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Saturday, March 29, 2014

In Regards to Papers, Privies and Penitents

                 

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

   
Waiting for Roxanne in the confessional

     Before Kevin could explain his confusion, the man began to weep, his face pressed against the bars, and his left hand curled around the priest's tattered lapel.  "I was so close, Father.  Just a few more weeks, and I would have had the process finalized.  I told the fool that!  But he was so damn impatient...so greedy!  I should have never gone to him with this.  You were right from the start."  Seeing the startled face in front of him, Webster released his hold on the man, and stepped back.  "I apologize, Father Murphy...for my lack of decorum.  Though, surely you can understand my angst over this whole situation?"

       Fr. Kevin could only nod in return.  His head felt like a large wooden puzzle, with several pieces missing, and scattered.  His host offered no explanation to any of what Webster was saying, but the vocation in them both required a sense of compassion toward the man, and the need to assure him of hope.  "Your feelings are quite understandable, Mr. Webster.  But you must keep the faith.  The truth will eventually come out.  And until then...you must be strong...for the sake of your family."

        The mention of the man's family seemed to settle him.  He removed a dingy handkerchief from the pocket of his coat, and rubbed at his tear stained eyes.  "Aye, Father.  You are, of course, always the voice of reason.  For that, I am grateful."  He cleaned the lenses of his glasses, and perched the round spectacles back on the bridge of his nose.  "Have you seen them, my friend?  How do they fare?  Is Harriet well?  She's never handled excitement of this type well.  And the girls?  My darling daughters?  They must be besides themselves about the rumors circling their father.  What this will do their station I can't begin to guess."

          At the mention of his children, Webster once again began to weep.  With his slight frame and stooped posture, his eyes water-logged, and his face puffy, he did not much look the portrait of a cold-blooded killer.  It was almost impossible to imagine him murdering the much larger Dr. Parkman, then disposing of the body in some gruesome manner.  Yet, everything he knew from experience warned him not to be so quick to judge.  He thought of the grand-motherly figure of Tessa Peppers, who, back in his own time, had murdered two innocent people, and then shot him in his own church.  Then, there was the crazy Cassie McCreedy.  Beautiful, petite and personable, she was in reality, out of her mind crazy, blowing up houses, and threatening his poor sister.  At the thought of Maureen, Kevin felt his own eyes tear up.  Where was she right now?  Was she okay?  Would he ever see her...or any of his family...again?

    It was in that moment, in the midst of his longing and despair, that the voice of his host decided to make himself present, admonishing Kevin to get his emotions in order, lest he look like the blubbering fool in front of him.  Having no other guide, he had little choice but to comply.  He blinked away the gathering tears, and cleared his throat.  "I haven't called upon your family as of yet, Mr. Webster.  But I intend to do so very soon.  And when I do, I will assure them of your concern, as well of your innocence.  But you must remain faithful, Mr. Webster.  God will see to His righteousness.  Be assured of that."

       Webster looked at him oddly, but said nothing in response to his testament of faith.  Instead, he moved closer to the bars, and whispered, "My faith rests in those papers, Father.  My family's future depends on them.  Keep them safe.  And should something happen to me...see to it that Harriet and my girls benefit from my research.  You, of all people, know its true value."

        The honesty in Fr. Kevin battered him with guilt, and he felt a great desire to unburden himself of the truth.  That he didn't have a single clue as to what the man was talking about, and he was not in possession of any research papers.  But the voice in his head admonished him against sharing this news with the chemistry professor, something that would surely send him into a full breakdown.  Instead, he decided to come at the information in a round about way, a technique using flattery that had always worked on Moe when they were growing up.  "I must admit to finding your hiding place quite ingenious, Dr. Webster.  Not a spot an unschooled mind would come upon by chance."

      Hearing the compliment, the man perked up, and coming closer to the bars, whispered, "Why, thank you, Father.  I must say I thought myself unusually clever to have discovered it.  Despite its location near my rooms, very few people would venture to spend much time exploring the privy, given the outbreak of cholera we've suffered.  I made sure the loose stone was in a remote corner, closest to the pit."  Looking pleased with himself, he added, "I do hope you took necessary precautions in your retrieval, Father.  Cholera is quite a nasty bugger."

       At the mention of "privy" and "cholera", Kevin blanched, and he could feel his, or rather Fr. Murphy's stomach, roll in a series of waves.  But he was at least a bit closer to finding the mysterious papers without Webster being any wiser of his personal ignorance.  Returning to his own time and space was somehow tied to the troubles here in 1849, and if it required him to slop through shit...well, it wouldn't be the first time.  With this knowledge in mind, he was anxious to be on his way.  The smells and sounds of the jail made his head ache, and his focus was now on sharing this information with Roxanne.  He pulled the infamous pocket watch from his vest, its shiny gold face looking out of place in the grunge of the jail, and checked the time.  It was nearly 2 in the afternoon, and from the information posted on the wooden board outside his church, he was scheduled to hear confessions at 3:00 PM.  Roxanne had promised to meet up with him there, hopefully to share whatever information she been able to gleam in her comings and goings around town.  He prepared to make his goodbyes brief and innocuous.

        "I'm afraid I must be getting on, Dr. Webster.  Confessions, you know.  At 3:00 PM.  It being Saturday, and all."  As a thought, he added, "While I'm here, Sir, would you like me to hear yours?"

        The little man looked affronted, and straightened his posture.  "I have nothing at all troubling my soul, Father, so you needn't waste your time.  But I would endeavor to ask for your blessing before you leave."

         In gratitude to be finally gone from the wretched place, Fr. Kevin raised his hand to give the man his blessing, startled by the fact he gave it in Latin instead of English, a testament once again to whose body he was currently inhabiting.  Without much fanfare, he took leave of the Hayden Street Station, finding himself back out on the cold and crowded streets of Boston, and in a hurry to return to the peace and quiet of St. Mary's.

__________________________________

       Apparently, the confessional was one place where time didn't matter at all.  He'd been hearing confessions for over an hour, and had come to the conclusion that sin and vice in1849 was not much different than it was in his own time.  He listened and prayed, offered advice, and gave absolution in Latin, honestly vested in his role as priest.  But each time the door opened and closed, he hoped that when he moved the sliding panel on the screened partition, Roxie would greet him.  Yet, time and time again, the voice belonged to the another of the faithful penitents of his parish, until eventually the line diminished, and he sat in solitude for several minutes.
     
       He pulled the watch from under his alb and stole, and checked the time. 4:45 PM.  He had been in the church for almost two hours, and if she were able to come, would most likely have already arrived.  With a knot of anxiety in his stomach, he got up and stretched, preparing to head back to the rectory without the opportunity to speak to her.  At that moment, he heard the door open and close, and the sound of someone banging their knee on the panel separating them.

       "God damn it!  That hurts like a sonofabitch!  Why is it so dark in here?  Kevin...are you there?"

       Her swearing in the heavy accent caught him off guard, and he almost chuckled, but then thought better of it.  He doubted she'd be amused, all things considered.  "It's me, Rox.  I'm here.  I'm glad you made it.  I had almost given up for today."

        He could hear her fumbling around, and guessed she was rubbing her banged knee cap, and the encompassing joy he felt at her appearance made him uncomfortable and guilty.  He brushed the thought away, sweeping it directly from his mind, to the relief of both he and his host.

       "I almost didn't get here.  I told my mother...damn...that's sound weird...my mother...she's not my mother at all...anyway...I told her I was going to confession, and she looked at me like I was out of my freakn' mind.  But I kept insisting that I needed to confess, so she finally relented, and let me go.  But not by myself.  She sent my "brother" along with me.  I'm getting the impression that this chick whose body I'm borrowing is... well...less than virtuous.  Imagine that.  Who could have planned the irony?  Anyway, we don't have long.  Did you find anything out at the jail that could help send us back?"


Copyright Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved

       
     
       

   

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!

Vicki


     



       

     

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dear Readers,

       I apologize for the lack of a new post.  Due to unseen circumstances, Mini Mayhem will be a short hiatus of a week or two.  Thank you for your patience, and continued support.  I am grateful for both.
     
The Author

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Some Fact...Some Fiction

     
Hanging on to a friend

      He grabbed the face of the watch, while Roxanne held the end of the chain, and watched as she scrunched her face in a tight ball of concentration.  He did the same, mixing in any prayer he could think of that might be appropriate, as the seminary had never covered time travel in any of its classes.  The time piece twisted and vibrated.  Grew warm in their hands.  And while he could feel a strange sensation in his fingertips, his feet, and the rest of him, stayed firmly stuck where they were.

      Tiring of holding her arms up, Roxie dropped her end.  "It's no use, Kev.  We don't seem to be getting anywhere.  I feel as if we're missing something."

      "Missing what?  The first time...in the bank vault...we didn't have a clue.  It just sort of happened.  I don't understand why it's not working now."

       She kicked the pew in front of her, her body acting out in frustration.  "I don't have a clue.  It's not like I'm a expert in time travel, either.  I still think the watch is the 'conductor' of sorts.  It has to be.  Just look how it reacts when we both have it.  But I think there's more.  And I don't have frickn' notion as to what that might be."

       "Do you think our...voices...the people whose body we're sharing...know anything about this?  Maybe they understand what's going on."  The question sounded ridiculous to his ears, but he was desperate enough to clutch at any means of help.

         Sliding the watch back into a pocket of her skirt, Roxie shrugged her shoulders.  "Don't know.  If she's aware of the rules about all this, she's certainly not sharing them with me.  How 'bout yours?  He giving you any feedback?"

          "No.  He mostly keeps to himself.  Unless I say or do anything he feels is a major blunder.  Then he has something to say.  Otherwise...nothing.  In all honesty, I couldn't feel him at all when I was holding the watch.  Felt like just me in there."  Seeing the anxiety in her face, he added.  "I'm sorry, Rox.  I wish I knew what to do.  I'm...I'm just at a complete loss as to what to do next."

         "It's not your fault, Kevin.  If any one's to blame, it's me.  I'm the one who pushed to find the lock that went with that damn key.  If I hadn't insisted...well...we'd be home now and I'd be enjoying what's left of my vacation.  Instead, we're stuck somewhere in the past.  In someone else's body.  It's all my fault, and you know it.  I just can't let things be.  Get somethn' in my head, and I'm off runn'."

         She was right of course. It had been she who had insisted on tracking down the lock that went with that mysterious key.  He himself had experienced a bad feeling about the thing the moment he saw it.  Had wanted to shove it back in the box, and leave it to rest in that dirty old storage room. But his pride, and the need to make things "right" with Roxanne, wouldn't let him.  For whatever purpose...and he was sure there was a purpose...he had been swept up into this adventure with her, it wasn't fair to make her shoulder the entire fault.  "You can't blame yourself, Rox.  I could have said 'no' from the very start.  The box with the key was in my storage room.  As Pastor, it was my property...my responsibility, and I could have shut down the search anytime I wanted to.  But I didn't.  I was as curious as you were.  This situation is just as much my doing as it is yours."

     She squeezed his hands, her eyes looking too watery for his comfort.  "Thanks, Kevin.  You have no idea how much it means to me to hear you say that."

     He like her gratitude...and her hands in his...too much, and the emotions that rolled over him startled both he and his silent host.  He dropped her hands abruptly, pulling them quickly away, and sticking them into the pockets of his overcoat.

      For a second, her expression was one of hurt, but then it was gone, replaced with a look of determination that was all Roxanne Spinelli.  She gathered her wool shawl tighter around her head and squared shoulders.  "Well, now that we've all played the blame game, we need to figure out how to get back to our own time.  Any suggestions, Father O'K...I mean Father Murphy?"

    He didn't want to look into those Roxanne eyes.  Didn't think he could stand it at that moment.  So he looked over her head, and at the heavy wooden crucifix hanging over the altar.  "I keep feeling there's more to all of this than just a freak, mystical accident.  Like we were meant to accomplish something specific while we're here.  Maybe that's the reason we didn't go back, even though we both were holding the watch."

     She chewed on the loose strand of hair, reminding him again that it was Roxie in front of him despite the different face and figure.   She seemed lost in thought, as if trying to sort through a mental card catalogue in her head.  "I did read this book once...with a time travel plot...and I remind you that I am not a huge fan of science fiction or fantasy...where the heroine had to finish some kind of 'quest' before she could travel back into the future.  Of course, she also fell in love with somebody in the past, and it complicated matters, and made the whole thing kinda of sad, and silly, and terribly convoluted.  But once she had accomplished the set goal, she was able to step back into this hidden cave, and travel back to her own time.  Maybe you're right.  Maybe we have to 'fix' something first before we can head back to 2013. But just how are we supposed to figure out what needs fixing?"

         "Here's the thing, Rox...I think I know the answer to that problem."  He pulled out the note from John Webster, and the local newspaper.  As she read the article, she began to nod to herself, making little sounds under her breath that sounded like "ah ha..yup", until she finished and handed the paper back to him.  "I know this case, Kev.  I studied it in one of my forensic classes at Boston College.  This is the infamous Parkman murder case.  It's a benchmark of Boston criminal history.  I guess you could say it was the O.J. Simpson trial of its day.  People packed into the courtroom to hear the gruesome details of the testimony.  Webster was said to have murdered Dr. George Parkman over an argument about money.  He killed him in his room over at the university...Harvard...where he was a chemistry professor.  Said he chopped up his victim and buried him under his privy.  We studied this case because it was the first time actual forensic evidence was used in court as part of the prosecution."

         "That's got to be it, Rox!  The reason we're here.  Something to do with this murder.  How did the trial end for Webster?"

          "If I remember correctly, they found him guilty.  Ended up hanging the man in Leverett Square, I believe.  The whole idea of what constituted guilt came about because of that trial.  Up until that point, the prosecution in the American legal system had to prove guilt with absolute certainty.  This trial introduced that whole concept of 'guilty beyond reasonable doubt'.  It was a huge turning point in legal defense, and the study of criminal justice in the United States.  The professor for this class was some kinda big shot historian on the subject.  Wrote a book, I think.  In hind sight, I wish I had payed more attention in class.  I like the hands-on forensic work, but the lectures on the history and philosophy...not so much.  Do you really think that's why we're here, Kev.  Something to do with this case?"

      "Has to be, Rox.  Why else would I be here...as Fr. Murphy.  It's obvious in this note from Webster himself, that he and Fr. Murphy have some kind of relationship.  He trusts Murphy enough to have him try and retrieve some kind of research from his lab.  He wouldn't ask that if the man wasn't an ally.  Someone he could count on.  It also sounds like Fr. Murphy knew his family.  Was acquainted with his wife and daughters.  Could they perhaps have been parishioners of his church?"

      "I tend to doubt that, Kev.   Not to be mean, but look around...your church here is a wreck, and in bad need of repair.  The whole neighborhood here screams working class poor.  I doubt that a man in Webster's standing would ever frequent this area.  Besides, Catholics were a minority in Boston at this time.  Mostly they were the incoming immigrants.  If Webster was a Catholic...and I'm not saying he was...it was something he didn't advertise."

       "Then I can't imagine what the connection between me...I mean Fr. Murphy...and John Webster might be.  There's something big we're missing here."  Kevin rubbed a hand over his chin, finding the strange stubble there disconcerting.  "Is it possible that the man is innocent?  That we were sent here to save him from the gallows?"

        In the gathering gloom of the empty church, he could see her shake her head.  "That's a stretch, Kevin.  From what I remember from my class, it seemed like there was pretty solid evidence that Webster was the guilty party.  People testified that Dr. Parkman met with professor on the day the man went missing, and a male human skull and some teeth were found buried under the grounds of Webster's rooms at Harvard.  The school janitor was the one who found them.  Claimed Webster was acting suspicious, and felt he had to investigate out of loyalty to Dr. Parkman.  Like I said before, it was monumental to have such forensic material as part of the evidence.  All information points to Webster being the killer.  Of course, the news media back then was no better than today.  Worse, in fact.  The Parkman murder was big business, and sold lots of newspaper.  What they didn't know as fact, they made up, and there was a whole group of people, who based their reasoning on what they read in the papers, believed that John Webster was falsely accused and executed.  That he was railroaded by a judge too quick to make a legal name for himself, and the wealthy Brahmin social circles who didn't want their dirty laundry aired in public.  I think my college professor was among those who didn't believe Webster was guilty.  That's was the subject of his book.  But like I said.  I never read it.  Don't even remember the name of it.  And it's not like it would help us even if I did.  That book won't be published for another 115 years."

         "I just can't shake the feeling that our purpose...here in this time...is tied to this case.  To Webster himself.  I can't explain the hows or whys of it.  It's just a feeling I have."

         "Well, that's more than I can offer, Kevin.  If that's the case, where do I fit in?"  She pointed to herself, and added, "Surely, in this role I would have had little contact with either Dr. Parkman, or Dr. Webster.  Unless it was to deliver their laundry."  She waited for admonishment, that mental "pinch" she was getting used to, from her hostess.  But there was none, the logic of the woman obviously agreeing with her own, but adding nothing new to the thought.  "Maybe I have nothing to do with this case.  Maybe I have something entirely different to do.   Another problem to solve."

          "I suppose it's possible.  But I don't think so.  You said it yourself.  The watch vibrates only when we're near each other.  It seems to take both of us together to work, or at least that's how we got here in the first place.  I have to believe our goal is one in the same.  We just have to keep digging to figure out all the angles and parts."

          "So then...what's our next step?"

          "I had originally thought I'd go over to Harvard, and see about these lab papers Webster talks about in his note.  But after our discussion, and what I know know about this murder, I think I need to go and see John Webster myself.  Get my own feelings about the man, and see if he can add anything to the story we might be missing."

           "That sounds like a solid plan, Kevin.  I think you should do just that."

           "What about you, Rox.  Do you want to come with me?"

            "I think that would just raise suspicions.  A young woman traveling with the parish priest would  be fodder for gossip we don't need.  I think I'll head back to my...I mean...her house.  Geez, Kev...I don't even know what my name is yet.  Everyone just calls me 'girl'.  Anyway, I have more clean laundry to deliver.  Maybe I can just blend in, and pick up information that way.  No one seems to watch what they say in front of me.  It's like I'm ghost.  Maybe we can meet later, and go over what we found out."

             "Good thinking.  But...I'm kinda worried about you, Rox.  Will you be okay?  Alone, I mean?"

              She looked at him oddly, touched at his concern.  "I'll be fine, Kevin.  I'm used to taking care of my self at the club.  All kind of unwanted advances in that place.  What time, and where?"

              "It appears I am scheduled to hear confessions here at three this afternoon.  I think it would be best if you just get in line as one of the faithful.  We'll have some amount of privacy that way."

              She giggled, a deep throated sound that was not her own.  "Confession?  Me?  We'll have to hope that the walls of this old church won't come tumbling down.  But, you're right.  It will offer some
space to chat without being seen.  I'll see then, Kevin."  She reached out for his hand, and before he could move it away, gave it a pat and a small squeeze.   "You take care of yourself, Fr. Murphy.  I'm counting on you."

               He watched her pick herself off the pew, and wander out the church door.  The wind swirled
in through the crack as she exited, and despite the chill of that November morning, Fr. Kevin felt altogether too warm.


Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved

   

         



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Time Out

     

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 meeting at the church
       She blinked several times, her eyes dark, a pair of wet marbles in a pale saucer face.  Then, without warning, she threw herself at him, gripping his arms with more force than expected from someone so frail.

      "Oh, Kev!  Kev!  Is it really you?  I don't understand any of this!"

      Her words were lost in a jumble of sobbing, and sniffling, and Fr. Kevin was both relieved and horrified to find that Roxanne had "traveled" with him.  He was also very much aware of the spectacle they were making in the crowded street, and the disgruntled stares thrown their way was creating an uncomfortable sense of anxiety in him.

       He pushed her away from what surely appeared to the rest of the world as an intimate embrace. "We need to talk, Rox.  But not here, okay?  Wait about ten minutes, then follow me back to the church.  We'll have privacy there."  He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a handful of coins, and placed them in her palm.  Those watching walked away, wagging their heads and smirking at their assumed understanding of the situation.  It turned his stomach to have them think such vile thoughts about he and Roxie, but it couldn't be helped.  Attention from strangers was a problem they didn't need.


        She nodded her understanding, wiping tears and snot from her face with the sleeve of her coat.  Kevin could feel her eyes on him as he turned and walked back in the same direction he had just come.  This time the wind was at his back, and he could feel the icy bite at his neck, but he resisted the urge to increase the speed of his steps, lest it appear as if he was running away from the encounter.

       As expected, the church was empty and quiet.  Without the candles and the body heat of the congregation, the air was damp and cold, and he could see his breath in the frigid air.  He rubbed his hands together for warmth, wishing he could bring Roxanne back to the relative comfort of the rectory. The absurdity of that thought almost made him smile.  He could just imagine trying to explain to his overbearing housekeeper why he was having private conversations, in the rectory, with the Italian laundry girl.  He had only known Birdie McBride for a few hours, but there was no doubt that she'd rain fire and brimstone on the both of them.  The little voice in the back of his head concurred, and crazily, seemed to chuckle at the thought.

         He wandered over to the darkest corner of the church, and positioned himself at the end of a pew.  Even though it must be well after 11:00 AM, the gray skies made the light streaming through the grimy windows only a thread, and the building appeared about as friendly as tomb.  He sat in silence and worried, the minutes passing slower than what felt normal.  Eventually, he saw the church doors open with a sliver of daylight, and then close again.  He could see a slight figure standing in hesitancy, peering into the gloom.

           "Rox...over here."  The whisper echoed, sounding loud and intrusive to his ears.

            The figure hurried over toward the direction of the voice, and slid into the pew next to him, face red and chapped from the brutal weather, and a shower of tears.  She looked nothing like the Roxanne he knew.  This girl was smaller, gaunt with a pointy chin, and hollows where cheeks should be.  Her hair was a mousy brown, thin, wispy, and pulled into a small bun at the back of her head.  Bt the eyes?  The eyes were all Roxanne Spinelli.  Soft, brown and round, like those of a fawn, with every emotion reflected in their mirrored surface.  He wondered if when she looked at him, she saw Kevin O'Kenney's eyes, and not those of his surly host, a comment the inner voice found insulting.

           "Is it really you, Kevin.  Can any of this be possible?  How?  Why"  She rubbed her hands together, wringing them in worry, and with the need to warm them up.

           "It's me, Rox.  As far as I can tell.  I think like me.  Speak like me.  But...damn...I know this going to sound crazy...it seems like there's someone else in my head.  The person who belongs to this body.  Somewhere inside.  Kind of guiding me along."  He saw a frown cross her face, and felt embarrassed.  "See...I told you.  You think it's insane.  Two of us being in here."

            She chewed on a strand of stray hair that had escaped the bun, a gesture he watched Roxie do a thousand times as a kid, and one that gave him a great deal of comfort amidst all the strangeness.  "No.  I don't think you're crazy at all.  It's the same with me.  There's this...this inner voice.  It keeps whining at me to be careful.  To take things slow, and stay in the shadows.  Frankly, it's driving me out of my mind.  You know me, Kev.  I'm a do-er.  I take action when needed."  She tapped a finger toward her forehead, and grimaced.  "Miss 'fraidy cat up here...she's constantly telling me to...well...behave.  If it weren't for her interference, I would've come out to you this morning.  When I delivered the laundry.  But the damn bitch was screaming 'No...no...no'.  So I held off.  And for what?  The sooner we figure this all out, the sooner we can go home."

       He wanted, with every ounce of being, to believe that it could be that easy, but knew for no specific reason he could pinpoint, that it would not.  "How did you know it was me, Roxie?"  He waved his hand in front of his face.  "Fr. Murphy and I don't look anything alike.  Was it that easy to recognize my eyes?"

       She smiled, and for a second, the face looked pretty.  "Of course not.  It was the pocket watch.  It vibrates when we're together."

        "The watch?  You mean you still have it?  Here?  With you?"

        She pulled the time piece from her pocket, the tattered coat a strange home for such an opulent item.   "Yup!  It was clutched in my hand when I woke up.  And let me tell you...that whole experience was insane.  One minute I'm in the bank vault with you...and poof!  Next thing I know, I'm waking up in some strange, dirty bed with three other chicks I've never seen before.  All of us piled on top of one another trying to stay warm.  I'll tell ya, I just about freaked out right then and there.  Then I saw the pocket watch in my hand, and things...well...started coming back to me. When I realized it wasn't 2014,  I guessed that I had somehow...unbelievable as it sounds... time traveled.   I prayed you were some where safe here too.  I know...I know.  That's really selfish of me.  But the thought that I might be stuck here by myself was too horrible to think about."

        Kevin reached out, and took the watch from her open hand.  He could feel the vibrations she had described, heavy and pulsating in his hand.  To think this odd piece of jewelry had the power to conquer the laws of physics.  It hurt his head to even consider it.  "I see what you mean.  I can feel it too."  He rubbed his finger of the gold face, and a thought came to his mind.  "Do you think, if we both held it at the same time, like we did at the bank, we'd go back?  Home, I mean?  To our own time?"

       "That was my reasoning too.  It's why I wanted to try earlier this morning.  At the rectory.  But the Chicken Shit voice wouldn't let me.  Plus, for some reason, I seemed to be talking in a weird accent at that moment.  Here with you...and the watch...my voice sounds the same.  Normal like.  It's pretty creepy."

      "Probably a good thing you didn't.  Can you imagine what might have happened if we disappeared in front of my housekeeper?  Would have sent the poor woman right over the edge.  Plus, I remember reading somewhere that you're not supposed to disrupt anything in the time line.  Supposed to have terrible consequences."

      "I don't know about you, Kev, but I don't want to change anything...anywhere.  I just want my ass back where it belongs.  In Boston.  Or even Dollyville.  Anyplace in 2014. I'm not a big fan of this time period, especially ending up in this body."  She frowned, and shook her head.

      "What's wrong?"

     "It's nothing.  Just the voice.  Gives me some kind of mental 'pinch' when I say something she doesn't like.  I will be so glad to be back to myself."  She moved closer to him, and grabbed the chain to the watch.  "So, let's give this a try.  If I remember correctly, you and I both were holding it at the same time."

      "Should I be...like concentrating on anything specific?"

      "How the hell should I know?  I never took a course on quantum physics.  Shit, I don't even like science fiction, or Star Trek...or any of that crap.  Just hang on to your end, Kev, and we'll see what happens."
                                 
The watch returns

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved