I ran my fingers over the etching in the wall. A deep anguish rose from my soul and escaped my body in gasping heaves of sobs as I slumped onto my daughter's bed. The feelings in me overflowed thier banks and purged my eyes with rivulets of hot, streaming tears. I curled up there in the bed, clutching Angela's crucifix in my hand and fell into a fitfull, soundless sleep.
"Mommy....Mommy, where are you?" The haunting sound of my daughter's voice echoed all around me and woke me with a startle. My dear Angela was kneeling along side her bed. "Mommy, I need you...." her gentle cries enveloped me and I reached out to touch her cheek with me hand. She lifted her head, eyes wide in amazement at the gentle brush against her skin. "Mommy...is that you?" her innocent voice whispered into the night. "Mommy, Daddy says you can hear my prayers. If you can hear me, please give me a sign!"
I slid off the bed and onto the floor next to her and wrapped my arms around her, longing to feel her warmth inside them. I felt as though I were dreaming again and wanted this moment to last. She wiped a tear from her rosy cheek and reached under the bed. I looked at the plain paperback book she produced and placed before us on the bed. "Making Contact," the cover read. She slid her dainty fingers over the cover in reverence and opened the pages. There, neatly tucked inside, was her crucifix! I knelt beside her in shock as she layed the crucifix in front of her and turned it slowly upside down. Holding the bookmarked place with one finger, she flipped to the back cover and pulled out a newspaper clipping, unfolded it, and placed it neatly above the crucifix. My eyes were drawn to the clipping as she began to read a passage from the book.
The date on the article read October 31st, 2005....the day I lost my family! My eyes scanned the page for more information....I had not seen this article before. "Local police found a woman's body, brutally and ritualistically slain shortly before midnight on Halloween...." it began. "The woman's body was draped over a crudely made, wooden alter at the entrance to Angel's Gate Cemetary." Angela's voice was grave and concentrated but the story captured my interest more. "Authorities identified the body of 33 year old, Lilleth Thompson, wife of 36 year old Reverend James Thompson, Pastor of Angel's Gate Christian Community Church and mother of 9 year old Angela Thompson...." The words jumped out at me and I held my breath as I read on. Pictured all around the article were snapshots of my husband and daughter, holding eachother with concerned parishoners from the church gathered around them.
"This must be a mistake!" I thought as I grabbed the paper from the bed to examine it more fully. Angela screamed and I dropped the article, turning to see what was wrong. "Angela! Angela!" I heard the familiar voice of my husband, James, run through the house to our daughter's bedroom. Angela quickly shoved the paper into the book and the book under the bed and clutched the crucifix to her chest. "It's alright, Daddy," she offered, turning her head to see him as he entered the room. "I heard screaming!" he blurted out, eyes wide in anticipation of some unknown horror as he ran to her side and examined her. "It's okay, Daddy.....it was only the wind..." her eyes pleaded with his to believe her. He glanced up at the window to see a faint breeze blowing the brightly fluttering curtains. "You scared me!" he exclaimed, as he stood up and strode to the window to close it tight. He made sure the lock was secure and peered into the night, looking for anything strange or out of order.
James came back to Angela, now sitting on the bed, She scooted the book further underneathe her with her heal in an effort to hide it from her father. "It's time for bed,' he prompted as he pulled back the covers. She scurried under them and smiled up into his loving face. "Did you finish your prayers?" he asked her. "Yes," she smiled back at him. "Well, goodnight, then, my angel," he said as he playfully toussled her hair. "Goodnight, Daddy...everything is going to be okay," she whispered. James kissed her cheek and went past me to the door. 'You sure?" he asked, glancing one last time around the room before turning out the light. "I'm sure," she assured him.
The lights went out and James closed the door. Angela lay still until she could no longer hear his footsteps on the floorboards. She yanked back her covers, reached under the bed and grabbed the book from it's hiding place. She bounced to her knees and looked at the wall above the head of her bed, kissed the palm of her hand and lovingly smoothed it over the spot where the words had been engraved. "You can be with them," she whispered. She tucked the book under her pillow, squirmed under the blankets, snuggled down and closed her eyes. I stood in disbelief at the events that had just unfolded before me as I watched my daughter fall asleep, cozy and smiling as she clutched her crucifix next to her. My head was swimming with confused thoughts and torrids of unanswered questions and I barley noticed as her tiny hand relaxed and the crucifix slid to the floor.