But was here and now any better? She stared at her phone, abandoned on the floor over there. Kill two birds with one stone. Two dead pigeons on the driveaway, one with dead allseeing eyes, and one with non. That wasn’t a coincidence, was it? Maybe it wasn’t a cat, maybe someone really had put them there, along with those chalk figures drawing closer and closer. The same someone who was desperate for Pip to answer that one question: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears. Someone who knew where she lived.
She’d been looking out for trouble, and so it had found her.
In the summer of 1958, the murders that would come to be known as the “Bloodless Murders” or the “Dracula Murders” swept through the Midwest, beginning in Nebraska and sawing through Iowa and Wisconsin before turning back to my hometown of Black Deer Falls, Minnesota. Before it was over, the murders would claim the lives of seventeen people of different ages and backgrounds. All would be discovered with similar wounds: their throats slit or their writs cut. A few sustained deep cuts to their inner thigh. Each of the victims died from blood loss, yet each of the crime scenes was suspiciously clean of blood.
Look at her down there, all crumpled. Her dress all rumpled.
She wouldn’t like that. She was always so neat.
She wouldn’t like the blood, so dark and messy.
You were always so perfect, Anna. You were always so bright and shiny, as if you were sparkly new every day.
“My Diamond,” Mom always said.
And who was I, then?
Who was I while you were Little Miss Perfect?
Well, you’re perfect now. You’re perfectly dead, ha ha.