Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sample Sunday: January Moon


Excerpts from Chapter Forty-three


Vinson was at the sentry gate waiting for Jess when she pulled up. He walked out to the van as she rolled her window down. “I’m Jess Farrell and…”

“I know who you are, Ms. Farrell, we’ve been expecting you. We’re very worried about Evelyn and we’re glad you’re here.”

She followed his car to a building on the far end of the compound and parked behind him. He walked back to her car.

“You must be tired. It was a long drive for you. Can we offer you some coffee or tea?”

This couldn’t be the guy Mom spoke to; he seemed very pleasant. “No, I think I’m fixed for coffee but I’d appreciate a washroom.”

“Of course.” He politely opened the van door and extended his hand to help her down. “Please come inside. After you refresh yourself we’ll go see Evelyn. Someone is helping her pack now.”

Jess thought he was very polite and stepped out of the van and into the night.

“I have a wheelchair in the van. Do you think we should bring it in with us now?”

She never heard his answer.


Rae stormed into Evelyn’s room and pulled her cancer ravaged body out of bed and threw her on the floor.

“You bitch! I knew I never should have trusted you! You crazy, insane, mother fucking bitch!”

Evelyn crawled to a corner and wailed.

“You’ve been nothing but trouble ever since you came here and all we’ve ever done is take care of you and your goddamn brat! We even paid for your custody battle, you ungrateful whore!”

“But I’m a prophet,” Evelyn whimpered, “you can’t treat me this way! My prophesies are the cornerstone of this church! Everyone says so!”

“Yeah, because everyone but me in this asylum is as nuts as you are!”

“That’s not true! I have visions and they’re true!”

“What did you tell your mother? Tell me what you told your mother!”

“My mother? Just I’m very sick. I’m dying.”

Evelyn wrapped herself into a fetal position and sobbed. “And that I killed my daughter! I killed my baby!”

Then she uncoiled herself and staggered to her feet. “And it was all your idea! You told me to purify Summer and now she’s dead!”

“You’re even more insane than I thought. I never told you to purify your kid.”

“Yes, yes, you did! Because you let me help you with the women!”

“What? How do you figure that meant you should cut your daughter?”

“You came to me in my visions. You said if I did it to Sunny you’d make her Jim’s wife and she would be the Mother of God! It was a gift to me you said! And it would keep her pure and she’d never be a slut like me. She’d be safe forever. You promised me.”

Harte was astounded. “You really are insane. What did you do with the files?”

“What files?”

“The files you transferred back and forth by email. Vinson told me about them.”

Evelyn slumped back to the floor. She was ghastly pale and perspiring in pain. “Files? I don’t know anything about files. Please, I need another shot. Please, give me another shot.”

“You crazy whore. I’m not giving you anything until you tell me what you did with the files. Where did you send them?”

“Send them? I don’t know what you’re talking about! Please! I’m due for another shot! Please! The pain is bad tonight. Worse than ever.”

“Tough shit.”

Rae stormed out of Evelyn’s room and into a room across the hall where she and Vinson were holding Jess in the building they called the Women’s Cloister. It was a large three-story barracks-style building that housed the majority of the unmarried women and most of the children. But as usual, they’d been drugged and would sleep through nearly anything.


“Wake her up,” she yelled at Vinson. “Get the stinking bitch up.”

Vinson slapped Jess in the face and shook her by the hair. She was out.

“Jesus, what did you do to her?” he asked.

“Just knocked her on the head and gave her chloroform for Christ’s sakes, that’s all.”

She walked over to where Jess was sitting, tied to a chair. “Wake up bitch.” She slapped her hard across the face. “Wake up, goddamnit!”

Jess moaned. Rae slapped her again, only harder. Jess opened her eyes and looked at Rae with horror.

“Where’s your cop boyfriend?” she hissed.


“Did he send you here to get your sister? Is that it? Is he working with the feds?”

“He’s playing poker.” Jess had a crushing headache and felt nauseous.

Rae had ransacked her purse and found Del’s card and a very intimate love letter he’d written Jess at Christmas. The card identified him as Lt. F. Delano Carter, Chicago Police Detective, Violent Crimes. Rae was incensed.

“Is he out there with the feds? Is that it? Your cop lover! Did he follow you here?”

“He’s playing poker.”

Rae slapped her so hard it made the chair topple backward but Vinson caught the chair before it hit the ground and steadied it.

Jess spit out a mouthful of blood. “Go to hell!”

The next roundhouse blow knocked her out and sent her and the chair spinning. Vinson stepped aside and let it crash to the floor.

“So what are we going to do now?” he whined.

Rae shot him a malignant look and growled. “Do I have to think of everything you stupid fuck? You don’t have a goddamn clue, do you?”

“Hell no, I don’t have a clue! This is a goddamn nightmare! Her boyfriend’s a Chicago cop? This is incredible.”

“How much money have you already transferred?”

“Almost half of it.”

“Well, unfortunately that might have to be enough.”

“But the plane’s not ready. It needs maintenance!” he howled.

“Well then I guess if anyone starts asking we tell them poor Evelyn just became too sick to travel and her poor sister seems to be down with the flu.”

“That’s really lame,” he moaned. “You got any better ideas?” He was near tears again.

“Not at the moment, you idiot.”


Jess woke to the sound of Evelyn crying and calling her name.

“Jess, please wake up, please.”

She opened her eyes and tried to jump away but was restrained so tightly she couldn’t move. The monstrous bitch was giving her a shot.

“Don’t worry. It’ll just keep you awake. If I wanted to kill you I wouldn’t waste the good stuff.”

“Why don’t we do it the old fashioned way. I’ll stay awake if you quit knocking me out with your fist.”

Rae jabbed her with the shot. “People pay good money for this shit on the streets, it’ll keep you alert for hours so we can talk.”

“Your hospitality knows no bounds.”

“Shut up!” Rae slapped her again and left the room.

“Please Jess,” Evelyn pleaded, “do as she says, please!”

Jess looked around the large room. On one side there was a sofa and some chairs grouped into a small sitting area, and on the other there were two obstetrical tables with stirrups for a woman’s feet. There was a long counter with a sink and several cabinets on wheels and there were two windows above the sink. From where she was sitting she couldn’t see out but it was a dark starless night anyway. The windows had no curtains or blinds or shades on them. She looked around the room and saw there was one door and it was ajar. She tested her restraints but they were very tight.

Evelyn was huddled under blankets on the sofa. Jess was shocked at how skinny and pale she looked.

“Ev, you OK? You gonna’ be alright?”

“I need a pain shot, Jess. Real bad. She won’t give it to me.” Her body suddenly arched up in pain and she gasped. “Oh Jess! The pain is terrible, Jess. Terrible.”

“Evelyn, you need to untie me.”

“No! She’ll kill us!”

“Evelyn, I think she’s going to kill us anyway but let’s at least try to get out of here, OK?”

“I can’t,” she sobbed, “I’m too sick now.” Her body arched up again and she gasped, “Oh my God! I can’t take this! I need morphine!” She was soaked with perspiration, her hair a wet mop.

“Ev, listen to me. You have to untie me.” Jess spotted her phone sitting next to her purse on the counter. “There must be a scissors or a knife in one of those drawers. Hurry!”

“No, I can’t. She’ll kill us. She said so.”

“Evelyn, damnit, listen to me! This is our only chance. The woman’s a murderer and is going to kill us anyway! Probably mutilate us first like she did Sunny. Untie me now! Give us a chance!”

“I did it. I mutilated Sunny. To make her the Mother of God.”

“What? You did what?”

Evelyn was sniffling and sobbing. “I did it. I’m so evil. That’s why I’m dying now. But Sunny had a chance to be pure. Even become the Mother of God.”

Jess stared at Evelyn, dumbfounded.

“She was like me, always looking at the boys, Jess. I drugged her and tied her down but it was OK, I knew how. Rae Harte told me to do it. In a vision. It would’ve been OK Jess. The best thing. Mom should have done it to me. I’d be pure now and not in sin.”


“Oh God, Jess! Do something! The pain is dreadful.”

Jess looked at her sister with horror but forced herself to realize that at the moment nothing mattered except getting free.

“Grab my phone. It’s on the counter. Call Mom and Dad or call 911 but do something!”

“No, I can’t. God probably means for both of us to die.” She gasped and let out a small scream. “Oh Jess, I’ve never had pain like this before! Please help me!”

Harte was back in the room. “Your sister needs a shot for pain. What are you going to do about it?”


Harte picked up Jess’s cell phone. “Call your parents. Tell them your sister is too sick to travel. Say we called a doctor and he’s coming to check on her. Maybe she can travel tomorrow.”

“I don’t think so.”

Evelyn screamed, “Jess! You have to do this for me! Please!” and fell backward onto the couch, gasping. Her lips were pulled back over her teeth and her emaciated face looked like a skull. “Oh God, Jess, do it for me!”

“They won’t believe me. It’s best you just let us go. We won’t make any complaints about you. I swear to God I’ll swear you were our angel of mercy.”

Rae laughed demonically. “Yeah, right. I don’t think so.”

She walked over to Evelyn and grabbed her by one of her frail shoulders and then raised her aloft like a rag doll. Evelyn looked at her in terror and then her feverish, agonized eyes shot to Jess, pleading for help.

Jess watched in silent horror as the monster hauled off and slammed her enormous fist into Evelyn’s distended abdomen. Evelyn let out a blood curdling scream and crumpled to the floor, writhing in pain and retching violently.

Rae smiled malevolently at Jess. “There, maybe that will kill off one of her tumors. Whaddya’ think?”

“You evil monster! You hideous demonic thing!” Jess struggled to stand but fell over with the chair still tied to her back.

“You’re the monster, not me. What kind of a person would let her sister suffer like this, Jess? Only a monster like you. It’s your fault, not mine.” Rae reached down and easily uprighted the chair. “You’re the evil one, Jess.”

She walked toward the door.

“Think about it, Jess. Think about making the call.”

Evelyn lay in anguish, rolling back and forth in foul green-brown vomit as Jess screamed in rage.

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Enjoy your Sunday!! ~m.

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