October 31, 2011

(written in blue crayon on several loose sheets of notebook paper)

I guess there's no point now in writing. I can't go see Evangeline even if I wanted to so I don't know what she does anymore to keep a record of it. All I know is what she did, and even that I'm not sure of anymore, sometimes. No one tells me much about her. My lawyer and the police who've been questioning me so often over the past few days want to focus on what happened then, not what's happening now. But what use is it to tell them anything, to go over it time and time again, when the story I have to tell isn't the one they want to hear?

There's no point in talking to them. But somehow, as much as it hurts, as much as it kills me to keep thinking through everything, to keep picturing it all in my mind, I need to write it down, like everything else. Maybe if I get it down on paper I can get it out of my mind, at least for long enough to be able to sleep at night.

I think I will never sleep a full night again…how could I, when that's the reason my baby is dead?

It hurts to even write this, let alone say it out loud. But if I'm going to get this out, then I don't know how else I can say it other then just doing it, even if every time I even think the word I feel like I'll pass out.

Audrina is dead. And I know Evangeline killed her.

It happened because Dean wasn't home. One of his friends arranged with him and a few others to go on a weekend fishing trip, and he agreed. I begged him not to go, or to take Evangeline with him. He blew up at me, and it ended with him storming out without even telling the girls goodbye.

I will never forgive him for that.

As soon as he was gone, I tried to make things better. I tried to keep Audrina safe. I called their grandma, who lives several hours away, and begged her to take one of the girls. She wouldn't do it- something about a bridge tournament. I even called my sister, who lives seven hours away, fully prepared to leave Audrina with a neighbor and drive there with Evangeline myself. she didn't answer her phone.

I was on my own. For an entire weekend, I was on my own.

I set rules from the start. Both girls had to be within my sight at all times. Audrina and I would sleep in her bedroom, so Evangeline couldn't ruin her things at night, and Evangeline would sleep alone in my bed. I didn't plan to sleep. I planned to stay yup, guarding Audrina all night, listening for Evangeline trying to sneak out.

But I fell asleep. I fell asleep, and for that I will hate myself forever.

It had been two days since I last slept, and I was definitely exhausted enough to drift off on my own. But I wouldn't have put it past Evangeline to have drugged me, and maybe Audrina too, because she didn't drink much of her milk that night, I noticed. It's very likely Evangeline was behind this too.

I remember putting Audrina to bed, then, as I walked over to sit on the edge of Evangeline's, seriously considering finding a way to barricade our door so she couldn't get out. I thought about tying her to the bed…but the next thing I knew, I was waking up slowly, curled on my side in Evangeline's bed, and several hours had passed.

I sat up rapidly, but calmed down when I saw Audrina's shape on her bed. I thought she was asleep. I thought it didn't matter that I had fallen asleep…I thought I was lucky.

I thought it was okay.

But even though I thought this, I felt an urge to stand up and go to her, smooth her hair and kiss her cheek. And it was when I went to do this that I paused, first beginning to realize something was wrong.

Her cheek was cool. She was lying under several blankets, but her cheek was cool.

I frowned down at her, looking more closely into her face…and that was when I noticed there was something strange about Audrina's features…stiff.

My heart beat faster, but I wouldn't acknowledge it then. God, I hate this…it's so damn hard to think about pulling back her covers, seeing how her chest didn't rise and fall, shaking her, shouting, and watching as her head lolled lifelessly…and then the pillow at her feet, a pillow with a small stain like blood.

As if from a trickling nosebleed. Blood…about the same amount of blood, my mind realized slowly, as if someone had pinched the pillow hard against her nose and mouth and not let go until she smothered.

My baby was dead. My baby, my Audri, was dead…my little girl had been killed. My little girl had been murdered.

Immediately I began to go through CPR, nothing but frantic denial in my mind as I worked to set her heart pumping again, to breathe my own breath into her lungs. In between breaths I was gasping, my hands shaking so badly I could barely perform the chest compressions, and I knew, KNEW that it was too late. Still for several minutes I struggled, desperate, pleading without words for my daughter to breathe, to open her eyes.

She never did. She remained cool and still beneath me…and my last memory of touching my little girl, the memory I'll carry with me the rest of my life, is the eerie, unnatural coldness of her lips beneath mine.

I didn't think to call the police, when I knew I couldn't bring her back. I didn't think to call an ambulance or anyone else who logically should take over the situation. I didn't think about preserving evidence or protecting myself, cinching an alibi in that I could sleep undisturbed while my child was murdered in the same room. I didn't think of asking to have my blood and Audrina's tested, to see if either of us had been drugged to sleep later than usual, and by the time I did think of this, enough time has passed that it would not have been in my bloodstream anymore.

No, what I thought of was Evangeline. And it was she I went to…it was she who continued in her last remaining touches of making sure my life was completely destroyed in every way possible. And the worst of it is, she made sure my own hand played a part.

She was curled up in my own bed when I threw open the door, feigning sleep or maybe she really was asleep. It would be just like her to kill her little sister and then fall unbothered into sleep again. Looking at her lying there with such seeming innocence, so peaceful and rosy-cheeked and seemingly pure, filled my heart with a hot rage that I could not contain…it should be Audrina sleeping like that, it should be Audrina who rested. It should be Audrina I could awaken and begin a new day with…and now I would never touch her, never speak to her again.

Evangeline had taken her from me.

I had not cried when I first found Audrina, and I didn't cry then. Instead I seized Evangeline by the shoulders, throwing her covers off of her, and shook her violently, wanting to throw her across the room, to hit her until she was bloody and begging for mercy, begging for forgiveness. I wanted to hurt her until everything was somehow even, somehow right, and I screamed into her face as I shook her until her head slammed into the headboard with loud force.

"What did you do, what did you do? You killed her, you killed Audri, you killed my baby, what did you do?"

For someone who was supposedly asleep when I grabbed her, Evangeline became awake and alert very quickly. She cried out only when she hit her head, managing then to twist herself from my grasp and roll off the bed to the floor, holding her hand against her head as she narrowed her eyes at me from the other side. The resentful coldness of her gaze was so intent and mature, carrying such vicious satisfaction, that I froze, not pursuing her. I knew then, and I know now, that no matter my daughter's age, she was not a child somehow. She was not a child, and if I crossed her now and did not win out against her, I would pay with everything I cherished.

I am still paying now…I always will, no matter the outcome of any trial. Evangeline has made sure of that.

"You hurt my head, Mommy," she said, still holding her sore spot as she fixed her eyes unblinking on mine. "You shouldn't be so mean to me, you know. You know that bad things happen to you when you do bad things…you shouldn't yell at me when I didn't' even do anything wrong."

"Didn't do anything wrong?" I sputtered, my voice even louder than before, its pitch higher, as my hands flew out in a furious gesture. I wanted to slap her, to pinch or punch her, put my hands around her neck and choke her, put a pillow across her face and cut off her air just like I knew she had done with Audrina…and yet I loved her, and I couldn't' do any of it. I could only stand there as she gave me that unapologetic smile, so certain of her stance.

"You killed your sister, Evangeline," I choked out, and that was the first time tears came to my eyes, that a lump hardened in my throat. And still she smirked, shaking her head, denying, mocking, assured.

"No, Mommy…I don't think it was me at all. I think it was you."

As I stared at her, stunned, uncomprehending, Evangeline met my eyes boldly, still giving me that faint, mocking smile as she began to explain herself, her voice soft, measured, and deadly serious.

"I think you did it Mommy…you were in the room. I wasn't, remember? I was asleep in here. How could I hurt my little sister when you were in the room too?"

"You did something to me! You-" I started, but Evangeline spoke over me, putting up a hand.

"I'm not the one who's been writing lies in a secret notebook, Mommy…I'm not the one believing things that are just crazy. I'm not the one with a lighter in my nightstand and an empty container of gasoline in the trunk of my car. And I'm not the one with a bloody knife in my dresser drawer and the body of a helpless old dog sitting next to the gasoline container in my trunk."

She paused, waiting for this to sink in, watching the horror settle across my face…and as the realization came to me of what Evangeline was doing, she kept talking softly, continuing to lay out her logic.

"I think you killed Audri, Mommy. I think you did it, and I think I saw you. I think Audri kicked and cried and begged you to please, please don't' hurt her, please, please let her go, and I think you put the pillow over her face and held it down because you didn't want to hear her cry anymore. I think you face was red and scary and mean, and I saw it all in the doorway because I had come to check on her, because I was scared to leave my little sister all alone with you. And then I think I went back to bed and pretended to sleep, but really I was thinking I should call 911."

Her hand moved slowly to cover the phone on the table near Dean's side of the bed, and she was still holding her gaze with mine as she picked it up slowly, bringing it to her ear.

"What do you think, Mommy?"

From that point on, everything that happened, everything I remember is blurry…it's like I se it all, then and now, but somehow it isn't entirely me I see. I see Evangeline dialing 911, bringing the phone to her ear…I see me lunging at her, screaming her name as I knock it from her hand. I see me throwing her into our dresser, holding her there with one hand as I open the drawer concealing the knife. Evangeline's knife, the knife she had said killed Lacy…I see me holding her down as I stabbed it once, then twice into her stomach, the sound of her screams, the wild terror and pain shining in her eyes…and then…then I remember staggering to my closet, throwing shoeboxes wildly until I found the one I wanted…sitting in my open closet and writing frantically, even as Evangeline sobbed, on the verge of passing out, bleeding on the floor, even when the sound of a police siren filled my ears.

I'm in prison now, of course. And everything, absolutely everything I had is gone. My husband, my daughters, my home, my job, my life…I had to specifically request this paper and this crayon, and even this will be read closely when I'm finished. Because of course, no one believes my version of what happened…who would take the word of a woman who stabbed her nine-year-old daughter over the word of the daughter who was stabbed? Who would believe a child could be killed by a child only slightly older and larger than she was?

They seem to think, my lawyer and the psychiatrist he had examine me, that I've had a psychotic break. They think, because Evangeline told them, that everything she did was really something I did. I burned the church down, I killed the dog, I killed the fish, I broke Audrina's toys and molested both girls, which in turn caused Evangeline to molest Emily at school. I killed Audrina, and then tried to kill Evangeline too…that's what they tell me. That's what they think.

They seem to think they can get me off as not guilty by reason of insanity, that my delusions left me incapable of knowing fantasy from reality or right from wrong. They think they can have me functioning in society again, under controlled medication and therapy- and as long as I never again have contact with Evangeline.

I don't' care if I never get out of here. I don't care if I ever have a normal life. My life is over now…Evangeline has made sure of that, no matter what happens in court. And it does not bother me, the thought of never seeing her again. I could not bear to look into my daughter's eyes and see her sister's dying gaze staring back at me in their depths.

They tell me Evangeline is going to recover well, that she should be absolutely fine…and that's what scares me. Because once, I thought my daughter was extraordinary, different from all the others her age. And now I know that eventually, others too will discover how very right I was. It's only a matter of time…and for a nine-year-old girl, Evangeline is very patient.

The end