Dear Diana Ranswell (Mom)
by Gabriel Hart, 3.24am March 10th 2021
This is going to sound strange and please don't take it the wrong way but... You know how people sometimes will start their letters with “I hope this gets to you safely”? Well, I actually hope this letter doesn't get to you at all. Let me explain (God I really hope you don't have to end up reading this and I can just tell you all about it in person). And if anyone should read this before my Mother – may this letter serve as my alibi for this gruesome scene I regret you had to see here.
First of all, Mom - I just want you to know that you were totally right about Corey. I should have listened to you all along and now I'm paying the price, praying to make it out of this. I'm lying here somewhere just outside of Bear Creek getting slowly baked by the sun. I’m not sure where, exactly. We were looking to get out to the middle of nowhere, but every time I said “what about here? This looks good!” he just kept driving.
But that's the thing – now I AM in the middle of nowhere and Corey is dead five feet away from me. I'm wearing nothing but my jean shorts and cowboy boots because I have my t-shirt soaking up all the blood I'm losing out of my leg. I did wear a bra, but I had to tie it around my thigh to make a tourniquet because Corey is such a bad shot.
Can you believe he did this? I know for a fact he's never shot a gun before – now look! Sorry, I forgot you can't. And I hope you won't. And I hope the next time you see me I'll have just a limp and a tragic story to tell, because I swear to God I'm never coming out here again.
I had a feeling Corey was taking me on a trip to propose to me. That's why I didn't tell you where I was going, because I knew you never liked him. It pains me to realize it's been three months since you and I have talked. I'm so sorry, Mom. Him and I have had a lot of those “now or never” talks lately. And when I say him and I, it was more like him saying it's now or never, over and over.
So, preparing myself for him to pop the question, I had written a poem for him in my journal here, to let him down easy. To let him know I loved him, but there were too many things that made me nervous about spending the rest of my life with him.
I thought it was weird that he didn't bring water if he knew we were going on a hike? He brought that fucking acoustic guitar instead. He just kept walking ahead of me singing this sad song “Nothin'” by Townes Van Zandt. This should have been the first red flag – he wasn't even singing it to me. But I guess in a way he was.
He was being so secretive about what we were doing or where we were even going. I just let him do his thing because I thought he was being romantic. Mysterious, you know? That's why I fell in love with him. Enough to even listen to him when he demanded we leave our cell phones in the car. To “unplug and be present,” he said. But I didn't feel scared until I realized how thirsty I was, until I saw that we were way the fuck out here. I couldn't see the road anymore. But I guess he knew it would take all the water in the world when he'd be burning in Hell, so why bother with any at all?
But the thing is, Mom - I think I'm in Hell as well, only I'm wide awake. I just don't know what I did to deserve this. All I said was no. Then I panicked and told him I'd think about it because he started to get angry. That's when he took out his gun. Mom, I was thinking about you when I told him no. I just want you to know that.
But saying I had to think about it wasn't good enough for him, of course. Because he preferred that I don’t think. He never liked that I had a mind of my own, and you saw that.
Thank you, Mom. Even if it's too late.
He thought he had it all planned out. If I said no, which I pretty much did, he would kill me, then kill himself.
We started that morning at a bar. He just kept ordering shots with his beers. Ugh, he was drinking that disgusting peanut butter flavored whiskey nobody likes and now I can't get that taste out of my mind.
He kissed me on the way out, his tongue the last thing in my mouth.
He was still wasted when we started the hike, and I was just buzzed enough to fail seeing something was a little off. I can see now that he needed liquid courage to follow through with all of this.
But what a fucking moron. As if I wouldn't start running when he raised the gun up at me? So I ran and he just shot me once – got me in the back of my thigh, luckily. But Mom, it's
taking every ounce of me to not think that maybe I would have been luckier if he had just killed me quick, instead of me just slowly baking and bleeding to death out here.
Mom, more than anything I wish I could say that was all. But there's more. About ten minutes after Corey blew his brains out, I heard something that sounded like motorcycles. I was relieved it was some locals out there that heard the gunshot, so I started screaming for help so they would know where to go, because I'm on my back here hidden behind a big rock pile that look like all the other ones.
They found me. It was three guys, maybe in their twenties, riding those white-trash ATVs. I started crying harder, just so relieved... but then they started laughing, Mom. Like, howling as if it was a joke. They were so drunk they could barely stand. They stumbled over to Corey and just started poking at him, at the hole in his head.
“Holy John F. Kennedy... Yup, he's dead! Cold fucking corpse!” one of them said, cracking up, while another one came and grabbed my chest.
“Whelp, this one is still nice and warm!” he yelled, all fucking excited. He kneeled over me just repeating that, saying I was nice and warm. I screamed as loud as I could. I uncrossed
my arms just so I could reach into the back of my shorts where I was hiding Corey's gun, which I grabbed just in case some coyotes or bears smelled all this blood.
I shoved it in the guy’s mouth and blew his brains out, Mom. Your daughter is now a
murderer. How do you like that? But not just once — three times, cause the other two ran over to do God knows what to me so I shot them too. I guess this means I'm a better shot than Corey. A Girl's Gotta Do What A Girl's Gotta Do, right? I remember how much you loved that song when I was a kid.
What would you have done, Mom?
So, I have Corey's dead body five feet from my head, and these three, like, Deliverance motherfuckers spread like a pitchfork at my feet, but kind of angled out. So if I am lucky enough to get a search helicopter overhead, they're gonna see five people lying in the shape of a fucking peace sign. I just pray they don't think we're just some hippies trying to be cute out here.
My only saving grace is that I see the sun is finally going down, but that also means it’s
going to get cold. I can already feel my sunburnt skin throbbing with the temperature change. I'm thinking that someone has to come looking for these three guys. But it’s my fault they never went home today. That they're never going home again. But if their family or friends do show up, how are they going to believe me when I tell them what really happened? They might just try to kill me anyway once they see they're all dead.
I guess that's why I'm writing this, so there will be no mystery.
I just checked the magazine in this .45 and there's two bullets left. I hate to think of what I might have to do with them. I'm so fucking hungry I can't even tell you. I didn't eat breakfast when I could have. I sort of lost my appetite at the bar because I saw how Corey was getting. But now I could eat anything. I'm scared to close my eyes, but I don't know what to do other than try to sleep, to speed up the chances of someone finding me. Us, I guess. Also, if I'm sleeping, I won't be hungry, right?
Mom, I'm so sorry for what I'm about to tell you. I hope one day you can see me as the same daughter you had before we stopped talking, before I found myself in these depths of unspeakable depravity. Unspeakable because I vow to never discuss aloud of what I have just done, but I need to document just how bad it has gotten here. Writing in my journals always made me... no, MAKES me feel better, no matter how tough life gets. So I can only hope these next few paragraphs will prove some semblance of catharsis – at the least, mirror back to me the shock of what has happened, to keep my blood flowing, because now it's getting freezing. I'm curled up in fetal position, wearing Corey's jacket as I write this.
So, I managed to get some sleep at least, but I'm not sure how long because time has become very abstract here. I woke up not just because I was shivering - I felt a hunger. An emptiness that quickly became a nauseating pain that nearly rivaled my gunshot wound.
I looked at Corey, wondering what's the point of wearing so many layers when you're dead. Earlier today I thought it was stupid he was wearing his fringe suede jacket in 112 degree heat, but now I’m so grateful that he did. I managed to get the strength to scoot myself up to him. It took a long time, but I was able to position his arms up in order to slip the jacket off. It's a big jacket, so it actually covers up some of my wound as well. I stopped shivering for a while, but then I did something that made me start to panic and now I can't tell if I'm shaking because I'm cold or because of the thought of what I’ve done.
Before I slipped the jacket off Corey, I looked at his face. The moon was shining bright enough where I could make out his features. Finally, he looked at rest. Lovingly, I touched his head, I guess to sort of say my last goodbye. My hand went into his exit wound, and I saw about a quarter of his skull was blown off. It was moist, all blood and brain, so my hand got all covered in Corey. Before I could reason how or why, my hand just went right to my tongue. I licked the blood off. It ignited my hunger and was also quenching my thirst. Before I knew it, I just kept going until my hand was clean.
But I know I will never be truly clean again. I went back for more, somehow having the courage to chew. I found some of what I think was his brain matter, making sure there was no hair in it. It just went right into my mouth, Mom. I nibbled at first, just to see if I could handle the taste. It went right down, easier than I thought, little by little. Before I knew it, my hand was going in for seconds. I was able to keep it down, too, and the pain in my stomach went away. Corey made me try tacos de sesos once, even though it was the last thing I wanted to do at the time. So, this isn't that much different, I guess. His dead body isn't doing any good just lying there attracting flies, so I guess a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
And that's all I got for now, Mom.
See you soon, I hope.