By Skylar Blankenship

I like to think I am better than them, but I still try to cling to the idea my husband has told

me more times than I can count with his distinctive southern boy draw “You are good person,

Anabelle. A real good person.”

The mundane sound of papers being turned rippled throughout the tastefully, but

impersonally decorated room.

“What kind of malarkey is this?” asked the man in the fake leather arm chair as he

dropped the papers upon the coffee table that separated him and a woman sitting on the

overstuffed matching couch.

Confused she answered, “Malarkey?”

“Rubbish, bologna, complete and utter bull,” sighing the obviously older gentleman


“This is not malarkey,” she countered purposefully tapping her freshly manicured nails

against the blue spiral notebook.

“Yes, it is and I quote,” He picked the notebook back up and flipped to the page he was

looking for. “‘I grew up in what most people I know call an ordinary life. From my first memory

my house was in a cookie cutter neighborhood in the suburbs, with a mom, a dad, a brother, a

sister, two golden retrievers, and two striped tabbies. And yet by no means did I have boring

childhood.” Looking above the glasses rims he continued, “You have told me nothing, absolutely


“Aren’t you supposed to tell me something like ‘It is okay if I’m not ready to open up

yet.’ Or ‘You are only hiding from yourself.’ Or any of that other crap they teach all of you


He stood and quite calmly explained “I do not like to repeat myself, so pay attention.

What I have here in my hand is not what I asked. It is a bunch words strung together that have as

much meaning as a dog scratching at its fleas. If you want a pat on the back join a youth soccer

team. If you want something gift wrapped and handed to you go to a department store. If you

want a quick fix go and raid your local pharmacy. If you want to get better stop being such a


And with a muffled thunk he let it fall into the waste basket.

That was the first five minutes of their first session.

Anabelle Lee, her literature professor father had a slight obsession with Edgar Allen Poe,

was assigned to Dr. James Gregory Chalke six years ago that day. And based upon their first

meeting and second meeting, she would never guess in a million years Chalke would be holding

her and Andrew’s third child as the priest poured holy water upon her head.

Click. Anabelle could feel unevenness of the cobblestone and sand beneath her feet.

Slide. She could hear the familiar tune of the guitar. Clack. There was cold, salty metallic taste

on her tongue. Breathe in. She could smell the food of the street vendors. Breathe Out. She saw

the world blur into chaos. Click.

She blinked.

“I have come here every week since I can remember. At this very station my father taught

me to shoot a .22, the same gun his father taught him to shoot with. After that day I was hooked.

It became my place. I came here after my first breakup. When I failed my first test. It is where I

decided what I wanted to do with my life,” taking her eye away from the scope she said to

Chalke, whom she knew had been standing behind her for the last twenty minutes.

“Why is this time any different?” he asked crouching down beside her.

Rolling her eyes while under her breathe she muttered “That’s a stupid question.”

Ignoring the quip Chalke asked “May I?”

Anabelle rolled over to the left and Chalke took her place.

“The world is always simpler when you look through a lens. There is focus, precision. In

that moment you see exactly what you need to see. But after that moment, what if you never stop

looking through the lens?” he pondered adjusting the scope’s alignments. Chalke then rolled to

the right and without another word left Anabelle alone with the past.

Click. Anabelle could feel sweat running down her back. Slide. She could hear the music

orchestrated by the wind. Clack. There was the taste of her breakfast on her tongue. Breathe in.

She could smell the burnt aroma of gun powder. Breathe Out. She saw canyons being carved by

rivers of blood. Click. She blinked.

Perfect shot, right between where the dark grey eyes had been.

The third time Anabelle met Chalke he played her a recording; “You killed him! You

killed him! You killed my son! You are a murderer,”!

After a moment of silence Anabelle spoke, “She is lying. I did not murder anyone,”.

“You aimed the gun that killed her son,”.

“I am not a murderer.”

“You pulled the trigger.”

“I am not murderer!”

“You killed an eighteen-year-old boy. You pulled the trigger that killed someone’s son.

You have blood on your hands, Anabelle. You are a murderer. You are a killer. Anabelle Lee

Smith is a killer! If you cannot accept that fact than no one can help you, not even yourself,”!

“I am not a killer.”

“Get out,”.


“Lies are not allowed in my office.”

“You cannot kick me out,” she shouted in response!

Opening the sound proof door for his guest he yelled back, “Yes, I can. This is my office.

This is my property. This is my time. If you are going to insist on lying to yourself, then you can


Two weeks later there was a knock on that same door. Knock. Knock.

“Come in.”

“Do you have a moment?” Anabelle asked walking into the office.

“What can I do for you?”

She answered by placing a worn red spiral notebook onto the coffee table between the

fake leather arm chair and the overstuffed matching couch.

“I am a killer.”