Entry 42: Haunting’s End: Saturday AM Aug. 13
Meagan looked up at the figure, frightened. Her shoulders slumped and her whole body language told me she had given up. It was over. There was no escape.
I tried to fight the cobwebs that threatened to overtake my mind. I wanted to just lay my head down and rest, but I couldn’t. Call it a supreme sense of will or an intense determination, but I was trying to fight the drug coursing through my system. I knew if I went out cold, then when I awoke, Meagan would be dead and I’d be framed for it. Isn’t that what he said? That the authorities would find my fingerprints on her body?
Meagan whimpered pitifully as the figure came down the hall. He was in the dark, but his walk had an air of authority or self-assuredness. As he came into the light cast from the cellar below us, the first thing I noticed was his hat, dark blue and sharp angles. Then the windbreaker jacket with “POLICE” stamped across it. I think both the girl and I sighed in relief.
“Thank God,” I managed to mumble. I laid my head down on the floor as he stepped up to us. I noticed he had blood on his shoes. I looked up curiously, the numbness in my brain now frozen by this observation. The policeman stood in the fullness of the light now. The jacket he wore half hid the blood on the front of his shirt. And when I looked up into his face, I knew we were done for.
Larter looked down at me, as he grabbed Meagan by the hair and hauled her to her feet. She reminded me of a broken rag doll, not fighting, just there for one to toss about. One look into the man’s eyes and I realized any sense of reason was gone. This was a crazed killer. He’d murdered at least one girl, imprisoned another for months; this was not the same man I met when I first came to work at Resurrection. That man had been a lie, a disguise, and this one that stood before me, towering over my weakened form, was the real Eric Larter. One look told me he would never stop in his obsession over Mischa Boudreaux, even if it meant abducting girls who looked like her.
He looked at Meagan now, a feigned look of hurt on his face, as he realized she had been trying to leave. But it wasn’t Meagan he was seeing. “Mischa, you’re not trying to leave me again, are you?”
“N-no,” the girl stammered.
“She’s not Mischa,” I managed to say.
“Shut up!” he yelled and kicked me in the ribs. I clutched my side and tried to fight the spinning of the room.
He let go of Meagan’s hair and began to lovingly run his fingers through it, brushing it away from where it fell across her face. She stood there trembling, too frightened to even move. Whatever he had been doing to her down there in that cellar for the past few months, it had reduced her to a puppet with no control over her own will.
“You’ll always be mine,” he crooned and kissed her forehead. He turned her terrified face up to his. “Say you love me, Mischa.”
She was shaking and the tears welled up in her eyes. “I-I-I love you,” she stuttered in a timid voice.
He smiled. “Of course you do.” He looked down at me with a look of self-assuredness on his face. “See, she loves me.” He seemed to gloat over it. “Mischa loves me”.
I tried to speak, anything to tell him he was wrong and sick, but the gun in his hand, now pointing down at me, made me think otherwise.
“That means she doesn’t need you,” he said. “Tommy.”
Oh my god, I thought, he thinks I’m his rival. The boy Mischa had chosen over him. Tommy Blaine. This was going to end very badly.
He slipped his finger inside the gun’s trigger guard. He was going to kill me, and imprison Meagan again, holding her hostage forever, believing in his warped mind that she was the girl he’d killed so long ago. I saw his finger tighten on the trigger and I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to see it coming.
Suddenly there came a loud pounding sound from the basement. Larter averted his gaze to the open cellar door. “Where is my auntie?” he exclaimed. “What have you done with her?”
He stepped away from me and to the doorway, looking down those long stairs into the cellar. The gun was still pointed at me and I dared not move. “Auntie?” he called down the steps.
“Eric,” a voice echoed back up the stairs. But even in my drug clouded haze, I knew something wasn’t right. The voice repeated his name and it sounded to me like someone speaking from deep within a tunnel.
“Auntie, is that you?” He leaned his head through the doorway to get a better look. But I knew it wasn’t his aunt down there. She was still out cold locked up in the cellar room. She couldn’t have gotten out.
The haze in my head started to lift and I tried getting to my feet, hoping I didn’t alert his attention in the process. On my knees, I could see down the stairs, and I saw someone step into the light at the bottom. Her blonde hair clung to her face, her summer dress caked in blood and dirt. But her face was angelic, almost hypnotic in its glow. I could almost her voice inside our heads imploring us to join her. “Come to me,” I swore I heard her whisper.
“Mischa,” Larter cried with a sob. He turned back to look at Meagan, a look of complete confusion in his eyes. Maybe he couldn’t tell who was who. How could Mischa be down there if she was up here?
“Eric,” the ghost whispered at the bottom of the stairs. She held out her arms, but she wasn’t smiling. She was beckoning him like a siren to a sailor lost at sea. I had to close my eyes before her haunted summons worked on me, too. This was no longer the ghost of a murdered innocent child. This was a specter of vengeance, a harbinger of retribution. And anyone close enough to hear her call would be caught up in its rising fury.
Larter hesitated at the top of the stairs. “Mischa, I thought…”
He didn’t get to finish his sentence. Meagan rushed at him from behind and pushed him hard with both hands, shoving with all her might. He toppled forward with a gasp of surprise and began a mad tumble down the staircase. Meagan stood in the doorway watching his descent into the cellar.
Getting up on shaky feet, I came up alongside her with the intent of pulling her out of the doorway and slamming the door shut. But something within me wouldn’t let me turn my back. I had to see if he were able to come back up the stairs after us again. He wasn’t.
He lay at the bottom of the stairs. He was in intense pain, a grimace on his face, and I could see one of his legs was lying at an odd angle. The revenant had approached his prone form and was leaning over him. I could see her lips moving, but I couldn’t hear what she was saying. Maybe it was something intended for the killer’s ears only.
She touched him with her hand, and he cringed away from her, as if her touch was that of a scorpion or spider. For a brief moment, her face changed. Gone was the pretty unblemished face of youth. Instead the skin was rotted half off her face, maggots crawled in one eye socket, as snakes and other crawly things slithered out from beneath her dress. Her tongue lolled out of her mouth like someone choking, and flies buzzed from her throat into the darkness of the cellar to swarm around Eric’s head. And then she was just Mischa again. To me it had been a split second of unspeakable horror, but I believe for Eric it lasted an eternity.
He let out a bloodcurdling scream, half terror, half rage. He raised the gun and fired it into her face. The bullets went through her and lodged in the ceiling above him, his finger continuing to click on the trigger as she took him into her embrace. He screamed and struggled frantically, trying to get away from her, but wherever he rolled, there she was, her arms around him. “Eric,” her dead voice whispered, and he dropped the useless gun to try to cover his ears. She leaned forward like she was going to kiss him, but instead whispered one word, which even Meagan and I could hear at the top of the stairs: “Murderer.”
His screams reverberated off the wall as if something were passing between them that we couldn’t see. I couldn’t watch it anymore. I closed the door and locked it. I turned to Meagan. I don’t know what she had endured during her captivity, what terrors Larter had bestowed upon her, but there almost seemed to be a look of satisfaction on her face. Seeing him face whatever horrors Mischa’s dead touch brought forth seemed enough.
“He tripped and fell,” she finally said.
“Yes he did,” I replied. I took hold of her hand. “Come on, let’s go.”
We left the house with Eric’s screams still echoing behind us.
We had barely made it to the sidewalk when the police arrived, some on foot, some in cars. They approached us with guns drawn, but then they realized I wasn’t who they were after. “He’s in the basement,” I told them. “I locked him in.”
They nodded and proceeded to enter the house with caution. A few officers stayed behind. They couldn’t believe who they saw in front of them. I guess they thought they’d never see the missing girl alive again. I have to hand it to her though, she handled herself with an air of dignity, and not the victim she had been.
“I am Meagan Mitchell,” she told them. “I want to go home.”
They wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and walked her to the curb, just as an ambulance pulled up. I smiled, hoping now she would be okay, and looked at an officer who stayed behind to keep an eye on me.
“I think I want to make a phone call,” I said.
He grinned and patted me on the shoulder. “I don’t think you’re under arrest anymore, buddy.”
“I still want to make that phone call. I want to tell my wife I love her.”
He smiled and showed me his wedding band. “I tell mine every day,” he beamed proudly. I nodded. From now on, I was going to do the same.
I glanced back at the house. I couldn’t hear Larter’s screams from out here. I reached into my pocket for Meagan’s anklet. It was gone. And this time it didn’t come back…
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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.
Original text copyright 2007.
10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.