Part One - Evil Times 3 - Chapter Five
May 16th - Saturday Afternoon – 1:05 p.m.
“Thanks, mom. Today was great!”
“I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. I see by how the bag looks, you collected quite a few shells.”
“Today was the best. I found some really cool ones, and some with neat color patterns and….”
Her cell phone rang.
She looked at Stevie.
“Go on mom, answer it. We know what it means.”
She pulled her cell phone from the bottom of her beach bag that held the towels, blanket, and lotion.
“This is Baker, and it better be good.”
“Trust me, Baker, you’ll love this.”
“Hello, Ed. I can tell from the sound of your voice, I won’t. What have you got?”
“Another body, the same way, except this one has all the body parts intact.”
“How long have you been on the scene?”
“Close to sixty. First impressions; he’s been dead according to initial study, three to four hours.
“I’ll fill you in when you get back from the lake. By then I should have more information.
“You and Stevie have a good time?”
She looked over at Stevie, his head bent over the open bag of seashells, and she smiled.
“Yeah, we did. Look, we were just on our way home as it is. We should be back in thirty. Check the victim to see if he was part of the congregation from St. Peter’s."
“Can do, will do. I emailed you the address. Call me when you’re on your way here.”
Baker hung up no sooner than her cell phone rang again.
She sighed. Stevie looked at her and grinned.
“J.B., Carl here.”
She’d known Carl for several years, and she stopped trying forever ago to get him to quit calling her by her initials. It just wasn’t happening. At least he had the presence of mind not to do it with anyone around.
And no one in the force called her, Janice, or Jan.
“What’s the good word, Carl?”
“I found four different matches. A partial on one; but too smeared to get in Ident, and it appears to have been enclosed in surgical gloves. One set belonged to the vic. The other two sets belong to a Mrs. Josephine Gulatta, and the last one, Marianne Olster. I have their addresses and phone numbers for you.”
“Great, Carl. Stevie and I are on our way home from the lake. I’ll stop by and pick up the report. Just leave it at the front desk for me. Stan is still working there on weekends, right?”
Stan is the weekend guard. A retired cop. Time on his hands and all that rubbish.
“He is. I’ll let him know you’ll be stopping by.”
“Oh, before I forget, the Mattingly murder. One set of prints; hers.”
They disconnected from each other, and she was about to put the key in the ignition when her phone rang again.
“When it rains, it pours, mom.”
“But not in my car. This is so frustrating. This was, supposed to be our day.”
“It still is mom. No sense in getting frustrated. Besides, it’s who you are and what you do. That’s why I’m proud of you.”
She reached out and gave Stevie a quick hug and a smile.
“Grand Central. Baker here.”
“This is Macklin again. I just received the prelim autopsy report on the two vic's from the other night. Seems the general was a busy boy before he went to heaven; or hell, after you hear this.
“The other one; nothing unusual about the cause of death other than the eyes missing. No signs of forced sex or semen stains anywhere in or around the vaginal cavity.”
“All right. So, what have you got on the general?”
“Seems as if he was into passive role-playing. Somewhat of a closet sexual deviant. Upon examination, tears and lacerations were found on his back legs, and buttocks, as well as around and inside the anus and sphincter muscle. No traces of any semen though. I’m thinking more of a penis substitution such as a dildo, or some sort of plastic phallic object was used, and I should know by who in the next few hours.
“I ran a swab over his genitals, and there were traces of dried seminal fluid, both his and his partner. Last night I sent the swab to Albany where they will do a DNA test and hope to have a confirmed report back shortly. You have to love the invention of DNA analysis.”
“The minute you find out, call me, Carl.”
While driving home, all Baker knew at this point is that someone out there was having a field day and wasn’t in a hurry to call it quits anytime soon.
Marianne’s Apartment – 1:17 p.m.
The doorbell rang twice.
Looking through the security eyehole of her front door, she smiled when she saw who it was and opened the door.
“Ben!” she exclaimed. “What a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t expecting you until Monday. Have you missed your mommy?”
He walked in abruptly, turned, and made sure the door was closed. He locked it and put the dead bolt in position.
He quickly spun around, striking out his right fist, connecting flush with Marianne’s mouth. Blood splattered across her lips as four teeth were torn away from her gums. Two others were barely holding on as she teetered backward three steps, and fell over her stepstool to the floor, the back of her head bouncing hard.
A dazed but horrified look came over her. Tears slid down her cheeks from the intense pain, and a look of shock held her from moving off the floor. Her hands, desperately trying to keep the other two teeth from being forever useless.
“Ben, why did you him me?”
“Shut the fuck up, bitch! You didn’t think I didn’t know all the other silly little games you play with other people besides me. Didn’t I tell you, no one else but me! You gave me your word. You lied! Like your playmate, the general; you are going to die.”
Marianne found the energy to crawl toward the kitchen table where her cell phone waited quietly.
He kicked her in the back of the head.
“You will never make it. But I’ve set it up where you can keep doing the general when you meet him in hell. I’m sending you to meet him right now!”
From under his plastic coat, and with hands covered by surgical gloves, he removed a Bowie knife and expertly and efficiently sliced her throat as Marianne looked up at him with a pleading, sobbing cry. “Fir gib me.”
Blood erupted in the air.
He reached down and tore away her dress until it lay limply around her waist and deftly made the crisscrossing X, across her pale white skin.
Then he walked to the table, grabbed her cell phone, but not before he opened her mouth, and sliced her tongue off and placed it next to her left hand, with another message written backward.
LIVE ON KAEPS.
Placing the cell phone in her right hand, he used one of her lifeless fingers to press 911.
Then he hurriedly left her apartment. No one would see him. He always made sure of that, except for the old woman. But who she thought she saw, and who he really is, are two entirely different stories.
Can a Myth Become True
There is a tale dating back to the time of Adam and Eve. It’s not one you'll find in the Bible, but the Philistines spoke the tale for generations how, on a warm spring day a green leaf would turn red as apples which told the various tribes the summer would be extremely hot.
As centuries passed, this tale was told in a separate way by the Greeks that if you witnessed a leaf turning orange to almost a rusty gold color; someone close in your family would die before the first flakes of winter hit the ground.
Many tales, or myths, were told even by the Chinese that if you saw a leaf change to any color, it would bring prosperity to your family, but if the leaf turned red, devastation would befall a neighbor.
Perhaps, the best myth I have ever heard came from an old man on a street corner, panhandling for whatever he could get. He said, “Ya wanna know something, mister?”
“What,” said I.
“For a dollar, I have something good to tell you.”
I smiled, figuring this was his way to make a quick dollar and had nothing of import to make me go, ‘wow, simply amazing’ and then I would walk away knowing he just made a buck on something that wasn’t true.
“Okay, I’ll bite. Tell me.”
He bent over and picked up a small box and opened it.
“You see this here leaf? It’s green, ain’t it?”
“Well, mister, I’ve had this leaf with me for more’n three-hundred years and it’s never changed color, and truth is, I’ll never die. This here leaf is my good luck charm and even though I look poor and a mess to most folks, I’m the luckiest person on the planet. I’ve seen and done things that would make your hair stand on end. And you want to know where I found it?”
I smiled. “Where?”
“Found it where the Garden of Eden is where. And the funny part was it was the only leaf on this here one tree. What’s even more interesting is, I heard a voice whispering inside my head that said, go on, take it, you’ll live forever. It was the voice of Jesus.”
Well, I gave the old man his dollar and walked away. Helluva story. No one lives forever, right? Just another twist on the fountain of youth myth. Another story that belongs in a creepy movie. Just then, he ran up, grabbed my arm, and spun me around.
You don’t believe me, do you? DO YOU! I’ll tell you what then. Come back to this same spot twenty years from now and I’ll prove it to you."
And this is where this ends because twenty years later I did exactly that. He wasn’t there. I knew all along he wouldn’t be, but I came regardless. Call it curiosity, or a small part of me wanted to believe the old man would be there.
Just one odd thing though. The box was there on the cement sidewalk with a green leaf inside.
Part One - Evil Times 3 - Chapter Four
“Alrighty, guys, listen up. I just left the captain’s office, and he’s authorized some overtime for twelve men. It's rougly three hours, but I told the captain, four hours.”
“Way to go, Baker! Now if you can fix it so we can all sleep in and still get paid ….” Campbell’s voice trailed off.
Others in the room laughed or chuckled.
“Stow it, Campbell. And you’re welcome, all the same.
“Everyone here knows about the double-homicide that just went down. I have a hunch the killer may rear his ugly little head this Sunday. The two victims were members of the church, and he may be attending church services.
“I’m looking for twelve people to sit in any one of the pews, armed but concealed, take notes, watch for any signals from Bishop Ekerson. Look for anyone there that may look out of the ordinary. He is about Father Ekerson’s height, 5’8”, and likely to be sitting alone. Perps like him almost never have a family.”
“How do we take him down if we don’t know what he looks like? And how do we take him down inside a packed church?”
“Second answer, first. Each one of you will be wired for sound to communicate with one another. If he is our guy, we have the manpower already there to apprehend him with the least amount of resistance. I doubt if the perp will be armed in church. He is more than likely believing he’s in the clear.
“First answer, second. That, Ed, is the luck of the draw. If he is there, he’ll give himself away. And if not this Sunday, maybe not for a month of Sunday’s, but eventually they always do.
“If any of you have any reasonable suspicion about any male in church, you can detain him at least for questioning, and his background will be investigated. Even trivial details play a crucial role. A two-day growth of hair on his face. Hair not combed right. Eyes bloodshot. Clothes not appropriate for church, such as blue jeans instead of trousers. Be observant.”
Rodgers, an eighteen-year veteran spoke from the back of the room.
“If he isn’t there, then what?”
“Simple. You get filled with the scripture, go home, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and I’ll see you back here Monday morning.”
At Baker’s Townhouse – 9:56 p.m.
“You are just too good for me, Stevie. I need to practice this game more often, so it seems.”
“It’s okay, mom. I sucked at it when I first started to learn the game, too.”
They smiled at each other.
“Well, my little crime-solver you; time for bed. After breakfast in the morning, we’ll take a ride over to Standing Room Lake, like I promised. You might be able to add to your shell collection.”
“Cool deal. Love you, mom. Goodnight.”
Stevie stood up, hugged her briefly and she kissed him on the cheek, and then went to his room.
She shut down her computer and television for the night, placing Mortal Kombat 6 back into its CD case, then headed for the shower, and then bed.
In her bedroom, she stripped down to the buff, shower water running, and stopped to look at herself in her full-length mirror on the bathroom door.
She saw a thirty-six-year-old woman, short brown hair, and brown eyes, with a few lines around each one. Her complexion was still smooth, and not paying attention to the two scars; she still had a decent looking body in excellent condition. At 5’6”, and 135, she looked five years younger.
Just last month, she took first place in the Judo Championship via six police leagues. She beat three women and five men.
Since the divorce, it had been nothing but work, and more work. She drowned herself in her job to take her mind off a fourteen-year-old marriage that went to hell in eleven, and never talked about for three.
Some things you never see coming. When you do; too late.
At least there is Stevie. He brings a light into her life that was turned off during the divorce. With Stevie nearby, he understands her.
Work or no work, she loves him.
Part One - Evil Times 3 - Chapter Three
The Twenty-Second Precinct
Saturday - May 15th - 6:07 a.m.
“Twenty-Second Precinct, Sargent McDaley, speaking.”
“Yes, this is Bishop Ekerson, at St. Peters church on Melrose and Tasker.”
“I know where it is, Father. My family and I are always there every Sunday. What can I do for you?’
“Bless you. I need to speak with someone about an important matter. Something that will cause me to break tradition. I spoke with a killer last night.”
McDaley went quiet for a moment.
“You spoke with a killer, Father? How? When?”
“He came to the church last night, and confessed to me he killed two people, that’s how.”
“Hold the line, Father. I’ll patch you into the lead investigator that is handling the case.”
“Thank you,” but by then, Bishop Ekerson was already on hold.
The line rang four times before he heard a woman’s voice.
“This is Baker. I understand you may have some information for me.” McDaley had briefed her on the call.
“Yes, I do. Last night inside one of the confessional booths here at St. Peters, shortly after ten, a man told me, confessed to me he had murdered two people, and was asking for forgiveness and absolution, which I could not give. I tried to explain his best course of action was prayer, and to turn himself in. He became angry, and said a few vile things, and left.”
“Bishop Ekerson, I will be there in ten minutes. Has there been anyone in the confession box since last night?”
“I would appreciate it if you would say confessional booth, not box; but no, no one other than myself. That’s why I called.”
“Please tell me you haven’t touched anything inside the booth. I’m going to have our forensic unit meet me there along with another detective.”
“I’ve not touched a thing except for the door’s handles. At first, I wasn’t going to call at all, thinking the man may have been playing a sick joke with me, but then I heard on the morning news about two untimely deaths. But it was also what I saw inside the confessional booth that made me break my vow of silence.
“Don’t touch anything else. I’ll be there in five minutes.”
Right after the Call
Baker and Stevie were about to go to breakfast before her conversation with Father Ekerson.
“I’m sorry, Stevie. Tell you what; we can do breakfast tomorrow morning, and tonight we can order pizza.”
“That’s cool mom. I’m good with it.” Then Stevie thought for a second.
“I figured it out, mom. The catholic butler did it, see? Case closed.”
She smiled, tousling his hair.
“I wish it were that simple, Stevie.”
“It will be mom. You always get the bad guy.”
“Your dad used to say the same thing.”
“I know. But I don’t think he buys into the whole cops and robbers thing like I do. I know it can be dangerous, even dull at times, you told me that. But you also told me that with patience comes an arrest, and with reason, a conviction.”
“My, my, aren’t we ever on top of things.”
“Just practicing is all.”
“Oh? Practicing for what?”
“To be a bad-butt lawyer!”
They both laughed.
Baker wondered just how much patience she would have.
St. Peter’s – 7:17 a.m.
Bloody footprints from the front doors all the way to and from the small confessional booth made for an easy trail. Size 10 work boots, guesstimated at the scene to perhaps have heavily inlaid rigid soles. Once Baker found this out, she started talking with Bishop Ekerson to establish a timeline.
“You said on the phone he was here somewhere around ten pm last night.”
“It was closer to 10:30. He was here perhaps ten or fifteen minutes before he bolted out of here.”
“Is the church usually open at such late hours? And are you always here during those hours?”
“The church never closes. That would be saying God’s heart is closed to all of his children. And yes, for the most part, I am always here. There is a small, one-bedroom unit, one floor below the church. There are steps that lead down to it from the Rectory Office, if you would care to see it.”
“No, that isn’t necessary, Father. Did you get a good look at him? Hair or eye color? What was he wearing? Is he white, black, or Hispanic?”
“He was definitely white, that much was certain. As to the rest, there wasn’t adequate light for me to give any description, other than to say he appeared short as his eyes met mine through the screen, so I am assuming he is about my height. Terribly sorry.”
“What size shoe do you wear?”
“Here’s my card, Father. If you think of anything else, please feel free to call me day or night. The sooner we can get this guy, the safer it will be for a lot of people.”
“I do hope what you say is true. I have over a thousand parishioners of the church’s congregation, and this has me truly worried.”
“In what way?”
“The two who were killed last night were part of the congregation.”
“Really, now? I’ll tell you what, Father Ekerson. I will have a dozen men here Sunday for service, in their Sunday go-to-meeting clothes of course. If you think you may be able to recognize the man who was here last night, in your Sunday service, you can let us know.”
“I would think that to be almost an impossibility. What makes you believe he would possibly come back here?”
“I’m of the belief this is where it all started. He comes to church, gets acquainted with a few people, gets to know them, and for some reason, kills them. It’s sort of like a movie; the bad guy always returns to the scene of the crime.”
“I can try, but I cannot promise anything, Lieutenant. After all there is truly little I know about this person.”
“He spoke with you, correct? Perhaps he might share a few words with you after the service and you could recollect his voice.”
She shook hands with Father Ekerson and walked over to the scene where the portable lab unit was in place and the infra-red scanner was already analyzing the blood spectrums in the booth as well as on the floor leading from there to the front doors of the church.
His blood, or his victim’s? Probably the victim’s. As a precaution, she made a note to contact the two hospitals for anyone coming in with any serious injuries, either from a gunshot or knife wound. Doubtful, but she had to cover all the bases.
At least they now knew they were after a Caucasian male, with one hell of a violent temper.
She made another note to have all construction sites checked as well. All size 10 boots with bodies attached were to be brought in and questioned, and have their boots analyzed.
Speculations whisper, her smile of fire,
Obtaining whatever and whoever she wants,
Like a siren luring in sailors to their demise,
Her heart sharper than a throwing star,
An air of uncertainty surrounds her,
Like she's not human,
Men are smitten for this woman,
Hearing the sweetness of her tone,
But not the harshness of her words,
The act is hard to not fall for,
One truth and two lies,
She has no origin,
Her only purpose,
Foremost, a Man
- and then she took his hand in hers, pressing it to her side even as her pretty, bare feet drew him into a dark cantina where she leaned toward him at a table for two as a wizened, thinly-bearded man with compassionate eyes poured iced sangria into tall glasses. Above the table a dust-coated ceiling fan wheezed delicious coolness down upon his soaked shirt, and perspiring skin. Her plump, pink lips cooed to him in lovely, if nonsensical words, as if to engage a child. He slouched in his seat, the sun having drained his energy. He drank the sugary wine she coddled to his lips, and he bit into the orange and lemon slices offered him from delicate fingers. Those slices had been sweeter even than the wine, and had burst with sugary syrups when punctured by his teeth, although her fingers were quick to wipe the stray juices from the corners of his mouth and slow to linger there after, as though tempted to enter.
He could still recall it all, forty years later, the way her eyes never left his. The tiny beads of sweat like bubbles on her upper lip. The wooden banana crates stacked haphazardly against the back wall and ready to tumble. The smell of frying tortillas, and the sounds of happy laughter from the sidewalk. He recalled with shame the pleasing waves of desire, guilt, and inebriation that flooded him. He remembered his heart racing as it never had before, leaving his head light, and his groin heavy. He remembered a desperate urge to get away, and an even stronger urge to stay, but mostly he remembered the bare foot that found it's way up to his lap under the table, it's toes kneading him, massaging away any remaining resolve.
He remembered more wine, and a dark, narrow stairway with loose, creaking steps. He remembered rounded, swaying hips barely concealed beneath a summer skirt. He remembered eager eyes turning to ensure he was still following, their excitement feeding his. He remembered a dimly lit room with dust hanging in the valance. He recalled soft lips, and a beckoning tongue. He remembered pressing his own lips tight to keep the tongue out, but it had pried and probed before slithering serpent-like inside. He recalled dueling with it before succumbing, whipping and lashing it with heavy breaths.
He remembered the way her bare skin felt against his, cool and soft, how the darkness of it contrasted with the pale of his own. He had absorbed her smells of perspiration, and her woman’s cassolette, exhaling them reluctantly. He recalled with a thundering pulse the way her nipples had caressed his thighs, and his chest, and he recalled bursting directly before he died.
Reverend Gregory Thompson had awakened from that death on a beach bathed in a tangerine twilight; shoeless, wallet-less, with even his clerical collar gone, but those things were of little matter then. Couples walking the beach, lovers holding hands eyed him without approaching; curious people, perhaps even concerned people. He had hurried past them to the water where he attempted to wash away the smells, the feels, and the sins, only to discover that some things neither sand nor saltwater can ever scour away -
By any chance, can you see me?
I can see you clearly, simple and free.
If I didn't see you, I would lose my mind.
Walk around looking like I was half blind.
So yes, I see you clearly, and I love what you do.
If it wasn't for you covering my eyes, believe me I wouldn't have a clue.
Part One - Evil Times 3 - Chapter Two
The Quick Call
“Hey, Baker. Got a few minutes?”
“Sure, Ed. I’m only up to my ass in blood. What’s up?”
“I have something special to show you. Right across the street from you. Apartment 230.”
“Okay. I’m just finishing a few loose ends. I’ll be there in five to ten.”
Three Minutes Ago
At the catholic church of St. Peter’s, a man with labored breath, stepped inside the church, and bent to one knee, making the sign of the cross with his right hand. He then stood erect and walked over to a confessional booth. He opened the door, sat down, and waited a few minutes.
On the other side of a screen, a door opened, and a priest sat down.
“Good evening. How may I help you?’
“Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.”
“Sinned in what way, my son?”
“I have broken one of God’s, the Father’s commandments.”
“I see. Which commandment is this?”
“Father, I have killed. Two people tonight.”
“Father, did you hear me? I said I killed two people.”
“Yes, I heard you. By all that is holy, I am not allowed to divulge this confession with the police. Do you understand this? This confession in between you and me; and Jesus Christ, in the name of the Father.”
“Sure, I do. That’s why I came here.” The voice, which was first unsteady and high-pitched, now became low and ominous. “I can get Christ’s forgiveness through you, and I will be absolved of all wrongdoing.”
“It isn’t as simple as that. We must pray together. Then you, of your own volition, must turn yourself in. It is the only way to be truly forgiven by Christ and the Father. My son, as the gospel is known, and by it, men were saved through faith, since the very beginning of time. Let us now pray that we will find a path that‒‒”
“Bullshit, bullshit; BULL-FUCKING-SHIT! I ought to slice your fucking throat right here, right now!”
The door opened, then banged closed.
He was gone.
At the Latest Scene
“Busy night, huh, Baker?”
“Seems that way, Ed. What do we have here?”
“A fresh kill.
“A Mrs. Ethel Mattingly, seventy-eight. Retired seamstress, widow over ten years. She has one son who lives on the other side of the coast where all the surfers coin those stupid phrases. She lived here alone. Moderate lifestyle for a woman her age, nothing fancy.
“I put in a call to have the neighborhood patrolled. If they spot anyone suspicious, and like the norm; if he or she looks or acts suspicious, we pull them in for questioning.
“But whoever this is, they have some big balls, or tits.”
Baker pulled the sheet back, Ed covered Mrs. Mattingly with to just below her hips.
“Another one. Just like the victim across the street. Seems our boy‒‒”
“Or girl,” said Ed, half smiling.
“… or girl, is making the rounds tonight and quickly. What do you make of the time of death?”
“My guess, until the F-Team shows, which should be them I hear coming now. I’d say within twelve to twenty, as in minutes. But, Baker, that isn’t all.” Ed pointed at the victim’s face.
Baker leaned closer and looked at the face and upon closer inspection, saw blood slowly tearing from her eyes and matted the sides of Mrs. Mattingly’s hair above her ears.
With the apartment door wide open, the F-Team walked in and immediately set up shop, and started taking pictures, dusting the living room for prints, looking for hair fibers, and anything else to give them clues as to who the killer is.
Reaching for a pair of medical gloves from her jacket pocket, she pulled a pen from her shirt pocket and edged it under one eyelid. Lifting it back, she flinched backward for a second.
“Puts a stutter in your step, huh? He or she cut both eyes out, and to make this even stranger; he or she must have taken the eyes, because they aren’t anywhere to be found.”
“Great. Now we have a souvenir collector and a sick mind all wrapped up in one neat package: running around Montie in some damn place. We need to nail this perp quick.”
“It doesn’t end there though. The hits keep rolling in. Here is what was tacked to her chest.”
Ed held up an evidence bag, and Baker read what was inside.
LIVE ON EES.
“My first thought was monkey-see, monkey-do, but the markings are just too fresh to be anything other than the same person.”
“Ed, we have an intensely shrewd and perhaps insane person at the same time we are dealing with.”
Baker walked to the two front windows of Mrs. Mattingly’s apartment and looked out across the way. She realized then what the message really meant.
“Ed, look at this.”
He looked in the same direction as she did.
“If that don’t beat all. Straight across from her. Same floor. She saw the whole damn thing. That’s why she called 911. That’s why I came over here to interview her. I was too late, and maybe by minutes; but he or she can’t be that far ahead of us.”
“The even sadder part, he had seen her watching. Somehow, he figured out exactly which apartment she was in and gained entrance, obviously forced. I would say he nearly kicked it off its hinges, and he, or she, wasn’t looking for conversation.
“You know what they say about things coming in three’s, Ed? Whoever killed these people, probably has one more to kill. Both Mrs. Mattingly and Arnold Kilpatrick both had notes attached to them.”
“You’re thinking that next person won’t have a hearing problem.”
“That’s exactly what I’m thinking.”
As she stared out across the way, then back at Mrs. Mattingly, now being photographed, and Carl and crew bagging and tagging potential evidence; Carl nodded her way with the understanding once he got any hits back on what they’ve collected, he would let her know. Both notes would be given to a handwriting expert for analysis.
The apartment, like the one across the street, was gone over with a fine-tooth comb, as the saying goes. Nothing would be left unturned.
Including the message.
Another Quick Call – 10:35 p.m.
“Stevie, I won’t be home until around midnight, I’m afraid. It’s been a rough night. If you’re awake when I get in, fine. If not, we’ll go out tomorrow morning for an early breakfast. I love you.”
She gets Stevie every other summer and every other major holiday for two weeks. This year she would have him for Christmas.
Mark couldn’t handle her being a cop.
Hell, sometimes, neither could she.
Devourer of Joy
I suffer from the
Decay of darkness
Take me to
Eat of my flesh
Drink of my blood
Purify me by defilement
Flay me with the entrails
Of fallen idols
I wholly embrace
Sacrilege and lust
While the soiled hands
Of the leper
Intimately caress me
With no remorse
I summon the goddess
And her many legions
Of exotic incarnations
Full of passion
A bestial prostitute
Submits to Lilith
For the wanton pleasure
Of sexual excesses
The pain of knowledge
That brings me to
A Polaroid for the Sky
This is my last Christmas. They don’t know it yet. My two smallest are tucked away dreaming, while I add the final touches under our tree. Soon, they’ll tumble down the stairs propelled by Santa’s gifts. The smiles, the glee, the magic throughout the room will light me up brighter than heaven itself. Only then do I get to unwrap my own presents. I’ll lift them up to feel their weight, carefully peeling back their badly placed tape, and with my eyes snap a Polaroid that I will take with me into the sky. I sip my coffee and wait.