An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|Beckett traps Maureen under the bed|
For several seconds, Maureen blinked in the dark, squinting to make out the shapes around her. The blackness seemed to have a life of its own, thick, large and powerful, and she struggled to avoid choking on her panic. The smoke from the extinguished candle wafted across the room, and for some odd reason, it helped to focus her anger at her husband. "This is ridiculous, Ted. You stop this immediately. I mean it. Relight that candle right now! This isn't funny."
There was no response. Leaning in, she thought she heard a shuffle of movement to her right, just the slightest sense of motion near the front of the room. Reflex took over, and she dropped to the floor, damned if she was going to make that easy of a target. There was a swallowed chuckle from the same spot, and she strained her hearing to determine which way the footsteps were moving. Sweeping a hand out, she could feel the wooden frame of the bed, and the empty space beneath it, a dark gaping hole. Deciding it was best to stay low, she closed her eyes and slid under the bed, careful not to make a sound.
He was remarkably light on his feet, but with an ear to the floor, she could feel the vibrations. In her mind's eye, she figured him to be somewhere between the kiva and the bed, leaving her an escape from the frame's opposite side. For several seconds, there was no movement, as both waited for the other's next move. Maureen considered her options, trying to place the exact spot her husband was standing, when a hand snaked out and grabbed her left ankle, tugging hard to pull her out. She grabbed for the post, and held on, forcing him to tug harder. There was no way she could keep hold, her fingers working hard to keep their grip. When a thought came to mind, she smiled, and let go, allowing herself to be yanked out into the open.
Even in the dark, she could hear the smugness in his voice, and imagine the smirk on his face. "Looks like I win, Baby. Nice try, though." He bent over to offer his hand, releasing the hold on her ankle.
She raised her right arm in submissive resolution, and as he went to take hold, swung out her left leg, and caught him behind the knees. He never saw it coming, and losing his balance, hit the floor with a thump and a grunt. Wiggling away, she crawled across the floor and headed toward the stairs, not even sure where they lead. Behind her, Beckett regained his composure, swearing under his breath, and pulling himself off the floor.
With a giggle, and a racing heart, Maureen ran up the wooden stairs, and pushed open the heavy timber door, finding herself on the adobe's roof top. The sky had cleared, and a small sliver of crescent moon sat east in the sky, amid an ocean of glittering stars, which provided enough light to make out the empty landscape, and the ragged hills to the west. The beauty of it all was stunning, and in any other moment, she would have enjoyed the peace and solitude of the scenery. But with the sound of her husband's footsteps on the stairs behind her, her only desire was for a place to hide, or a means to escape.
|Going after Maureen, up on the rooftop|
"Damn it, Maureen! Don't you dare! I swear I'll...don't be foolish. You're risking your safety...and the baby's. I give up. You win, okay. I surrender. Just come off that ledge." He took a single step forward, and put his hand out.
From her perch on the rooftop wall, Maureen tried to gauge his sincerity. In truth, she had absolutely no plans to make the jump, but did he actually believe she might? She watched his face,
looking for any sign he might be playing her. Then with a sigh, swung both legs to the flat surface of the rooftop, and tentatively walked toward him. "Okay, let's just call a truce. No one wins. No one looses. How 'bout that, Ted? Can we do that?"
He nodded, and smiled, a full tooth grin. "Sure, baby...anything you say. A truce. Actually, I'm quite impressed that you were able to take me down."
Growing in confidence, she moved closer. "Thanks. I learned from the Master."
"And the Master is quite pleased, as he didn't think you were paying a bit of attention to anything he was teaching. Although, I suggest next time, you draw your leg tighter around the knee."
When she reached him, he opened his arms, for what she believed was to be an encompassing hug. Instead, he grabbed her below the waist, and with very little effort, flipped her over his shoulder.
With her head hanging down, and her rear across his shoulder, he headed toward the stairs.
Realization hit her, as her head bounced against the small of his back. "But...but...you said we had a truce. No winners, you said."
"Yup. I did say that. And of course...I lied, Baby. Just consider this another little lesson from the Master."
Roxanne handed over the pocket knife. "Go ahead, Kev. You do the honors. This is pretty exciting."
He took the offered knife, and thought a moment, leery of the unknown. "Maybe we should just leave it be. You know, the whole Pandora's box theory. If it's been locked up here, maybe there's a reason for it."
"Don't be ridiculous. Do you really think something bad will coming flying out of it? It's probably nothing, but you should really check. What if it's something important about Holy Family? It's your duty as Pastor to check it out."
The whole situation had him thinking Genesis, and he looked at the box as if it were Eve's apple he was holding. But he didn't wish to appear as some superstitious fool in front of Roxanne, and the reality was, the box was most likely just an old piece of junk. He gave it a shake, and inside, something rattled.
"Well...there's obviously something inside. Go ahead. Just open it, so we can get on with the rest of this sorting."
Against all better judgement, Fr. Kevin stuck the end of the pen knife into the the lock. Wiggling it around, he heard a click, and the latch sprung open with a pop. The box held only a single item. It was a small silver key on a long, hemp string. Holding it up, it swung loose, looking strangely ominous in the normal surroundings of the storage shed, and despite the heat of the day, Fr. Kevin felt a shiver run down his spine.
"It's a key." Roxanne stuck out her hand, stopping the swinging. "And there's a number on it."
" A number?"
She pulled the key closer to her line of vision. "Yeah...457. I wonder what it opens."
"I don't know. Could be just about anything. Oh well, so much for treasure." He dropped it back into the box, and shut the lid, secretly glad to have the thing out of sight.
Roxanne grabbed the box out of his hands. "Aren't you even the least bit curious? This key has to open something. Something important. Why else would someone put it in a locked box?" She flipped open the lid, and dragged the key out again. "It looks like a key to a safety deposit box, doesn't it?"
Kevin shrugged. "I don't know. I've never had a safety deposit box. Besides, we have no idea where this so-called box might be. Could be anywhere. It would be near impossible to track it down without any additional information."
"Oh, Kevin. You have no imagination! This is an adventure...right here under your nose. How could you not want to...well...know? Know how this mystery plays out?"
Thinking about the last few mysteries that had dropped in his lap...Rivera's murder...the suitcase of the money in the confessional...the dead girl in the woods...the abandoned baby...Fr. Kevin shuddered. He seemed to have a knack for finding himself in the worst situations, and if the pattern held, this one would be no exception.
|The mysterious key|
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus
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