I THE DECLINE
She had become rather demented around the time her first novel was published. It was a dark, scathing tale about young women living in various poverty stricken conditions. It was hailed by critics, yet its apparent readership was limited to close friends of Madeline’s. Huddled in her loft apartment they lamented over the plights of the characters as if it were their own misery.
It was around this time that Madeline stopped paying her electricity bills. Friends who called often were only greeted by the constantly closed doors. No one had heard from her for several weeks. Not her mother, nor her sister, nor the married cartoonist for the New York Times with whom she was conducting an illicit affair. She had, in a sense, disappeared and no amount of phone calls, nor urging could woo her back. Her friends thought perhaps she was writing her much awaited sequel and as friends often do, soon lost interest in her.
No one remarked that since her book was printed there seemed a undefinable unease about her. No one recalled at the dinner parties where her whereabouts was often discussed quite rabidly, the glint of something-not-quite sane in her pale eyes, that she had lost weight. Or perhaps most disturbing and obvious of all, that her apartment had become filled with notes, taped over doorways, across each inch of her mirror and one solitary note wrapped tightly around her toothbrush. Perhaps they had not noticed, or did not want to.