“Allie Mannard. Allie Mannard.” Deep breath. “Allie Mannard.”
Eyes shut. “Allie Mannard. Born 19 –” Frustration boils up. “Allie Mannard!”
There was a sharp bang, and she jumps, turning. Forgetting. The world tuned in suddenly, the wind outside, the water against the edges of the dock and the bumpers hanging along it, the wooden door against the wall it had crashed into, two figures stumbling through the doorway, tripping over the lip, over the coiled ropes.
She freezes, the people in the doorway are laughing, holding each other. They don’t know she’s already there. One of the figures grabs blindly, tugging the string, illuminating the tiny room. She throws up her arms to block the light. It seems overly bright, almost painful to her.
The other figure shuts the door, her silhouette becomes the outline of a hood, pushed back off a pretty face. The girl looks familiar to her. Like a long lost cousin’s photo. The man holds the girl, kissing again.
Something about him with her makes her feel sick and afraid. The sudden light, the sudden motion, the peace disturbed by the intrusion and the sound of the storm and water, it confuses her. Her mind was stumbling to catch up with everything around her. The figures didn’t see her in the corner of the tattered boathouse. They were caught up in their own world, and she couldn’t think right now. She turned away from them, hands to her forehead, trying to clear out her mind, the confusion and sudden noise. Everything was too loud and too bright, and she couldn’t remember why every sensation was slightly wrong.
It frustrated her. She couldn’t remember. Her head hurt and her stomach roiled. When she reached out to lean against a beam in the wall it didn’t feel right and she jerked her hand away. Everything looked familiar, she should know where she was exactly, and she should know why.
She spun and took a step toward the couple kissing. She spoke. They stopped kissing. The man moved away, the girl’s eyes stayed on him, looking seductive and heated. But neither looked at her. She took another step. The floor should have creaked or made a sound under her footstep but it didn’t. It was lost in the sharpness of everything. The man stepped toward the dock, gesturing for her to come. The girl took his hand. They walked toward her, but they did not see her. She was afraid for the girl but she couldn’t remember why. They were looking at her, but they did not see her. Her frustration boiled in her stomach, when she looked at the man, it solidified into anger.
It didn’t make sense, she couldn’t remember him, or why he made her angry. She felt ice, they didn’t see her. She shouted. It sounded strange to her ears, it hurt her throat to throw the sound.
The girl jumped, looking around confused and wrapping her arms around herself. Suddenly the room was cold, colder than the stormy rain outside. “Did you hear something?”
The man shakes his head, a hand on her elbow. “Probably wind or something. I didn’t hear it. C’mon.”
They didn’t see her, and when she felt their presence push through her, she gasped. They couldn’t see her. The storm felt angry and inside herself. They couldn’t see her. Why can’t you see me? She screamed it at them, why couldn’t they hear her?
The girl jumped again, and looked anxiously at the man. “Why did you bring me out here? The bed inside was perfectly fine.” the girl tries to smile and reaches out to touch his face, but he catches her hand, and smiles. His face is changed.
She sees his smile. It’s hard and cold, and oily slick. The light from the single bulb is sickly green and swings nauseatingly, highlighting his face in a sharp dangerous glow. The memory hits with a physical force that shoves her backward, away from them.
The cabin in the woods, the lake in back, the cute looking boathouse. The weekend she’d taken, the smiling man, his brief seduction, then fear, terror, and sharp blinding pain, in the corner where his glinting, dangerous smile was again, with another.
He couldn’t see her. Not anymore.
The cold hard anger, the frustration of what must have been years, and the pain in her head coalesce into weight and she throws herself forward at him, through him, into him. The force slams her between herself and himself, jolting them, and for a moment she can see him pulling the girl toward him, she can see him lifting his fist, the blunt hammer catching the same glinting light. She can see from his eyes as the girl’s face twists in fear. The hammer comes down, the thud of its contact resounding in her own head, in the same spot. She’s shaking with renewed, growing ice cold rage as she’s knocked back. The girl falls.
The man sees her as she stands. Surprise passes over his face, a sick delight, and then anger as she raises her fist, a fist that now holds his hammer. His weapon of choice. His fear is etched on his face as he lunges for her, but the hammer comes down and he doesn’t have time to strike her, doesn’t have time to ask how or why, doesn’t have time to see her. He hits the edge in slow motion, and twists, rolling into the water as the hammer drops through her fingers and falls. The rage fading.
She slides down, to an old familiar place, her place. Now there was company, the girl was lying there too, head resting on the same bloodstained spot on the battered sandbag.
They lay there together as the storm and everything else fades out. She smiles, faintly. “It’s hard to hold onto yourself. You want to hold onto your name. My name is Allie Mannard. He killed me too.”