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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Behind Bars


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

A visit to Hayden Street
     According to the newspaper, Webster was being held at the station on Hanover Street, which if he remembered correctly, was just under two miles south of his current location.  His thinking was that the streets of Boston here in 1849 were not much different from those he remembered from his own experience, and so he believed he had a general idea of where he was going.  Despite the biting cold, and the shards of icy rain pelting his face, Fr. Kevin was glad to be out of the close confines of the darkened church.  His feelings about Roxanne made his throat feel tight, as if he couldn't suck in enough air to keep himself breathing.  Where that all came from, he wasn't really sure.  If you had asked him before this whole time travel thing had started where he stood, he would have said that he had his emotions about Roxanne firmly in check.  That he had come to terms with what she meant to him, and the way things were meant to be.  But right now, in this present situation, the carefully constructed wall he had built around his head and heart seemed weakened with indecision.

      What made the whole thing worse, was the niggling thought that the inner voice of his host sympathized with him.  The certainty that they shared the same sense of longing for a prize in front of their face, and out of their reach.  It was bad enough that he himself had these self doubts.  Renting space in his head to someone in the same situation was difficult to cope with.  So Fr. Kevin did what he always did when overwhelmed.  He prayed.  Started with one litany, and then worked his way into another, his host eventually joining along with him.  The words, some in English, some in Gaelic, played like dueling banjos in his brain, and the absurdity of it all made him smile, lightening his dismal mood despite the gravity of the whole situation.

      Had he not found himself the center of some strange cosmic joke, he might have even enjoyed this opportunity to explore his hometown as it had been in the past.  It was the one and only thing he and his father had shared, a love for the history and pageantry of Boston.  His dad had tried to draw all of his children into the legends and stories surrounding their place of birth, but only his youngest son seemed interested in sharing his passion.  The summer he was 14, they had spent several Sundays exploring the historical sites of the city, acting like tourists, with his dad capturing the moments on his beloved 35 mm camera. There had been promises to do it again, but job demands, high school sports, and finally a major heart attack, had kept them from repeating the magic of that one summer adventure.  Walking the streets now, taking in the sights and sounds of Boston in 1849, he hoped his father's spirit could see through his eyes.

       Lost in thought as he was, he almost missed the building.  A non-descript box on the corner of a muddy intersection, the "watch building", as it was called in those days, seemed too ordinary to be a seat for criminal justice.  He remembered coming to this same spot with his father once, shortly before the old building had been torn down to make way for a new and more modern design.  He searched his memory for clues as to what to expect, but at the time, he had been disgruntled about having to make a stop before heading to a much anticipated Red Sox game, and hadn't been paying much attention.  He pondered over the possibility that the trip with his dad on that particular day might have been designed to plan for this moment, and wished that he had taken a more vested interest, a comment that caused his host to sigh in agreement.

      Opening the door, the smell hit him before anything else.  It was a reeking mix of urine, unwashed bodies, and some type of strong cleaning solution, that caused his eyes to water.  Despite the smell, it was thankfully warm, the heat coming from a large cast iron stove across the room.  No one paid him much mind, people coming and going with defined purpose.  The center of the room held a large wooden desk, set higher up on a platform, which behind sat a man with a handlebar mustache of gigantic proportions perched below his nose. He knew from experience that the gentleman was most likely the desk sergeant, or whatever the title was in those days, and the key to his seeing John Webster.  Approaching the spot, he opened his mouth to announce his intention, but was silenced by his host, who emphatically counseled he should wait until the officer acknowledged him first.  Hat in hand, Kevin stood in front of the man, and waited for what seemed like an eternity, before the man looked up from his paperwork, and spoke.

        "State your business, man."

         "I'd like to see John Webster, please."

         The man narrowed his eyes, the mustaches drooping in obvious displeasure.  "Ya would, now...would ya?  You and halfa the tar hilled city!  Move along, johnny.  This is a place of law, and not a circus freak show.  Read about it the rags like everyone else."  He went back to the papers on his desk, Kevin obviously dismissed.

          His feet numb from the long walk in lousy weather, Fr. Kevin had no intention of leaving without seeing the man whose problems seemed connected to his own.  Mustering up another blast of courage, he cleared his throat.  "I beg your apologies, good man, but I really must insist on seeing Mr. Webster.  I'm...I'm Fr. O'K...Murphy.  From St. Mary's.  I'm Mr. Webster's priest.  His...spiritual advisor."

           The man glared at him, then leaned over the front of the desk, and spit a long stream of chewing
 tobacco into an metal urn to the left of Kevin's feet.  A small glob of the chaw missed the container and  landed on the tip of the priest's boot with a mucous plop.  He cleared his throat in obvious disgust.  "Ah...well no surprise there, eh?  A dirty murderer, and a Papist.  A waste of a good cell, it is.  The man belongs on the end of a noose."  He waited for Kevin to respond, and when he didn't, grunted an approval, throwing his thumb in the direction of a long corridor.  "You'll find him back there.  The cell at the end of the hall.  Maybe you can talk the bugger into confessin' what he did with Parkman's body. Save the city a whole peck of trouble and man power."

       Nodding his thanks, Kevin moved in the direction of the thumb, and down a long dark corridor. From behind the bars, voices called out to him, begging for tobacco, conversation or assistance.  He worked at pushing down the fear and loathing, recalling that visiting those in prison was a corporal work of mercy.  He found the cell at the end of the hall as the officer had said.  In the dimness, there was a man huddled in the corner, his face buried in his hands, knees drawn up to his chest.  "Mr. Webster?"

        The figure looked up from his misery, his eye red and swollen behind thick-lensed glasses.  He blinked twice, and recognizing the figure in the hall, pulled himself up, and rushed to the bars.  "Fr. Murphy!  You came!  I wasn't sure you would.  I know it's beyond all boundaries of compassion, but I had no where else to turn.  No one else to trust."  Webster pushed his face against the bars, his eyes checking down the corridor.  Satisfied that no one was in hearing range, he whispered in desperation.
"Did you bring them?"

        Kevin waited, hoping for some help...some intervention from his host...but the voice was silent.  He stumbled around for the right words.  "Papers?  What papers might those be?"

       For a moment, Webster looked confused, and then nodded in compliance.  "Quite right, Father.  It would be a mistake to risk bringing them here.  One never knows where prying eyes and ears might be resting.  It's best that you see to their safety.  I trust you explicitly.  I just need to know they are safe in your protection."

Copyright 2014 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved

Thanks for your patience, dear readers.  It's the time of the year when I am working on the storyline and characterization for my school's Live Mystery event, which takes place in Tombstone, Arizona in 1880.  It was getting difficult for me to switch story lines and time frames, and so I needed a week off to finish one story before I continued work on the other.  I apologize for the delay in Fr. Kevin and Roxanne's story.

Looking forward to Spring Break in April!  Thanks for your continued support!






  1. estoy mas que intrigada por saber que le depara toda esta historia al P. Kevin y Roxanne



  2. You are a wonderful storyteller and we can wait a bit as needed for the story. Although we might kick at the ground a bit ;P

    A live mystery event sounds exciting! Best of luck with that story as well ;)
    hugs, js

  3. The mystery deepens. I so want to know what these papers are lol. You sure can keep the suspense going :D
    Have a great week.
    Hugs Maria

  4. Hi Vicki,

    Sorry about the lack of email, I'll get on that next. Your live mystery sounds exciting. I hope it goes well.

    Can't wait to find out what happens next but if you need the time to take care of work then I will :-) Haven't heard much from Maureen and the good sheriff.... It must be hard to keep up the two story lines plus have to keep the research for your live mystery going so I'll be patient and not pester :-) Take care Vicki and do what you have to do to stay sane!