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The Taunting of Tawny Wilson

The Taunting of Tawny Wilson

A Story by Lindsay

This story is based on a very vivid dream that I had last week. It was written on a whim in less than 24 hours. It's a bit disturbing, but tell me what you think!!!


Lindsay Anmuth                03/2010

The Taunting of Tawny Wilson

Bitter waters rushed against the rocks, licking at the raw January frost. The sound of tiny waterfalls, taunting rapids, and eager life echoed through the woods, past the yard, the smoldered fire pit and forgotten fishing rods, and into the modest wooden house with black shutters.

Tawny clutched her yellowed pillow and pulled the green quilt far over her tiny head. She stroked her flaxen hair with little fingers, singing to herself no song in particular, but one that somehow reminded her of her mother. The angry, frigid wind whipped through the curtains and into the barren room, knocking over the one piece of decoration Tawny owned: the silver picture frame with the picture of her cousin, Jill, her best friend. Jill was five in the picture, the same age as Tawny. The only difference was that Jill now had a jagged scar across one cheek from the photo’s broken glass.

Tawny hummed to herself a make-shift lullaby. She hugged the thread-bare quilt against her satin cheek and started to cry. She was barely aware of her own tears at this point. She missed her mommy, but she was gone. Mommy had been very sick.

A floor board creaked outside of Tawny’s barricaded bedroom door. The floor board. Tawny’s tears flowed on their own as she was now far more engrossed in the anxiety that took over her trembling body.

The brass knob turned slowly counter-clockwise and easily pushed through the mound of stuffed animals she had piled in front of the door. Defeated, she whimpered silently, willing herself to sink into the bed, through the floor, and out the front door. She would go anywhere, do anything to be away from the stupid wooden house with its stupid black shutters. She didn’t care how many strangers she’d have to ride with.

“Shhh. I hear you, little one.” Came a gruff voice through the inky darkness. The large bare feet slapped across the wooden floor. “Don’t cry. I’m hear, baby.”

Tawny whimpered louder now, backing to the furthest corner of the wall. “No,” She whispered.

“No.” He repeated. “No, the monsters won’t get ya, little one. I’m here now.” He sat down on her bed. It sank considerably. He felt across the green quilt, looking for her. “Where are ya? Ahh there’s my baby girl.” He grabbed her tiny, shivering foot.

Tawny felt the big, rough hands stroke her knee and heard the voice, the monster’s voice, tell her everything would be alright. Her tears dried up. She felt helpless, powerless, small.

She heard the sound of a zipper being undone, of clothes being heaved onto the floor, felt the bed rock slightly. Then, leathery hands reached through her legs and lingered. They pulled her closer and fumbled at her Barbie nightgown. A nightgown her mommy had given her.

“Don’t worry, baby. Grandpa’s here.”




            The house shook with all the vibrations and turbulence of a hurricane. The air was warm and wafted through the hall past the open screen door, bringing with it a thousand smells of pleasure: acrid, saccharine, and sour. Everyone watched, from the outside, from the inside, everyone was looking.

            Cam Spina was talking to a group of football players, leaning far over the railing at the bottom of the tall wooden staircase, caressing the banister with one hand, a plastic drink cup in the other. She was drunk and trying to impress the boys with how far she’d bend over, exactly how much cleavage she’d reveal. It didn’t matter that she’d already slept with two of them.

            “Tawny, over here!” She waved enthusiastically. “You remember Jeremy.”

            Tawny didn’t like her tone. Of course she remembered Jeremy. They’d gone to Homecoming together and he had been disappointed when she hadn’t put out. Obviously it hadn’t done much to deter him, though, because he’d been stalking her for months. Every time she turned a corner in school, she could just make out his bulky shape lurking behind, watching her.

            She shuffled over to where Cam was entertaining the dogs and accepted the drink that was thrust into her hand. It was pink and smelled like urine. She took a sip. She wasn’t getting drunk tonight.

            “Hey, Jeremy.” She presented a half smile. “Ron, James, J.D.”

            “Hey Tawn Tawn! Why don’t you look like you’re havin’ fun? What are you depressed? I swear I don’t think I’ve ever seen you really smile, ya know?”

            “Huh,” Tawny muttered, taking another unwanted sip.

            “Why don’t we go somewhere and talk?” Jeremy led her toward the den, where the entire cheerleading squad was singing karaoke. He grabbed her ghostly-white hand in his and steered her toward the dining room, where they settled at the table next to a couple making out.

            His blond hair was gelled back a little, revealing his smooth, tanned face. His dark eyes combed her thin body. She felt him all but undressing her. She started to sweat. Took another sip to calm herself down.

            “So I was surprised to see you here tonight. Didn’t think you’d want to show up at Bill’s after what happened last year.” He said, staring at her chest the entire time.
            Is that where they were? She shrugged. They had all gone to a movie last summer and during a scary scene, Bill Delany had tried to wiggle his hand up her shirt. It didn’t matter now.

            “You really freaked out! I mean, yeah, the guy’s a scum bag, though.”

            Tawny felt herself begin to sweat a bit more. She kept the drink at her lips in case he expected her to talk. He reached across the table and held her pale fingers, stroking them in his.

            “I’m sorry things haven’t been working out since the dance. I’ve been thinking about you a lot, though.”

            No kidding, thought Tawny, next you’ll be standing outside my window with a radio above your head.

            “Anyways, I wanted to see if you had a date to the Prom. You know, Ron and the guys are getting a limo. Cam has already said she’d go with J.D. And I think you and I could be good together. I mean, it doesn’t have to be like last time, right?” He paused to let her answer. She didn’t.  “So will you go? What do you say, baby?”

            Tawny jerked her hand away, spilling a quarter of  her drink. “Don’t call me that.” She felt the muscles in her right eye begin to spasm. She had a slight nervous tic and it was aggravated now. “Just, don’t call me that.” She got up from the table to find a paper towel somewhere. “Fine, I’ll go.”

            She stalked off in the direction of the kitchen and caught a glimpse of Jeremy still sitting there, looking confused. “Great. I guess I’ll text you later with the details!” He yelled to her.

            Tawny had no intention of going back to the dining room. She felt as if an entire colony of ants was crawling across her skin. There was an aching sensation between her thighs. She wasn’t sure why.

            She heard a voice softly whispering her name. It was almost inaudible and she wasn’t sure how she was able to hear it over the loud bass coming from the living room. “The Blueprint, the Blueprint!” she heard someone yell. She thought that might have been a rap album at some point.

            She turned in to the spacious bathroom beneath the staircase, narrowly dodging the football players. She didn’t want anyone to see her like this. Didn’t know why she’d come in the first place. She gingerly closed the door and locked it. She splashed a bit of cold water on her delicate face and looked up to gaze in the mirror.

            Her auburn hair hung loosely over her face. She brushed it back. Her cheeks were flushed, giving her a healthier look than she usually toted around. It was probably the drink. She could feel its effects already.

            “There’s my baby girl,” a gruff voice whispered, an inch from her ear.

            Tawny leapt forward, clutching the sink. She couldn’t tear her eyes from the mirror. There, behind her, stood the translucent figures of her dead grandparents, staring at her as if she were something to eat.

            She remembered now. Remembered why she felt anxious all the time, why she couldn’t bear to be touched, why she wouldn’t dare let anyone call her ‘baby.’

            It was them. What they did to her all those years ago.

            “Get away from me!” She cried. She felt her insides coming alive again. Felt the dead weight sloughing away. She wanted to scream, to attack them.

            The ghost of her grandfather grinned maniacally. “Enjoy your party, little one.”

            Tawny grimaced and flew to the door, tearing it open. Cam was outside waiting for her.

            “Tawn, what the hell? What’s the matter? Were you talking to someone in there?” She craned her neck toward the open bathroom door.

            “No,” panted Tawny.

            “Oh. I thought maybe Jeremy…”

            “No. What? Listen, Cam…I know this sounds crazy…but I just saw the ghosts of my dead grandparents. I…I…I don’t know…” She stammered, holding her head in her hands.

            “Oh. Okay, come over here,” She led Tawny into a tiny alcove in the hallway. “So, I know this is a really rough time. Your cousin just passed away…”

            Tawny began to protest, but stopped as a realization hit her.

            “And you’re obviously under a lot of stress. Maybe it was too soon to come out to a party.”

            “Cam, I…oh my god…I get it now. Cam, she lived with them after I moved out. After I moved in with my foster family! The hurt me so bad, Cam!”

            “You lived with your grandparents? But…”

            “Yes! And I remember now! I didn’t remember before. That was the problem, don’t you get it? They did the same thing to Jill. They must have…oh god, Cam…they killed her. It wasn’t drugs. I knew she’d never do drugs!”

            “No, T…listen…you told me…”

            Tawny cut her off. “I know. I know what I told you. I…it’s like I have two sets of memories now. I remember being with the Hansons. I remember being happy. And then I remember living in that wooden house. With them. I remember the black shutters. I remember the…the floorboard. The stuffed animals, Cam!” She began to cry, but she didn’t care. She had buried it down for so long, beneath a million lies, a thousand forced smiles, a hundred false memories. She didn’t want to lose this feeling. She felt liberated.

            “I have to go.”

            “Go where?” Cam asked, clearly puzzled.

            “Uh, to the bathroom! Again.”

            “Right. Well, I think we should talk about this a little more…a lot more…when you come out. Here, take your drink. I found it on the table.”

            “Yeah, thanks. Be right back.”

            Tawny flew back into the bathroom and locked the door once again. She stared through the mirror. Her hands were shaking. She heard Jeremy calling her name outside the bathroom door. Heard him knocking. “Be right out!” she yelled. She took a long drink from the red plastic cup. She pulled a long hair from the rim and examined it.

            Thirty seconds later, a familiar voice called her name. “Tawny-girl. How’s Grandpa’s baby?”

            She whirled around to face the apparitions. She wasn’t at all surprised to see them. “Listen you sick f***s.” The ghost of her grandma jumped back against the wall. “I know what you did. I remember, and I’m not hiding it anymore. Hiding it did nothing but get me…here! Do you know how s****y my life has been? I’m almost through high school and do you know what I have to show for it? A C+ average, a cutting habit, and one lousy friend who stuck by me for the sheer reason that she feels SORRY FOR ME!”

            The two stood there, silent. Tawny could see the flowered wallpaper through their ghostly bodies. Their clothes hung in rags from their wrinkled, transparent skin.

            “I know what you f*****g did to Jill. I know you touched her, violated her…just like you did to me. I know you f*****g MURDERED HER!” Her tears stung the dry skin around her eyes. Her damp hair clung to the sides of her face as she shook her head as if to clear it of the horrible memories that flooded back to her.

            “We loved you, Tawny-girl,” smirked her grandfather. She could hear the words, dripping with disdain. “Remember when you loved us, too?” He began to laugh.

            She did remember. She remembered their naked bodies, their taunting words, quiet, insistent instructions. She remembered their heavy breathing. The anxiety built up in her frail body. She needed to run from them. Run from them or pass out right where she stood.

            “F**k you both!” She screamed and leapt for the doorknob.

            Outside, it was warm but easily ten degrees cooler than in that tiny bathroom.  Tawny looked around, saw Cam waiting for her by the alcove, and hurried to the stairs so as to dodge her. She wanted to put as much distance as possible between herself and her tormenters. She saw Jeremy standing off to the side, staring at her. Probably wondering what was going on.

            She scurried up the stairs to find a vast hallway. She opened up the first door. Bill Delany and Karen Pryor were making out to eurotrash music. She opened the second door. An angry pitbull lunged toward potential freedom. She quickly shut it, narrowly missing his snarling teeth. Forget this, she thought, and headed back the way she’d come. She stopped short, almost giving herself whiplash. Her heart hammered through her chest, as delicate as an eggshell.

            “Tawny. It’s okay. I’m here now.”

            What she saw hit her with all the force of a brick wall. “No. You’re not. I…are you really here?” She asked.

            “Yes. You can see us now, Tawny. Me, Grandma and Grandpa. Don’t you see? You’re just like your mother now. She had the sight, too.”

            “But…She did?” The tears flowed rapidly now and Tawny was reminded of the little stream outside the wooden house. Of lying awake listening to the rushing waters.

            “Jill. I miss you so much.” She reached out to touch the ghostly form of her beautiful cousin. “Did they hurt you too, Jill? Did they…did they kill you?”

            “Yes, Tawny. After you left, they took us in, my parents and I. My parents didn’t know what was happening. They drugged them, too.”

            “Jill, I knew it! I’m sorry. I’m so sorry we lost touch. I should have called you. God, it’s been so long! We were so close when we were little. We played all the time. Do you remember?”

            “Of course, I remember, Tawny. I loved you. I always have.”

            Tawny knelt down against the wall, shaking and shivering. Jill leaned down to stroke her hair as she did when they were little. She was amazed at how life-like Jill felt. After all, she was a ghost.

            “Tawny! What’s the matter?! When did you come up here!” Cam’s voice resonated through the dark hallway. Tawny looked up, embarrassed. Her eyes darted down the hall, looking for Jill. She stood against he opposite wall, smiling.

            “Cam. I’m sorry. I saw…”

            “Here, drink this, you’ll feel better,” Cam thrust the familiar red cup back into Tawny’s hands. “You left this in the bathroom. Now tell me what the hell is going on.”
            “I see them all now, Cam!” She blurted out. She was scared. She had never been so scared. But she felt so…free now. “My grandparents…even Jill. And my mom had the sight too, Cam. Jill told me.”

            “Tawny, what are you talking about?” Cam gaped in horror. “You never had a mom. Remember what you told me? She abandoned you outside of the hospital.”

            “No, no…I remember her. She used to sing to me. She sang me a song at night.” Tawny struggled to remember. If she could just sing the song…if she could remember how it went, Cam would believe her.

            “That’s why the Hansons took you in. God, Tawny you told me this yourself!”

            She remembered telling Cam the story. She remembered the Hansons telling her themselves years before. The nurses had called child protective services and the Hansons had taken her home with them, later adopting her. But why was it that she remembered both? She remembered her mother and she remembered never having a mother. She remembered both the love she felt for her and the void left where no mother, no lullaby had ever existed.

            “Why don’t we start with the beginning, Tawny.” Cam said softly. Tawny nodded. “Who is Jill?”

            “What? Jill. Cam…she’s my cousin. My cousin that just died. Jill.” How could she have forgotten? They had just been talking about her.

            “No. Wow…okay, Tawny. I don’t know who this Jill is, but your cousin’s name was Aaron. Aaron just died. Remember you two were in a car accident on the way to New York? You were there. You were driving. It was a little over a year ago. Do you remember now? Are you okay?”

            “No. I…I don’t remember.” She was shaking harder now, hugging her knees to her chest. She thought she could see a boy’s face. He had the same auburn hair and piercing eyes, but she felt nothing. There was no attachment there.

            “He went to our school. He was a sophomore. Oh! Remember you did that duet in the talent show? The one from Dirty Dancing. He called you ‘Baby’ ever since!”

            Baby? All of a sudden a rush of emotions poured forth from the depths of Tawny’s aching body. The smiling face, the infectious laugh, the screech of tires, and the whirlwind of confusion that followed. She cried out. Cam clutched her tightly.

            “I know, I know. It’s hard. Even after all this time. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought it up. But you were talking about…Tawny you’ve lived with the Hansons since you were a week old. I don’t know where the idea of grandparents came from. Maybe a dream…” Cam trailed off.

Tawny couldn’t breathe. The walls were slowly constricting, squeezing her aching head.

Cam reached toward her with the red cup. “Here, take a sip.”

            “No! It makes me feel sick. I think there’s something in it.” She glanced down the hall to where Jill had been standing. But who was Jill? Where had she come from?

            “Why do you keep making me drink it? What did you put in it?” She backed away from her friend.

            “Put in it? Nothing! It’s fine. Take a sip.”

            “No! I figured it out. That’s the reason I’m seeing all of these things. The reason I can see them, hear them, FEEL them! It’s that drink! It’s you!”

            “No, Tawny…I don’t think you understand…” Cam smiled at her, pitying her.

            Tawny lunged at her, tipping the ugly red cup with the toxic pink liquid. She had to get out of there. She ran down the hall, past the wooden doors, and down the long staircase. She dodged the football players, including Jeremy, and leapt toward the open screen door. She heard him calling her name.

“God! Get away from me, Jeremy!!” She screeched.

“Yo, Tawny! Easy! Easy!” laughed J.D. “Jeremy left an hour ago. Right after you two had your little conversation.”


“Yeah…nice job walking out on the dude.”

Tawny couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She’d heard him calling her, knocking on the bathroom door, she’d seen him even. Angry, salty tears flung wildly as she tripped outside the door. A thousand pairs of eyes surveyed her, seeing through to the emptiness inside. They could read her thoughts, she was sure of it. Her heart bounded through her chest, threatening to pierce through her throat.

            But Tawny’s intensifying anxiety was distracted by a low vibration coming from her back pocket. She pawed at the material, coming up with a tiny silver phone. It read ‘Home.’ She answered it.

            “Hello,” She choked.

            “Tawny, dear. I’ve been worried sick. Is everything going alright?”
            Through the thick cloud of confusion, she recognized the voice of her adoptive mother. It felt like a very old memory, from another lifetime.

            “Yes. Everything is fine Mrs. Hanson.”

            “Mrs….? Tawny are you sure you’re alright? You always call me ‘Mom.’”

            “Right. I’m sorry.” She sat down in the dewy grass, blocking out the bass from the loud speakers inside.

            “Anyway, your father will be there to get you in an hour, but it’s ten o’clock. You know what that means. You have them, correct?”

            “I…have what?”       

            “Don’t tell me you forgot your pills, Tawny Marie. I thought I saw you put them into your pocket.”

            Tawny scrambled to her feet and felt her back pockets. Nothing. She crammed her left hand into her front pockets, searching around. A hollow rattling caught her attention. She pulled out a small orange and white bottle and held it up to the front porch light.

            “Remember to take two. You know what, I’m going to tell your father to come now. You don’t sound like yourself. You haven’t been drinking have you?” Her mother gasped. “You know that counteracts the effects of the pills!”

            Tawny nodded, she did remember. Sort of. She held the bottle closer to her face.

Tawny M. Wilson

300 mg/day. Do not take with alcohol.

            She squinted to read the smudged print in the middle of the label.

            “Tawny, are you still there.”

            “Yeah, see you soon Mom.” She muttered, squinting at the print.


Atypical Antipsychotic.

For the treatment of Schizophrenia.

© 2011 Lindsay

My Review

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A riveting and vivid read! Loved the plot and ending.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Interesting story, after I was finished reading this I was speechless, a great plot and it captivated me, tawny seems like a complex character...anyway great job...

Posted 10 Years Ago

wow that was a really good story. at first i wasn't going to read it because of the length but it kept me captivated the whole time. amazingly well done. i love the character tawny. i didn't even think it would be schizophrenia i thought it was like possession or something. keep it up!!!! :)

Posted 11 Years Ago

Disturbingly captivating drawing the reader through the character's mind and leaving a connection not easily forgotten

Posted 11 Years Ago

A captivating read that kept me glued to the screen even though I am at work, odd to follow at times but I like David Lynch Movies so that made this appeal even better. This could be made into a great short, or movie!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago

Normally I don`t take the time to read a piece
this long, but you pulled me in, stuck me in a
corner watching you and there was no way out.
YOu know how to capture a reader, you did,
and I succu;mbed.
I consider this one of the most captivating things
I have read on cafe.
Thank you,
----- Eagle Cruagh

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago

Very captivating from the first few lines and onwards. And nice Twilight Zone-flavored ending.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


This is the first piece of yours I have read and I am impressed. You have a clarity in your story telling that is often absent from many of the pieces submitted to this site. Internal consistency is as important to a story as the plot.

The trauma of childhood rape combined with Schizophrenia is a powerful story telling combination with a big emotional impact on the reader.

What strikes me as profound is the juxtaposition between the mundanity of the "reality" represented by Mrs Hanson, and Tawny's pills vs. the nightmare Tawny lives in her other self; the self that was so dreadfully harmed.

Nice write.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago

Wow. Just wow. This was nothing short of brilliant. Amazingly well written, with perfect language choices and strong visuals. The development of Tawny was genius as was the development of your story. The slow descent into madness is one of my favorite topics and you covered it here as capably as I've seen it done. You had my heart racing at all the right moments. You totally manipulated me. I am just in awe. Truly.

Just a couple of typos...
“Don’t cry. I’m hear, baby.” Should be "here".
"The hurt me so bad, Cam!" Should be "They".


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago

Holy crap. this is real good. The end explains everything nicely and quite a gripping, mysterious tale otherwise..Well done !!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago

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23 Reviews
Shelved in 4 Libraries
Added on March 15, 2010
Last Updated on November 9, 2011
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Laurel springs, NJ

I love music, traveling, reading, writing, psychology, dancing, and photos. more..


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