The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


Story

Who have you ever heard her call? Do you swear to tell the truth, the
whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God? Annie faltered; she
was an atheist and who knows what Travis really thought of her. His fate
rested in her hands, her mind, her large and widening eyes, as she
recalled the moment of the crime. But the soldiers were asking for it, and
it only took a second; once their backs were turned, it was easy. And the
rest was easy too. I'll testify, she said, under any god that pleases you!

He screamed, but she ignored him. He would walk with a limp for the rest
of his life the doctors told him, but he would walk, and eventually he
would walk without pain. He shifted in the courtroom, unhappy with the way
events were going. "You fucked me," he screamed, "you fucking used me, and
then you fucked me some more! You dirty bitch!" Her eyes widened and for
just a moment she looked both startled and guilty ~ Naughty Annie instead
of Nasty Annie. She broke down and was carried out; he broke down and was
carried out. Later, after his suicide, she asked whether he said anything
at all, absolution or prayer, before he died. Proctor said "He muttered
something that meant nothing ~ something that meant only get out of here,
dream voice, get gone." Her eyes widened more. "And I did," he added. "And
so should you."

Annie tore at herself, clawed her breasts, blood running down her chest,
everywhere like a bad dream. "Take me" she said, "take me now," to
"Virginia" Sandpiper, who had sent five more (the first four with
additional Polaroids) before finally lapsing into puzzled, slightly hurt
silence. The photos laid on the floor all around her. She was one of
the disappeared. All the ID had vanished. Annie's eyes widened at the
thought that finally she'd act on her own; Sidewinder - the cause of the
problem - was next.

Sidewinder was downhill and the road would be slippery in the rain and it
was darker than a mineshaft; he meant to try it all the same. Annie
followed. There were perhaps seventy acres of open ground between the
house and the edge of the forest ~ the snow-cover over it was a perfect
and blazing white. Annie could see perfectly; eyes widened, she aimed,
squeezed, and pulled the trigger. One of them would die.

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