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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Of Faith and Fey



                         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




            "Why did you have to hit him so hard?"  Fr. O'Kenney leaned over the Sheriff's face, checking  again that the man was still breathing.  Satisfied he had not slipped into the Here After, the priest rearranged the pillow under Beckett's head, and picked out the pieces of plaster stuck to his hair.

            "I dinna hit him, laddie. 'Twas that."  The clurichaun pointed to the plaster statue of The Last Supper resting again on the fireplace mantle, now missing the heads of two Apostles, and a huge chunk of the table base.

             "Well, it certainly didn't just fly off and hit the Sheriff on its own, Brian, so who do you think you're kidding?  This isn't going to help matters.  Not in the least.  When he wakes up, he's gonna be mad as hell."

              "Ack, laddie, donna you be worrying over that one.  He won't be harmin' ya.  I have it on the best authority."

             "It's not me I'm concerned about.  We're standing around here doing nothing.  Wasting time while my sister is somewhere out there in some strange body.  All alone.  With God knows who!  In the meantime, I have no idea how to help her, and her husband thinks I'm a certifiable nut job.
If you're as fond of me as you say, I wish you'd help me get her back instead of playing childish tricks  on Ted."

               The wee man crossed his arms across his chest, and narrowed his eyes.  " As I have already spoken, mo leanbh, what you ask is beyond my magic.  I canna do little to shape the time and space of things."

              "But you told me you understood about the watch!  It was you who told me to keep the damn thing!  If I had just dumped it in the harbor like Roxanne insisted, none of this would have happened! It was your stu..."  He caught himself before making a terrible error in judgement.  Although there were many things he still didn't know about the Fey, he was well aware that insulting any of them was not a smart move.  Changing tactics, he wandered into the kitchen to retrieve the bottle of Jameson tucked under the sink, along with a tiny tea cup of the sorts young girls used with their dolls.  Eyeing the opened bag of cookies on the counter, he grabbed those as well, and made his way back into the rectory parlor.

               Ted was still out cold, Brian sitting on his stomach rummaging through the man's pockets.  Though he  heard Kevin's return, the little fairy ignored the priest, intent on finding something of interest in the Sheriff's belongings. The image of the clurichaun resting on his brother-in-law's gut was so bizarre, for a second he forgot about Maureen.  Forgot about the seriousness of the situation, and let out a giggle.  He thought about snapping a picture with his phone for future reference, but doubted the success of that attempt.  The fey were all together camera shy, and Brian was already annoyed with him as it was.

             Instead, he poured a shot of the whiskey into the tiny cup, laid three cookies on a napkin next to it, and sat on the sofa to wait for acceptance of his gift.  A few moments later, the tiny man scrambled off the Sheriff and made his way over to the reshreshments.  He downed the whiskey in one gulp, smacking his lips in obvious enjoyment.  Two cookies disappeared as well, and when he finished, he wiped his hands on the upholstery, and joined the priest on the sofa.

              "You have more of the same, laddie?"

              "The whiskey and the cookies?"

               The fairy nodded his head, suddenly more somber.

               "Yes.  There's plenty more in the kitchen."

                "That be good then.  You'll be needing them shortly."   He slid off the couch, and made his way back to Beckett.  "This one will be awake soon.  Then we shall see as we shall see."  Kneeling at the Sheriff's feet, he worked the laces from his shoes, and jammed them in his pockets."

                  Kevin knew it was probably rude to ask, but couldn't help himself.  "May I ask why you stole his shoe laces?"

                 Brian humphed in disgust.  " I be no thief, laddie.  Just taken' my due.  I gave him a gift, anna I took one in return.  It is how things be."

                  His answer made Kevin uneasy.  "You gave him...a gift?  Uhmmm...can I ask what the gift was?"

                  "I see no reason why ya should not  know, since he be awake in no time.  I gave the lassie's man An Radharc."

                   His brain scrambled for the English translation  "You gave him...The Sight."

                  The little man's mouth turned down in a frown, his concern quite apparent.  "Aye.  An Radharc.  When he wakes, he will see me as clear as your own eyes.  Alas, it be only lastn' a short space.  Unless She Who is All decides to make it longer."

                    So astonished was he by Brian's revelation, he paid little attention to the "She Who is All" portion of the comment, a mistake he would never in the future make again.   "So...are you saying that when the Sheriff wakes up, he's gonna be able to see you just as I do.  Like in the flesh?"

                  "Aye.  That is how it be.  Though unlike ye, laddie, who were born with the gift, the Croi Diamhair will lose the sight as time progresses.  Unless it be made long lasting.  Or forever."

                   The thought of Beckett...the all knowing, always on top, have all the answers Beckett...coming face to face with things of the magical sort...was a concept hard to take in all at once.  When he himself had first met Brian, he had been convinced the wee man was a product of an over active imagination, a result of some exceedingly potent weed induced high.  But time, and more than a little bit of research, had proved otherwise.  He had come to believe that the world was made up of many things not seen by human eyes, and that the Almighty Father was Creator of them all.  But he was a man of faith, his life built on the concept of believing without seeing.  Theodore Beckett was a different story.  He professed to believe in nothing that couldn't logically be explained with tangible proof.  How he would react to the existence of the Fey, Kevin couldn't begin to guess.

                   As if on cue, the Sheriff began to stir on the floor, mumbling obscenities as he attempted to roll on his right side.  Kevin himself struggled to get up from the sofa, the cast on his foot acting as a heavy anchor to the floor.   Brian followed on his heels.

                   "If I may offer a suggestion, Brian, I'd recommend you let him get upright before you ...Uhmmm...make yourself known.  He has a tendency to...react quickly.  I'd hate to see you get hurt."

                  "Auch, Laddie.  No worries there.  I be much faster than he.  But you speak wisely.  It is best I let him gather his senses for what is to come."  Grabbing another cookie off the plate, he dodged behind the sofa.

                  By the time the priest hobbled across the living room floor, Beckett had managed a sitting position on his own, and was busy feeling the growing lump on the back of his head.  He looked up at Kevin, and growled, "Who the fuck hit me, O'Kenney?  You better hope the hell it wasn't you, because brother or no brother, I'm gonna beat the shit out of you."

                   He put out his arm, and offered Beckett a hand up, leaning on his crutches for support.  "It wasn't me, I swear."   Taking a lesson from Brian, he too pointed at the chipped Last Supper on the mantle.  "You got hit with that.  Across the back of the head."   He tried to help the man to a near by desk chair, but the Sheriff shook off his assistance.

                  "What I'm asking, you idiot, is who hit me with it?"

                  Before a reasonable answer could be formulated, the clurichaun stepped out from behind Fr. Kevin's legs.

                  "That be me, Croi Diamhair."

                  Not expecting what he saw, nor believing what appeared in front of him, the startled Sheriff took a step backwards, nearly tripping over the chair Fr. Kevin had dragged over for him a few moments earlier.  He grabbed for the weapon which normally rested in his waistband, but that was gone, along with the pistol in the ankle holster.  Years of training kicked in, and he made a dive for the fairy, only to find himself immobile, unable to move a single muscle, stuck firmly in place. He looked frantically at Kevin, who had stood silent throughout the entire fiasco.  "What the fuck is going on here, O'Kenney?  Who...or what...the hell is that?"

--------------------------------------------------------

                   The pounding was like a jack hammer in his head, the bag of ice O'Kenney had offered not helping the pain one single bit.  Although he could now move about freely, everything worked in slow motion.  The small man thing glared at him from across the room, eyeing him with clear distrust.  That was fine with him.  He didn't trust "it" either.  While he clumped around the room, his brother-in-law attempted to explain the unexplainable.  First time travel, and now this.  Fairies?  Magic.  It was all nonsense.  Kid stories, and nothing more.  There had to be a reasonable explanation for what was happening right now, but what it was, he had no clue.

                 He tried to focus on the words coming out of Kevin's mouth, but like the rest of him, his brain didn't seem to be functioning on all it's guns.   From what he could understand, the midget had some information about retrieving his Maureen, and it was for that reason alone he didn't attempt to take the freaky thing out.  Instead, he did his best to make sense of the conversation around him.

                "But Brian, there's got to be something we can do?  Magic caused Maureen to travel, and magic has to be able to get her back."

                "That is true, mo leanbh daor, but as I have spoken, the watch is a white spell, cast by one more powerful than I.  It can not be broken.  The lassie must use it on her own to return, just as you have done yourself."

                 "There has to be some other way.  Another option.  What if one of us went to her?  Explained what happened.  Helped her get to the right spot.  I know just where to find one of those places.  If I could just get to her."

                "To break the binds of time is powerful magic, laddie.  Very powerful.  And  from the dark side."

                 "But you just said the watch was a white spell."

                "Aye.  The watch is a talisman for a white spell.  But you don't have the watch.  The lassie does.  Without the talisman, all is lost."

               "Don't you dare say all is lost, you little freak.  It's my wife we're talking about.  There has to be some other way."  The clurichaun raised his hand, and the pain in his head felt like a red hot poker.  Beckett grimaced, but made no sound.

               "I do not like you,  Croi Diamhair.  The light that surrounds you is dark.  But I can see the feelings you bear for the lassie are true.  If for no other reason, I will tell you what I know.  There is one among us that can help.  She Who is All.  She alone is powerful enough to send you back."

                Both mortal men spoke at once.  "Who is she?"

                Suddenly, the air seemed to grow heavy in his lungs, and the lights above his head flickered. Beckett kept blinking his eyes, but the room continued to appear in shimmering shades of pinks and purples, and he wondered if he was possibly suffering from some late reaction to the blow to the head.  Across the room, the little man dropped to the floor, tugging at O'Kenney's pant leg, and insisting he do the same.

               There came a loud buzzing sound in his right ear, and then a sharp pinch to his lobe.  He turned his head in reaction, only to feel a stinging slap in response.

              "I am She Who Is All, Croi Diamhair, and you best be remembering that."


Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved
 

   
             

                 
 
 
             

             

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

When Fiction Becomes Fact


                         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

The Revere Kitchen

      He was torn between outrage and honest concern.  Though the smell of marijuana permeated the garden air, the priest didn't appear to be high.  His pupils were normal, and the whites of his eyes were free of any distinguishable tell tale red, but his insistence that he was searching for someone...not something... in the bushes behind the church...was far from normal.  Inwardly, Beckett groaned in frustration.  That last thing he needed was for her brother to go off the deep end.  In the past hour, he had nearly talked himself into believing that Maureen had, unbelievably, switched bodies with the wife of the long dead patriot, Paul Revere.  Now seeing O'Kenney in the state he was, he wondered if they hadn't all fallen subject to some kind of mass hallucination.

          Back on his hands and knees, pulling aside the branches, the priest tried to explain.  "I know how this must look, Ted.  Pretty crazy, huh?  But I have no choice other than to tell you...well... everything. You see...about a year or so ago...shortly after I arrived here in Dollyville...I discovered that the church grounds were home to a clurichaun."

          "A what?"

         "A clurichaun.  They're sorta like leprachauns...except different.  No pot of gold.  Mostly good natured, especially if they've decided to place you under their protection.  It seems as if Brian...that's his name...or at least that's what he's told me to call him...he's...well... decided to kind of 'adopt' me."

         He stood there a full two minutes, watching Kevin crawl around in the dirt, whispering the name "Brian" over and over again, and felt as if someone had sucker punched him squarely in the gut.  If he had been the type of man to have friends in the normal sense, he might have considered the lanky red headed priest to be one of his few.  Before they had argued bitterly over Kevin's insistence on the truth, he had found the man to be witty company, genuinely upfront and easy natured.  Seeing him in this state, truly in the middle of some kind of psychiatric breakdown, cut him more deeply than he thought possible, and in that realization, pushed any thoughts of friendship from his head.  He owed it to his wife to see that her brother was afforded whatever medical help possible.  Nothing more.

       "Why don't we go inside the rectory, Kevin?  You can tell me more about this 'Brian' fellow, and I can try and help you find him.  Doesn't that sound like a reasonable plan?"  The Sheriff looked around the empty church grounds, grateful no one else was witness to the priest's breakdown.  The less people taking notice of the the strange things happening in Dollyville, the better they al would be.

         Fr. O'Kenney looked up at him, searching his face with serious contemplation, then got up, grabbing for his crutches, and brushing grass clipping and mud from his pants.  "Maybe you're right, Ted.  I may have to make this a more formal calling.  A true fairy circle.  I'll need to gather a few things, and then we can try."

_______________________________

        The rolling in her stomach had settled into gentle waves of nausea, but the banging in her temples continued without the slightest thought of mercy.  It was all she could do to keep upright without swaying, and if the line of tiny eyes staring at her were any indication, she probably looked as bad as she felt.  A stray dark curl escaped its confines, and she pushed it back under the cap, the heat from the fire not helping her stomach.  From the cradle, the infant cried piteous tears, calling for the attention of a mother who wasn't really there.  And where she was, Maureen didn't have a clue.

        She tried to piece the events together, what she remembered, and what were black holes in the moments leading up to this very one.  She had recalled being at the rectory, with both her husband and her brother.  They had finished dinner, an awkward situation in which the two men had glared and sniped at one another in between bites.  She herself hadn't been hungry, the harrowing experience at the clinic, and the behavior of both men, upsetting her stomach.  That, and the crazy humming sound coming from the rectory attic, the one that had set her teeth on edge the moment she walked in the door  Apparently, she had been the only one to hear it, but as the evening progressed, the damn thing seemed to get louder and louder, like a swarm of angry bees she could sense, but not see.

        After clearing the table, she had gone upstairs to grab a pillow off Kevin's bed, thinking he should have the broken foot propped up higher than it was.  And that's when the memory got fuzzy.  The sound was louder on the second floor, and from what she could tell, seemed to be coming from somewhere in the attic, in the space Kevin sometimes used as a make shift guest bedroom.  The humming drew her up there, and to an old highboy dresser tucked at the far end of the room.  She could see herself in her mind, rummaging through the drawers, feeling guilty for snooping in her brother's things.  That's when she saw it.  The gold pocket watch tucked beneath a stack of old files. She remembered reaching for it, touching the chain, and then...nothing.  Nothing but dizzy blackness, until she opened her eyes.

          The first few minutes were a nightmare, her pulse racing, head pounding, and stomach so upset she thought she'd be sick where she sat.  When her eyes finally focused, and the room stopped spinning, she'd been shocked to find herself no place recognizable.  But the worse was yet to come.  The strange clothes were frightening enough, but the reflection looking back at her from a silver plate perched on the fireplace mantle, was absolutely foreign, the only thing familiar being the green eyes staring back at her.  Though her head screamed her name, the body attached to it was not her own.

          It took what seemed like a lifetime to be able to stand, and done only because someone else had entered the room.  A boy, in Colonial garb, who appeared to be 15 or 16 years of age, his arms loaded with logs.  Seeing her face, and the way she swayed on her feet, he dropped the wood to offer assistance, calling her "Mother", and putting an arm under hers.  The solid feel of him gave proof that this was no dream, no seizure or hallucination caused by illness.  As far as she could tell, she had some how ended up in a body other than her own, in a time and place she didn't belong.

          Her poor mind struggled with that concept, but her body continued to function as bodies do.  She assured the young man that she was fine, in a voice and inflection that was not her own.  She instinctly seemed to know what was expected of her, but no idea of how or why she was doing so.  It was as if she were inside this form with someone else, and shocked to find that she even managed to accept the idea.  It was several minutes later that she recalled the watch, and did a quick search of her clothing, finding it tucked into a deep pocket at her hip.  Something inside warned against it being noticed by those around her, and so she left it hidden, fingering through the layers of cloth, feeling its slight vibrations.

         The boy was was soon joined by a small troop of children, including an infant who was placed in the cradle by a young girl.  They took their places around the table, seemingly expectant of a meal of sorts.  A quick glance into the pot hanging over the fire showed a porridge like mixture, thick and gluey, the burned smell causing her stomach to churn in response.  Maureen picked up a long handled fork leaning against the fireplace, and began to stir the cereal, scraping the bottom of the pot until she noticed the children watching her in complete horror.  She knew she had committed a drastic faux pas, but what it was, she wasn't sure.
     
        It was the boy who asked, his tone somber and concerned.  "Mother, are you quite certain you're well?"

         "Yes.  Quite.  A bit of upset stomach is all."  The sound and tone sounded odd to her ears, as if she were reading a script in a play.

          The young man did not seem convinced, eyeing her from top to bottom, and then focusing in on the fork she was stirring the porridge with.  He considered his manners, and then asked, "Then why, Mother, are you stirring the breakfast with the fire fork?"

_________________________

       So glad was he to have Kevin out of public eye, he said nothing as the priest assembled an odd circle of things on the floor of the rectory parlor, much as Maureen had done months earlier in an attempt to bring her brother out of serious depression.  At the time, he had thought it all nonsense, but let her do as she wished in order to pacify her.  Knowing as he now did, the reasons behind Kevin's odd personality change, he wondered if something she'd done had helped in any way.  Again, he shoved the ridiculous thought from his head.  This whole time travel dilemma had him questioning his better judgement. The things he knew to be certain. There were no such things as fairies.  No magic circles.  No damn unicorns, and pots of gold at ends of rainbows.  His brother was simply a fucking nut case.

            He sent out a barrage of text messages to people he knew would keep the conversation to themselves, including several to Nolan asking his help in finding a private mental facility he could quietly move his brother-in-law into for safe keeping.  His other contacts included people at MIT working on secret projects in quantum physics at the request of the American government.  He paid little attention to the priest, until he heard the man carrying on a serious, animated conversation with an empty chair.

          "Uhmmm...you alright over there, O'Kenney?"

           Kevin turned to him, red in the face, and obviously frustrated.  "I suppose you can't see him, can you?"

            The little bit of training he had on handling subjects with mental illness had suggested a calm demeanor, and so he tried to remain as passive as he could, lest he set the man to violence, and force a confrontation.   "See who, Kevin?"

              The priest pointed to an empty chair directly across from him.  "Brian.  The clurichaun.  He's sitting right here in front of me."

               Beckett sighed, and rose from the sofa, talking softly as his hands moved toward the cuffs at the back of his belt.  "Sure, O'Kenney.  I see him.  Hello, Mr. Brian.  It's very nice to meet you."
Slowly, he positioned himself beside the priest, knowing that with his foot in the cast, Kevin could offer little resistance.  It was clear the man was worse off then he had originally figured, hallucinating and in full psychosis.   It was best to subdue him as quickly, and safely, as possible. He leaned over to grab the man's hand right hand, but never made contact.  Instead, he felt something heavy hit him in the back of the head, his knees buckling under him, and the world going black.


Copyright Victoria T. Rocus  2015
All Rights Reserved


         

         

       


   

     


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Of Bourbon, Bacon and Brian

                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

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
All Rights Reserved

               

             



 


Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Truth is Coming, The Truth is Coming...


                    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

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."

         "Who both?"

        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

       

           

   

     



       

       

   

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Close Your Eyes


                    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 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