Status: Complete.

Letters of the Loneliest


Thoughtlessly, Lily chews the end of her pen. Her eyes scan the computer before her, willfully ignoring the notebook. Even tucked in the bottom of her bag, it silently calls her name.

The sick feeling from the night before remains, following her through her morning routine and commute to work. She had ignored everyone, eyes ducked until she entered her office.

The past couple of hours have been a constant game of tug of war. While she has been pretending to continue her research from yesterday, nothing has come from it. She's certain she's read the same paragraph numerous times.

In reality, her mind has been racing with the last entry. What should she do? Is it real? And if so, what next?

It's one thing to go along with the project, knowing it's contents are personal, but harmless. But going along with it knowing a crime has been committed? Certainly there could be legal repercussions if not reported.

Coming to a decision, she fishes the notebook from the bottom of the bag and exits her office. Her heart hammers as she knocks on her boss's door.

"Who is it?" His gruff voice is muffled by the thick door.

"Lily, sir."

There's a pause, then he says, "Enter."

Even after the frequency of her trips to his office as of lately, she still feels an unease as she crosses the threshold. This visit is proving to be even more nerve wracking than any of the previous.

She wields the notebook in front of her like a shield. As if it can protect her from harsh words. Her fingers ache from gripping it too tightly.

Like previous times, she rests at the very tip of the chair. The action gives her a sense of security. Her body is poised, ready to make a fast getaway.


She startles at the harsh voice. Swallowing hard, she plunges right in. "The latest entry. I read it last night and I think it's real. I mean, it is real, obviously, but it's terrifying and I think we need to hand it in. To the police, I mean. I-it's just-"

He stares at her expectantly, but she has nothing left to say. Butterflies have turned into grasshoppers, twisting her stomach. Her palms feel slick against the smooth cover.

After an eternity of waiting, he opens his mouth. "Let me have a look."

A little reluctant, she eyes his hand. When she looks into his eyes, he raises a brow. She can tell he's losing his patience with her. She hands it over.

His eyes scan the page, expression giving away nothing. Not even a flicker of surprise crosses his face. She briefly thinks he's probably a good poker player.

"Shit," he mutters under his breath before tossing the journal down onto his desk.

He promptly squeezes between his eyes, as if the revelation has given him a sudden headache. When done, he steeples his fingers, resting his mouth against them as he stares at the book. He appears deep in thought.

She jumps when he claps his hands. "Alright, so this is what we're going to do," He points the joined hands at her while continuing, "It's obviously fake, but we can still work with that. All we have to do is add a tiny disclaimer in the smallest font legal. That way it identifies the entries are not true, but still has people believing they are."

Lily blinks in shock. He didn't believe it.

"This stuff sells, Lily. I'm not giving up. Even if it was real, do you honestly think the police would believe you?"

She studies the massive man before her, unsure of how to respond. Would they?

Her boss plunders on, listing the inconsistencies. Lily tunes him out from the beginning, choosing to stare out the glass wall while she ponders her next course of action. She's comes to terms with the fact that she has to do something. But what?

As if a light bulbs flickers on, she knows exactly what to do. Bursting to her feet, she catches her boss off guard. He halts mid-ramble.

"Sorry, sir. I understand what you're saying completely," she says, pulling her blouse back down into place, "I just had a sudden shot of inspiration. I feel like I really need to get back to my office."

The million dollar smile spreads over his features. "That's the spirit. By the way, congratulations on landing the part. My wife told me you were wonderful."

She blushes. "Thank you, sir."

Quietly closing the door behind her, she scurries back to her office, dead set on what her next move is.


Lily sits and waits, butt already numb from the hard plastic chair. She checks the clock over the gum popping receptionist for the third time in twenty minutes. She doesn't have much longer on her lunch break.

The gum cracks loudly, echoing in the sparse room. Lily blinks against the annoying sound. She shifts, shooting the woman a glare. The woman doesn't notice, lazily scrolling on her phone.

Just as Lily has almost had enough, footsteps can be heard tapping on the hard floor. She sits up straight when they grow closer.

"You must be Lily," the detective says, crossing the room in only three long strides. He holds out a hand. "I'm Detective Jones. You can call me Barry."

The lean, towering man looks more like a basketball player than cop. Lily stands, returning the handshake, but still only reaches his chest. His ebony colored hand is warm and rough, speaking of hard labor at one time.

"If you'll follow me."

They walk down a short hall, then turn into a longer hall. His office is the last door on the left.

He waits for her to sit before he follows suit, holding his tie to his body. Even seated behind the large desk, his height is still noticeable.

"You want something to drink?" Lily shakes her head, too nervous to keep anything down. "Let me know if you change your mind. So, what can I do for you?"

"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, especially during lunch." He holds up a hand, waving away her thanks. His dark eyes are kind, but sad. She can only imagine the things he's seen. "I might have something that can help you in a case."

This piques his interest, and he looks towards the bundle in her lap. She hands it over with only a hint of hesitation.

As he flips through the thin stack, she tells the story of the notebook, starting back from the beginning. Every now and then he'll nod, but mostly he remains focused on the papers. A few times, he stops to scan over something that catches his eye.

She finishes her story, but he seems to not have noticed. Breathing steadily, she attempts to catch her breath after the rapid talking. Finally, he places everything back on the desk.

Large hand splayed over the assortment, he meets her eyes. Her heart sinks. "You've done some really good work here."


He gives her an apologetic smile. "But there's nothing I can use."

"Why?" Her voice is tight, tears of frustration build up. "You don't believe me."

"That's not the case," he insists, patting the journal, "I do believe you, but I have no proof that this is real."

"But his entry and the names. He lists every single name."

"I know, but that's stuff that could be found if someone digs hard enough." He gestures towards her. "You were able to confirm the list of names as victims. Why couldn't someone else?"

"What about finger prints? He's had to have left some!" Her voice raises, desperation evident.

There's no telling how many people have handled this book. There are nine entries total. That's nine sets of prints. You've read it, your boss, and now me. There's three more. We're up to twelve people now. Not counting whoever else read it before you."

Lily drops her head in her hands, beyond frustrated. She lets out a groan.

"And even if we found them. They still might not match up to anyone in our database. We have no suspects to match the prints, too. That would still be a dead end." She just wants to get back to work. Being here has provided no comfort. "Listen, you don't have to convince me. I'm positive this is the real deal, but there's nothing to prove it to anyone else."

"Thanks, anyways," she mutters, taking the stack back from him.

"Sure." His dark brown eyes hold sympathy. Reaching into his pocket, he produces a business card. "In case anything else comes up. Have a good day, Lily."

As she's walking back through the lobby, she notices a lone woman sitting in a plastic chair. Her short, dark hair frames her face as she rifles through a beat up briefcase. She looks to muttering to herself, and Lily can't help but notice the way her shoulders sag. She looks defeated, as if life has given her the short end.

Lily walks on by, the woman never even glancing her way.

Back at work, in the safety of her office, she reads the next entry. Hopefully, this one won't contain the horrific surprises that the previous one did.

February 17, 2015

Exhausting. Draining. Consuming. If anyone asked me to describe my work in three words. Those three would be it.

Coming out of college, I was wide eyed and naive enough to believe I could make a difference. I could actually do some good and protect the innocent children.

What a joke. One that I fail to find the humor in. I'm jaded, hardened. I go into a home expecting the worst, so that when it comes true, it doesn't seem so bad. I've seen it all. Made every promise under the sun, but in the end it's never my choice.

I used to go home every night and sit alone and cry and cry and cry. For all the lost children. For all the broken homes. Now, I sit at home alone with my liquid dinner and pray the good Lord takes me soon.

The good thing about my line of work? There's always assholes that abuse, berate, belittle their children. It's such an ill sought after career that not many want it. That leaves us unserstaffed, working longer hours than a farmer.

But there's little time to dwell on the one's you've let down. In the beginning, I memorized their names, faces, because I was foolish enough to believe that when I helped get them out of their personal hell, I might check up on them in a few years. I might see the good person they've turned into.

Turns out even the ones you've "saved" don't typically turn out any better. Most of them stay in the foster care system, which is only a step up from their deplorable homes. If they're lucky enough to be adopted, the odds of a respectable family being the one to do so is slim.

Funny how life comes around anyways. I never believed in destiny until this stupid job. Some people just aren't meant for a happy life.