It Takes One to Know One

Have you ever heard of a born-again Christian? It is usually applied to someone who has repented all their past sins and declares Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Through His forgiveness, the person is re-born and can began to live a life dedicated to Christ without fear that their past sins would send them to hell. Many consider taking this path after having led a self-destructive life that not only affected them but others around them. It can be the ultimate catharsis. To be able to shed away your evil deeds and began a brand-new life.

Through doing this it is believed that all past sins, no matter how severe are forgiven.

All sins.

Desiree contemplated this as she sat in the pretty Catholic church she spotted on her way back from a party. Her short dress was less than appropriate but entering the church was a last-minute decision. She sat there, eyeing the looming statue of Jesus Christ holding his hands out. Welcoming whatever lost soul stepped toward Him. Tonight, the soul that looked to be in His presence was that of Desiree, or whatever was left of it.  

The church’s door was slightly ajar and there was a strong wind that entered, coursing through the aisles. Despite her clothing Desiree did not feel anything. Her body was still amped up from the actions she just committed. Her hands still smelled of the man she was just with. Her hair was still a mess though she managed to comb through it with her fingers. Her dress was slightly stained. Desiree did manage to wipe off it off with water but something stronger would be needed to do the trick.

It was dark inside the church. Dark and hollow. Desiree could hear even the slightest of sounds being made on the inside. She felt alone and afraid but also lost.         

Why did you do it? It didn’t even feel right.

Desiree whispered to herself, the tears started to flow.   

Were these feelings a sign that Desiree was ready to give up her old life? If given the chance would Desiree stop with these evil deeds and start brand new life. She was not so sure but these strange feelings of doubt made her wonder. If Desiree can be cleansed of her past, would be forgiven and allowed to start fresh, then maybe she no longer would look for men to satisfy her lust. Her dedication to Christ might just be satisfaction enough.

Father God in Heaven I pray… 

Desiree placed her head down and started to pray for this chance, this forgiveness and this new life. She wanted to forget about that happened tonight. The man she met, what she did. She knew she could have stopped. She knew she had a chance to walk out that isolated alley. It was not like she would ever see him again. Desiree’s legs began to hurt. They were very sore from tonight. Trying to not to be distracted from praying, Desiree took one hand and rubbed her legs to massage the pain away. She felt something stick to her fingers. She lifted her hand and saw strands of dark short hair.

Oh no.

Desiree rubbed aggressively to get the hair off hands and thighs. She checked both her hands and to her horror, there was more of the man’s hair and stuck in between her fingers.

No, no, no, no.

Desiree quickly rose from her seat.

I need to get out of here.

 However as soon as she turned around to exit the aisle she came face to face with an elderly woman, dressed in white cardigan sweater and black pants. The woman had a large rosary hanging from her neck and she smelled heavily of Elizabeth Taylor perfume. So much that it stung Desiree’s nostrils.

 “Oh Goodness I am sorry to startle you, are you here for confession”, The elderly woman pressed her boney hands on Desiree’s shoulders.

“Excuse me” Desiree confusingly replied.

“Father Truman has been waiting in the confession booth for about ten minutes, you’ve must have dozed off” The elderly woman pointed to area in the corner of the church.

“I am sorry I don’t…”

“Don’t be shy, is this your first time? I could tell, this is a rather late time for confession, you must be in need.” The woman smiled warmly at Desiree.

Desiree looked again in the direction of what appeared to be a small room hidden in the corner.

“Thank you, I was nervous. Is the person in there Father…”

“Father Truman, oh I don’t know if I was supposed to tell you that” The elderly woman giggled innocently.

“Father Truman must have the patience of a saint to wait for me this long.” Desiree smiled at the elderly woman graciously and made her way to the corner of the church to the small doorway. Desiree glanced one more time at the statue of Jesus Christ before entering the small room, this must have been a sign. 

Upon stepping through the doorway Desiree saw a booth. There was a large burgundy curtain covering two sides of the booth. She could see feet behind ne side and so she entered the other side. Desiree’s heart beat quickened as she sat in the booth. It was the same as the entrance of the church, dark and mysterious. Probably filled with all kinds of disturbing secrets. The priest on the other side seemed patient and quiet. A little too quiet. Desiree expected him to greet her but… nothing.

“Um, forgive me father for I have sinned” Though Desiree has never done confession before, she remembered these words from movies and television shows she’s watched.

Still no words from the priest. Desiree started to get annoyed, she needed purification, she needed absolution. Impatiently, she tapped on the screen in front of her. That is when she heard some shuffling. 

A man groaned and lifted his head up.

“What do you want now” Father Truman did not seem welcoming, he sounded as if he had woken up from a sleep.

“Forgive me Father for I have sinned” Desiree repeated firmly.

“Oh goodness I’m sorry, I didn’t know I had another confession. Please forgive me I am exhausted” Father Truman said apologetically.

“Please child go ahead”

“I just need to know that this is confidential, and it goes against the teachings of the church for you to discuss what I am about to tell you” Desiree’s hands were shaking as she asked this.

“That is the seal” Father Truman assured her.

“Okay. I killed someone” Desiree casually blurted it out.

Father Truman did not immediately reply. Desiree waited, growing more nervous by the second. Then she heard the priest heavily sigh.

“Is this a joke, did Blake send you” Father Truman asked in a rather upset manner.

“What, no. I don’t even know who that is. Why would I joke about this?”

“I do not know who you are but I take my oath as a priest seriously. Please leave” Desiree could hear the Priest get out from the booth. She rose up and swung the curtain open.

“What the hell is your problem, you can’t deny me confession”

“Yes I can if it is false”

Father Truman walked faster away from Desiree. Desiree caught up and grabbed him by the arm.

“Keep your hands off me” He scowled.

“I don’t know what your problem is and I do not know who Blake is. But I need this. If you don’t listen to me, I might kill someone again. Do you want someone’s death on your hands?” Desiree harshly whispered rather to the angry priest.

What she just said struck in cord in Father Truman’s already ill stricken mind.

“I just want to be forgiven so I can move on start fresh. I want to know that I can still be saved”. Desiree fell to her knees and cried into her hands.

Last year, if you would have asked Desiree if she felt justified in her actions, she would have proudly said yes. But that’s the thing with psychopaths, they suffer from a severe moral deficit. Desiree was far from stupid, she knew exactly what she was.

The first time Desiree committed her first murder, it was spontaneous. The victim was a fellow college student looking to drug Desiree and she turned the tables. She had long forgotten his name. The police never solved the murder.

Since that day Desiree’s bloodlust grew like a hunger growling deep within her stomach. Hard to ignore, she began to think of different ways to keep her satisfied.

It wasn’t hard to woo her victims with her vivid green eyes and exotic looks. What was hard was finding the motivation. The drive, the ignition. Not every man Desiree would meet would have the same devious plan as her first victim.

This is when her standards slowly lowered.

However, this last victim really shook Desiree. It was an unexpected opportunity that landed in front of her. In a dark alley, with nobody around. But it was less then fulfilling.

 Father Truman nervously looked around to see who was left in the church. He took attention back to Desiree and all her sorrowful beauty.

“This isn’t a cruel joke” Father Truman asked.

“No I swear” Desiree raised her right hand.

“I fail to see what joke this would be anyways”

“You don’t even know a Blake, do you”

“I don’t Father” Desiree’s eyes widen like a puppy.

“Come then” The priest walked hastily back to the confession booth. Desiree got up and followed behind. They both went back inside their respective places. Desiree and Father Truman both exhaled a breath of relief simultaneously.

“Start from the beginning my child”

“I’m afraid I will only begin from tonight. That is all I have the energy for” Desiree replied.

“I walking tonight from a friends party, I was angry because the Dean at my school that I’ve been sleeping with has been trying to stalk my every move. I have been ignoring him for a couple of weeks now. I just couldn’t keep up with his demands” Desiree paused for a moment.

“Go on child” Father Truman asked, waiting patiently for Desiree to begin.

After the confession, Desiree walked out of the church feeling a little more relaxed. A stray cat walked by and rubbed its matted fur against her bare legs. Desiree knelt down to pet the feline and as soon as she did, she could feel a wet sensation on the cat’s orange fur. It was blood and it was on her hands. She shot up and walked as fast as she could home. Knowing that that her confession to the priest was in vain.

When Desiree turned the corner, she came face to face with a familiar figure. She held in her breath. She wasn’t prepared for this one.

“Why were you following me” The man said.

“I wasn’t” Desiree’s voice was low. She tried to maintain her composure.

“Yes You were and you knew I was just in that church” The man’s voice was very intimidating. He stood a bit taller then Desiree, not very bulky. His blond hair was a mess. His eyes were as bewildered as wolf who’s just lost his prey. There were noticeable reddish stains on his grey shirt.

There was no point in continuing the lies. This man was not so naive.

“Fine, you’re right. I am assuming your name is Blake” She softly asked.

The man did not answer but his fists clenched. Desiree already spotted a couple of people in the area.

“That priest gave you up. I also know that you won’t hurt me. There are too many people around”

The man started to laugh, his grin was overwhelmingly malicious. Not once did Desiree move from her position. She stood firm and did not let on that she was scared. She already knew this game and she was not one for losing.

“Maybe I won’t. Now. But what makes you think I won’t track you down after tonight and gut your pretty little self apart” He kept that same malicious grin on as he spoke.

“I would spot you right away. You’re not very careful when tracking people. When you attacked that girl, you didn’t even notice her boyfriend a few feet away from her.”

Now Desiree was the one sporting a devious smile.

“Besides if it wasn’t for me, that guy would still be alive and on the phone with the police. It wouldn’t be long before you were arrested”

Blake starting to breathe heavily, Desiree noticed his mood darken but she already had him in her web and she wasn’t about to let go.

“I wore a mask” Blake growled.

“Yes but that didn’t disguise your height, your weight, your eye color, your hair color which I spotted underneath your flimsy ski mask. Not to mention” Desiree pulls out a small knife from her purse.

“This blade that the guy stuck in you with when you tried to attack him” Desiree handed Blake the knife.

“Are you going to take it”

Blake takes the knife and tries to immediately stab Desiree with it, but Desiree quickly dodged it and took out small taser from her jacket pocket. She hit Blake on the side of his abdomen with the taser, causing him to collapse to the ground. Desiree kneeled down over him and wrapped her arms around his writhing body.

“You see, not very observant” She pressed her body down on Blake’s then noticed a couple of people passing by her curiously.

“My boyfriend had a bit much to drink, we’re just waiting for a cab” Desiree assured the onlookers. They appeared to believe her and continue to walk away.

When they were out of Desiree’s sight, Desiree brought her face close to Blake’s.

“You did something to me tonight. You put me in a position to kill someone I had no plans of killing. It did not feel good at all. I thought maybe I felt remorseful, but the truth is I don’t know what I felt. When I noticed you came into the alley behind me to see that I already did your dirty work I did make a decision to follow you. I thought killing you would make me feel better. But when you walked into the church, well I got a little curious.”

“Curiosity killed the cat” Blake mumbled.

Desiree used the taser again.

“Not today it won’t”

“Pay better attention to your surroundings next time, or you’ll have worse problems then getting stunned by a bullshit taser.” Desiree released Blake from her grasp. He held his stomach tightly while still on the ground.

Desiree saw that a bus was about to stop and walked across the street to catch it. Once inside she sat in a window seat and waved goodbye. Though Desiree knew this would not be her last encounter with the young murderer. If Blake was anything like her, and she expected that they both has a lot in common, he would be searching for her endlessly.

 

 

 

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The Other Pet.

Ridgewood Onderdonk House Basement Edited(Photo is my own)
In the midst of the rising heat of the early summer settling into air. Lies a teenage girl name Alice.

Who took a dog sitting job for an elderly woman who went on vacation. The dog was a Pomeranian named Malice.

One night when the evening chill came and moon was full. Alice heard noises that sent chills down her spine.

The groans came from beneath. Alice ignored it and tried to convince herself that everything was fine.

Until a loud scream vibrated through the living room floor and made Alice jumped from her seat.

She turned to the basement door and saw Malice laying down casually licking his feet.

Ignoring her fears, Alice walks to door and opened it quick. And Malice bolted straight to the basement below.

“Malice what the fuck” Alice whispers harshly. At this point Alice was scared and in her voice it showed.

“Malice” Alice shouts again, but the dog doesn’t return. The stairs leading down was pitch black.

Alice, not wanting to ascend down, once again shouts “Malice”, this time her voice cracks.

The dog’s barks were heard but so were what sounded like cries of agony. Alice doesn’t think twice.

She runs downstairs to help but halfway through she was met by a  surprise. Her stomach was deeply sliced.

It was the elderly woman on the other side of the knife. Alice’s leaking body collapses down the basement.

Ignoring the cries of the dying girl as the elderly woman struggles to drag Alice into her final placement.

Blurred vision from the blood loss, Alice barely makes out the outline of the figure in front of her.

A disfigured monstrosity shackled to the wall. Alice realize the groans were not cries for help but intense hunger.

The elderly woman turns to the trembling body and twists the knife to deepen the wound’s curve.

She turns to the shackled creature, who cries became louder until she says “Dinner is served”

The elderly woman and her dog Malice watch as Alice succumbs to her grisly fate.

Surrounded by the smell of carcasses from those who too became an entree on the other pet’s dinner plate

Grandma if you were alive today.

Grandma.

Grandma if you were alive today

You would be surprised to see

All the new bars next to new cafes

People inside sipping gentrified tea

With laptops next to their parfaits

Your landlord would upgrade

All vacant apartments in the building

Buy the new out of state tenants a washer and dryer

Then tell you he’s too broke to fix your ceiling.

While you watch everybody’s, rent go higher.

But you wouldn’t have cared much

About the neighborhood changes.

Or the possible cultural suppression

You just be happy to see all of our faces.

And our daily expressions.

You’d be sipping bodega coffee.

While listening for bochinche

You’d see your youngest granddaughter grow

She’d be your bonita bebe.

And with pride you would glow.

You’d be in love with your oldest granddaughter’s daughters.

Your arms would open and your face would grin

Because upon seeing them you’d be elated.

One golden hair nena and a set of twins

Three beautiful girls would’ve had your heart captivated

You’d be amazed at your two other granddaughters

Fiercely strong young girls

Both blossoming in beauty and brains

Handling whatever this world hurls

Standing in their beliefs with strength in their veins

Grandma if you were alive today.

Strolling around in Ridgewood, Queens

You’d finish crossing that street at Seneca and Gates

Because the driver would have thought twice

February First would not be such a horrible date

And I would be more grateful to have you in my life

Into The Water

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Into the water by R.V Diaz.

Into the water I go.

My dress is clinging a bit low

The trail is wet and my legs sag

The heels of my feet sink and drag

My arms are stretched and asleep

But my will I must keep

My hair smells of iron and sticks to my face

I quietly beg my heart not to race

The howling of the wind is above me

But I dare not open my eyes to see

My chest tightens, my lips firmly closed

The stranger above me

Knows he’s been exposed

But the stranger does not know

The secrets my body will harbor

Beneath the nails I used for armor

The teeth that he felt clamp on his fingers

The thing inside me that’s sure to linger

The visions I had when his grip got stronger

If only he knew he would have held on longer

And into the cold water I go

With the stranger above and I below

A New York Ghost Story: Chapter 11

Chapter 11

I was never too much for the holiday season. As a child, my grandparents did their best to give me a good Thanksgiving and Christmas. During Halloween, even though that day to them was far from “holy”, my grandparents would still take me trick or treating around the neighborhood. Every year they would pick out my costume. Nothing nefarious such as a witch or a ghost was allowed. So as you can imagine, I was often a princess. I hated it. One year, when I was approaching preteen adolescence, I went to a store with a bunch of my friends after school. There was this really pretty fortune teller costume complete with the crystal ball. When my grandmother saw it, she tossed in the garbage. At that time, I didn’t know about her “gifts” and just assume she thought the costume was satanic or something. I wasn’t that upset with her, she’s done everything for me.

Most of the holidays I spent with my grandparents were wonderful, but also a painful reminder of my situation with my parents. My father rarely contacted me though my mother would send letters. She would never get a response.

You have to take the bad with the good, I guess. Thanksgiving is the next holiday approaching and my grandparents are insisting Andrew and I visit. Andrew’s met with my grandparents before but has yet to spend a holiday with them. This would be our first. His family was in Italy this year. Andrew’s great grandfather was very sick and his parents, who are retired, are taking care of him. Andrew opted out of going. He said it was because he couldn’t take the time off. Something told me that wasn’t true.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandparents I just am not fond of family gatherings during these times. It always reminds me that something was missing. Also, Andrew met me when I was committed to a psych ward because I was ranting about seeing my dead mother. This was something my grandparents were not so happy about. For one, my grandmother would never admit that this would not the first time someone in our family claimed to have seen a ghost. My grandfather thought that Andrew was taking advantage of my fragile state. But here we are. A couple of years later and we are still together. Fingers crossed.

The Clifton Institute was also big on holidays. For the teenagers who were here, the holidays were also a reminder of a broken family. It is a time that they feel most ashamed of their actions that led them here. It is also a time when they feel most abandoned by their loved ones. Dr. Clifton likes to host a pre-thanksgiving dinner for the patients and their families. It was his way to try and mend whatever bonds were broken. To remind the patients that their families did not abandoned them.

Of course, I was in charge of creating the flyer to mail out. My holiday flyer for the Thanksgiving dinner was looking as bleak as I felt. Almost the entire flyer had no color. The font was grey. I didn’t even browse on the web for a decent photo of a turkey.

You got to make this look exciting Tina.

For most of the teens here, this is where they will spend their Thanksgiving. Some of their families come, some stay home and host their own thanksgiving dinner. Forgetting the troubles they left here. I feel for these teenagers, it isn’t easy feeling unwanted by the people who are supposed to love you.

My sympathy does stop short however, for those who continue their path of self-destruction and that eventually spreads to the destruction of others. Unfortunately, in this place, many were like this. Patients and staff alike. In the short amount of time I have been here, that has been made very clear.

Let’s find a happy turkey. I whisper as I browse for images of colorful cheerful turkeys.

My office phone starts to go off. The ringing seems louder than usual and pulsates into my ear. Immediately I stop what I am doing and answer the phone.

“Hello” I wait. No response in the first couple of seconds.

“Hello” a voice stifled. “Please are you there” it says.

“Yes, who is this” I reply.

“Please Tina, I’m trapped, I need your help” The voice gets a little bit clearer, fear is present.

“Who is this” The voice sounded familiar to me.

“It’s Madison, please I’m locked in a room. I need your help to get out please before…”

All I heard next was a crackling roar. It overwhelmed my ears. This is when I begin to feel very very nervous.

“What is going on” My voice escalates over the sounds of the crackling, I try and cover my other ear, so I could hear Madison through the noise.

“I am trapped please get me out” Madison chokes out her words. My heart drops and I jump from my seat.

“Okay calm down Madison, where are you” My heart started to pound, I grabbed my cell phone as I waited for her response.

“The basement…I don’t remember much but I was walking out of my room then a big hand covered my mouth. Next thing I know I was in here and…”

She became quiet. I waited for her to continue but she didn’t utter another word. My hand was shaking but I did not hang up the phone. After a couple of long seconds, finally a scream.

“Please Tina help me there is fire everywhere” Madison’s voice boomed through the phone. Immediately I hang up and run out my office to get help.

The hallways were dark and silent. There was no staff, no patients, no noise whatsoever. My eyes darted from corner to corner looking for someone.

“Hello…Joseph…anyone. Please, Madison is trapped in the basement” My voice echoes through the deserted hallway.

I don’t understand. Where the fuck is everyone…

There was no reason why this place would be empty. My anxiety started to spike up and I could not focus. My head started to spin, and I pace around in circles wondering why this place was desolate. Then my cell phone rang. It is an unknown number. I answer.

“Hello” I whisper.

“Where are you” It is Madison, she is now hysterically crying. Her voice is trembling. I never gave out my number to the patients, so I was confused. The sound of Madison’s painful cries, however, subside any questions I had. My goal was to find her.

My ears began to pick up the sound of a faint cry not far from me. The sound was coming from down the hallway. I darted towards that direction and the cries slowly began to get louder and the hallways began to get darker. Out of nervousness of the darkness surrounding me, I almost stop running. Suddenly, the door at the end of the hallway opens just so slightly. It is the staircase leading to the basement. There is smoke coming from there. I should have called the police but instead I ran into the smoke. My knees at this point are trembling as I rush down the stairs and open the door to the basement.

“Madison I’m here” The smoke gets sucked into my throat causing me to cough profusely. But I keep going, there was so visible fire in front of me.

“Madison please answer me” She was not responding. The smoke got heavier the further I walk but there is still not sign of a fire. The screams began again, and I frantically look around. A dark and thick cloud shot out from underneath a door to a room that was all too familiar.

Oh my God.

It was the storage room.

When the smoke cleared, the whimpering of a young girl could be heard. It had to be Madison. I quickly go to the door and open it, ignoring the scorching handle that surely burned me.

Within a minute of the door to the storage room being open, the flames burst out at my face. A fiery figure fell upon me. Her skin blackened by the fire which emanated her body. Her eyes though, her eyes were untouched and an intense shade of amber. It was not Madison, but I know I have seen this face before. Without me realizing, I was already on the floor. The figure was on top of me, pinning my body down to the floor. My mouth gaped open, but no screams can escape me as the fire touches my skin and scalds me. The girl’s eyes seeping into my soul while my body burns…

“Tina, Tina baby wake up” I open my eyes and Andrew is on top of me shaking with his hands tightly grasping my arms.

“Stop” I am still groggy from my nightmare.

“I’m awake” my head is pounding, the clock on the wall says it’s three in the morning. Andrew sits beside me on the bed. He looks terrified and worried.

“You were screaming like someone was stabbing you” He wipes sweat from his forehead.

“Well close enough” My head was pounding.

Vivid dreams are almost never fun. You would think that I could have nice intense dream where I am flying through the night sky adoring the stars and city lights. But no, vivid dreams are there to intensify your fears not your fantasies. Andrew was hovering over me like an eagle, rubbing my shoulders roughly. It’s no surprise that he was deeply concerned.

“Have you been having dreams about your job again.” He asked. I didn’t want to answer because I knew he would just hound me about seeing a psychiatrist. I stay silent.

“Did you have a dream about the girl again, the one you’ve been hallucinating about” He inquired again.

“Can you just stop” My headache just became stronger.

“Tina I am really worried about you” Andrew grabbed my hands, his eyes pleading for a response.

“Do you even know what you were screaming. You kept saying fire and this isn’t the first night you’ve done that. Ever since you started this job you’ve been obsessed with fire or something burning. Now you’re dreaming about someone being set on fire. I think. I think you need to talk to someone” He strokes my hair, I know he is concerned but there was nothing else I could say to him.

Andrew never believed in the supernatural. Even if he asked my grandmother, she would stick to the story that I had a habit of hallucinating. Not that it mattered if she told him the truth. All she wants is for me to push this ability away. It has worked, until I got my job.But now my visions are in full force. I already know who I am seeing. The dead girl that is haunting me is Rachel.

Now I need to find out what she wants.

Father Truman and his dilemma on All Hallows Eve.

 

Due to a bit of writer’s block I took a break from writing Beyond the Open Door. Here’s a short story that I started last year and just got around to finishing.

Enjoy!

Father Truman and his dilemma on All Hallows Eve 

“For thirty years, I have been serving our Father. I have been diligent, I have struggled to remain faithful and I have struggled to remain sane. The outline of my priesthood has consisted of enlightening ups and very dark downs. Throughout it all I tried my best to be as Godly as possible. Unfortunately, there are times that I have failed and fallen from His grace” Said Father Truman in the confessional booth. It was All Hallows Eve, or Halloween as most would call it.

In the Catholic Church Halloween serves as the beginning of honoring the Saints in heaven and those who have passed. It is the evening before All Saints Day and the first day of observance for Allhallowstide. Some cultures refer to Halloween as the Day of the Dead.

Father Truman of St. Mary’s Church in the city West End however was sick and guilt ridden. He was in no mood to participate in the festivities, instead he chose to make confession on this day.

The elderly Priest sat in confession, conflicted and wearing his shame on his soft wrinkled face.

The priest on the other side of the confession booth volunteered to soothe the woes of the aging Father as the confessor. The confessor just joined the priesthood and was much younger than Father Truman. The young confessor noticed the shaking in the father’s voice, and he knew that something was deeply upsetting Father Truman. The young priest vowed to assist in soothing the woes of Father Truman and was quite honored to serve as the confessor. This mission, however, would soon prove to be challenging.

 “I am praying that this very catharsis can relieve me of my troubles” Father Truman wiped his tears from his face.

“Father if I may ask, what troubles you on this day” the young priest asks, concern flowing throughout his voice.

“Yes, well I suppose Allhallowstide is as good as any other time.” Father Truman’s trembling hands clench tighter together.

“How often do we find ourselves praying on behalf of others. How often are we asked to pray for their souls and save them for salvation.” The father asked of his colleague.

“It is our God Given duty Father” The young priest replies.

“Yes, it is. But how can we save others. If we struggle to save ourselves.”

“It is our duty during confession to bless those who have sinned and carry the burden of their guilt Father” The confessor assures Father Truman.

“I tell myself that every day. It is our duty. A duty I was proud of. A duty that weighs heavily on my own soul” Father Truman began to tremble in his sit. The tears flowed, and the young priest hesitated to interrupt him.

“Forgive me father or I have sinned, it has one month since my last confession”

Father Truman takes his glasses off and wipes the tears off. He places him back on, hoping the newly wiped lenses would provide mental clarity.

“I have lied to you all. For the sake of my image and it’s caused such great pain”

“Go on Father” The young priest waits for the rest of the confession in silence.

Father Truman hold his rosary tightly. He knew the story he was about to tell would cause scandal and anger. The burden, however was too much for his weak heart

“About a month ago, I stood in your seat and waited for someone to make their confession. Moments later someone comes in. I could hear in his voice that he was rather young man, maybe 16 or 17. Through the screen that separated us I could sense his build seemed large. His face framed with soft blond hair accompanied with rosy cheeks. When his voice spoke I immediately recognized him. It was the voice that I had not heard in years, Just a little bit deeper.

Father Truman began sobbing. His shame overwhelmed him.

“Father” The confessor tried to intervene but the sound of a fist hitting the sides of the walls stopped him. He stood silent, not knowing what to say next.

“The last time I saw this boy” Father Truman fought through his emotions and continued to speak.

“The last time I spoke to this boy he was 10. At that time, I was in a dreadful state. My mind was lost and not in God. This young boy came to me in his time of need, his parents were getting divorced and he had run from home. He was alone, angry and vulnerable and I knew that. There was nobody but him and I and the devil whispers in my ear.”

The young priest prepared himself for what Father Truman was to say next

“That night I battled the Devil and the Devil won. The boy’s innocence was the casualty”

Father Truman said no more.

“The young priest shook his head in disappointment.

“If you are truly sorry for the act you committed against this boy and you refrain from doing this again-“

“That is not all” Father Truman interrupted the young priest.

What the confessor did not know was that Father Truman’s act of atrocity not only affected the boy he victimized, but so much more people. What came out of that dark night was boy betrayed, angry and vengeful.

Seven years later the boy known as Julian Malloy, would return to very same place he once sought refuge in, to face his attacker. Julian was now 17 years old and the hate that he carried turn into a lustful vengeance.

“When this boy came back to me as a young man, I was scared. I never thought I would see him again because the last I heard the boy’s mother left the state and took him with her. I guess I thought I would never have to face what I had done. But I was wrong. As soon as he spoke, I knew who he was, and he knew who I was. I wanted to apologize, I wanted to tell him how sorry I felt after what I did and how I prayed every night that he and God would forgive me. But the words escaped me”

“Was this boy the only one” The confessor tried to choose his words carefully to not disrespect his elder priest.

“Yes, but it seems as that wouldn’t have mattered.”

The elderly father takes a deep breath, he grabbed on to his rosary bead so tight around his neck. We often forget that our sins have a way of evolving and growing. Like a disease, sins can be infectious and spread to many people, hurting them along the way. This was to be the lesson Father Truman would learn.

“Is that all” The confessor asks. He was eager to give Father Truman his penance end this confession, disgusted at what he heard.

“Do you recall the young woman they found last week near the river by the bridge.” Father Truman replied

“Yes”

“I know who slaughtered her.” Father Truman whispered.

“Are you sure you want to continue Father” The young priest was in shock but knew that if the Father Truman obtain this information through the confession of the young boy, he would risk breaking the seal of confession.

“Please allow me to continue” Father Truman begged, he was at the brink of his confession and didn’t want to stop there.

“This young man who visited me told me the names of two girls, Isabel Mejia and Marie Simon. He gave me those names a month ago before those girls went missing.”

The young confessor did not know if he should continue. He had heard about two weeks ago two girls, ages 13 and 14 had went missing. One of the girls Marie Simon came from an affluent Jewish family that had lived in one of the luxury apartment buildings near West End River. The other girl Isabel Mejia lived toward the middle-class area and was also a member of the St. Mary’s Church. The family grieved Isabel’s disappearance but as far at the confessor knew, the police had not found her body yet. Marie Simons had, it was found not far from the church in a park. Her body was placed in the bushes. She had the star of David wrapped around her hands as if she was in prayer. The police had confirmed that she was sexually assaulted and strangled. Because of our she was found police speculated that this was a hate crime, an anti-sematic driven murder. But when Isabel went missing, their theories had changed.

“Father they had not found Isabel yet” The confessor informed him.

“They will tonight, but she won’t have any breathe in her” Father Truman started sobbing again. Isabel Mejia’s family were at Mass every Sunday. Since she’s disappeared her parents have been coming more and more frequently for prayer and the safe return of their daughter. Father Truman knew this was not to happen.

“Father if you know this you need to go to the police, she may still be alive” The confessor pleaded. He too started to tear up, shaken by what he was hearing.

Father Truman violently shook his head.

“She is not”

“How do you know” The Confessor was now angry. Disappointed on how far this story went. He idolized Father Truman, thought of him as a mentor. To see him reduced to this atrocious stated, protecting a killer, disgusted him.

“Because he showed me her photo” Father Truman yelled. He stood up bewildered. With fisted clenched he continued.

“He held up his phone and showed me her lifeless body. Even through the screen I could see her pale face and strangled neck. It haunts me. He told me he was sorry and that he never thought he would hurt another child. Like I hurt him. I have to face the Mejia family every week knowing they will never see their daughter again.”

“The Seal of the Confessional can be broken if you do not feel the person who confessed is truly genuine in his pleas for forgiveness’ The Confessor so badly wanted to convince Father Truman to go to the police. He could hear Father Truman sitting back down in his sit. After a few seconds of silence, the confessor tapped on the screen.

Seal of the Confessional can be broken if you do not feel the person who confessed is truly genuine in his pleas for forgiveness’ The Confessor so badly wanted to convince Father Truman to go to the police. He could hear Father Truman sitting back down in his sit. After a few seconds of silence, the confessor tapped on the screen.

“Father Truman, are you alright” The confessor was not worried and tapped a couple of more times but no response.

“Father Truman are you alright” His voice rose, but still no response came. The confessor ran out from his side of the booth and into Father Truman’s side. He hastily pulled back the curtain to reveal Father Truman appearing to have collapsed into his seat.

“Oh no father please wake up” The confessor knelt down and shook father Truman. He went for a pulse but felt none. He began to scream for help as he grabbed Father Truman and dragged him out.

Another priest walked in the commotion and the confessor shouted for an ambulance to be called. The priest nodded in shock and ran to call an ambulance. When the confessor looked down at the Fathers body, Father Truman had slightly opened is eyes.

‘Father please, tell me who is the boy, the murderer, give me a name and I will grant you penance” The confessor hastily attempted to get an answer. He could not figure out what was wrong with Father Truman but his body was quickly turning cold, his face pale and the pace of his breathing was slowing down.

There would be no last words for the dying father.

All Saints Day was here but feeling of grief suffocated the members of St. Mary’s Church. Father Truman, one of the oldest priests in St. Mary’s, was in the hospital near death. He was battling an infectious cancer, for which he refused treatment for. The young priest who served as his confessor the night before was in shock, as were many members of the St. Mary’s who were oblivious to the diagnosis. Father Truman kept his illness a secret from all, but the most hurtful thing to his colleagues was not that he didn’t inform them of his cancer. It was the refusal of treatment that both perplexed and troubled them.

In a room full of the priests and nuns who serve at the Church, the young priest stood in front of them and delivered the news about Father Truman.

“It is only with absolute faith in Lord, will we be able to pray for Father Truman. I ask that all of you light a candle tonight. Thank you.” The young priest then walked out of the room as he could not look into their faces anymore. He scooped up a handful of Holy water from the flowing fountain the church had and drenched his face. Another priest came beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“It is a trying time for us all son. But God will is His will. We must trust in Him”

“Thank you, Father John,” the young priest replied.

“Father John, would you say you are familiar with most of the regulars who come here for confession”

“Well we do have many people who pass here”

“That is true. I am curious though have you noticed any new members here. Particularly someone who used to attend this church as a child several years ago and now has come back” The young priest knew Father John has been at St. Mary’s for over a decade and hoped he would give him an answer he was looking for.

Father shook his head as he went over the many souls that passed through these doors.

“I can’t say I recall.”

“A young man about 16 or 17 years old, he has blond hair and a pretty big frame. He attended this church with his mother about 7 years ago. He would have asked around for Father Truman. Do you have any idea who this man could be?”

Father John’s face hardened. For a couple of seconds, he did not utter a word.

The young priest waited for a response patiently.

“You were Father Truman’s last Confessor?” Father John finally spoke, to which the young priest nodded.

“I was, do you have any idea who the young man was that came looking for him”

“No, not by name. But I suggest upholding the vow we take as priests, and never ask this question again” Father John said before walking away from the young priest.

“I can’t believe this” the young priest whispered to himself. Feeling frustrated the young priest decided to go out for a walk. He stepped outside into the cool fall weather and went to the local deli. As he walked in the deli, he spotted the newspaper’s front-page story that made his heart sink.

The front page read:

“ALL SAINTS DAY TRAGEDY. MISSING TEENAGE GIRL FOUND IN EARLY MORNING DEAD IN WEST END PARK. ROSARY BEADS AROUND HER NECK”

 

 

A New York Ghost Story: Chapter 10

Chapter 10

“Congratulations on surviving working at the Clifton Institute” I say as Joseph and I raise our water bottles to Evelyn. It’s been three weeks since she handed in her resignation and I decided to take her out to lunch to the café we went to my first day of work. Joseph was even able to tag along and chipped in for Evelyn’s final lunch with us.

“Thank you, Thank you, Graduate school should be fun” Evelyn frowned as she made that statement. She was going back to school to get her Master’s in Psychology and even got a paid internship at another institution close to her graduate school.

“I just would like to say that I won’t miss this place and I am excited for the journey ahead” Evelyn gloats.

“Okay this isn’t the Oscars you don’t have to make a speech” Joseph jokes before diving into his turkey burger. He swallows a big bite and then places it down on his plate. Joseph reaches into his pocket and pulls out two flyers. He hands one to each of us. It is a flyer promoting a Fashion Show in Brooklyn.

“No way you got a runway gig, that’s awesome” I examine the date on the card and sigh in relief that it’s a Friday.

“I’m down” Evelyn puts the flyer in her purse.

“It’s not a major gig, I mean it’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn so its more of an underground designer. He isn’t famous or anything but it’s a pretty good start for me, so I’ll appreciate all who can come” Joseph’s face gleamed with enthusiasm. I could tell he was excited about this job.

“Well I can’t get my boyfriend Andrew to come but I’ll be there” This would be my first runway show and I must admit I was looking forward to it.

“You know I am happy you’re going back to school Evelyn but I really hope the next girl that replaces you is just as cool” I was really going to miss Evelyn working with me.

“Now I am left with just Joseph and two other individuals”

“You can say it, Don and Dennis you mean” Evelyn smirked. “I don’t think anyone is ignorant to the fact that those two can be royal assholes”

“Though I have never actually seen them bother you” Joseph turns to Evelyn. I noticed awhile ago that Dennis and Don have never treated Evelyn horribly too, but I never questioned it.

“Please tell us your secret” I asked jokingly.

“It’s not really a secret, I just try to stay out of their way, that’s what they want mostly.”

I guess it was true what she was saying. Their behavior was so strange from the moment I started at this job. Maybe it was something that I was doing.

“So Tina it’s almost the end of November so you’ve been at the Clifton Institute for over a month now, how are you dealing” Evelyn holds her fork like a microphone to my face.

“Besides the two dickless security guards riding you for everything little thing” Joseph interjected.

“I guess okay, it certainly has been interesting” I took another bite of my wrap.

“My first time planning an event a fight breaks out and I get the blame from darling Dennis”

“With Stone and Gary right” Evelyn asked.

“Yea, Dennis totally threw me under the bus, and not to mention Don burst into my office the other day like he owned it. Then there was the basement incident” I looked into their faces to see their expressions as I prepared to tell them my encounter.

“Remember when you and Larry found me in the basement and you guys thought I was having an asthma attack”

“Weren’t you having an asthma attack?” Joseph raised his eyebrow.

“Right I did, but it was because I was locked in there and it got extremely hot” I paused to make sure both Evelyn and Joseph were paying attention.

“But there was smoke everywhere and through that smoke I felt like I saw a girl, who looked horribly disfigured, a young girl.” Joseph and Evelyn stared at me in silence. It got a little uncomfortable and I started to regret saying anything. Joseph tilted his head to the side.

“You saw a girl in the basement” Evelyn asks

“Yes through the smoke” I repeated.

“Through the smoke” Joseph says with uncertainly in his voice.

“Okay look maybe I was mistaken” This conversation was not going anywhere and I just wanted it to end quickly.

“Well, I am not saying that you really did see a girl but, we all know Larry has been working at for like 100 years. He did tell me say that the basement was where that girl Rachel died.

“Yea he did” I remember our conversation in the bar.

“But I think you may have known about this story before you worked here and knew where she died and possible panicked and thought you saw a ghost? Joseph asked.

“I don’t think so” I came off harsher then I wanted.

“I know this job is stressful, it’s not easy working in this type of environment” Evelyn rested her concerned eyes on mine.

“Maybe you should take a day to chill” Evelyn suggested.

“You know take a mental health day” Evelyn smiled.

“Well she isn’t imagining everything, someone has to do something about the things that have been going on. Maybe that’s why she’s seeing shit because it is literally insane what Dr. Clifton ignores especially when it comes to Don and Dennis.” Joseph became a little heated

“Forget I said anything, it’s just that since I’ve been here I’ve seen weird shit” I finished the last bite of my lunch.

“I don’t even want to talk about it” I gulped my water down and stood silent.

Going into Evelyn’s car was awkward. Joseph decided to sit in the back while I sat in the front. None of us spoke but we all had a lot in mind. Once we parked the front of the building Joseph got out of the car because he had to rush back to his shift. Evelyn turned to me and asked if I could stay for a second, which I agreed. We still had five more minutes of lunch time, so I figured there was no harm. Evelyn pulled out a cigarette, lit it and took one long pull.

“I’m not trying to be a smartass or anything, I just wanted to give you one last advice before I leave this place” Evelyn took another pull.

“I was not joking about staying out of Dennis and Don’s way. Yes, I know about the shit Dr. Clifton lets slide, but nothing is going to change that. For whatever reason Don has some sort of power in this place and Dennis takes advantage of Don’s stupidity and plays him like a fiddle.” She taps her cigarette out of the window, looking at the building as she talks.

“Don’t ever mention the fire or that girl Rachel to anyone else either. Somehow shit like that always gets back to them. Especially with the history Don had with that girl” Evelyn looked serious. I nodded in response.

“I heard he couldn’t stand her” I said.

“Well we were not around obviously but I heard the same thing. So it makes sense after her death Don became a suspect. But it was ruled an accident, the girl was a pyromaniac and that’s that.” Evelyn put out her cigarette and tossed it out the window.

“Just don’t forget what I said.” Evelyn’s face said it all. This is a warning I probably should take heed of.

When we entered the building, I headed straight to my office and Evelyn to the front desk.

Upon reaching my office door, there was something odd. My door was slightly opened, and I always lock it after I leave. Praying that none of the patients played a prank on me I slowly open the door and prepared myself. But there was nobody there. I step in and quickly close the door behind me. As soon as I sat down at my desk, I quickly examined it. One drawer in particular looked disturbed. It was the drawer that held my mother’s last letter to me. The letter always tucked under my office supplies and notepad, however this time when I saw it, the letter had been placed on top of everything. I felt light headed. This was my private letter that I kept with me. Granted, I knew it should have not been at my job, but I don’t keep it home for fear that I’ll be reading it all the time and reliving her death. It was not something I could throwaway either.

My fists clenched the letter tightly. My face felt red from the thought that someone could have read my mother’s final words to me. I picked up the phone ready to call Dr. Clifton and see if someone came into my office when there was a knock at the door.

Quickly I shoved the letter back in my drawer and wiped whatever tears emerged on my face.

“Come in” I shouted.

A young red headed girl walks in. She is upset and had obviously been crying. It was Madison, a fourteen-year-old recently admitted to the institute. Madison was known to have suicidal thoughts and was abusing multiple prescription pills prior to being admitted here by her parents. The young girl closed the door being her and sat down.

“Ms. Diaz are you busy” She asked.

“No you can have a seat, and please call me Tina” It felt weird being called Ms. Diaz when your just twenty three. Madison sat down and took a couple of moments to recollect herself.

“What’s the matter Madison” The girl looked like she was going to have a nervous breakdown.

“It’s Stone” She replied.

Stone was discharged from this facility shortly after his blowout with one of the other patients but was readmitted.

“What happened” I asked.

“He’s been well hitting on me” Madison whispered.

“Hitting on you? Like trying to ask you out” The way she looked it appeared he was hitting her not hitting on her.

“He’s not taking no for an answer.” Madison rolled up her sleeve to reveal fresh bruises.

“This happened two days ago when I tried walking away from him.” She rolled her sleeves down. What I saw angered me. Madison was a very petite girl, especially compared to the giant that Stone was.

“I feel like every time I turn a corner he’s there. He constantly knocks on my room door, I told him no three times already and he doesn’t care. You’ve seen how he acts toward other people, he scares them and he scares me” Madison starts to choke up. Immediately I hand her a box of tissues. As she was crying, I began to hear a faint sizzle.

“Do you hear that” I calmly ask her.

“Hear what” She sniffles through her reply

“That sizzle, like something burning” The sounds start to get louder and louder.

“You really don’t hear that” My voice raised a little. Madison looked at me puzzled as I got up from my seat. Frantically I circled my desk as the sound evolved into loud crackles. The sound seemed to be coming from the floor. I knelt and pressed my ear onto the floor. There it was, the sound of sizzle and crackle vibrating between the floor boards. I could even feel it in my hands.

“What’s going on” Madison asked, stunned. Her voice was shaking but I was too focused. Suddenly, I saw it. It was inches away from me. First the tip of a nose, then a face followed by hair. It appeared to be burning as it rose from the floor. My heart pounded with such urgency. I… could not move. There was silence for a second, not even Madison said anything.

Then the face spun in my direction

“Help me” it screamed.

That got me moving.

I quickly jumped up from the floor and crawled backwards. At the same time Madison got up from her seat.

“Is everyone here going crazy” Madison yells and heads for the door. She got halfway out my office before I stood up to grab her.

Madison pushed me away. I didn’t blame her, she was freaked out and so was I.

“Don’t touch me” She cries out.

“I am so sorry, I don’t know what just happened, I thought I heard a sound, it was loud. Did you not hear it too”

“No!” Madison stood in doorway.

“I came to you because I thought you were normal, but it seems like everyone here is fucking insane.” She begins to sob.

I hugged her apologetically.

“Honey just take a seat, I am so sorry I don’t know what happened maybe it was me imagining things. It’s not important, you need help and I am going to try my best to help you”

Madison nodded and walked slowly back to the chair. She took a couple of seconds to recollect herself.

“Now why haven’t you gone to your case manager or a security guard” I asked

“Are you kidding me, I went to that fat fuck Don when Stone grabbed my arm and he laughed in my face and told me that I was probably leading him on” Madison frustratingly said.

Are you fucking kidding me. My heart sank for her. The saddest part is that I believed Don would do that.

“I will talk to Dr. Clifton” I was planning on calling him as soon as Madison left.

But Madison did not look satisfied with my solution. She furiously shook her head no.

“You don’t understand, I see how Stone talks other people. The way he treats people and then gets away with it. He almost never gets in trouble. I just want out of this place” Madison buried her face in her hands.

“Well you know I can’t do anything about that, it’s not in my authorization. I can try and advocate for your early discharge. I know it’s hard-

“Do you, because if you did you would be helping me” Madison interrupted.

Madison abruptly gets up again.

“I appreciate the talk. I’m sorry I bothered you” She sniffled

“It’s not a bother at all and I am going to talk to Dr. Clifton, you should not feel like you’re being harassed here”

“Thanks” Madison wipes the remaining tear on her face.

“And just to let you know you’re not the only person that hears stuff around here. This building is mega old and I heard that other people have seen stuff here”

“Stuff?” I asked, curiously.

“Yea, you know strange sounds. Then again, the people here are also going through withdrawal, depressive disorder, or some other shit. So, I don’t really know if we can trust their judgement. They could be hallucinating” Madison smirked.

“There is a reason why we are here, you know.” And with that statement, Madison left my office.