We took Katherine for obedience training. She gripped on to it well and began to draw a lot of pride from doing exactly what we asked her to as soon as we asked. I still had trouble walking her because she wanted to be out front. Wanted to be scouting ahead instead of staying right at my side. When we had the short leash, she was pulling constantly, and that is not optimal, so we ended up getting a stretching leash and that cleared up the problem. She soon became easy to live with, and her bad habits were few.
Our lives were improving, but within I was growing more and more anxious. Grasp still hadn’t been arrested and it had been eight months since I called the authorities on him. I kept hearing more and more about evidence coming in and the waiting for the hammer to drop was getting harder and harder to live with. I was getting restless. But I was keeping it hidden.
I would get home from class and be alone with Katherine. I would try to sleep, but this always ended up taking me to bad dreams or frustrations, as sleep would not come, so I would lay in bed as the sun went down, waiting for any kind of change.
I had reached a plateau. A part of my life where I was waiting for the next thing to happen. Waiting for a reaction to some event that I could not name. I wanted a spark to warm me. I wanted something real to grab onto. More and more the world around me was becoming unreal as Smear Lord of Ire began to grow agitated by lack of sleep.
I would get ready for class and walk outside to find the sky dark and rippling with purple fire and green lightning. I would walk to class as the ground fell out from under me and great pits of black would yawn out. I could see things crawling and slithering in that mire, and I could hear howls of banshees and children in pain as I ignored it all and stepped out into the void unbelieving.
I walked out into traffic one day at a red light because I could not see the light itself as the entire post and light was engulfed in flames. When I stepped out into the speeding cars, I looked up to see a truck colored dark green with black swathes and a snarling dog face sprouting from the grill. Children had their heads stuck out the windows and were on fire. I assumed the truck was a fantasy crafted by Artist.
I stopped in the middle of the street and stared at it, snarling and curling my fist. I refused to run from the visions I was having, and I glared at the driver and the truck as they bore down on me. The truck stopped within inches of hitting me and I heard the horn scream. I looked at my feet then looked up to see that there was no truck. I was standing in front of a Camry with a college student staring wide-eyed at me.
It became clear that the hallucinations that I had been having all of my life were no longer helping. Now, they were trying to kill me. I refused to let them scare me. I would not live with the fantasy world around me frightening me and making my life a nightmare.
I was deteriorating, but I would not let it affect my relationship with Bekah. Things with us were not as bad as they had been, and since Katherine, we had found a restless sort of rhythm.
My day was getting to school and fighting my way through classes. This semester I was taking a creative writing class and I was pretty excited about it. I had decided on turning in “Tragedy of the Outcasts” and I wanted to see what they would think of it.
If I had known of the ramifications of that action I would have burnt that story. What I have figured out, is that story is cursed. It brings madness to everyone who reads it and everyone who hears about it. My original thought was to include it in this tome, at the end as a sort of extra bit of madness. But now I am thinking that I won’t. I may change my mind, but what I have decided is that the story is evil. Had I known the full extent of its curse I would have destroyed it, but I was ignorant to its power. Ignorant to its destructive nature. To my hazard.
I would get home from school and see Bekah. We would talk for about an hour before she had to be at her last class. She would leave for work from there and get back at about nine or ten. Then, we would have until midnight together before she had to go to sleep and I would go to Job’s. Come home in time to get her to school, then off to bed where I would have nightmares, or no sleep at all, and do it all again. With Katherine, there was some relief but for the most part the horror of my life was real and interminable. It was unrelenting and I could not escape it.
One day, when we were walking out of obedience class, I saw at a distance the King of Boxers. He was tall and majestic, walking with poise and power. His ears high, his chin up. He owned everything he looked at and I wanted that power at my grasp. I became obsessed with Boxers and I told Bekah we had to get one.
She had fallen into a pattern of denying me nothing. She knew the hell I was living and she wanted me to have any coping mechanism that I could find, so we got on the internet and started looking at Boxers.
We found one with one normal front leg and one half leg. I forget her name now. I want to say she was called Moxie, but I can’t be sure. We saw her and fell in love with her, but she was a rescue dog and they were being very careful with who they were giving her to. They wanted an owner for her that could devote hours a day and could provide the perfect home for her. They insisted on a fenced-in yard and we thought about moving and trying to find one, but in the end, it would not have been a good fit. They were being very strict with who they chose for her, and we walked away. But the idea was planted in our head to get a special needs dog and when we found him, he was perfect.
He was a white boxer; he had a twin sister and they were both deaf. We saw pictures and when we looked at him, I named him instantly. We would call him Morgan La Guy and name him after the blind swordsman in my stories. The name was perfect, the dog was perfect, and we made the call to the breeder that night.
She said that she was selling him for 100 dollars because he was deaf and we would have to come pick him up in Iowa if we wanted him. We were willing to make the trip, and off we went to get our new family member.
We stopped in Columbia to see Misty that day, and while we were there, she decided to come with us. We all drove out to this house in Iowa, a tiny little town on the edge of nowhere.
We found the place and I walked up to the door. It was cracked open. I opened it the rest of the way, calling out, “Hello?” From around the corner came a tiny beefy little white piece of muscle on legs and he strutted his way out of the house and straight to our car. I grabbed him, picked him up and looked at him, and had to admit to myself that I had never in my life seen anything so cute.
He had a square jaw and a puckered snout; his nose was pink with splotches of black, and he was soft. So soft that it was almost alarming. I picked him up and he kissed me instantly. I was in love before I even got into the house.
We met the breeder and I instantly disliked her. On the phone we had asked her if he had a name and she said, “What is the point of that? He can’t even hear it.” She laughed. When I met the woman, I knew I wanted to get him out of this house as soon as possible.
There was a solid wall of clutter wrapping every inch of this house, filling every room and rounding out all of the corners. The woman herself was a nightmare, and we left as quickly as we could.
It was a long ride back to Columbia. An even longer one back home, and we got back late and exhausted. We introduced the two dogs to each other and the reception Morgan received was less than warm.
When we picked him up, we had Katherine’s crate with us. We wanted him to get used to her smell so the entire way home he was getting to know her. When we walked into the house, he was so excited to see her and he ran to her and started kissing her.
But Katherine is not a dog person.
She gave us a look of derision and sneered. “What have you done? You brought a dog into our house. Do you know how filthy these things are? How dare you do this. What were you thinking?” Katherine was not amused and she snapped at him over and over again.
Every time we would scold her, and every time he would go straight back. He did learn, though. He learned how to live in a house with Katherine. Learned what was expected of him and ignored most of that.
He was mischievous but he loved food and if there was promise of a treat in it for him he would obey every time. He took to training well and we began to put him in shape for what we needed him to be.
He could not sleep anywhere but with us. When we put him in his crate for sleep, he would howl and bark. We tried to spray him with water to discourage this behavior but it only got him wet, and soon he was sleeping with Bekah at night. I knew this was a bad idea as he would one day get enormous, but it was just impossible to sleep with him barking and he would never quit.
I refused to sleep with him so I just stopped sleeping altogether. That was the beginning of the end, I think. The total lack of sleep was crippling and it led to more hallucinations and more of the sense that I was teetering on the verge of insanity.
It was about to get bad, and without reliable sleep, things would become impossible. But I’m getting ahead of myself.