I didn’t lose track of the days. I just stopped caring about counting them.
I feel like I’ve grown roots in this place. Maybe I have. Once or twice a day I get an itch, and when I scratch I feel something hard and brittle protruding from my skin. I’ve pulled branches from my thighs and stomach, twigs from under my fingernails, little pieces of bark from my ears. It doesn’t hurt, at least not in a way I have the capacity to describe.
I get the sense that it could hurt a lot more, if I fought it. What feels like an embrace could become a vice if I struggle. So I stay still and bide my time and talk to Castile.
Here’s how it works. I write to him in my notebook, or on the typewriter, then leave it alone for a while. I haven’t seen a ghost or heard a voice. His skeleton in the passageway has never so much as twitched.
But he writes back. When I open my notebook again the words are waiting for me like they’ve always been there. Or sometimes he scrawls between the printed lines of my notes. His handwriting was hard to read at first, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I think he was trying from the beginning to reach me, but I wasn’t … close enough yet. I was out of earshot.
I know that makes no sense.
And I know this should scare me. But honestly, the first time he spoke to me — not in riddles or ominous messages but clearly, telling me in no uncertain terms that he was Castile Madigan, that he was dead, and that he wanted to speak to me — it was a relief. Not because I trust him. Honestly, I think he wants me dead. He’s definitely keeping secrets.
It was a relief because this is the first time anyone has listened to me since I got here. I was screaming and screaming but no sound was coming out. Quinn couldn’t hear me. Mark couldn’t hear me. Not even the damn EMS workers who treated me after the car accident could hear me. I was starting to think I was going crazy. I wrote in here before that I got stuck in a crawlspace for a day when I was ten. It felt like this. I was yelling my head off, but no one could hear me, and it slowly started to sink in that, unless I got really goddamn lucky, I wasn’t going to ever see the sky again.
I’m still scared. I’m still trapped. I can’t leave the estate without getting sick, and I can’t leave the HOUSE without that fucking monster howling and charging at me from out of the woods. But I guess I have a cellmate, so I’m not completely alone.
Castile won’t tell me much. He says speaking through the page is hard and he wants to use his few words carefully, and if I press him on certain topics he’ll say that the memories of his life are fuzzy and he doesn’t recall everything in detail. I don’t think I believe him, though.