Illusions & Reality
“I love you.”
“I love you, Charlie.”
“Come, my son.”
* * *
When he woke up, he was still sitting in the chair. The phone was in his hand, the woman
still talking about her purse snatching. For some reason, this felt normal, as if nothing had really
changed or happened. But it had. He remembered. They’d probably never find the guy’s body,
but that didn’t matter either. Justice was served. And now he had a chance to pick up where he’d
left off a long time ago.
“Yes, ma’am. I don’t know that we can do anything, but I’ll sure give it a try. What’s your
He jotted the information quickly, then dropped the pencil back in the cup.
“All right, Ms. Martin. I’ll be right there. We’ll do our best. I’m on my way right now.”
He hung up the phone, picked up his coat, and left to help another who needed him. He
made a promise. He wouldn’t rush his time. He’d make her proud.
After all, he’d solved a murder in the Akashic Gateway to Heaven.
~ ~ ~ ~
An Act of Faith
All I can remember is being here. That is all I know and all I can ever hope to know. It
was as if a birthing had happened and I became aware of here. This room, this chamber, the
sparse setting of it. The dark, dank walks of stone are lit with torches that have never gone out,
thus making it impossible to know the passing of time. Would that one had gone out, had
flickered—even briefly—or had shown some sign of exhausting its fuel. But nothing of the sort.
I was free to walk about the large room. Nothing hindered me from the table with its
devices laid out to be used—the tongs, the awl, the forceps, the thumbscrews. The knives were
laid out, each to a purpose—this one to remove a digit, that one to remove a limb. This piece to
bridle the offending mouth of the enchanter. That piece to effectively break bones but not the
skin. The pear to forcibly open vagina, anus, or throat. There; there was the fireplace creating the
heat that filled the room and made the walls sweat. There were at least three rods banking nicely,
more than enough to raise the welts, singe the flesh.
I know this room well, you see. It was the interrogation room of the dungeon; it was the
play ground of Tomás de Torquemada, Inquisitor General and the beloved of King and Queen. It
was the place I last saw him, my father. It was the last place I saw anything at all, you see; the
last place before my body became consumed with the ague that took my life. But why should I
be here? Why this place? What had it to do with me? It was for the punishing of the wicked, the
godless . . . and others.