Indigo Gems: Chapter 1

“Alright everyone for the last thirty minutes of class you can work on your group projects. I’ll be walking around answering questions if you need me and don’t forget your first draft is due next Friday !” Dr. Nafawitz is old as fuck. It’s all I think about every time he speaks. Like damn, that might actually be the last thing he ever says. He’s 87 but he looks 210 honestly. He teaches psychology here at the University of Goddard Williams where I’m earning my PhD. People hear that and tell me how smart I am or sometimes how sophisticated or noble it is but honestly I just keep enrolling in more school because I have no idea what to do with my life once it’s over. Be a psychologist you may say because after all I’ve been learning psychology for the past 7 years but my heart isn’t in it. I entered college in 2008 with an undecided major. The second year they told me I HAD to pick one so I did a little eenie meenie minnie mo between a handful of majors that required little human contact. I landed on psychology and just stuck with it because I’ve never been able to decide. So now here we are. In PSY 4310 listening to old ass Dr. Nafawitz cough out dust every time he speaks. 

“In the case study they said that people with schizophrenia have the lowest compliance rates and the highest rates of drug abuse.” Here goes Sarah with the facts. I only half listen when she or either of the other two speaks. If I listen too hard they’ll spark a brilliant idea, I’ll try to share it, they’ll ignore me and I’ll get disappointed and question what kind of God would let me be placed in a group such as this. In a life such as this really. 

“So then should we still pick that or should we make our own case for people on the bipolar spectrum ?” Emily has always has good questions. Horrible answers. 

“Well if we just wanted to go for easy we could just pick regular depression but we’re going for innovation.” Sarah is also a condescending bitch and every time she proves it I wonder how she’s gotten through life without getting punched in the mouth.

“I’m not suggesting we do something easier, Sarah.” Emily smiles but cuts her eyes. Purple people shit. Teal people like me tend to let you know without ambiguity when you have us totally fucked up. “I’m just saying there’s hardly any wiggle room when come up with a treatment plan for a group of people where 90% of them refuse treatment. We’d never be able to prove whether or not it works. 

Uh-oh there it goes again. The urge to give my two cents. Must. Resist. Sarah gets this dumb smug look on her face when she feels like someone is trying to out bitch her. It would make a great meme if I can just snap a perfect pic without her noticing. “How do you know we’d never be able to prove it ? Difficult to prove doesn’t mean impossible.” Fuck, here it goes. My brain says “don’t do it, bro. Just stfu,” but my mouth and voice box move way faster and I say. “Emily has a point. I mean we’re not even actually inventing anything. We’re just trying to get an A so why not go with an easier disease to treat.”

Silence. My hands and upper lip and spicy per usual and the three of them look at me like a French speaking three titty lumberjack. 7 seconds that feel like 7 years go by until Tamia breaks the tension, “Yeah I remember reading that fact about schizophrenia.” Bitch. I press my eyelids tight, tilt my head in a downward motion, set my elbow on the table and rub my third eye region. I start smoking an imaginary cigarette. Like were you buffering this whole time ? We’ve already moved on. What you said had nothing to do with what I just said. Still the three of them amongst themselves discuss how 90% of schizo’s be schizo’n. God I fucking hate my life. 

After class I decide to take advantage of Dr. Nafs office hours. I plan to beg for mercy as I often do when placed in group projects. Usually to no avail but you never know if you don’t ask right ? I linger in the hallway around the vending machines. I don’t want us to walk in at the same time or practically the same time or I’ll feel like a stalker. I get real self-conscious about little things like that. He walks in and I walk in right behind him, on his heels. “Fuck” I think to myself. I also have a habit of doing little things I really hate doing like that because I know they’ll make me self-conscious. My hands and forehead get spicy as fuck. He must’ve noticed because with his really old hands he gives me a Kleenex. An actual Kleenex, not just a facial tissue. Important distinction. 

“So hey Dr. Nafawitz I don’t wanna take up too much of your time I just was hoping, y’know, that maybe I could work on the project solo ? I mean I know you said that there’ no exceptions because this is a group project, I just-“ He cuts me off. He’s been rustling through papers since I’ve started talking as if he’s looking for something. “Could you pass me that stack of papers, dear would ya ?” 

“Yeah sure, so as I was saying. I know you said no exceptions-“

“I can’t find this damned article anywhere !”

“I just am having a really hard time-“

“This is why I told them I didn’t need an assistant. I’m my own organized. I can’t find anything now.”

“Connecting with the girls in my group and it’s aff-“

“Jacob get in here ! I can’t find my damned article !”

“Okay you know what, maybe it’s not a great time so I’ll ju-“

“JACOB !”

A boy who looks exactly like a Jacob comes running in, sweaty, face flushed. Odd. “My name is Cassen,” he sort of whispers. The expression on his face reveals a redundancy I can only imagine to be torturous. Not my clown though, not my circus. Or however the saying goes. It’s none of my concern so I waltz my ass out of there before I become designated paper pile passer. I feel like every day has been going like this and it’s getting to me. I’m exhausted. I don’t feel heard anywhere. Is it that what I have to say isn’t important ? Am I not important ? Are my thoughts not as noteworthy as I think they are ? Like what’s my problem ? I wish I could figure out what was wrong with me.

I get home around 6pm. After leaving the Dr. Naf’s office I decide to go to the library and knock out homework. Walking down the hallway to my apartment door I can already smell what Sasha is cooking up. Sasha went to school for culinary art. Unlike me, she knew exactly what she wanted to do for a living upon exiting high school. She’s had a passion for cooking since was 3 her mom says. She did more than just play store or play house. She set up restaurants and cooked for audiences right from the beginning. Now she’s personal chef for both the rich and famous and for me, her very picky but otherwise perfect girlfriend. As I unlock the front door it sounds like she’s in some heated discussion. “Pero, no ! Escuchame por favor ! Pero, mama !” Of course. Arguing with her mom. I make my way to the kitchen to find her back towards me as she faces the stove, neck rolling, ponytail slinging, arms flailing. My day wasn’t especially rough but it’s part of the snowball that has me feeling rough and I just want a nice calm, loving night so badly. I walk around the island and wrap my arms around her waist, laying my chin on shoulders and give her earlobe a kiss, trying to de-escalate her. She mutes the phone briefly, “hey dinner will be done soon, talking to my mom”. She unmutes it and back to yelling she goes. 

So much for a peaceful night. I go to the bedroom and text Kerf. We’ve been best friends ever since he and I shared a cot in preschool. I often, as an adult, wonder why the hell they had us sharing those tiny fucking cots but I’m glad it was a thing. I can usually rely on him to give a pep talk that motivates me to, at the very least, keep on existing on days like this where I wish I didn’t exist. “Hey, super shitty day. Whatcha got for me McNinnerton ?” I call him by his last name when I’m in distress so he knows I mean it. I flip my phone over on the bed so that I don’t watch the clock while I wait for the desperately needed reply. I get undressed and pick up some randomly shit we have laying around, a pack of bobby pins from the floor, a crumbled receipt from the vanity, two mismatched socks from the corner. I get the itch and check my phone, no reply. I flip it back over and decide to hop in the shower and bathe in existentialism. I also say the shower is the best place to cry because people can’t tell your tears from the water but honestly no-one is looking at you in shower anyway…hopefully. So it really doesn’t matter. I cry my heart out, step out and dry off. Half an hour later I check my phone again. No reply. I don’t feel like eating anymore. I don’t feel like ANYTHING anymore.

From M.M. Kelly

My neighborhood has had a lot of supposedly paranormal activity as of late. The police have made announcements that they can’t really respond to ethereal invaders. Complaints started within the book groups. Their contacts were never where they let them. They’d wake up with fresh ice in their drinks or an empty cup on their nightstands. Personally, I always find everything exactly where I leave it. I think they might be hitting the Jesus juice a little aggressively.

Honestly, I think the bigger crime is how often spouses spend the night separate from each other because of their jobs. The husbands miss their wives, the wives miss their husbands. After being single for most of my life, I can sympathize with them. Sleeping alone is terrible. Snuggling up to a warm person, the smell of their hair. It’s just the best.

Another odd thing around here, on top of the ghosts and so many people traveling so often is none of these people lock their deadbolts. Everyone is just a credit card swipe away! I guess when you have to go through gates to get into the community it gives you a lot of security. I still triple check my locks before bed. 

So I got a great idea. I ordered a white morph suit off of Amazon, and I watched. My neighbor across the street always seemed so sad that her husband had to travel so often. I waited for her car to be there by itself for a couple of nights. On the third night, I put my morph suit in a backpack and snuck into her yard in the middle of the night. All the lights were off, the back door popped open with one stab of my gas station rewards card. 

I switched my clothes for my morph suit in her mudroom, then crept up stairs as quietly as I could. I searched for her bedroom. I didn’t want the kids, or the computers. Sweet little Karen was my target. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness, I could just barely see her through the suit and by the star light. She tossed and turned, searching for something that simply wasn’t there. 

She looked like she was suffering. I slipped under the covers and sat my hand on her hip. She instantly settled down and snuggled into me, shoving her sweaty hair into my mask covered face. It was like she was personally telling me thank you. I conked out for what felt like a restful ten days, but her alarm clock told me it was only a few hours. I slipped back out, careful not to stir the now peaceful Karen. I changed in the mudroom again, then scurried back to my home under the cover of the night.

The next day at our book club, she seemed… fresh. Rejuvenated. She kept going on and on with such awe about how she hadn’t slept that well alone in her entire life. I wanted to squeal with joy, but I held it in. I’m not crazy, I know she would feel a certain kind of way about this situation. I feel the good outweighs the prudish social expectations. That night, her husband was still absent. I donned the morph suit for another tour of duty.

The third night rolled around, and honestly I’d gotten a little comfortable. That happens when you’re sleeping with someone, right? I took a drink from the glass on her nightstand, borrowed her eye drops and nose spray. My allergies were acting up, and I didn’t want to interfere with her rest. I slept through my phone buzzing, the benedryl I took so I wouldn’t sneeze and hack from mucus must have put me down a little too hard.  

I woke up to the sound of her alarm. She was groggy, and smacked at her alarm clock haphazardly. I stood up as gently as I could, trying not to alert her. I absolutely knew this was it. I was going to get caught. Run, or hide? I would have fit under the bed, but something was screaming run. I bolted through the dark house. She screamed. I was spotted. I pulled off the morph suit as soon as I slipped in my backdoor. I stuffed it between the washing machine and the wall. 

Then I waited. I waited quietly on my couch. I was absolutely sure the police would be on their way. Six o’clock rolled around. Seven, eight, nine o’clock all came without anything. By noon I realized that my face was covered, but even better, she must not have had her contacts in. Jim, her husband, was home that night. That was his last business trip for a long time. That was the week the rumors about Karen’s house being haunted started. 

I laid low, until a few months later. Sue was in a similar predicament as Karen was. Sue also always wore glasses, giving me some insurance if I was sloppy again. Her deadbolts were locked. But her windows on the deck were unlocked, I slid in. If you consider how its weird to smell someone’s house for the first time, it’s three times as strange when they don’t know you’re there. I rummaged through the mixed nuts on her counter, digging for cashews. I found her bedroom shortly after getting over my disappointment with the lack of cashews.

It presented a possible problem. With how the room was arranged, she would be between me and the door. I bit the bullet and took the risk. The next day, it was like she’d had a coffee drip all night. Frankly, it was the most uneventful week of breaking into a house that you could imagine. Everything was exceptionally smooth. It bolstered my confidence.

The very next week, Jacqui was dragging like she’d been awake for weeks. She had the same story as everyone else. Husband out of town, fishing, hunting or something that was very… Hemingway. To be frank, that was the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever gotten. I honestly quiet dislike Jacqui, and her husband. I find them to be crass, uncivilized things. I almost backed out at the last moment, but I think businesses who discriminate are horrid, and that I should hold myself to a higher standard.

I will admit, I was less than professional. The first night, I took the dirty glasses from her sink and stacked them into a triangle on her kitchen table. While rested, she was shaken up. I squealed like a little girl the next morning when she posted a picture of it online. I jogged by her house around eleven that night. The lights were on, she was shuffling around the house. I waited under a tree in her backyard. Eventually, either exhaustion won out over paranoia, or she decided she didn’t believe in ghosts.

I should have  skipped that night. It was stupid. It was way more risk of getting caught since she was already on edge. I even hated the smell of her shampoo. My disdain grew almost unbearable as I lay there, staring at the back of her head. I should have made myself leave. I never wanted to have blood on my hands. Just thinking about that night makes me shake with some alien mixture of disgust and hate. 

Jacqui is fine. I did not hurt a single hair on her head. However, sometime around two o’clock that night, I heard the backdoor click open. Then footsteps, soft, slow,  and deliberate. Break ins non-existent in our neighborhood. Everyone is relatively well off, and we’re gated from outside interference. I froze. My heart pounded in my chest like a mad man trying to escape his cell. The footsteps neared her bedroom. A blacked out figure entered. I feigned sleep and watched it through cracked eyes.

She must have been absolutely dead to the world. He was mere centimeters from her face, as if inspecting her, scrutinizing every last detail. What about me? He could kill us both, he could lead me to be being discovered. He could ruin everything for both of us just based on this one bad decision he’d settled on. The shadow man turned away, looking at her nightstand for a moment. I took my shot. I grabbed a rock with an inspirational quote scrawled on it from the nightstand and slammed it into his head. 

The stars must have aligned for me that night. He went to the ground instantly. No scream, just knees, then folded over backwards. Jacqui was out hard, she didn’t even stir. I cracked him in the same spot a few more times to make sure he was finished. I stood there, in the dark, wee hours of the morning, essentially alone. My suit was ruined, nothing was going to get this much blood out. I left his body there. She found him the next morning. They ruled it as an accomplice turning on him in the middle of the invasion. 

Not telling anyone was tormenting me. The book club chattered, avoiding the topic completely. No one wanted to admit we were vulnerable here. That there could be a killer lurking amongst them. I don’t want to be a killer, I just want to help.

Find more from him here: https://linktr.ee/MMKelley