Day 14- October 30
They won't leave me alone. God, I was afraid of this…I was always afraid of this, maybe I always knew, even though it's totally ridiculous that it's happening. But I KNEW, I was afraid of it, and somehow it did happen. They're not going to let me go…they're going to make me finish it out. But what am I finishing- the part, the movie? Or is it more- do they want to make me more, make me Meredith, totally Meredith? How can they do that, I'm ME, I'm not Meredith. Meredith isn't REAL, nothing in the movie is real. It isn't real, none of it is real! It isn't real, but they don't seem to see that…why can't they see that? What the hell is wrong with them?
At the end of the story, Meredith dies…can't…no. No, they aren't going to kill me. I won't let them, they can't kill me…but god, what if they want to? what if that's what they want from me?
Later during Day 14, still October 30
Okay, I'm a little calmer now…if a little calmer could be applied to someone whose hand makes it hard to write, and who keeps looking up nervously every few words, checking over her shoulder, jerking at every noise heard. I'm not even sure why I'm bothering to write any of this except that I feel I need to. It's the only thing that makes me feel a little better now, comforted, in a way. I guess just putting it down somewhere, getting it out in some way so I don't have to keep it bottled up inside anymore, helps somewhat…not much, but enough that I haven't just started screaming yet.
I didn't go to the studio today. I didn't bother to call or offer any sort of explanation. I figured if they can't get why I wasn't there, that was their own damn problem. I didn't owe them a thing.
But five minutes after I was supposed to be there, I got a phone call. I didn't answer, but caller ID informed me it was Magnus Renfield's cell. He left me a message asking me to come to the studio. No, asking is the wrong word. He was TELLING me.
I ignored it, checked that all my doors were locked, and windows, and started my day…but the calls didn't stop coming. One after another, with less than ten minutes in between each one, every single person called me, EVERY PERSON involved in the movie, even the camera guys and makeup artists. Every single one left a near identical message, asking me to come to the studio.
Well obviously that freaked me out. So I got dressed and ready as fast as I could and decided to go hang out at Rick's apartment, because after all they didn't know his phone number. They wouldn't know how to look for me there…I would just let myself in and stay there alone, or until Rick got back day after tomorrow.
But as soon as I got there I was even more nervous than before. Not only did I not like being alone, but I was afraid they WOULD figure out where I was, who Rick was, and where he lived, and that would hurt him too eventually. And when the phone rang, showing Cara's number, I knew I couldn't stay. But where would I go…where could I be safe?
I've been thinking a lot about what Cara said to me, back in the beginning…was that really just a week ago? About how I shouldn't have taken this part, how I should leave. I hadn't taken her seriously, but I should have…why didn't I? Why didn't I do what she said? Obviously she knew something and was really trying to help, however she came across as. But what? I still didn't know, even now, what is happening.
I decided to go to Andra's instead. Safety in numbers, right…but that was a bad idea too. It's been a long time since I've seen her, which might have been a red flag anyway, and even though I tried my best to be normal and cheerful, I couldn't. I felt close to exploding with the stress and fear building inside me, and I know it showed. Andra kept watching me, asking me all these concerned questions, and Iw as still trying to blow it all off as nothing…until the phone rang. Not my cell, but Andra's house phone. Of course, I jumped, but I figured it was okay…sort of…they should be calling my cell phone if they wanted me, right?
But I had turned my cell off long ago…and when Andra handed me the phone, saying with a slightly puzzled tone that it was for me, my heart almost stopped. It took every amount of self control I had to take the phone from her and bring it to my ear, and I'm sure my face gave away how scared I was.
It was Cara on the other line. Her voice was perfectly flat, hardly any intonation at all, and I shivered at the sound of it, sick to my stomach.
"We're waiting for you…you can't hide from us. We know the part you play, and you can't escape it…and neither can any poor soul you attempt to hide behind. You can't leave us, Meredith, not now…"
Before I could say anything back, or even process what she had said, Cara hung up. I continued to grip the phone in my head, my breathing coming louder and faster, shuddering through my ribcage as it occurred to me slowly.
They had found me…they had followed me, tracked me down. They knew where Andra lived…and they had threatened her, indirectly Cara had threatened her…and they were threatening me.
But what shook me most was that Cara had called me Meredith. Whether this was a slip of the tongue or an intentional attempt to scare me, I didn't know…but what I think, what I'm afraid of, is that Cara…all of them…really think I'm Meredith, or is trying to make me Meredith. I'm afraid I'm not Kendall to her, or any of them, anymore, if I ever was at all…that I'm Meredith.
What if I'm Meredith…
I hung up the phone and almost ran towards the door, knowing I had to get away. I couldn't stay any longer and endanger Andra…but where could I go? What the hell could I do? They're going to keep calling, keep finding me, and I can't tell anyone, they'll find them, they'll hurt them too…I know it sounds crazy, but I KNOW it's true.
I went home, leaving with Andra calling after me in confusion, but I didn't answer her. I didn't trust myself to. they've been calling me, all of them calling me Meredith…I don't know what to do. I'm afraid to even go to the police….they would stop me, I know it. I have to get out of here…I see that now, I have to leave.
Oh god…this is it, isn't it? They're not going to let me leave. They're not going to let me get away.
I can hear them outside my apartment, I know it's them. I live on the first floor, on one of those outdoor types, sort of like a motel- nicer, of course, but my door goes straight to the outside, is what I mean, and I know they're out there. I can feel it.
The phone has been ringing almost nonstop from the second I put down my pen, as if they're watching me…as if they know. Can they see me? I only have a few windows, more than most, since my apartment is at the end of the row, and they're all locked, the curtains drawn…but can they see me? Have they found a way?
I'm terrified they've found a way to put cameras in my house, or to bug me or something, my body, so they can always hear me, always watch me, always find a way to track me down. I know that sounds ridiculous, but by the point nothing, and I mean NOTHING, surprises me. They'll do anything to get to me, I'm sure of it…and I don't know what to do to stop them.
Every time I make a move toward the phone it rings again, and I know without looking or answering it's one of them. My answering machine's inbox must be almost full to capacity with their messages, each one addressing me as Meredith. I turned my cell phone back on, but I couldn't call for help now if I wanted to because my phone does not stop ringing if I allow it to stay on the hook. Why did I wait- why did I not call for help while it was still possible?
My skin is tingling very unpleasantly, each ring shredding at my nerves, at what feels to me like the last remnants of my sanity. I feel like even if the ringing stops, I'll still hear it, echoing in my ears forever. My heart is pounding so hard it frightens me, and the tears in my eyes are dangerously close to overflowing. Can you have a heart attack if you're only 22? Is that what they're trying to do- literally scare me to death?
They're outside my house, they have to be. I'm scared to look outside, even from the peephole of my door, because what if I'm right and they are there? What would I do if I saw them? I can't see them, I don't know if I could handle seeing them. But if they're out there, how long do they plan to wait? Forever? It's getting dark…will they stay there all night? Why do the tenant owners never patrol to see if illegitimate cars are here at night, dammit? Why don't' they have cops or security?
What if they try to break in? Surely someone would see that…surely someone would call the police…they won't let them come in. They would help me. Right?
Oh, who the hell am I kidding, I know damn well that no one in California gets involved with anything. Most will sleep or sex through it, without even noticing, and the ones who do notice will be too apathetic to do anything. I'm screwed…if they want me, I'm royally screwed…
I go to the kitchen area, taking out my longest, sharpest knife, clutching it tightly. If they come in, I'm ready.
I can't stay here anymore, I can't do this, I can't. I feel like I'm going to die. I can't breathe, the air is thick, the room too small, and there's no way for fresh oxygen to get in. Am I breathing too much? Am I taking in old air? Am I starting to kill myself?
The phone keeps ringing and ringing…the answer machine inbox is full, and still it keeps ringing, it won't stop, they won't leave me alone. I'm going deaf, I can't do this, they're going to kill me, they don't even have to touch me to kill me. I have to get out of here, I have to…I can't stay anymore, it's killing me to stay. Maybe they're not outside, maybe they've left. Maybe they're just calling…I don't KNOW they're outside. Maybe they aren't. Maybe…I have to go. I'll get my keys, take my knife, and get out of here, just drive. They can't call me…they won't find me. I'll go to the police…go to Rick's at his mother's…go somewhere, anywhere but here. I'll just go, get away, and it will be okay.
Convincing myself of this, I almost run to the door, knife in one hand, keys in the other. If I can just get to my car…just get to the car, and it will be okay. Just get to the car…
Opening the door, my eyes dart towards the direction where I had last parked…but my car isn't there. How is it not there, did they take it? How, could they have copied my keys, hotwired it, how did I not hear this, did I not FEEL it, even through the ringing of my phone?
I am busy looking around frantically for my car, barely paying attention to anything else…my car is the only thing on my mind. When strong hands grab me, two on each side, I try to scream, try to fight…but something is covering my face, some cloth with a weird smell…and the last thing I'm aware of is a hand stroking my neck as Sloane's voice whispers.
Oh god…where am I…I don't understand. What…I don't understand…
It's cold, I'm so cold, and stiff…I can feel how sore I am, when I try to move, and my head hurts, a dull pounding ache. I don't' want to move…but I'm confused, I'm scared, I don't know where I am. I don't…what is going on…
Something crackles when I move, and it feels dry…like leaves. I'm on leaves…I'm on leaves? The ground…forest…woods?
I open my eyes slowly and squint, startled by the darkness. But there is light…I can see some light, and it's enough after a while for me to realize that I'm right, I am in woods…but this…NO…this can't…NO….
They are surrounding me, all of them, in a diamond shape…Sloane and Jay, Tali and Cara, Renfield, even Jack and Wendy, all watching me, intense, waiting…and Fred, Chuck, and Mike are there too, cameras held ready, trained on me, where I lie on the ground. They brought me here….they have been watching me, waiting for me to wake up…
I begin to moan, my breath hitching. I can't help it, as bad as I want to. I don't want to show them how scared I am, don't' want to give them the satisfaction. But I have to, I can't help it, I'm completely terrified…what are they doing to me?
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I scream, scrambling to my feet and stumbling, crying out as my legs buckle. I feel weak, pained…"What the hell do you want from me?"
"Oh, you know what we want, Meredith…we want YOU," Tali said almost sweetly, her dark eyes shining, and Sloane spoke as well, his voice low, soft…and utterly threatening.
"Yeah, baby…we want YOU."
I can feel my breath catch, my eyes widen, and my head whips around, looking rapidly at each person. Searching for someone who might help, someone who could be reasoned with, someone who would have mercy…but every one of the actors are leering at me, anticipant, predatory…and Renfield and the others are watching impassively, as if none of it were real, as if I myself wasn't real.
"Stop it!" I scream, trying to back away, but the others move in a little closer, eyes fixed on me, unblinking…unrelenting. "STOP! Someone, stop! This isn't real, none of this is fucking REAL, it's just a movie! It's just a PART!"
"We know your part, Meredith," Cara says coolly, her pale eyes slits as she too stepped forward. "And this is the part…where you run."
I gape at her, uncomprehending, my legs unwilling to cooperate. Renfield is still watching, his expression never wavering as he yells, "Action!"
The cameras are switched on, and I know now there is no escape. They start toward me, the four of them, Sloane and Jay, Tali and Cara, and all I can do is what Cara told me…all I can do is run.
I turn, and Jack and Wendy move aside, letting me pass through…and I know they are watching me, I know all of them are watching me as I run blindly, screaming, even as I know I shouldn't, even as I know it will only help them find me. Branches tear at my hair, briars rip the flesh of my legs and arms, but I run, knowing they're behind me, knowing they will find me. I can hear them laughing, their voices loud, excited, and I wonder if the cameras are coming too, if they're getting this all on film.
Oh god…they're getting closer, I can hear it, oh god…Mom…Mom, Mom, MOM, help me…Mom…MOM-