Marie Mekker never knew the truth about her mother’s life. She was unsure how to feel about this reality because Marie was always truthful. Eventually, she understood her blunt honesty came from the disdain for her lying mother. She grew up witnessing the hurt and emotional abuse her father endured from dishonesty and mentally veered away from using her creativity to act sneaky or manipulative. Now, Marie could easily tell when someone lies to her. The way they speak, the words they choose, and the way they move are incredibly revealing.
The doors are never closed in Marie’s homes; the walls are only so thin, especially since her family is notorious for their loud voices. There is simply no point in closing the door behind you; all conversations are heard in the Mekker home. Marie grew up as an only child, though, so her parents assumed she would learn to entertain herself during one of their many arguments. The fights would occur so often that Marie knew her place by age 7. She remembers having her best friend Francisca Riveria come over after soccer practice, and shortly after dinner, her parents began fighting in front of the girls. Marie moved her index finger onto the center of her pressed lips, indicating for Francisca to be silent. Then, Marie grabbed onto Francisca’s hand and the two ran out to her bedroom, three rooms over.
Marie’s room was elegant for a child; her mother decorated the place as if Marie were some royal princess. Every time Marie went on a playdate, she noticed her friends’ bright, colorful rooms that were cluttered with toys, crayons, and glitter. Not her bedroom, though – the house cleaner came weekly, and she was only allowed to have books inside her room. Marie eventually had to fuss over placing a small television with a DVD player in her room, and her mother thankfully caved into the very vocal seven-year-old. Once in her bedroom, Marie and Francisca walk over to her mini-TV. Marie picks up Disney’s Aladdin from her bookshelf, walks over to the DVD player, then inserts the disc into the slot. Marie remembered that Francisca listened to the Aladdin soundtrack in the car with her mother, since they sometimes carpooled to school or practice together. Francisca and Marie drown out the fighting words of the adults with the Genie’s dancing and singing.
Marie never knew the truth, so she stopped inviting people over to her house. Her parents were as unpredictable as her; some nights were spent in full cuddles, other nights spent in full sobs. None of Marie’s friends had ever stepped foot in her house, at least not for more than two minutes. Her rules from Manhattan became habits too hard to break in Acklewood, until she met Jesse. Isn’t that always how the story goes?
The exception to the rule. Jesse felt the same about her. With his only two real friends missing, Jesse began clinging onto Marie. He was never the type of guy to have female friends, but this was different. After a night like that, it’s difficult to spend time alone.
This was different, Marie thought. The duo survived trauma together. There is almost an obligation to hang around Jesse often, especially when no one else in town believes their experiences. There was simply no proof and in a small town where nothing happens, there was no plausibility to their story either.
Jesse and Marie secretly spend all their time together. Some weekends were spent returning to the abandoned church, rummaging for anything that resembles a clue. The park in the main town was one of their favorite places to converse discreetly, since it became as empty as the old church on a Friday night. During lunchtime at school, neither of them could be found in the cafeteria, but rather in some deserted staircase talking to each other about Josef and his friends. Their encounter with the occult occurred months prior, yet this cult could not stop teasing Jesse and Marie. The notes always read something like, “WE’RE HUNGRY.”
“If they’re so hungry, why haven’t we run into them again?” Jesse asks while chewing on a tuna fish salad sandwich in the staircase room to the library. This was one of the only spots of privacy in Acklewood High School, which many students knew, but never utilized.
“You’re obviously hungrier than them. I don’t need to see the contents of your mouth, J,” Marie laughs.
“Okay, mom, I won’t chew and talk. Real valid question, though, why have we not given this cult a name?” Jesse asks.
“What? We can’t name the cult, isn’t that their job? Jim Jones gave his people Jonestown. Manson had his family. Josef has his eaters.”
“So, is that what we’re calling them? The eaters?”
“Fuck no. That sounds so lame, J,” Marie shrivels her face in disgust.
“You’re the one that said it! How about Josef’s Zombies?” Jesse suggests.
“This isn’t The Walking Dead, where is your head at? Can we talk about this later? I have to show you something…” Marie puts down her Santa Fe salad and looks at her bag on the dusty, cold hallway floor. The movement is so unnatural that Jesse picks up on her body language immediately.
“What’s wrong? What do you have to show me?” Jesse asks.
Reaching into her black bag, Marie pulls out a photo album and begins explaining, “I walked into my room last night after dinner. The window right by my dresser was wide open-”
“You hate having windows opened,” Jesse interrupts.
“Um, yes, J, I’m fully aware of my preferences. Anyway, my window’s open and there is this photo album on my bed. As I’m closing my window, I swear I see someone running back into the woods behind my house.”
“You live on the third floor of your house, are you sure? Did you ask your parents? What about the cleaners?”
“All things I’ve thought of, J. My parents don’t ever come into my room, even when I ask them to. The cleaners were here two days ago, I was home when they were there. Just look inside the photo album, Jesse,” Marie says while passing him the book.
The front cover reads, “Marie Mekker: The Life of,” with a smiling photo of young Marie. Jesse remarks, “Cute,” to the photo, then opens the book assuming to see more cute photos. Wrong. Well, slightly wrong. Marie’s childhood photos were replaced with pictures of the duo eating lunch, meeting up in the park to talk, and even photos of both their parents at work. Someone, or some group, is watching Marie’s and Jesse’s lives. And that someone, or some group, wants them to know.
“Marie…” Jesse is still too shocked to speak. The past few months of secret meetings were captured right into this album.
“Jesse, take one of the pictures out and read the back,” Marie says. He slides out a photo of the duo from the park two weeks ago, where Marie made a small picnic for the pair to enjoy while discussing the occult. Some of these photos ARE cute, Jesse thinks. On the reverse side of the photo was a time and a place.
8 PM TMW, 4211 N EVES ST.
“I know where that is, M, that’s the Twins first childhood home,” Jesse says.
“So, do you think this is them? Josef and his group trying to lure us?” Marie asks while scratching at her cuticles. Jesse always noticed when her anxiety symptoms began showing.
Throughout the past six months, Jesse had been going back and forth on whether the Twins were part of this cannibalistic cult. Karl and Kaleb were his best friends; the only two people Jesse truly relied on. His mind refused to believe the apparent evidence, while Marie constantly mused over this conspiracy that the Twins were in on the occult. Jesse was hurt, simply. The months continue to go by without a single word from either of the Twins, and Jesse is struggling to have the senior year the trio talked about since they were children. Everything about this situation didn’t feel right, of course, but the lack of communication between Jesse and Kaleb especially was disheartening. Karl was the older “twin” and therefore condescending in nature, but his failure of the third grade rendered him as intelligent as Kaleb. Instinctively, this frustrated Karl since he enjoyed power and control. Kaleb simply enjoyed good conversation, which is exactly what Jesse missed.
“I don’t know. Did you check all the backs of the photos?” Jesse asks. Marie nods her head, then says, “They all say the same thing except one. This one is different,” and hands Jesse a black and white photo. Throughout the months of hanging out with each other, there was some obvious physical tension between Marie and Jesse. This tension was only released once in the form of an intimate kiss while at the park on a Friday night. The photo of the kiss, which was the only one in black and white, was shot at least three months ago. Whoever is spying on Marie and Jesse has been for at least three months, which is all Marie cares to take away from this photo. Jesse’s face had brightened upon seeing the photo, but the message on the back broke his smile.
SEX IS TEMPORARY, PASSION IS RARE. COME, I HAVE MORE TO SHOW YOU.
“Hey, so can I keep this photo?” Jesse playfully asks. Marie shoots him a disapproving look, then asks him about the message.
“Why would they put this photo in black and white? Why this caption? We know nothing about them and they know everything about us, J.”
“It’s something Kaleb used to say, ‘sex is temporary, passion is rare,’ and black and white photos were his favorite. I don’t think these are from Josef. I think Kaleb, at least, is reaching out to me,” Jesse hopes.
“And who does Kaleb work for? I hate your naivety. Like we both haven’t watched all the movies on this,” Marie remarks. Part of the research that Jesse and Marie conducted was simply watching occult films and documentaries together. Even the innocent people in the cult are manipulative for the wrong reasons, which Jesse knows, but seventeen years of friendship can truly cloud one’s judgement. “So, we’re going tonight, right?” Jesse asks.
“Yes, but I need to buy you some pepper spray. Still got the baseball bat in your trunk?”
“Okay, pick me up after dinner. Don’t be late,” Marie says while packing away her lunch.
“Am I ever?”
The school bell rings and lunch period ends. Marie and Jesse go their separate ways, but neither of them can stop thinking about tonight.
While on the school bus home, Marie sits alone and opens the photo album. She inspects every photo, looking for some clue that lies within them. Why include photos of our parents? Is this a threat? Marie looks closely at the snapshot of her mother, all done up in her tight business dress, then notices her mother’s wedding band is missing from her ring finger. Marie’s heart sinks to the dirty floor of the bus. Her parents were acting so lovely since moving to Acklewood. Small fights here and there, but nothing threatening. For the first time in years, Marie felt like she had a normal, healthy family, but now that illusion was shattered. Marie looks through every photo of her mother in this album, and in all of them she is lacking a ring, but Marie sees that ring on her finger every night at home. Does the cult know this? Was that the point?
Jesse enters his home and greets Toby, his black labradoodle. He takes the red leash that hangs by the doorway, clicks it onto Toby’s red collar, then the two begin their daily after-school walk. Since the mysterious disappearance of the Twins, Jesse had been making the fifteen-minute walk to their house everyday with Toby, searching for some inclination about their whereabouts. The house had not gone on the market, yet none of the lights were ever on. The doorbell rang and rang, with no one to answer it. Unfortunately, the Twins and their father never believed in a spare key. One should never be that forgetful, and their family never was. As Jesse approaches the small family home at the end of the block, he notices one of the lights is on. Now, standing outside the weathered home, he knows that the light is coming from Karl’s room. Immediately, he runs up to the door and begins ringing the doorbell. Please, just please, be home, Jesse thinks. No response, but he can hear movement in the house. Jesse’s right ear is now against the old, warm door, listening for anything that can be useful. The movement stops in the house, until he hears scratching against the door, which makes him back away immediately. The usual white, pale color of Jesse’s face fades as the blood rushes to his head, his adrenaline kicks in, and the bright red color of his face is the proof. Not again, Jesse thinks, while walking backwards to see the home entirely. The light in Karl’s room is off now, but Jesse notices that all the blinds on the windows have been pulled up, allowing Jesse to see the inside of the Twins’ home for the first time in months.
Jesse is fully aware that he probably looks mentally unstable, staring up at this abandoned home. He wondered if anyone knew that the Twins and their father were gone, but they were never the type of family to be friendly with their neighbors, so their disappearance has seemingly gone unnoticed. From his view on the ground, Jesse could hardly see the inside of Karl’s and Kaleb’s rooms. Binoculars, I need binoculars, but will that be too suspicious? Will someone call the police on me? Jesse’s mind begins racing with thoughts, so he pulls out his iPhone and calls Marie.
“It’s not time yet, why are you calling?” Marie says, annoyed.
“You’re so charming, you know that? Maybe I need you for something else,” Jesse remarks.
“Need me for less stuff, then, if you don’t like my charms!”
“Would it be sketchy for me to stand outside someone’s house with binoculars?” Jesse asks, ignoring Marie’s attitude.
“Are you outside my house right now, perv?”
“Not everything is about you Marie, Jesus. I’m at the Twins’ house and I swear I saw someone in there,” Jesse says.
“On another one of your walks? Maybe your mind imagined it, you’re so hopeful about them. But standing is suspect, yes, so take your fucking car idiot. You really couldn’t think of that yourself?” Marie’s attitude seems to be coming from somewhere, but Jesse doesn’t care to ask right now.
“Cool, thanks, see you soon, bye,” Jesse hangs up his phone without waiting for a response.
Jesse and Toby race home, they’re both panting by the end of the sprint. After removing Toby’s leash and giving him some ice water, Jesse goes into his room and grabs his grey pair of binoculars that his grandmother bought for him in the 8th grade. During those days, Jesse swore he would grow up to become a private investigator or some sort of CIA spy, so all his gifts were spyware. Now, Jesse hardly knows what he wants to do with his life, but he tells himself this is only because he is not sure if he will have life in a few months. After grabbing his car keys from the entry way vanity, Jesse runs to his car and begins speeding over to the Twins’ home.
The fifteen-minute walk becomes a five-minute drive, probably could be two minutes if there weren’t so many goddamn stop signs. The red octagonal shape taunted Jesse, as if it were symbolizing every obstacle he’d endured to find some truth about his closest friends. Jesse was never moving backwards in his research, but each connection ended abruptly with some time lapse before another connection could be made. His path was uncertain, as well, with each street appearing as an extension of the one before, but today Jesse realized where he was going. The Twins.
Jesse reaches the Twins’ street and begins to slow down. He notices that the blinds on the windows are either fully down or halfway down, except for the blinds on the upper left side of the house, which were the windows in Kaleb’s room. After parking his black sedan across the street from the Twins’ home, Jesse grabs his binoculars that are laying on his passenger seat and looks inside Kaleb’s room. The high window could only expose so much of his deserted bedroom, but Jesse’s memory could fill in the rest. Nothing appeared to be different, which hurt the high hopes in Jesse’s brain, but he saw a poster of Joni Mitchell. Jesse remembered Kaleb’s strange fascination with Mitchell, how often he raved about her music and songwriting skills, which only seemed different to Jesse because he was never into classic rock or really anything before the 1990’s. This poster, though, was usually hanging directly across from Kaleb’s bed, but now it was placed hanging on the wall that the window clearly shows. This has got to be a clue, Jesse thinks. Putting his binoculars back on the passenger seat, Jesse pulls out his iPhone and begins searching “Joni Mitchell” into Apple Music. After clicking on her top songs, his eyes fall onto the song “Help Me” further down the list and his thumb automatically clicks onto it. Fuck, fuck, fuck, what does this mean?
Jesse calls Marie and tells her he is outside, waiting for her. Within moments she appears at his door, already annoyed with him for not having pre-unlocked the passenger side door.
“Marie, listen, before we start this little adventure we need to talk about this attitude of yours,” Jesse says once Marie is comfortably sitting in the passenger seat.
“What attitude?” Marie asks.
“Don’t pretend, M. What the fuck is up? I know you know you’re acting up,” Jesse smirks at the thought of Marie acting up in different ways. He was often surprised at how much his brain was still like a twelve-year-old boy’s brain.
“Okay. Fine, but drive up a little, my parents will think it’s weird we’re still in the driveway,” Marie says. Jesse never understood Marie’s logic with these things, but he figured that she didn’t want her parents to ever bother her with questions.
Marie pulls the tampered photo album out from her bag, then flips towards the end of the book to take out the pictures of her mother at work. Once Jesse parks the car, Marie hands him the pictures and points out the missing wedding rings. “I can’t believe she’s cheating again, J, I mean my parents seem so fucking happy together,” she says in more frustration than disappointment.
Jesse could recount much about the dramatic love affairs Mrs. Mekker had, since Marie would work through her emotions about this trauma through telling the stories to him. He noticed her thought process often led her to the moral of the story, or the lesson that ought to be shared. These stories were just that to him, and Marie could tell them with little attachment, which Jesse always admired. Her resilience, her strength… Suddenly, the other reason for Kaleb’s “Help Me” came to Jesse. Of course, Kaleb knew Jesse was falling in love with Marie.
“Let me see the pictures,” Jesse turned on the indoor car lights above his mirror while grabbing the photos from Marie’s delicate hands. Instead of looking at her mother, Jesse stared down every other employee in the office photos.
“Marie, none of these employees look like adults from Acklewood. Where does your mom work again?” Jesse asks.
“About twenty minutes out, not too far from the church. We know the locals hate driving that far,” Marie says, confused with Jesse’s lack of concern for her mother’s latest cheating scandal.
“No, people from around here will drive anywhere to MAKE money, but they won’t drive anywhere to spend money,” Jesse continues scrutinizing each face until he see’s the one that gives him chills.
“What?” Marie notices Jesse’s sudden reaction to one of the photos, where Marie’s mother is pushing a cart presumably filled with paperwork. The only thing Marie could see was her mother’s bare ring finger pushing the cart, but Jesse pointed to the person she was pushing the cart to, in the far-right corner of the photo. Marie immediately says, “No… Stop. Jesse just don’t talk,” which prompts him to begin the drive to the Twins’ old home.
The duo has said nothing about the photo of Mrs. Mekker and Josef, cannibalistic cult leader, in the same office, which has made this short drive last an eternity.
“Do we go inside?” Marie asks while turning to Jesse.
“I don’t know, I feel like it’s probably safest if we wait for a clue,” Jesse thinks back to all the horror movies that end with many deaths caused from a character’s natural curiosity and decides he won’t die that way.
Marie’s mind has not stopped focusing on seeing Josef’s face again. She never told Jesse this, but she often had many nightmares of him chasing her. Before, her nightmares had villains of no attachment to reality, but now she could not escape the torment of these dreams through waking up. The more months that passed since their first, and hopefully last, encounter made Marie’s brain more forgetful of his haunting image. The situations in her head were finally beginning to become better, but life could hardly aim and threw another baseball at her window.
“My mother, J, what the fuck,” Marie began breaking into a soft sob. Jesse hurt for Marie but felt more saddened at her always pessimistic mindset. This does not have to mean your mother is fucking him, Marie, Jesse wants to say, but he does not know if that’s really the best thing to say and remains quiet. Before he has a chance to respond, all the lights in the Twins’ old home turn on. The pair turn their attention to the house, and both wonder about the family that usually lives there. Are they still alive? Is this a trap? What do we do?
Jesse’s iPhone begins ringing in his pocket and he jumps at the unexpected sound. The number is unknown, but Jesse picks up the call and waits for a voice.
“It’s me, come inside,” Jesse hears what sounds like Kaleb’s voice.
“Who is it? Are you alone?”
“Your favorite, the ugly duckling. Yes, but I only have so much time. I won’t hurt you, J, you know me…”
The excitement Jesse feels as he hears Kaleb call himself the ugly duckling is similar to the excitement his dog feels when the whole family is home. No one called Kaleb that name except himself, because truthfully, he was not as attractive as his father and older brother. The younger twin was given the most love, but mainly because he was the black sheep and his father hoped affection could conform him.
The call ends while Jesse nods his head, “yes,” as a motion for the pair to enter the premises. Marie pulls out the pepper spray she bought for Jesse, and links it onto his car key chain, then opens her car side door. Jesse follows her lead, walking alongside her and yet always a few inches behind. Before opening the door to what felt like Jesse’s second childhood home, each teenager looked around at their surroundings, assuring no one was watching. The street was empty, how it usually is on a Thursday night around this time. Everyone in Acklewood has just had family dinner, which was usually followed by the parents and small children spending much time in front of their televisions. The teenagers went up to their room, played their music a little too loud. No one was watching these teenagers enter this home, which only frightened Jesse and Marie more.
Upon opening the front door and locking it behind them, Jesse and Marie hear Kaleb call for them from the kitchen, which was hidden by the staircase leading to the third floor of the house. Please be alone. Please don’t be a trick.
Kaleb’s sitting at the kitchen table, smiling, which gives Jesse overwhelming emotions.
“It’s been a long time, J,” Kaleb says as he stands up to hug Jesse. He goes for a handshake with Marie, but she doesn’t reach her hand out to greet Kaleb. She’s too honest to be fake friendly to someone she distrusts.
“That’s fair, I guess,” Kaleb responds to Marie’s awkward avoidance of his handshake. Jesse is at a loss for words because there is so much for him to say, and he can’t seem to find the perfect first response, but he manages to say, “I always thought senior year would be different.”
“Me too,” Kaleb quickly replies while softly chuckling. The normalcy of Jesse’s statement surprised him, but also reminded him of the pain he had caused his best friend.
Marie looks at both these boys, who used to simply be classmates to her, and she finally understands why Jesse spent so long convinced of the good in the Twins. Some bonds are unspoken, and these are the bonds that never break. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the fun – you stay for the ride because when someone is like family, you always see the best in them. The same unspoken bond went for her mother and father, although their situation was filled with more drama and lust than mere mystery.
“So, we’re wondering why you called us here,” Marie breaks the loud silence that haunted the brightly lit kitchen. Jesse had been staring at Kaleb, with Kaleb giving the same stare back, which certainly gave Marie the creeps.
“Uh, yes, I think it’s probably better if we go to a room with no windows,” Kaleb begins walking over to the small laundry room hidden in the back corner of the kitchen. Marie’s distrust only grows more, and she feels wary of following Kaleb anywhere, but with her pepper spray in hand she follows the boys’ lead.
“What’s going on, Kaleb?” Jesse asks.
“I don’t even know where to begin, honestly, I’ve been thinking about what to say for the past hour,” Kaleb responds.
“Didn’t you say we don’t have much time? Hurry the fuck up and say what you need to say. Why the fuck are you stalking us? What are those pictures for?” Marie’s displacement of her anger is in full throttle, her desire for answers overpowers her desire for safety.
“I’m not stalking you, and – ”
“Oh? Those photos were just surveillance, then?” Marie cuts Kaleb off.
“Okay, so I was stalking, but only because I had to. This is the worst thing I could ever say, but we set you up all those months ago. I know Josef…”
“Told you,” Marie whispers to Jesse. He still has barely been able to speak, but hearing his best friend admit the hard truth that Jesse had been refusing for months gave him courage.
“What the fuck? You tried to have us EATEN?” Jesse’s voice is clear with anger, but Marie can tell in the slight crack in his voice that he feels more hurt than anything else.
“You’re not supposed to be killed or eaten. Josef told us he wanted to recruit you, Jesse, and he told Karl and I to dare you to bring Marie, specifically, to the church, and before you ask… I’ve never ate human meat,” Kaleb begins realizing the obvious thought process in both their heads and tries to regain their trust.
“What kind of fucking recruitment is that?” Marie jokingly asks, but with all seriousness at the same time.
“Same way gangs will jump you in. Josef likes tough people, he wants survivors and not victims. Jesse, you need to know I seriously would never hurt you. I’ve been the black sheep of the family for a reason. I’m not like this, I don’t want any part of this cult. That’s why I sent you the message,” Kaleb is staring at Jesse, hoping that he can be understanding of this.
“Help me, Joni Mitchell,” Jesse smiles.
“Exactly.” Marie is disgusted that these old friends are having a moment, considering Kaleb just admitted to an affiliation with Josef.
Suddenly, the trio hears movements above them. There is a loud thump, as if someone had jumped in the house. They can hear the slam of a window closing, as well as the creaks in the floorboard with every step this intruder takes. The sounds stop after they hear an upstairs door opening. There is someone in the house.
Jesse remembers that the room directly above the laundry room was Karl’s old bedroom, and he mouths Karl’s name to Kaleb. None of them dare to move or speak, but Kaleb mouths, “I don’t think so,” back to Jesse. Marie’s hand turns red as she tightly grasps her pepper spray, but she still wants answers to her questions and fears the intruder would ruin that.
Whispering, Marie says, “Kaleb, why did you take photos of my mother? Why does Josef work in her office?” Now, footsteps on the stairs fill the house, as well as a loud whistle to the tune of Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. The sound carries throughout the quiet, open house, giving Jesse chills.
“You’re not going to like this, but –” As soon as Kaleb begins to answer Marie, all the power in the house shut off. The small laundry room is nearly pitch black, now, and all three of the teenagers jump. Marie lets out a quick, but loud, “Jesse,” and he reaches for her hand in the dark, but cannot find her. The door to the laundry room, that used to be closed, is now open, which is visible only because of the moonlight from the kitchen window.
“Marie? Marie, where are you?” Jesse is whispering, pulling out his iPhone for the flashlight.
“She’s gone, J,” Kaleb softly says. The lights in the house all shut back on, then Kaleb walks out of the laundry room and starts heading for the door. Jesse is shocked and confused, which makes him stand in the kitchen like a frozen mute.
“Jesse, come on, I’ll explain in the car,” Kaleb starts grabbing Jesse’s arm.
“Kaleb, what the fuck do you mean she’s gone? What the fuck is going on? Tell me right now,” Jesse demands.
Coming closer to him, Kaleb calmly responds, “It’s not safe here. Let’s go to the car, I promise no gimmicks this time.”
After parking in front of Jesse’s home, Kaleb finally begins speaking, explaining, “Listen, I told you I would never let you get hurt. I’ve been asking to leave this cult since I was ten years old, my father’s been with them my whole life, Jesse. They told me that if I could deliver them Marie, then I would be able to be left alone.”
“You’re so fucking selfish. You’re just going to let her be eaten? What the fuck is wrong with you? We have to go fucking find her!”
“They won’t eat her, she wouldn’t let that happen,” Kaleb says.
“Marie is only so strong, she can’t fight all of them off–”
“No, her mother won’t let them eat her. I was trying to tell Marie; her mother is Josef’s favorite… She’s like the queen bee,” Kaleb understands that the next few hours would be spent explaining everything in the Twins’ life that never added up, since Jesse was obviously clueless.
“This is all so fucked, dude, what the fuck are we going to do?” Jesse’s nearly hopeless.
“We chill for tonight, then we go find her. We can’t let them have her,” Kaleb puts his hand on Jesse’s shoulder, which gives him a scope of the backseats. On the backseat of the driver side, there is a paper folded into squares. Kaleb picks up the note, then motions to Jesse. They both knew this would be another note from the cult, since they have such an affinity for these cryptic messages. Kaleb reads the note first, then says, “Fuck,” softly to himself, which prompts Jesse to grab the message from his hand. He was almost annoyed to be receiving another message, because these words were merely threats and did not give him any clues. Jesse could tell the red marker on the white copy paper wasn’t blood, which made the note seem less threatening, although it read:
IF YOU LOOK, YOU MAY NOT LIKE WHAT YOU FIND. IF I WERE YOU, I’D LEAVE HER BEHIND. YOU’LL ONLY TASTE BETTER WITH TIME… SO DON’T GIVE US THE CHANCE TO TRY.
His blue eyes meet Kaleb’s brown eyes, which are like Marie’s eyes, and Jesse feels a slight pain in his chest. No threat would stop him from saving Marie, not even the danger of being eaten after death, because Jesse is in love with her.
“Hey, what did you guys call yourself?” Jesse asks while refolding the note and putting it in the CD holder of his sedan.
Kaleb smiles with the realization that his friend knows nothing about this secret cannibal organization, and responds, “The Devil’s Picnic.”