• Jeff South

Blogtober, Day 5: Anguish


The girl’s face projected a serene calm. She played record with Archie like she had always known him and Nathan and had hung out at their house often. She behaved as a neighbor, a friend. For a girl who claimed people in the woods took her, she portrayed no fear, no trauma, no anguish. She was almost peaceful. Nathan found it weird that she didn’t know any of the records she was playing. Men at Work. Michael Jackson. Toto. Journey. Styx. All foreign to her.


“You’ve never heard of Journey?” Archie asked. “Who hasn’t heard of Journey?”


“Don’t be a jerk, Arch,” Nathan said and then he told the girl. “I need to at least call my parents and then your parents. Let them know you’re here. But I need to know your name. Who are your parents? Where do you live?”


“Will you make me a mixtape?” she asked Nathan. “Isn’t that what you called it? You said you were making your girlfriend a mixtape.”


“Yes.” Nathan tried to hide his frustration with her, but this aloof act and cryptic conversation had long passed its expiration date. He drew a breath and maintained a calm tone with her. “We can do that. Archie, help her pick out some songs and we’ll get you a tape made.”


“Thank you,” she said and it was the first time something approaching a smile formed on her face.


“Now,” Nathan said. “Who are your parents?”


“Martin and Cathy Carpenter,” she told him, “but I don’t even know if they’re still alive.”






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