Last Friday, I received the latest letter in the post. It’s from a Ms. Fueng. I’ve kept it in my pocket all week, rereading it several times a day. This is another clue to the puzzle I feel compelled to solve, for the sake of my sanity.
She says she needs to meet with me. She says it’s important; urgent. She says she has to visit soon, or it’ll be too late. Apparently, he is dying.
I don’t know her. She has no right to demand anything of me. I won’t be obliging her. Or him.
He is running for President. He is Zane Blackwood – political mastermind. Womaniser. Not your all-round, Regular Bastard. No. Evil Narcissist-Bastard.
Aisha says I’m taking this letter too seriously. Aisha says not to worry about it. Aisha says I ought to be spending my time concentrating on more important things, like getting better.
Zane Blackwood. The man who chained me, naked, to a banister in his apartment and left me there for three days, alone. The man who makes my skin crawl with fear.
I have no doubt that he put her up to writing this letter to me. He is playing her like a fiddle. He will go to any expense to draw me out, expose me, make me utterly vulnerable – to strike, damage, destroy.
They don’t know where I am. They can’t know for sure that the letter has reached me. They make their moves based on educated guesswork.
I’m not worried. I’ve kept myself hidden for five years now. I don’t doubt my expert skills in deception. I’ve always been a few steps ahead of him.
Meeting is no use. Meeting won’t help me. Meeting is something I can’t do – not after the progress I’ve made in the last five years. I’d rather live with the mystery of her letter than go seeking the truth.
No. I need to remain anonymous. I need to keep the past in the past. I need to remind myself to forget about him and keep moving forward.
I write, ‘Return to Sender’ on the face of the envelope. I write, ‘Not at this Address’ next to that. Then I reseal the envelope securely – Ms. Fueng’s letter inside. Then I put the envelope on the communal pile of mail ready to post, noting the flamboyance of my capital letters.
I wash my hands with antiseptic soap for exactly 25 seconds – 5 seconds longer than recommended by infectious disease specialists – just to be sure. I stare at myself in the mirror. I still don’t recognise the face staring back at me. They tell me that’s Carrie.
I take the little purple pill from Aisha’s plastic medicine cup. The nurse watches me swallow the medication and chase it down with a few chugs of water.
I pause and think again, staring at my bed and thumbing the hem of my gown.
Each letter came from a different woman (he never wrote) but each letter was really a message from him.
The ink on each letter should look different. The writing style of each letter should be different.
All the letters are written in the same, cursive handwriting, in the same ink. Why do they all look exactly the same? All capital letters are printed with a flourish.
I feel it’s a mystery I repeatedly get so close to solving but never quite nail.