Seven-Year-Old Fetus

Hey, it’s Claire. Here’s a weird one. By “weird” I mean creepy AF and just the kind of thing that makes me dread-love my job.

I met a woman named Melissa who’s been pregnant for seven years. Twenty-six trimesters to be exact. I heard about her from an anonymous tip on The Blackboard and drove out to meet her in an office park where she works payroll.

She’s unmarried and wouldn’t talk about the father except to say he was a full-time fantasy footballer and no love lost on either side. She’s 49% pretty and looks right at the tipping point of “don’t ask about her due date in case she isn’t actually pregnant”. Picture a mousy thirty-year-old woman with a shopping-mall haircut and the beer belly of a middle-age man.

Little backstory here. Her coworkers like her OK and she’s a payroll whiz, no professional complaints whatsoever, but everybody thinks she’s crackers. Not dangerous crackers but sad crackers. Because she announced her pregnancy to everybody twenty-five trimesters ago, and there was an office baby shower and everything, and then no baby. She grew a paunch and then nada.

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Super Weird Thing Outside My Bed Tent

Dennis!!

I thought I had a bat in my apartment last night, which was weird and exciting because I thought bats vanished during winter (do they hibernate or what?), but anyway here’s what really happened and it’s totally more exciting than a winter bat.

I’m in my bed tent, and it’s late, and I’m playing Carly Rae on my earbuds and reading Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft for the godzillionth time. And suddenly this thing lands on the outside of the tent and it’s all like, “Fluttery, flappity, look at my wings I’m super awkward.”

I unzip the tent and jump out of bed and it’s GONE. My apartment’s small. My roommate Katey’s room is up the hall and her door is shut (she had that boy over again) so whatever landed on my tent’s got to be in my room, the hallway, the bathroom, or the kitchen. I checked them all with a flashlight. Nothing! No sign of the thing.

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I Am Haunted By…

Results from the “I Am Haunted By…” questionnaire have been compiled, dear strangers. Thanks to everyone who answered.

Of the NIGHT VOICES haunting people:

46% were male voices
31% were unknown
23% were female voices

Of the EROTIC FATA MORGANA haunting people:

86% were melancholic
14% were violent

Of the GHOSTS haunting people:

75% were real
25% were delusional

Of the PREOCCUPATION WITH THE DREAMLIKE QUALITY OF LIFE:

56% considered it positive
44% considered it negative

Of the IRREPARABLE MISTAKES:

52% learned from their mistakes
48% did not

By a broad margin, the most common COLOR OF ONE’S CHILDHOOD TRAUMA was red. Other colors included indigo, hunter green, orange, cobalt blue, and, in one case, a spectrum.

We received many answers to the PECULIAR URGES AND EMOTIONS we’re unwilling to admit. Here are some of the answers:

“I want to watch people cry at a funeral.”

“I am afraid everyone will leave me.”

“She is the love of my life. I am not the love of hers.”

“The feeling when you look into the mirror and wonder am I even real”

“Paralyzing nostalgia”

“Animalistic desires to eat, kill, fuck”

“Worthlessness”

“Intrusive thoughts”

“I don’t particularly want to be part of this world, but have so many loved ones that feel the same way I feel, like we’re all here to keep the others from leaving, too.”

“Suicide”

IMPORTANT NOTE: We’re a group who often explores dark and painful subject matter. We’re honored you’ve shared these answers with us. If any of you are in serious need of help, we are not qualified in that regard. But help exists, and we encourage you to seek it from friends, loved ones, or compassionate professionals. Please take care of yourselves. We like you.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255

Common Demons, Common Lights

My Dear Strangers,

We have common demons, common lights.

I have loneliness, bafflement, doubt. Ghosts come and go. Bodies come and go. Days I’m hexed, nights I’m bewitched. I believe in unreasonable things. I’ve found the weirdest depths in other people, and sometimes in myself.

I hear from many of you, sometimes distantly, sometimes closely. Ouija-like. Fingers on a shared planchette.

This week I saw an Equinox sticker on a bumper, next to the sticker of a band that’s spoken to me for years. I received your email and snail mail. I had odd dreams and some of you were in them.

If feel I know you. Do I know you?

I heard from a stranger who wondered: If I’m really so lonely and haunted, why don’t I talk to her more? Can I tell her I have loneliness even in society? That I have work that’s saved me from depression, day after day, and that I’m terrified at times of unbalancing my balance? That I value her contact but, given the clamp of time, I cannot offer more than what I offer already?

I have loved ones. I have the Equinox Society. But what am I in all of this, and what am I to you?

A signal in the dark, maybe found, maybe not. I share art, thoughts, and stories from my friends—William, Claire, Amanda, Hank, and others—in the hope that we (including you, dear strangers) might find something rare and marvelous in common and discover that we’re not such strangers after all.

Yours,

Dennis
Equinox Society Secretary

Baby in a Beehive

I received the following letter via paper mail. I don’t know the sender, who identifies herself merely as “An Old Woman”. I’m giving the message special attention for reasons I can’t discuss in detail. Suffice it to say the envelope was marked with certain runes that very few people outside of the society would know and understand.

—————

Dear Mr. Mahoney,

I’m an old woman now. At least 94. My exact age is unknown because my birth parents abandoned me in infancy, and because I have no trustworthy memories of my childhood. I believe much of what I remember about pre-adolescence is imaginary. I have no memory of willfully imagining it all—only a deep-seated instinct that most of it is lies.

This morning my granddaughter, who is seven, asked me where I was born. This is what I told her.

I was found inside a hive hanging from a tree branch: a newborn baby covered in live bees.

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Reanimated Squirrel

A six-year-old boy, neglected by his mother, walked out the side door of his farmhouse and tried to resurrect a squirrel he’d seen crushed by a Subaru on Rural Rte. 21 in _________. (I’m withholding the boy’s name and location because he’s a minor.)

The squirrel had darted directly under the car’s front right tire, as if nature itself had forced its suicide. It flailed for a while, its upper half attempting to crawl away from its pancaked lower half.

The boy had the foresight to put on his father’s leather work gloves before he left the house, entered the road, and attempted to reshape the squirrel into its whole, living self.

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