BREAKING NEWS: Hark—A Christmas Collection by Justin Bog will be published in the days before Thanksgiving by Booktrope. These are psychological tales for adults who think of the holiday season in many different ways. You’ll meet a lonely woman who plans to seduce Santa one Christmas Eve, and an older widow who has lost the gift she bought for her ungrateful sister, a police officer who’s learned to stow his bitter feelings of helplessness during his town’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, a couple who dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus face a grim diagnosis together, and two more wintery tales.
Today, a few days before Halloween, is the perfect time to read and share A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy) with your suspense, thriller, mystery, horror-reading friends. There are now over 31,000 words in the ongoing weekly serial, enough for you to ponder the future of some of the cast members. I wonder who will read the play next? Follow along and find out . . .
“We are all demonic!”—QUEEN STORMAG
Another painting catching the mood of Thanksgiving painted by my father, George Bogdanovitch, in his last years on this mortal plane. He loved living the artist’s life . . . and I follow his creative obsession in my own writer’s life.
If you’d like to begin reading A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy) from the very beginning, simply click HERE to read Part 1! If you would like to refresh your memory from the last chapter, simply click HERE for Part 21!
A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy) — Part 22
“Oh my blessed god, forgive me, forgive me forgive me. They are gone. I saw all of them, all but one.”
Theresa uttered this and if anyone had heard her they would’ve wondered at the strangeness, a woman walking alone on Thanksgiving evening, darkness coming in, spouting gibberish. The look in her eye, the set expression, grim, questioning, would’ve had most avoiding her path.
She did have a purpose. Someone would be there. The new priest, almost too youthful, Theresa thought, for her old-world manner. And she was from a different world, a different country. Croatia, where her roots ran deep, held its secrets. No one in her adopted country had ever travelled there and this always made her feel sad. She couldn’t say anything to anyone she met about Croatia without a hint of grim nostalgia as if it was a place she’d escaped from. Far from the truth, really, because she’d once been a pampered child with parents who wanted the best for her, gave everything for her future dreams. Now look at her. A husband so ill he couldn’t leave the bed for more than a few moments each day, the bills piling up, along with other more earthly things, laundry, garbage, the grass growing too high in summer, a neighbor kind enough to take over that chore, others from the church visiting and dropping off casseroles, cookies, food that her husband no longer had a taste for, his sense of spice deadened, all flavors squeezed to blandness. Theresa took the nanny position over a year ago, and she was good at it, didn’t impose her will on the two children (even when they needed a heavier hand, a smack even, not a hard one, simply to startle them into making well-mannered choices—that Fergus—and Theresa shuddered remembering his insolent face, his snake-like disposition—made Theresa feel lucky she only had Parker and Chelsea to make lunches for, take to Washington Park’s playground, wash clothes for) more than a sour verbal reprimand when the kids were really acting up. Parker was a bit too self-contained, studied the world like a scientist, and acted like he was already clouds and stars above Theresa’s age in intelligence. Chelsea, the sweet pea, the laughing girl, made Theresa grimace. She had grown fond of the girl and now could only conjure up the last image she saw of her eating turkey and stuffing at the kids’ table. All black as night, coals after fire, a hardening corpse, and a tear formed in her left eye.
The priest would help her. He would know what to do. This was something she could help him understand. She’d never seen something like this before. The yellowing butterfly escaping and searching and landing on the young woman’s palm across the table from her. She was a witness. And the others, everyone but this young woman turned to black, obsidian eyes crossed with molten red streaks—the young woman, Peggy, in white, blinding, and burning, browning at the edges, her clothing about to be engulfed by flame. This vision was an instant click in her head. She remembered pushing away from the table and little else.
She’d told her employer, a nice lady, to send her a check and even this was done with little thought, still trying to be kind. When she watched Ivy’s mouth open to speak, her black teeth now stumps, she had to look away, and she escaped into the clearing day, a frosty chill, an open blue sky turning to dusk.
In the silence of evening on Fidalgo Island no one else roamed the streets, the rural roads splitting the island into quadrants, Mt. Erie poking up to the sky and taking over the southern part of the natural wilderness and farmland area. She glanced up at the mount and shuddered.
Was someone watching her? From way up high?
Theresa felt something, someone, an intuitive bump at the back of her subconscious making itself known, akin to the instant vision of doom around the Belloon table. She heard herself say once more, “You’re all dead.”
And she meant that . . . every word. It was too late. She could see this, but didn’t know how it was possible. These people were dead to her. Dead because she couldn’t save them. When she looked down at her own hand, her arthritic fingers, the shock of seeing the same coal-rough blackness made her cry. She stuffed her hands in her winter coat pockets. How is this possible?
She’d visit the priest. Father Mitchum Kelly, a strong name, a vain name that fit the father’s charismatic presence. He delivered sermons that everyone listened to and they cherished this since the older priest’s stolid moralizing became dry as toast near his own retirement.
After begging for an audience with Father Kelly, Theresa would walk the mile to her own residence filling up with deepening despair. She was supposed to bring something home for her husband, leftovers from the feast, and this brought forth more worry. It’s supposed to be a holiday, and a day of gratitude and her superstitious nature had ruined everything.
The church was built close to the main shopping district, not close enough to be ungodly, linking commerce to the lord’s work, but a nice stroll when people took time to walk about the town on a distant Sunday in their church-going finery. She’d walked miles, probably two, almost three, all the way from the Belloon cottage on the hill and she would’ve walked three times the distance to get away from the frightful place where monstrous blackening corpses breathed their final breathes.
To read the next chapter of A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy), simply click HERE and begin reading Part 23!
Theresa will meet with Father Kelly next episode. She’s in a state of shock. Her husband, ill at home, is waiting for sustenance. The Thanksgiving party at the Belloon’s continues and a wishbone lays drying on Sally’s windowsill, awaiting a children’s tug of war, some would call this a lucky future event. I’m not so sure.
Thank you for ever following along on this story’s journey . . . sometimes horror is subtle, it creeps into being, and this is obvious in this chapter . . . please let me hear from you.
Please visit the Buy Justin Bog Books page above to learn more about my stories. If you do end up taking a chance and read one of my books, and, if you feel so inclined after finishing any author’s hard work, please write a review. It helps so much.
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