Chloe N. Clark
The Detective, Years After
Missing women often appear
to me in dreams, always asking
the same questions: why it was her
that I had found instead of them,
why she was the one brought home
the twisting, a rush
that crept up through her body.
Years later, she would say to me:
Most days, I think I will start
screaming and never stop.
The wind will sometimes wake me
from dreams, inciting the trees
outside to tap codes onto my windows,
Morse message pleas for me to stir,
and the women will be waiting
at the foot of the bed or standing
by the window or leaning over me
to whisper secrets in my ears—
locations of their bodies,
the depth of dirt that presses down on them,
the feel of decomposition
—and I never know
how to tell them I am sorry
I stopped looking.
The missing women ask me why I never
found them; I try to answer
but words come out
sounding only like the crush of dead leaves
under foot as I searched.
Chloe N. Clark‘s work appears in Apex, Flash Fiction Online, Liminality, previous issues of Abyss & Apex, and more. She writes for Nerds of a Feather and Ploughshares. Find her on Twitter: @PintsNCupcakes
Editor’s Notes: The multiple ghostly, yet innocent, images in the art piece, “The Ghost of Bernadette Soubirous,” (artist unknown, c.1890, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernadette_Soubirous), serve to represent the ghosts of the victims of the serial killer in this poem of psychological horror.