Name: Ephany Downhardt
Occupation: Struggling Artist
Place of Residence: Montpelier, VT
Ephany was born and raised in a rural forgotten-name town in Vermont, breathing in the smells of decaying wood houses and moist dirt roads that lead through forests of beautiful maple trees. Occasionally, if she sat underneath their red and gold canopies long enough, she could smell the sweet syrup seeping from the bark on its own accord. During her childhood, nothing could replace the content silence of her solo exploration and personal discoveries. However, as less and less remained undiscovered and the boundaries of her world shrunk, the outside world had a growing appeal. The space between her family’s home and the closest town was a car ride of forty minutes; the nearest home with children was almost the same, making it close to impossible for regular interaction with others her age. She was homeschooled by her mother until the end of high school – her eyes constantly on the horizon.
After completing her high school education, Ephany had a dream to pursue the arts at the fine arts school in Bennington, Vermont. The night before moving to her new apartment and starting school, she took one final stroll through her favorite trails between the maple trees. She hoped their smell would cling to her like ‘white on rice’, as her mother would say. However, that night… something else would cling to her that she wasn’t expecting.
Under the cover of shadows, Ephany witnessed a brutal murder. The sounds caught her attention first, and stopped her dead in her tracks. The gruesome cutting sounds, the deafening ‘crack’ that needed no visual… bone was splitting and joints were being yanked loose. The muffled screams didn’t last as long. Whatever was covering the victim’s mouth, or choking them, was working… everyone in the world remained oblivious to what was happening except Ephany. For two solid hours she stood in terrified silence and watched each limb separate from the victim’s body, watched every drop of blood fall onto the ground and stain the deep rich soil with death. After the butcher had left, finally satisfied with his work, Ephany remained.
How she managed to pull herself away from the scene that night, she never figured out. For three years after, the guilt built up inside of her. The secret raged against her insides and demanded acknowledgment and resolve that never came. Her schooling suffered, and eventually, she decided that a trip may help her aching mind. She took what extra money she had and purchased a bus ticket, not caring where it went or how long it took to get there…
Habits: The apparition started following Ephany almost immediately after she returned home from witnessing the murder. At first, she thought it was a hallucination… a creation sprung from her nightmares (which were frequent) that lingered in her eyes after waking from a terrible sleep. Then she started seeing it in the day time… It followed and never spoke, but somehow, she never doubted what it was. She didn’t know what to call it, but she had to call it something… she couldn’t imagine the poor creature wandering around in spirit with no name after it had already lost everything in life; lost everything in life because of her cowardice.
She called it Noname. Like a heavy cloak, draped over her shoulders in the summertime, the ‘thing’ haunted her. Its form was ever-changing and always appearing more ghastly than it had before. Some nights it would materialize with no arms… some nights, its neck would be hanging by one lone flap at the nape. But never would it detach from the shadows…never would it have a face… and never would it tell her why. In all honestly, it didn’t have to. She knew the reason and had accepted the burden of Noname’s “company” for the rest of her life. It was what she deserved, after all…