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.
|Maureen and Kevin|
Dinner was a dismal affair. Both men knew that Maureen held strictly to the rule that the dinner table was no place to air dirty laundry, trade insults, or check your cell phone, so there was little conversation of the meaningful kind. Across from him, Beckett stared with narrowed eyes, looking very much like a lion ready to pounce on the weaker gazelle. His sister seemed preoccupied, complaining that since she'd arrived, she'd developed a terrible, grinding headache that wouldn't let up, and writing it off as having to do with that annoying humming sound coming from somewhere in the house. From Fr. Kevin's perspective, life had suddenly taken a troubled twist, and his head and stomach both were in a state of churning upheaval.
First it was the appearance of the young man with Fr. Murphy's face into their lives, and then it was the frightening knowledge that his sister could also hear the wretched watch in the attic. Those things combined offered a sure threat to any kind of peaceful life. He sat at his table, regretting with every fiber of his being, not throwing the watch into the Boston Harbor as Roxanne had begged him to do. He couldn't even explain why he had taken Brian's advice over hers, except to note that the wee little man had been grimly adamant about his needing to keep it safe, warning of those who would selfishly change the course of time. But having Mo involved...at risk, changed everything.
Beckett laid his silverware across his plate, and leaned over to place a kiss on his wife's cheek. "Fabulous dinner, love. Thank you." He eyed Kevin's untouched serving, and commented. "You didn't enjoy your meal, Fr. O'Kenney? You're usually a big fan of my wife's cooking. See you at my table often enough."
His brother-in-law's jibes rolled over his head without notice. Ted was the least of his problems now. He needed to figure out how to get rid of the watch, the sooner the better. This very evening, perhaps, if his unwanted company would just go home.
Maureen took a last sip of her wine, and began to gather up the plates. "After what Kevin's been through today, you can hardly blame his loss of appetite. Really, Ted, it was a harrowing experience for us all. It's given me a damn, awful head ache." She stacked the dishes in the sink, and ran the water. "Why don't the two of you go watch TV, or something. I'm gonna wash these dishes, and then Ted and I are gonna take off. That is...if you think you'll be alright, Kev? With that foot, and all? Sorry to desert you, but my head is pounding like crazy."
Fr. Kevin fumbled with his crutches, wobbling as he stood up. "Don't worry about those, Mo. I'll get to them tomorrow."
"Don't be silly. It'll only take a few minutes, and then we can be on our way. You can barely stand on those things." Seeing his awkwardness in moving, she questioned, " Are you sure you don't want us to spend the night? Make sure you're all right?"
The thought horrified him. "No. You go on home. I'll be fine. I think I might just camp out on the sofa tonight."
"Well, if you think you'll be ok." She turned to her husband, "Ted, can you help Kevin get settled on the couch. I'll be done here shortly."
Beckett took her hand, and pressed his lips to her knuckles. "As you wish, darling. I promise to rid you of that nasty headache as soon as we get home." He raised his hand, and wiggled the digits on both hands. "Magic fingers, you know."
On any other occasion, Kevin would have answered with a smart ass retort. But his brain was focused on the issues at hand, and he paid Beckett no mind. He clumped out of the kitchen, and flopped on the sofa, a spot in which could hear the humming in the attic more clearly. Beckett turned on the TV, and channeled surf until he found the ballgame. He didn't ask the priest's opinion, settling in to watch the game while his wife finished up the last of her chores. Just grateful to be off the Sheriff's radar, Fr. O'Kenney closed his eyes, outlining a mental list of places he could dump the watch. Somewhere along the list, he must have dozed off. He could hear the drone of the television, and bits and pieces of conversation between his sister and her husband. But the lure of fatigue, and the effects of the Percoset kept his eyes closed, and his brain shut to the "going ons" in the room. He never saw Maureen head up the stairs in search of some Tylenol, and an extra pillow for under her brother's feet.
Too distracted to worry about eating, Roxanne Spinelli lay across the bed in the Band B and fretted. There was no other word that better described her state at the moment. She had a queasy feeling deep in the pit of her stomach, and a nagging scrapping in the back of her brain. It went beyond her feelings for Kevin O'Kenney. Beyond the fear that their time travel had come back to haunt them in the form of a distant ancestor. This was a living, breathing nightmare. An ominous feeling that something was about to change everything she knew to be real and true. She tried to force the thoughts from her head, tried to convince her self that what she was feeling was a product of her wild imagination, combined with the stress of the day.
Several times, she picked up the phone to call Kevin, and then changed her mind. He would act the voice of reason. Explain that what she was feeling was a natural reaction to the harrowing situation at the clinic. Even worse, he'd probably tell her to ease her mind with prayer, as if a few mumbled words and some rosary beads were gonna change anything. It hadn't offered a solution in the past, and she was almost certain it wouldn't help now. In frustration, she tossed the phone back into her purse, and pulled a pillow over her head.
He felt it first. A crawling sensation along his spine, with all the hair on his arm standing up at attention. The air in the house seemed heavy. Thick with unexplained energy. Then he smelt it. The oppressive sulphur smell that awoke memories of a time earlier that summer. At the other end of the sofa, Beckett sat unperturbed, eyes glued to the screen across the room. Fr. Kevin opened his mouth to speak, but the sulphur filled it, and he gagged.
Beckett looked at him oddly. "You alright, O'Kenney. You look a little green around the edges."
It was an effort to force the words out. "Mau...reen. Where's...my...sister?"
His brother-in-law narrowed his eyes, now concerned. "She went upstairs to get some Tylenol for her head. Said she was gonna bring down an extra pillow for your foot. Why?"
"Must...stop...her." He fumbled off the sofa, clumping across the parlor floor towards the stairs without his crutches, the air in the room charged like a living battery, his face stark with fear.
The Sheriff was right behind him, yelling as he climbed the stairs. "Stop what, damn it? What the hell do you have hidden upstairs?" He reached the second floor before the priest did, flinging open doors and calling her name. "Maureen? Baby girl, where are you?" Not finding her in the bedroom or the bathroom, he looked at Kevin, who pointed towards the attic. Before either of them could move, there was a crash, and the sound of breaking glass, and Beckett took the stairs two and three at a time. Kevin moved as quickly as he could, but by the time he reached the landing, the Sheriff appeared at the door, an arm around his wife.
"She's fine, Kevin. Just startled. Must have knocked that old mirror over in the attic. That was what we heard breaking."
From where he was standing, Maureen looked to be in one piece. But he knew better. Her face was white with fear, and her body shook and trembled. Although Ted had his arms around her, she held herself stiffly, looking about with round, startled eyes. His heart fell to his feet, and for a second, he felt as if he would throw up right there on the spot. It was the eyes that explained everything. Made him want to cry. Though they were set in a familiar face, they were not his sister's eyes.
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved