10. For my muse to talk about someone's death.
Lorraine was pacing slightly as she considered her current situation. “A confession? Really?” Her look and tone were both more skeptical than she had intended as her gaze moved to her cousin who was sitting on the small couch in the study, watching her pace. Confession hadn’t been the word that was used, but it didn’t matter. “Shall we sit back to back and I can start the traditional way? ‘Forgive me Sister, for I have sinned. It has been…some time since my last confession.’”
Irene looked back at her with a calm and nonjudgmental expression, not taking offense to any of it. “That is not what I said.” She knew that Lorraine didn’t mean to lash out, just as she would have known how upset she was even without the overly obvious signals. It was something the two of them had in common. It was something that made them special in ways most people weren’t. “I asked you to tell me what’s wrong. I didn’t demand that it be formal. You and I have never needed to be formal.”
This brought a pause to Lorraine’s pacing and she inclined her head briefly in acknowledgement of the truth in what Irene was saying. They had known each other as children, though they didn’t see each other often. Drawn together by their mutual abilities, gifts, whatever you wanted to call them, it was something they had in common that most either couldn’t or wouldn’t understand. They weren’t immediate family, but they were still blood and that counted for something. She found more understanding in her cousin than she did her parents or her siblings and so she felt closer to her in some ways than anyone else.
They had gone their separate ways, however. While Lorraine continued to struggle with that belief from her family, her friends, even her teachers at the Catholic girls’ school she attended, Irene found a deeper acceptance in the church and that was where she allowed herself to be led. Lorraine had attempted to convince herself that these gifts weren’t as real as she believed – and deep down in her heart knew – they were, to suppress them as much as she could, Irene’s chosen path took her to something else entirely.
After meeting her husband, Lorraine had come to accept her abilities at last, and to learn to use them to help others who needed that special kind of assistance. And though she would always rely on her faith and the church to help them with what they did, it was in a completely different way than her cousin had gone. The church was another thing that would always tie them together, but not in the way they once had been. Lorraine asked the church for help on a constant basis, but Irene immersed herself fully, her own abilities leading to an assignment in Romania where she had taken the vows that made her a nun and a devout child of God.
Whatever else had happened in that ancient abbey in Romania was anyone’s guess. There were rumors, of course. There always were. But, those who had been there hadn’t spoken of it and aside from knowing that something had happened, something evil, something that her cousin wasn’t talking about, Lorraine was just as much in the dark as the rest of the world. They each had their secrets, even from each other.
“You’re right. I’m sorry.” The apology came easily. They hadn’t seen each other in years, but there was still that tie, the blood tie or some other, it didn’t really matter. Lashing out at others wasn’t her way and so the apology was completely sincere. But, she was upset and it was about something she didn’t feel she could even tell Ed because she wasn’t sure how to deal with it herself. It so intimately involved him and yet she didn’t want to involve him in it at all.
Her pacing began again as she tried to focus her thoughts. This was something she had kept inside for a long time, a very long time. It wasn’t easy to try to put it into words now. “I don’t know where to start.” She still sounded slightly apologetic, as if she should just be rambling it all off by now because her cousin was someone she could trust, was someone she had always been able to trust. “No…I do know.” She sighed after a moment, stopping where she stood and running a hand through her hair.
“There was an exorcism a few years ago.” Another pause because, though they spoke about that case in their lectures sometimes, they never spoke of what had really happened, of everything that had happened. “You may or may not have heard about it. Ed and I mention it in our lectures sometimes.” She glanced at her cousin and then away. “I don’t know how up to date you stay on that kind of thing.”
She shook her head because it didn’t really matter. “His name was Maurice. He didn’t make it.” That was a tragedy in itself and something that still haunted her, but even that didn’t haunt her as much as what she was actually trying to talk about. “During the exorcism –“ She paused because she didn’t want to relive it as she spoke it. But, how many times had she done so anyway? How many times had she let it in her head, let it terrify her and paralyze her? She couldn’t keep doing that.
“During the exorcism he – it – showed me something.” She tried again. Getting at least that full sentence out. “I saw the demon. Or, at least the form it was choosing to take. A form meant to shake my faith and my foundation. But, worse…worse was the vision of Ed’s death.” She swallowed hard. The very thought made her tremble, sent ice shooting through her veins and made her mind scream in terror. Wrapping her arms around herself, she continued, talking about it even harder than she had anticipated. “I’m not stupid. I know that these beings can pluck things out of your mind and show you the thing you fear the most. But, this…this was different. This wasn’t just a vision, it was a premonition. I know it.”
She didn’t tell her cousin that this vision had so traumatized her that it had driven her into an eight-day self-induced seclusion that had made her family – and herself – fear for her sanity and her life. She had come out of it and that was what truly mattered. Even if it led to being treated like glass even now and a constant concern that she might be lost again.
“Then I saw it again, that same entity. On another case in New York.” She didn’t need to name the case, everyone had heard of Amityville, no matter which side of belief or disbelief they fell on. “It didn’t start out the same, but it was there in a trance walk and…it showed me the same thing.” She had to physically stop herself from pacing again to burn off the nervous energy. “I haven’t told Ed because…well, talking about it makes it more real and I don’t want to make him afraid and I don’t want to try to control him.” She knew she wasn’t doing a very good job at explaining that part because part of her wasn’t entirely sure why she hadn’t said anything to the one person she should have talked to.
“But, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if we keep doing what we’re doing that vision is going to come to pass and I’m going to lose him and…I can’t do that. I’ve tried to lean things more towards the lectures and the book we’ve talked about writing and less hands-on type things, but I can’t push for that. Can I?” As she glanced at Irene she was almost sure she saw the tell-tale signs of a hidden smile, but she was so sure that wasn’t possible that she dismissed the notion immediately. “He’s always told me that we were brought together for a reason. That my abilities are a gift from God. I think we’re meant to be doing what we do, but…” She shook her head, feeling no more clarity about the situation than she had started with.
She was doubting and that was one of the worst things she could do. She was doubting what she did, she was doubting her ability to keep Ed safe, she was doubting that they would always succeed. Her faith was wavering and that could be the difference between life and death for both of them.
“So, we carry on like always and I leave him in the dark…or I can tell him and try to make him promise to stop or stick to initial investigations that don’t get us too involved and turn to others for more real help…” Or she could tell him and let him decide, which was what her heart knew she should do. But, her heart was afraid that he would tell her what she always told him. They were meant to do this, whatever that meant, whatever that resulted in for them.
“He’s seen it. This…thing. He was painting it the other morning. He didn’t know what it was, except that it was a nun in appearance.” Her voice dropped again. “And Judy and I have seen it. Here. In our home.” She visibly shivered this time. “It’s close, it’s here and I think that means what it showed me is also close.” Again, out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a suppressed twitch of her cousin’s lips as she revealed these last things, but that couldn’t be right.
“I don’t know what to do.” She finally admitted. This was what scared and hurt the most. She had been shown this thing more than once and she didn’t know how to handle it. She didn’t know how to stop it. What was the point in having such ‘God given gifts’ if they couldn’t help you when you needed them the most? She turned to meet Irene’s eyes. “So, now that you know what’s going on, tell me cousin, Sister…tell me what I should do.”
"This one still haunts me."