Tag Archives: Virginia authors

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 8

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8: Cutter

Up in my room I cried. I couldn’t help it. Everything about the day came crashing over me. First, the Trumps and all their crap, the cellphone picture and the intruder who had taken it, the invasive feeling in the shower, My drunken mom oblivious to my needs as a daughter, dad locked up in an institution, and now this guy making fun of me, having a big laugh at my expense. It didn’t matter anymore if he was a vamp and needed killing. I was completely humiliated and made a fool.

I pulled open my desk drawer. It was reserved for my school work, but there was something hidden in that drawer that I desperately needed. I shuffled pencils and paperclips around, moved some papers, and then located it. It was a man’s open razor blade, the old kind they used to put in shaving razors and box cutters. It had a slight stain on its edge from use. I tossed it on the bed and sat down. The tears were much heavier now, and all I could feel was absolute anguish. I hated me.

I took my pants off and sat back in bed. My tank top was so long it covered my underwear and I fumbled with the bottom edge of it. The X-Japan logo instantly made me think of my favorite song by them, Tears. There was a line in there that said, “Dry your tears with love.” That was Bullshit, I thought. Tears can’t be dried. They are always there, and so I raked the razor blade across my leg just above the knee. I knew it would leave a little scar to go along with the previous ones, but I didn’t care. All I was was exemplified in the physical truth. I was nothing more than tears and scars.

Later, I lay in bed on top of the covers, the stinging from the six gashes on my upper leg keeping me awake. The blood had congealed and was caked on the wounds, a reminder of my pain and turmoil. I often pretended that everything was okay with me. Angela was oblivious to it all. It’s not that she didn’t care. It was just something I couldn’t share with her, or any of my other friends and classmates. This was the only thing I had that was all mine. Everything else had been torn from me by other people or life events and been put on public display. But a girl isn’t happy unless she has that one secret that nobody knows.

I guess I started cutting after dad got sent away. The public humiliation and teasing became a lot to bear. Mom disappeared into the bottle, I into the feel of a sharp razor across my skin. And I’m not one of those who did it just to feel something. Sometimes maybe that was true, but for me, I did it to cover up my real pain, my loneliness. It’s hard to be crying over someone hurting you or something depressing when your pain is real and excruciating. So, my physical attack on myself was to mask the real hurt. It’s the only way I could get beyond it.

I finally fell asleep around two AM and it wasn’t long before I was hardcore dreaming. I have really vivid dreams. I am one of those who can wake up and have instant recall of the dreamscape. A lot of people wake confused and disoriented, trying to grasp the images that fade at a rapid rate. But I’m not like that. I’m pretty clear headed when I awaken, even though it does take a while to rouse me from my deep sleep.

My dream that night was of the puzzle man. I was out there in the backyard again and he was handing me puzzle pieces to put in place. The puzzle was different and it kept changing every time I looked down at it. Once, it depicted a mound of decapitated heads stacked beside the flagpole of a school. Another time it was a young couple making love, a stake penetrating both of their bodies, impaling them to the ground. The next glance revealed a river of blood. Upon its banks, bloody swords were in the hands of massacred teenagers. Each time the image changed, the missing piece was a female face, which always turned out to be the piece in my hand. The bizarre vampire man, who again spoke in guttural noises, got up and scattered the pieces, overturning the card table with fury. A piercing sound erupted from his throat and it started to sound like a word: Imouto. He clenched his fists and shouted this several times over. Blood started to run down his hand where his fingers dug into the flesh. He offered it to me. I jolted awake.

Wide awake now and staring at the ceiling, I didn’t know what to make of the nightmare. None of it made sense. But it freaked me out just the same. It would be awhile before sleep came again, so I got up from bed, threw a robe over my t-shirt and underwear, and went to my window. I gently parted the curtains to look out, expecting to see vampire boy staring up at the heavens. But he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. The party was still going full force but I couldn’t hear anything from my house.

I couldn’t believe they were still going at it at this hour. It was a school night, damn it. And where did all these party goers come from anyway? If they had just moved to Chelsea Valley, how the hell did they know so many people? I couldn’t believe everyone came with them from their old house. While I was pondering this, the side door opened and the boy emerged. He had lost the uniform and was now in sweat pants and a tank top. The dim light from the stars illuminated his skin and for a moment I thought I caught a glimpse of a tattoo. The very edge of it seemed to peek out of his tank top, but I couldn’t tell if this was certain or just a trick of the light. I really didn’t care anymore. If he was the creeper who’d been in my room earlier it just allowed me to hate him more. It would be a long time, maybe forever, before I’d try to talk to him again. What he’d done was mean spirited and not funny at all. He had played with me in my awkwardness and uncertainty, and made me out to be a complete and embarrassed fool. He was no better than the Trumps, and once I had some rest, I was going to expose him to the sun and watch him burn with the same glee he had exhibited when he made fun of me tonight.

Read Ep. 9

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Monday Morning At The Springtime Cafe (short story / flash fiction)

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting at the Springtime Cafe once again, watching all the A.M. people get a kick start to their day. Coffee, danishes, breakfast, conversation, whatever one needs to begin is right here. There’s even a duo set up with their acoustic guitars in the corner playing a cute little Ingrid Michaelson song. Several waitresses move about, taking orders and offering their own voices to the conversations at the various tables and booths. This morning I spot two of them right away.

Mags, or Maggie for long, is a middle aged lady, perhaps 40 or so, but she moves through the place like she’s twenty-five. She has blond hair, from which I can spot a few grays, though I never try to look that close. She gets picked on about that enough by some of the regular guys who come in and perch at one of her tables while awaiting their carpool. Of course she usually just shoots them down with a look from her steely, gray eyes. If that doesn’t work she has a tone to her voice that might remind you of your mom telling you a whipping is coming. For this reason alone, I can’t help but like her.

The other waitress is just as likable, a little more bubbly perhaps, because of her age. If I had to guess she’s about 30, maybe a few years younger. If Mags acts and moves around like a younger woman, then her co-worker flies around the room like a college girl late for class. Her name is May, and perhaps her parents should have been scolded for naming their child Maybelline, but she too made the best of the jokes and cajoling from the guys who frequented the cafe, some of them drawn indoors by the sight of her alone.

I speak from experience here. I myself was just tooling down the street on the way to a cubicle job I hated when I looked over and saw the brunette waitress through the window of the cafe. Her hair was long then, falling over her shoulders and slightly down her back. From the street, I saw her smile at a customer, and from that day I knew I would want her smile to be at the start of my morning for the rest of my life. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but as if on cue she arrives at my table, while I sit here like a dumbfounded idiot watching her approach and jotting it down. If I drew instead of writing about her, she may take more notice, but as it is I’m just another guy, maybe a teacher at the local college, working on a thesis or grading papers while waiting for his coffee.

“Still at it,” she asks, as she steps up to the table, the soles of her white shoes tapping lightly as if a near perfect dance routine had come to a temporary stop.

“Yeah,” I sigh with a smile and fall in love again for the tenth time this morning.

NaNoWriMo Day 15 update

Wow, the month sure does fly by when you’re broke, lol…okay so for today’s update, we are halfway through the month, and while some writers are already at the 25k mark I am struggling to reach 9k. Still, I feel like I’m being productive, if in short spurts. I almost feel like I’m writing flash Fiction, and I guess that’s correct in a sense because I’m not sure exactly where I’m going. In my story, or would be novel, I have introduced a whole host of characters in 8k words. Now I have to figure out what to do with them. Not an easy task when you can only write a few sentences at a time.

I am having fun with this however. Switching up my normal point of view has opened me up to all kinds of possibilities, though I’m not sure its all that well written. I guess my normal readers and fellow writers will have to judge that when i get around to sharing this latest endeavor. I’m hoping to post the opening soon, so keep an eye out and please let me know what you think.

Okay, so I’m out of here, to try and go bounce a few more sentences off the wall and see how they settle on paper. I’m really hoping to bash out another 500 words tonight so wish me luck.

Until next time….

NaNoWriMo, here I come….

Uh oh, here we go with another attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Though I don’t believe i will be as successful as I was last year due to time constraints, but I’m not here to win. I’m here to write. I doubt I will be able to complete the 50k words that NaNoWriMo considers a win, but if I’m lucky I’d like to be able to do at least half that.

I am trying to challenge myself a little this year by writing in a point of view I am not totally comfortable with. Most of my books or long form stories are told in the first person, so I’m going to try and toss that out the window this year. Wish me luck.

My title this year is tentatively called “Perhaps, Mina.” If I had to classify it, I plan for it to be a paranormal romance, though I’m hoping it will have some other elements to it as well. We’ll have to see where the characters take me. The story will start off with one of the sentences from my recent “Seven Days Of Sentences,” but I’m not saying which one….yet. 😉

Now something I won’t be able to do this time around is post what I write everyday. I will still let you know of my progress as much as I can, but I won’t be able to post the story as it’s written, as I did with last year’s entry “Time Of Our Death.” However, when the month is over, depending on how much I’ve actually accomplished, I will get to posting the story I hope. Still, because it has a vampire theme, I may wait until my other long form bloodsucking tale “vampire boys of summer” is complete and posted to avoid confusion between the two. Well just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Ok, so anyway, I hope you all will wish me luck this year, and if you are doing NaNoWriMo as well, feel free to let me know and I’ll try to help cheer you on as well. Have a great Halloween night and I’ll see you in November. 🙂

Resurrection Diaries Entry 28: The Nephew

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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.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 15: The Phone

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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…

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original  text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 14: The Watcher

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Entry 14: The Watcher: Sunday July 24

We all went to church this morning, Matt, Susan, Donna, and myself. We sat in the back because we didn’t want to feel out of place, but wouldn’t you know it, Pastor Chiles pointed us out to the whole church, trying to embarrass the new custodian. He did a good job of it, too.

As I sat in the congregation though, I couldn’t quite concentrate on his sermon. I kept looking to the ceiling, half expecting to hear sounds of footsteps running across the floor above. But nothing like that happened.

The invitation hymn was “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”, and my thoughts were drawn to Mischa with the line “thou will find a solace there”. I wonder if she will ever find peace.

We had lunch in the cottage. Donna fixed her specialty, spaghetti. I thought I would eat until I popped. Afterwards, Matt and I sat out back.

“What’s in the woods?” he asked. “Any trails?”

“Yeah there’s a few.” I wondered whether to tell him about the old playground in there.

“Take a walk?”

“Sure. Why not?”

We walked through the woods and I didn’t have to wonder whether to tell him about the playground or not. We were there soon enough.

“Wow,” he exclaimed. “What’s this stuff doing way back here?”

“I don’t know. I just found it the other day.”

Matt walked up under the old twisted jungle gym. “Remember how we used to play on these things all the time?” He began to climb it. “We were a bunch of monkeys.”

Once at the top of the dome shaped bars, he looked up into the trees that hung low over it. “They must have had something up here.”

“Why?” I asked from my spot below.

“There’s rope marks on this branch. Deep ones, too. Kids probably swung from it. Bet that was fun.”

He scrambled back down to me. “Man, I’d love to be a kid again.”

I grinned. “Yep, I know what you mean.”

We both turned to walk back to the house. Suddenly, there was a rustling noise in the woods, as if something was running across fallen leaves. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw a figure through the trees.

“Hey!” I yelled, but the person didn’t stop. He kept on running into the woods.

“Maybe we were playing on his monkey bars,” Matt joked.

“Yeah, maybe so,” I agreed, but I didn’t like the notion that someone had been watching us.

Matt and Susan left this evening. It sure has been nice having them over this weekend, but I’m anxious for the work week to start. The mystery of Mischa’s ghost beckons to 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 13: Matt and Susan

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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.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 12: Anklet Test

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Entry 12: Anklet Test: Friday July 22

Today was an interesting day. Donna and I woke up with the sun. She automatically began straightening up our little house since Matt and Susan will be here tomorrow. I got dressed for work and headed over to the church.

The information that Mrs. Shiflett had given me weighed heavy on my mind and I thought about all the things she’d said. As I’d left her last night, her final words echoed in my head. “I think we’d know if she came home.” Something inside told me she had come home. But not as a prodigal daughter who’d gone away to have an abortion or run off with an older man. No, this Mischa, I was beginning to think, had come home as a wraith. And though some of the elderly woman’s speculations made sense, there were some things that just didn’t add up.

For instance, if Mischa is in fact still alive, how can her teenage self be roaming the upper floors of the church? My bet is that she is dead, and it is her ghost I have seen and heard.

And then there’s Tommy Blaine. If the ghost is Mischa as I suspect, and if Tommy Blaine is still alive, then who is the boy pursuing her through the hall?

I really wanted to talk to Tommy, but there was another experiment I wanted to try first. I wanted to hide the anklet. Put it somewhere under lock and key where no one had access to it except me. And then if it showed up in the closet again, I’d feel certain the spirit of Mischa is trying to communicate.

So I went back over to the house to get it. Problem is I couldn’t find the thing. I checked my pants pocket from the night before and it wasn’t there. I searched the nightstand, the bathroom, even the car. There was no anklet. I asked Donna if she’d cleaned out my pants pocket and she said no. Then I thought maybe Mrs. Shiflett hadn’t given it back to me, but no, I distinctly remember her handing it over. I scrambled all around the house looking for it, but it was gone. There was only one place it could be.

I ran back over to the church, and went upstairs to the rec room. The hallways were empty, the rooms silent, and as I reached for the closet door, I momentarily hesitated. But when I opened it, the closet was empty. There was no anklet on the floor.

I shook my head, disappointed in myself for acting so weird. I’d apparently lost the anklet somewhere between Mrs. Shiflett’s and home last night. I wouldn’t see it again.

I thought I’d go home and eat some lunch with my wife, but when I walked over she was sitting on the front porch, her hands in her lap. I could tell by the look on her face something was wrong.

“I cleaned up the office today. Took all that ugly paper down.”.

“Did you make it angel blue?” I asked, thinking of the paint we’d bought in town.

“Not yet. I think you should see the room before I do anything with it.”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“Go take a look.”

“Okay.” I noticed she wasn’t making a move to get up and show me, so I went inside to see for myself.

She had taken down the makeshift wallpaper that had been there. The biblical scenes torn from magazines now lay on the floor. A Bosch painting of hell stared back up at me and I wondered how they could put such a horrible image in today’s modern bible.

But it wasn’t what was on the floor that was bothering Donna. It was what the pictures had been covering up that had her out there sitting on the porch. It appeared someone had taken crayons and drew on the walls. Most of it was just scribbling, random letters thrown together in a shaky scrawl, as if the artist had been out of his mind and desperately trying to find words. I did find it a bit unsettling, because it reminded me of something I’d read about once called spirit writing, where a person channeled the thoughts and energy of the dead and wrote it on paper. A lot of that stuff was jibberish too. But here on these walls, it had an stranger effect, for someone obviously had gone out of their way to cover up the message that finally got scrawled in one corner. The message was eerie enough: COVER NOT THOU MY BLOOD. In big red crayon it was emblazoned in the corner, as if the artist had crawled there for comfort. And there in the smallest of letters beneath it was something else. Apparently written in a different hand, it read: go away little girl. Somehow I don’t think it was quoting the Donny Osmond song.

I stood there for a few minutes looking at the walls. What had happened here? Who wrote this stuff? And who had hastily covered it up? It makes more sense to me that they could have just painted over it. But instead they hastily covered it with magazine and bible pages. Maybe they did it so quickly because they couldn’t stand to be in this room long enough to paint.

When I returned to the front porch Donna was still sitting there. I sat down next to her and put my arm around her shoulder. “It’s okay. It’s nothing,” I tried to console her.

“What is it all about? What do you think happened in there?”

“I don’t know. I’ll ask Larter about it, okay.”

“If there’s something wrong with the cottage, we shouldn’t be here.”

“There’s nothing wrong, Donna. We got something good here. Maybe it was just kids or vandals. We don’t know how long this place has been empty.”

“It just freaked me out. I wasn’t expecting that when I took the paper down.”

I kissed her on her forehead. “It freaked me out too, sweety. I’ll tell Larter and he’ll get somebody out here to paint it. You won’t have to do it, okay? After it’s painted you won’t even know there was ever a thing wrong.”

She smiled weakly. I knew as well as she did, she wouldn’t forget what was on the walls.

After going home for lunch, I returned once again to the quiet church. Friday afternoons are silent there. No one on the staff comes in and I’m left with myself to do the cleaning. No secretaries, no pastors, just me.

I was cleaning the vestibule when I heard it. That familiar sound from upstairs. Footsteps running across the floor.

I dropped what I was doing and bounded up the stairs. Reaching the top I saw them, just as I thought I would. They were halfway down the hall, running playfully in the opposite direction. Her skirt flowed behind her, followed by her own giggles, and the boy’s Sunday suit almost rustled as he ran in happy pursuit of her.

“Hey!” I yelled.

They didn’t pay attention, so I took off after them. But like before, they went around the corner and were gone. I didn’t see them vanish or disappear in wisps of smoke for I was too far away. When I came around the corner, they were just gone.

I stopped and waited. I listened for it and soon there it was, the girlish giggle emanating from the rec room. I went in and walked straight to the closet. I jerked the door open and there it was on the floor. The anklet with “MM” emblazoned across it.

I reached down and picked it up, inspecting it. Yes, it was the same one. Taken from my possession somehow and placed here.

“Mischa,” I whispered. “Are you here?”

Normally I would feel stupid, but not anymore. This was beyond my comprehension, but otherworldly things were at work, and I’m thinking someone is trying to tell me something.

“Mischa,” I repeated, this time a little louder, but I was met with only silence. I looked at the anklet in my hand. “I’m going to find out what happened to you.”

Now as I write this entry, it is early evening. Donna is once again in the den watching TV, her escape from the world. I’m in the kitchen with the backdoor open. Our dog friend sits out there and I can see him through the screen.

“What do you know, boy?” I ask him.

He just stares back, but I’m nearly convinced this dog is tied somehow to the mystery of Mischa Martin. In fact I think everything about this place is probably connected, like parts of a huge interlocking puzzle. It’s just a matter of finding the missing pieces…

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 11: Mrs Shiflett

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 11: Mrs. Shiflett: Thursday July 21

The mother-in-law called today. They want to come up this weekend, but Donna told her that Matt and Susan are supposed to be visiting then. I imagine her mom wasn’t too pleased at our friends coming before her, but she’ll just have to get over that one. So anyway, I’ll probably have to deal with the in-laws next weekend. That gives a man something to look forward to.

I decided not to turn the anklet into the office this time, but I was curious about something, so I stopped off by Mrs. Mabely’s desk. The secretary is a nice lady, middle aged, very business like. Not really the kind I can cut up and carry on with, but still the type of person who could probably hold her own in conversation.

I asked her if she’d gotten the anklet I had lain on her desk the other day. She said she had, but she’d given it to Pastor Chiles because he said he thought he knew who it belonged to.

So the pastor had ended up with it. But that makes me wonder. Did he place it back where I found it, and if so, why? Or is there something else at work here? I want to ask Rev. Chiles if he still has it. I’d be almost willing to bet he thinks so. But since I know he doesn’t, and it now rests once again in my pocket, that poses the biggest question of the day: Who returned it to the closet in the rec room?

I went to see Mrs. Shiflett tonight. She lives on a dead end street in town. I went alone, though I did ask Donna if she wanted to come. She was watching her nighttime soaps and didn’t want to be bothered with talking church history with an old woman. I still haven’t said anything to her about our house or any of the weird things that I’ve been thinking lately. I know I should be more honest with my wife, but if I mention cemeteries and the possibility of ghosts, she’s liable to have me committed. Really.

When I arrived at Mrs. Shiflett’s, her assistant answered the door. She’s a dark haired lady about thirty years old. She looks foreign, maybe of Indian descent, and was introduced to me as Shaedra. With olive skin and dark eyes she reminded me of a siren who could lure sailors to their doom. I almost said this aloud.

She led me into the den where Mrs.Shiflett waited. The elderly woman was confined to a wheelchair. When she said hello her voice had a deep rasp, as if she couldn’t quite clear her throat.

We dispensed with the formalities and introductions quickly and got right down to why I was there. It didn’t take me long to tell her about the anklet I had found.

“Normally, I wouldn’t worry about such a trivial thing, but it keeps showing up in the same place,” I told her. “I’ve tried to find out who it belongs to, but no one can tell me. I think the Pastor may know, but he hasn’t volunteered the information, and to be quite honest, I just started work there so I don’t want to be asking him all kinds of questions.”

The elderly lady nodded quietly, and I continued my ramble.

“Do you think you might be able to tell me anything about this “MM” that is engraved on this anklet? I would really like to return it to her.”

Mrs. Shiflett held out her hand and I looked at her companion curiously.

“She wants to see the anklet,” the assistant explained.

“Of course.” I pulled the anklet from my coat pocket and put it in her open palm. She turned it over and over in her hand, as if she were giving it a major inspection. With her age, I imagine her eyesight wasn’t the best. But then she smiled.

“I remember this,” she said.

“You do?”

“Yes. I gave it to her.”

“Gave it to whom?”

“Mischa Martin. Nineteen and seventy-three. I may be old now, but the memory still works.”

Mischa Martin. The name made me think of something else. Yes, there in the playground. Carved on the decrepit sliding board. Tommy + Mischa.

“Does she still live around here?” I ventured.

“Oh no,” she replied. “Her father lives on Broad Street, right above the old barber shop, but Mischa is long gone.”


The old lady laughed. “No, she ran away years ago. I think it was around seventy-six. I remember it well because it was the year Tommy Blaine went stark raving mad.”

“Tommy Blaine?”

“He was her beau. Nice looking fellow I recall. Smart, athletic, not the kind to go mad at all. But he did.”

“What happened?”

“He couldn’t handle her running away. She left behind a note saying she didn’t love him, she loved an older fellow, and that she was running away with him. They were going to be together forever, that kind of thing. Broke the poor boy’s heart.”

“Who was the other guy?”

“I don’t know. Personally, I don’t think there was one. She and her father didn’t get along. And her mother was a lush, loved the drink. I think she ran away to escape them. And maybe she was scared of her heart when it came to Tommy.”

“Why would she be scared of him? Was he abusive?”

“Oh no, Tommy treated her like gold. I think she was scared of how close they were. She always was a bit skittish. But I believe she loved him. Maybe she just didn’t know how to deal with it, and then, well, there was her condition.”

“Her condition?”

“I can’t say for sure, but there was rumors at the time that she was with child. I’d be willing to bet it was Tommy’s and she didn’t know how to tell her parents. If you want my opinion, I’d say Mischa ran away, had an abortion, or the child, and just didn’t feel like she could come back home.”

“Is there any possibility she may have died after running away?”

She laughed. “Oh there’s always that chance, but she did write letters home from time to time. I don’t know if she’s still writing her father, but he used to brag about her letters all the time.”

“Do you think he would talk to me about Mischa?”

“I don’t know. That was a long time ago. He’s a bit reclusive these days, and he was always possessive of his little girl. He may not take questions kindly, but if you wish, I will have Shaedra call him for you.”

“That would be nice. Thank you.”

She handed the anklet back. “Tommy Blaine is still around, too. He’s about your age now, I suppose. They released him from the hospital about two years ago, clean bill of health and all. Apparently his madness was just temporary. Time heals all wounds they say.”

“How did he go mad?”

“Tried to kill himself. Tried to kill others too. He attacked the pastor in church. He attacked her parents, her friends, darn near everybody. The boy just snapped. One of young love’s dark turns I suppose.”

“And he’s here? Still living in town?”

“Yes, he’s over on the outskirts. The county really. What we call shantytown. Just a bunch of trailers and old houses. Every town has such a place where the less fortunate live.”

I nodded and started to get up. It wasn’t long ago I had been one of those less fortunate types.

“So why this interest in Mischa Martin?” she asked.

I looked at the anklet, and dared myself to tell her. “Well, to be honest, Mrs. Shiflett, I thought I saw her in the church.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“There was a young girl with a boy upstairs. They were running down the hall. I can’t say for certain it was her, but shortly afterwards I found the anklet. Thought maybe she dropped it.”

She kind of chuckled in that raspy voice of hers.

“Well, I don’t think that was Mischa you saw. In seventy-six she was fifteen years old. She’d be over forty now. I think we’d all know if she came home.”

At the mention of home, I thought it best if I took my leave and go back there myself. When I got to the house, Donna was asleep on the couch. I picked her up and carried her into the bedroom, where I tucked her in. Getting ready for bed myself, I took another look at the anklet. Mischa Martin. What is your real story? I have to find out. Maybe it’s nothing, but with all of Mrs. Shiflett’s speculations, I feel like something is just not right. Like I’ve stumbled onto a puzzle. And for some reason, I want to find the missing pieces. I can’t explain it. All I know is I feel like Alice in Wonderland getting ‘curioser and curioser’.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.