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Blackbird 1 – #youlikeit

By @MonicaPrelooker

11. the tip of the iceberg

Tanya’s bomb was followed by another hour on Skype, as the girl gave Gillian the complete tour through all she had practically stumbled upon while looking for the names of those girls. And all the things she kept finding even as they spoke.

“I’m telling you, Reg. This is an iceberg to sink three Titanics in a row.”

“Okay, T, but slow down, please. I wanna take some notes.”

When they finally disconnected, Gillian spent some time putting her notes in order to get the full picture in her head. Then she sat to watch the videos Tanya wanted her to check.

Dawn caught her still in front of her computer, earphones on to keep from waking Connor up, reddened eyes not out of tiredness, but from fighting back her tears. Because those videos were girl after girl after girl giving account of how Roger Johnson had abused them, and how nobody had offered them any help or protection. Including the three girls lurking around the crime scene. They didn’t giggle in their videos, but cried, completely shaken, showing some of the bruises from the attack.

She sneaked downstairs to fix herself yet another coffee.

Roger Johnson had been an anything-goes abuser. His only preference had been race: all the girls were white. Other than that, he’d had no defined type. Tall and short; fair hair or dark; the cheerleader kind, the grumpy nerd, the cute shy. It hadn’t been about some sick compulsion he couldn’t fight back. It’d been all about power. He’d wanted to subdue them, not have them. To show them nobody was allowed to do anything but praise him.

She knew she needed to doze at least a couple of hours, but she felt too sick with those broken, shaky voices echoing in her head.

“…in that little storage room under the stairs. He slapped me to make me shut up and… I had all that blood in my mouth… And then he ripped off my…”

“…and when I went to see the principal, he told me it was hard to believe that such a nice boy like…”

“…then another doctor came in and they just sent me home…”

“…say you like it, *****, and they were all laughing, and I thought he’d let the others…”

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