Sue had a problem.
Sue knew exactly what the problem was; she just did not know what
to do about it. It was something she had just learned to live
with. It. It had always been there.
knock at her door turned out to be Mrs. Jerusha Evans Mills, faithful
member of Emmie Sue's church. She said she had come bearing messages.
Sue smiled as she listened to her friend compliment her on her
singing at the church last Sunday. Her friend said no one had
ever sung Amazing Grace in such a moving manner. The whole congregation
was in awe.
caller told her that she should have stuck around to be congratulated.
That was why Jerusha Evans was here today. She was carrying the
congregations well wishes and compliments to Emmie Sue about
her wonderful performance.
Sue nodded and thanked her for coming by. After seeing Mrs. Mills
to the door, she leaned against it after she had closed it, and
sighed. Things like this had been happening all her life. Emmie
Sue had not gone to church in two weeks. Yet she had been seen
there those two Sundays...
got a little complicated when one had a plateye attached to them
like glue. Well, at least this time it was something good and
not like last month when everyone was sure they had seen Emmie
Sue drunk and bawdy at the neighborhood saloon.
had never in her life been to the Starlite Saloon. It was that
plateye that had been there, looking just like Emmie Sue.
plateye was a cross between angel and devil and had been around
ever since Emmie Sue could remember. She used to think when she
was very young that it was a twin sister.
Sue soon had learned she had no sisters. The plateye was always
there and most of the time looked identical to her.
shape shifter had a sense of humor, too. Emmie Sue had a terrible
crush on Jason Collier and one day he started paying Emmie Sue
loads of attention. He even lured her over to the corner of the
school playground and attempted to kiss her.
Sue had closed her eyes and waited for the kiss. When it never
came, she had opened her eyes, to be met with her own laughing
face. That had been cruel, but that was how the plateyes did things.
they were good and sometimes they were bad.
plateye had come to the pond where Emmie Sue, Jason and some other
children were swimming. It had held Jasons head under the
water until he was almost dead. Everyone had thought it was Emmie
Sue who had tried to drown Jason.
children avoided her after that incident and Jasons family
had almost had her committed to an institution for disturbed children.
Had it not been for her mothers pleas, they would have.
She had been placed under a doctor's care.
Sue had tried to tell Dr. James about her plateye but to no avail.
He gave her pills to take and her mother made sure she took them.
They made Emmie Sue drowsy and gave the plateye almost free rein.
was not easy with a plateye for a companion, especially when no
one else could see it.
had passed and Emmie Sue`s plateye showed no inclination to leave
time there had been many troubles and tragedies associated with
always seemed to get around. In this little town everyone knew
everything about their neighbors and all their history, and Emmie
Sue was often a topic of their small talk.
Sue had loved her father dearly. One afternoon as Emmie Sue's
mother had sat in the cool on the patio, waiting for them to join
her, she heard a cry and saw her father pitch headlong down the
steps of the open porch.
had tumbled in what seemed slow motion, until he had hit the patio
blocks below with a sickening crunch of his dear head.
Sue, screaming in horror, had seen a form upon the steps. It instantly
faded and she knew it was the plateye. The plateye had tripped
her father, just as she herself had followed him out the front
the funeral, Emmie Sue had had to have her medicine increased
because of such agitated and extreme grief. There had also been
speculation in the small town as to her father having been pushed
to his death by her.
one would listen to her about the plateye... not even her mother
or Dr. James.
mother had enrolled her in the local sanitarium after that, and
that's where Emmie Sue had spent several years until her mother
had died and Dr. James had released her on her own, to be seen
at the local clinic on a regular basis.
they had made progress, as she no longer talked about the plateye.
life had been a series of small misunderstandings because of her
plateye's shenanigans. Most of her time was spent alone except
for church occasionally, and of course, her clinic visits.
Sue waited in the lounge for her monthly appointment with Dr.
James and leafed through a magazine to pass the time. There were
several other patients there and it might be a long wait.
door to Dr. James' office swung open to let a patient exit and
as it did, Emmie Sue saw her plateye already inside with the doctor.
that exact moment there was the sound of a struggle coming from
the office and attendants went rushing through the lounge to the
office where the violent sounds were coming from. Emmie Sue saw
her plateye bent over Dr. Evans as the attendants rushed in to
there were rough hands pulling at Emmie Sue and, in surprise and
shock, she looked down and saw her own hands clinched tightly
around old Dr. James' bony throat, just below his bluish gray
looking up again, just as she felt the prick of the needle, she
saw through the still open door, her plateye sitting in the lounge,
with her legs sedately crossed, reading a magazine.
Emmie Sue watched, stunned, her plateye lifted its eyes from the
magazine that it was reading and smiled at her above it, knowingly.