The Basement – Final
I asked the manager if he could send a message to Curtis, he gave me an address for mailing, a post office box. He asked if everything was going well, and I nervously nodded and left the office. He eyeballed me once and grunted, the familiar mask of I don’t want to know coming over his features. I begged a stamp off of the front desk, and began to write. My letter was short, obvious, and infuriating if he was what I now suspected, a serial killer and rapist, using the kind gay uncle act to sort it all out. I wrote how the dolls and toys and other junk were becoming very suffocating, so I had been giving them out to various drag queen get-togethers. They were a big hit, and all the queens, some were men in their 50’s, loved the dolls the best, so I was about halfway through giving them all out. Could he maybe stop by and let me know any other places that men like him would like to get some gifts?
Nothing much more than that, a couple of descriptions of the more prominent and obvious dolls, so he would know them. I had noticed a printed label on each box, on the back, as if naming them. I was furious, sickened, and wound up. Each day I slept barely enough to rest, 3-4 hours. My nightmares now were all of the girl, I had named her Jill, because that name was printed on the back of the box for the doll she was holding up in the picture. I had been to the Shrine several times, some of the homeless kids knew me by name, and just assumed I was taking care of it. I had been able to find out Jill was her name, and she was from Houston, Texas.
I had come back and lain down from another day of looking for answers in the slim clues I held, just getting my head down on the pillow. As I lay there, breathing silently, I heard my door open, from the outside room. Quiet footsteps, silent almost, but in the dark silence of my room, you could hear sheets move on the bed, much less a shoe on tile.
“You are going to pay my friend.” The quietest of murmurs, Curtis was indeed back.
I lay there with my eyes closed, hoping I could get out of the bed fast enough to grab him. He was being quiet, but he didn’t seem close to me. When the doll room door opened, I knew I had him. I slipped out of the bed, using the creaking of the door and his astonishment to cover my actions.
“What is going on!” He almost screeched these words, for of course, I had left the room exactly as I found it. I grabbed him from behind, his body half in the door, half out. He was not strong, not tall, very thin, and surprisingly weak. I pushed him over and fell on top of him, his breath escaping from his mouth in a huge gasp, and he was done for. I used the ribbon from my pajamas to tie his hands behind his back, and shoved him up against a pile of dolls on the floor.
Once I caught my breath, and he caught his, we stared at each other. He never said another word, but instead stared at me lifelessly, with dull eyes. I didn’t have to say a word, because he had stared at Jill’s doll, the only one out-of-place, set on a shelf by itself, the box open as a stage for the doll. I grabbed some rope from the storage room, and tied him up good. He never flinched or moved much at all, indeed, he never resisted me at all.
I let him sit for two days, in his own soil, when he finally spoke.
“You can’t get away with this, you will go to prison.” His voice was scratched and weak.
“I am not interested in getting away with anything. Jill is in my head, my heart, my dreams. Tell me, confess, tell the police, I won’t kill you.”
He laughed and spat on the floor. I kicked him hard, with boots on, and he made wet mewing noises, his jaw broken. I picked up a thick wooden closet rod, and hit him again. I didn’t stop hitting him until he stopped breathing, which took a ridiculously long time. I was splattered in blood, the room was splattered in blood, and I was a crazy man, delirious with no sleep from watching him. I climbed into bed, and fell asleep, not worried, not knowing, not thinking, just sleep.
My dreams were the release I needed. Jill stopped screaming, my grandmother pulled the blanket up to my neck, and I slept for 10 hours. I woke up and took a long shower, got dressed and went out into the city. I had a full breakfast of my favorite food, pancakes and bacon with maple syrup, and then took a short walk to the police station. I told them what I did, I told them about the shrine under the city, and I was taken into custody. When police went over the shrine, they found the bones of a long missing child, 9-year-old Jill Hennings, eventually identified by her dental records.
I continued to work with the detectives who were in my case. Eventually they found burials of over 90 missing girls, all of the names corresponding with the names on the back of the boxes. Work continued for years, names turning up of missing girls all over the country. I was never released, I am in containment still, but solitary, no general population, and I mostly just take care of the inmates library in Denver County Jail after hours. I never wrote another word, except for these memoirs. I recorded these only for the Parents of Jill Hennings, and I am trusting they are delivered by my lawyer.