I’m sorry I forgot your names. I’m sorry I forgot your faces but I have never forgotten you. I’ll never forget you. Never. I know it was bad of me to forget so much when I took so much from you but you understood I did that to protect you. To keep you from being spoiled, like I had been spoiled, by a world you couldn’t be safe from. There was no one to protect any of you or I wouldn’t have found you each so easily it was like you were coming to me.
I know you understood. See I have still something to remember each of you. I never forgot where I kept these parts of you. Now I have your names. Perhaps I never knew your names. That wasn’t a part of the bargain we made, was it. I wanted only to protect you. To preserve your purity. Without names you would be even safer.
Seeing your faces again on that show brought back so much. I could almost hear your voices, feel your skin. Now all I have are those socks, these buttons. You didn’t mind that while I stole your lives I also stole these mementos of you. I left your faces and names unrecalled, till now.
I wish I knew which of you owned these little socks, these red buttons, this sheriff star. Maybe it was you Timmy. You were the biggest of them all. Such a rough boy, too. You struggled but couldn’t resist the potion. None of you could, but he fought the hardest till it overtook him. In the last moment he knew what was happening but by then it was too late. Too late.
None of you could resist the lure I set out for you. The promise of internal life. Well, that’s not what I told you but that was what I was really offering. A life everlasting and free of any stain.
What stopped me was the commotion. Press. Police. I’d found it too easy. No not easy. It was never easy to watch the life flicker out of your eyes, the breath leave your bodies. That part was never easy.
Believe me I’m sorry I had to do what I did. I know you understand. That you forgive me for forgetting your names, your faces. I didn’t forget you. But I didn’t remember you clearly until that show. The missing children. Dorothy with your braids; Madeline and your sweet little brother. You couldn’t understand how he fell so silent in my arms. Your grandmother must have thought you were a big girl to leave you to tend him like that. I watched till she had gone into the house. Waited five minutes then you came so eagerly to me with him. So eagerly it was a joy to bring you to everlasting purity.
See I do remember you. You are will always be sweet young children. Wrapped forever in my arms.
Paula were these your barrettes? You had so many questions. Now you don’t need to know anything. How much sweeter it is not to need to know anything. I wish I didn’t know so much, you know, Paula. Being an adult isn’t fun. It isn’t. You have be responsible. Pay the bills. Clean the house. It isn’t always playing house. I wish I could have joined you somehow.
And Timothy. Yes, you were the boy with the sheriff’s badge. The cap guns. It was as if I had found Tom Sawyer, or was it Huckleberry Finn – all red hair and freckles. The perfect picture of a boy.
Finally you David. The dreamer. Yes I think you were a dreamer. Afraid to leave your comic books behind. I let you bring this Spiderman.
Yes I know there are more of you. I often wonder why no one missed those others. I spared you that indifference. You never felt it once I had rescued you. I hope not. Not a deeply as I did. No one will look for you.
I was scared, at first, when I realized someone was looking for any of you. As the show progressed I saw that I had done my work well. They had no idea. Not a clue. Wasn’t I clever. No, I didn’t have anyone to help me either. I didn’t realize I could be so clever. Fool all those people. Men. Women. All looking for what I saved. They never knew where to look.
Maybe I should call them? Give them a clue about the others. How can I? There’s no way to be anonymous anymore. I see enough TV to know that. What with electric surveillance anything can be traced. Anything. All they need is one word. Is that enough for them to follow it back to me.
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