If I could say this starts anywhere, it started with the photos. The ones I took. The ones Amber took. The ones other people took, that I found, and took from them. The two years before Elliot came back were the Magpie years, te Scavenger Season. I made a nest out of pictures. They were under my records, under the bed, stuffed into my dresser drawers with my shirts and my socks. And two months ago, the wind picked up, and scatterd them all around and left them exposed to rot. A flip book spread out over my tables and walls. Amanda (God bless you, wherever you are) never found them. Maybe she did. It doesn't matter. I am sorry, tough, if you came across them, wondered what they meant. Or worse, if you knew.
* * *
Here is a memory that has no photographs.
Winter time. The night before there was a blizzard, and the tall fir tree outside the window had a new coat. The whole yard did. The sun was just rising and the sky was purple and black with the last of the clouds passing by. The first hints of light were peeping in through the window. And I woke up.
Amber was lying beside me. Curled up and snoring. Little tendrils of breath curling up to the frost covered windows, turning gold in the sunrise. She was wrapped up in like a dozen blankets. She had them all pulled close with one of her long pale piano-player hands.
This was one of those Beginning moments. That time when whatever it is that pulls your muscles and moves them, whatever you want to call it...it wakes up, and shakes whatever it is that weighs it down day in day out. When a voice in your head clears its sleep clogged throat and says "What's happened? Where are we" and the answer is Here. Here.
I wish I had a picture of it. I've always been a visual kind of person. But this is in the before. This all happened in the before. We weren't so tired all of the time yet.
* * *
"She's mine, you know. She belongs to me."
"I want to see her, Elliott...come on. Let me see her." Like we were back in high school again, and he could do a killer imression or spray milk through his nose. Do it. Do it again.
"She's mine." He says. He stands close, stands over me.
"No. You don't. Say it. Say it and I'll consider letting her come back."
"What? What do you want me to say?"
"Say she belongs to me. That she's mine. That you believe it."
A wind begins to blow, the Amber wind coming in over the hill, gathers force, the grass all around Elliott is knocked over and over again in the cold breeze.
"Amber. She's yours. She belongs to you."
"I don't believe you. You've got to make me believe. I'm still unconvinced, James. Say it right, with feeling, and I'll consider it. Make me a believer."
"Amber belongs to you, Elliott. To you." I'm almost crying with want.
"No one else?"
"No one else."
His eyes go dead again, and the wind seems almost to come straight from them. His fists clench at his sides, his mouth twitches a bit.
"Do you remember...remember the party? The party where she and I met? What was she wearing?"
"A shirt. A red shirt with a silver star in the middle. Her hair dyed the same colour. Tom jeans. And that...that clay necklace. The one her uncle gave her."
He leans closer and whispers so quietly that I almost miss it.
Possession excerpt ©2003 Patrick de Moss
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