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.
|Fr. Kevin decides on a morning run|
He spent a restless night, alternating between bouts of insomnia, and crazy nightmares centered on a dancing baby with the face of a clock. By 4:00 AM he gave up, and padded down to the kitchen with no real purpose in mind. The fluorescent ceiling light turned the bay window into a murky mirror, and the lanky reflection frowned back at him in obvious distress. Despite being three floors down, Fr. Kevin was sure he could still hear the low humming sound of the wretched thing, and clicked on a small radio in hopes of drowning out the sound.
There he sat for nearly an hour, nursing a tepid mug of instant coffee, and agonizing over the events of the past year that had wrecked havoc on his life. He had long gotten over the desire for a larger, more affluent parish in the Boston area. Dollyville had become home in his mind, and the people of Holy Family his flock and family. The thought of possibly leaving them some day made him morose, and he pushed it out of his mind, focusing instead on the problems at hand. When a sliver of light appeared on the eastern horizon, he dropped the empty mug in the sink, and made his way back upstairs to change.
At a quarter to six, he was dressed and waiting on the steps of the church. The Sheriff was a creature of habit, and he had run with him enough times to know the routine. It was Thursday, which meant that at exactly 5:50 AM, Beckett would make his way down the back stairs of the flat above the deli, steer toward the front street, make a sharp right, and trot past the church before rounding the corner and heading east. He was sure the man saw him the moment he hit the sidewalk, but Beckett being Beckett gave him no indication he was noticed, and so when he ran past Holy Family, Kevin jumped in along side him without a single word. They ran for nearly four blocks before the Sheriff acknowledged his presence.
"Didn't expect to see you this morning, O'Kenney. Have a change of priestly heart, did we?"
He could hear the sarcasm in the man's voice, just waiting for him to take the bait, but he was up for the game and so ignored it, shrugging his shoulders before answering. "You were on the mark last night, Sheriff. If I'm gonna run the Patriot in the Spring, then I need to stick to my training."
There was a low chuckle, and the man picked up his pace, forcing Kevin to double time his efforts. As they passed the B and B, Roxie joined them, and if she was surprised to see Kevin, she gave no clue, instead engaging both men in general chit chat and questions about the town. Eventually, the conversation ended, as each runner saved their breath for the purpose of moving. Beckett kept the pace, holding a watchful eye on his newest deputy to check her progress. When she seemed winded, he'd slow the pace, letting her catch her rhythm, then would slowly increase the speed as she could handle. At the five mile mark, he noticed the Sheriff checking his watch, a sure sign that he intended to push for a late burst of speed in the final minutes. Not wanting to look like the weakest link, Fr. Kevin gathered his last reserve of adrenaline, and raced forward. As he ran, he felt himself breaking free, determined to reach the church before the other two. And he would have, if had not taken a glance backward to see the expressions on the faces of the other two runners. He then would have seen the small pile of wet grass someone had pushed off the curb, and into the street. Before he knew what was what, the ground under his feet moved, and he was airborne for what was surely a record of several seconds. He came down with a thump, his teeth slamming together when his head hit the pavement, his knees and shins slicing across the gravel like cheese on a grater. For awhile he lay there, looking up at the blue September sky, mentally taking inventory of all the parts that hurt like hell.
He could hear the other two calling out to him, but there wasn't enough wind in him to answer back. Soon, both their faces hovered over him, shouting at him for some kind of response, and he took a silly moment of pleasure in the fact that even the oh so cool Beckett seemed a bit rattled. Roxie kept suggesting they call an ambulance, a reaction Kevin wanted no part of. There was no way he was explaining to anyone in the ER that he slipped on a pile of wet grass because he wasn't watching where he was going. Somewhere in that conversation, he'd have to admit to "showing off", and he'd bury himself six feet under before he ever did that.
They tried to get him to his feet, but it was obvious the swelling ankle wasn't going to make the eight blocks back to the rectory. Since his injuries didn't appear life threatening, it was decided that Beckett would sprint back to his home, pick up the patrol car, and come back for the other two. He wanted to entreat the Sheriff not to tell his sister what had happened, but that would have seemed like begging, and there was no way he was going to lower himself to ask a favor, so he ate his words and said nothing. Roxanne fussed over him, stemming the blood running down his legs with the bandanna off her head, and picking the grass clipping out of his hair. He assumed she had figured the whole scenario out...the how and why he had fallen in the first place, but gratefully, she didn't mention anything of the sort, instead checking the rest of him for possible injuries.
He liked the feel of her hands on him, and promptly shoved that thought from his mind. The pounding in his head increased, in what he believed was divine pay back for letting his thoughts wander in that particular direction. Beckett returned with the car, and the two of them maneuvered Kevin into he back seat, careful to keep the damaged ankle immobile. With the Sheriff and Roxanne holding him up on each side, they managed to get him inside the rectory, and onto the parlor sofa. Both did their best in trying to convince him that a trip to the ER was required, but he refused with ungodly stubbornness. His brother-in-law gave up, and with a reference about someone being a pig-headed bastard, left him in the care of his new protégé.
She waited until the patrol car was out of the drive way and heading down the street before she launched into her own tirade. "You know you're being a complete ass, don't you? You need to have this ankle looked after, not to mention that gash on your shin."
"It's nothing. Just a sprain. I'll ice it, and it'll be fine by tonight. Trust me."
Roxie shifted the leg a quarter inch, and he gasped. "Fine, huh? I don't think so, Kev. If you ask me, you fractured a bone somewhere in this foot. The sooner you have it x-rayed, the better."
He shook his head and tried to breath through the throbbing. "If it doesn't get better, I'll call one of my parish council people, and have them drive me. They're all retired anyway. I'm not asking that pompous asshole for anything. Couldn't stand having to look at that smug, self satisfied expression for the twenty minutes it would take to get to the ER."
She made a face, and put a throw pillow under the foot. "At least let me help you get a bag of ice on it. Do you have any plastic baggies?"
"First drawer... next to the sink. There should be a whole, unopened box there." He heard her rummaging around the kitchen...first the drawer open and close, and then the cabinets and the fridge, and wondered what she was doing. When she returned, she came out holding a tray with some juice and cookies, as well as the needed bag of ice.
"I made us a snack. Hope you don't mind. I'm needing something with sugar right about now." She propped the tray on a table, and set the ice on his ankle, watching him grimace when she did so. "Stupid, Kev. Really stupid"
"Don't need a lecture, Rox. I'll be fine. Don't want you fussing over me. It's ...it's just...unseemly"
She swung back around, and gave him a look that would melt stone. "Really, Kevin O'Kenney? You can say that to me? Me? After the whole time travel shit? Everything we went through together.." She plopped in the chair across from him, and glared. "I would have thought you'd gotten over that sanctimonious crap."
It was obvious he hurt her feelings, and so he changed the subject to one he hoped would occupy her thoughts. "So...you have any idea as to where you want to live here in Dollyville?"
She saw through his attempt to bring the conversation back to a neutral subject, but let it pass. "I'm not sure. Maureen has offered to shop around with me after she finishes her shift today. She says she has ideas in mind."
"I'd advise caution then. My sister's ideas tend to be out there."
"I disagree. I love their apartment. It's so charming and cozy. Like a little love nest." She reached for a cookie, and saw the look of horror on his face. "Not the love nest part, Kev. The cozy, charming thing. I adore the peaked ceilings. The cute little bathroom. The vintage kitchen fixtures.
It's just...well...so pleasant."
"You should have seen it before the remodel. You would have had a totally different opinion. The bathroom didn't even have walls, for Pete sake! The place was filthy. Paint peeling, and drafts from every window."
"Wow! Really? Then I'd have to say your little sister is a miracle worker."
"Yeah, well...Mo added some nice touches, but the bulk of the work was done for her. By a so called 'secret admirer', who we all knew was Beckett, despite him refusing to admit it. They weren't even a couple yet, and he was already interfering in our lives."
"I think it's sweet. The way he wanted her to have a nice, safe place to live."
Kevin snorted, and succumbed to the call of the cookies. "Yeah...real sweet. Two weeks later he was living there himself... on a regular basis. You're gonna tell me he didn't have that in mind all along? I'm not that naïve, Rox."
"Look, Kev, you have to admit, the man's crazy about her. No doubt about it. You can just look at them, and see how much in love they are." She sighed. "I think you're sister is one hell of a lucky woman. Sheriff Beckett is a total catch. I'm kinda jealous."
Her words made him feel lousy, and the reasons why even worse. When he didn't answer, she dropped the line of conversation, and gathered up the empty glasses and plate. As she made her way back to the kitchen, she stopped near the staircase, and cocked her head, straining to listen. He started to speak, only to have her hush him.
"Do you hear that?"
"Hear what?" He silently prayed she wasn't talking about the noise from the attic, hoped she couldn't hear it.
"That strange noise. Like humming or buzzing."
He mentally crossed his fingers, and lied. " I don't hear anything."
She took the first two stairs, and squinted, intent on making out the sound. "There's definitely something humming upstairs. I better go check. Make sure its not something that's gonna start an electrical fire."
If he could have gotten off the sofa, he would have physically stopped her. Gone up there himself to put a stop to her investigation. But any movement of his ankle sent rays of pain straight through his leg, so he was left with the truth. "Rox...please. Don't go up there."
She stopped and stared at him, trying to read his expression. "Why?"
"It's best if you don't go up there. Ever. I know what's making that noise. I was hoping you couldn't hear it."
Interest piqued, she stepped down, but left a hand on the bannister. "You're not telling me something, Kevin. And don't try to lie. What's upstairs?"
He hesitated for a moment, but knew she deserved the truth. IT'S upstairs. The watch. That's what you hear."
Initial confusion gave way to understanding, and then shock. "THE watch? The time travel watch? You still have it? You told me you were going to get rid of it. Dump it in Nantucket Sound. Why the hell do you still have the damn thing? Are you out of your frickn' mind?"
He couldn't fully explain without telling her all of it...the warnings from Brian, the power the wretched thing had over him, and now it appeared, over Roxanne as well. He wanted to tell her everything. Spill every last bit of the gnawing truth from his belly. But just how did one go about telling a sane human being that his mentor... this source of knowledge...was a figment of Celtic legend?
|Fr. Kevin tries to keep Roxanne out of the attic|
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
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