Thursday, August 27, 2015

Grim and Darling

Chapter Two

Dear Self,

September fourth will be the worst day of your life.

You just won’t know it until the next day.

It will start out boring. Alice will wake you at 7:08, which is two hours earlier than you told her to, and she will do it by landing on your face. With her knee. You’ll be pretty sure she broke your eye, and your vision will be fuzzy and faded all day. You’ll barely be able to breathe through your nose. She will want to play ponies and house and dress up, and you’ll end up on the floor of her bedroom with a purple feather boa around your neck, your dead grandmother’s mothballed dress over your pajamas, and a splitting headache pounding around in your skull. You’ll pretend to drink fake tea and pretend to have a baby named Fred, which will really just be a towel rolled up into the shape of a burrito, and pretend to be entertained by Alice’s dance routine to a high-pitched boy band song that you hate.

You will try to get her to listen to the Rolling Stones, to Etta James, to Nirvana, but she’ll scrunch her nose and tell you that you’re weird and that no one likes your boring music before she switches it back.

When you finally escape Alice to take a shower, you’ll slip. You will land on your elbow and twist your ankle and jam the third finger on your right hand. You’ll get shampoo in your eyes and nick yourself behind your left knee when you try to shave with your mother’s cheap pink plastic razor, turning the drain red. You’ll be out of deodorant and have to use your father’s, which smells like something moldy, and you’ll consider for the hundredth time just chopping all your ridiculous hair off once and for all. You’ll even dig out his electric razor, the one he uses when his beard has grown out too far, and you’ll turn it on just to listen to the vibrations buzz through the steam.

You’ll be too much of a chicken to actually shave your head. You’ll put the razor away and brush the knots out of your hair just like you do every day.

Mrs. Hale will drop Rose off at eleven in the morning. Your parents went out of town, but the girls have a sleepover once a month, every month like clockwork, and that night is tonight, come hell or high water. Alice practically threw a shit fit when your mother tried to tell her no, so you stepped in and offered to play the responsible one. You’re fourteen, after all, and they’re letting you carry a credit card in case of emergencies which means you should be able to watch a couple of kids, no sweat.

Mrs. Hale will stay for seventeen minutes, and she will tell you all about her son, Jasper, who is one grade above you and not nearly as cool as she thinks he is. She’ll tell you he’s in a band, but really, he plays the accordion with his weird friend Emmett and writes nonsense lyrics about space and black holes and alien life forms on the bathroom walls with grease pencils. She’ll tell you that he’s on the football team, but he only refills the water bottles and sprays down the jockstraps with watered-down bleach. She’ll tell you that he talks about you, and you’ll cringe a little on the inside, but you’ll smile at her and tell her how nice it is to be talked about.

If only you knew how wrong you were.

When she finally, finally leaves, you’ll take the girls and spend nearly two hours destroying the kitchen in an attempt to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch. At one in the afternoon, you’ll give up. There will be flour on the ceiling and chocolate chips in every corner, and Alice will have ruined a whole carton of eggs by dropping them one by one into the bowl, without removing the shells first. You’ll send the girls into the living room to watch that same godawful Disney movie they’ve practically burned a hole through while you open the package of pre-made dough. They will be loud, too loud, singing that terrible, horrible song, just the chorus over and over and over. They will argue loudly that Rose has to be Anna which means that Alice gets to be Elsa, and there’s that fucking song. Again.

It will take twelve minutes for the cookies to bake, and you’re so tired from walking all night long, so you will sit at the table and put your head down on the cool blue formica and close your eyes.

Just for a minute.

When you wake up, it will be 2:37 in the morning. You will be lying in a flower bed, half-naked, and there will be blood everywhere. Your arms. Your legs. Your hands. It will be in your hair. Your eyelashes. Your mouth. You’ll sit there in the grass for half an hour studying the way you’ve turned into a speckled space of bloody constellations. Into a Pollack painting. Into a gore-laced, connect-the-dots drawing.

If you could say anything to yourself right then, sitting in that flower bed in the middle of the night, covered in blood, it would be “Don’t go home.”

Don’t go home.

Don’t go home.

Whatever you do, please don’t go home.




There are bright, shiny people in the world. 
And then there is Hadley Hemingway. 
Y'all are gold, but that girl is diamond plated.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Grim and Darling - 1

Chapter One

By the time I turned fourteen, it was a joke.

The sleepwalking.

The first time it happened, it scared me. Five years old, I woke up in the front yard in nothing but my princess pajamas, knee-deep in snow. It was dark and freezing and dead silent. My fingers were numb. My toes were blue. I couldn’t feel my knees. There was something getting into the trash can at the end of the driveway, its eyes glowing neon through the dark, staring right at me, and I was so scared and so cold that my tears froze to my face before I got back inside.

I didn’t tell anyone. Mostly because I wasn’t sure at all what had happened, but partly because I didn’t know how I’d gotten all the way out of bed and down the stairs without tripping on the third step, the one with the loose nail and the creaky board.

I always tripped there.

The next time, it wasn’t quite as scary, but I still kept it to myself. Who wakes up in the front seat of the family car with the keys in their hand and their tiptoes barely reaching the gas? Certainly not the average six-year-old. I couldn’t even see over the steering wheel. I don’t know what my brain was thinking, don’t know where it thought it was going. I had been dreaming of the desert, the kind where the trees turn to rock, and the sand turns to sky, so maybe I was going there.

By the time I was fourteen, there was no more hiding it. I was going too far. Too often. Too publicly. The whole thing had become a joke. I was front page news more often than Ralph, the town drunk who had a penchant for stripping naked and high-stepping the streets in his birthday suit. I was more entertaining than the Mitchells, the couple over on Third Avenue who’d gotten married and divorced and remarried more times than anyone could remember to count. I was the little pin at the center of the gossip mill, the talk of the town, the ever updating sitcom.

Bella Swan, in shorts and an old tank top, flat on her back in the middle of the football field.

Bella Swan, in sweats and a sports bra, standing spread-eagled on the steps of the library.

Bella Swan, in her underwear and nothing else, nearly three miles out of town, tiptoeing the yellow highway lines like a tightrope.

When Alice went missing, they blamed the sleepwalking.

When Alice went missing, they blamed me.

It’s been three years since that night, and I know ten things for certain:       


I will always surprise myself.

There is no getting the best of me. There is no “one step ahead.” No matter what I did to curb myself, no matter how I tried to contain myself or wake myself or stop myself - nothing worked. I locked my bedroom door and nearly broke my leg falling through my second story window instead. I tied my ankle to the bedpost and woke up when it dislocated, limping around for a month before the bruising went away. I rigged the front door up with bells and found them in my fist when I woke up underneath the birch tree at the edge of Ashburn park.

If I ever go to jail, I’ll bet I could sleepwalk my way right out of there.


It’s better to be prepared.

I figured this out after I showed up in nothing but my red and white-striped boy underwear in front of the gas station on South and Main last year. I woke up to Tommy Meyers, the sad, dark-haired boy who dropped out of school last year because he knocked up his fifteen-year-old girlfriend, staring at me through the big plate glass window with the phone to his ear and his jaw to his chest. That was when I started wearing sweatpants to bed. I started wearing socks, even though I hated socks. I started wearing a hat because the middle of the night is cold, no matter what time of year. I started wearing gloves. My rain boots. A jacket. I started keeping a five dollar bill in my pocket in case I needed a bus or a pay phone or a bribe to get home.


Forks High School is a cesspool, and I am at the very bottom of the pond. Lower than the math nerds. Lower than the band geeks. Lower than Macy Phillips with her acne and her lazy eye and her one tooth that sticks out at an odd angle and makes all her words come out wonky. I hover somewhere above the creepy dude who sits in his car two blocks away with his dick in his hand watching the kids walk to school, but lower than the janitor.

I am the sleepwalker. The outcast. The girl with the dead sister.

The girl who maybe murdered her dead sister.


You cannot ignore whispers. They may be soft and spoken behind hands or around corners, behind your back, but you cannot ignore them.


My mother will send a card at Christmas, and she will call on my birthday, but she won’t want to talk to me. My dad will hold the phone to his ear for less than four minutes before he hangs up, and he’ll have that same look on his face that he always did when she’d bitten his ear off. He’ll avoid my gaze for the rest of the night. He still hasn’t told me where she went, but I found a letter under his bed in her shitty handwriting that described a farm with a bunch of people who grow their own food and don’t wear clothing and believe that some guy named Rashiki was the second coming of God and would save them from a comet that is going to hit earth in four years.


My father will never be the same. He went from big and burly and bright to utterly wasted in a single afternoon. From loud and boisterous to silent and staring off at nothing, his coffee going cold, the crossword going undone, and the house slowly sinking into the ground. He used to fish. Used to hunt. Used to hike to the tops of the cloud bank mountains. Now, he holds down a spot on the couch, puts in extra hours at work, and turns on football games but doesn’t watch them. He investigates lead after lead after lead, and none of them go anywhere.


The best way to fuck up your family?

Murder your sister. Supposedly.


No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you want to, no matter how you try to push it away or block it out or deny it - you will never, ever, ever, forget the smell of fresh blood.


Every town has a tragedy. Every tragedy has a devil.


That’s me.


AN: Thank you for reading, and thank god for Hadley Hemingway.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Grim and Darling - Prologue


The first time I died, I was fourteen.

I don’t mean literally.

It’s not like they pumped me full of formaldehyde. Not like they put me in my one good dress, the blue one with the lace around the hem and the patched-up hole under the armpit. It’s not like they curled my hair or slathered me in makeup or finally pierced my ears.

I didn’t get the velvet-lined coffin. I didn’t get the headstone. 

I didn’t get the maggots.

This death, the figurative kind, was worse than all of that.

There’s nothing quite like becoming the town ghost, especially when you’re still alive.

The second time I died, I was seventeen.

And it was for real.


Author Note: 

As ever, I am eternally in love with Hadley Hemingway. She is my sun, moon, and stars.

I have a seven month old baby, which means I have no schedule.

That said - Chapter One posts tomorrow. 

Love you,


Monday, August 10, 2015

New Stuff … Oh, and hi!

Teaser posted here: Read me!

Coming Soon. 

Life is crazy weird these days folks. 
Somehow between a new baby, a too-busy bakery, and a thousand other writing projects - this little ditty is coming to fruition. 

All of my love and heart and soul to Hadley Hemingway
who is my miracle worker. 

See you 'round the next bend, folks.