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Did you write the manuscript below? Do you know who might of? If yes please contact me. If no post it on your timeline with this question. I hope we can find the writer.

I was walking on that stretch of Washington where the sidewalk ends and something caught my eye. There was this piece of paper way back in the trees and scrub. It was waving at me like a white flag and I couldn't just walk by. I had to go way back in there and get on my hands and knees to get it outta this thorny bush. I saw more papers and I went crawling and stretching to get em. I found # pages and there gotta be more. They're tidbits from some wannabe author that didn't number his pages. I looked for the rest but they're just not anywhere. I got stuck by thorns all over the place but it was worth it for the interesting find I took home. Or maybe not cuz I've had nightmares ever since I read em. The guy that lost the papers must live around here. I probably go by the house from the story every day. Till I find the writer and prove it's fiction part of me's gonna just assume it really happened.

Without further to-do here's the transcript. The centered dashes mean page breaks. Sometimes there's pages missing in-between. I think I put em in the right order.

I've got my home office all prepped for a week of writing. I can't even look at a computer without thinking of work. I plan to stay unplugged until vacation's over.

I have a head filled with ideas, and a desk filled with unsorted notes. I think I'll ignore them and let my muse guide me. I'm going to write continuously, like they tell you in creative writing class. If I hit a block I'll keep writing about something, even if it's not relevant or good. I'll probably bang out the novel and write enough on the side for another book or two. Here goes.

Nowhere County

Chapter 1

I have never seen a landscape as unwelcoming as the one that confronted me the night it all began. It was hard to believe I was seeing part of Earth's surface. There were five inches of snow. Chunky, ugly snow, visible only when illuminated by the van's headlights. It appeared grey rather than white. This trick of the light made it look like the surface of the Moon. The snow was clumped onto everything like spattered whipped cream. Not like the friendly sight of pretty, powdery snow. Having such a small patch of land visible at any one time generated an odd claustrophobic feeling.

I have never seen the Moon look so unlike itself. It was a sliver of a crescent, like a close-parenthesis turned 80 degrees clockwise, with three thicker ripples of moonlight in the clouds below it. The multicolored lights from cities, factories, and towers in the distance were distorted in the fog. They became menacing, unearthly structures.

When I saw a house in the midst of the dark, otherworldly abyss, illuminated by a lonely light, it seemed like only a photograph. It was hard to believe that the perfectly-visible and friendly-looking home could coexist with the foreboding alien panorama. This house would be my

the wily pheasant. We would have to see.

The novel keeps coming to a stop like this. I don't know why. It all seemed so easy before I started writing, as if each word of each chapter was already written in my mind. I can't find those words anymore. I find people, places, feelings ideas. I then I put down a lot of words that fail to get them across.

My neighborhood is more interesting than anything I'm writing. Right now I'm watching my neighbor walk around the outside of her house.

Setting up the story is always the hardest. I'll skip ahead

What at first looked like a featureless sea of white betrayed interesting details up close. Last night's wind had sculpted the snow into otherworldly shapes. The surface was covered with snaking trails. They were spaced almost regularly, like annual rings in a log cut lengthwise, but sometimes the grain changed direction and got itself trapped in cul de sacs. It was like this for acres. Each place was unique, as if crafted by a tireless artist given eternity to work.

I could see the row up ahead. Just a black band in the distance, looking more ragged and hollow the closer I got. Something steered me off the path and down into the snow-drowned pasture. It was the golden glimmer of something catching the morning sun. I thought I was seeing things out of the corner of my eye at first, but it flashed again once I'd walked another yard or so.

When I reached the spot I found a wrist watch. It looked like real gold. It was an antique, not self-winding, but it was still ticking. It lay in a shallow nest of displaced snow. The wind must have been settling down when it was dropped, but there were no tracks nearby. How did it get there?

I can't focus on the novel. The view from my office is a double-edged sword. I can still see my neighbor frantically circling her house. She must be looking for something. Now I have to go ask what she's doing so I can stop wondering and get my mind back on track. I also want to ask what her name is, but we might know each other too well for that. I think it's Sharon.

My neighbor Cheryl had an awful scare today. I walked downstairs to talk to her, and waited where the properties meet. Sure enough, she continued her circuit and found me. She was pretty jumpy.

She's holding down the fort while her husband and kids visit his relatives. A few minutes ago someone peeped in her window. Some kid with a mask, I guess. She came out to see if he was still sneaking around.

She led me into the claustrophobic trench where our houses almost fuse. There among the velvetleaf plants and bits of stray concrete she pointed out a small window that's bottom was almost flush with the ground. She said they'd been crouching there when she was in the basement. They must have run away quickly, because no one was about when she checked outside a moment later. The weeds were sparse, and the dirt was dry and crumbling, but I didn't see any footprints besides Cheryl's.

She took me inside and showed me where she was when it happened. I can picture the scene. I think I'll write it.

I'll describe her first. I figure exercises like this are good for my literary muscles.

Cheryl is a tall, slightly-built woman of about 30. She has a pleasant, genial face, and wavy, strawberry blond hair. Today she's wearing a black and white striped tube top and navy blue drawstring shorts.

I don't think I'm very good at describing people. The qualities of things and places come

easier to me. I'll describe Mark and Cheryl's home.

It's a tan two-story house with a friendly triangular face. Pretty typical for this part of town. Probably built in the '10s or '20s along with the neighborhood. Its siding is beloved by little red insects. I want to call them boxleitner bugs, but I don't think that's right. This is getting dangerously close to a stream of consciousness.

Cheryl descended the narrow enclosed staircase and traversed the cracked cement floor of the dimly-lit basement to reach the washer and dryer. Behind the machines was a narrow window, but there was no reason to pay it any mind. Nothing could be seen through it besides a few weeds and the foundation of the house next door. She turned on the light bulb that clung to the rafters of the low ceiling and went about the habitual task of moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer.

When she had started up the machine, she pulled the cord again. The basement went dark, the glare on the window disappeared, and the view outside could be perceived clearly. It wasn't the usual dull, static sight, however. A small, hideous face was pressed against the screen, staring at the woman with its sallow eyes. She screamed and ran away. When she reached the top of the stairs, she slammed the door shut out of instinct, although the thing hadn't been inside the basement. She leaned against the door, catching her breath and collecting her wits. What was it?

Reality is no doubt less entertaining than my scene.

The show must go on, even if I don't know what chapter the writing belongs in anymore. I can sort it out later.

Jim left in a hurry. His excuse was brief and vague. The look on his face was haunting.

When the phone rang I knew who was calling and why. I now faced a dilemma. Would I

the same person as before, but she didn't get a good look either time.

It's nothing to call the cops about. Probably nothing to get worried about, even. I don't figure any of these actions would constitute a crime. No material harm has been done to Cheryl or her property. Still, it's made her very agitated. I'm a little on edge myself.

I don't know why I'm her confidant now. We've never been that close. I just thought of her as a casual acquaintance. I've talked to her husband more than I've talked to her. Not that I'm really friends with him, either. I get the impression he looks down on me because I don't have a "real" job.

Those little red things are called boxelder bugs.

There's something special about the early morning, when the street lights have gone out, but the city streets are still empty, hiding away in darkness. There's nothing to see but the echoes of the daylight, the burning of the dying embers of the night, which slowly fades until dawn, and paints the walls in tones that hypnotize.

That descriptive prose just came to me from out of the blue.

Today I tore up most of the novel. It's terrible so far. Nothing like what's in my head. I need to go back into my brain and get it. Back to the basics. Write it right.

Coordinates for Nowhere

Chapter 1

Here's the deal. I would never normally go bowling on a Friday morning in New Orleans

tell-tale signs it had been moved recently.

She was rattled. Even moreso than the other times. She was talking quickly and excitedly, and moving in a herky-jerky way. It made me nervous. Even on top of all my nervousness over the break-in situation. She wasn't like herself.

"We should leave it like this 'til the police get here," I said. She then said two things that struck me.

"When I saw somebody'd been in my house, I tried to find out what they stole. They didn't steal anything, it turns out, but I kind of tore the place up looking for something missing. Now I can't remember what they did and what I did."

"The cops aren't coming. They never come anymore. There was a misunderstanding."

An awful thought hit me. Overwhelmed me. No one broke into her house and messed it up. She did it all on her own. No one peeked into her basement or shimmied up her gutter, either. She imagined the whole thing. She's mentally ill. Suddenly this woman across the room from me seemed alien. I didn't know what she was capable of. I didn't know anything real about her.

I wasn't sure what I should do, so I did what she asked.

Slowly and with much effort I moved the marble top buffet back to where it belonged. That killed my paranoid notion. Cheryl hadn't moved that by herself. She's not crazy. I know her better than that. The eerie feeling drained away.

"You should call the police," I reiterated. "I can make the call if they won't listen to you."

"They don't care."

"I think they do. This was breaking and entering."

"I might've left the door unlocked."

"It's still a crime. The 'breaking' in 'breaking and entering' isn't literal. You saw the perp fleeing the scene, right? Do you think you could describe him?" I asked as I got my phone out.

"Her?" I added, remembering the vague language of her account.

"No. I don't know. They were...small. It's not worth it. The effort of calling 911, I mean. The cops in this town are worthless."

I did finally drop the subject. "Did you call Mark?" I then asked.

"It goes straight to voice mail. I left some messages."

I couldn't think of anything more to do. I told her again that it's probably out of control kids and not dangerous criminals. I gave her my number in case she needed anything else. I went home.

She called while I was typing this entry. Nothing more happened, but she's more distraught than ever. I guess she got herself all worked up thinking about the person or people prowling around. Not that I'm not creeped out about it too. She then went into a spiel about how she's never lived alone and gets scared every time Mark's away. She still can't get through to him, and still won't call the police.

Somehow she talked me into staying with her tonight. It's not like I have anything better to do. My novel is dashed to pieces on the rocks.

So now I'm heading back next door. I hope to have something interesting to write about when I get back. Not too interesting, though.

What an odd situation.

I'm spending the night at Mark and Cheryl's house because of the prowler situation. It would make more sense for her to stay at my place. We discussed this, and I'm not sure what happened, but it got turned around.

It's funny how people seem different once you get close to them. Cheryl always struck me as a someone who had things together. Maybe, truly, she is. Not tonight, however.

I helped her with some household issues that had gotten away from her. She was having trouble staying on any task for more than a few minutes. She checked the windows constantly.

While I was straightening up I noticed a lot of prescription bottles kicking around. I asked what she needed to take tonight, to make sure she didn't forget. I don't like to get in people's business like that, but it seemed like reasonable concern in light of the fact that she'd forgotten to eat dinner.

"Mark won't be home 'til Tuesday," was her non sequitur reply.

"I...see...but some of these meds are yours, right?"

"Mark's the only reason I take them. He's not here."

"Sorry, I don't really understand."

"He always wants me to take this, that, and the other thing. I don't need them."

We went around for a while, but she ended up taking what she was supposed to take with dinner and before bed.

She locked herself in one of the kids' rooms and instructed me to stay in her and Mark's room. The reasons allegedly making that the logical choice are that it has the best view of the back yard, it's where a stalker would expect her to sleep tonight, and there's a revolver in the nightstand. I'd just come off a victory in the pill argument, so I let her have this one.

The last light had barely gone out when she heard a noise.

"Someone's already in here!" she screamed as she fumbled with the key. "I locked myself in with him!"

We investigated. The culprit proved to be a toy frog that got set off somehow.

After that she couldn't leave my sight without getting extremely agitated. We discussed possible sleeping arrangements, and it proceeded about as rationally as our other arguments. We both wound up in the same bed. I've never felt so physically comfortable and emotionally uncomfortable at the same time. I hoped she'd fall asleep first, so I could sneak to a less awkward place, but that didn't seem likely. She was still over-anxious, very afraid that the men were coming for her. I was more afraid of Mark coming home early.

I was somewhere between wake and sleep when I heard the words "What can we do about him?"

I jolted awake. After I spent a few seconds getting my bearings I leaned over to look at Cheryl. She appeared to be dead asleep. Not like she was talking a moment earlier.

"What can we do about who?" I asked. I repeated it once or twice.

Gradually she opened her eyes, but didn't look awake. Maybe she'd been talking in her sleep. It didn't sound the way she normally talked.

"Why did you say that just now?" I was too curious to let it go easily.

"I didn't say anything." She spoke to me, but her eyes didn't focus on me. A side effect of her meds, I figured.

"Yes you did. You said 'What can we do about him?'"

"I didn't say that."

I decided it was time to drop it. She probably didn't know why she said it. There was also the chance I'd dreamed those words. I laid back down, adjusted the covers, and closed my eyes.

"I heard it, though."

I shot upright again. This odd little conversation was feeding right into my uneasiness about the entire situation.

"If you heard it you must've said it. I didn't say it."

"No. You didn't." Her eyes were still blank, and she spoke in a flat tone, with odd pauses. It was very unnerving, but not nearly as much as the implications of her words.

"If I didn't say it, then you did. There's no one else here."

"Yes there is," she said calmly.

"Who."

"Everyone." After that she closed her eyes. I couldn't wake her.

The troubling thoughts got worse. Common sense told me no one was in earshot besides her, but I didn't know it as an absolute fact. That little bit of uncertainty was scary.

I almost screamed out loud when the light coming through the window brightened. It was the lamp on the back of the garage. Something was moving outside. Someone?

I crept over to the window. My heart thumped a dozen times per tiptoe. I looked over my shoulder three times before I made it to the window. The light went off just as I did. I cautiously angled the blinds and peeked into the yard. I couldn't see anything amiss.

I stood in the middle of the bedroom thinking for some time. The light was probably tripped by a squirrel or raccoon. The voice was probably her talking in her sleep. All the evidence that something was amiss could be easily explained. I slowly got a grip on my imagination.

I couldn't sleep. I found a pen and paper and here we are.

It's been two hours and I still can't sleep. There's a register on the wall. Very old brass. Clamshell pattern. I'm staring at it because I thought I heard something from it. Faint voices echoing in the distant, tinny recesses of the ductwork. Does that mean there's someone talking in

another room? There shouldn't be.

Voices or no voices, I should check for intruders. I have a flashlight and a gun. I'll be back. Soon, I hope, and without much to report.

Here's how it went. I spoke too soon about the gun. Never did find those bullets. I hung onto it for intimidation purposes.

I figured I should sneak around and catch the creepers in the act. My eyes were adjusted to the dark by this point, so I barely needed the flashlight. I explored each of the upstairs rooms, only shining the light around once I'd examined all I could see in near-darkness.

When I got to the top of the stairs I saw something that gave me a shot of adrenaline. A light swept across the interior, illuminating the antique table on the landing. I quickly backed out of sight like a convict hiding from a spotlight.

I crouched in the hallway for a few minutes trying get my heart and lungs to behave normally. The light could've come from outside. Headlights from a car turning at the intersection. It could've also been someone's flashlight. I considered the former more likely, but feared the latter.

The staircase had robust wooden balusters and newels like squared-off hats. Not much space between them. I thought I could creep down without being noticed.

It was a long journey down the stairs, but thankfully an uneventful one. When I made it to the ground floor I checked and re-checked my surroundings. I softly walked to the front door. It was locked and the window was intact, showing no signs of disturbance. Everything was as it should be.

I was more calm and confident now. I strolled into the living room and flicked on the light switch. The large, ornate chandelier lit up the room. Again, no sign of anything wrong.

I walked in the direction of the back door, figuring I'd search the library on my way.

Suddenly the room went dark. I stopped in my tracks and shined my flashlight every which way. I didn't see anyone, but I saw that the light switch I'd flipped up at the other end of the living room was now down. As I realized this, I thought I heard muffled laughter.

I froze. My pulse raced. I then clearly heard a strange scurrying sound. It didn't sound like human footsteps. I didn't think it could be anything else, however.

I wasn't quite sure, but it seemed that someone had flipped off the light, hid behind the sofa, then run from the living room to the dining room while I looked away.

I slowly walked back, turned on the light, and looked behind all the furniture so I couldn't be blind-sided by anyone still hiding in the room. I spotted a light switch just past the doorway to the dining room. I crept up and flipped the switch.

It only partly illuminated the room. Something was moving in the shadows beneath the dinner table, behind the chairs.

"Come out where I can see you," I said as I pointed the gun.

Suddenly an ugly little man came running out from under the table.

I was paralyzed with fear. Time slowed down. The room grew bigger.

The man scampered toward me. I was mesmerized by his strange, terrifying features. He was three feet tall and wore a dark boiler suit. A belt and harnesses bristled with unusual tools and pieces of machinery, and a metal band around his head had various lamps and lenses attached to it. His skin was green. His hands were lizard-like, with far too many claws. His enormous bare feet were splayed out like paper fans. There was no hair on his head, only lumps and excrescences. His face. My God, that face. I didn't think I'd ever see an expression like his, except on someone suffering from a nerve or muscle disease. His colorless, liquid eyes were fixed on me.

He laughed maniacally, in a grotesque, high-pitched, nasal voice, and yelled, "So small!"



Written by Floyd Pinkerton (Lee Sherman)

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