The story so far:
Thou Shall Not Kill
Chapter 5: Now, it's personal.
“Honey, are you okay?” Franco caressed my shoulder in gentle, genuine concern after tucking Paige once again in bed. The poor girl cried herself to sleep. “You've been acting really weird today.”
I gave him a smile, knowing that he knew it would be false. “As I said before, it's been a hectic day.”
“It's more than that...” I could see in his eyes he fought for the words to find a tactful approach. “First, you said that you heard Paige scream, then you said she was kidnapped. Impossibly, kidnapped when she was just outside. I felt like a fool telling the police dispatcher that we found her in our own house. I guess it's my fault too, but you were so hysterical that I was swept with the frenzy.”
“What are you trying to tell me Franco?” I sighed the words as they came out of my mouth. “Yes, we should of checked the house, but after the phone call and the day I had it just was too much.”
“What phone call?” He asked with a blank expression.
“Esperanza Flores she said she that he had Paige—you were there when I was talking to her.”
The words that followed, I didn't want to hear. “Honey, I don't know what you talking about. The phone never rang. I was in the kitchen washing the dishes from our dinner when you screamed Paige was kidnaped.”
I suddenly felt very ill. I doubled over from the pain that returned within my abdomen, and I could hear the fear in Franco's voice. “Honey, are you okay?”
I straighten up as much as I could, and grit my teeth in a smile. “Yes, I'll be okay. I think I'll just sit down.”
“Okay, would you like some tea or something?”
“Yes, that sounds great.” I walked to the den and sat on the couch in front of the television. I reached for the remote to turn it on, but stopped when it occurred to me: the TV was off. The newsreport, the phone call, who knows what else were nothing more than...daydreams.
All my life I've been wrecked with frightful prophetic dreams, but they always were at night when I slept. Never, when I was awake. I fought to remember the day. What was real? What was not? However, I realized I couldn't remember most of the day. I went work, picked up Paige from school, came home, and it was already dinner time. Yet for the life of me I can't even remember having dinner, or why it took me so long to come back home.
What was happening to me? Was I going crazy? I never asked for these dreams, and I sure didn't want not to be able to tell the difference from dreams and reality. Franco came back in with two cups of tea: peppermint with milk and two teaspoons of honey not sugar—the way I like it. He was a good husband who took care of me, even if we got in our occassional scuttles. I didn't want to lose him like I lost Charlie because of these damnable dreams.
“Are you feeling better?” He asked after siping tea from his cup.
“Honestly, I don't know.” I drank some tea; it was delicous. “You must think I'm crazy.”
“I would like to know what's going on?” He placed his cup on the coffee table and reached for my hands with his. “Do you think you can tell me?”
I realized I released an unconcous sigh. “I'm sorry.” I looked into his pleadful eyes as I said the rest. “I need some time to sort things out. Do you think you could be patient with me a little?”
He gave one of those genuinly warm smiles that made my heart and soul fall in love all over again for him. “Yes, dear.” He picked up the coffee cup full of tea and stood up. “Why don't you sleep on it? You know I love you?”
“Yes,” I smiled.
After a sweet kiss, he walked towards the kitchen. “Oh,” he looked back at me, “don't fall asleep on the couch again and leave me waiting.”
He always had a way of getting a smile out of me. “I wouldn't want to do that.” Besides, if I slept the dreams might come again.
Miguel Flores erupted in laughter after Damian expressed the full story and concerns. “You have got to be kidding me, Padre!”
“No I'm not!” He tried staring Miguel down, but the harden murderer was not as easily scared as one of the pubesent, church girls of St. Stephen's. “She knows things. She dreams things that she couldn't possibly know. I could see it in eyes: the way she looked at me; the way she quickly picked up her daughter and darted out of there; she knows.”
“You are so full of...” Miguel's head leaned forward as he cast a look with a devious smile as if he himself was the fallen angel, “the good Lord's grace.”
“One little bump,” Miguel continued, “one little girl that get's nightmares, and you come running to me crying like it's the end of the world; all afraid that you might go to jail for your crimes. Well, tough! Don't do the crime if you can't do the time!”
“Easy for you to say,” Damian growled, “you had nothing to lose. I gave you hope; I gave you salvation.”
“You gave me 375,000 dollars.” Miguel rebuttled. “Save the Holy Father act for somebody who doesn't know any better. We agreed upon this plan, don't get scared just because some former tart of a student of yours gets 'prophetic dreams.' Besides, there's nothing I can do about it in here.”
“Then we'll just have to get you out...” Damian stood up and walked to the exit. “You right—we'll finish what we started.”
Miguel had one eye cocked inquisitely as his partner opened the door to trade places with Officer Romero. “Okay buddy, time to go back to the cell.” Her thumb darted up, motioning him to stand.
By the time the vistor walked out of the room, the facade of Damian was no more, and Father Preston had returned. It was time to do the good Lord's work.
The darkened figure of a man pulled the body along the dirt floor of the cavern imbedded with sharp, protruding rocks. Arms dragged behind, bound together at the wrists with a coarse rope. The face was covered by a thick cloth bag. The once expensive three-piece-suit was now tattered and torn by the jagged rocks that ripped open pieces of flesh in a various array with each step the dreaded figure took. The ankles were tied to each other and attached to a slung rope over the shoulder. The same solitary torch dimly lit our surroundings as he dragged his new victim to the same pile of long wooden planks. Again, I was helpless to do nothing but follow.
Methodically, he ericted another sacriligous crucifix, and hung another epitaph around the neck of the victim: Thou shall have no other God before me. He paused to admire his handiwork. An aura of self-satisfaction emited from the grim man that could only come from a black heart. He step forward and reached for the tattered cloth covering the facial image of his new masterpiece. “And God said, ‘Let there be light!’” He shouted the words as he pulled the bag off his victim's head.
A head of dark hair fell forward as it became exposed to the flickering torchlight. A small moan finally escaped the lips as evidence that as of now, he was still alive. With what was obviously the remaining strength left in the crucified body, he slowly lifted his head. Most images I could never remember, but this one, this one, I could never mistake nor forget. It was one of intimate understanding of years long gone, but still everyday a part of my life in the daughter we shared; it was Charlie, my exhusband.
I opened my eyes and was wide awake as a scream echoed throughout the house. It was Paige screaming, ”DADDY...NO!!!”