Nora and Nicole met Sybil at a nearby cafe. They didn’t waste time on amenities.
Sybil’s story was their story, the same banner headline on a site, the same instant contact, the same whirlwind relationship, the same three sons, the same ending with no bodies to bury. But the parallels went deeper;
“I thought I heard my son talking when he was just a few months old.” Sybil began, lighting a cigarette.
” He was talking, not in English, but in a language, a language my husband understood. When they saw me, John, my husband, began to speak baby talk. Jerry, my son, repeated it. I packed it away, assumed I’d been mistaken…”
“Exactly!” Nicole exclaimed.
Nora grabbed onto the chair upon which she sat as they turned to her for validation. At first all she could do was nod, her mouth open, then, taking a breath;
“I always felt my children were hiding their ability from me.They would say; “potty”, instead of “I want to use the bathroom”, because they didn’t want me to know. I know it sounds…”
Nicole interrupted; “It doesn’t sound anyway, Nora. That is the truth. From the moment my son, Eddie, spoke his first word, the look in his eyes was that of a deceptive adult.”
“Yes,” Sybil said with strength. “That is exactly what I saw, what I felt.”
So there it was. In triplicate. All the doubt, all the questions, repeated, and confirmed. Something extraordinary had happened, not just to her, but to two other women.
And after a silence; “They aren’t dead.” Sybil said. “Maybe the bodies are, but they are not.”
Why wasn’t she more shocked? Why was she nodding her head, thinking, yes. Of course. Nora grabbed a cigarette, though she hadn’t smoked for years.
“I heard my story from another woman, Cathy Pike.” Sybil began, rising, to return with a bottle of wine and three glasses.
Four. Enid thought. Four of us. How many more?