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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

From Fr. Kevin, Maureen, Ted, Roxanne...and all of the rest of the gang in Dollyville...

   Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, and the happiest of New Years!

I am very grateful to each and every one of you for taking the time to support my humble literary endeavors!   Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

          I am taking this weekend off to enjoy time with family, and will return

with a new post next week, January 3rd, 2015!

All The Best,

Vicki


               

Saturday, December 20, 2014

"Do You Hear What I Hear?"


                    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

Maureen hears something upstairs

       Fr. Kevin looked at him oddly.  "I suppose they're strong.  They are pain killers after all.  But I'm not sure there's a "happy" in any of this, Ted.  Frankly, it's been the kind of day I'd like to completely forget."

           Beckett dragged over the same chair that Roxanne had been sitting in a few hours before, and like she, plopped himself a foot away from his face.  Kevin sighed, as it appeared today was the day for interrogations of every kind.  The Sheriff was right.  The Percocet had taken the edge off the pain, and his mind did seem a bit fluffy around the edges.  He knew he should be careful in what he said to his brother-in-law, but the slight buzz he was feeling was far from unpleasant.

             "I would imagine so, O'Kenney.  Quite a frightening experience, being held hostage like that.  Especially with the women involved...your sister and Roxanne sitting there in harms way.  I bet you were very, very upset."

            He knew the Sheriff was baiting him, obviously seeking some kind of secret agenda, waiting for him to screw something up.  What it was exactly was unclear, so he decided to let him keep talking until the man got around to explaining his purpose.   "Yes...I suppose I was nervous.  It was, after all, an armed hold up.   I just wanted for everybody to get through the ordeal safely.  There was no reason for anyone to get hurt."

          Beckett looked at him with cold eyes the color of a frozen lake, and not for the first time, did the priest wonder what it was his sister saw in this man.  And not just Maureen, but women in general.  Sure he was handsome in a magazine ad sort of way.  But to Kevin's eye, his face seemed like a mask, artificial and phony, with no life pulsing beneath it.  Even at the death of his child, the man had seemed arrow straight, not allowing anything to pierce the hard exterior.  He couldn't understand the pull this man had over his sister, who herself was so open, and loving, and full of life.

         "Did you hear what I said, Father?"  About the gunman?"

         Kevin rubbed a hand over his forehead.  "I'm sorry, Ted.  I'm really tired.  Can you repeat the question."

         The Sheriff gave a huff of disgust.  "I said...you gave the police artist a pretty detailed description of the perp.  That's very unusual, you know.  In situations of high anxiety.  I'm curious how you remembered all that."

            The little voice in his head offered warning.  So that's where he's going with all this.  He's suspicious about the drawing.  About my knowledge of the gunman.  I need to tread lightly here.  He wouldn't believe the truth anyway.  "Can't really say for sure.  I just know I had the opportunity to speak one on one with him.  His face...well, it was just sort imprinted on my brain.  Stayed with me I guess."

         Beckett leaned back and folded his arms on the back of the chair, in the same manner Roxanne had done, and Fr. Kevin wondered if there was something common among people who went into law enforcement.  His brother-in-law must had seen that same something in Roxie.  The thought of them both crawling all over him, prying into his head, made him uneasy, though in Roxie's case it was a bit more complicated.

         "Odd, O'Kenney.  Very odd.  Most people have the direct opposite reaction to a stressful moment.   Try to wash the whole memory from their heads.  But you, in fact, can give the artist enough information to create a photo like drawing.  Highly unusual.  In my professional opinion, that is."

        Beckett's interrogation was beginning to annoy him.  He hadn't invited either of them over, and now, he was being subjected to the man's intense scrutiny.   Maybe it was the Percocet bolstering his confidence, but he considered throwing his brother-in-law out of his house.  Sending him merrily on his way without a second thought to any one's feelings.  But he could hear Maureen banging about in the kitchen, and for her sake, he knew he would do no such thing.

         "I'm not sure what to say about that, Sheriff.  I thought I was being helpful.  You do want to catch the men responsible, don't you?

         "I most certainly do, O'Kenney.  The question is...do you want them caught?"

         The question caught him completely off guard, and he struggled for the right words to answer.  Did he want the young man with Fr. Murphy's face apprehended?  And if he didn't, just why was that?
Before he could even let his mind wrap around those concerns, Maureen interrupted the conversation.

          "Dinner is ready guys.   I just have the toss the salad, and we can eat."  A look around the room gave evidence of the intense conversation that proceeded her.  She frowned, and spoke directly to her husband.  "Ted...you promised.  No discussion about the clinic during dinner.  We're here to help Kevin out.  To make him feel better.  After all, if it weren't for my brave, big brother somebody might've gotten hurt.  Kevin's the reason we all walked safely out of that place."

            Beckett rose from the chair, the smile on his face insincere.  "You're right, darling.  I should be offering the good Reverend my undying gratitude.  Thank you, Father O'Kenney...for being the hero of the day."

            There was an awkward silence, broken again by his sister.  "Okay, everyone, lets eat while its warm."  As she moved toward the kitchen, she paused next to the stairway leading to the upper floors, cocking her head.  "Do you hear that?"

            Beckett stopped next to her, and listened as well.  "I don't hear anything."

           "No seriously...can't you hear that?  That low buzzing sound coming from somewhere upstairs?"

___________________________________

             There was food on the table.  He knew it because he could feel it in his mouth, see it on his plate.  But taste it?  No.  All he could think of...all he could concentrate on...was the fact that his little sister could hear the watch.  Normal people couldn't.  It was obvious Beckett didn't hear the low droning sound, even when he went upstairs to investigate.  Oh my God...Oh my God...please not Maureen, Lord.  Not her too. 

         He hated lying to Maureen, but there was no way he could admit he heard it too.  Knew what it was.  Knew what it meant.  And so he acted as if she were hearing things that weren't there, which of course would mean her husband would insist on a visit to a specialist.  It couldn't be helped.  There was no way in both heaven or hell he would expose Mo to the powers of the damned watch.  The thought of Maureen, his baby sister, held at the mercy of time travel, made him sick to the core.  She had suffered enough.  He would get rid of the horrid thing against the advice of the other worldly.  And if it meant he'd sacrifice his own well being, then so be it.

____________________________________

           He was wrong.  About it all.  Stubborn and close minded when it came to anything that trampled on his tightly held beliefs.  Roxanne sat on the end of the bed in the cozy, rented room, and cursed Fate for working it all out the way It had.  She refused to give it a name.  Not God.  Not Father.  Not Allah.  That would give it a personality.  A character.  The thing that had directed her life didn't have character.  Didn't care about her personal happiness.  She knew Kevin would have all kinds of thoughts on that.  Would counsel her until he was blue in the face that the Will of God was not in accordance to her plan.  Her wants.

          Well, duh.  That was obvious.  Her plans would never have included a father arrested for racketeering.  A mother who coped with the shame by living in a bottle.  Her will wouldn't have included a series of moves, each to a neighborhood more desolate than the one before.  It wouldn't mean a daily struggle in which things never worked out.  And most of all, her way wouldn't have kept  her from the one person she wanted the most.  Fate was selfish and cruel, and had kept her desired prize all for Himself.  And for that, she had never forgiven Him.

         Not that she'd tell Kevin any of this.  He'd be mortified if she told him how she really felt.  Probably insist they never see each other again.  And that would kill her for sure.  Their time travel experience together reinforced what she had always known.  The two of them had forged a special bond the moment they had meet as kids.  Right there on the steps of his parent's home in Boston.  And despite being set on two different paths, it was a connection that could not be broken.  The watch that hummed away in the attic rectory of Holy Family, knew it as well.
Roxanne contemplates the issues at hand


Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved

       


         

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Secrets Buried With the Bones

            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


       
Roxanne states the facts

             He watched as she paced the room for a few seconds more, then flipped the chair around, and straddled it, her chin resting on her arms across the top.  "It makes sense, you know.  It really does...in a weird cosmic sort of way."

            It had been a long, crappy day, and Fr. Kevin was in no mood for any discussion on the spiritual make-up of life.  His foot was itchy and sweaty under the fresh cast, and the pain killers on an empty stomach were making him queasy.  He didn't even want to think anymore about the punk having Fr. Murphy's face, much less discuss the other- worldly reasons it might be there.  "Look, Rox, neither of us believes that Fr. Murphy's soul is floating around inhabiting strange bodies.  It just..just doesn't work that way.  It's probably some mental break down on my part.  A flashback from the whole time travel experience.  My fear kicked in, and I saw things that weren't there."

          "Maybe...or maybe not.  There is an alternative possibility, Kev."  She sat staring at him, the look of determination a sign that she'd have her say whether he liked it or not.

           He sighed.  The sooner she presented her theory, the sooner she'd be gone, leaving him to close his eyes and sink into the oblivion of sleep.  "Okay, Roxanne.  What's your possibility?  I'm listening."

            She looked away, suddenly uncomfortable.  Almost embarrassed.  "Do you remember what I told you...about my...research after we returned?"

              "Yeah...that Fr. Murphy died that same day in the bank.  That he was buried two days later in the diocese section of Bunker Hill Cemetery.  You told me you visited his grave.   Okay.  I get it.  It wasn't Murphy I saw today."   He tried not to sound cranky.  None of this was her fault either.  But he was tired of the whole nonsense, and just wanted her gone.

                She returned his attitude with some of her own.  "Look, O'Kenney...I don't like this anymore  than you do, but stickn' your head in the sand isn't going to make it go away.  I wasn't talking about Fr. Murphy.  I was talking about her.  Maria.  My host."

               He fought through the narcotic fog for answers.  And then it bloomed in his head, a mental beacon spilling into the room. He understood where she was going with all this.  "You told me she was pregnant."

              A flush of pink crept around her neck.  "Eight weeks from what I could tell before we left.  It was causing her...me...all kinds of anxiety that someone would find out."

               "And you think...this pregnancy...this baby..."  He struggled with words, the implications and the emotions crawling over him like a thousand stinging insects.  "It was his...Fr. Murphy's."

              She nodded, saying nothing further, giving him no fodder for argument.  He felt an overwhelming need to defend the man.  Defend the person whose body he had shared.  Whose vocation and commitment to God was the same as his own.  So he spoke without thinking, the years of seminary schooling slipping off his tongue.  "That's sorta a stretch, don't ya think, Roxanne?
We have no proof that...that Fr. Murphy...broke his vows.  That he was involved with this woman on an intimate level, or that he fathered this child.  Maybe he was just trying to counsel this poor soul.  Help her come to terms with her...her...?

                He knew from the look on her face he had said the wrong thing.  That he had hurt her on
several levels.

                 "Help her come to terms with what, O'Kenney?   Her 'sin'?   Is that what you wanted to say?   That Maria is some kind of damn harlot, and that Fr. Sean Murphy, sainted clergyman and pillar of virtue, couldn't possibly have climbed down off his clouds and acted like a real human being?"

               It was clear her damnation was aimed toward the living, breathing Kevin O'Kenney, and not the bones of a man dead over one hundred years.  The pain in his foot was a mere trickle compared to the pain in his heart, and try as he might, he couldn't think of a single word to say in response.  They sat that way, in silence, not looking at each other for what seemed like forever.  The she rose, and put the chair back in it's spot across the room.

              "Think what you want, Kevin.  We both know the truth, even if only one of us is honest enough to accept it.  Maria's baby was fathered by Sean Murphy.  When he died that day in the bank...of the cholera you contracted in the privy...she was left on her own.  What happened afterward, I have no idea.  I tried doing an Internet search of historical records, but came up empty.  Then things got crazy, and I decided to move here...and well...I haven't had a chance to pick up the trail."

               She gathered up her purse, and turned towards the door.  Before leaving, she leaned against the wall, her arms crossed against her chest, and her mouth set in grim stubbornness.   "We may not know the details of her life, but there's one thing that I'm absolutely certain of.  Maria went on and had her baby.  I'm sure of it.  And the kid today...the one in the clinic...has to be some kind of Murphy descendant."

              And then she was out the door, leaving the whole damn thing in his lap.
______________________________________

            He most have dozed off at some point, the meds forcing him into a deep, unnatural slumber.  It was the rattle of keys in the door that woke him with a start, his heart pounding in his chest.  Maureen stood in the foyer, her arms folded around two large grocery bags, with another hanging off her wrist.

            "I'm sorry.  Did I wake you, Kev?"   She shifted the bags to her hip.

            She had woken him, and for that he was grateful, the last few hours filled with crazy dreams in which he was left in a dreary, misty graveyard, holding a squalling baby, an army of ticking clocks armed with bayonets guarding his escape.  His sister's solid presence in the here and now was a relief, though one short lived.

            "I thought I'd come make dinner here tonight.  See if you needed any help.  Ted's right behind me.  I sent him back to flat to get my hand mixer.  Wasn't sure you had one in the rectory."

            At the mention of his brother-in-law's name, his heart sank.  The last he thing needed in his sorry state was the pompous jerk picking and poking at him.  The thought made him feel worse.  At one time, he and Beckett had been friends of sorts.  He had enjoyed the man's company, his quirky sense of humor and the way nothing seemed to ruffle his calm, cool demeanor.  But since the wedding to his sister, and the fiasco with the crazy woman, they had been at odds.  Part of the blame rested on Kevin's shoulders as well.  The time travel experience had left him uneasy and secretive, and he was sure Ted felt that something was being kept from him, as tempting as rattling a hunk a meat in front of a hungry lion.

       As if fate could read his mind, Sheriff Beckett appeared at his door, the afore mentioned hand mixer tucked under his arm.  He ignored his host all together, instead heading toward the kitchen in search of his wife.  There was hushed conversation, some shuffling around, and a series of giggles from his sister, a routine that had embarrassed him on many occasions before today.  The man took great delight in letting him know just how much hold he had over Maureen, as if he had a need to prove that she loved her husband more than her favorite brother.  It was a stupid thought on his part, and he brushed it aside.  With Beckett in the mix, he needed to reserve his concentration on not saying anything stupid.  He was sure the man would want additional information about the hold up, and would dig and prod until he was satisfied that all had been revealed.

          Beckett wandered out of the kitchen a smug expression on his face, and a bottle of Kevin's Guinness in his hand.  He raised the ale toward him in a gesture of question.

          "No.  I'll pass.  They gave me some strong meds for the pain.  Better not put alcohol in the mix"

           Like a beacon, the man honed in on the pill bottles lined up on the end table.  H picked up each one, reading the labels, until he seemed to find what he was looking for.  He shook the vial, the capsules clicking against each other like a baby's rattle.  "Hmmm...Percocet.  Strong stuff.  Bet this puts you in a pretty happy place, huh Father O'Kenney?"
Beckett examines the Percocet


Copyright 2014 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved



     



 






Saturday, December 6, 2014

Drawing Conclusions

            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

                       
Police sketch of the gunman
     The story was crap.  He was sure of it.  Despite holding himself up like a pillar of virtue, his wife's brother was lying through his teeth, and not convincingly either.  There might be nuggets of truth somewhere in his account, but there were huge parts of the story he was leaving out.  The question was... why?
 
         Beckett leaned back in his chair, and watched through his office window as one of his deputies helped Kevin maneuver his broken foot into the back seat of the patrol car.  He remained stoic and white faced, while the two women fussed over the best way to position him.  A quick call to the ER  had secured them immediate attention, and if all went well, the priest and his entourage should be safely home in the next few hours, giving the him the same amount of time to do a little investigating of his own.

         A tiny finger of guilt wiggled somewhere in the back of his head.  He knew he should be grateful that the situation had gone down as it had.  He owed O'Kenney that much. The fifteen minutes it took to get from the station to the medical center had been like an eternity, the condition of his wife the only focus in his head.  When they pulled up, and he saw her calmly standing outside, not a hair out of place, waving to him as he slid to the curb, the relief had been so overwhelming, he was momentarily embarrassed, and glad to be in the car alone.  In fact, all things considered in the gravity of the situation, the hostages looked remarkably calm.

         They had all given similar statements attesting to how the drama had unfolded.  Two gunmen had entered through the main doors, and had announced a hold up.  The clinic staff immediately went on lock down, and called 911, leaving the patients in the waiting room at the mercy of the two perps.  The taller of the two seemed very nervous, and when the opportunity presented itself, had fled through the same doors he had just come through.  The remaining gunman had rounded up the hostages against the back wall, but then selected O'Kenney as a bargaining chip.  That was the spot the story entered a gray area.  The four remaining hostages claimed the priest and the gunman had discussed things between them, but none could say what was said, being too far to hear the whispered conversation.  O'Kenney claimed in his statement that he tried to convince the man to surrender, but that instead, the man had taken off toward the restroom, and had apparently escaped through a window that opened up to a vacant wooded lot behind the clinic.

           It wasn't unheard of.  Two punks... into a crime way over their heads... decide to take an easy way out, and flee before law enforcement shows up.   But something about this whole thing bothered him.  Years of training made him feel he was missing an integral part of the picture.  Beckett flipped open the folder on his desk revealing the drawings his sketch artist had made of the suspects from the hostages' description.  Most were useless, showing little of the faces of either men, due to the hoodies pulled low across their faces.  Spinelli's description offered some minor points of the remaining gunman, detailing a squared chin, and a faded scar that ran from the left corner of the lip up toward the cheek.  And then there was the drawing the artist had made from Kevin's description.  He pulled it from the pile, and laid it on top of the others.

          The face stared back at him in near living detail.  At his brother-in-laws direction, the artist had rendered a portrait photographic in its quality.  The eyes, heavily hooded and piercing, sat under peaked brows, arched in what seemed like constant surprise.  The jaw line matched that of the other drawing, but the scar was absent, an oddity that puzzled him.  None of the other hostages had been able to discern the set of the mouth, or anything about the nose.  But Kevin's sketch detailed both, down to the slight bump in the center of the nasal bone.

         It was true that the priest had more 'one on one' contact with the gunman.  Had spoken to him face to face.  But the quality of the details in the sketch went beyond a victim's memory. He had seen enough of them to know the difference.  The drawing had a definitive personality, as if the person doing the describing knew the party on a more personal basis.  This wasn't the first time O'Kenney had seen this face, and that troubled him greatly for a myriad of reasons.  Since he and Maureen had returned from their honeymoon in hell, something was different about the man.  There was that heavy drinking episode that his wife insisted on curing with silly fairy magic.  At the time, he had written off the need to lose himself in the bottle as a reaction to something that had gone on with Mo's friend, Roxanne.  But now, he wondered if there wasn't more to the story.  Since that time, the man had seemed more guarded, more secretive about his thoughts.

          There was another explanation to consider, and this recent event gave him fodder to consider.  He had known since he had first met the man that the priest smoked weed on infrequent occasions.  It had never worried him, and if anything, made the man seem more like a normal human being.  But in light of his recent odd behavior, and today's events, there was the possibility his wife's brother's had gotten himself involved in something much darker.  Today's attempted robbery had been all about drugs.  That was clear.  Each of the witnesses had stated that the gunman had demanded Oxci, short for oxcicontin, a narcotic with high street value, and a popular choice among the prescription junkie crowd.  Was Kevin a user?  A seller?  Neither option was good.  Kevin was the light of Maureen's life, and therefore, also his responsibility.  If the dumb shit had gotten himself into real trouble, then Beckett would just have to dig him out.

___________________________

          The last thing he wanted was company.  When Deputy Franks finally dropped them off at the rectory, it was the promise of his bed, the television, and solitude, that forced the last few steps up the walkway and in the door.  He was glad when Maureen took off in the direction of the deli, and hoped that Roxanne would do the same.  But no dice there.  She took his keys, insisting on getting him settled before she made her way back to the B and B she was temporarily calling home.  If that was all that was on her mind, it would have been okay.  But he could see from the set of her mouth that she had something to say that wasn't going to wait.

         There was no way he wanted her anywhere near his bedroom, so he contented himself with being settled on the couch.  Once she had stuck a pillow under his cast, and one behind his head, she dragged a chair from across the room, and barely made herself comfortable in it, before she began her tirade.

         "What in the hell were you thinking, Kevin?"

           The painkillers he had gotten in the ER had just begun to take effect, and the drum throbbing in his leg was reduced to a light pounding.  He knew where she was going with the conversation, and he wanted no part of it.  "Look Rox, it's been a crappy day, and I've had all I can handle for one 24 hour period.  Can we have this discussion another time?"

         "No we can not!  I saw the drawing, Kev.  The one the police artist sketched.  It was...was Fr. Murphy...you... during the time travel!  Why in God's name would you do that?"

         He knew if he told her what he thought, she'd think he'd gone off the deep end.  But he was too tired, too worried to lie.  She was the only human being he could trust with the truth.  "I'm feeling... well...uncomfortable telling you this, Rox...but the man today...the guy with the gun...it WAS Fr. Murphy.  I'm sure of it."

        She sighed, and rubbed a hand over her forehead, the strain of the day marking her face as well.  "Look, Kevin...I know it was a terrifying experience.  And you don't have to be ashamed in feeling...overwhelmed.  But you and I both now what you're saying is impossible.  It can't be Fr. Murphy.  He's dead, Kev.  Buried a long time ago.  I told you...I visited his grave.  He died the same day we traveled back."

      "I know what I saw, Roxanne.  I looked at that face in the mirror enough times.  Saw the world through his eyes.  That face is imprinted on my brain forever.  You didn't see the guy today close up like I did.  It was all there...the eyes, the brows, the nose.  Just the scar was new.  Murphy didn't have a scar."

      "What you're saying is crazy shit, Kev.  Dead people can't come back and time travel.  They don't come back and do anything.  They're dead, and their souls rest in heaven.  You, of all people, should believe that."

      "I'm not saying I understand how this could happen.  Just that I know what I saw.  And the guy I talked to today...in the clinic...was Fr. Murphy.  They even sounded the same.  I could hear the background brogue mixed in with the Boston dialect."

     He was sorry he told her.  He could see he doubt in her face.  Could clearly see the worry etched in the frown she wore.  He watched as she got up from the chair, and began to pace the room.  When he started to talk, she shushed him with a wave of a hand.  She stared out the window for several minutes, lost in thought, then suddenly turned to face him.

      "There is another possibility, you know.  One that makes sense.  That is... if anything about this whole time travel shit can be labeled sensible."
     
Roxanne ponders the possibilities

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved