Adam couldn't remember the last time he'd slept through the night, even with the ever increasing medication doses doled out to him by Dr. Adler. He had woken up, stretched, and lay there for another half hour marveling at his deep sense of peace. It wasn't until he made his way into the bathroom and got a look at the three scratches just under his left ear that he suffered a flash of discomfort. His fingers traced the scabs lightly and his mind flitted back to his dream.
was the right word now, his night terrors had become markedly less
terrifying. Adam had endured the same nightmare he'd been having for a
year, however this time, something was different. It felt, calmer?
What was torture had become... pleasant? The images and feelings that
had terrified Adam Savage now felt like home. It was as though his
entire subconscious had shifted like a tectonic plate relaxing into
The only thing bothering Adam on this fine
morning was how he had gotten those scabs, three parallel lines on his
neck. Had he scratched himself in his sleep? That must be it. He
checked under his nails, and sure enough, there was a bit of dried blood
there. It was chilly enough for a turtleneck under his bright blue
work uniform, Adam showered and got dressed.
until he was behind the wheel of his truck that he recalled the giant
image of Emily's smiling face. Adam didn't understand how he could have
let something like that slip his mind.
"I don't even know her name, she's just some kid!"
whore mother's voice and pleading face cut through his memory like a
scythe, leaving behind a wound that quickly filled with questions.
Adam's eyes jerked towards his rear view mirror, was that shadow
laughing at him? Adam decided to swap out the sandwich machines in the
earliest part of the day and knock off the rest for a visit to Dr.
Adler. The sandwiches had a strict schedule, if they weren't swapped
out of the machines properly there were health code liabilities to
consider. It had been the elder Savage's routine, and was Adam's
routine, to drop the sandwiches that were just about to expire at a food
pantry on the East side.
Adam discovered the tongue,
teeth, and skin in his cooler during his first sandwich swap stop.
Elkin's Elementary had a snack machine in the faculty room which
featured egg salad sandwiches, the egg salad had to be changed out twice
a week. Adam was always perplexed by the thought of anyone buying an
egg salad sandwich from a machine, but they were a money maker, all the
The tongue, teeth, and skin were all bagged
separately and neatly. Adam caught a glimpse of the laughing shadow
again in the shiny surface of the vending machine glass, it took him a
full ten seconds to realize he was staring and smiling at the image.
The shadow was tossing a can in the air again and again, looking at him
from those eyes that were not eyes. An Elkin's teacher asked Adam if he
was going to refill the egg salad and he snapped out of his trance,
quickly shuffling the more morbid contents of his cooler to the bottom
and handing the teacher a sandwich without a word. He called Dr. Adler
on his way out of Elkin's.
The Doctor was of course curious about this picture of Emily.
"Are you sure it was her? I know you feel certain, but how could it be her, we talked about this, she's gone"
described the picture, how different it was, the girl was impossibly
one year older than the baby he'd seen lowered into the ground, but it
was Emily. Adler listened, intrigued and astounded.
"And you went to her mother's place?"
why?" Adam asked, he hadn't told Dr. Adler anything about his dream or
the contents of his cooler. "Why would you ask that?"
affected a quick search through paperwork, "Well, Adam, I would think
if you saw your daughter in an ad you'd want to know what her mother
signed her up for, that's all"
"Oh, well, I didn't go
see her", replied Adam, placated. "If I showed you something, would I
be protected by client doctor privilege?"
"Of course, Adam. What is it you want me to see?"
Adam shuffled the items in the cooler around, then shuffled them back, and then shuffled them around again.