Entry 16: John Martin: Tuesday July 26
Before I went to work this morning I tried the number from Shaedra one more time. This time calling from home, the call went through. Maybe the phones at church are bad. See how I can read shady things into everything? I’m weird.
A man answered the phone. I asked him if he were Mr. Martin and he said he was. I gave him my name and told him I’d like to talk to him about Mischa.
“What about her?”
“I’d just like to ask you a few questions.”
“Not on the phone.”
“Okay, I can come by. What’s the address?”
He gave it to me and I told him I’d drop by after five. He didn’t say anything else, just hung up. I told Donna I was going by to see him after work.
“You want to come with?”
“That’s okay,” she coolly replied.
“I’m sure,” she replied, going into the bathroom, closing the door shut behind her. That’s something she’d never done before. It troubled me, but I couldn’t deal with it then. I had to get to work.
“I’ll see you later, hon,” I said through the door. I heard her cut on the water, but she didn’t say anything. I turned around and left. We were going to have to work this out when I got home.
At the church, everything was fine. No strange happenings at all. No upstairs noises, no teenage phantoms, and the phones seemed to be back to normal. I often wonder if all these things are my overactive imagination. But no, I feel something different is going on here.
I went into the library for a while, seeing what I could find of Mischa, if anything. I looked through photo albums, none more recent than ‘77. Based on my ghostly visitors’ fashions, and the information Mrs. Shiflett had given, I’d say what I’m looking for is stuck in that ‘have a sunshine day’ era.
From the photos, it seemed the church was really booming at that time. Attendance must have been at its peak. Pictures of Sunday school classes couldn’t fit everyone in the photos. I scanned through the photo albums looking for youth groups, picnics, anything that I thought could include Mischa. After an hour or two, I finally found her. It was a Sunday school class picture from 1975. She was listed in the caption as simply “Mischa”, but it looked like it could be my ghost. Same color and length of hair, similar build, and even the dress seemed to be the same style like that of the ghost in the hall. I marked the page and kept looking.
I discovered there weren’t many more pictures of her, but I finally found one that afforded a close up. It was a family directory picture. A man with a closed smile, an obviously happy woman, and their bubbly teenage daughter. The caption read: “John R. Martin, Lucy Martin, & Mischa.”
I smiled. I had found her at last.
I went straight to see Mr. Martin after work. He’s a big man, though age and a rough life seem to be catching up to him. He doesn’t look much like Mischa. While she appeared to be a girl of light complexion and fair hair, he was the opposite. Dark skin and jet black hair, now starting to gray in places. Maybe she took after her mother.
When Mr. Martin answered the door, I told him who I was and he came out on the porch. I could tell from his general attitude that I was only half welcome here.
“Why you want to talk about Mischa? What has she done?”
“She hasn’t done anything,” I quickly replied. “I just wanted to ask you a few things.”
“Where did she go when she ran away?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I’d just like to find her.”
He looked at me suspiciously. “Why do you want to find our Mischa?”
I sighed and took a deep breath. This was not going to be easy. How could I tell him without saying I thought she was dead and haunting the local church?
“I want to return this to her.” I held out the anklet to him. He took a look at it, and then handed it back.
“It’s not hers.”
“That’s not Mischa’s.”
This threw me off big time. “How do you know?’
“Mister, I don’t pretend to know everything about my daughter’s life, but that engraved anklet is not hers.”
“But the “MM”. I assumed it stood for Mischa Martin. And I was told by…”
He interrupted me before I could finish. “Mischa’s not my real daughter. Stepdaughter . I never legally gave her my name. Her last name is Boudreaux.”
I was crestfallen. Just as the mystery was unraveling nicely, here came the wrench in the works. I put the anklet back in my pocket.
“Just what agency are you with?”
“Police, FBI, what?”
I laughed. “Oh none of those. I’m the custodian up at Resurrection Church.”
“Custodian,” he repeated astounded. “At the Resurrection?” He nearly spat out the last part. “I think you should get your ass off my property now.”
“It’s because of your damned church that she ran away. That pastor made her feel so wicked and sinful that she took off, left behind everything. All because they all told her she was dirty and they were ashamed of her.”
He was coming towards me, and instinct made me back down the steps away from him.
“Even her favorite Sunday School teacher, that harlot Emmaline Shiflett, disowned her. Told her she was a filthy tramp.”
He was getting closer and I noticed his hands were balled into fists. This was not good at all. He was getting more upset by the minute.
“Now, tell me why are you so interested in Mischa?”
“I don’t think she ran away those years ago,” I stammered. “I think she’s still…”
He slugged me and I went down on my backside. He pointed his finger at me. “Don’t you ever come around here any more and tell that Pastor and all of them to go straight to hell. Now get your ass out of my yard.”
He didn’t have to tell me three times.
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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.
Original text copyright 2007.
10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.