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Flash Fiction: Burning Bridges

Author’s Note: wow, has it really been 17 days since I last posted anything? Ok, well here’s a short piece of flash that I wrote the other day, just trying to keep my writing chops somewhat sharp. I know there must be more to this piece buried in my head somewhere, but right now I’ll leave it here in its original form for your consideration. Hope you enjoy!

The covered bridge was in flames. We could see it from the hilltop. James watched it through his binoculars, a gift from his dad before the older man took off with the babysitter.

“I don’t see anything,” the fourteen year old said. James was the youngest of us, but in some ways the most inquisitive.

“You mean you don’t see him?” Darcy asked, a slight tremble to her voice.

“Correct. He must still be under the bridge.”

“Then we’ll have to go down after him,” I said, trying to sound brave. But everyone knew I was scared shitless. After all, I was the only one who had seen the troll face to face.


Resurrection Diaries Entry 34: Martin and Shaedra

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Entry 34: Martin & Shaedra: Tuesday Aug.9

The police didn’t come today either. But someone did. I was still in bed when there came a knocking at the front door. Penny jumped up from her place beside me and began to bark. She certainly is a good security system, I’ll give her that. I hastily dressed and when I got to the door I discovered Mr. Martin was standing on the porch, fidgeting and shuffling from foot to foot. I have to admit I was surprised to see him.

“I didn’t call the police,” he stated matter-of-factly.

“Okay,” I replied, feeling a little more relaxed.

“Maybe it’s because of something you said,” he reasoned. “Maybe I’ve been fooling myself and I just needed someone to point it out.” He looked me square in the eye. “Yesterday when I found you in my house, in her room, I wanted to kill you. I felt like you were violating my world. My little world where Mischa is okay and coming home soon.” He looked down at his shoes, “But she’s not, is she?”

“No sir, I don’t think so.”

He nodded. “What of her letters then?”

I stepped outside and Penny followed me. She went down the steps to go out in the yard, while I motioned Mr. Martin to sit on the porch. I sat down next to him. “Do you really get them every year?” I asked him.

“Yes. They are typed, printed off a computer. She says she doesn’t have time to sit down and write a real letter.”

“Does she sign them?”


“Maybe it’s not her,” I suggested warily.

He didn’t say anything, only nodding to let me know he understood what I was saying. Finally after a moment, he spoke. “I want to know. I have to know what happened to my her. I know she’s just my stepdaughter, but I raised her as my own. When her momma ran off and abandoned us, we were all we had left. I love her just as much as if she was my own blood. Can you understand that?”

I said that I could.

“I’ve gone nearly twenty years believing she was still out there, and then you come along telling me you believe she’s dead.”

It was more of a question than a statement, so I answered it. “Yes, I believe she is.”

He nodded. “If you have guesses or theories, I don’t want to know. I only want proof. I want to help if I can, but I don’t want to hear a thing about it until it’s the positive truth. I can’t deal with just wondering if that’s the way things really happened. That would drive me crazy. That’s why it’s been easier for me to believe she’s alive.”

I understood that, too.

“But when you have the truth, please come to me and tell me. Promise you’ll tell me first. I don’t want to hear it from the papers or the police.”

“Okay, I promise.”

He smiled slightly and I saw a different man from the one who had once punched me on his front lawn. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a bundle of envelopes with a rubber band around them. “Her letters,” he said, handing them to me.

I looked at the envelopes. His address was typed across the face of them. I wanted to look at the letters right away, but I didn’t.

“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll give them back to you.”

“If they aren’t really hers, I don’t want them back.”

“Do you believe they are from her, Mr. Martin?”

He weighed the answer in his head. “I’m starting to see things differently. Things I thought sounded like her, I’m not so sure about now. Maybe someone else will see what I have refused to.” He got up and stepped down off the porch. “Come see me,” he said. “Just don’t break in next time.”

I grinned a little until I realized he was serious. “Thanks for not calling the police.”

“Don’t make me regret it,” he said, and then went to his car, driving away as fast as he could. Something told me he didn’t like it here so close to the church his daughter loved.

I looked at the envelopes in my hand. “Okay Mischa, let’s see what you grew up to be…”

The typed letters painted a pretty picture of a runaway girl who became a successful dress designer. So successful she didn’t have time for a husband or a visit with the man she knew as her father. But the promise to visit was always there, “if I can find the time.” There was the mention throughout the yearly missives of personal things. She asked about Tommy Blaine, but not of Eric. Only once did she mention him in her letters. “I miss Eric too, but I know no one liked him. He was still a nice boy.” She never mentioned her mother either, as if the woman was dead to her, if she had even existed at all. She talked of Mr. Martin as if he were the only family she had. For all intents and purposes, to her he was her real dad. Her discourses to him were long ramblings that at times seemed to me to be a case of a daughter buttering her father up before asking for something. But she never asked him for a cent. Maybe these ramblings were to keep him from wondering about where she’d gone.

The one thing I had noticed right away was she never included a return address. Yes, there was a New York postmark, but never a way to write her back. I found myself wondering why Mr. Martin never tried to find her. After that many years a concerned father would have hired a detective, or tried to discover her whereabouts somehow. But I guess he was blinded by what he wanted to believe. I’m the one who had to stir things up.

I had every intention of going over to the church and asking the secretary to view the old church records, to try and find out something about the Shifletts, and their strange nephew Eric, but I was sidetracked by yet another visitor. Shaedra.

She came by shortly after Mr. Martin had left, and the suspicious part of me wondered if maybe she had been waiting for him to leave before she paid me a visit. There was something different about her today though. No longer did she wear alluring clothing and walk in the sexually confident manner she had once displayed. Now she wore a long black dress, the top nearly buttoned up to her neck. No leg, no cleavage. Now she was asexual as possible.

“Morning Shaedra,” I said standing in the doorway. “Would you like to come in?”

She looked over at the repaired picture window and shook her head. “No, I just came over to tell you goodbye.”


“Yes, I quit my job as Mrs. Shifflett’s assistant. I’m leaving.”

I was kind of surprised at the news. “Why?” I asked.

She didn’t give me an answer, and I assumed what she did have to say had been rehearsed on the way over.

“I wanted to apologize for the other day. Trying to seduce you like that. And you being a married man. I am truly sorry.”

“It’s okay,” I replied, wondering where she was going with all this.

“I know you are a good man, and that you love your wife. She will come back to you; of this I’m sure.” She hesitated as if gauging what she was going to say next. “But you have forces swirling around you and this place.”


“Paul, I have always had an insight into things. I feel things that others don’t. I’m empathetic, for lack of a better word. And I feel there is something going on here that I do not want to be a part of. Not even as a bystander.”

“What do you mean?”

“There is an evil at work in this town. And there’s an evil somewhere over there.” She pointed at the church. “I don’t know if it’s this Mischa you talked about, but there’s something dark and evil here. I feel it was here when she was a child, and it’s still here preying on the innocent.”

“What kind of evil are we talking about?”

“I do not know, but it frightens me, Paul. It frightens me enough to want to change every aspect of my life and get as far away from here as possible. I do not want to be its next victim.”

“You’re not making much sense,” I said, trying to be respectful. “If there’s an evil here, why doesn’t it come forth? I can’t imagine it’s Mischa. So what is it?”

“Maybe she is connected to it. Hopelessly tied here until it’s gone. But it’s not without form. Sometimes evil walks in the hearts of men. Please remember that.”

She turned to go, but I grabbed her arm. She spun and tried to pull away, before seeing I wasn’t going to harm her. “Please Shaedra, tell me what you are thinking.”

She placed her hand over mine. “I am thinking you are a good man, but not all men are good. I have seen his face and I fear what lies in his eyes.”

“What do you mean you’ve seen his face?”

She removed her hand from mine and gently pulled away. “Listen to everything that Mischa has to tell you. Follow her signs.” She stepped off the porch and looked up at me. “In my Bible reading this morning, it said there shall be a resurrection of the dead.”

I got ready to ask her what she thought that means, but then Penny came around the house. Seeing Shaedra she barked in alarm. The woman looked at the dog and smiled. “Keep an eye on your master, would you?”

Then she was walking to her car. I came off the porch in a trot and caught up to her just as she’d opened her door and got in. “I can’t do this alone. Please help me find out what happened.”

She looked up at me sadly. “I can’t help you, Paul. Once, I was very attracted to you, and I thought the allure was physical, sexual, but I know now what drew me to you was her. She’s all around you. She’s around all of us. She draws us all into her sorrow. I thought it was you who was so sad and lonely, but it’s her. I don’t want to feel that anymore.”

She tried to close the door but my hand was on it. Still I knew I couldn’t talk her into staying. Escape was in her eyes. She wanted distance between herself and this whole town. “I wish you the best of things, Shaedra. I wish I could leave just like you, but I can’t.”

“I know. You are connected to her now. And for that you must be wary. Don’t let the evil that took her take you, too.”

She got out of the car suddenly, and flung her arms around me. She kissed me on the cheek and whispered, “for luck.” Then without another word she was back in the car, closing the door, and speeding away.

I stood there on the lawn, watching her go, and a thought occurred to me. Maybe this is what they mean by the one that got away. If that’s the case, I wish her Godspeed and safety, for I have a dread feeling something bad is about to happen…

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 33: Headache And A Bible

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Entry 33: Headache And A Bible: Monday Aug. 8

I woke up with an excruciating headache. I was still on the floor. I struggled to my feet, my head swimming in dizziness. After some initial disorientation, I felt the back of my head with my hand. I could feel the rawness where I’d been hit and I winced for a second. I looked at my hand to see if I was bleeding. Then I heard his familiar voice.

“You’re not bleeding. I didn’t hit you that hard.”

I looked over at Mr. Martin. He was sitting at the writing desk, flipping through his daughter’s diary as if it were the Sunday newspaper. He pushed the diary to the side and looked hard at me.

“Do you want to give me a good reason why I shouldn’t call the law and have you arrested?” he asked.

I shook my head, I had no excuse. I knew I’d done wrong. I had broken into his house and went through his daughter’s private things.

“The only reason I haven’t called them yet is because of Mischa,” he said. “I think you know something I don’t.”

I looked up, almost wishing he’d call the police instead. Then I could tell them what I know. But I imagine they would find me crazy without any hard evidence. I’d be locked up and unable to help anyone.

“Why are you so interested in my daughter?”

I hesitated. What should I tell him? I tried the truth. “I think she was murdered.”

He seemed to think on this a minute, and then he shook his head, unbelieving. “No, she left home. She’s fine. I get letters from her every Christmas. She’s a designer in New York.”

I couldn’t believe this. It couldn’t be. She couldn’t be alive. I knew she was dead, and he was just in denial. “Then why do you keep her room like a shrine?” I asked, casting a look around us both.

“It’s not a shrine,” he protested, and I detected a hint of anger rising in his voice. I decided it was best to let that go. I was in enough trouble. “I keep her room for her,” he explained.

“What for?” I asked. “Has she been home to visit since she left?”

“No, she’s too busy.”

“And yet you still wash her clothes,” I said, glancing over at the bureau.

He looked at me sharply.

I kept going. “Clothes that she would have outgrown after being away for twenty years.”

There was something hurt and dangerous in his eyes. I really needed to watch myself here.

“You should go home now,” he said, a dejected look on his face.

“You’re not going to call the police?”

He gave me a shrug. “I guess you’ll just have to wait and see. Now get out of here.”

He didn’t move. He just sat there at the writing desk, as if he wanted to be left alone with his stepdaughter’s memories. As for myself, I didn’t waste much time heading for the door. Still I turned back.

“I’m sorry for breaking in and invading your privacy, Mr. Martin. I just wanted to know the truth.”

He looked up at me with tears in his eyes. “The truth is she’s coming home.”

I felt like telling him she already had. Instead I left, the pain in my head starting to fade a little. I went home to wait on the police.

The police didn’t come. But the guys came to fix the window that had broken the other day. While Penny and I watched them work, I got to thinking of Mischa’s dress. The one in her closet at home had been labeled, “MB”. I got up and went to my own closet. I had put the duffel in there after Donna left me. I opened the bag and pulled the dress right off the top. Yes, it was the same dress. Same color, same design, same manufacturer. But looking at the label I saw it wasn’t the same dress at all. This one was labeled “MM”. What was going on here? Before I could dwell on it, the workers finished with the window. I put the dress back and paid them.

I went out to sit on the front porch. Penny lay at my feel and let me scratch her behind the ears. She was starting to get used to that. I looked over at the church and saw the pastor’s car in the lot. I got up and walked over there.

I found Chiles in his office, and he was very cordial. “Hi Paul,” he greeted me with a smile. “How are you?”

My head still had a dull ache, but I told him I was doing fine.

“Is there something I can help you with?”

“Well, it’s not a spiritual matter, but I did want to ask you something.”

“Okay,” he nodded, clasping his hands in front of him on the desk.

“Did you know Pastor Shiflett when he was here?”

He seemed to think for a moment. “The name’s familiar, but he wasn’t here when I came on board. I replaced a Pastor Denton. I think Shiflett was here years before that.”

I nodded. “Yes, he was here in the seventies. His wife was a Sunday school teacher here, too.”

“Well, if it were the seventies, that was way before my time here. You’ll have to ask one of the church elders.”

“Do you know if there would be church records from that time? I’d like to get in touch with him if he’s still living.”

“The office keeps records for about thirty years if I’m not mistaken,” he replied.

“Do you think I could get a look at them?”

“Well, the secretary keeps them locked in the file cabinet, Paul. She’s gone for the day, I’m afraid. But you could see her tomorrow about it. I really don’t see where it would be a problem.”

I nodded, just a little disappointed I couldn’t get a look at them today. I might be locked up myself later.

“Why do you want to get in touch with this old pastor? Are my sermons too boring?” He laughed.

“Oh no sir,” I laughed back. “Your sermons are fine.” I thought for a minute, trying to think of a believable excuse, but nothing would come. He waited for me to answer. Instead, I just said, “I enjoyed your last sermon.”

He smiled. “Maybe you should join the church.”

“I’ve been thinking about it.”

“Good. Well, you just turn those thoughts into conviction,” he replied with a little smile. “We’d love to have you as a permanent member.”

I thought of another permanent member, Mischa. She was really permanent. Even after death, she couldn’t leave.

“In fact,” Pastor Chiles said, oblivious to my thoughts, “I’ve been meaning to give you a Bible. Can’t have you working here and you not owning one,” he grinned. He reached behind him on a bookshelf and took a black leatherbound volume down. He handed it to me. “There you go. We usually wait until someone is baptized, but maybe you’ll do that too before long.” He winked.

“I shouldn’t take your bible,” I lightly protested. I didn’t like people just giving me things. I always feel like I owe them something in return.

“Oh no, you go right ahead. These bibles are donated by church members just for this purpose.”

“Oh okay, well in that case,” I finally reasoned. I put the book under my arm. “Well Pastor, I better go. I’m expecting company soon.”

“Alright,” he said. “I’ll be seeing you Sunday?”

“Yes,” I replied, hoping I was still around Sunday.

“You are doing a fine job here at Resurrection, Paul.”

“Thank you sir,” I replied. I then begged my leave and turned to go. But I stopped, thinking of something else I wanted to discuss. “Pastor, I do have a biblical question maybe you could help with me.”

He leaned back in his chair. “Sure, fire away.”

“Does the phrase ‘cover not thou my blood’ mean anything to you?”

He raised an eyebrow. I could tell he was curious, but I wasn’t about to tell him it had been scrawled across my office wall in crayon. “I saw it in a novel I was reading the other night and just wondered if it was from the Bible.”

He put his elbows up on his desk and laced his fingers together. “O Earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.”

A chill went through me. Clearly the message on my wall had been a plea for help from Mischa.

“It’s from the Old Testament book of Job.”

“What does it mean?”

“Well, Job was a very pious and patient man. God set all kinds of troubles and trials upon him in order to test his faith. Here Job was speaking about the wrong he felt had been done to him.”

“Cover not thou my blood sounds like it was serious.”

“Well, to him it was. He used the word blood to compare his suffering with that of someone who had been murdered. He calls on the earth not to conceal the crime but to reveal it, so that his injuries or affliction may not be hidden but be avenged. You must have been reading a crime novel.”

“Excuse me?”

“You said you saw this in a book you were reading. Sounds like it’s a good mystery yarn.”

“Yes, it is. Thank you Pastor for your help.”

He smiled and spread his arms wide. “That’s what I’m here for, to guide the flock. You can find the verse in that Bible I just gave you,” he winked. “Job chapter 16, verse 18, I think.”


When I went home the police still weren’t there. I sat down and waited on the front porch until dark. Either Mr. Martin hadn’t called them yet or they were waiting until morning to get the arrest papers in order. I looked down at Penny resting at my feet.

“Well girl, guess ole Paul has gotten himself in a mess.”

She barked twice in response. “Yeah I know. I should have left things alone.”

I looked at the Bible Chiles had given me. “Maybe I should turn to the Word, huh,” I grinned.

She barked twice again, and I opened the book to the front page. Inscribed just inside the cover in a familiar feminine hand were the words “Mischa was here…”

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 32: In The Martin Household

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Entry 32: In The Martin House: Monday August 8

Restless dreams. I didn’t get much sleep last night; maybe I can use that as an excuse for my unlawful actions today. I kept dreaming of classrooms and all the things “I” had written on the chalkboard in them. Not my baby, Not me. I’m alive…

Could it be? Could Mischa be alive? No, that’s not possible. How could I be seeing her ghost and all these strange things happening if she’s out there alive somewhere? No, I think she’s trying to tell me something else. I just don’t know what. But maybe some more answers can be found in her bedroom. Maybe there she can speak to me in her own words.

So that is why I went to the Martin house this morning. I parked just down the street, far enough away so Mr. Martin wouldn’t see and become suspicious of a parked car so close to his house.

Before too long, I watched him leave, obviously on his way out to work. He got in his car and drove off, not even so much as glancing my way. I waited a few minutes and then I got out of my car and walked towards his house. I looked around to see if anyone was watching. I didn’t see anybody, so I went around back and tested the door. It was locked. The door had a small window. I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket and wrapped it around my fist. The window made a small breaking sound when I hit it. The handkerchief not only protected my hand, but muffled the sound of breaking glass as well. I reached my hand through the shattered window and unlocked the door from the inside.

I hesitated just a minute in the doorway. I didn’t know if Mr. Martin had a dog, but I didn’t want to find out the hard way. So I waited just over the threshold. Nothing stirred in the house. I was alone. No dogs.

I moved through the first floor of the house. The only light was that of the sun coming through the half open curtains. On this floor it appeared to look like the typical family home. Kitchen, dining room, den, bathroom, and a small study off to the side. Briefly I looked through the study, but I could tell this was Mr. Martin’s place to work. A computer terminal and work station dominated the room. I wondered just what he did for a living and whom he worked for. There were some pages on the workstation, but they looked like invoices and business documents, so I passed them over quickly. I left the room in search of other things.

Even though I knew no one was home, I crept upstairs quiet as if I thought I was going to wake someone. The second floor contained two bedrooms, a full bath, and what appeared to be a small walk-in pantry. One bedroom door was open. It was easy to see this was his room from all the “guy things” that dominated his living space.

The other bedroom door was closed, and when I put my hand on the knob, I knew somehow I was getting ready to walk back in time. I opened the door and peered in.

The first thing that struck me were the colors. Pink and violet, clearly a girl’s room. The canopied bed was draped with a spread upon which cute cartoon characters worked in gardens and among flowers. A large bureau sat in the corner, a huge mirror sitting atop it. On the mirror were taped dozens of photographs and I went over to take a closer look.

The pictures were of a cheery blonde haired girl. Always smiling, her blue eyes sparkled with life and vitality. I knew she hadn’t put these pictures of herself here. Her stepfather had. This wasn’t just Mischa’s room anymore. It was a shrine.

I opened the drawers of the bureau. Clean, neatly folded clothes were inside, dozens of mothballs in each drawer. Had these clothes been sitting here untouched for over twenty years? Then a thought hit me, something strange and maybe not my own. Had Mr. Martin been washing her clothes regularly in these years of her absence? To be sitting in a drawer for years, these clothes, mostly undergarments, pajamas, and pull over tanks and shirts just looked too well kept. Was he lovingly washing her clothes as if she were still here to wear them?

I looked around the rest of the room. There was a walk-in closet. I opened it and looked inside. Every hanger was full. Dresses, slacks, and coats. I flipped through the rack. Then I saw it. The dress. The yellow dress. The one her ghost had worn on many occasions. I pulled it out and held it up to the light. How could this be? I had found this same dress in the duffel bag Penny had dug up. How could it be here? Or were there two of the same dress? I checked the inside label. A pair of initials was written in permanent ink on the label. “MB”. I tried to remember what the label said on the one I’d found. Didn’t it say “MM”? I made a mental note to check the duffel when I got home to make sure the dress was still there. If it wasn’t, then that meant somehow it had found its way back home, and I don’t even want to think of the further implications that suggests. It’s bad enough she kept having me find her anklet, even worse to think of her returning her own clothes across town to her room.

The only thing in the room I hadn’t looked at yet was a writing desk by the window. It was an old roll top desk, and it lay open, the sunlight coming through the window to light its walnut top. There was something etched in the wood, scrawled by a sharp instrument. “Mischa” it read. I smiled, imagining this pretty young girl carving her name in her desk, letting everyone know this was her domain then and forever.

I ignored most of what was on the desktop, little cups holding straight pins, rubber bands and barrettes, pencils and erasers. Instead, I went straight to the desk drawers. Inside the first drawer was a stack of magazines with titles like Teen Beat, Circus, even Highlights For Kids. I smiled to myself remembering some of these from my own youth. I picked up the Teen Beat magazine. On the cover The Bay City Rollers grinned as if they would be teen idols forever. I laughed to myself thinking of the one song of theirs I could remember, “Saturday Night”. I wonder if Mischa had liked that song. Underneath the magazines were some old vinyl 45’s. I looked at the titles. Song titles like “Seasons In The Sun”, “Shannon”, and “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero”gave me the idea she was typically tragic. But it was the last record that made me stop in my tracks. Donny Osmond. “Go Away Little Girl”. Wasn’t that what had been on my office wall? Had she written it? Or had someone haunted by her ghost penned that message?

I put the magazines back, covering the records up, and checked another drawer. In this one were drawings. Made by a meticulous, but feminine hand, they were designs for dresses and other outfits. They were quite good considering they were drawn so long ago in the “have a sunshine day” era. Could Mischa’s dream had been to be a clothes designer? Did Mr. Martin believe his stepdaughter had run away to the big city to follow her dream? I looked through the stack of drawings, and then I spied just what I was looking for underneath them all.

It was a book with a small lock on its front, clasped shut. On its face in flowing script she’d written in bright purple: “Private stuff! Keep out!” I tried to pop the clasp, but it wouldn’t open. It was locked. I looked in the bottom of the drawer for the key, but it wasn’t there. Who knows where it was after all these years? If he knew her diary existed, it might even be on her stepfather’s key ring. I tried prying the lock open with my fingers, but it wouldn’t budge.

I went over to the bureau and grabbed one of the hairpins out of its cup. Returning to her desk, I used it to try and pick the lock on her diary. The lock was from a simpler time so it took only a minute or two before I got the clasp to spring open. I opened the book and began to flip through its pages, not really knowing what it was I was looking for. The diary contained mostly events of her day. People she knew in school. Things she did. “Got up, went to school, met so-and-so at the playground.” No revelations there. Every now and then, there would be an arrow-skewered heart with some boy’s name in its center. Sometimes it was Tommy. Sometimes Eric. One even said Sam. Whoever he was. Maybe one of the high school football players all the girls drool over. And then I came to an entry that caught my roving eye.

“I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about Tommy,” she had written. “I know he loves me, and wants to marry me someday, but I’m not sure I love him that way. I like him a lot, he’s my best friend, but is that reason to want other things with him? I’m really confused. When I stand next to him I get butterflies in my stomach and sometimes I feel a warmth in my body just thinking about him. But I don’t know what to do. I want to save myself, but for whom?”

I flipped several pages over.

“Oh my God, Eric kissed me today. Not just any kiss either, but with his mouth open and everything. I can’t say I didn’t like it, because I did. I don’t know if I want him to kiss me again though. Why diary? Because when he was kissing me all I could think of was Tommy and if he kissed like that.”

It felt very voyeuristic to be reading her romantic thoughts like this. I felt like I was intruding, that these were things she didn’t want anyone to know. But another part of me said she wanted me to see this diary. There was something in here she wanted me to find. I skipped half the book and began to read again.

“I can’t begin to tell you my joy, dearest diary! I do love Tommy Blaine!! When he kisses me I nearly jump out of my skin in excitement. His touch sends chills through my body. Oh God, I have never felt like this. Can you keep a secret? I know you can. We spent the day at his house after school the other day. I know Nat and Lynn are mad I didn’t meet them at the park like I was supposed to, but I wanted to be alone with Tommy so bad. No one was home at his house. We were kissing on the couch and then it happened. Oh God, I can’t even say it without it sending chills up my spine. It hurt a little at first. But the second time, Oh God!!!!! I love Tommy Blaine!!!”

This was followed by hearts and x’s and o’s, all the things she could think of to describe her exploding passion for Tommy. I felt almost embarrassed reading about her first sexual experience, but again something told me she wanted me to know her joy and happiness, and how things were with her and the Blaine boy. I had feeling all this was short lived though, as I turned to the next page.

“Eric still thinks I like him. I let him kiss me that one time, and now he’s in love with me. I guess it was my fault responding to his kiss the way I did, but it was my first French kiss. Since then Tommy and I have gotten closer, and my feelings for Eric have changed. I want to be nice to Eric, I really do. He’s my friend, and not many others like him because of the rumors, but how do I tell him about Tommy and me without hurting his feelings? Is there even a way?”

I continued to flip through the book. I didn’t look at every page but skipped through them haphazardly, my eyes seeking out whatever it was she wanted me to see.

“Diary, I am sick today. I haven’t felt so well in the mornings.”

“I almost told Eric today, but then Amy came around, so I kept my mouth shut. He’s still sending me love notes, and now Tommy knows. He wants me to tell Eric to get lost. Says if I love him, I’ll do it.”

“I don’t know how to tell mom & dad but I think I’m pregnant.”

“We’re having baptism Sunday. Eric and I are volunteers to help prepare the baptismal pool on Saturday afternoon. Tommy isn’t happy about me being alone with Eric like that, but maybe this is a good time to finally tell Eric about Tommy and I. I love Tommy. I don’t love Eric.”

“I thought I felt something stir inside me today. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I don’t know, what if I do have a life growing inside me? Maybe I could get Mrs. Shiflett to take me to the doctor. I trust her not to tell my folks.”

“I feel like I’m dying. It’s not just being sick in the morning, but I have this feeling of dread, like something bad is going to happen.”

“I chose some baby names in case I’m pregnant. If it’s a girl I think I will name her Penny. I always liked that name. And if it’s a boy I’d like to name him after Paul Stanley (dreamy sigh), but I should name him Tommy Jr, I guess.”

“I told Tommy I might be pregnant. He’s freaked out a little. Mrs. Shiflett told me she’d take me to the doc on Monday. She made me tell her why. I think she’s so willing to help because she thinks it’s her nephew’s baby. I couldn’t tell her the baby had nothing to do with Eric at all.”

“I have no time to talk today, diary. I’m late getting to the church, and I was supposed to help Eric fill up the baptismal pool this afternoon. Instead I’ve been with Tommy 🙂 If I hurry though, Eric may still be there and I can break the news to him gently. Talk to you soon…”

And that was the last entry in her diary. There were still blank pages left, but she never got the chance to fill them with her thoughts. Something told me she never came back that Saturday. She never returned from helping Eric. He killed her. She told him about her and Tommy and in a jealous rage he killed her. And the child she was pregnant with too. Jesus, it’s true. Mischa was murdered…

This thought was interrupted by a noise behind me. I had been reading her diary and was oblivious to anything else until it was too late. I just barely heard the creak of the door, the heavy step on the floor behind me. Before I could turn around, there was a blinding pain in the back of my head. Someone has killed me too, I thought, and then my vision left me. I felt my own body hit the floor, and a voice hovering over me, “Guess you thought I was stupid, huh?”

Then I lost all consciousness…

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition. 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 28: The Nephew

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 28: The Nephew: Friday August 5

I thought about Wednesday’s night dream all morning. It wasn’t really the images of the dead kittens floating in the pool that bothered me, but the question of who had done the drowning. Did Mischa’s mystery friend really do such a thing? And if so, did that automatically classify him as a murder suspect? And just who was he anyway? Tommy Blaine said he was the Pastor’s nephew, but even he couldn’t remember his name. But was Tommy even telling the truth? I find it hard to believe he would forget the name of the boy who may have been competing with him for Mischa’s affections. I really wanted to know who this guy was, and if he was any way responsible for the girl’s disappearance.

So after doing a little cleaning this morning at the church, I thought I’d check its library and see if I could find anything on the Pastor’s elusive nephew. I went through all the photo albums from the seventies I could find. I tried to keep it to seventy-five and seventy-six, where I had once located the picture of Mischa herself. There were a lot of pics of the Pastor by himself, and I glazed these over, not even paying attention, until I finally came across the nephew’s picture by accident.

I had flipped a page and the photo came loose from the paper, falling to the floor by my chair. I leaned over and picked it up. Looking upon the picture at first, it meant nothing to me, but as I was putting it back in its place on the page, I saw the writing in the empty spot it had come from: “Pastor Shiflett, wife, daughter, and nephew. Easter portrait 1975.”

In the picture, the preacher was smiling, as his wife held a newborn baby in her arms. Beside them, a gangly teenage boy with pimples grinned at the camera. The boy had kind eyes and was a good-looking kid. But who was he? What was his name? And then something struck me about the caption. Pastor Shiflett? Could that be right? I looked closely at the woman in the photo. She was standing in the picture, but sure enough, it was the wheelchair bound woman who had told me to never come back to visit her.

So that’s why she has been lying all this time. Her own nephew was connected to Mischa. I found myself wanting to get in the car and go back over there to confront her. Instead, I flipped through the photo album some more, hoping for something else. Within a dozen or so pages, I found it. A picture of a Sunday school picnic. The pastor stood smiling, his arm around his nephew: “Pastor Shiflett and nephew Eric.”

Bingo! His name was Eric, his uncle was the preacher at the time of Mischa’s disappearance, and his aunt was the Mrs. Shiflett I knew. Now all I needed to do was find him. I knew the only way of locating him was by going back and confronting Mrs. Shiflett again. I didn’t look forward to such a thing, after my last visit there, but it seemed to be my only option. Either that or forget it. But something told me that Mischa would find a way to not let me forget it. I have learned she is a very persistent girl.

I sat in the car outside the Shiflett home for ten minutes before I could work up the nerve to go up the porch and knock on the door. As one could imagine, when Shaedra opened the door she looked pretty surprised to see me.

“Mrs. Shiflett is not receiving visitors,” she said.

“You mean she’s not receiving me,” I mildly corrected her, remembering the outcome of our last visit.

“She’s not receiving visitors,” she stressed.

I stood there for a moment, the silence stretching between us, as if one were daring the other to say something else. “Tell her I need to ask her about her husband,” I finally said. “And her nephew.”

Shaedra seemed taken aback for just a moment, but she told me, “Wait here.” Then she closed the door and was gone.

I had to wait there a little while. I think they both did that on purpose, but finally the door opened again. Shaedra had a smirk on her face, as if she were privileged to a private joke, most likely concerning me. “Come on in,” she said, and led me to the parlor where her mistress waited in her wheel chair.

“So what is it now?” the old woman asked. “Come here to blame my husband or nephew for that girl running away?”

“No ma’m, I’m just wondering where they fit in.”

“Fit in? Well, that’s easy. One was her Pastor, the other her friend. And like everyone else that cared about her, she let them down.”

“You had told me your late husband had worked in the barbershop. Why didn’t you tell me he was the Preacher at Resurrection, too?”

“You didn’t ask,” she grinned. “And what would that have mattered anyway?”

“It would have helped fill in the picture a little.”

She leaned forward in her chair. “I’m afraid your picture is made of conjecture and opinion, not facts nor the truth.”

I ignored her snide comment. “What of your nephew?”

“What of him? He’s a nice boy. He’d been friends with Mischa. Then when she ran off, his school studies slipped and he didn’t handle her leaving every well.”

“Why not?”

“Because she was his only friend. He never fit in with the rest of the children. Being the new kid isn’t easy, and teenagers can be cruel to each other at that delicate age.”

“Why were they cruel to Eric?”

She looked hard at me. I think she knew I was fishing around, trying to get her to admit something to me. “I think you already know,” she said.

“Because of the kittens?”

She nodded. “Rumors can follow you all your days.”

“So it was just a rumor then,” I prodded. “He didn’t really drown a bunch of kittens in a kiddy pool back home?”

She looked disgusted. “What does it matter now if he did or not? That was before he came here and stayed with us. That was before Jesus came into his life. It was a child’s prank that went too far, nothing more.”

“So it did happen?”

I could see her temper trying to flare behind her eyes, but she held it in check and smiled. “Have you ever done anything you regret?” she asked. “Something you knew was wrong, but you did it anyway?”

“Yes, I suppose.”

“What happened with my nephew and the kittens was just like that. He felt bad about it, but he got over it and went on with his life.”

“And when Mischa disappeared?”

“He didn’t want to stay here anymore. We sent him back home.”

“Is there some way I can reach him, maybe talk to him? A phone number or an address?”

She looked at me incredulously, as if I had just asked her the dumbest question in the world. “Are you trying to bait me again?” she asked.

“No ma’m, I’d just like to talk to…”

She held up her hand. “Stop,” she said. “My nephew adored that girl, and she broke his heart along with everyone else’s. He has done his best to forget her and live an exemplary life. If she is dead, as you seem to think she is, then let the dead rest and the living live.”

There was a hard look in her eye as if her pent up anger would spill over any minute.

“Sometimes the dead can’t rest until the truth is known.”

That did it. Her face turned beet red. “And you know the truth! Mischa was a bad girl. She got pregnant, she ran away, and that was that.”

“She didn’t run away.”

“So YOU say.”

“I doubt she was pregnant either.”


“And I’m having a hard time believing she was a bad girl.”

“Well you didn’t know her, now did you,” she spat.

“No, not then. But I know her now.”

“As I said before, your picture is guesswork and your own opinion. But the truth is, she wasn’t the good little girl you have placed on your pedestal.”

“Why do you dislike her so much, Mrs. Shiflett?”

She hesitated for a moment, and then answered. “She broke our hearts.”

I reached into my pants pocket and pulled something out. It was a Kleenex. “Here’s a tissue,” I said and dropped it in her lap. “Sounds like you’re the one who needs to get over it and move on.”

I turned around and left. I kept expecting to hear words of rage aimed at my back on the way out, but it was silent. Even Shaedra was quiet as she followed me to the door. As I stepped out on the porch, I thought of something. I turned around and Shaedra was standing in the doorway, leaning against the doorjamb, one hand on her hip.

“You don’t know her nephew, do you?” I asked.

“Not very well,” she replied. “Over the years he has come to visit on occasion, but I don’t know much about him.”

I nodded and turned to go.

“…But I may remember more over a candlelight dinner,” she suggested.

I stopped and looked at her. She was smiling quite seductively.

“It’s amazing what candlelight can do,” I replied.

She continued to smile and raised an eyebrow.

“But most of all, it reminds me how much I miss my wife,” I said. Her smile vanished and I went down the walk.

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 26: Visiting Tommy Blaine

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 26: Visiting Tommy Blaine: Wednesday August 3

I went to go see Tommy Blaine today. It is my conclusion that if he is crazy, then I am just as mad. I feel sorry for the man. Because of things he says he’s seen, he’s been confined to this hospital off and on ever since Mischa’s disappearance in the late seventies, and it’s taken its toll. I guess I got off lucky. I just lost my wife in all this madness; he’s lost his freedom. But I fear I may lose mine too if I don’t find out what happened soon. At least now I feel a little closer to the truth. But I’m getting ahead of myself here; I need to back up to this morning.

I called Larter this morning and asked him if I could have the day off. I explained I was having some marital problems and wanted to take a day to try and work things out. He didn’t need to know I was really going to the state hospital, so the marital strife excuse was going to have to work. It’s not like I was lying; my marriage had gone south. He said go ahead and take it off, but he did tell me that Sunday night they were having a baptism service and he needed me to fill up the baptismal pool no later than Saturday afternoon. I told him I’d take care of it.

The drive to the hospital took about thirty minutes. It’s out in the country, bordered on all sides by wide-open fields. It reminded me of some prisons I’d seen, where the area around the place was all open spaces and escapees were easily tracked upon their flight.

I had Roger Blaine’s ID, and lucky for me it wasn’t a picture ID. It was a standard visitor pass, had his name and address and other pieces of info. I had made it a point to memorize everything on the ID just in case I was questioned.

Another thing I did was park as far out in the parking lot as I could, away from the hospital entrance. I took my license and any other forms of my own identification and locked them up in the glove box. Then I walked across the lot to the front entrance. I presented them with the ID and just as I thought they would, they asked me for another form of identification. I complained a little about going back out to the car to get it, seeing I was parked so far away, and finally they let it slide with a few questions like my full name and address, and my relation to the patient. By the time I answered their questions they believed I was Roger Blaine, brother to Tommy.

They led me to a day room, a sort of common area they used for visitation. There were tables and chairs scattered around the room, and in one corner was a television that several patients huddled around. They sat me at a table towards the back of the room and I waited for them to bring Tommy out.

When he came through the door escorted by an orderly, his eyes scanned the room briefly before settling on me. Something in his eyes told me he recognized me, and he sauntered over to where I sat. After he had taken his seat, the orderly left and took up a position by the door.

“You’re not my brother,” Tommy said.

I smiled apologetically. “No, I’m not. But you don’t look too surprised to see me.”

He nodded. “Well, she told me you’d be coming.”

“She? Who told you that?”

He looked at me like I was stupid. “You know who,” he said. “You’ve seen her. She’s shown you things. In fact she’s even kissed you.”

I touched my cheek, remembering not long ago how Mr. Martin had slugged me. On the drive home, I’d felt what I thought to be a breeze graze my cheek, though it had left traces of lipstick on my face.

“I thought it was the breeze.” I replied.

“Her kisses are like that.”

“She told you these things about me?”

“Yes. She tells me a lot of things. And then there’s a lot she can’t tell. I guess that’s where you come in.”

“What do you mean?”

“Once I realized she was dead and her ghost was haunting the Resurrection, I tried to get a job there. This was back around eighty-one, several years after she disappeared. They wouldn’t hire me, said it was a conflict of interest. They hired some old geezer from out of town instead. He didn’t last long though. Died of a stroke they say. So I tried again to get the job. I knew if I could get in the church like that, I could find out what happened to Mischa. I was going to the church then regularly for every service, and sometimes I’d see her sitting in an empty pew or standing in a corner. I made the mistake of telling someone and they thought I was crazy.”

“I don’t think you’re crazy,” I said.

He didn’t seem to hear me, so intent he was on telling his story. “They hired a lady custodian next. She lasted a little longer. By this time, I was trying to convince everyone that Mischa was in the church and that she hadn’t run away. Finally, my family had me put here, said I was a danger to everybody. I admit I did attack a few folks who aggravated me, but I was under heavy duress. After I got here, she started talking to me.”

“Is it just a voice, or do you see her?”

“Oh I see her,” he smiled. “And she’s always just as young and beautiful as she was when I last held her.”

I could see him trying to fight a tear, so I tried to get him to think of something else other than how he missed her. “Do you think she tried to show things to those other custodians? I mean, I can’t help but wonder, why me? I never knew her. I’m not even from around here.”

“She tried to communicate to them, but they weren’t very open to such things. She came to me first, but I couldn’t really help her. Stuck in here, there’s not a lot I can do. The few times I’ve been out, I’ve tried to find out things and it’s just landed me right back in here. No one trusts you when you’re certifiable crazy”.

“Well I may not be certifiable, but sometimes I feel like I’ve gone crazy.”

“She told me your wife left.”

This should have surprised me, but I just nodded. “Yes, Donna thought I was having an affair with a young girl.”

“Well maybe when this is over, you can try and get her back.”

“Do you think it will ever be over?”

“Well, she’s not going to leave either of us alone until it is. And it’s gotten much worse lately. It’s been quiet the past six years or so. Every now and then she’d come to me. She wasn’t talking. I’d just see her or feel her presence. But about a month and a half ago, she started showing up more frequently, almost urgently, trying to tell me things and show me stuff. I managed to get out a couple weeks back and I went back to the church. She led me to the old playground. I think there was something there she wanted to show me. But you were there. You and some other guy. So I took off. They locked me back up before I could return to the playground again.”

“I remember that. Matt and I thought we were being watched, then we heard someone take off through the woods. So that was you?”


“Well, I think I know what she wanted to show you. My dog Penny found a duffel bag in some bushes and thorns. I think it may have been buried, but she dug it up. In the bag was what I believe to be her dress, a sweater, and some other clothing items.”

He nodded. “How do you know they are hers?”

“Well the sweater had initials marked on the collar. But the dress I’ve seen her wearing before. Or her ghost anyway.”

“Where do you see her?”

“Upstairs in the hallway. Running down the hall chased by…wait a minute.”


“I recognized you the moment I saw you come through the door. I have seen you before.”

“Oh yeah?” he asked curiously.

“Yes, you are the one who chases her ghost down the hall every time I see her.”

He nodded as if he understood. But I sure as hell didn’t.

“How can that be?” I asked. “You are locked up in here. And you aren’t a ghost. Yet I have seen you as one, laughing and chasing her down the hall to hide out in one of the closets.”

“What you see there is a different kind of ghost.”

“What do you mean?”

“Some ghosts are the manifestations of a particular person. You see a solitary figure; it may speak to you, lead you somewhere, show you something. Much the way Mischa does with me. And I imagine with you, too. But some ghosts are nothing more than memories engraved in a location. They could be special memories or traumatic experiences and for whatever reason they leave their imprint on the place where they occurred.”

“I think I follow you.”

“Imagine it like this. What you are seeing in the hallway is like a movie reel playing over and over. It never changes and it always ends the same way, right?”

“Well yes. Each time it has led me to the closet where I find the anklet.”

“The anklet?”

“Yes, it’s an anklet with the initials MM engraved in it.”


“Yes, at first I thought it was Mischa’s. But now I’m not so sure.”

“That’s not her initials. Were those the initials marked on the sweater, too?”


“Then the sweater’s not hers.”

“Then who is MM?”

“I don’t know. Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“Did you recall anyone referring to her as Mischa Martin? I know now her real last name was Boudreaux, but is there a possibility someone thought it was Martin and bought her a gift? Or maybe she herself had wished Mr. Martin would adopt her, and so she had taken on the name herself and had an anklet engraved with those initials on it?”

“I guess it is possible.”

“But if MM isn’t her, I wonder who it could be. The one responsible for her disappearance maybe?”

“It could be. Maybe she’s trying to identify her killer. But if that’s the case, being the initials are on an anklet and sweater, then that means the killer is a girl.”

“Did she have any female enemies that you know of? Maybe someone who had a crush on you?”

He laughed. “Oh, nobody had a crush on me. Except Mischa.”

“No girls who had disagreements with her?”

“Not that I’m aware of. Everybody liked her. She was a nice girl. Good student. Faithful churchgoer, a friend to everybody, even to the kids everybody else thought was weird.”


“Yes, there was this guy, a bad boy really, you know the type, always getting in trouble. He was the nephew to the pastor I think. He came here from New York to live. I heard he’d gotten into trouble up there.”

“What kind of trouble?”

“He killed some cats in the neighborhood.”


“Yeah, the rumor was he drowned them in a little kiddy pool, about twenty or more cats and kittens. So his parents sent him here to live with his uncle.”

“What was his name?”

“I can’t remember. I didn’t pay him much mind. Nobody did. Well except Mischa. She felt sorry for him because everybody avoided him.”

“Were they friends?”


“Was there something else there besides that?”

He stopped and looked at me, the first time I’d seen a flash of anger in his eyes since our conversation. And then it was gone. “I thought there might have been, but I asked her about it and she said they were friends. She said I was just jealous.”

Briefly a thought occurred to me. Was he jealous enough to hurt someone? Jealous enough to hurt Mischa? I decided to go for the big question I’d been wanting to ask, but I slid my chair back a little first just in case it got ugly.

“Was she pregnant?” I asked.

Again, he looked at me and I could see something akin to anger just under the surface. “No, she wasn’t pregnant. One of the rumors was she had gotten pregnant and ran away to have an abortion, but I never believed it. Her own Sunday school teacher started that one. And if there is truth to the rumor, if she did run away, why didn’t she come back after the abortion or birth or whatever was done with the baby?”

“Maybe she was ashamed of it. Maybe it was because the baby wasn’t yours, maybe…”

This time the anger came out and he slammed his fist on the table. “Mischa loved me!!! If she was having a baby, it would have been mine!”

I backed away from the table. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply…”

He jumped up. “You think she was sleeping around with everyone?! She was an honest girl, a good girl. She wasn’t a tramp!!” He reached across the table and grabbed my collar. “I thought you was here to help. She said you were a friend. That we could trust you.”

“You can trust me,” I tried to reassure him. “I am here to help.”

“No you aren’t,” he snarled. “You are just like the rest. Poor little tramp got pregnant and ran away. Couldn’t face her family or her boyfriend, so she took off.”

“I don’t think she ran away.”

“Damn straight she didn’t! Somebody killed her and now she won’t rest until she drives us all mad!”

A voice interrupted us. “Is everything alright over here?”

I looked up. The orderly was standing over us, and Tommy’s hands were clenched up in my collar. Tommy let me go and sat back down.

“Yes there’s a problem,” he said. “This man isn’t my brother. Take me back to my room.”

The orderly looked at me. “You’ll have to leave now, sir.”

I nodded and got up.

Tommy glared at me. “Cover not thou my blood,” he said.

I knew those words. They had been written on the office wall in our cottage. “What does that mean?” I asked him.

He shook his head. “Don’t come back here again. You can’t help us.”

“Why can’t I?”

“You have no faith.”

I didn’t say anything. He was right. I had never been a big church person, or into bible stuff. But I was in a state of surprise how the conversation had deteriorated so fast. The mention of Mischa’s possible pregnancy with another guy’s child and bam! Tommy had gone ballistic. And now, here he was calmly telling me to get lost because I lacked faith or something.

I turned around and left the dayroom. I didn’t look back. I could feel Tommy watching me. I almost got the feeling he was disappointed, and I knew I wouldn’t get anything else out of him. I was on my own once more. And Mischa was still something of a mystery…

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 13: Matt and Susan

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 13: Matt & Susan: Saturday July 23

Matt and Susan arrived this morning. It was great to see our friends again. We all went into town and had lunch, but we didn’t go to the diner, just in case the waitress that “warned” us was working.

Then Susan and Donna went shopping, while Matt and I went to the movies at the town’s only theater. Afterwards, we met up with the ladies and went back to our modest little cottage. We played a couple of board games. Donna and Susan are the most competitive Monopoly players I know.

In the evening, Matt and I sat on the porch. He asked me how I liked it here with the new job and all. I told him it was great. I really wanted to tell him about the ghost of Mischa Martin, but I didn’t think that would be a good idea. Matt and I are close, but I don’t want him questioning my sanity.

As we sat and talked, the dog sauntered around the corner and came up on the porch with us. He sat down by my feet.

“Did you get a new dog?” Matt asked.

“No, it’s just a stray that has become attached to us.”

He chuckled. “You know Donna’s mom is going to have a fit.”

I nodded with a little smirk. “Yep, I suppose she is.” Donna’s mother is allergic to dog’s fur. I’m going to have to find a way to keep him away from her, or I’ll never hear the end of it.

It was late when Matt and Susan left. They are going to stay at a nearby hotel and then meet us for church in the morning. It will be our first time attending services at Resurrection, but I figure since I work there, and I’m not going anywhere else, we might as well attend their worship.

Okay, so today there were no ghosts, and to be honest, I was so distracted by our visiting friends that I didn’t think of Mischa much, but something tells me if I forget her for long, she will remind me.

+ + + + + + + + +

“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.