Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Perfect Fit


white gloved hands posed as a church steeple with a crucifix necklace hanging from the fingers in front of fire


Grandmother smiled at herself in the mirror.  With her brush, she smoothed down a few errant strands of her silver hair, needing uniformity.  Her make-up, applied in a conservative style, required a minor touch up.  She hoped the shade of her lipstick didn’t look too gaudy.  She popped on a pair of clip-on earrings and finished off her look with a string of pearls.  It was important to take pride in one’s appearance without becoming vain.  The doorbell rang.
It was Grandmother’s ninetieth birthday party.  The family all came over, and they celebrated like good Baptists.  The coffee and soda flowed as if wine, the ice-cream and cake served in an abundance fit for Henry the Eight’s coronation, as the good little Christians got buzzed on caffeine and sugar.  Grandmother never said much. She just sat in silence and let her family carry on.  At any event, the topics were always the same.   Who was at church?  How many filled the pews?   When is the next vacation to Dollywood?   What was killed on the most recent hunting trip?  Or by car, be it accidental or on purpose?
Grandmother went to church every Sunday, just like all of her family, save for Mary.  Grandmother was very devout, and she feared that hellfire awaited those who were not saved.  This concept distressed her tremendously and brought her a great deal of sadness, especially when she thought of Mary, who she was certain would one day burn.  Because of this, Grandmother always tried to proselytize to people, especially Mary.  Save for Mary, Grandmother had raised a repressed family who were so uptight and terrified of hell that they couldn’t enjoy anything inappropriate, including bright colors, spicy food, and unhindered laughter.  They feared imagination, and all things fantasy and fiction were considered to be “of the devil.”  They only enjoyed realistic fiction and the Bible, which for them, was reality.
Mary sat in silence, just like Grandmother, speaking only when spoken to and doing so briskly.  Not out of the same repressed guilt and self-loathing, but out of boredom and a feeling like she didn’t belong. 
Mary wasn’t like the rest of her family.  She’d gotten her genes from her father’s biological parents, free spirits with drinking problems who’d abandoned their son, and all the nurture in the world couldn’t stamp the nature out of her.  Mary enjoyed a good party.  The fancier the better.  The wilder, the better.  She’d only driven in to town out of a sense of duty.  She’d gotten out of the small town she’d grown up in and made something of herself.  She was successful, a New York Times bestselling author of mystery novels, and she was wealthy.  Her cousins were all jealous of her, though they wouldn’t show it.  Instead, they all talked behind her back about how she’d one day burn in hell for writing such rot.
The whole family was there.  David was Grandmother’s only grandson.  She’d given birth to three daughters, who, in turn, also bore nothing but daughters, save for David.  He liked all things boy, including fast cars, guitars, fishing, and hunting, so Grandfather had shown him a great deal of favor before he had passed away several years before.  David was a handsome lad, with wavy black hair and baby blue eyes.  All the girls had eyes for him, but he never seemed to like them back.
Mary’s mother, Jane, presented Grandmother with a birthday card.  Inside, she had composed a heartfelt letter, explaining to Grandmother how precious and wonderful she was; how much Jane admired, respected and loved her.  However, this letter didn’t warm Grandmother’s heart like it should’ve.  Instead, it made Grandmother feel guilty and ashamed, like she wasn’t good enough.  She said, “Thank you, Jane, but I don’t know why you think so good of me.  I’m not so special.”
“But you are,” Jane insisted.  “I meant every word of it.”
This made Hazel, Grandmother’s oldest daughter and David’s mother, second guess the quality of her own store bought gift, now doubting the purchasing power of a trinket to garnish the majority of her mother’s love.   Reluctantly, she passed Grandmother the gift, though she had nothing to fear.  There was nothing about the trinket to inspire such self-doubt in Grandmother, and it was well received.
Even the neighbors were there.  Mindy grew up next door to Grandmother, and she’d just moved back in with her mother after her marriage failed.  Mindy and Mary had been close friends as children, but now they didn’t seem to have much to say to one another.  They just tried to avoid one another’s gaze, as if hiding from one another by sheer willpower alone.  There was some kind of unspoken hurt there, the betrayal of best friends gone wrong.
All in all, it was a lovely party on a beautiful fall day.  No one suspected how much everything was about to change, for Mary and for Grandmother. 

* * * * *

Grandmother fell in the middle of the night.  She’d gotten up to go to the bathroom, and her feet just flew out from under her.  She couldn’t stand to wear the medical alert necklace at night, so she’d taken it off and left it on the nightstand, where it did her no good when she actually needed it.  She’d laid there in the floor all night, alone, in agony, and whimpering, until Mindy found her the next morning and called for an ambulance.
The x-rays revealed a broken leg and hip.  Grandmother was far too injured to take care of herself, so they admitted her to the hospital’s nursing home facility on the fifth floor.
The nursing home disturbed Mary.  One of the other patients, a little old lady with dementia, she pulled herself along the walls via the handrail, in her wheelchair, slowly creeping up and down the hall.  As she did this, she pleaded, “We wanna go home!  We wanna go home right now!  We wanna go home!  We can go home first thing in the morning.  That’s what she said.  We wanna go home!  We’re ready to go!  We wanna go home right now!”  Over and over again, the old woman cried out, begging for someone, anyone to take her home.  All day, every day, the old lady repeated this, a broken record of despair, caught in a loop with one thought dominating her mind and screaming there like a forgotten echo. 
Sometimes she would say something different.  Sometimes she said, “Come on in.  We’ve been waitin’ for ya!  Stay a while.  Don’t go.”
It left Mary wondering if perhaps ‘home’ meant ‘death’.  Perhaps the demented woman begged the Grim Reaper for release, for she certainly haunted the place, for although her flesh still lingered on, her spirit was long dead.
The pathetic nature of the demented woman, so pitiful and full of despair, upset Mary.  A person could hear her cries only so many times before abiding an urge to put a pillow over the lady’s face and put her out of her misery.  It proved maddening. 
The demented woman made grandmother feel doleful.  She told Mary, “It’s so sad.  I’m afraid that woman has never been washed in the blood of Jesus, and I’m afraid with her mind gone, it is too late for her to ever be saved!”
So presumptuous, but that was Grandmother’s way.
Mary tried to comfort her.  She said, “Grandmother, God is loving and won’t just throw a good person into hell.  God will always give those who have not chosen evil another chance at salvation.”
Grandmother contended, “We are all born in sin and born wrong.  The only thing that saves us is to be washed in the blood.  We can’t get to heaven unless we’re bathed in Christ’s blood.  It doesn’t matter if we are good.” 
“But God won’t give up on a person.  God will always give a good person a second chance.  God loves us,” Mary replied.
Grandmother couldn’t accept it.  She had believed in the concept of a wrathful God for so long that the thought of one who wasn’t enraged seemed wrong to her, even blasphemous.  It was so heartbreaking, really.   Grandmother’s faith was not giving her peace and comfort.   Her faith had become a form of torture.
“I feel sorry for all the people who never heard about Jesus because they all have to go to hell.” Grandmother sighed. “Have you been washed in the blood?  We’re all born sinners.  We need the blood of Jesus to wash away our sins.  You know this.  You were brought up in church.”
Mary felt frustrated.  She couldn’t comfort or soothe Grandmother in any way.  Grandmother was just too conditioned.  She could not get Grandmother to believe her.  She could not change the image of God that Grandmother held in her mind’s eye. 
The whole thing actually made Mary angry at her.  It began as sympathy that Grandmother believed in such a dark God, but it turned into anger that Grandmother had raised her family to think like this.  This was why Mary felt isolated.  Because Mary believed in a God of love over all else, not a wrathful God.  Mary did not live in fear of God.  The rest of the family, they were all terrified of everything!  Even with her anxiety disorders, Mary was the brave one!  Mary then felt guilty for feeling anger, realizing that Grandmother was just a sad, scared old lady.
The demented woman cried out from the adjacent room, in that same pleading, desperate voice, “We can lay down now.  We can dream we can go home.”
“I’ve got to go now, Grandmother,” Mary said.  “It’s late.”  She stood up and gave her grandmother a kiss on the forehead.  “I love you, Grandmother.”
“I love you, too,” Grandmother said.  She took her granddaughter by the hand.
“Grandma, your hands are so cold!” Mary noticed.
“I know dear.  I can’t get them warm,” Grandmother explained.
“Next time I come, I’ll bring you some gloves,” Mary said.


* * * * *

The weeks passed for Grandmother at a snail’s pace.  The nurses had promised her that one day soon she would be strong enough to go home, but she heard how they lied to the old woman with dementia, and she feared it was the same for her.  To pass the time, Grandmother knitted scarves. 
The visitors had slowed, but Jane worked nearby and came every day on her lunch break.  This time she looked bleak, pale, and scared.  She carried a white box in her hands, which she sat on the table near the bed.
“Jane, whatever is the matter, dear?” Grandmother asked.  She put her knitting aside.
“It’s Mary,” Jane replied.  Her forehead crinkled with concern.
“What about her?  Is she in trouble?” Grandmother inquired.
“She’s missing, Mother!  No one has seen her in a week!”  Jane burst into tears.
“What do you mean?  Where could she be?” 
“No one knows.  The police came out to her house, but they didn’t find a trace.  She hasn’t used any of her bank accounts, either.  It’s bad, Mother.  Something bad has happened to her!”
“Why am I just hearing about this now?” Grandmother asked.
“I didn’t want to worry you,” Jane said.  “You know how wild she can be.  I thought she’d just run off again.  I thought she’d come back.”
 “Come now dear, let us pray about it.  Jesus will make everything better,” Grandmother promised.
They closed their eyes and Grandmother prayed hard.  “Jesus, my Lord and Savior, please be with Jane, and if it’s your will, let us find Mary safe and sound.  Take care of her.  I know she’s not right with you, Lord.  Let her be okay so she can find her way back to you and doesn’t have to spend eternity in hell.  In Jesus’s name, Amen.”
The prayer didn’t make either of them feel any better, but at least it was done.  “I’ll call the pastor and have them put Jane on our prayer list,” Grandmother said.
“Mother, I’ve already done that.  Everyone is praying for Mary.”
“Well, it’s in Jesus’s hands now.”
Jane picked up the box.  “This was on Mary’s desk.  It’s addressed to you,” she said, handing it to Grandmother.
Grandmother opened the box.  Inside lay a pair of white opera gloves and a note.  The note read, “I wore these to my first awards ceremony and many celebratory banquets since.  May they keep your hands warm and bring you much joy!  Love, Mary.”
“What is it, Mother?” Jane asked.
“Just an old pair of gloves,” Grandmother said.


* * * * *


After supper, Grandmother’s hands were getting cold, so she slipped on the gloves.  Everything changed the moment she slipped on those white gloves.  When Grandmother closed her eyes, she found herself in another world.  Mary’s world.  She was there, living in the past, seeing life through her granddaughter’s eyes.
Mary was hosting an event, a costume ball with a Victorian theme.  Grandmother had never been to Mary’s house before, but she knew the place as if she had lived there herself.  Mary’s home was extravagant; a mansion compared to the tiny home Grandmother lived in.  There were large marble statues, wall sized tapestries, and fountains adorning the banquet hall and ballroom.  The chandeliers were breathtaking, casting rainbows about the room with their myriad crystal pendants.  There were people all about dressed in finery, and a wait staff bustled about serving exotic hors d'oeuvres and expensive wine.
Mary sipped champagne and flitted about from guest to guest like an eager butterfly that couldn’t choose a favorite flower.  There were all sorts of interesting people to talk to, be it authors, artists, musicians, actors, philosophers, and the like.  Mary wore the most beautiful gown of them all, something sparkly with a name.  Also, she wore the gloves.  Everyone was dancing, laughing, drinking, and enjoying life.  Mary felt on top of the world, having fun, fun fun!
Grandmother fell asleep wearing the gloves, and all night she dreamed of the party and how much fun she was having.



* * * * *

The next day, Grandmother awoke, still wearing the gloves.  She slipped them off and left them on the bedside table.  By now, the disappearance of Mary had made the news.  There were many speculations as to where she had gone.  All of those friends from her party were thrilled for a chance to be in front of a camera.  One friend guessed that she had a nervous episode and simply ran off, another that she had planned the whole thing and took off with a lover.  Someone said she had probably been kidnapped for ransom and something had gone horribly wrong.  One friend stated that Mary liked to go hiking and suggested that she was lost in the woods.  Another proposed that Mary had been murdered by a secret lover.  One said it was all a hoax, to make her more like her idol Agatha Christie.
Despite Mary’s tendency toward black fleece, Grandmother still loved her granddaughter dearly and prayed hard for her safe return.  She didn’t miss the woman Mary had become, but she missed the child Mary had been, so innocent.
She remembered all the times Mary had slept over.  How she and the neighbor girl Mindy had built a fort out of the couch cushions, how they would play pretend that a bucket full of buttons in the sewing room was a chest full of coins.  Mary always did have too much imagination.
The more she thought of Mary, the more her heart ached for her.  She thought back to the party she’d experienced the night before.  It had made her feel so close to her granddaughter.  She’d understood her granddaughter like never before.  More than that, the party had been fun.  Grandmother had let her life slip past without ever knowing excitement, fulfillment, or pleasure, like a good Christian.  Her only hobbies were keeping house, sewing, cooking, and playing piano for the church.  Mary had experienced more fun in those few hours than Grandmother had in her entire life.
The day passed as usual.  The nurses took Grandmother for her bi-weekly shower.  Hazel stopped by that morning for a bit.  Then Grandmother did physical therapy.  Jane came by for lunch.    Her middle daughter, Dora, stopped by in the afternoon.  Then Grandmother was alone.
She looked around the nursing home room, so bleak, so sterile.
The sounds of the demented woman’s pleading echoed down the hall, “We wanna go home!  We wanna go home right now!  We wanna go home!  We can go home first thing in the morning.  That’s what she said.”
Grandmother picked up the gloves and considered them.  Did they really let her experience a night from her granddaughter’s life?  Or was it just a hallucination brought on by too much medication?  She had to know if it would happen again. 
She slipped them on.  She closed her eyes, and she was back at the party.  It was getting late when David arrived.
Mary held a cigarette seated in a theatre length holder, which she lit on a candle.  She puffed casually.   “What are you doing here?” Mary asked. 
“You invited me,” David said.
“Did I?” she simpered.  “I must’ve forgotten.”  She looked him up and down.  “You are not dressed for this.  Where do you think you are?  The church homecoming?  Come with me upstairs and change.  I keep some spare clothes on hand for just such a purpose.”
He followed her up the grand stone staircase to a guest room.  She rummaged around in the closet and found a tux.  “This looks like it will fit you,” she said, passing him the clothes.
He laid them on the bed.  “When are you coming up to the mountains again to see the family?  Everyone misses you.”
Mary laughed.  “Do they?”  Mary wished it were true, but she knew deep down inside that they only missed the person they wanted her to be.
“Why don’t you stop putting on airs, Mary?   This ain’t you.”
“Of course it is. Who else could I be?”
He looked into her eyes.  “You know you love me.  Run away with me, Mary.  Like you promised.”
A memory flashed in Mary’s head.  She and David were thirteen, playing in the cherry orchard when a rainstorm came.  Soaking wet beneath the glistening red cherries, they had been each other’s first kiss. 
“I love you,” he had said.
“I love you, too,” she had replied.
“Let’s run away together,” he had proffered.
“When we’re older, she had said, and at the time she had meant it.
Here and now, she pushed him away and averted her gaze.  “We’re cousins, David.  It isn’t proper.  And look at us.  We aren’t right together, either.  You, you’re simple.  I like extravagance.”
“I’m not simple, Mary.  I can be a good husband for you.”
She laughed at him, and she could see it run all over him.  “Husband?  David, I don’t want a husband.”  She spun about and started to leave.  He grabbed her by the arm.  She turned and glared at him.  “Let me go,” she ordered.
“Here’s your dinner, Mrs. Larson,” the disembodied voice cut through the scene and brought Grandmother back to reality.  “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were having a nap,” the nurse said, as she set down the dinner tray.  Grandmother looked at the mushy pile of tasteless goo in front of her.  “Thank you, dear,” she said.
Grandmother thanked Jesus for her food, and she started to eat.  She thought about what she had seen.  Had David and Mary really been a secret couple?  Furthermore, David had looked so mad.  Could he have hurt poor Mary?
Grandmother scarfed down her food quickly, anxious to see what happened next.  Just then, her granddaughter Amy came in with her family.  By the time they left, Grandmother felt exhausted, and she just wanted to sleep.  The gloves would have to wait.



* * * * *

The next day, Grandmother decided the gloves were of the devil.  Certainly everything they had shown her was lies.  Gloves couldn’t show someone the past, unless they were enchanted, and all magic was evil.  Grandmother was not going to put those gloves back on again! 
She started to throw them away, but they were the last thing Mary had given to her, and what if Mary was dead?  What if Mary never gave her another gift?  Surely she would regret discarding them.  They were just gloves, after all.  She convinced herself it was all silliness, nothing more than bad medication and an idle mind.  What would it hurt to put them on one more time?
She couldn’t help herself.  It was as if the gloves were beckoning her, calling her, commanding her to put them on.  She gave in and slipped her hands inside.  She closed her eyes.
She found herself back at the party.  Some time had passed.  David stood in the corner, wearing the tux Mary had given him.   He watched Mary. 
Mary smiled a devious smile, anticipating the hurt and shock that was about to befall him.  She winked at him, then spun around, facing away.  She looked into the eyes of Mindy.
Mindy, beautiful Mindy, her childhood best friend.  Mindy had been one of those pageant girls, a winner, the apple of her mother’s over controlling eye.  No wonder she had rebelled so.  Mary took Mindy’s face in her hand, and then they kissed like lovers.
When the kiss ended, Mary stole a look over her shoulder back at David and reveled in the jealousy written there upon his face.  Then she took Mindy by the hand, and they sauntered onto the dance floor and started to waltz.
David cut in.  Grandmother could feel Mary’s heart.  It was what she wanted.  She wanted David, and the wicked little girl wanted Mindy, too.  She wanted it all.  She thought she could have it all, that she deserved it all.  She had every intention of taking them both to bed with her that night.
The shock of it all horrified Grandmother.  She couldn’t believe her granddaughter and Mindy would violate the laws of God in such a blatant and blasphemous way.  She couldn’t believe David and Mary would commit incest.  She ripped the gloves from her hands and threw them away.
She was napping when the cleaning lady came in to tidy up.  Finding the gloves in the trash, the cleaning lady figured that they had fallen there by mistake.  She pulled them out, brushed them off, and laid them back on the bedside table.
Grandmother awoke to find the gloves there beside her, haunting her.  She gasped, startled by their unnatural presence. 
“Knock, knock,” David said as he entered the room.  “How are you today, Grandmother?”
“I’m good,” she replied.  Grandmother felt uneasy.  As she looked at David, she couldn’t help but wonder if he and Mary were indeed lovers, or if he knew anything about her disappearance.  “Have you any news of Mary?” she asked.  She scrutinized him closely as he answered; searching for any telltale sign that he was lying.
For the briefest second, grief and fear crossed his face.  He hid it quickly.  “No news yet,” he said, but his voice quivered slightly.
Grandmother noticed.
David saw the white gloves on Grandmother’s bedside table.  He swallowed harshly, as if he recognized them.  “I, uh, hope they find her soon,” he said.  “Safe and sound.”
“Would you like to pray with me?” Grandmother asked.  “For Mary?”
“Sure, Grandmother,” David agreed.
Grandmother took David by the hand.  They bowed their heads and closed their eyes.  “Jesus, forgive us for our sins.  We know that you are merciful, and you will forgive us if we confess and ask you to.”  She squeezed David’s hand too tightly.  “As it says in John 1:9, there is no sin that you will not forgive.  You even forgive murderers and fornicators.  Please, Jesus, help us to find our Mary.  Amen.”
Grandmother and David opened their eyes.  She looked into his, desperately trying to read them.  His eyes seemed blank and dull, like the eyes of a dead fish.  She let go of his hand.
They exchanged small talk for a few more minutes; then David found an excuse to leave.
“I love you, Grandma,” he said. He hugged her and kissed her on the cheek.  She tried not to, but she winced as his lips touched her.  She couldn’t help but wonder if those same lips had kissed Mary, if those same hands had killed her.
Grandmother sat in silence after he left, gathering her thoughts.  The gloves looked so harmless lying next to her knitting supplies, but she now knew that they were not.  They were wicked.  She knew this, but her will was weak.  The gloves wanted her to wear them.  They sang out to her like sirens.  Mary wanted her story known.  Before she realized what was happening, Grandmother had slipped the gloves on again.
 The party had ended.  Mary had done it.  She had taken them both, Mindy and David, and they lay next to Mary on silk sheets upon her bed, sleeping.  The sunrise beamed in through the curtains.  Mary felt dreadfully thirsty, parched from the excessive amounts of champagne and lust.  She slipped out of bed.  She was naked, except she still wore those damned gloves.  She slipped on a luxurious robe and headed downstairs to the kitchen for some orange juice.
Mary felt ravenous.  The servants, having worked all night, had the morning off, so she would have to cook her own breakfast.  She took off her gloves and laid them on the counter.  She got out an iron skillet and started to cook herself some scrambled eggs, low and slow, just the way she liked them.
Mary saw the gloves lying there, and she remembered that she’d promised to bring Grandmother some gloves.  She looked at the gloves and laughed, remembering what debauchery she’d committed while wearing them the night before.  They were just antique opera gloves.  Grandmother would never suspect, and Mary, she would get such a kick out of watching her slip them on.  Mary wasn’t a terrible person, just frustrated with the constant guilt trip given out by the family elder.  She loved her grandmother, and she needed this little passive jab to let go of her resentment.  Moreover, she was bored, and it would be funny.  As her eggs congealed on the stove, Mary boxed up the gloves and wrote out the note.
There was a knock on the kitchen door, which meant it was someone Mary knew.  Only friends, relatives, and servants came to the back door.  When she opened it, she was surprised to see Hazel.
“There you are, Mary.”  Hazel pushed passed her.  “I need a favor from you.”
Mary shut the door and approached Hazel.  “What?  A loan?”  Mary’s acquaintances were always hitting her up for money.
“No.  I need your cruelty.  I need you to break David’s heart.  Let him go, so he can move on.  I’d like grandchildren before I die.”
Mary laughed.  “You think I want David’s affection?” she lied.  “I’ve tried to let him go.”
Hazel glowered in judgement.  “I think you want everyone’s affection. You always were the attention hound.”
“Oh really?  You already have grandchildren,” Mary retorted.
Hazel explained, “Granddaughters, born of daughters.  They won’t carry on the family name, and my husband is very upset by this.”
Mary rolled her eyes.  “I see. A bit of patriarchy driving you on.  You know what, no.  I’m not telling him anything.  He’s a grown man.  He can do as he likes.”
Hazel’s mouth dropped open, and she inhaled sharply with an offended wheeze.  “So it’s true.  You are in love with him.  He’s your cousin.  You know it’s wrong.  You know what’s wrong with you?  You take and you take, even when you have it all, you take more!”
“Get out of here, Hazel.  Go home.  Pray about it.  It’ll work out,” Mary chided.
Hazel felt infuriated.   A rage overtook her, and she trembled with anger and hate.   “You little bitch!” she cried out.  “How dare you speak to me that way!”  She grabbed the iron skillet from the stove and wacked Mary across the side of her head with it, and as she did so the eggs slid from the pan and crashed to the floor at Hazel’s feet.  Mary yelped in pain, feeling shocked and surprised as the skillet hit her.  She crumpled to floor, her head smashed and bleeding.  Hazel dropped the frying pan.
“Oh no!” Hazel blubbered.  She knelt down beside Mary.
Mary gurgled and jerked.  Suddenly, she went utterly still.  Hazel felt for a pulse but found none.  She looked around to see if anyone had seen, but she was all alone.  She pulled out her cell phone and called her husband.  She spoke in a low, hushed voice.  “Ronnie, I messed up.  Come to Mary’s.  I need help.”
“Mother, hello!  Are you sleeping?” the voice pierced through the vision.  Grandmother opened her eyes, and she was back in the hospital room.
Hazel was leaning over the bed, cooing at her.  “Good news!  We’ve hired a live in nurse for you and arranged for in home physical therapy.  You can go home first thing in the morning!”
“Well that’s wonderful, dear,” Grandmother replied.  She could feel the opera gloves upon her hands.  They seemed to make her hands tingle, as if they were made of static electricity.  It was as if the gloves carried the soul of their former owner, and by putting those gloves on, tiny tendrils of that ghastly soul had entered the tips of each finger and grew fibrously into the center of Grandmother’s brain, the core of her being.  When Grandmother wore those gloves, Grandmother ceased to be and the ghost of Mary moved into her mind.  Those white gloves, those beautiful, antique white gloves, they had but one desire: unfinished business to attend to.  Those white gloves would not be satisfied until stained crimson with blood.
Grandmother grabbed the scissors from the knitting supplies and stabbed them into her daughter Hazel’s throat in three quick jabs.  Hazel cried out in pain.  A look of shock and surprise twisted across her face.  She made a horrific choking, gasping noise as her life blood began to shower down upon Grandmother.  Then she collapsed onto her.  Time slowed as Hazel bled out, thrashing about, with blood squirting from the wounds.  It took but a minute for her to die, but it seemed like an eternity.
The spirit of Mary released Grandmother from the possession. Grandmother felt confused.  She didn’t know exactly what had happened, but as she gazed upon the corpse of her daughter now draped across her, as she clutched the scissors in her hand, as she felt the crimson stains drenching her, of some things she was certain. 
There was indeed life after death, for she knew that she had been possessed by the spirit of Mary.  She also knew this.  Mary no longer existed.  Consumed by a need for revenge, the soul of her granddaughter had been transformed into the very spirit of vengeance itself.  Mary had become a demon now.
Grandmother looked into her dead daughter’s eyes.   Her hand unclenched, and the scissors fell to the floor.  She cradled her daughter’s head.  Grandmother wept.  “What have I done?” she muttered.  “Jesus, forgive me!  Please!  Please!”  No matter how much she begged Jesus to forgive her, she would never be able to forgive herself.
The little old lady with dementia wheeled past Grandmother’s door, pleading, “We wanna go home!  We wanna go home right now!  We wanna go home!  We can go home first thing in the morning.  That’s what she said.  We wanna go home!  We’re ready to go!  We wanna go home right now!” 
A certain truth washed over Grandmother, and it could not be denied.  Grandmother was no longer washed in the blood of Jesus, but was now showered in the blood of Satan.  Her eyes glassed over and looked at nothing.  Her lips mumbled, as if she were an echo, “We wanna go home!  We wanna go home right now!  We wanna go home!  We can go home first thing in the morning.  That’s what she said.”




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