Mary




                                      Mary

As I was leaving the hospital ladies room on my way back to John's bedside, I could see over the top of the divider that the door was opening.  He was dressed in hospital staff whites, and wearing a surgical mask. I saw stars, and felt the blunt thuds of his fists hitting my face with two rapid blows. Everything went black before I reached the floor.

As I regained consciousness, I discovered to my horror, that I was naked, and bound hand and foot. I began to panic. I was in a hobo camp deep in the woods behind the Boardinghouse.

Just then, in the dim light from a dying camp fire, my eyes met with the eyes of one of the men whom I'd assumed was asleep. He showed no surprise. It was as if he'd been watching all along. He stood up, and speaking softly in a comforting tone as he approached, untied me. And after wrapping me in his blanket, he walked with me back to the boardinghouse, offering to carry me. My mind was racing so, I hardly heard him, but as we walked he told me about how he'd been a factory worker, and like John and I, had lost everything in the economic collapse of 1929. He said he knew the reputation of the man who abducted me, and explained that among the men in the camp, this man was considered to be best left alone, and that most avoided direct eye contact with him. He said that he'd like to report what he'd seen this man do to me, to the police, but he had relatives that he feared for. He further explained that this man would not stop pursuing me now, and I should pack my things and leave the area tonight.

Our room was still as it was when I'd found John there hours ago, on the floor in a growing pool of blood. I threw the blanket that the Good Samaritan had so graciously given me, on a chair, and started toward my still unpacked luggage to retrieve a candle and some clothes. To my horror, I felt a hand grab my shoulder.

I couldn't see his face in the dark, but of course I knew who it was. His hands locked tightly around my throat. I fought, but escape was utterly hopeless. In my panic, unable to draw a breath, and blindly grasping in all directions, I tore one of the drapes down from a window. And, in the moonlight, recognized the face of my slayer. It was not the face of the drifter who had abducted me, but to my utter dismay and heartbreak it was that of my husband John. I stopped fighting, and closed my eyes. Suddenly he released my throat and embraced me.

We talked for a while, and between the two of us could piece together a clear picture of what exactly had transpired.

I pressed my cheek and both palms gently against his chest. With closed eyes and open heart, I stole a moment of warmth and rest for my soul from the heart of my intimate partner and friend. We had been through so much. My tears began to flow as he wrapped me in his overcoat.

                                       #


As Mary and I looked for something more to wrap my bleeding wound with, there was a rapid knocking on our door. "You have a phone call", a man’s voice said from the hallway. "From the hospital.” I began frantically looking around for something to use as a weapon. There were three more rapid knocks. As my eyes met with Mary's, she called out, "Okay thank you. I'll call them back. Can you get their name please?".

My soul began to darken as I was drawn a step closer to the door, still under the effects of the mind-bending drug that this psychotic drifter, posing as a cook, had given to me. Lifting my hands and resting them lightly against the door, and pressing my face against it, I believed that at that moment I was seeing through that door, and into the fearsome image emanating from an abyss, that was the soul of this unnamed drifter. An aggressive evil, altogether without boundaries.

The knock on the door became a heavy pounding, shaking the room. I knew I had to get Mary to safety or her life would undoubtedly come to an unspeakable and gruesome end. I quickly rigged a harness with the bed sheets and lowered her to the ground from our second story window. I watched her in the moonlight as she ran across the Boardinghouse grounds and faded into the shadows at the edge of a grove of trees. When I opened the door, I was met with only silence, and a dark, empty hallway.

I ran down the stairs and outside. But after searching the grounds until daybreak, she was not to be found. I spent that entire day searching the surrounding wooded areas until I finally gave out, Waking up in the hospital the following morning.

I am in the hospital again now, an old and dying man. Since Mary's death, I’ve spent my day's gazing into the warm darkness of her memory. I see her face in my dreams. She haunts my heart. She finds every hidden place, displaces every fear, opens and fills every void. She was God's gift to me.