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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Meeting Fr. Murphy


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.

Thank You,

The Author

Boston, November, 1849
     There was the very distinct possibility that he was dreaming.  Maybe he had fallen asleep on the train ride back to Dollyville.  He closed his eyes, and pinched the fleshy inside of his arm, giving it a sharp twist for good measure.  He opened one lid, then the other, and shuddered in disappointment.  Nothing had changed.  He was still in the shabby, frozen room, wearing clothes that were so not his own.  Fr. Kevin pulled the belt of the worn robe tighter, and cinched it at the waist, silently mouthing the words of his morning prayers.  If ever he needed divine intervention, now would be a perfect time.

      Upon finishing, he began a cursory examination of the room, hoping to find some clues as to his present whereabouts, and a possible explanation regarding the situation.  There was no doubt that the place had seen better days.  The paint was peeling in several locations, and the wainscoting hung away from the wall where it met the window on both sides.  There were a few pieces of  furniture scattered about, all mismatched, and in need of a good cleaning, while the walls were covered in dusty framed prints.  Warming his hands over the dying embers, he examined the collection nearest the fireplace.  Above the mantel hung a faded, but recognizable print of the Vatican.  He squinted to try and make out the tiny date in the corner, but could only make out the first two numbers..."18".  The wooden ledge held a myriad odd odd items.  In addition to several grimy candle holders, there was a handful of dried nuts, some with the shells empty, an old pipe, its end thoroughly chewed, four specimen jars containing things of unknown nature, and a framed picture of the both the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother.

         It was logical that the owner of the room was surely Catholic, as the pictures attested.  For some odd reason, that piece of information gave him additional courage, as he crossed the room to examine the old writing desk in the farthest most corner.  Its lack of dust revealed that it was used on a regular basis, a stack of papers and a quill tipped pen laid out awaiting its owner's return.  Kevin stared at the words, but couldn't make them out amid the exaggerated slant and flourish of the penmanship.  It appeared to be some type of discourse on a passage from the Gospel of St. Luke, but it shed little light on the hows and whys of his location.

        Next to the desk was an oak washstand, its bowl and pitcher chipped, but of good quality porcelain.  Above it hung a gilt mirror, the gold tint more green than yellow.  The face looking back at him was a shock.  The man was tall and gaunt, a mop of curly black hair nesting messily on the top of his head.   The startled priest ran a hand over the two days growth of stubbled beard, and pulled his hand away in shock.  The reflection in the mirror was obviously his, but looked nothing like the face that had greeted him earlier that morning.  This face was older, harder and decidedly in need of a shave.  The only thing he recognized of himself were the eyes, the same shade of meadow green, the ends tilted up in permanent wonder.  They were his eyes, and those of his late grandmother and sister.  That recognition gave him a shred of hope.  It reinforced that he, Kevin Seamus O'Kenney, was still in that strange body somewhere.

       He lifted the pitcher to take a closer look, when a knock at the door caused him to jump.  The porcelain slipped from his hands, and went crashing to the floor, shattering into a million tiny shards.  There was silence, and then a woman's voice called from the other side.

      "Father Murphy?  Sainted Bridget, are you alright in there?"

      For a second, he thought with unabashed hope that the voice belonged to Roxanne, but his heart sank fast.  The woman sounded older, lower pitched, and the accent was heavy with the brogue he remembered from his grandparents.  And then the words sank in.  Father Murphy.  It appeared he was still a clergyman, a Catholic priest, where ever "here" might be.  And he pondered, not for the first time, what a jolly jokester the Almighty might be.

       Kevin cleared his throat, concerned how the words would sound when they tripped out of his mouth.  "I'm fine.  Just fine.  I...I seemed to have dropped the water pitcher."  To his ear the timber sounded the same way it always did.  But here now, in this, place, he couldn't be sure of anything.

      There was a grunt, followed by what sounded like a deep sigh of long suffrage.  "I've come to fix the fire, Father.  And to see about your breakfast.  May I come in?"

        The thought crossed his mind that she might somehow notice he wasn't this Fr. Murphy.  Read it in his eyes. Hear it in his voice.  But he needed to connect with another human being. Needed help in figuring out where he was, why he was here, and how he could make it all go away.  She might even aid him in locating Roxanne if she were somehow in this strange place with him.  He ran a hand through the dark curls, and rubbed at the blood shot eyes.  Blood shot, yes.  But still, gratefully, his own eyes.  "Yes.  Please come in in."

           With a turn of the knob, the door creaked open, and in stepped a woman as wide as she was tall.
Her cheeks sat like two large ripe apples on the bones of her face, and where her neck should have been, were several layers of chin.  Despite her size, she moved with stringent efficiency, kneeling in front of the fire place, and poking at the ashes.  In a matter of minutes, she had the flames crackling, and he was grateful for the bit of warmth they spread through the room.  Finished with her chore, she turned back, hands on hip and an odd expression settled on her face.  For a moment, she simply stared at him, tilting her head to the side as if she needed a different perspective.  Then with a shrug, she wiped her hands in her apron, and began to bundle up the dingy bedding, chatting away as she did so.

           "Will ya be wantn' your breakfast before, or after Mass, Sir?"

            He had not a single clue as to what the right answer might be, but for a reason he could not explain, he was hungry beyond belief, his stomach growling in rumbles over the mention of breakfast.
"I think I will have it before Mass.  If it isn't too much trouble for you."

            She looked at him sharply.  "There be no need for curt wit, Father.  I fixed a fine stew last night fer yar supper. Tis not my fault ya were too much in yar cups to eat it, if ya need to be hearn' the truth."

          The whole conversation confused the hell out of him.  To his mind, he was exhibiting common courtesy, but she had, for some inexplicable reason, thought he was being sarcastic.  Trying again, he choose his words carefully.  "I did not intend to offend, Ma'am.  If it is easier to prepare breakfast after Mass, then I would be most happy to have it then."  To his own ear, his language sounded stilted and formal, from a time not his own.  He worried he was getting it all wrong.  That the woman would run shrieking from the room, claiming an imposter had taken Fr. Murphy's place in this house.

         She narrowed her eyes, and looked at him shrewdly.  "Ya got the fey in ya this mornin', Father Murphy.  I mean no disrespect, Sir, but no good can come from the company ya keep.  I hear the talk. You best keep your nose to the business of the church, and leave the the ungodly to those that know best how ta handle it."

         Sensing an opportunity for more information, he coaxed her into further conversation.  "Ungodly,
Mistress?  I'm not sure what you mean by that."

         With a huff, she dropped the dirty linen back on the bed, and wagged a thick finger towards his face.  "As sure as the day dawns, Father, ya not be fooln' me a bit.  Nothing goes on in the North End that hasn't met the ear of Birdie McBride.  I pride me self on the knowing of things."  Patting her ample bosom, she boasted.  "I keep the blarney to mine own self, but I knows what I know.  And good folk, 'specially a man of God like Himself, don't belong attendn' to the likes of John Webster, he bein' the sorts to be mixed up in the devil's work."

         Somewhere in the back of his brain, the name John Webster rang a tiny bell of recognition, but he was hard pressed to understand why.  Reaching for answers, he replied, "My call is to minister to all God's children, Ma'am.  It is not for us to sit in judgement." Again, the syntax of the words, and his queer inflections, sounded odd in his head, and he assumed, that like the body, they belonged to the mysterious Father Murphy.

          Birdie McBride, it seemed, was hardly the type to be easily silenced.  She continued her self-righteous tirade against her Pastor.  "Ministern' to the man's soul is one thing, Father, but doin' the work of the police is another.  I hear on the streets and in the market about your business at the jail.  Pokin' round askn' questions that be none of your business.  Yar concern should be on the good people of St. Mary's, and not the defense of a common killer.  If the police think Webster killed poor Dr. Parkman, then that be reason enough for the rest of us, includn' Himself."  Being done with the conversation, Mrs. McBride gathered up the laundry, and waddled to the door.  "I best get busy with your breakfast, Father, if Mass is to be on time today.  Will ya be having the usual, Sir?

     He nodded, hoping that "the usual" was nothing of a disgusting nature.  His mind was swimming,  the word "murder" banging around his head like a marble in a brass bowl.  Here and now, lost in time, it seemed trouble was always destined to find him.

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus  2014
All Rights Reserved



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Time To Move On


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.

Thank You,

The Author

The strange gold pocket watch

     Both of them stared at the object in the box, neither of them opting to reach in and pick it up. Kneeling on a chair, Roxanne tilted the metal container to get a better view.  "I gotta say I'm a little disappointed Kev.  I'm sure it's worth a nice chunk of change... if it's real gold, but...well...I was sorta expecting something a little more...awesome.  Especially considering where it was being stored.  Are you sure there's nothing more in there?"

    Fr. Kevin sighed, and began to shuffle the contents.  He shook his head, and pulled out an antique, gold pocket watch, and a folded piece of paper.  "Nope...that's it.  Just this watch, and some kind of note."  He held the time piece up for her to examine, the light catching it's surface and making it seem oddly glowing.  "It is a very nice watch.  And who knows...maybe it has some historical value."
Sensing her obvious disappointment, he added, "Not a box of money or jewels, Rox.  But still very cool.  It must have been pretty important to someone to cause them to go to so much trouble to bury it's location like they did."

     "I guess.  Still, I just had such a strong feeling that...that...oh, I don't know...that it wanted us to find it."  She stopped it from swinging in his hand, and examined it more closely.  "There's some kind of engraving on the back, but it doesn't make any sense to me."

       Kevin took it from hand, and peered at the marks on the flat side of the time piece.  "Yeah...there's some kind of message, but it's not any language I can read.  Looks more like symbols than actual letters or words."  Seeing her interest piqued, he teased, "Or maybe they're ancient rune markings, Rox, left by some elven king of Middle Earth."

     She giggled, and slapped his bare arm.  "Ok, now you're just being an ass O'Kenney.  Stop teasing me.  Admit it, Kevin.  You're as disappointed as I am that it's just a pocket watch.  I know you were hoping it might  be something valuable that belonged to your parish."

      For a brief second, Fr. Kevin thought about the suitcase full of money left in his confessional last summer, and all the trouble that followed, and shuddered.  "Gotta be careful what you wish for, my friend.  Sometimes things aren't what they seem."

      She seemed to take his words to heart, and thought on them for a moment.  "You know, you could be right, Kevin.  Maybe it's value is other than monetary.  Could have some kind of historical value.  Maybe it belonged to Paul Revere, or someone like that.  This is, after all, Boston."  She handed the folded paper to him.  "Read the note.  Maybe it can tell us more about the watch."

       The paper was very old and brittle, and tiny pieces flaked off, and fell to the table with each unfold.  Fr. Kevin gingerly picked at the corners, until the parchment lay flat and open on the table, while
Roxanne examined the elegant looped handwriting, faded to the palest gray.  "Damn!  Just more goobly gook.  Doesn't make a bit of sense to me.  How 'bout you?"

      He slid the paper closer, settling himself in the chair next to Roxanne.  "Actually, I think I can read some of this.  It's Gaelic, but a much older form than I'm used to seeing.  I'm guessing that I could probably pick out enough words to get the gist of it."

     "That's cool!  So what does it say, Kev?"

     Fr. Kevin took a moment, and silently examined the few lines of words, before attempting to read it out loud.  "Beir greim ar lámha ama, agus a shealbhú iad daingean. I gcás go bhfuil an teaghrán a chónaisceann snaidhmthe san am atá caite, ar an snáithe go secures go deo ar an todhchaí. Bí tú an tailliúr, ansin tá am i do chumhacht. Go raibh Dia leat."

       "Yeah...yeah...alrighty what does that all English?"

       "I think it's something about time."

        "Well, that makes sense.  It is a watch, you know.  Does it say who it belongs to?  Is it someone famous?"

        "Just hang on a sec, Rox.   I'm trying to figure it all out"

         She watched as he silently mouthed the words, weighing their meaning in context to the others.  After several impatient minutes, he looked up from the sheet.  "I think I have it translated."

        "So tell me already.  What does it say?"

         Kevin stared at the faded parchment intently, as he read the words. "Grasp the hands of time, and hold them tight. For the string that binds is knotted in the past, a thread that forever secures the future.  Be you the tailor, then time is in your power.  May God be with you."

        Roxanne's face crinkled in defeat.  "Great.  Tells us absolutely nothing.  Just some Irish poem about time."  She folded her hands and laid her head on them.  "I'm sorry, Kevin.  I dragged you on some totally wild goose chase, for no purpose at all.  I apologize.  Plus, now we're going to have to rush to get to the station before the last train back leaves at 6, and there's no time even for dinner.  I'm really sorry about all this."

       "Don't feel bad, Roxanne.  It was a fun day.  And the watch still has to have some kind of value.  Even if it's not a priceless antique, I'm pretty sure it's made of gold.  It's gotta be worth a few thousand, at least."

       "Does it even work?  Maybe a collector of old watches would be interested?  I see stuff like this on Pawn Stars all the time."

         "Hmmm.  I don't know.  Let's try it out. hold the bottom, and I'll try pulling out and twisting the stem.  We'll have to use a delicate touch.  I don't want this tiny piece to snap off in my hand.  Then it will truly be scrap metal."

         Roxanne moved her chair closer to Kevin, and took hold of the watch's face.  Using his fore fingers, Kevin popped the little appendage up, carefully twisting it both ways to figure the correct direction.  They watched as the little hands under the crystal moved slowly around the numbers on the face.  For a brief second, the lights flickered, and there grew, from nowhere in particular, a low humming sound that built with intensity.

          "Kev, do you hear that?  That weird humming noise?"

          He opened his mouth to answer her, but the words died on his tongue.  His head began to swim, and the room shimmered and grew fuzzy to his sight.  His sweaty hands slipped from the watch, and he felt himself falling backwards, until everything went a deep, velvety black.

Ted and Maureen make their way to Izamal
         It took both of them a better part of an hour to drag Arroyo's rug wrapped body to the ravine behind the building, and dump it amongst the rocks.  That finished, Beckett retrieved their passports and money from the hiding spot in the car, while Maureen did her best to do away with any signs of the man's murder.  As she wiped the last of his blood from the cracks in tile, she pondered the unique position she currently found herself in.  Here she was, nearly four months pregnant, newly married, in a foreign country, a witness to murder her husband had committed, and without a single resource of any kind.  Her entire safety rested in a man who she had known less than a year, who was, without a doubt, capable of extreme behavior.  She wanted to tell herself that she loved him, but wasn't sure if that would be entirely true.  Obssessed?  Yes.  But love?  That was a line of thought she didn't want to deal with.  Not here.  Not now. That was a question to ponder in a different setting. She was sure of only one thing.  She trusted Theodore Beckett.  Had from the moment she'd met him, for no specific reason she could ever explain.  There was not a shred of doubt that he would do anything in his power to see to her safety and well being, as well as that of the child she carried.  And at this particular moment in time, that seemed enough.

         Beckett poked his head in at the door, an A-K 47 thrown over his shoulder in the same comfortable manner other men might hoist a golf club.  "You about ready, babe?"

         She dumped the sponge into the bucket of bloody water, and stood.  "Just about.  I got as much of it up as I could."

         He wandered over to the spot, and examined the floor.  "Looks good.  We don't have to worry about leaving trace evidence.  Just don't want the place screaming 'dead'.  The longer we can fool them into thinking that Arroyo's still alive, the better for us." Taking the bucket from her hands, he added, "I'll get rid of this, you grab your things and take a seat in Arroyo's jeep.  I'm gonna get rid of our rental car, and then we'll be off.  Okay?"

        Maureen gathered up her few belongings, and made her way to the jeep.  From the vehicle, she could hear the motor start on on the rental, followed by a huge crash, as the car slid into the ravine over the exact spot they had recently dumped the body.  A few moments later, Ted appeared, the rifle still at his side.  He slid into the seat next to her, and started the engine.  Then, with a smile so hopelessly out of place given their current situation, he asked, "You ready to go home, baby girl?"

      "More than you know.  But how are we getting there?  You said yourself...the bad guys will be watching all the commercial airlines?  We're sorta stuck."

       "No worries, sweetheart.  We're gonna make our way to Izamal...just like Arroyo advised.  We'll find a plane we can use to get home.  Well, not all the way home, but at least to the Florida Keys.  Once we're there, we can take a commercial flight back to Boston.  Sound like a plan?"

        Her husband had a way of putting things that made the most craziest of plans sound perfectly normal.  "I suppose...but what kind of plane will we find at Izamal.  I thought he said they had crop dusters and sea planes.  Will we be able to get all the way to Florida in one of those?"

        He paused, thought about it, and then nodded.  "It'll be a bit of a stretch fuel wise, but I'm thinking we'll be okay."

        "Thinking we'll be okay?  That doesn't sound too reassuring, Ted.  Besides, who you gonna get to fly the damn plane...even if you can actually find one in Izamal?"

          He smiled, all straight white teeth, and strong jaw.  "Why, me of course, darlin'.  I'm a licensed pilot.  I thought you knew."

Just where is Fr. Kevin?

      It was the cold that finally brought him back to his senses.  A biting, achey chill that seemed to seep through his very clothes.  It took several attempts at forcing his eye lids open before he could bring anything into focus, allowing him to access his current situation.  And when his foggy head cleared enough to allow his dormant brain to function, what he saw left him in a complete state of shock.  The room was dark and shabby, a bedroom of sorts, with glowing embers in a tiny fireplace being the only source of heat.  Wind blew in from a cracked window decorated with frosty ice, and threatened to extinguish the last of the fire.  He found himself lying upon a lumpy mattress, perched on an old wooden bed frame.  The clothes he had so carefully picked out that very morning, were gone, replaced with a tattered and worn robe over a stained white dressing gown.

        Confusion pounded in his head, and he worked desperately at putting together some type of recall.  He remembered being at the bank.  With Roxanne.  The two of them had been in that crazy vault with the paneled walls.  They had found the box the key opened.  Yes.  Yes.  The box.  The box held something...what was it now...his brain seemed frozen like the rest of him...yes...the was a watch...a gold pocket watch.  He struggled, hoping to bring to mind the last minutes of that memory.
He recalled Roxanne sitting next to him.  The scent of oranges from the shampoo she used on her hair.  That note on the table in front of him.  In Gaelic.  Something about time.  About threads holding it together.  Then they had handled the watch.  Tried to wind the stem...the humming noise...and then nothing.  Nothing until he had come to conciousness a few moments ago.

       He felt ill and confused.  Disoriented both physically and mentally, with fear gnawing at his insides like a hungry beast.  He pushed the musty blankets off his body, grateful to find that it still appeared to be his body.  He slipped out of the bed, and made his way to the cracked window, the cold air, and his fear, causing him to shudder and shake.  With his hand, he brushed away a patch of ice, scraping at it until he had made a hole big enough to see through.  Outside, the wind and snow swirled about cobblestone streets, while a cart and horse pushed their way against the wind.  From the window, he could see the familiar steeple of the Old North Church.  The sight reassured him.  He was still in Boston.  But surely not modern Boston, as his surroundings attested to.  Just where the hell was he?  And where, good Lord, was Roxanne?

Copyright 2014 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved





Saturday, January 11, 2014

It's About Time...


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.

Thank You,

The Author

Welcome to Boston

     No one was happier to see the city limits of Boston than Fr. Kevin.  The two hour ride had felt more like six, and by the time the train pulled into the South Station at Summer Street and Atlantic Avenue, he was more than ready to get off.  To his horror, he had discovered that Roxanne was the world's biggest "chit chatter", enjoying on going conversations with any human being that made the unfortunate mistake of sitting near them.  At first, he thought she was just being polite to the busy body old woman, and her long suffering husband.  But the couple had left the train at the Plymouth stop, and were replaced by three woman heading to Boston for a shopping day.  They had barely settled into their seats, before Roxie pounced on them with a million casual questions, which, to his amazement, they seemed more than happy to expound on.  In the last hour, he had heard possibly every suggestion for getting stains out polyester blends, and was now an expert on avoiding calluses in summer sandals.

     It was a side of Roxanne he had never seen.  She seemed to soak up information like a tiny brunette sponge, dragging quotes, comments and ideas from even the most common of encounters.
His companion had even managed to get the mono-syllabic Morty to share his mother's secret recipe for the most tender beef brisket ever, a feat his pushy wife had to this day been unable to discover on her own.  Rox had this quiet way of pushing you to reveal things you had no intention of sharing, and that ability made Fr. Kevin nervous for a whole lot of reasons.

     Although slightly cooler than home by the breeze from the harbor, the pair cooked under the June heat, and by 3:30, the bedraggled priest was ready to call it a day.  He was tired, hungry and his shirt stuck to his body like a wrinkled second skin.  They had visited eight banks in nearly four hours, and had yet to find the box that could be opened with their mysterious key.  The only thing currently on Fr. Kevin's mind was a cold beer, and some kind of dinner before they made the trip back home.

     "But Kev...we can't give up now.  There are still four banks we haven't checked yet.  We can easily still get to them before the last train home leaves at 6."

     "Look Rox.  I know this is fun for you.  Honest, I do.  And I've tried to be a good sport.  But this is like chasing a needle in a haystack.  More than likely, this key doesn't belong to any of the other banks either.  And there's nothing saying that even if we find the safety deposit box, there's going to be anything of value in it.  I say we call it a day.  Find someplace nice for dinner, and have a good laugh over our adventure."

     The petite woman stopped dead in her tracks, and folded her arms over her chest.  "I never figured you for a quitter, Kevin O'Kenney.  The Kevin I knew would've never given up so easily.  You've gotten soft in your collar, Father.  Too wrapped up in humdrum paperwork and policy.  I feel bad for you."

       He knew she was just goading him.  Maureen did it to him all the time.  But somehow, coming from Roxanne, it made him agitated.  "That's not fair, Roxanne.  I love my vocation...and I'm good at what I do.  It matters.  So I resent when you imply that it's just routine for me.  That's not true...and you know it."

      She dropped her arms, and looked up at him, big brown eyes shiny with unshed tears.  "I'm sorry, Kevin.  I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Truly I didn't.  But...we're so close.  I can feel it!  It's like this key has a mind of its own.  It wants us to find the box."  Seeing his face, she added, "Okay...I realize that sounds totally weird.  But I think it's important that we see this through.  It's only four more.
Please?  And if it's not in one of those, I'll give up.  For good.  I promise."

      There was no doubt in Fr. Kevin's mind that he was being played like a wind up toy.  Not a single doubt.  But if he was to be honest with himself, he had to admit that he felt the same way about the key.  Had felt its pull the moment he laid eyes on it.  And maybe, it was because of that unnatural draw that he wanted to give up and go home.  With the appearance of Brian in his life nearly a year ago, he knew better than anyone that there were a lot of strange things in the world.  Unexplained things he had no answers for.  The mysterious key had the same feel to it.  That it belonged to another place or time, one he had no business being part of.  If he gave up now...went home without at least giving it his best would drive him to distraction.  He wished that Brian were here now to offer up some advice.  But unfortunately, it had been months since he had last come around, and that in itself, was worrisome.

      Fr. Kevin sighed with additional exaggeration.  "Alright, Roxanne.  You win.  We'll check out the last four banks.  Under one condition.  That you promise to drop this whole search if the box that goes with this key is not here in Boston.  Agreed?"

       Satisfaction curled the corners of her mouth.  "I agree, Kevin.  You have my word.  These will be the last four places we check.  I promise!"


       He should have known it would be the last bank on the list.  It fit the plot sequence for every mystery novel he'd ever read, and every TV drama that caught his attention.  They had arrived at First National Bank of Boston a few minutes before 5:00 PM, and been sent back to see a certain Mr. Walter Pikes.  An elderly gent with curved spine, and a full grey beard, he peered at them from behind small round spectacles.  Upon seeing the key in question, he looked at them oddly.

       "And just how did you happen to come to have this key in the first place?"

       Roxanne looked at Kevin, and gave him a nudge.  "We found it among some old parish records.
Holy Family Church in Dollyville.  I'm...the Pastor."

       The little man narrowed his eyes, making him look like a bearded mole.  "You?  Pastor?  A Roman Catholic priest?"  He looked at Roxanne, and gave her the once over.  "I'm afraid I'm going to need to see some identification...solid identification...multiple pieces."  He folded his hands on the desk, and waited.

       Fr. Kevin removed his wallet, and began to lay the various cards on the man's desk.  Despite the blast of air conditioning beating down from the vents overhead, he could feel sweat  gather at his hairline.  There was something creepy about this exchange of words, and the bearded mole man set him on edge.  He looked over at Roxanne, who seemed to have lost some of her usual exuberance, and seemed decidedly flushed herself.

       The man held each piece of identification up, and examined it carefully.  When he was finished, he  handed them back to the priest, and stood abruptly up.  "Follow me."  He led them toward the back of the building, past rows and rows of metal boxes, and down a long staircase.  Using a digital code punched into the panel on the wall, metal doors slid open revealing a large wood paneled room.  There were books lined around shelves, and on one wall to the left, more metal boxes, much older and more ornate than the ones they had previously passed.  Searching among them, Mr. Mole pulled down the box that matched the number on their key, and laid it on a large oak table with legs carved into the shapes of mystical beasts.

         He turned to them, and spoke in a low voice.  "Here is what you seek.  I would imagine that you are prepared for what you find?"

        Not knowing what to say to such a question, Fr. Kevin nodded his agreement.

        For the first time since meeting him, the man smiled.  "Then God be with you both."  He turned back towards the metal door, and before leaving, advised.  "Press the button here on the wall when you are finished.  I will come retrieve you."  And with that, the metal doors slid shut, leaving them alone in the strange room.

         Kevin swung the key on his finger.  "I don't know about you, Rox.  But I'm freaked out to the max.  This too weird."

         Roxanne wrapped her arms around herself, in a soothing hug.  "I know what you mean."

         "We could just call him to come back.  Not even bother to look."

         She shook her head.  "No...we came this far.  We have to see this through.  It's probably nothing. We're just letting our imagination run away with us.  Go it."

         A shiver ran down his spine, as he set the key into the lock.  With a slight twist, the lid popped open, revealing the odd contents inside.
The box

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved




Saturday, January 4, 2014

Death, Doubt and Denial

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.

Thank You,

The Author

Beckett deals with the body
    She stared at her husband as if he had grown two heads.  Just who the hell was this person squating over the dead guy on the floor, going through his pockets?  She had known from the very start that Ted Beckett was edgy.  Someone who didn't seem to play by the same rules.  And maybe that was what had attracted him to her in the first place.  But holy shit!  There was a human being lying six feet away from her with an oozing bullet hole in his forehead, bleeding a river all over the ceramic floor.  And for some odd reason, all she could focus on, was the way the red liquid seeped from the wound, and filled the grout lines of the surrounding tiles.  Suddenly woozy, she lowered herself to the edge of the bed, the cotton sheet still the only article of clothing she wore.

      Pocketing the man's cell phone, Beckett looked up, and noticed that his wife had gone several shades of gray.  "You okay, babe?  Maybe you better lie down, or something."

      The absolute calmness in his voice both shocked and repulsed her.  How could he be so matter of fact about any of this?  After all...he had just shot somebody dead.  In cold blood.   "Of course I'm not okay!  There's...there's a dead man on the floor of our...our...", she waved her arm to indicate the space around her, "whatever the hell you want to call this place.  Dead because you shot him!  Right in the frickin' head!  Are you some kind of unfeeling psychopath, Ted?  How could I be anything but totally freaked out?"

        Beckett stuck Arroyo's semi-automatic into the waistband of his boxers, and crossed the floor to sit next to her on the bed.  He attempted to put his arm around her, but she gave him a hard shove and scooted to the far end of the bed.  The negative contact earned her one of his "looks", which caused funny feelings in her stomach, and regions much further south.  She found her self moving back towards him, embarrassed over the amount of control he seemed to have over her without much effort.

       Wrapping both hands around her smaller ones, he lowered his voice, serious, but calm.  "Look, baby...I'm truly sorry about dragging you into all of this.  I should have never agreed to take this drop on.  But what's done is done.  Now, I need for you to be brave, and do as I say, alright?"

       Maureen could only nod her head in agreement, unsure that any words would come out even if she could happen to think of any that suited the moment.  He kissed the top of her head.  "That's my good girl.  I promise...I'll get us safely out of here, and then we'll have a real honeymoon.  Anywhere you want to go.  Paris...Rome...the South just name it, baby.  I swear I'll make it happen."

       Finding her tongue, she pulled her hands reluctantly away.  "Do you mean that, Ted?  Anywhere?"

       He grinned that boy smile, and made a large X across his chest.  "Cross my heart, and hope to die."
Seeing her face, and the look she gave the body on the floor, he quickly added.  "Bad choice of words, sweetheart.  Still, I give you my word.  Anywhere.  Anything."

      "Then I just want to go home.  Back to Dollyville.  Back to the apartment."

      "The apartment?"

      " flat over the deli.  We were happy there.  Truly and gloriously happy.  You said so your self.  It was like our own secret hideaway."

        He made an odd face, and thought awhile before answering.  "I'm offering you carte blanche...anywhere in the world, and you choose your one room flat over a grocery store?"  He shook his head in wonderment.  "You are a complicated woman, Mrs. Beckett.  If that's what you want, then you shall have it.  I suppose we'll need somewhere to stay while I see to the rebuilding of the house, and the apartment is as good a place as any.  More so if it makes you that happy.  Home it shall be then.  He grinned again, this time not boyish in the least.  "We'll closet ourselves up there so long, they'll send out the authorities for a wellness check"

        She threw herself at him, the sheet sliding off, and ending up in a heap on the floor.  That reaction might have led to greater things, except for the fact that the lost sheet was busy soaking up the growing puddle of blood on the floor, bringing reality to the forefront.  Beckett sighed, and pushed away from his bride.  "You are ever the temptation, baby.  But we do need to get the hell out of here...ASAP.  If you think you're up to it, I could use a hand.  Once you put on some clothes, that is.  Naked like that, you are a huge distraction."

       Maureen slid off the bed, rummaging around for her clothes from the day before.  "Help you with what, Hon?"

      "I have to get rid of the body.  If his people come looking for him, I don't want them to know he's dead, or that we've escaped.  That will give us some extra time to make our exit."

       She stopped dead in her tracks, the sun dress over her head, but not fully on.  "You want me touch the dead guy?  With my bare hands?"

      "Well, not quite with your bare hands.  I'm gonna roll him up in that rug.  That will make it easier...and less move him.  Once we get him all wrapped up, I can dump the body in one of those ravines in back of the building.  We can make it look like he got to us first, then take his jeep to make our get away."

      "Do you really think that will work?"

       "Not entirely.  When they can't reach him by cell phone, they'll send out someone to check on things here.  Eventually they'll start searching, and find the body.   But by then, I hope to be long gone."

       "So...just how are we getting home, Ted?  We can't just drive there."

       I'm workn' on that sweetheart.  But first things first.  I really need for you to hold the end of this rug, while I roll it around him.  Do you think you can do that?"

The train station in Dollyville
        Fr. Kevin had every intention of going in full "Pastor" mode to Boston.  Black dress pants and jacket, black shirt with Roman collar, and his best black dress shoes.  But the day had dawned hot and humid, with temperatures hovering in the upper 80's by 8:00 AM.  It was all he could do to get through Mass with the heavy vestments, and by its end, he was a sweaty mess.  There was absolutely no way he wanted to spend the day walking the streets of a sweltering city in head to toe sauna suit.  Digging through his closet, he decided on a pair of khaki's, a short sleeved polo shirt, and his favorite loafers, sans socks.  It felt both odd, and strangely liberating, to be out and about in such civilian clothes.  Granted, when he was at home in the rectory, he was pretty laid back in his apparel, favoring jeans and old, worn T-shirts.  But when he ventured out in the public eye, he was careful to look "the part", fearful people would not take him seriously without the church trappings.  Today's adventure, however, called for comfort over ceremony, and he left the church grounds feeling both cooler, and a lot more relaxed.

     All the fussing with his clothes had taken more time than anticipated, and by the time he arrived at the station, most of the passengers had already boarded.  Roxanne was still outside, her face showing a great sense of relief when she finally caught sight of him.

       "I was starting to get worried that you had changed your mind, Kev."

       "Sorry I'm late.  I decided to change into something cooler after Mass.  They're predicting highs in the mid 90's today, so I needed something more comfortable."

        "Yeah, I almost didn't recognize you without the funeral suit."  She smiled, signaling her words were only in jest.  "You look very nice, as a matter of fact.  That green shirt really matches your eyes."

        All this talk about his appearance, and shirts matching eyes, caused Fr. Kevin to blush a deep pink color, and left him stammering.  ""Uhmmm...ahhh...thanks.  Well, we better get ourselves on board.  I'm sure they'll be leaving shortly." He turned to pull her by the arm, then thought better of it, and slipped through the open doors, leaving Roxanne to follow behind him.

        As usual for this time of the day, the train was crowded with passengers heading to the city, as well as the Cape.  There were several large family groups obviously on their way to seaside vacations,  traveling with buckets and bags filled with beach necessities.   A Cape Cod destination made him think of Maureen, and he wondered, not for the first time, where she was at, and how she faring. He still had not heard a single word from her since the day she disappeared with her new husband, and despite the insistence of his family that she was in capable hands, he continued to worry.

       But at this very moment, what he needed to find was a seat.  It appeared his delayed arrival at the station had put the two of them in a hunt for a pair of seats together.  They had just about resigned themselves to sitting in two different cars, when a high pitched voice offered them an option.

       "You in the green shirt.  My husband can move over next to me, and the two of you can have his seat."  The voice came from an elderly woman, dressed in a loud sun dress, head encased in a huge pink beach hat.  " come sit next me, and give this nice couple the bench seat."  The afore mentioned Morty looked up from his newspaper, and sighing, complied with his lady's demands.  "Go two sit there." She pointed to the seat across from her.

        Before he could insist otherwise, Roxanne slid onto the bench and padded the seat next to her.  "Here Kev, take a load off."  Turning to the woman, she added, "Thanks so much.  I was afraid we'd have to split up."

         "No problem, sweetie.  I'd hate to see such a nice couple apart."  Nudging her husband in the ribs, she added, "Aren't they a cute couple, Morty.  I remember when we were young like that, and in love.  Such happy times."

         At the mention of the word love, Fr. Kevin froze, while next to him Roxanne hid a giggle behind her hand.  Kevin slid into the furthest corner of the seat, leaving a sizeable gap between he and Roxie.  Feeling as if he needed to clarify the situation, he explained, "We're not really a couple, mam.  We're...uhmm....I'm a..."

         Before he could stammer out the words, Roxanne spoke up.  "We're just friends.  Old friends."
She smiled sweetly at the woman, and added, "We've known each other since we were kids."

         The woman smiled back.  "Friends first is good."  Giving her husband another poke, she asked him, "Remember when we were friends, Morty?  The good times we had."  Morty grunted from behind his paper, neither confirming or disagreeing with her version of their story.  Then the woman turned toward Kevin, and wagged an arthritic finger at him.  "Friends are good young man.  But she isn't going to wait forever for you to make up your mind.  Anybody can see the two of you were made for each other."

         From his spot across from her, Fr. Kevin smiled sickly, and began to sweat.

Copyright  2014 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved