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.
|The new "Maureen" spends the night with Beckett|
The woman who was not his sister looked back at him, her expression a portrait of horror and confusion. He knew how she felt. The memory of those first moments when he discovered he was no longer himself, still terrified him. Still gave him nightmares. Fr. Kevin took the woman's hands in his, cold as ice and trembling.
"Don't worry. You're safe. No one will harm you. You have my word on that."
She gave her head a slight nod, a sign that she had comprehended what he had said, but remained stiff in Beckett's embrace.
The Sheriff himself seemed tense, unusual for a man who normally kept such calm control over his emotions. "There's glass all over the attic floor, Kevin. That old mirror you had standing against the wall must have fallen over and shattered. I'll be happy to replace it if you want."
"There's no need. It's not important." He moved his attention back to the woman who remained silent as a stone. "Are you alright? Injured in any way? Do you need some water, perhaps?"
She shook her head no, and attempted to speak. When the words left her mouth, she seemed surprised at the sound of them. "No, Sir. I am well. Thank you."
Beckett looked at her oddly. "Are you sure you're okay, love? You seem...well...not yourself."
The impostor Maureen turned at the use of his tender endearment, and Kevin could guess that she was trying to make sense of the relationships surrounding her. She looked down at her clothes and smoothed them out, blushing as she did.
"No. I am well. Well as I can see."
Beckett furrowed his brow, maneuvering himself past the priest on the staircase, the woman in close tow. "I think I'll take my wife home now, O'Kenney. Have her lie down, and possibly give the doc a call. We've both reached our limit for today."
"Maybe she should just stay here, Ted. At least until she...feels better. It's possible moving her isn't such a good idea."
"I'm perfectly capable of seeing to my wife's needs, Reverend. If something should change, I'll be sure to call you, but for now, I think home with me is the best place for her." He leaned in, putting his hands on her cheeks. "Can you walk the block home, love, or would you rather I carry you?"
The woman's attention was focused on several framed photographs hanging in the rectory parlor. They were portraits taken of his ordination, and a few of his siblings' wedding day, Ted and Maureen's being the newest. She examined the professional pose of he in his vestments, and looked at him with what seemed relief. Then, she took note of the wedding shot capturing her supposed self, realizing for fact whom the man next to her might be. She blinked several times, and then hesitantly removed his hands from her face. "I can walk, Husband. There is no need for you to lift me."
Her response seemed to puzzle the Sheriff, but he said nothing in return, instead gathering up his wife's handbag and phone from the table in the hall, and heading out into the humid night air. From his position on the porch, Fr. Kevin watched them amble down the street toward their apartment. He could tell that Beckett was speaking to her, but couldn't make out the words. For several minutes, he stood in the doorway, frozen in panic, unsure of what to do next. He could see the lights go on in the flat above the deli, and his stomach and head worked in tandem to make him woozy.
The buzzing from his pocket startled him, and it took his brain what seemed like an eternity to make the connection between the sound and his cell phone. The screen showed an incoming call from Roxanne, and the relief he felt was a tangible thing. Roxanne would know. Would understand why he was crazy with fear for his sister's safety. Roxanne was God answering his prayers.
"Hello? Kev? Are you there? Hello?"
"Yeah. Rox. I'm here."
"I know this is gonna sound crazy, but...I...I had this horrible feeling that something bad's happened. Are you okay over there?"
It was hard to keep the shake out of his voice. "No, Rox. It's not okay. In fact, it's a complete disaster. Can you get over here? Like now? It's Maureen. Something horrible has happened."
He was waiting outside when she arrived twenty minutes later, sweating and out of breath as if she had run the whole way over. Despite the exertion, under the harsh lighting of the street lamps, her skin was the color of gray ice, and her tone just as frosty.
"This is all your fault, you know. I told you to dump that damn thing in the harbor, out of any one's reach. You told me you were going to take care of it, and I actually believed you. Silly me...thinking a priest would keep his word." In her frustration, she gave his left shoulder a sock.
The pain was a welcome alternative to the guilt. He deserved her condemnation. She was right. What happened to Maureen was all his fault. His stupidity in opening his mind to anything the Aos Si advised. He had no business even speaking to them. He, a disciple of the church, conversing with things not human. And now, he had no choice but to seek their unworldly advice if he had any hopes of seeing his sister...his real sister...again. "I agree. It's all on me. My fault. And I'm sorry to have to drag you into all this, but I need your help with Beckett. He won't believe me, Rox. Not a word. He thinks I'm a complete idiot. How am I ever gonna tell him what really happened to Maureen?"
"What makes you think he's gonna listen to me? I mean...damn...what happened to us was crazy shit. I wouldn't believe me either! Besides...he hardly knows me. Why should he care about anything I have to say?"
"Well, we gotta try. He's not stupid. Just the opposite! He's gonna figure something weird is up with his wife's...personality. You didn't see her, Rox. She was absolutely terrified. Confused beyond imagination!"
"Duh! Of course I can sympathize. It happened to me too, Kev. To both of us. And we didn't have the benefit of anyone around understanding what happened. We were totally on our own. So I do know what she's going through. I'm just not sure telling the Sheriff the strange truth is going to help anyone."
He grabbed the pair of crutches leaning against the porch railing, and began to hobble down the stairs. "We gotta do something, Roxanne. We have to at least try. We need all the help we can get in figuring out how to get Maureen back. He seems to know a lot of people. The kind of people who stay in the shadows. Has a lot of resources. Besides, I couldn't live with myself if I just left the poor woman alone with Beckett. You know how...how intimidating he can be. And what if he tries...you know...tries to...sleep with her?"
Roxanne snorted. "I bet she'd consider herself lucky, I suppose." Seeing the look of horror on his face, she added quickly, "Jeez...I was just kidding, Mr. Prude, though if you ask me, the man is walking sin itself. So freakn' hot. But seriously, I don't think he's the type to force himself on her if she says no."
"Great. You're a card carrying member of the Beckett Fan Club. That's just fine with me. But, I'm not willing to risk that innocent woman's safety...or her honor. Besides, he's my sister's husband. I need to do what I can to keep her marriage... intact. It's the least I can do."
By the time Kevin managed to wrangle his crutches down the street to the deli, the lights in the flat had gone dark. It took a constant barrage at the doorbell before the Sheriff himself, dressed only in a pair of gym shorts and a nasty disposition, stamped down the stairs to open the door.
"Damn it, Kevin...what the hell do you want now?"
Fr. Kevin shifted his weight to the crutches, and grimaced, hoping against hope for the sympathy vote. "I'm really sorry to show up like this, Ted. So late and all. But we really need to talk to you. Both of us."
The priest moved to the side, and Roxanne gave a small wave.
"Spinelli? You're part of this nonsense too?"
Roxanne looked sheepishly at her feet. "I'm sorry, Sir. But Fr. O'Kenney is right. It is imperative that we speak to you. Now. Tonight. It really can't wait."
Beckett narrowed his eyes, and for a moment, Kevin worried that he might shut the door in their faces. Instead, he moved to the side and gestured them forward up the stairs. There was a small night light over the stove, and even in its dim coverage, he could make out the figure of the woman hunched against the head board of the bed, covers pulled tightly up to her chin despite the warmth of the evening, her eyes as round as dinner plates.
"All right, you two. Spit it out. What's so fucking important it couldn't wait until morning? You woke Maureen up as well, after I told you she needed to rest. As we discussed before, she just isn't herself tonight."
Kevin and Roxie looked at each other, neither relishing the first opportunity to speak. Then with a sigh, Kevin blurted the words out. "You're right, Ted. She's not herself. Because she's not Maureen. Not our Maureen, anyway."
In the bed, the woman who was not herself let out a squeak, and buried her head under the covers, while her temporary husband slapped a hand on the counter top, rattling the dishes in the cabinet "What in the hell are you talking about, Kevin? Of course that's Maureen. Have you lost your damn mind, you idiot?"
"No, Ted. She might look like Maureen...sound like her too. But that woman...in the bed? She's not the real Maureen. She's someone else. From a different time period. Sharing Maureen's body."
Beckett looked at them...the priest, his newest deputy, and his wife, and then began to laugh, a low grim sound, shaking his head as he did so. "Maureen put you up to this, Kev? Some kind of practical joke? I must admit, you had me going for a minute there, though I'm not much a fan of pranks like these."
But the faces in the room did not respond with mirth. The woman in the bed began to wail, long breathy sobs unlike anything they had heard before, while her husband attempted to sooth her. "It's okay, baby. Don't cry. I'm not angry. Really I'm not. It was a great joke. Honest."
She continued to sniffle, her nose red and running in the way Maureen's always did. And when the words finally came, they poured out in one long stream. "You don't understand, Sir. You don't understand. I'm not this Maureen person at all. Not all all. My name, Sir...my name is Rachel Walker Revere...and I just want to go home."
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved