Entry 43: A Sort Of Epilogue…
In looking back over the contents of this diary I am surprised as to how much happened in my life in the space of just a couple months. Now, almost a year later, I can ponder over these events without the sense of dread and mystery that once pervaded my thoughts. It seems like a different world now, and I guess in a way it is.
In the aftermath of events revolving around Resurrection Church, I am surprised it survived the scandal. The church members were in such a shock over the murder that had taken place there within its building all those years ago, and equally in shock that it was one of their own who was guilty of the crime. Eventually they built a park in Mischa’s honor.
The day after Meagan’s rescue, I led the police back to the old playground, and to the bushes and brambles where I suspected Mischa had been buried. In the same spot where Penny had once drug out a dirty duffel bag of clues, they found her. It took hours, but it wasn’t long before her skeletal remains were uncovered. When they were brought out of the ground, I could almost feel a sort of sigh in the air as if finally peace was coming to this haunted place.
Mischa Boudreaux’s remains were reinterred in a cemetery in town. The whole town seemed to turn out. Pastor Chiles officiated over the service, declaring, “The Earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” I watched Mr. Martin, his shoulders slumped, finally coming to terms that Mischa had never left, but had died here tragically and alone. I wanted to try and console him in some way, but I felt his grief was best shared alone. I heard that several weeks later, he cleaned out her room and donated all her old things to charity. I guess he needed the closure of her funeral before he could let go. He sent me a thank you card not long ago. It said “thank you for bringing Mischa home.”
The Mitchell’s were at the funeral too, I guess in a way giving thanks to the spirit that had saved their daughter. I don’t know if Meagan ever told them the particulars, but I suspect it was something she held close to her, like a secret best friends share. Meagan recovered nicely and was soon back in school with her peers as if nothing happened. I imagine there must be scars there somewhere, but I believe she’s a tough kid, she’s going to make it.
Donna held my hand through the service, and I was happy to have her back home. After a tearful phone call the night I found Meagan in Larter’s basement, I think Donna and I were finally on the right track. We quickly renewed our vows and I began to tell her every day that I love her. It’s something I should have been doing all along, but sometimes it takes awhile for a man to wake up and smell the roses. I’m just happy to have been blessed with a second chance.
Sitting at our feet at the graveside funeral, Penny whimpered quietly, having survived her ordeal. I learned that the dog had been Meagan’s and had run away when she went missing. Personally, I think it followed her to the church and then lost her trail. It lingered around those grounds knowing she had once been there. In fact, I learned from Police that Larter had abducted Meagan as she took a shortcut across the church property on her way home from a friend’s. However it all happened, now the dog didn’t seem to want to go home, so the Mitchell’s told us to keep her as long as she opted to stay. Meagan said we’d make good parents and smiled.
They let Tommy Blaine out long enough to attend the funeral. I thought he held up pretty well, but maybe he had had a long time to prepare for this. To either side of him were attendants from the hospital, just in case. I think they were concerned he would fling himself on her casket or something. As the preacher committed her to the earth, I noticed his tears. One of his attendants offered him a tissue, but I think he preferred to just let those teardrops fall. I walked up to him after the service and he managed to give me a small smile.
“Thank you,” he said.
“For helping her.”
I nodded, as if that was what was always intended. The attendants started to take him back to their car. “Tommy, wait,” I called. He stopped, and when I knew I had his attention, I told him what I imagine was the biggest truth of all. “She loved you very much.”
He smiled even bigger and nodded back. “I know.”
It was a day later when I read in the paper Tommy died in his sleep at the hospital.
The court case against Eric Larter was a media circus. I think most people were in a state of shock that a seemingly ordinary man, a leader in the church and a respected member of the community, had killed a teenage girl in the days of his youth. It made it equally shocking that as an adult he then abducted and held captive a neighborhood girl who looked just like his first victim.
After milking the shock for all it was worth, the media then turned to the upside of the events: that the abducted girl had been saved. At one point, the press came around our cottage wanting to talk to the “hero” who had rescued her. But I can’t take credit for any of that. I told reporters that the abductor’s own madness exposed him. I just happened to be there. I don’t meant to downplay my role in all this, but what point would it be to tell them it was the ghost of the slain girl who had led me to the one gone missing? After a while, both Donna and I tired of the publicity, and soon all I would say was, “We’re all heroes in our own little ways.”
At the trial, Eric’s lawyers went with the insanity plea, and he was sentenced to spend out the rest of his days at the same hospital that had housed Tommy Blaine. (His aunt was given the same sentence, but she was found dead of a heart attack the first night there.) It was with great irony that Eric’s room at the hospital was the same one that Tommy had once lived in. Rumors circulated that Eric was quite mad there. His sleep was restless and he’d scream in the middle of the night…things about drowning, death, and a girl in a yellow dress. I can only imagine that what the ghost of Mischa had shown him when they were in the cellar were things of the grave and the state of his own wicked soul. Whatever visions her touch brought, it sent him over the brink and into a forever state of fear and madness.
But if this was the case, if this madness was the fate she had always intended for him, why did she wait so long? I don’t have the answers to how things work out in this life and beyond, but I would like to think that Mischa waited, because she knew Eric would not stop with her, that he would eventually do it again. And when he did, she was there to do what she could to put an end to it. I just happened to be there when she needed some human help. There are those who may believe she chose me for the task, or that it was fate that led me to take the job at Resurrection Church, but I try not to think of those things. All that matters is I was there, and for some reason or another, I was drawn into the mystery of Mischa.
Sometimes I still think of her, but I no longer worry of her restlessness for I know now she is at peace and moved on from this plane to the next. It was the day after Tommy died in his sleep that I saw her for the last time. Donna and I were sitting on the front porch in the twilight hours, Penny as always at our feet, when I saw movement out towards the woods. At first, I thought it was kids playing or taking a shortcut home, but then I saw that flash of yellow dress and knew it was her. Donna touched my hand and I looked at her. She could see Mischa, too. Then someone else came out of the woods to stand by her. He reached out and took hold of her hand. It was Tommy Blaine. Donna and I both looked at each other and smiled. The ill-fated lovers were together at last, how could one not be happy about that? As we sat there looking at these apparitions, another noise drew our attention. Coming across the lawn toward them was a small child. A boy. He came up to them and hugged Mischa’s leg, as she laid her hand protectively on top of his head. She was smiling right at us. Then they all walked away, fading with each step until the three of them were gone.
Donna and I didn’t say anything for awhile, we just sat there letting it sink in. and though we haven’t seen them since, I know that somewhere in that peaceful place we go to when we die, Mischa and Tommy and their unborn son live happily ever after in ways they could not here on earth.
In the weeks and months that followed, the town came back to normal. Resurrection Church began services again, and though most places of worship would have buckled under the controversy, the church flourished. It may never lose the stigma of being ‘that church.’ Still, I believe it will no longer be a place of haunting, but a house of worship and salvation.
I stayed on as the custodian, and I remain there today. Sometimes when I’m there at night, and it’s just me and the silence of that big old church, I think of Mischa and I smile. Not only did she save Meagan from a fate similar to hers, but she also saved me as well. She taught me that the most important thing on either side of life or death is love. It is love that brings us peace on this earth, and love that reunites us in the end. Love is the birth of every hope considered under heaven, and it will never desert us, not even in death. I think of this and wonder if when my time comes, and Donna’s time comes, will we walk with Mischa and Tommy down those golden roads? Will they be waiting for us on the other side? Will our children play together one day?
Donna gave birth to a baby girl two days ago. We named her Mischa…
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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson..
Original text copyright 2007.
10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.