On January 15, 2018, I prepared for work just like any other day. My hours were 6 to 3 and so I was often leaving quite early in the morning. That particular day two men were waiting at the bottom of the stairs. They were in their late 20s/30s and had a six-pack of beer with them. Two of the cans were missing. As I stepped down the last stair, the blonde (possibly wearing a wig) had his back to me but motioned with his head. His friend said, “that’s not her.” I saw that he had a large birthmark on his right cheek. It would be a few more years before I remembered it resembled the same one that William had on his right cheek.
They showed up every morning for a week. I figured they were tied to my neighbor since she said she was “angry with Adam for getting her into this.” They were also another neighbor’s friends on Facebook (though I never saw them with her). One of their Instagram accounts said they “killed people for money.”
So I put up posters in the neighborhood but they were all taken down. Then I heard a man at my job say that he had picked out a bald guy and said, “that’s him” Someone asked where he found “them” and he said “the power of the internet.” I briefly put up pictures of the two men on a bulletin board where he and his group could see them. He visibly freaked out and started pacing the halls. Later one of the union stewards came to ask my boss about the photos I had put up and since taken down. There was no context–just two photos. I heard my boss say he could ask me about them but the steward said no. Then I heard another guy in his group say, “you got to admit that was well played. What she just did was well played.”
The police sent their Behavioral Unit to my home and insisted that everyone identified had completely checked out. I sent them video footage of a man running at my car and stopping just before he got to my door. They received audio of my neighbors talking about murder. But they said it all seemed normal and that they did not think I had anything to worry about.
That day my life changed. I felt my life was in danger and I literally became locked in my own little world. I stopped being an active mother. Nothing was being accomplished. My father come up to see what was going on. He helped install security lights and I bought cameras. I lost my job and my husband filed for divorce. Nothing would ever be the same as it had been.
Yet, from the outside, nothing had happened and there was zero proof of there being an issue.
Though I suppose there were clues. A man was trolling my child’s daycare–even after we changed locations. People would say random things to me that did not make sense. A man offered me old surfboards and was surprised when I didn’t take them. An old friend made some art for me that reflected our past and it had vampire photos. When I asked about that, she couldn’t explain. Even a counselor I saw at that time remarked, “they took everything from you.” She never explained who they were or what had been taken away. People clearly knew more than I did.
But in late February 2021, I had some vague memories return of an old neighbor from when I was living with my father. I started asking him questions. As names came to me, I reached out to people in Nevada. Almost all of them stopped answering after a question or two. Then in March 2021, I awoke. The memories came more quickly.
I visited Nevada in July 2021 to do some research. It would be the last time I saw my father. He died in March 2022.
I finally woke up after decades of “sleepwalking.”
I had forgotten who I was. Clearly, they did too.