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Resurrection Diaries Entry 39: Out Of The Frying Pan

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Entry 39: Out Of The Frying Pan: Late Friday Night Aug. 12

An hour went by, and Larter didn’t show. There was a television out in the hallway and I was on the news. A reporter was saying a local man, the janitor of a nearby church, had been charged with the abduction of Meagan Mitchell. The police weren’t giving many details, but that more charges were pending. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Then I realized I was already in a hole.

Finally after three hours of being in the holding cell, an officer came and unlocked the door. “You made bail,” he said.

“Bail?”

“Yeah, somebody bailed you out.”

When I got out front and they gave me my things back, I saw Larter waiting. I sighed in relief. He walked over to me. “I couldn’t let you sit in there all night. It wouldn’t be the Christian thing to do.”

“Thanks,” I said. “But from the look of things, they’ll be throwing me in there again soon anyway.”

He shook his head sadly. “Come on, the car’s out front. Let’s get you out of here.”

We went out to the car, and thankfully there weren’t any reporters waiting like you see in the movies. I guess they were waiting for the big news: that I was being charged with murder. I dreaded that thought and made a quick prayer that the real killer would be caught and I’d be absolved of all this.

“I called the church’s lawyer,” Larter said. “We will help all we can, but if the church gets implicated in all this, it won’t be easy.”

“I didn’t do anything,” I replied.

“I know that, Paul. You seem like too nice of a guy to bring harm to anyone, let alone a defenseless girl.”

“I can’t afford to pay your lawyer.”

“It’s okay, we’ll worry about all that later. He’s on his way to the church now. I told him we’d meet him there.”

“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” I said. “I have lost everything, even my wife. All over a missing girl. I should just kill myself.”

“Hey, don’t talk like that. It’s not the end of the world. We’ll find an end to all this, you’ll see.” He put his hand reassuringly on my shoulder.

“Thanks Larter.”

He smiled and we pulled into the church lot.

“Our lawyer’s not here yet,” Larter said. “You want to go over to your place and change or anything? I’ll wait here at the church for him to show.”

“No, that’s okay. I might as well wait with you.”

He nodded and we both went in the church. I flicked on the lights and closed the door behind me. For a moment, I thought I saw something at the edge of the woods close to my house. It was now dark, so I couldn’t tell what it was, but something out there had moved, I was certain of it.

“Come on, we’ll wait in the office,” Larter said, and I followed him, trying not to think about who was out there moving around. Should I say something to him about it? No, the less he gets involved the better.

I went into the office and he excused himself to use the restroom. I sat down and waited. The secretary’s desk was a little cluttered, a stack of papers sitting on the edge waiting to be signed, another pile of outgoing mail. A paperweight sat on one edge and I reached over and picked it up. It was a photo cube, and inside I could see pictures of the church, the pastor, and what appeared to be a photo of the former staff. Larter was there, as was the secretary and several other gentlemen. But what stood out was a man who clearly had custodian written all over him. Could this be the guy I had replaced?

Larter came back in and sat down beside me. “Did you know this guy very well?” I asked, showing him the cube.

“Not much. He wasn’t with us for long. He died of a stroke.”

“In the church?”

“Outside on the lawn. He was mowing the grass.”

“Oh.”

“We had a lady clean for us for awhile, but she said the church was too big. Personally I think it creeped her out to be working in here by herself, if you know what I mean.”

“Yes I do.”

We sat in silence for a while and then he asked a question. “They said you had some of that girl’s things, is that true?”

I nodded. “Yeah. But I found them.”

“That doesn’t look too good,” he reasoned. “You being the new guy in town and all.”

“I know.”

He stood up and went to the window. Looking out, he said, “I know what it’s like to be the new guy. In small towns like this, they always look at the outsider first…Ahh, there he is.”

“Who?”

“Our lawyer. He just pulled up.”

Larter walked out the office and I followed him. We walked down the hallway towards the front door to greet the legal counsel, and he talked the whole way.

“When I first moved here as a kid, nobody liked me. They looked at me like I didn’t belong.”

I nodded. I certainly didn’t feel like I belonged here anymore either.

“I thought since my uncle was the pastor I’d be readily accepted,” he went on. “But I wasn’t.”

“Your uncle was the pastor?”

“Yes. But no one took that in account. I was thought of as the bad egg. I thought for a while there was one person who understood me, but in the end she didn’t.”

His uncle was the pastor? He lived here in his youth? There was a girl? Something was clicking into place and I didn’t like it much.

“Mischa Boudreaux?”

He grinned and spoke as if he was lost in his own little world. “Yes, pretty little Mischa. She understood me so well she was pregnant with my child. She said it wasn’t mine, but I know it was. Her other boyfriend was too goody goody to get that far. And now he’s legally mad.” He laughed at this.

I swallowed hard. Finally, I knew who the mystery boyfriend was. It was Larter. Eric Larter. But did he kill her? No, there was no Mischa. It had been this girl Meagan the whole time, I thought. Oh my god, could there be two of them? Mischa and Meagan?

“Eric,” I said, speaking his name for the first time. “Did Mischa go away?”

“Yes, I guess she did,” he replied. We stopped at the front door, and he positioned himself in front of it, blocking any means of escape. I was praying the lawyer was on the other side of that door, and with him the police. But I knew he wasn’t there.

“There is no lawyer coming is there?”

He smiled, but there was no mirth there, only darkness. “You got me.”

I had to figure a way past him. I had to alert someone that it was Larter. “She came back,” I said.

“Oh really?”

“Yes, she’s here in the church.”

This threw him off a little. “Where in the church?” he asked warily.

“In the baptismal where you drowned her, just like those little cats in the kiddy pool back home.”

He didn’t know what to say. His face turned white, as if I had presented him with a ghost. And I had. I couldn’t stop there either. Something was in motion and I had to know.

“What’s the matter, Eric? Did she spurn your advances? Choose the other boy over you? Or do you just like killing defenseless things?”

I was feeling brave now. I figured if I could be on the offensive, I just might be able to get out of this one. I was wrong. He grabbed me and slammed me up against the door. It shook with the force.

“You don’t know nothing,” he hissed loudly. “You think you know me? You think you can just come here and play detective? Think you’re so smart? You think you have it all sewn up, don’t you, Sherlock?” He slammed me into the door again, his fingers wrapped up in my shirt’s lapel. I tried to push him away, but he was leaned up too close, keeping me pinned to the door. “Oh no, my friend, you don’t know anything,” he whispered in my ear with a quiet menace. He grabbed hold of my shoulder and turned me to the door. “Time for you to get your comeuppance.” And with this he flung the front door open and pushed me out into the night.

I stumbled on the church steps, and he went to grab me again, but there was a sound that made us both turn. From the corner of the building it came, and suddenly I realized what had been out there in the woods earlier watching us…Penny.

The dog growled and came at us running. She lunged at Larter, her jaws catching the wrist he’ d raised to defend himself with. They both went down, Penny on top of the murderer of children. I heard the grinding of her teeth on bone as she bit down hard and he screamed. “Get her off of me!”

I did no such thing. I ran back into the church and slammed the door behind me. I had to get to the phone and call the police. Once in the secretary’s office, I snatched up the phone and managed to glance back out the window. Penny still had Larter and they were rolling in the grass. “Yes, baby, yes,” I smiled. “You get him.”

I stopped smiling. There was no dial tone. Just that damned hissing. The same old sound that had been there times before. Except now there was something else, a voice. And it whispered something. It was ghostly and faint, but I heard it. “I want to go home,” it said.

Then I realized something. Outside there was silence. I went to the window and looked out. Neither Larter nor Penny could be seen. “Damn, where are they?” I muttered.

I heard the front door slam with a bang.

“I killed that damn dog of yours,” Larter’s voice cried out triumphantly. I ran out into the hallway. He had dragged Penny inside by her collar. She wasn’t fighting him as he set her down. “I think I broke her ribs and punctured a lung.” I could see the dog’s chest heaving laboriously up and down. “She doesn’t have long,” he grinned. “And neither do you…”

He stalked towards me, and I noticed he had a gun in his hand. He was done playing. “I could have just shot her, but I won’t waste a bullet on a bitch,” he sneered. “On you however, it’s a different story.”

“Shit,” I realized and turned to run. But no matter how fast you run, it’s hard to outpace a bullet. I had almost made it back into the office when he pulled the trigger. The bullet hit me in the back of my leg. It was hot, and my whole body felt like it was on fire. I collapsed to the floor in a cry of pain .

Larter took his time getting to me. I tried to pull myself across the floor and shut the office door behind me. He stopped it with his hand and leaned over me, the gun trained on my face. “Time for a baptism,” he grinned.

He grabbed my hair with one hand, and with the other he hit me hard in the head with the gun. Everything started to go black. I shook my head, trying to shake off the darkness. He hit me again and I began to slip into oblivion. No, this can’t be happening, I thought. Not like this, dear Jesus, don’t let him kill me.

Mischa, please help me. Then the darkness took me, until I woke up again into a whole new terror…

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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Resurrection Diaries Entry 37: Help Me

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Entry 37: “Help Me”: Friday Aug. 12

It rained hard last night. I had to let Penny in, but I always enjoy her company anyway. I had tossed and turned, but with her at the foot of the bed I felt a little safer and protected. I wanted to sleep in a little this morning. Still, I found myself waking early with thoughts of Mischa and what she wants me to see. Once again I turned on the TV to watch the morning game shows, still believing there was something there she wanted me to take notice of. But like the day before, I saw nothing to give me great revelations about the ghost of Resurrection Church. I was just going to have to go see Tommy Blaine again and get the answers there.

I turned off the television and was getting ready to go back to the bedroom to get dressed when it happened. I had let Penny outside and usually she would bark if there were an intruder. So when I heard her yapping, I went to the front door. The dog was out in the yard barking at the house. Not in a menacing way, but the way a puppy would if she were excited. But the porch was empty; no one was in the yard with Penny. Maybe she was wanting me to come out and play, I thought.

Then I felt something brush past me in the doorway. It wasn’t a physical brush, as one feels if someone bumps into them, but I felt something different in the air. A change in the temperature. A warmth that one would feel standing close to another person. But there was no one there. I looked around the room and I noticed something moving down the hallway away from me. The only way I can describe what I saw was that it was like heat rising off the pavement in high summer; a haze in the air that blurs everything else around it.

It passed from the hallway into the bathroom, and I heard the water come on. Whatever it was, it had just turned on the bathroom faucet. I walked cautiously down the hall. I didn’t have anything to defend myself with, and though part of me felt fear, another part of me was simply curious. I imagined as I rounded the corner, I would see someone there in the bathroom, staring into the mirror, water overflowing onto the floor. But when I looked in all I found was an empty restroom.

The water was on and running fast. Hot steam had risen from it and nearly fogged up the whole room. I stepped carefully to the sink. The heat coming off the running water met my hand as I reached for the chrome faucet, but I managed to turn it off without burning myself. The steam started to dissipate, and again I felt something move past me and out of the room. I turned to follow, but the bathroom door closed behind it, preventing me from following the hazy apparition. I tried the knob and it wouldn’t turn. It was as if I were locked in.

“Hey!” I yelled. I turned around, looking about to see if there was anything I could pry the door open with, and that’s when I saw the message in the mirror. Steam still lingered on the glass surface, and traced in the humidity were six letters. H…E…L…P…M…E…

“Help Me,” I muttered. “I’m trying to help,” I called out. “Just tell me what to do!”

Other letters began to form on the moisture-laden mirror. A…G…A…N…

I read them all together. “Help Meagan”. Meagan? Who the hell is Meagan? I was puzzled, what did it mean? “Help Meagan,” I repeated, hoping that saying it aloud would help me make sense of the message. I turned back to the door. It was now open.

I heard the television come on in the living room. I could hear the music and credits of the last game show going off. I walked into the living room and picked up the TV remote.

“I don’t want to watch TV,” I said to the haunted room. “I want you to tell me what is going on.” I put my finger on the ‘off’ button, ready to shut it off. Suddenly I froze. On the TV, the news had come on and a face that looked familiar was staring right back at me. A blonde haired teenager, innocent smile, yellow dress. A thought came to me, Tommy’s note: ‘She wants you to watch something other than game shows’. This is what she wanted me to see.

“Oh Mischa,” I whispered, and then the announcer came on.

“Still no word in the disappearance of local teenager Meagan Mitchell,” he said. “For the third month since her disappearance the police say they have no leads in the case. Miss Mitchell was last seen on her way home from a friend’s house. She was wearing a dress similar to the one pictured here.”

And again that face looked out at me from the television. It was not Mischa. It was Meagan. It always had been. The dress Penny dug up from the playground, the anklet with ‘MM’ on it, the “help me” message on the chalkboard. It was all about this missing girl, Meagan.

After the initial shock, this new revelation, I grabbed a phone book, hurriedly flipping through the M’s. I found the Mitchell’s phone and address. It wasn’t far from here, only five blocks away. Oh my god, I thought, this girl had disappeared shortly before Donna and I got here.

And the dog Penny. Maybe this stray wasn’t a stray at all, but belonged to the Mitchell’s. Maybe it was Meagan’s and she was just following her mistress the best she could.

I ran outside looking for the dog, but she was gone. “Penny!” I called out. She didn’t come around the corner or out of the nearby woods. It was as if now that I’d made the connection, there was no need for her to be there anymore.

I went back inside, got dressed and found the anklet that was Meagan Mitchell’s. I put it in my pocket. I had to let her parents know. I had to tell them I’d seen her. Her ghost haunts the church. I thought it was Mischa, but it had been someone else all this time. How could I have been so wrong?

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 20: Roger Blaine

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Entry 20: Roger Blaine: Friday July 29

Thank god it’s Friday, but I’m not so sure it’s a reason to be happy. Donna reminded me first thing this morning that her parents would be up for the weekend. That’s just great, here we are having problems and the in-laws will just add to it. If her mom thinks we’re not getting along, it will be open season on Paul.

Donna is still treating me kind of cold. I tried to tell her again this morning that she was the only one and that Mischa was not my teenaged mistress. Before I went to work, she finally came up to me and kissed me on the cheek. It was brief, but it was a start.

“Have a good day,” she said.

“Donna, I…”

“Don’t,” she interrupted, “just have a good day.”

Everything wasn’t quite hunky dory yet, but at least I felt like we had a chance to work through this.

I had to get some janitorial supplies today, so I drove to the supply store. It just so happened it was only two miles down from the industrial park Larter mentioned yesterday.

I decided to just take a look at the place, see if there were any factories I thought could produce the sound I keep hearing over the phone. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but parked the car outside the industrial park and took a quick survey with my eyes.

There were around four factories there, but a fence separated the parking lot from the buildings. So I got out and walked around the fence line, trying to get a closer look and to listen if I heard anything familiar. I was hoping I would hear that rush of air and discover part of the mystery, but that didn’t happen.

I walked halfway around the parameter when I came face to face with a guy in a blue uniform. A rent-a-cop security guard.

“What are you looking for?” he asked, his face glaring at me from the other side of the fence. He looked to be in his thirties and his face bore the marks that said he didn’t take anything off anyone.

“I was just walking, uh, around the fence.”

“Looks like you’re looking for something if you ask me.”

“No, just walking.”

He snorted. “So let me get this right. You pull your car into the lot and get out to walk around the fence of an industrial plant, when there is a city park right down the street?”

“Uh, I like factories.”

“Nobody likes factories,” he scowled and I looked at his name tag. A lump grew in my throat when I saw the name there: Blaine.

“Tommy,” I blurted out, not really meaning to. He realized I’d seen his name tag.

“Roger,” he corrected me. “Tommy is my big brother. But you won’t find him here.”

I didn’t say anything.

“You know Tommy?” he asked.

“Not really, no. Just the name.”

He laughed. “Yeah everybody knows about Tommy Blaine. Crazy fool. They won’t ever let him out for long.”

“What? Let him out?”

“Yeah, the State Hospital.”

I was confused. Didn’t Mrs. Shiflett say he was out and living on the outskirts of town? “I thought he was living in town.”

“Oh,he was, but they sent him back.”

“What for?”

“Kept babbling about playgrounds and obsessing over his childhood girlfriend. He never could get over her.”

“They leave a lasting impression,” I agreed.

“Do I know you?” Roger suddenly asked.

“No, I don’t think so.”

He nodded and seemed to be pondering something. Then he spoke again. “Sure I do. You’re the cleaning guy at Resurrection.”

“How do you know that?”

“I saw you there Sunday.”

“Oh,” I chuckled. “Yeah, Pastor Chiles sure put me on the spot.”

“Yep, he did,” he laughed. “Hey man, I’m sorry about giving you a hard time there at first. It’s just unusual to see a guy taking a stroll around the fence. Ever since 9/11 you got to be careful about people, you know.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. And then I stuck my neck out. “Do you ever go see Tommy?”

“Oh, hell no. I can’t stand those kinds of places. It’s crazy enough out here.”

I grinned. “I hear you.” I looked at my watch. “Well look, I better go.”

Roger nodded. “Hey well, it’s good to meet you, uh…”

“Paul,” I finished.

He nodded. “Paul.”

“See you at church then, Roger.” I said and waved goodbye. I went to the car. I kept looking back, and each time he was still standing there, watching me from the other side.

I really don’t know what to make of Roger. At first he seemed like a jerk, but the minute I mentioned Tommy, he did a complete about face. He almost seemed to want to make friends. Maybe it was that Tommy alienated his family from the townsfolk, or perhaps he was ashamed of his brother and was just talking freely of him to clear the air. I myself want to see Tommy, and now thinking over my conversation with his brother, I think I’ve found a way I can talk to him and get some real answers about Mischa.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 18: Telling Donna

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Entry 18: Telling Donna: Wednesday July 27

Today has been a horrible day. Didn’t get much sleep, and of course Donna was cold to me this morning. When she did speak it was to try and get me to explain Mischa. But how can I explain it, when even I don’t know what’s going on?

“You want to talk about this girl now?” she asked.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” I replied, then realized how mean my reply sounded.

“Fine.”

Like an idiot I just went into our bedroom, changed out of last night’s clothes and put on new ones. I put my dirty clothes in the wash hamper and slipped into my shoes.

“I’ll see you,” I told Donna as I headed out the door to work.

“Maybe,” she replied as I stepped out onto the porch. I wanted to cry hearing that, but I didn’t know what else to do. So I just went to work.

I really couldn’t concentrate on my job. This place is coming between Donna and I. Maybe I should just quit and we could move back to where we came from. But no, that would be fuel for the in-laws. The good-for-nothing Paul couldn’t make it. Can’t stick with anything. Can’t provide for his wife. I would never hear the end of it. No, I have to stick it out here. But I can’t lose Donna. She’s the love of my life. The only one I’ve ever truly loved. And yet here’s a ghost coming between us. How do I explain that to her? Sorry hon, the girl who left her lipstick on my cheek is a ghost who kissed me through the window of a moving vehicle.

Tonight wasn’t much better than the night before. As soon as I came home, she wanted to talk about things. It must have been eating away at her all day, and yet all I could tell her was Mischa meant nothing to me.

“I don’t care if she means nothing or not. She obviously kissed you.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Then tell me what it’s like,” she prodded.

I hung my head not knowing what to say.

“You know Paul, I don’t know what hurts worse, knowing you bought her a keepsake, or the fact that you’re having an affair with a teenager.”

“What the heck are you talking about?”

She laid a photograph down on the table and I realized instantly what it was. The picture of Mischa and her family from the church photo album. And right beside it, Donna laid the anklet. Both taken from my pants I’d placed in the hamper.

“When were you going to give it to her?”

“Donna, please, it’s not what you think.”

“How the hell do you know what I think?” she burst out. “How do you even know how I feel? We’ve been going through the motions ever since we moved here. You’re distant, preoccupied. And now I know why. I should have realized since we’ve only made love once since we moved in. You don’t even touch me anymore.”

I started to cry, this was too much. “Honey, I’m so sorry I didn’t realize. I’ve just been so busy, but I swear there’s no one else.”

“Then tell me about Mischa or I’m leaving right now.”

So I told her. I told her everything. Strange happenings at the church, our house built over a cemetery, and my suspicions that Mischa’s a spirit trying hard to communicate with me. I told her what I thought had happened to the girl, that somehow she had not run away but died, and that however she died, it left her restless and not at peace.

“And so you think you’re the one who can put her soul at rest?”

“I don’t know Donna. All I know is I think she needs my help.”

“Paul, that is the lamest excuse for an affair that I’ve ever heard.”

I grinned, but she wasn’t grinning back. She was serious. She didn’t believe my story. She thinks I made it all up to cover up an affair with someone else.

“You don’t believe me?” I asked her.

She didn’t say anything.

“Why would I make something like that up?”

“I don’t know.’

“I swear to you Donna, it’s the truth. The church is haunted and there’s a teenage girl who died tragically there and cannot rest.”

“Just listen to yourself,” she replied, “and then ask me to believe you.”

“I love you, Donna. Don’t you at least believe that?”

“I don’t know what to believe anymore.”

And that was the end of the conversation. She left me there and went to bed.

I picked up the picture of Mischa. “Look what you have done to me,” I mumbled. “I can’t help you anymore.”

I grabbed the anklet, got up and went into the bathroom. I threw it in the toilet and flushed it down. I walked to our bedroom but the door was closed. I knew what that meant, so I went back into the den to spend another night on the couch.

And so here I sit, notebook in my lap, pen in my hand, wondering if the next time I write it will be to say Donna’s left me.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 17: No One Else

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Entry 17: “No One Else”: Tuesday July 26- continued

The drive home seemed long. All I could think of was Mischa and what I learned from her stepfather. So, she had run away and he blamed it on the church. Quite obviously to me, she must have been pregnant and they made her feel ashamed about it. So she took off for parts unknown. Or did she? Mr. Martin never mentioned the letters Mrs. Shiflett talked about. Maybe those letters don’t even exist. Maybe John Martin wanted to believe Mischa had run away instead of face the truth. And the truth is, I don’t think she went anywhere. I think she died right here. Maybe she killed herself, I don’t know. But I have to find out. Her spirit is in an obvious state of unrest, and all the things that have happened lately are signs of it.

And what of the anklet? If the “MM” didn’t stand for Mischa Martin, then what did it stand for? If she isn’t trying to tell me something about it, why does it keep showing up? Is it someone who knows the truth? Is it the killer? And why has Mrs. Shiflett misled me about it? She had said she remembered giving it to Mischa. Had she really given it to her? No, I don’t think so. I think the old woman lied to me from the beginning. Or was it Mr. Martin who was lying?

I reached up and touched my cheek. It was sore where he had hit me. I almost winced. An odd, yet faint breeze came through the open car window and touched my face. For a moment, the pain seemed to subside.

Donna was up when I got home. She still wasn’t talking to me much. She glanced up at me when I came in and gave me a hard look. I leaned over to kiss her and she turned her head. I sighed and went into the kitchen to fix us a drink. I came back and set hers in front of her on the coffee table.

Finally she spoke. “How was your visit with Mr. Martin?” She stressed the ‘mister’ part.

“It was okay. He hit me, so we must have gotten along well,” I chuckled.

“What did he do, hit you with a tube of lipstick?”

“Huh?”

“You should go look in the mirror.”

I got up and walked into the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, I was stunned by what I saw. Over the slight bruise where his fist had connected, there was lipstick. And not just a smudge either. The imprint of a pair of thin lips was very noticeable, as if someone with fresh lipstick had planted a big kiss on my cheek.

“What the hell?” I muttered, and then I remembered the breeze that had come through the car window on the way home. “Oh my God,” I mumbled. “Mischa.” Could that ‘breeze’ have been her? Did she kiss my cheek to make the pain go away or to thank me for trying to help? I must be losing it.

I turned around. Donna was in the doorway. “Who is she?” she asked.

I took the washrag and washed my face clean. “There’s no one but you, Donna.”

“Well that’s not my lipstick you’re washing off your face. So who’s the girl?”

“Baby, I don’t know how it got there. Really I don’t. There is no one else.”

I went to hug her, but she backed away. “Get away from me,” she replied. “Until you can tell me who she is, I have nothing to say to you.”

She turned on her heel and walked off. I couldn’t take it.

“Damn it Mischa!” I screamed, “There’s no one else!”

She turned back to me. “Who’s Mischa?”

“Shit,” I mumbled. My mind was dwelling so heavy on her I had blurted out her name. “She’s just a girl…” I started to explain.

“Just a girl?”

“Honey, it’s not like that. You don’t understand.”

“You’re right, I don’t understand. I have loved you with all my heart and soul. Haven’t I loved you enough?”

“Donna, please let’s not do this.”

“Damn it, Paul. I love you and you want to fool around with some girl?”

“I’m not fooling around. There is only you.”

“And Mischa”.

“Mischa is dead,” I replied, not really thinking about what I was saying.

“I’m going to bed,” Donna said,disgusted. “We can talk about this tomorrow. You can sleep there.” She pointed to the couch. And then she went to our bedroom.

I felt like punching a hole in the wall. Instead, I cried. I was losing Donna over this whole mystery. Now as I sit on the couch pouring over all the events of the day, I wonder if things will ever be the same between my wife and I.

I hate this. Mischa is going to have to find someone else to haunt.

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 16: John Martin

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

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.

“You sure?”

“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.”

“Like what?”

“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.”

“What?”

“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?”

“Excuse me?”

“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.”

“But…”

“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.

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 15: The Phone

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 15: The Phone: Monday July 25

Shaedra called this morning. Of course, I was at work when she called, so you can bet Donna asked me who she was when I got home. I told her it was Mrs. Shiflett’s assistant. Maybe it was her exotically sounding voice, but I could see suspicion cross Donna’s face. And then there was the cryptic message itself: “Call this number,” followed by a local seven-digit phone number. I explained to Donna it was the number of a guy who knows a detail of church history I’m interested in.

She nodded. “Why are you so interested in the history of that place?”

“I’m just curious, that’s all. ”

She nodded again, but I don’t think she believed me. For the first time in our relationship, I get the feeling she may think I’m fooling around on her.

This brief conversation occurred when I came home from lunch, so afterwards when I walked back to church, I took the phone number with me. I called it, but there was no answer. Eventually, an answering machine picked up, but there was no recorded greeting, only a hiss of air like that of gas escaping through a pipe. Weird. I just hung up without leaving a message.

I went ahead and did a little work and then I heard the phone ringing from the secretary’s office. I figured if no one were in there, the answering machine would pick up after a couple of rings, but it didn’t. It just kept on ringing, over and over again.

I looked out the sanctuary window, and saw the secretary’s car was in the lot. Why wasn’t she picking up the phone? It continued to ring.

I put everything down and went to the office. Mrs. Mabel was at her desk. The phone was ringing off the hook beside her, but she seemed to be ignoring it.

“You going to get that?” I asked.

She looked at me with a strange look on her face.

“The phone,” I said.

Strange looks turned to a dumfounded one. “It’s not ringing,” she replied. But it was. I could hear it.

I reached out and picked up the receiver. The ringing stopped. I put the phone to my ear as Mrs. Mabel watched me with bewildered concern. I didn’t say anything to the caller, I just listened. But there wasn’t anyone there. Just the escaping hiss of air, like when I called the number Shaedra had given me. I set the phone back down in its cradle.

“Something must be wrong with these phones,” I said.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

I nodded and backed out of the office. It was apparent she hadn’t heard the phone ringing. No one had. Just me. Why was that? Is this a new kind of message from Mischa or am I starting to hear things? And what exactly was I hearing? A gas leak? Air conditioning? The breeze on a beach? Air leaking out of a tire?

Just one more mystery adding to the many that seem to surround this place…

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original  text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.