from JP2G - Saturday, March 08, 2008
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A Story of revenge and love. In the making
A novel by Jean-Philippe de Gaalon
“Job done, pants up. Eh, River? The money is on the counter” Carl, a half naked stock broker form Wall street said, “pick it up on your way out”. Across the room from Carl on the bed, River was wrestling to put her last high heeled Chanel shoe on. “Nice doing business with you” she said, and with that she got up and grabbed the money, paused, turned to Carl flicked her golden locks and winked a bright green eye to Carl in a flirtatious and playful manner as she thought to herself “what… have… I… become?”
Nothing in life had ever been easy for River. In fact, her life as a well paid call girl was an improvement from what she had in her life prior to this. River was a petite and firm bodied 26 yr old, who although you would never be able to tell by her accent, was in fact born in Paris. She had run away from home at the tender age of 14. You see, River’s parents were in a religious sex cult, and River was second generation, which meant that she was born into it, and although occasionally she would blame herself for what had happen to her when she was young, it really was none of her fault. River had seen many disturbing and awful things growing up. She was abused and molested from a very young age. It was no surprise that she was a call girl now. After all, that is all she knew how to do, and all she thought she was good for.
With no formal education and no family to help her, River was all alone. It was also very difficult for River to make long lasting friends. She had many acquaintances, although none of them that she could really rely on in the trenches. She found it equally hard to establish any real relationships with men. Even the ones she really thought she loved only went so far. It was always the same with them. The first few months were amazing. But then as soon as she tried explaining any thing to them about her past, they all seemed very shocked and unable to comprehend what she had just told them. Shortly after she would tell them, they would become frustrated with her because they felt as though they could not help and the relationships would gradually diminish and she would again find herself alone.
It was cold that night as she left Carl’s Condo, a place she had visited many times for the same reason. She made her way to the underground station in Brooklyn to her small but well furnished condo in Queens that River called “home”. The word “home” had a strange and unfamiliar meaning to it for River. Because of her upbringing she never had anywhere that she ever considered “home”. Moving around from country to country and town to town for reasons unknown to her at a young age, “there is no place like home” had a whole new meaning to it for poor little River.
She could have caught a taxi, she certainly made enough to pay for one to take her across the country if she so desired. But, there was something about the dirty underground stations that she liked. Almost as if she felt alive catching the train with the other common people. Maybe she felt that it was a good reminder of who she really was, regardless of the $7,500 dollar minx coat that she used to keep her beauty hidden from the bums begging in the station. As she stood in the train station and in the elevator of her apartment, she couldn’t help thinking of all of the horrible things she had gone through as a child…a “Child of God”. Those thoughts haunted her very existence.
Had God forsaken her and forgotten that she was once told that she was one of the elite, one of the chosen ones. Her parents had brought her up in a cult that tried to brain-wash her and all members into believing that they were the only chosen “children of god”. But it was all lies and as she thought of all the times she sat by the fireplace in her condo, alone for Christmas, alone for her birthday, alone for Thanksgiving with nothing to be thankful for. She again fell into depression.
Again, like many other nights, her energy was so low, much lower than it should be for any 26 year old girl. She felt weak as she reached the door to her home, placing the key in the lock, she slowly turned it. Click, went the lock. River pushed the door out of the way as she dropped her purse, coat and shoes in the hallway. Paying no mind to closing the door behind her, keys still in the lock, throwing her scarf to the ground, undoing her blouse and unzipping her skirt, walking without missing a step as she undressed herself, leaving a trail of clothes behind her.
River entered her bathroom and turned on the hot water to her bath. She knew what she had to do. What she had been avoiding for so long. It was time to leave this empty shell of a body she clung on to for existence sake. There was no future for her, and it was the only way to escape her past. As scenes from her youth flashed before her eyes and tears streamed down her face, she felt real peace for the first time in her life. Was this the “dying grace” she had heard of in the past.
Going to her desk in the next room, River drew a pad from the desk drawer and sat down with pen in hand. She glanced at the pad, deep in thought. What should be her last words?
What would someone else in her position leave? What would someone who had no parents, no family near by, a younger sister in a different country who had not called in many months, and no real friends to remember her write? Finally with pen to paper she spilled the words out from the depths of her sorrowed soul, “All my dreams are lost and I cannot sleep. All my tears are cried out. I cannot weep. Imagination is fleeting dreams that never end. Dream in peace.”
With that, River walked to the bath, climbed in and rested her head firmly on the back of the iron tub. As she stared up into the sealing, she wondered if anyone would miss her. Would anyone care if she was gone? She would surely be mentioned on haunted.com, a website for all the suicide victims that had been raised in the same organization she had been unfortunate enough to be raised in also. She remembered all of the faces of all those childhood friends that had gone on to the next life before her. But was there a next life? Was there a heaven? Somewhere where she could feel safe and relax with her old friends.
Picking up the razor from the bathtub ledge, she examined the sharp edge. River was not fond of pain, and was scared of how the blade would feel cutting its way into her tender wrists. But at least it would be the last painful thing she would have to ever endure.
Suddenly there was a ring, “ring”, and then another, “ring”. The noise jerked her out of what seemed to be a deep trance. River actually slipped a little deeper into the bath and lost the blade over the side of the bath between the wall and the tub. “Damn”, she thought, “I don’t have another”. “Just my luck, and who the hell is calling me now?” she thought out load.
After around three more rings the answering machine picked up, and she could hear her own voice saying, “Hello, hello…just kidding, leave a message after the beep.” The “beep” rang, and then a very familiar voice came on the machine. “Hey sis, are you there?” It was Rivers younger sister Elizabeth calling from England. “Sorry I missed you” Elizabeth said, “but you won’t believe who I just saw in my neighborhood!” said Elizabeth with excitement. “Do you remember James Nas “the ass”? River Sprang to her feet and dashed for the phone. “Hello” River interrupted. “Are you there?”
“Oh, hello big sis, how have you been?” Asked Elizabeth
“Oh you know, just the same as before. It’s great to hear your voice.” Said River in an excited yet tearful voice “I miss you, you know.” “Now what’s this about James?”
Becky then went on to explain to River that she couldn’t believe it herself, but that it was in fact one of the ghosts from the past come back to haunt them.
“I don’t know what he’s doing here in Golders Green.” Marveled Elizabeth
“There isn’t any “Family members” in this area that I know of.”
“Family members” was the term that the “Children of God” used to describe their members to keep the public from understanding what they were talking about. You see, the Children of God were not welcomed back in most of the countries they had once flourished in, because of their involvement in child molestation, prostitution and abuse towards their members young and old. They were well known in the publics eye as the most hideous and freakish cult out there since Jones Town.
Elizabeth continued, “I followed him to his house. I couldn’t believe it. I had to know for sure if it was really him, I felt sick when I saw him. I hate that bastard! I wish he was dead.”
“That’s dangerous Elizabeth Hamilton. I don’t want you doing that anymore.” “By the way” River went on “have you thought about me maybe coming to visit you?” “I’ve wanted to do something like that for a while and I think it would do us both some good.”
There was a pause and River held her breath hoping that her little sister would agree. You see, it was never easy for the girls to communicate. They had never been taught the basics of communication between peers when they were young, and they had kept themselves to themselves since they left. They never thought that anyone would understand them, and felt awkward in groups of people they didn’t know.
A few seconds passed and River once again heard her sisters voice “Um, I guess that would be okay. When were you planning on arriving?”
Rivers face had a petrified smile on it as big as the moon. “How about this weekend, does that work for you?”
“Sure!” Exclaimed Elizabeth
“Great! Then I will see you as soon as Friday. I love you, and stay away from James Nas, please. He is dangerous! Remember what he did to us. Please, promise me!” Pleaded River
“Okay. But just for you.”
“Great! Well, then I should warn you that I plan on spending as much time as possible with you while I am there.” Exclaimed River
“I can live with that.”
It seemed like forever since River had last scene her little sister. It was very seldom that they wrote each other or called. It’s not as though they were not fond of each other. In fact it was quite the opposite. They would have gladly given up their lives for each other if it ever came to that. But sometimes even being around each other brought back the memories that they longed so hard to forsake, to leave behind and to erase. That is why River only minutes ago was on the verge of ending her life, because sometimes death is the only way to escape the cult.
River returned to the bathroom and threw a towel around her now mostly dry body. She crouched down on all fours and peeked under the baths base to see if she could find the razor. There was little or no light under the bath, and so River reached under and felt around on the tiled floor for it. “Ah, there you are my love.” Retrieving the blade she walked back into the next room and sat down at the desk. She looked down at the note that she had written and tore it out of the pad. River got her journal out and opened it to the present day Oct 7, 2007. She then took some tape from the stationary drawer and taped the note she had written before she had gotten in the tub to the page. Skipping three months forward in her diary to Dec 7, 2007 she taped the razor to the page and whispered to herself “I’ll see you in three months.”
River arrived at Heathrow airport the following Friday in the evening of a rainy day which was typical for England around this time of year. She met her sister at the baggage claim and soon both of them were enthralled in chit-chat and witty banter as if they had never left each others side ever. The two sisters sat together on the train ride to Golders Green in the north of London and never missed a moment of the trip to talk and catch up on each others lives.
River learned that her younger sister had finally completed her high school educational requirements and had enrolled in college level classes while she tried to figure out what she wanted to major in and do carrier wise. Elizabeth seemed very proud of her accomplishments and was very much looking forward to becoming a professional carrier woman one day. Receiving a high school diploma may not seem like much of an accomplishment for any individual of 23 years of age, nevertheless it was an outstanding achievement considering that only 10% or less of the many hundreds of children and young teens leaving the Children of God cult ever enrolled into any type of formal education at all. This was partially due to the fact that none of them had any support whatsoever from family, distant or immediate, and had no time as they struggled very hard to adapt to the extreme differences that they faced in this very strange new world that they had been sheltered from for their entire upbringing.
If Elizabeth and River could tell you themselves, they would try and explain to you that the world that most of us can take for granted everyday as we go about in our fairly normal lives is something so abstract and so different for them that you would probably think that they were either lying, stretching the truth or making it all up to get some kind of twisted thrill or needed attention from. But the reality is that prior to the girls leaving the cult, neither of them had ever been to a regular school, and the minimal schooling that they had received was not anything that they could really benefit from or use outside of the cult. Neither of the girls had ever had their own money, neither of them had ever been to a movie cinema or music festival. Neither of the girls had ever been to see their grandparents, and had their grandparents known that every time they sent the girls anything of value or even a gift for their birthdays or for Christmas that neither of them ever received any of them, they would have never sent them and been very cross with their own children for not allowing it.
After around an hour ride on the tube they arrived at their stop. River was definitely ready for a shower and a hot cup of hot chocolate. They soon arrived at Elizabeth’s small apartment. It was even smaller than River’s and a bit of a mess. There was no television or large entertainment center. There was on the other hand a large bookshelf that seemed to cover the entire wall and wrapped around to the far wall filled with books. There were books everywhere. The small apartment resembled what you could have mistaken for a second hand book store. River was astonished of how many books there were in Elizabeth’s small apartment. As River tripped and fell over all the books some of which were in large stacks on the floor, she asked her sister if she had in fact read all of them. To River’s further astonishment, Elizabeth replied “yes! It keeps me out of my own head, if I’m in someone else’s.” River knew exactly what she meant and just shook her head in agreement.
After taking a hot shower and climbing into some comfy clothes, River found Elizabeth in the kitchen with a tea-kettle in her hand. “Want some?” asked Elizabeth
“Do you have any hot chocolate?” inquired River
“When in Rome…big sis, when in Rome.” Came the answer
As Elizabeth poured the tea she quietly asked her sister “do you ever think of the days when we were young?”
This immediately brought tears to River’s eyes and she turned away from her sister and faced the window in the kitchen while trying to find her composure.
With tears for the second time that week in her eyes, River bit her lower lip and exclaimed “everyday and every night.” She went on to explain to her little sister that is was lucky for her that she had called the other day, and went on to explain that there had not been any way for her to escape her ghosts from the past, and that she felt that it was the only way.
Elizabeth stood there not really knowing what to say at first, then her head sank do to her chest and she closed her eyes and as a single tear drop squeezed past her eyelids she uttered these words. “I don’t blame you River. I won’t ever blame you if you decide to leave me here alone. It’s not fair what happened to you…to us.”
River turned around and faced her sister, walked over to her and pausing for a moment, reached out a hand to her cheek and with the tip of her thumb whipped away the tear from her sister’s face. She looked at the tear glistening on her thumb and placed it in her mouth. “Huh, it tastes the same. Why don’t they understand that, and why couldn’t they understand that one day we would grow up and would have to deal with all of this? It’s not fair Lizzy! I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I don’t want to feel helpless and scared. I thought it would go away when I finally ran from home. I thought I had won. But they are still winning right now. They are still in control of my life. They really got us good.” Sob, “I can’t go on.” River slumped to the floor and covered her face. “I’m even ashamed of crying. Remember when they would beat us until we stopped crying? I told myself when I was 11 that I would never let anyone see me cry ever again. Yet here I am falling apart at the seams.” Sob, “I want to know why they did it to me, to us. I want to know why.”
Suddenly as if a facet was turned of in River’s head the tears stopped. River’s face became very still and almost without any expression. Something snapped in River’s mind. River had a thought that she had never thought before. What if she could ask them? What did she have to loose?
River stood up and looked Elizabeth deeply in her eyes. Elizabeth was a little more worried for her sister now, as if there was more that she could have been worried for. River placed her outstretched arms on her little sisters little shoulders and asked in a very calm and mischievous manner, “Elizabeth, where does James Nas live? I want you to take me to his home.”
“What!” the surprised Elizabeth with eyes wide open, exclaimed. “You aren’t thinking what I think you’re thinking, are you?”
“Oh, I don’t know. What were you thinking?” said River calmly with a smirk on her face.
“No, River! It’s not worth it. Don’t do it! I don’t want you to go to prison.” Pleaded Elizabeth
“Why should you be afraid of me going to prison, little sister? Are you afraid that I’ll be raped and molested and beaten? There is nothing that they can do to me in prison that hasn’t already happened to both of us, and don’t you forget that!” River said in a stern yet meek voice
“Anyway, although I want him dead along with many others, I don’t want to kill him myself.” Said River as she turned away from her sister and reached for the coat rack in the hallway. “Put on your coat. It’s cold out there. It’s always cold out there.”
Elizabeth reluctantly put on her coat, never taking her eyes off of her sister. What was going through River’s head? Had she finally lost the plot? She looked calm, but the calm that she would expect right before a storm. She looked peaceful and controlled, which was not like her sister at all. Elizabeth followed her sister to the front door and outside to the sidewalk.
“Now then my little lovely, why don’t you be a sweet little girl and tell me where old Uncle James lives?”
“It’s this way.” Said Elizabeth softly as she turned, finally taking her eyes away from her sister “I’ll show you.” Then she took River by the arm and rested her head on her shoulder and they began their walk towards their past to try and help their way towards the future.
The sisters walked for what seemed like a few minutes until they found themselves in a fairly residential upper class neighborhood going up and away from Golders Green towards Hampsted Heath. Most of the homes were fairly large and made of brick and stone. They had large gardens and driveways that wrapped around and many had fountains in the middle of their driveways. Some of them had gates and fences and high-tech security surveillance systems. River found herself scratching her head in disbelief. She was very hard in thought when Elizabeth suddenly stopped walking and pointed across the street to a fairly large house mostly covered in large trees that gave it privacy from the road. There was no gate at this home, just a very long driveway that wrapped around to the front door and then back out again in a half circle.
“So that’s it?!” River not taking her eyes off of the house in front of them exclaimed. “Okay now, Elizabeth.” Making sure she had her sister’s full attention. “I want you to go back to your place and wait for me there. Do you understand?”
“Can’t I just wait here, for you to come out?” Asked Elizabeth
“No! I don’t want you standing here looking suspicious. Also I don’t want you to come with me inside. He’s already going to be nervous with just one of us showing up, and on top of that, you live here and I don’t. Now please do as I say and go back and wait for me. If I don’t return in an hour from now, I want you to alert the officials and get that bastard! Now go! Go!”
With that said, Elizabeth turned around and began walking. When all of a sudden out of nowhere there was lightning which was followed very shortly by a thunder clap. Rain immediately began to pour from the heavens in what seemed like the hardest rain River had ever seen. She looked back at her sister to see Elizabeth quickly pick up the pace and briskly run down the road back towards her neighborhood. After River could no longer see her sister she ran across the road and under one of the trees on James’ property. She once again peeked out to make sure that her sister was gone and then turned and walked towards the house, all the while staying very close to the side of the driveway with the trees to stay out of the rain.
River found herself at the large front door of this large beautiful home. She was now shivering and cold from the rain and soaked from head to toe. River rang the doorbell and thought to herself of what she would ask or say to James. What if he didn’t remember her or maybe he had a family of his own. Maybe he was different now than he was before. How did he get such a nice house? How was it possible? Did all the money that the members of the cult pay to the leadership go to James? Was he still in the cult? These and many other questions rattled around in Rivers head as she stood at the door waiting.
“Maybe he didn’t hear the ring” and just as she reached for the doorbell the door swung open. River’s eyes went wide as if she had seen a ghost, a ghost from her past. She could see James saying something, but she could barely make out what he was saying “are you alright? Was there an accident? Would you like to come in out of the rain?” James asked.
Once inside, James closed the door behind her. The hallway opened up to a large room with a warm fire blazing in the fireplace. “Do you have a name?” Inquired James
“River, my name is River.” Answered River
James had no reason to know River by her legal name. All the members were given Bible or mock names to help hide their identity if ever they addressed each other in public. It was their way of keeping “Selah”. “Selah” was a word or term used by the Children of God meaning secretive or sensitive issue. For instance River was given the name Mary after Mary and Joseph in the Bible.
“Are you alone River? Are you lost?” James asked
“Yes I’m alone.” River answered
“You’re an American! Are you here visiting friends in this neighborhood? Do you have their address or phone number?” James asked
“I was walking around and lost my way back to their house. Then it began raining.” Stated River
“You look like you’re freezing River. Stand in front of the fire and I’ll get you a towel. I’ll be right back.” Said James, and then he walked to the stairs and went up
River went cautiously into the living room looking around for any signs of a possible family or any other people living in the house. She passed a desk with some papers and some stationary a letter opener and some mail. River glanced at the mail where the name Steven Kelly was on all of the envelopes. “So, that’s his real name.” River thought to herself. She reached for the letter opener and noticed a pair of stainless steel scissors on the shelf behind the desk. She took them and placed them in her pocket, worried that something dangerous may happen once she confronted Steven Kelly aka James Nas.
James returned with the towel and handing it to her asked “have we ever met before? There is something, you know, very familiar about you.”
River took the towel from James, and very delicately and in a very slow motion like manner, brushed the towel to the side of her right cheek and then her left one. Once again the same relaxed expression returned to Rivers face and pure calmness arrived to her mind. “Oh, I don’t know, James. Do you really remember me?” The words flowed from Rivers lips in a soft and almost teasing manner.
Rivers head was facing the floor, but her eyes were staring straight into James’s own eyes. If looks could kill, James would have dropped dead right there and then. “What’s wrong James? Can’t quiet place it now, James Nas?!”
“Okay, I don’t know who you think I am or why you are here, but I need for you to leave now!” Demanded James
“I’m so, so sorry James, if I have made you feel uncomfortable in any way in your own home, and what a lovely home you have. How many families did you screw out of their money, how many children did you hurt, how many people have their lives in ruin because of you? Was it worth it, James?! Was it worth it to have this?” River quietly yet in a very demanding way uttered
“I’m calling the police if you don’t leave now!” James said as he began to dial 999, “Emergency operator, how can I help you?” Came the voice from the phone
“Fine, go ahead. Then I can tell them what you’ve been up to. Then all your good neighbors can know who they have been living by this whole time. Go ahead and do it! Call them.” River said calmly as she sat down on the sofa
James hung up the phone. “What’s your real name? Maybe I’ll call your parents and get them to talk some sense into you.” James then reached for the desk drawer and retrieved a day planner from it. He opened it and began to thumb between the pages, glancing on occasion at River. Walking over to where River was sitting he grabbed her be her arms and yanked her up.
There was a sudden quick movement from River and James stepped back with his hands over his neck, one hand on the pair of stainless silver scissors halfway lodged in his throat. Blood began to gush out like a water fountain as James began backing away from River all the while loosing his balance and grabbing at the walls. Blood was everywhere, and the more James moved the more it spread like paint on the walls and on the carpet.
River looked down at her right hand and noticed that she too had his blood on her hand. James was now on the floor on his knees trying to crawl to River as if asking for help, all the while still holding on to the scissors with his left hand. River backed up towards the couch trying to get away from him, when she hit the back of the sofa and could go no further back away from her victim who was once her abuser. James slumped to the floor and coughed up some blood onto the carpet and some onto Rivers Shoes, finally he laid at her feet motionless and quiet.
River not saying a word, still in shock stepped over the body that had once been James and walked towards the door. She stopped before she got to the hallway and turned to make sure it was real. It’s when she noticed the day planner on the floor besides James. Walking back over to it she picked it up with her blood-stained hand and walked quickly out the door. She was unable to really process any thoughts apart from just going over and over in her head what had just happened. As she turned the corner of James’s road a police vehicle turned onto James road and drove towards his house. “Okay, just stay calm, River!” River thought to herself “Don’t make any suspicious moves. Please don’t turn around Mr. Policeman. Just keep on going, just keep driving.”
The rain had eased up a bit as River walked in a quick pace back to her sisters flat. River used the rain water to wipe some of the blood from her hands, occasionally walking in puddles to clean her shoes from James’ Blood. She arrived safely back to Elizabeth’s apartment and walked in and straight to the bathroom. Elizabeth ran to the bathroom door when she heard it slam. “River, is that you? Are you alright? I was worried that I would have had to call the police. River, are you okay?” Asked Elizabeth with concern
“Elizabeth, I’m fine. I just got wet so I’m taking a shower. I’ll be out in a minute to tell you all about it. Would you be so kind as to make me one of those “in Rome” cups of tea? Thanks hun.
River stripped naked and placed her clothes in a neat pile on the floor, with the planner in between the folded clothes she reached for the facet. She knew she would have to throw them away and possibly even burn them. She turned on the hot water, waited for it to warm and climbed into the tub. As River stood under the warm water a million thoughts passed through her mind. She thought to herself what she would do next. Could she stay in England for more time, or would she have to leave? Would she tell her sister the truth about what had happened, or would it be better to keep her in the dark? Surely someone had seen her leave the James’ house, perhaps even the police officer in the car that she had seen earlier. Well, it didn’t matter, and why should it.
Stepping out of the shower and into some jogging pants and a t-shirt two sizes too small for her she joined her sister in the kitchen. “Here’s the tea.” Elizabeth said as she handed her the cup “Now tell me what happened.”
River looked up at her sister and said “He wasn’t there. I waited for him for a while but it was raining too much, so I just came home.”
Somehow Elizabeth new that there was something suspicious about what her sister had just told her. But, she wasn’t going to pry. “Well, are you going to go back?”
“No, I don’t think so.” River replied, “It’s just a waste of time. He probably doesn’t even know what he’s done. He would probably tell me that it was done in the name of Jesus or something stupid like that.” River leaned against the wall and said “We should just move on and try and forget about it. It won’t do us any good to dwell on it anymore.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Elizabeth nodded and exclaimed
“Good. Well, let’s go out for a drink to celebrate us moving on.” River suggested
“Alrighty then, a girl night out, sounds like fun.” Said Elizabeth in excitement
As Elizabeth and River changed clothes for their big night out, River thought to herself, “Its better this way. The more little she knows the better. What she doesn’t know cannot hurt her. Anyway, this is my mess and I’ll clean it up.” River felt different inside than she had before. Although she was a little worried that she would be found out, she didn’t seem too worried for someone in her place. She wondered if it was because she was resigned to her own death soon on her date three months from now with her little shiny friend, or perhaps she had a new found courage in her. She certainly did not like what she had done, but she could see how it was justified to be done.
She most definitely felt more alive than she had ever felt before.
River placed the clothes of the day into a plastic bag and tied it shut. She thought about throwing them into a dumpster or into the river or into a drain. Maybe she should burn them. She thought about the big fire at James’ house. Maybe she should have thrown the clothes into the fire and walked home naked. No, that would have certainly got the unwanted attention from the police. But, still it would have been kind of funny in a twisted way, and River chuckled to herself as she thought about it.
Helping Hands and Copy Cats
The next morning, River woke up the next morning with a head full of cement. She could hear the sounds coming from outside as if she was standing in the middle of the road, “I’m never drinking again” she said to herself as she grabbed for the pillow and tried smothering the sounds out. There was a knock on the wall and then a doorbell rang. River jolted into an upward position almost immediately. She opened the door to the room that her and her sister had shared during the night and crept towards the closed door. Opening it with extreme caution she peeked around the corner towards the front door, trying to catch a glance of who could be there. “Could it be the police? Surely they could not have put all the pieces together so quickly.” She thought to herself
“Paul, come on in. How are you? What brings you to this neck of the woods?” Elizabeth exclaimed
River looked on as a tall, dark haired man, who looked like he could be in his late 20’s walked in the door and gave her younger sister a squeeze. River quickly closed the door, afraid that he might see her in a disheveled state.
“Well, hello to you Elizabeth. I brought you some bagels from the local kosher bakery. But I’ll only give them to you if you call me by my legal name. Do we have a deal?”
“Okay, it’s a deal JP.” Elizabeth answered winking at him
“Now then, how have you been? I see you’re still reading. Speaking of reading, you won’t believe today’s newspaper. It looks like someone was murdered just up the road from you and there was something else….” Before JP could finish another sentence, River appeared, still in her pajamas, her top was undone and she had no socks or shoes on.
“Well, hello. Good morning to you.” She walked past her sister and right over to JP. “Here let me help you with that.” As she almost violently tore the bag out of the strangers hand “Oh, yum. Fresh Bagels and you brought me the newspaper.” With that said she grabbed a bagel and the newspaper and turned around and went to the bathroom shutting the door behind her quickly.
“Um, Liz, what was that? Or should I ask who was that first?” JP asked jokingly
“Oh how rude of me not to introduce the both of you to each other.” Then walking over to the bathroom door with it still shut and River still on the other side, Elizabeth gestured to the door “JP this is my well mannered more mature and very social sister Mary…I mean River.” Then gesturing her hand in JP’s direction, “River I’d like for you to meet my friend, JP. There now you are formally introduced we can all be friends” Exclaimed Elizabeth as a flush came from behind the bathroom door, and Elizabeth’s head dropped and her hand pushed it back up “Nice going sis!”
Elizabeth and JP walked back over to the kitchen and dumped the bagels and cream cheese onto the counter and began with to wet their whistles with some small talk.
Meanwhile back in the bathroom, River was stuffing down a bagel while reading the front page of the Golders Green Gazette. The front page read “Mysterious killing. Man stabbed to death in his own home.” River went on to read the article. “A husband and father of three, was found murdered in his home in the Golders Green area. Police found him dead at his home after receiving a call from his residence late Friday night. Police have no suspects at this time but are looking into it. Detectives are saying it may have been the case of a burglary gone wrong. After searching the home for more clues, police officials discovered what seems to be a film studio in the basement of the house. Movies, pictures and literature pointing towards an underground organization called the “Children of God” or “Family international” were found on the premises. Although no murder weapon was recovered, police officials say they are almost positive that the assailant used a knife. The back window of the Golders Green mansion was forced open and foot-prints were left on the window seal. Golders Green police say that they are looking for a man in conjunction to this case. Continue article on page 12”
River stopped chewing, her jaw dropped and she sat there staring at the page for a moment. “What the hell was going on?” she thought as she thumbed through the pages to continue the article on page 12. “This is the second case in murders against the group more commonly known as the “Children of God” whom have recently renamed themselves “The Family International” or just “The Family”. The first case of this was on January 25th 2005, when Ricky Rodriguez, the very son of the leader known to the cult as “Mo” or “Moses David” (David Berg) ended his life in a murder/suicide by killing his nanny and shooting himself in California, USA.” The article went on to describe the cult and talk about the ex-members that had been involved in the media, local or otherwise who were working hard to expose this group of filthy abusers. The article ended on these simple but truthful words. “Cult leaders, beware!”
River sat in the bathroom on the toilet pondering what she had just read. What was she to do now? Was she to also end her own life, the way Ricky Rodriguez or “Davidito” as she new him by in the cult had done. Was this the end of the line for River? She already had it in mind to do three months from now, so why end it there. At the same time that she felt sadness for the children and wife James had left behind, it was what he deserved. How could she be so callused towards feelings of killing someone the night before? Had she gone mad? Was it right what she had done? Her actions were a cause of her mental anguish brought upon by years of abuse by her murder victim. But did that in fact make it right?
“Furthermore, what the hell was up with the back window at James’ house being left open and no murder weapon being found?” River thought very deeply “The police probably already knew who she was and were building a case against her. They had lied to the press, in order to make River slip-up and relax, in hopes that she would either come out of hiding. It was all a trick.”
“Oh, what should I don now? It’s not fair!” River thought as she sat there chewing on her nails. Suddenly a knock on the door interrupted Rivers’ train of thought.
“Hey, did you fall in?” Elizabeth asked jokingly “River, I have to go see a man about a dog. So I’ll be back in a bit. JP is in the kitchen, so play nice. Call me if you need me.”
“Okay, I’m just getting into the shower. I’ll see you when you get back.” River responded
River heard the front door close and then someone start to whistle in the kitchen. “Weird.” She thought to herself, “Now where have I heard that tune he’s whistling before?”
After a few minutes and a refreshing shower, River walked into the kitchen to find JP sitting at the small table against the wall. River placed the newspaper on the table and was about to open her mouth when JP immediately jumped up and greeting River took her by the hand and kissed it, bowed and curtseyed, making River chuckle a little.
“So, you’re the one we’re all hearing so much about.” He said as he picked up the newspaper and sat back down
“What’s that supposed to mean?” River inquisitively responded
“And what killer eyes you have. Your sister told me you were beautiful. But she failed to mention that your beauty was to die for.” JP said looking down at the front page
“I’m in town one day and people are already dying.” Said JP
“So River, what do you think about this killing? They say it was a “Family member”. Kind of hitting a little too close to home, if you know what I mean?”
River was still facing the cabinet when she answered JP’s question. “Yeah, it’s really bizarre. I mean it being a “family member and all.”
“Yes, it most certainly is. Whoever did this sure was messy about it, a real amateur. They say the body was still warm when the police arrived; they even tried reviving the victim. Can you imagine what would have happened if he would have lived. Well I can tell you that if he would have lived that someone would be behind bars right now. They must have missed the killer by seconds.” Expressed JP
JP continued “I’m not saying that killing is a good thing to be going around doing, regardless of what they may have done to this guy. But we all know what these people are up to and capable of. So, at least he took the murder weapon with him and got away with it, for now.”
“So, enough about that for now, why don’t you tell me a little about yourself, River?”
River sat down at the table, looked over at JP and said “There is a war that has begun between the Members of the family and the ex-members. So far the Children of God have won. Every time one of us ex-members commits suicide or overdoes, that counts as one casualty for us. Each time we kill one of their captains or generals we win a battle. “
JP looked up at River and told her a story. “I too am an ex-member of the Children of God. I had it worse than most people. My mother used to say that I had a rebellious nature and that had I grown up on Mars, most likely I would have rebelled against the Martians. I guess it’s in my blood. My father is French and his father was in the French resistance during the war. There was only a handful of French Resistance in comparison to the population that just threw their arms up and gave up. But they managed to do a lot of damage to the German forces. My father was named after my great-uncle who died in a concentration camp after being caught hiding an American pilot in on his property. Needless to say, I admire the person or persons who did this, and to be perfectly honest, if they hadn’t done it, I may have done it myself.”
River and JP sat and spoke about their life in the group and the changes they had made since they left. By the end of their time together that morning they were laughing about the crazy times they had had in the group and even some of the times trying to adapt to their new lives outside of the group. Sometimes laughing was all they could do to stop themselves from crying.
A couple of hours had passed when Elizabeth returned to the apartment. Finding the two in the kitchen she was pleasantly surprised that they were laughing and getting along so well. This didn’t come as a surprise to JP, because JP understood that ex-members would always get along better with other ex-members. JP had also tried having relationships with women outside of the ex-members in the past, but had had bad luck with it. He had seen others that had left find other ex-members and they had relationships that had worked very well. It’s not that all of their relationships were perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But that there was less to explain or be understood by their counter-parts that were not from the same background, especially their background!
Almost as soon as Elizabeth arrived back at their apartment, JP got up and told them that it was time he should be leaving.
“Rubbish!” Came the response from Elizabeth
“I think you should stay. What do you think River?” Elizabeth asked smiling over to her sister
“I guess so.” Came the response from River as she blushed
Elizabeth could tell from how her sister was acting that she seemed to be pretty fond of JP, and whatever she could do to keep her big sister happy for a little while longer, she was certainly willing to try.
By the end of what seemed like the shortest day ever. The three of them had perused the town, walked around Hampsted Heath, Gone to the movie theatre and had gotten to know each other fairly well.
The sun had gone down and as the three of them walked from the local theatre back towards Elizabeth’s apartment; they knew that this had been one of the best days of their lives. Elizabeth inquired if JP would want to join them for a drink at one of the local watering holes. JP explained that for certain reasons he was not permitting himself to drink anymore and that although there was still time to play that he really must be leaving now.
“River, it was a pleasure meeting you finally. I really enjoyed our day together. Please take good care of yourself back in America or wherever you find yourself. Here is my email address.” JP passed a business card to River. The Card was an eggshell white, with nothing on it except for an email address in the middle. He then grabbed River and gave her a squeeze, whispering in her ear “You’ll always have me to watch your back.” Then turning to Elizabeth he stretched out his arms and Elizabeth fell into his arms “Elizabeth, as usual it’s been fun. Both of you make sure to stay in touch and let me know how things are going. Well, till we meet again.” And with that JP turned and walked towards the station and walked away. Once again River could hear JP whistling the same song from the morning, as she thought to herself, “Could it have been you?”
After the sisters had returned to the apartment, River asked her sister if they could just stay in tonight instead of going out. So the two of them sat and talked the whole night through. The next morning the girls spent together mostly in bed, Elizabeth found quotes and chapters from some of her books that she had marked as her favorites and read them to River. For the first time in years, both the sister felt a real bond between each other. It was something almost spiritual and very strong. They laughed, cried and spoke of their time in the group together and apart. They talked about the things that had happened to them in the group and
(At this time I will go into more information of the content of their conversation. But for now I will just continue writing the story as is. River says goodbye to her sister and heads for the airport.)