Unfinished and likely to remain so.
As a man's return to his home town dredges up old memories, he discovers to his horror every single person in the town has vanished...
I don't know what to do. I can't go to the police, they'll laugh me away. I can hardly walk in and tell them everyone in Syford has disappeared. But I have to tell somebody, so I'll tell you. Whoever 'you' are, reader. I just need to get it off my chest. I mean, why does anyone write accounts like this? I guess it serves as a warning, or a precautionary measure. You'll want to go there, but there's no need. Everything you need to know, I'll write down. If you take anything away from this account, take away my warning and don't go to Syford, don't look for it, the coaches going out to Brandle are few and far between, anyway, mostly night drives. You don't want to be in Syford at night, not under a moon. You won't be able to find it anyway. I've tried going back several times and I always get turned around. I can remember every damn detail from my visit, so I'll tell you, but I can’t find it again. I'll tell you why everyone disappeared from Syford, or really, Mr. Harold A. Bentle will tell you why everyone, including himself, disappeared. I'll tell you everything.
I actually grew up in Syford. I lived there for a number of years with my parents before we moved to quiet Northbrook suburb when my dad lost his job. I was about sixteen years old. I hadn't a lot of friends, and those I did have, I was able to stay in contact with. Everyone except Marcie Sable. She was my best friend since we were children, and truth be told, I had a huge crush on her, one which only deepened until the day came for me to leave and I wasn't even brave enough to kiss her goodbye. But yes, I lived in Syford for a good portion of my early life. It was nice, if not a little gloomy looking at times, as it is with sea-side towns. I spent most of my time on the beach with Marcie or in the odd passing carnival. I have a ton of memories, more than a few are faded with the passing of years. But why I was brought back to Syford...I had been looking for an apartment, a new place, hopefully cheaper and had answered an ad in the classified section of the Northbrook Sentinel back home. I was 28 at the time. I had an inkling of Syford's layout still, but didn't expect much to have stayed the same.
Really, I walked there, got the bus to Brandle and took the cliff path. From this path, untraveled any more by cars, you can see the beach slowly opening as you round the bend into the outskirts of the town. On that day, it was...not sunny, but bright, the overhead heavy smattering of clouds the lightest shade of grey before white and with a few pale blue holes in them. The beach was wet, the tide lapping energetically on the shore, washing white foam over the pebbles and usually soft sand. This was the furthest parents let their kids go on the beach before the rocks started and it became dangerously deep to swim. This area was always a little treacherous, but this treachery provided older kids a place to hang out away from adult's prying eyes. A few of the sandy nests between rocks were favoured make out points or places for rowdy teens to drink. More than a few drownings had taken place there. I could still see the remnants of the ocean-beaten fencing they put up to deter people going out. People actually did stop going out there for the most part, some out of respect for lost friends, others because they weren't stupid. But you had the few who maintained the tradition and were almost never caught doing it. Mind you, I never actually took part in any of these proceedings. Folks looked on me as a quieter kid, and I was, I didn't mix with the drinkers or adventurers. Although, I had my own fun with my own friends, most on that beach. Had my first kiss there, too. Wasn't Marcie, though. Her name was Lucy if I remember correctly. Never dated, were never together, just some heat of the moment thing from a long summer day spent on the beach. And you can believe it was awkward as hell, but more than some kids get. Lasted a good ten minutes. Nice girl, loose friends from the art classes in school. Its one of those memories you look back on fondly for a moment before finding something bitter about it, because I remember seeing Marcie sitting by herself after Lucy had cuddled into me and had fallen asleep. She, Marcie, stared out to the ocean which shimmered stars in the setting sun. I had wanted to go over to her so badly
One approaches Syford, from the cliff road, by the old factory drop down points and a sparse number of houses, and estate called Bryddon. Before this, there's a area of almost wilderness as you rise from the cliff road into the estate and town, which lies higher up. The path to the drop off points was off-limits, so I was making my way to the housing estates. This took me through some pretty unkempt areas, with no real buildings in sight. Behind me I could hear the crashing of the ocean, before me, a wind rustling the remains of the autumn thinned canopy of leaves. I felt like Harker going up the Borgo Pass. I then came to my first sign of civilization: a road sign. Syford looked totally different out here to what one would expect from a small sea-side town. Out here there was a forest, one of ill repute from our childhoods. This was the main way from other towns and highways into Syford, and it looked like I was closing in. Trees thinned and eventually, I was amidst buildings. I wandered into town during a quiet time, it seemed, and took a path through the estate. It was a wide, circular area ringed with houses, some of which looked out to ocean, and a large patch of green in the middle. Off from this there was an annexed crescent road and another straighter road leading into town. Of things I don't remember, I don't remember the time. I was following a map from a friend (who himself was a map enthusiast) to the place I had mentioned from the ad. I had made two previous phone calls to the apartment building to a croaky-voiced man of little words, or little words of English, anyway.
Syford is a tottering old place, with streets built on streets, buildings over buildings, everything kind of haphazard, but not to the extent it becomes a maze. It's pretty open. If I looked to my left, I saw the rest of the town, to my right, the land would begin sloping downwards to the ocean. The beach was far enough away at this point. I idly wondered if Marcie still lived here. It was chilly out, so I picked up my pace. The apartments I sought were in the town itself, and I was more than glad to have a map to help me. Syford had indeed changed in the time I had been away.
A fog was rolling in. Ah, the memories.
There were less...modern buildings here than I would have expected. The apartment building itself was a tottering wood and brick edifice from the earlier part of the last century, easily. It's at this point you'd think I would have noticed I hadn't seen a single person. The thought hadn't actually came to me at all. What I did see however, was one image that gave me a few sleepless nights, but only when I thought back after I left: in an alleyway, hidden from the sun, I saw a shape, and I hesitate to say person here, dragging a bundle of something or a cloth sack past a bend. That made me stop for a moment, but only in that way where you notice something from the corner of your eye. I simply continued on and into the apartment. And here's a curious thing. I buzzed to be let in, only to be met with a crackle and clack, but that wasn't the front door opening - that was already open. I was halfway in before I decided to buzz.
Now imagine for yourself a grimy staircase whose walls are of an off-white tiling, in between which is a fuzzy green something. Some tiles were actually gone. The illumination was patchy and un-concentrated – strong in stairwells, dim to the point of frustration on the stairs themselves. I took all of this into consideration, because I was going to live here, I hoped. I think I hoped. It was apartment number twelve I was looking for. It lay at the end of a long hallway, right in front of me. I knocked on the door. After a few tries with no reply, I tried the handle. It was, of course, open. Tentatively, I walked in. I called the name of the man who owned the apartment, Mr. Bentle. It was a small place. It was, in fact, little more than a bedsit. A wide L shaped room, a length with a bed and cooker to the left, desk (with window looking out) at the bottom of the room, book case and a door to the right at the bottom, leading a bathroom. And there were boxes and containers everywhere, stacked and strewn about. Cardboard, metal, plastic - of all shapes and sizes. I checked. None of them were filled. One ornate wood box that lay on the desk, though, was filled. I don't know why I was snooping around Bentle's things, but I was. The box had some journals, envelopes adorned with doodles, rubber bands and a few nails. The thing that caught my eye, however, was the little address book laying unopened on the desk. Beside it was a pen, snapped, little shards of plastic splintered off and fallen to the floor. I had to look inside, and did. This address book, tiny little black one, was filled with writing, cramped and rushed, but made out by the writer to be as legible as possible. I flicked through it, taking choice words. 'Gone', 'ocean', 'shape', 'wander' and 'space' come to mind. I could recount more, but I won't. I looked out of the window beyond the desk, noticing it looked out over the ocean. I did a quick search for a note left by Bentle, but couldn't find a thing. A few still moments passed before the first concern came to me, more disquieting than any notion of monsters under the bed, being watched in the forest or...being the only person in the entire town. I listened intently, even tried conjuring sounds of people, but there wasn't a single stirring, not one footstep, not one voice, not one damn sound. I got up and closed the door to the bedsit. I sat at Bentle's desk and looked to the address book. This is what he wrote:
Nightmares, hunger, cold, fear, blindness, bleeding, vanished. It is certainly in my room. I'm restless. Can't sit straight. Very aware of my tongue. Can't find a comfortable position in bed. Can't seem to shave right. Everything I do feels off. Like stroking hair the wrong way. Clothes feel either too tight or baggy or pulled in some way. It's very hard to write this.
...Lynne Carter was the second to see it and it was eventually her who gave it a name. Imaginative six year old girl had some help from her older brother Max, but not in naming it. Jesse Carter was the first to see it, but she saw it outside not in their house. Must have been night when she saw it then because attention was drawn to it when Lynne woke up crying and Max was calling for his mother. But then nothing was really wrong, but the kids were afraid of the dark. They shared a room. No pranks. It was the first time either one had really complained about this fear. Max had inklings of it when he was younger, apparently. It went away with Lynne's birth and move into the room. Now they were both terrified. Just of the dark.
Derek Carter was third to see it. Jesse had been cooking a lot, large dinners, snacks, took over dinner duties when it was Derek's turn. She was a voracious eater now. It was a shame Derek wasn't. He consumed a lot of tea in the intervening time, tried coffee but could never get into it. Took to wearing sweaters. Even tried taking up sewing and crocheting to make woollier jumpers. It was apparent he was feeling cold. Lynne had begun taking up drawing and Max was usually on hand to supply whatever bizarre art supplies she asked for (he was taller). Jesse found her dripping bleach on a sheet of paper and after taking it away and reprimanding her, asked why she would be using bleach on a picture. Lynne responded 'Can't get its legs right'. She had mistakenly thought bleach would make it darker.
Max began to use a night light. He also began covering his wardrobe with a white blanket at night. Lynne sometimes took it down because it in turn scared her. Max always cried at this because taking down the blanket opened the wardrobe door.
Derek found Jesse colouring in the kitchen one day. She was taking caution colouring in, even shading, parts of two great stalks that were black and lined with thin muscle. Derek was at once very proud of her skill, but definitely disquieted at the drawing. Not because it was so dark, but because he knew what it was she was drawing. It's here we got the name. Derek asked Lynne what it was she was drawing. She said it had very long fingers that needed to be finished, and in a joking, pseudo-businesslike manner, answered her father: 'Well, daddy, if you must know...' she trails off and realizes what it is she is talking about then answered meekly, taking her hands away from the drawing: 'Daddy Long Legs'. Derek asked why it was called that. She answered: 'Because it's always near daddy'.
Derek had taken to covering himself with a blanket when sitting, and sometimes passing from room to room, checking temperature, but Jesse asked him not to trail it along the ground and to stop looking so childish. Derek answered, absently as he checked the radiators: 'I'm so cold, Jesse'.
Neither Max nor Lynne would sleep without a light on the room, stronger than the night light Max had insisted on. At the expense of the electricity bill, they did so, if only to stop Lynne screaming in the night when Jesse snuck in to turn it off.
Jesse complained of weakness. Derek, worried for his wife's well being but unable to help himself, so bad has his 'case of cold' gotten, as he called it, told her she ought to eat something. She said that was the problem. She was always hungry.
It was at this point I stopped reading and looked out of Mr. Bentle's dusty window. That name got me, but I had been reading so fast I only slowed to a halt after Jesse complained of hunger. I went back and re-read the section where Lynne named the thing they had all apparently been seeing. 'Daddy Long Legs'. The name spooked me out. I admit to not liking spiders, but it did conjure something else...back when I lived in Syford as a child. I was maybe ten years old? Summer, the nostalgic summer of youth they talk about, the ones that never end or when you'd ride a bike three miles to tell a friend you'd seen a frog or whatever. I remember that one summer because we were in a spooky mood, Marcie and I. Halloween was too far away and the sun was too bright and the people too happy. It wasn't melancholic or anything, just the need to creepiness kids sometimes get, the need to see a horror film they shouldn't. Well, we knew that around the that forest of ill repute we all knew there was a house, a cottage, two stories that was going to be demolished and looked pretty haunted. Of course we were going to look. Everything also felt safer back then because Syford was small enough that you knew most people around your area. I hesitate say it was a more innocent time, because there has been a 'more innocent time'. But it felt better somehow, so we knew we could take a walk and go to that house and satisfy our need for horror.
Now, I don't know what we thought we were going to see, maybe a ghost or the shade of a hanged man or some creature, but we didn't talk much on the way there, just kept a look for adults, acted sneaky and kept fragmented conversation. We did get to the forest, eventually. As kids, we certainly let the atmosphere in as much as our limited comprehension of horror let us. Marcie was a bit of a tomboy back then, and she never did lose that and I liked it. She did curiously keep her hair long, I guess she liked it. Kept it tied back, though. She ran in ahead of me and called me once she got the front door open, past the barred off entrance. This happened pretty quickly. I had stopped to take a look around the forest. Wasn't too far in, but the path was obscured and the place had been left for the best part of ten years. Had once belonged to a sailor named Robert DuPoint. He had a small fishing vessel and had once gone off one some bigger operation for a year. For a coastal community like us, he was the only proper seaman we had and was fond of giving a few wildly exaggerated stories to any people who might ask, kids included. This house was his, or was his, he died a year before we went to the house, but he was living further in town long before. This house had been rotting for a good few years. We had known of his existence but hadn't really met him. Seen him, yes, but never talked. It was I who felt a bit weird going into his house, because DuPoint had been considered well liked by the community and I didn't want to tarnish anything. But Marcie said he hadn't lived here for years. True. That's all it took for me to follow her in.
Inside the old cottage was empty. No lingering furniture, no old beds or wardrobes or rugs. Nothing really for anything to hide behind. There were only a few chairs and maybe two tables. But despite our disappointment the house was certainly suitably crumbling. There's a few choice images in my head that come back to me. I remember looking back outside before I went in, up through the tops of the trees and not being able to see the sky. Inside was dark, darker than anything I've ever really experienced. And it all came in patches. Patches of absolute black. Other parts were grey and ashen, light from some unknown source illuminating certain stretches of hallway, some doorways, maybe half a room. Despite the diminutive size of this cottage, it seemed to us both labyrinthine. Some walls had holes broken in them – I remember finding Marcie crouched in one like a gargoyle before chuckling and taking my hand to lead me to some unsettling new vista. We both got our fair share of scares on each other in that place. But it was one thing that really did frighten us, and the reason I bring this memory up. One room near the back of the house, lower than the rest on the bottom floor, to conserve heat in the winter, drew our attention. It was the one place we didn't look. There was a hole in a wall there, which was how we got in. In this room was one single bed side table with three drawers. Marcie crept over, me behind her, and started rooting around them. The bottom two opened up easily and were empty. The topmost one wasn't. It took us both to slowly force it open, and the more we did, the weirder it got. There were papers positively flowing from the opening we were making, crumpled and torn, almost as if there was more paper in there than drawer space. We sorted through them when we got the drawer open. Every single one was almost the same. Two long, irregularly thick black lines from the top to the bottom of the page. At the top, on the far right and left of the black lines were shorter ones, three on each side. There must have been a couple hundred of these.
There was nothing else amidst the papers we could discern. Then Marcie got up and start walking towards the doorway and fell through the floor. I heard her scream, stop then scream some more. I ran over to the hole and thrust my upper half over. She wasn't too far down and I could reach her if she stood up, but she was sitting on the ground trying to scramble away, staring at something I couldn't see, screaming. I shouted her name and tried to reach her, trying not to fall in myself. Of course, I did.
All I remember from this is shaking her arms, seeing every aspect of tomboy toughness gone replaced by the wild eyes of a frightened animal. Her arm was cut pretty badly. But she wasn't looking at that. It was the crawl space or basement that seemed to be beneath the entire house she looked at. Stared into, actually. I picked her up and scrambled myself back toward what looked like a stair case leading to a cellar entrance. She gained some semblance of sense and ran after me, sobbing, bursting through the rotten frame and into the forest. It flooded some of the space with that grey light and for a moment, I don't what the hell it was, but I turned back, maybe in confusion to see what it was made her freak out so badly. There were wide wooden supports, some looked a bit decrepit, and there was one other thing, not really moving, but had that sense of...can't describe it, but it was alive, or I had the feeling it was alive? Like seeing a person at the end of a long hallway, you're sure it's a person, not because of the shape, but because maybe it isn't so rigid. But this wasn't a person, it was two things, two sort of black stalks with thin hard muscles, it was two god-damn legs - Daddy Long Legs – and here's the part that scared me more than anything: I don't remember seeing the upper half, or even the feet. Just the legs, just them and six dangling...claws? Not that I can't remember, I'm sure I would have, but I don't feel like I ever saw it, especially since the cellar wasn't tall enough for a thing with legs that tall to stand in, especially since the only hole in the floor above was the one Marcie made. I ran out right after her and found her crouched against a thick tree. She sort of raised herself and hugged me, very tightly. I did the same. We sat there for two hours and didn't speak a word, just looked at the cellar entrance.
I found myself standing from Mr. Bentle's desk and dusty and walking right out of the apartment, address book in hand. My surroundings didn't make an impact on me until I was outside. The dark hallway, the badly lit stairwells, fuzzy green stuff between the tiles and all that didn't really hit me until I was outside, and it was very cold. I had to take one good long look around the place, around Syford. I started to move as I looked and eventually wandered to the sea-side. I was taken through some old streets, although I didn't remember them. Cobbled and with tottering houses. All shut doors, and closed and blinded windows. A very faint wind rustled some unseen leaves blown in from the forest. I have many very specific images about this place. The place I found myself on was a wide embankment that existed as a sort of huge viewing area for people to see boats and look out on the ocean. I got here from some small village square type place, away from the apartments and houses. This is the kind of place a carnival would set up. My mind threatened to return to past wanderings, but the slightest of fogs rolling the ground and my own sudden fear shook this away. The sky was grey, uniform and featureless. The ocean mirrored it. This was one of Syford's more solemn forms. The light was very dispersed here. Everything looked chilly. Everything was very quiet. Even the ocean seemed to whisper. My own footsteps were the single interference in the veil of silence, and I felt like I was being rude, or I was breaking something...not sacred, but something inverse to that, kind of sanctified but not religious. Traditional. Primal. Not even that, but something that had very much set this silence and everyone observed it. So, I did, too. I found a bench that looked out over the water and sat down. I looked at the address book in my hand and debated whether to re-live my memories of Syford or read it. Very much torn but more curious than nostalgic, I opened it on a page away from the one I read. To be honest, it might not seem like it, but I was quite afraid at this point. This is what Mr. Bentle had to say here:
Hunter called 'Beau', burly fellow, he made the biggest mistake of all. Carter's moved out, Jesse died and kids went to foster home. Only Derek remains, but somewhere else. I think he might die, too. Beau found himself a home here and hunted in forests not near here, out near Northbrook.
Wealthy enough, Beau found a lot of leisure time to stroll down to Syford's little watering hole, and became a known regular, but an infamous. Proud, drank like a viking, picked fights, had been kicked out several times but paid too well to be banned. One night he was boasting and so two oder (sic) fellows, can't remember names – brain or mind or skull , I can feel the hollow – took him up to Waterseed Road and wanted proof of his boasting. He then took them, back to his abode and from reports drank and talked loudly long into the night. Beau and these two fallows (sic) knew about the whole Carter business, and in some no doubt drunken pact, decided they wanted to oust the ghost, sort out the story and put their fears – theirs and the Carters – do (sic) rest.
Boys found themselves up at the Carter house, which had been in fact boarded up by Derek himself. No one thinks the affairs were ever settled with the place, they abandoned it. They broke in, but not before they had retrieved Beau's favourite rifle. They had brought it from the house, Beau's. Like hunters in Darkesd (sic) Africa, they prowled. Evidently, I don't know the details of their excursion in the house, but I do know it culminated in Beau firing several times, shouting. One of the fellows assures me he saw what Beau shot, or tryed (sic) to shoot. Great stalks, he said, like 'big thick corn stalks or something' with drooping 'fingers' at the sides. This fellow never mentions anything else about it, just that he saw 'stalks' and 'fingers'. And they were black. And when Beau fired at the stalks, no one in Syford had a quiet night's sleep for a week.
Days afterwards, Beau is seen prowling through the streets with a rifle. He sits in front of the Carter house, across the street, aiming at the door. Before he was carted off by the police, witnesses claim Beau was bleeding from his eyes, quite profusely. It was dripping from his chin, unshaven and patchy with beard, to his gun and onto the ground. When Beau was released from custody, both police and medical, he simply got his other rifle and went back to the street across from the Carter's house. This only happened once more, because they confiscated Beau's guns. The last time he had a kitchen knife strapped with tape to his shin and was carrying a broom like a rifle. All the while bleeding from his eyes.
I was more than sure I knew the Carter house and felt some weird fear creep into me. I felt weird having passed that place. I remember attending a course on photography once, and the teacher explaining something about the meaning we attach to objects. He showed us a picture of a watch, and it was an objective shot, simply to show the glass was reflective, where the hands were, that it sat on a white surface. It looked old, the metal a little dull. There was something about it, you don't know what it is, but there is a reason for that watch. Then we were told it was found in Auschwitz and/or belonged to an SS officer, and all of a sudden there is a different feeling looking at that watch. The entire object changes with the meaning set upon it. Although, to be honest, that meaning was always there, it always was a watch owned by an SS officer and found in Auschwitz, he just never told us. But it was the distinct yet indefinable sense of of something not right I get about memories of the Carter house, and now I know why. I'm not sure I was glad to find out why or not. Of course, at this point, as should be obvious, I began thinking about this shape, this thing which kept appearing. Clearly the reason Mr. Bentle kept this book. This 'Daddy Long Legs'. Judging by the address book, and by the state of Syford, I think everyone had seen it. Still didn't answer where everyone had went, or why I was still there. I became aware of myself all of a sudden, I felt naked and out in the open. My back was, essentially, at the town. It was terribly cold out there, I could feel and the ocean didn't help. I felt the enormity of the town. I didn't want to turn around, not completely for fear of those legs, but because Syford in its entirety would be there, staring and existing as a monstrous enigma. I would also like to know how this was never spoken of. Surely other businesses from outside the town came here, surely people in the town talked with people outside. Surely someone noticed everyone disappearing from Syford. Surely someone noticed the ghost town on one of the main roads from Northbrook to Seeder Point.
I stood up, but didn't turn around. I wasn't sure what to do at this point. Some insane part of me wanted to do some detective work and get to the bottom of this mystery, some part of me no doubt influenced by all I had seen and read and done since I left Syford. I wasn't that mad, though, and reality, or at least my own rationality, descended again and I thought it best, at that point, to get out of the town. I made it seem like I wasn't thinking about it – I don't know why, I imposed a sense of being watched on myself, and I was nervous I really was being watched but didn't know it. I needn’t relate all that I saw as I made my way out of the town. It dredged up a lot of memories. I passed through one residential area, a small crescent road with a wide, open lane leading to a field in the middle – so more like a curved ‘E’ really. Along this road was Marcie’s house. If she…and then I realized that maybe she was gone, too, and then I felt afraid. I stopped on that street and just looked around. Everything was so grey. I looked in the windows of the house she lived in. There was a fine grey brown dust covering everything – floor, walls and ceiling. I even knocked on her door. I looked around again when I made that noise. I had spent a lot of time in this house. It was a second home. In fact, Marcie and I were so close we had sleepovers well into our teens and her parents still allowed us to sleep in the same room, and you know how the parents of teenagers can be. Of course, nothing happened, you know that. I think she joked a few times that her parents, her mother especially, alluded to us being a couple. I can’t tell you how many times I wish she could have confirmed that suspicion. Marcie joked about it and I laughed. There was something that made me indefinably sad that she joked about the idea of us being a couple, but then again, maybe it was her just covering up her own feelings. I’ll never know now.
I must have gotten too wrapped up in my thoughts, because I found myself quite turned around at this point, further into the town than I had been, to the library that commanded a scene of the rather grand but worryingly silent and empty town square. I couldn’t hear the ocean in this place. Syford was on a bit of a slope, so, downhill it was, and I would reach the ocean and my road out. I wanted to leave now, even though I felt somehow pulled by my memories to Marcie. I was grounded; I couldn’t just leave now knowing what happened to my best friend, to the girl I had for so long…needed. A terrible indecision came over me and I didn’t know which way to turn. Was she gone, along with everybody, wherever they went? Just where the hell did everyone else in Syford go? It killed me, but I knew it was my duty to my home to alert someone to this, my duty to Marcie. That’s all I had and with that, and the little black address book, I looked for the way to the ocean and my path out of Syford, to Brandle and back to Northbrook. Maybe they would listen in Brandle, maybe they would listen in Northbrook. I had Bentle’s book as evidence of some kind. I did take some time rationalizing here as I followed the various streets and alleys to the ocean, which took me some time. It took me so long in fact that sky began to darken overhead, and when I finally looked up again, I found myself back at the library.
Will Reston drowned yesterday. No idea why, parents in grief and fear, police looking into formal inquires. Searches computer, finds a series of e-mails sent to an address that, after a series of searches and questionings, was found to not exist. All content is addressed to ‘D.’ and speaks of a voice that his haunting his waking hours, with a voice that has ‘the quality of tearing fabric’.