The Visible Filth
Nathan Ballingrud
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
Chapter 7

Will arrives home just before sunrise, parks the car behind Carrie’s, and leans back on his seat with eyes closed. He feels an intense sadness within him, but he does not know how to address it. He finds comfort in the car, as from there he will not have to face Alicia or Carrie. He believes he can comfortably sleep there and come up with something to tell Carrie. But at that moment, someone calls his phone — thinking that it is Alicia, but it is Carrie on the other side. Despite being immensely disappointed, he picks up, apologizes for returning home late, and that he is on the way into the house. The call disconnects, and he starts to imagine Carrie’s reaction after getting into the house.

A text is sent to Will’s phone, and it is a picture taken from inside his house with the lights off. The image is directed at Carrie’s study, and there is an active computer screen. He hurries into the house calling for Carrie, who is in her study, keenly watching something on her computer. He asks her about the phone call and the picture, but she claims not knowing about them for she is sleepy. Before going to bed, he checks everywhere in the house and ensures that the front door is locked. Even after going to bed, he does not close his eyes until the sunlight paints the room.


Evidently, Will is torn in between Carrie and Alicia, and reality and imagination. He intends to elude them both by staying in his car, from where he does not have to face either of them. He seems like a typical liar who chooses to apply dishonesty as a way of escaping complications and arguments — a behavioral trait that makes the emptiness in his life evident. For example, he has mastered the art of lying and can smooth talk his way on the phone call. However, the picture he receives of his house awakens something inside him, for he suddenly starts to worry about Carrie’s safety.

On the other hand, Carrie might have stayed awake in her attempts of escaping the effects of the horrifying images she saw on the phone. She was possibly scared of going to bed alone, and for this reason she is quick to overcome the fear after Will returns. The decision to check the entire house before going to bed and failing to close his eyes before sunrise affirms Will’s concerns while portraying him as a cautious individual, especially when faced with danger.

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