Page 79

Chains

"Whose blood is this?" He laughed at her. When he was asleep in his car, she pried the doll from his hands.

***

The police, displeased with her for washing the doll, wanted certain incriminating details, and she knew what she looked like during the interviews-the unfortunate pregnant girl talking to the young detective. "The doll," he said, "could prove useful, whether or not a victim is located." Thinking of the body in the lake, she studied the doll on the desk and wondered what her father would do once he realized the doll was gone. Wrapped in thick, clear plastic, the doll looked like trash, like cloth and yam and plastic that had been tossed away with scraps from the butcher's shop. "He's a good man," she whispered. The detective left the room and rushed back, his short hair wet with perspiration. "We found him in his car and the lady in the trees behind the fountain." "How is he?" "She's dead, and your mother wants to take you home. I don't want you to go with her. Okay?" "Why?" "He's asking for you. He says he wants the doll back, says he needs it. Says he will only talk to you. Get him to write it down. It will be easier that way."

***

When her father looked at her, he began to whimper. "I want to make things right," he whispered. "Write it in a letter to me," Meg said. He reached for the pen, pulled the paper closer and hunched over the pages for hours- sighing, snorting, growling, and ripping at the tablet before he was finished. Afterward, he handed the pages to Meg and slept for hours. He would never talk about what he had written. "It's not much, but it's enough," the detective said, relieved. The letter, which looked as short and sloppy as she expected, was much more coherent than she imagined, although as a confession it never made much sense. Her father's tears had turned the paper soggy and fragile so that the pages dried crisp and brittle, wrinkled. His words read as follows:

Darling, I saw her in the parking lot, one of the people from old times. But she wasn't old. She was as young as she ever was. She saw me. She knew. I Summer - Fall 2006

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Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho