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 searches for something...or someone.|
The next five hours was a circus of group emotion, the highs and lows swinging like a trapeze for every person forced into the performance. Beckett moved from disbelief, to confusion, then concern, and finally landing into complete rage. It took the strong will, and every ounce of muscle they possessed, for the two women to keep the town's Sheriff from pummeling his frantic brother-in-law. From where he sat, this whole situation, if it could be believed, and he hadn't completely signed off on that, was entirely the fault of his wife's sanctimonious, idiotic brother, and the blame for any misfortune that might come her way, rested solely on this shoulders.
For a man who prided himself on absolute control, the information pouring out of the mouths of the priest and his newest deputy, as well as the woman who looked like Maureen, but wasn't, rocked his foundation to the core. In his dealings with The Powers That Be, there had been several times Beckett found himself shocked over the information that was passed to him. Covert dealings with foreign governments. Secret organizations that brokered power, and set world policy. Even the truth about UFO sightings and alien abductions. But time travel? Bodily possession? Those were the things of science fiction fantasy. Of best selling pulp fiction. Not anything that happened in real life. To real people. To his wife.
The Jameson had come out very early in the conversation. It was O'Kenney's idea, and the only sensible advice the man had offered. Ted hefted the bottle, and filled the crystal tumbler half way. This was probably not the time to cloud his thinking with alcohol, but he doubted Fate would hold it against him, all things considered. He stared at the woman sitting across from him, wearing Maureen's robe and her ginger curls. Over the past few hours, he had noticed... things, little things, that were strange to his wife's nature. The set of her mouth, the tilt of her head, the way she licked her lips before she spoke. Not his Mo. Not his Desert Rose. And if she wasn't here, sitting safely across from him, within his protection...then where the hell was she? And with whom? Doing what?
He pushed all thoughts of that nature from his mind, throwing the amber liquid down this throat, a liquid torch burning a slow track to his stomach. The four of them now sat in silence, talked out, and lost in worried contemplation, and the scene rankled. He was a man created for action, and it was time for solid planning.
"So O'Kenney...let's say I actually buy into this whole body swapping scenario. If Mrs. Revere is here in Maureen's form, then we have to assume my wife is inhabiting hers, Correct?"
"I would guess. At least that's how it worked for Roxanne and myself."
"You guess?! Damn it! We're not guessing on anything concerning my wife! Do we know where she's at, or don't we?"
"As I explained before, Ted...the watch didn't come with any kind of instruction manual. If you ask me, it seems to have a mind of its own. Moves at its own accord."
"Well, I am asking you, O'Kenney, and you're not giving me any kind of usable information. Don't you care what happens to your sister, you fucking imbecile? This is all your damn fault, and you're not offering a single reasonable solution."
To his right, Roxanne came to the priest's defense. "If I may interject, Sir...?"
"No Deputy, you may not. We're all aware you're Kevin's little cheerleader, and I doubt anything you say in his defense will help us get Maureen back."
She blushed a deep shade of pink, but held her ground. "You're being very unfair, Sheriff. After all, I was in the same position as your wife. Stuck in a strange body. Lost in a time not my own. I very well think I have something to contribute to this discussion."
If he were embarrassed by the outburst, Beckett didn't show it. Instead, he reached across the table, and hoisted the bottle in Roxanne's direction. She nodded her agreement, and he poured a finger into the glass in front of her, waiting until she downed the shot before speaking again. "I do apologize, Deputy. Of course your opinions are valid. Please continue." He leaned back in his chair, and folded his arms across his chest, face blank of any expression, waiting for her to explain.
"I don't think that harping on Kevin is going to help us at all. He's right about one thing. The watch is an essential piece to the travel. It seems to control who goes where, and when. But from our personal experience, the watch seemed to work better in certain locations than others. For example, Kevin and I both disappeared from the location in the bank, and we left from there as well. We tried using the watch in other places, and though we could feel some type of energy surge, it wasn't enough to switch us back to our own body. With that in mind, it seems to me that if Maureen has the watch in her possession, with a little insight and a bit of luck, she has the opportunity to return home."
The room grew quiet again, the three of them not daring to express what each was secretly thinking. It was Mrs. Revere who asked the question that no one wanted to answer. "Do you believe your Lady Maureen can do this thing? Switch us back?" There was a tremor in her voice as she continued. "It is my babes, you know. There are seven, the youngest still in arms. I worry much over their care."
He would have given anything to be able to offer her some hope. To be a voice of optimism in the room. But he knew, as did the other two, that Maureen had very little in the way of anything resembling luck. Her brothers had long ago named her "Wrecker Red", a name that implied her presence was less than fortuitous, and in the short time she had entered his life, he found himself understanding the reasons behind the moniker. No, it was unlikely that luck would play any role in his wife's return. If she were to find her way back, someone would have to go and get her.
It was Kevin who eventually voiced this opinion, and his bluntness surprised even Beckett. "I'm afraid, Mrs. Revere, that my sister returning on her own is...well...rather unlikely. Maureen is a lot of things. Compassionate, beautiful, creative...one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. She has a heart the size of a mountain, and would give you the shirt off her back if you asked. But insightful? I think not. She often jumps into things without considering the consequences. And luck...well, I'm afraid she has quite a bit of it. All bad. Things just don't seem to go smoothly when Maureen's around. It's been that way since she was very little. I'm not sure why." He fiddled with the glass in his hand, swirling the whiskey in the crystal, before downing it in a single mouthful. "No. I don't think any of of us here expect my sister to pop back here on her own. We're gonna need to figure out how to get to her ourselves, explain what's happened, and see to it that she gets to the right spot, watch in hand."
The color drained from the woman's face, making Maureen's few scattered freckles stand out like little red targets across the bridge of her nose. "So Reverend, it appears I shan't be returning to my dear husband and children any time soon. Is that correct?"
"I'm afraid that at the moment, I can't give you any solid answers, Ma'am. But you have my word that I will do everything in my power to see everyone returns to their rightful spot."
His frustration rising, Beckett pushed away from the table, and rose, knocking the chair over with a loud thump, and startling the others. "For once, the Reverend and I agree, Madame. You have my solid oath that I will retrieve my wife, and return you to your husband and children, no matter what that entails. In the mean time, please know that I will see to your absolute safety and comfort while you reside with us. If there is anything I can do to make your stay with us more bearable, please do not hesitate to ask."
"You are most kind, Constable. I am grateful for your protection."
"Yes, Ted. That's very generous. But I think it would be best served if Mrs. Revere moved into the rectory with me. Until we figure out how we are going to go about this."
"What? And have the whole town gossiping about how my wife's left me... again? Absolutely not, O'Kenney. She will stay right where she's at. Where Maureen would be if she hadn't been drawn into your crazy, supernatural bullshit!"
"He's right, Kev. For this all to go smoothly, we have to keep things exactly as they were. We can't give anybody any reason to be suspicious. It'll be hard enough for Mrs. Revere to have day to day contact with people as it is. Let's not give them fuel to seek her out with a hundred prying questions."
Beckett sidled up to the priest, cornering him against the kitchen sink, his nose inches away from the other man's. "I do believe the good Reverend here thinks I'm some kind of lecherous fiend. A man who can't control himself. Don't you, O'Kenney?"
Kevin held his ground, though he was pretty sure his brother-in-law was capable of opening the 2nd story window and shoving him out, with nary a second thought. "I think no such thing, Ted. You're my sister's husband. You're...'family'. I'm sure you'd treat our guest with the utmost courtesy. I just thought that Mrs. Revere would feel more...secure on church grounds."
"Gentlemen, please. There is no need to argue. Reverend, thank you for your kind offer, but I am quite satisfied to remain here with Constable Beckett. I do not wish to call undo attention to myself while I remain in this...form. I accept the man at his word, and shall be just fine in his care."
Beckett picked up his speed, pushing himself for yet another mile. The run had helped. Had settled down his racing brain, and the consuming rage that burned like a furnace in his belly. Nothing had been settled. No plans for Maureen's rescue. No teams assembled. The frustration of not being able to act was almost more than he could bear. His training had taught him that the solution to most conflict ended with the weapon in one's hand. But not this conflict. Maureen was gone. Vanished into thin air while he sat one floor below, oblivious to the fact that his life line was snapped.
It was still hard to accept the facts, though they stood before him in a woman who looked like Maureen, but was not. If time travel was possible, as the situation proved, then there had to be a way to use it to bring her back. For every action, a reaction. He had resources available, but was unable to use any of them. The Powers That Be would find his dilemma an opportunity, and Maureen just a pawn, dispensable in a trade for a weapon of unbelievable power. If he was to get her back, he'd have to do it on his own.
Kevin seemed to have some kind plan in mind, but was unusually close mouthed on what that might be. He had left the flat shortly after the woman had chosen to stay with him, explaining that he had morning Masses to say, and then would attempt to contact someone about Maureen's disappearance. Who that was, he had no idea, and he didn't hold out much hope that the priest would be successful. In the meantime, he would access the darknet, the realm most people were unaware of, for anything he could find on time travel. If there was an answer, he'd find it there.
It was nearly 8 AM, and though he hadn't slept in 24 hours, his body was wired with an adrenaline rush of fear for his wife's safety. Maureen lost in 1775. In the midst of the country's greatest unrest. He had enough experience with countries at war to know what hardships she'd face. Knew what embattled troops were capable of in the heat of aggression. He had only prayed one other time in his life. This would be the second.
He rounded past the back of Holy Family Church, and out of the corner of his eye, caught sight of Kevin's red hair popping up among the green of the leafy bushes. It was such an odd sight, it forced a need to investigate. As he drew closer, he could smell the pungent aroma of weed, unmistakeable in the summer heat, mixed with the smokey scent of something else. Bacon. Weed and bacon. He inched closer toward the bushes. So intent was Kevin on his search, the priest failed to hear Beckett's arrival until he was standing just a foot away, and when the Sheriff spoke, he jumped up startled, brushing dirt from the knees.
"What the hell are you doing, O'Kenney? Have you completely lost your mind?"
"I...I uhmmm...I'm looking for something. Someone."
"Really? And you think getting high, here in the bushes, in broad daylight, is going to help find Maureen. You're really one selfish, crazy, bastard, you know that?"
The priest paused for a moment, and it was obvious he was weighing his words. "Well, actually...I do think it might help. Maybe. It's the only option I could think of." He rubbed a muddy hand across his forehead, leaving a streak of dirt under his hairline, the strain of the past day evident in his long face. "You see...his name is Brian. He lives here in the bushes. And I think he might just know how to help us find Maureen."
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
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