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Table of contents
- About this page
- CHAPTER XI: Demise of the Faithful
- Fearless Catholic news coverage from the Vatican and beyond
- CHAPTER XI: Demise of the Faithful - Official Dead by Daylight Wiki
A week passed, and then two, and soon Shelby stopped counting. She was disappearing inch by inch, vanishing into thin air, and then one day a postcard arrived.
About this page
Shelby was in the TV lounge dozing from the meds they gave her and listening to a talk show her mother liked featuring a group of women who argued about politics and gossiped about famous people. On the front of the postcard there was a delicate ink sketch of a family: a mother, a father, and a daughter. But the daughter had tape over her mouth, heavy packing tape. Her wrists and heart were painted red. There was no return address, no signature, only a scrawled message: Say something.
She kept the postcard under her pillow. It felt precious to her. She kept it there until the linens were changed while she was in group therapy saying nothing, and while she was out of her room an aide threw it away. Shelby searched through the garbage cans in a panic until she found it. It was perfect, not folded or torn, and she accepted that as a sign as well. She cuts herself in places no one can see. The soles of her feet.
CHAPTER XI: Demise of the Faithful
Her inner thigh. She pleaded with her mom to take her to Virginia to see the wild horses in the book until Sue Richmond finally gave in and they spent the weekend scouring the dunes for the ponies that lived on the beach. Shelby can remember how happy she was, though the weather was gloomy and the horses ran from them.
She thinks it may have been the happiest time of her life. She is paying her penance. She is stopping her life, matching her breathing so that it has become a counterpart of the slow intake of air of a girl in a coma. Boyd, who had always liked Shelby, sent a box of candy on her birthday, but she felt too guilty to open it and tossed it in the trash, uneaten.
In some sense she and Helene are still living identical lives, just as they did in high school. Of course there are differences. The way they look at her. They all have big eyes like in those velvet paintings. They both pity her and blame her.
She and Helene were always together. Two peas in a pod. Pretty girls who glided through without a care. They cluck at the skinny, bald girl in big boots. They think she wants compassion, but all she wants is to be left alone. Shelby only goes out after dark, her hat pulled down low. She wears gloves, scarves, and a fat down jacket that makes her shapeless and anonymous. And still, everybody knows. Shelby and Helene are no longer alike.
Fearless Catholic news coverage from the Vatican and beyond
They were in the popular crowd of achievers, planning their college visits, going to parties on Friday nights. He used to amble around with a book under his arm, usually something by Philip K. Dick or Kurt Vonnegut.
He went on a Shirley Jackson kick, reading all of her books in a twenty-four-hour period, which landed him with a prescription for Prozac. Life was beautiful, everyone knew that, but it was also bitter and bleak and unfair as hell and where did that leave a person? On the outs with the rest of the world. Someone who sat alone in the cafeteria, reading, escaping from his hometown simply by turning the page.
Helene joked he was related to werewolves, because he had a scruffy beard even then. Run, Helene would say when they walked through the woods, vowing that she heard howling. Because he believed in aliens and literature he was a target. People called him Ben Stink, if they bothered to call him anything at all. Shelby barely remembers him, but that was then.
When they meet they sit in a nearby park, mostly in silence, two loners who can barely make it through their own lives. As dusk falls they sometimes share a joint and talk about teachers they hated most. Shelby managed to get decent grades from even the toughest ones, but now she lets her true feelings out. Whenever she talks about high school, Shelby takes out her house key and digs it into the palm of her hand until she bleeds.
No miracle. Did you know we used to think you were a werewolf? Her aloneness, after all, is all she has. But not everything. They say you can smell roses in her room, that she speaks to you without talking, that she can send a message to you that will reveal what you need to know about your future or your past. She never used her wheelchair again, until one day she suddenly said she needed to lie down, that she was too tired to walk.
After that, roses appeared on the dry stalks of the hedges in February, and in the spring the wisteria beside the driveway, always a faded purple, bloomed a pure white. There are magazine articles about the miracle of the girl in the coma. People who have been healed merely by being in her presence often give testimonials. The asthmatics can breathe. Babies who never slept and cried all night become calm. Jittery teenagers buckle down and become A students. The roses always bloom on the day of the accident, huge, blood-red flowers that are impervious to snow and ice.
She thought he was a little smarter than that. Feelings are best left concealed. They can eat you alive. Shelby has a tremor in her left hand. The concept that mere touch can cure you and restore your faith disturbs Shelby. Nothing can restore her. Shelby tosses Ben a desperate look. Not you too. He immediately picks up on her contempt. She taps her foot constantly now, as if she were running and getting nowhere. Faith is for idiots. She can feel her brain waves shift when she smokes pot.
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What a relief. I buy weed from you. Pathetic members of her therapy group. Clerk at the 7-Eleven. The orderly, twice her age, who told her to keep her mouth shut as he pulled down her pants. The orderly took her into a closet as well, a utility closet where there were mops and buckets and folded sheets and towels.
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She tried to tell him no, but the word sounded like a sob. He was holding her by one wrist as he forced his other hand into her underwear. He told her if she made any noise at all she would never get out of the hospital. The staff would think she was hallucinating if she tried to blame him for anything. The nurses would drug her and tie her to her bed.
CHAPTER XI: Demise of the Faithful - Official Dead by Daylight Wiki
And if they did, he would still do whatever he wanted to her. Instead, she rose out of her body. She watched the whole thing happen. She never told anyone what he did to her on a nightly basis because she was afraid of him, but also because she was worth nothing to herself. One night when they were locked in the shower room, he told her she was never getting away from him while he fucked her up against the cold, tiled wall.