and he basically said my mom was right, I should stay out of the way safe in my house where no one can hurt me until they’ve “dealt with” this creature.
I’m so sick of everyone treating me like an invalid or a child.