Rosewater by:mason kuldinow
Rosewater is the story of six friends who embark on the adventure of a lifetime to mark the revival of the Druidic religion. Rosewater contains a well written balance of adventure, romance, horror, and comedy that will entice the reader to swallow the book whole and not put it down until the end. Delia Dumont has just returned to New Destiny Village after completing her groundbreaking run on the Broadway stage. As she and her close friends gather for a summer of fun, they find out that they are heirs to a great culture of ideas that is about to be released. They share fantastic adventures as they partake in the rituals of friendship that will lead to the rebirth of Druidism. But when a shadowy figure comes to New Destiny Village, seeming to be a knowledgeable host to the coming events, trouble fills the air and strange occurrences plague the community. The events of the revival become monstrous in their scale and severity, while the village itself is unaware of what the shadowy host has in store for them or for their new awakening. Will there be new paths of awareness for humanity revealed, or will there be damnation for all?
Rosewater Except One: Chapter One The Bosch Garden In a quaint, spooky village called New Destiny, Suzanne Talus locked up the community center and then checked on the guest of honor to see if she was ready for the next event. The brunette beauty looked tired after spending the entire afternoon listening to people lavish her with praise. The village never had one of their own become a Broadway star before, and even though Delia Dumont’s part wasn’t the lead in the hit play, the gratifying review of her performance was reason enough to celebrate her return. Suzanne guided Delia through the birch forest of the community park to reach Rimbaud’s Tavern, a rustic establishment that was definitely off the beaten path. From the road, the place appeared empty and Suzanne caught herself worrying about the owners. She had to remind herself how much money her friends and family spent there, and hoped that it was enough to keep Rimbaud’s open every day of the year. During the winter, when the village got snowed in, people would put on their snowshoes and cross country skis to visit the tavern, where they would have family dinners next to the blazing hearth, and listen to musicians play their guitars and sing. Suzanne had great memories of those secluded times. But in the peak season, she regretted having to share her village with the rest of the world. Charlie Hodgkin sat alone at the bar. He smiled as the two women approached. “Hey darling,” he said, giving Suzanne a kiss on the lips that she quickly tore away from, even as he wanted more of her attention. “Why did you leave so early?” she asked. “We had to do cleanup.” Charlie smiled playfully. “I hope you didn’t make the guest of honor wash dishes.” Suzanne became tense hearing his jocular tone. She brusquely replied, “No, the caterers took care of that. Delia and I had to carry all the chairs and tables back inside, and we could’ve used your help—” Delia interrupted the couple. “Where’s Sarah? I thought she’d be here by now.” “Andy is picking her up,” Charlie said. “She broke down in Albany and had to take a bus back to Plattsburgh.” “I wish Isabel could have stayed longer,” Delia said. “It was really sweet of her to fly out here just for me.” Reg the bartender approached the group and presented a bottle of Clos Du Val, the wine Suzanne had requested days earlier. “The dealer calls this stuff the rich blood of Napa Valley. I’ve got two bottles on the house for Delia’s party.” He winked at the guest of honor. “Congratulations kiddo. It’s good to have you back.” Delia smiled graciously as she brushed back her wavy chestnut hair, exposing more of her long neck. “Thanks Reg. It’s good to be back.” “We’d like to use our VIP room,” Suzanne requested. The bartender chuckled. “It’s always available for you. Who else but the Talus girl would host parties in an archeological dig?” Suzanne led Delia across the dining areas and into a dark hall, where a secret door led to the bowels of the building. There was a barely lit corridor leading to each set of stairs,descending lower and lower until they could barely tell where they were in relation to the tavern. From the cellar, they entered the stone ruins, and the site of Suzanne’s great discovery. “What do you think?” she asked. Delia examined her surroundings. The last time she was there, the site was covered in roots and briars, but after the careful excavation, the merging of several foundations became plain to see. “You’re right; the tavern and the grist mill were definitely not part of these older ruins.” Suzanne smiled as Delia confirmed her theory. It was gratifying to hear after New York University had ridiculed her findings, telling her and her father that the ruins they had uncovered were no more than one hundred and fifty years old. “For us to prove that this groundwork was built by early French settlers, we have to reconstruct their original design.” “What about carbon dating?” Delia asked. “We’re talking about stones that were placed in this pattern three hundred years ago, although the stones themselves are millions of years old.” Delia stopped her there. “We didn’t come here to discuss New France. You promised me a ghost story.” Suzanne raised her eyebrows and grinned devilishly. “Oh, you’d like to hear more about the haunted paintings.” She took off her red wool sweater and tied it around her waist, gazing at Delia as she leaned her backside against an ancient wall. “Actually, there isn’t much to tell. Back in nineteen twenty, seven mysterious paintings appeared on the walls of Lake George Resort. A woman claimed ownership, testifying that they were works by her dead husband. Each one depicted a unique image of his boating accident. After she won her case, she sold the paintings for quite a lot of money. But then less than a year later, she died the same way her husband died; she drowned in the lake.” “How did you come across this story?” “You know Janice Pine, the art dealer? She invited me to the auction where it got sold.” Delia was intrigued. “What was it like?” “It was a picture of someone caught in rough waters. The notoriety of it being haunted worked well for the owner, because it sold for twenty thousand dollars.” “So do you document urban legends and ghost stories?” Suzanne laughed nervously. “The haunted painting only interested me because there is some documented truth behind it. It’s more likely that the wife was a con artist.” “Remind me what the story is behind these ruins?” “But you said you don’t want to hear about that stuff.” Delia stood in a haughty thespian pose and spoke in a faux British accent. “I know this one. This is where Breton Fermier staged his last standoff with the British, before his mighty guild went into hiding.” “I know what you’re trying to do.” “Do you?” Delia ran her hand under the back of Suzanne’s shirt. “Maybe if I tickle it out of you….” “Stop it!” Suzanne tried to dash away. She laughed uncontrollably as she felt Delia’s thin hands grasp her ribcage, just under her armpits. Delia called it her sweet-spot. A young man surprised them when he called out, “What the hell are you ladies doing?” Delia stopped tickling her friend. “Hey gorgeous man,” she said, and then went to embrace Andy where he stood. “Where is Sarah?” “She said she’d be right down. I think she went to the bathroom.” Suzanne kissed Andy on the cheek. “Thanks for going out there to pick her up.” She glanced down the stone corridor when she heard Charlie’s echoing footsteps. “Did you forget to bring the wine and glasses?” “Reg is coming down with our drinks,” Charlie informed her. He looked back and scratched the top of his head. “Sarah was just behind me.” Andy cleared his throat and then made a serious face as he looked at Delia. “I heard a rumor that you might be staying for the whole summer.” Delia replied with an affirming nod, and then said “What would you like to do?” Andy glanced at Suzanne and then focused back on Delia. “We want this summer to be memorable. We’ve been talking about it, and we plan to take full advantage of your presence. We should take some trips into Canada, like we did in our high school and undergraduate years. I’ll never forget those times.” “Please, no more prepared speeches,” Charlie said playfully. “The homecoming fair is over.” “Well now, the real party is just beginning.” Suzanne gazed down the empty corridor behind Charlie. “Where the hell is Sarah? I thought you were going to wait for her.” “I told you, she was just behind me. She must’ve gone back to help Reg.” *** “This place is really fascinating,” Sarah said, drawing everyone’s attention. She stood between two large oaks, her auburn hair draped over her shoulders. “Come over here, you creeper,” Delia said to her, tearing herself away from Andy to greet Sarah with hugs. “I’m so glad you finally made it.” “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it earlier,” Sarah replied. “I was in Albany when my stupid car broke down. I had to get on a bus to Plattsburgh, and then I was lucky that Andy agreed to pick me up.” Delia unintentionally changed the mood of the conversation when she asked, “So what is your school situation now?” “What?” Sarah asked. “Oh, here’s Reg.” The bartender arrived with glasses and two bottles of Suzanne’s wine selection: Clos Du Val. The glasses were fairly large, so that one bottle was finished with the first toast. The bartender remained there with the New Destiny Village crew until they were ready for more. He then opened the last bottle and served it before heading back upstairs. Sarah was relieved to avoid the subject of school. Eighty credits into chemistry as a major, she changed her mind and decided to study classical guitar. She majored in music for a year, and then suddenly switched to the journalism program at SUNY Plattsburgh, which she had recently dropped without telling anyone. “Delia! Tell me about New York. What was it like being interviewed on TV?” Delia laughed in her flattered high-pitch. “You guys were so sweet to watch it together at the bar. It was pretty cool talking to Gabby Bradley, but I honestly can’t remember any viable questions. She goes ‘In the theater scene, with all of the celebrity audience members, do you lament the knowledge that you won’t be seeing your performance on the big screen?’ And I’m like ‘I’m not even going to gratify that with an answer.’ And she didn’t give a shit! But now I see how they do it, you know; the inanity was meant to loosen me up. She could probably tell it was my first interview.” “It was an epic time,” Andy said. “That night at the tavern, watching with a hundred townspeople, I was really proud to know you. So was everyone else. And when you got us all comp tickets for the play, seeing you perform was incredible.” “I liked the after-party,” Sarah inserted. “And you were so kind to bring us to your rooftop for drinks after it was through.” “We’re all members of the early stock,” she replied. “That makes you all my brothers and sisters. When you guys came that night, I was embarrassed of all the haughty people—I wanted to make sure you didn’t feel like any of them were more important than you guys.” Suzanne rubbed Delia’s back affectionately. “I really appreciated that.” “But then you took us to the champagne bar, where those crazy theater people were glued to their lounge tables,” Sarah said. “One of your friends got really testy after I shunned his advances.” “I didn’t really know that guy,” Delia said. “I’m sorry that sticks out in your memory.” “I’m not much of a Manhattan girl I guess. Good thing you were there to protect me.” *** Suzanne laughed hysterically as Delia chased her up the steps. When she reentered the tavern, she saw the bar occupied by someone she was very happy to see. “Mr. Fermier!” The mature man dressed in a beige summer suit had striking dark eyes, and slightly greying hair. “Hello Ms. Talus.” “How are you?” “Well, now that I’ve finally caught up with Delia, I’m doing quite well.” “Hello Walter.” “Delia, it’s good to have you back in Nouvelle Destine. Burgeoning stars are not something we often have.” “It’s not a big thing,” she replied coyly. “Oh, I would not say that. The magazine article chose your play to review and left out dozens of hot plays throughout the city. And the review was fantastic. The article was mostly about your performance, and that brought on the interview, which we all got to watch.” Delia laughed, relishing the attention of this charismatic older man who owned much of the town and carried himself like he owned every square inch. “It’s nice of you to say, but I’ve still got a lot to learn.” “From what I saw, you are well on your way to becoming a star. Next will be leading roles in plays and movies that will make you famous. Oh, I can see it all.” “Stop it!” she archly demanded. “I don’t know about any of that—there are so many actors on the circuit who are better than me.” “Personally, I would never underestimate the providence of the truly gifted, because that’s who you are.” Charlie asked, “Walter, are you still hosting parties at that beautiful house of yours?” “Why yes—are you willing to come over for more drinks?” “I can’t drink anymore,” Suzanne said, beginning to slur her words. “I can’t go into a haunted house while I’m drunk like this.” She leaned back against Charlie where he stood, using him as a support. Delia asked teasingly, “Is this starting to sound like a bad horror movie? Coming to get you Suzanne….” “I just wouldn’t want to miss out on anything.” *** Ville Fermier sat on the edge of New Destiny Village, the fort style chalet surrounded by gardens and the undulating low stone wall that marked the boundaries of the general grounds. “What I want to show you is my newest addition,” Walter Fermier said. “We opened the garden with the south facing view. You haven’t been here since last year, so this is new.” Suzanne retorted, “I came to hang out with your sister last month.”“You don’t count.” “How is Isabel?” Sarah asked. “She’s doing her best to make her own fortune,” Walter answered. “Her Boston firm is doing great,” Suzanne added. “And why isn’t she here?” Sarah asked. Delia replied, “You missed her. She was here and then had to leave. We’ll be catching up with her next week.” Charlie carried his beer as he silently snooped around amid the rich furnishings. “Are you almost finished with that one?” Walter asked. “Just about,” Charlie answered before sucking down the last of the bottle’s contents. And then he burped unabashedly. “There it goes.” “Follow me folks.” Walter led the entourage through the center of the house and into the large kitchen, where the drinks refrigerator was bountiful, filled with juice, sodas, and bottles of wine and beer. He served everyone drinks and then said, “Now let’s go see my new masterpiece.” Two turns revealed the area that had been closed off for fifteen years; it was the room leading to the garden patio, redesigned into Walter’s own invention—The Bosch Garden. The main feature of the room was a large wall containing an exact replica of The Garden of Earthly Delights. “I’ve never seen one so big,” Andy said. “Who made this for you?” “A very talented architect in Boston,” Walter replied. “He does this kind of thing when economic growth is slow. It even contains the front cover of the triptych—the world overlooked by God.” He closed the wing panels and then opened them up again. Andy studied the images closely. “But it’s some kind of refurbished print or something, right?” “It’s a re-mastered duplicate of the original work, based on a high definition photograph, with some filtering and texture enhancement. So we get Bosch in natural 3D.” Suzanne admired the work of art. “I remember how much you always loved this painting.” “It’s flawless,” Sarah remarked. Delia stared in fascination. “It’s like the characters are alive!” Charlie burped again, and then apologized. Walter sauntered over to the French doors and opened the room to the outside. The sky was filled with stars. He turned on the soft lights that underscored the finely manicured topiaries and flower gardens. The courtyard was arranged in the annular dance depicted in The Garden of Earthly Delights, complete with several intricate fountains. “This is so beautiful!” Suzanne exclaimed, delighted as she kicked off her shoes and pranced out into the thick soft grass. It was three thousand square feet of low light exhibits before the backdrop of the moon bathed Adirondack Mountains. The lights flickered in many colors as Walter showed off his lighting arrangements and wireless controls. Depending on the setting, there were varying displays of scenes from the painting, with little statuettes and holographic figurines, the workings of which she had no clue. She looked up at the sky and saw subtle string lights overhead, mixing with the already bright stars. Sprinklers shot streams of water at varying temperatures, delightful in their randomness, accompanied by cool mist that permeated the air. She heard Delia shouting for it to stop and Walter laughing as he joined in the circle game. “You guys are crazy!” Delia shouted. She laughed in between her involuntary shrieks as water splashed all around her. “See! The icy jets force you to circle the fountain!” Further on, Suzanne found the quiet place off the edge of the garden, the smooth brick path leading to darkness and more light. The voices of her friends faded into babble as she found the entrance to the dark section of the painting portrayed, the burning castle and torturous hells, contrasted by ethereal light from an irresistible divinity—the scene of the prophet blessing the newborn spring.
Chapter Two The Fountain Knight
Suzanne walked from her house after reading little vignettes from her studies for the entire morning. She had more reading and writing to do, only it was hard to concentrate and not think about the night before. She cherished the memory of Charlie, although she didn’t miss him; she was just glad to know he was in her life. When he pulled up to her in his white pickup truck, she thought he looked disheveled, and perhaps even drunk, like he was up all night howling at the moon with Andy or someone else after she had gone to sleep. “Hey!” he called out. “Do you need a ride? What’s wrong?” She kept walking as he drove beside her. “I’m going to see Father Capek. Call me later if you want.” “Okay,” he said. “I’ll talk to you later.” Her expression was enough to make him exit quickly, and she didn’t worry about her curtness or her desire to walk alone. That was the main reason they seemed to last longer than she thought possible—he’d never made her feel like she was being smothered. Hearing his truck heading toward Saranac Lake had a calming effect on her. She felt like she had the whole village to herself, which was a feeling she enjoyed very much. The church steeple became visible through the trees and she found herself imagining an idyllic time, when walking and riding horses were the only means of transportation. It wasn’t hard when all of the houses were built in the colonial style, and even her destination evoked the purity of a bygone age, as she headed across town to help her local priest with the after service duties. Coming to see him was her Sunday routine of volunteer work, but otherwise it was her time to chat with a good friend, who always had kind words and great stories about his life before he came to America. He had come from Belfast in 1990, and still spoke with the remnants of a charming Irish brogue. As always, she was eager to see him, but when she walked into the chapel, she was confused by the sight of the pulpit knocked over on its side, and the large bible spread open on the floor. Confusion gradually morphed into icy fear as she heard a strange noise coming from the churchyard. At first she assumed it was whining cicadas; however, there was a voice-like quality to the droning sound, adding to its mystery. She had no idea how many there could be. From the rising volume, she could only assume that the churchyard was infested. “Father Capek?” she called out cautiously, after examining the scene. “Are you okay? Father Capek, where are you?” A deep instinct told her to turn back, but she defied it. She thought of calling Charlie or her father, but then recalled leaving her mobile phone on the bedside table that morning. She headed for the phone in the office, and while passing the back doors, saw something that immediately changed her life—it was an outlandish silver creature, the sight of which caused her to recoil in horror. She felt her skin crawl like never before, a feeling that evoked images of hideous insects covering every inch of her body. The creature was large and complex. It loomed over Father Capek as he lay motionless on the volleyball court. For only a moment, Suzanne gazed in terror at the monstrosity, whose form defied normality. To her, the central body resembled an iron clad knight, with gangly limbs and long shiny probes that it used to feed on Father Capek. When it suddenly turned its crablike head to look at her, her immediate impulse was to flee. “Help!” she shrieked repeatedly as she ran back through the chapel and then through the front doors. As she got to the road, she glanced around, hoping someone would come to her aid. She thought of Charlie coming back, and thought of police cars going by, but would have settled for any car with someone who could help, and who could tell her what was happening. What was that thing? But there wasn’t a soul in sight. She took a few steps toward her house and then stopped. She realized it would take too long to get there, and then it would take time to call someone, and try to convince them that something terrible was happening. What is happening? Many speculations ran through her head like wild fire, but the main clarity that kept returning was that her friend needed help, immediately, and she was the only one who could make a difference. Seconds that felt like minutes went by and she decided that she had to do something. With no time to gather her wits, she rushed back into the chapel, her hands bunched into fists that she pressed together at her breastbone, like she had done as a child when she was afraid. She headed straight for the phone in the office. She thought of her father and thought of Charlie, but could not remember their numbers, so she dialed 911. There were three rings before someone picked up. “911. What is your emergency?” “I’m at Seven Founders Chapel, off Route 3 on Village Road. There’s something attacking Father Capek.” “Who is being attacked?” “Father Capek! I’m in New Destiny Village. We need help!” She left the phone off the hook, thinking they might have to trace the line if they were unsure of her location. Heading back to the scene of horror, she readied herself to face the monster and somehow drive it away. “Get away from him!” she shouted, seeing the outlandish creature as it held onto the priest with silver appendages. It lurched threateningly as she made her presence known, and then slid across the chapel yard to face her in battle, like a giant fighting snail. It never let go of the priest, and held him with extended cords stretching several yards from its torso. Suzanne screamed in terror as she eluded the slimy tentacles that came for her, dashing back to judge their limit, but never leaving the scene. As she sprang to the right, she saw the priest’s gardening hoe leaning against the chapel siding, and picked it up desperately. The improvised weapon served as her only salvation. The monster recognized the threat and released its grip on the middle-aged priest, focusing on Suzanne as she swung the garden hoe. “These don’t frighten me!” she shouted angrily, chopping off its slimy limbs as they came near. She laughed in triumph as the tables were immediately turned. “I can keep this up all day!” Staring into the creature’s face, she saw black eyes shaded beneath an armored shell, eyes that pleaded for her to stop for its own sake. But she had no mercy for it, and would not back down. As she began to advance her attack, the beast retracted its gangly cords and feelers and backed away, breathing heavily from its pores. It stopped at the fence and wrapped itself up like a sleeping bat, shrinking to nearly half of its original size. Suzanne watched as the creature became dark red, emitting intense heat that she felt on her bare skin, even from ten yards away. The end result stood only four feet high, seeming to glower in its mantis-like posture. It frightened her again when it sprang into the air suddenly. She thought it might pounce on her, but was relieved to see it fly into the woods, leaving behind a scent of riverbank soil. *** Suzanne was happy to see Father Capek smiling at her. When she asked if he was okay, he spoke drunkenly. He didn’t seem to know what was happening, so she ignored his starry words, and focused on removing the dead probes from his torso and neck area. She wanted other people to see the remaining pieces, but they shrank before her eyes until they resembled slimy wetland roots. “Where are you going?” She walked to the edge of the volleyball court and continued to hack at the remaining bits of tentacles on the ground until they, too, faded into thin air. “What’s going on here, Suzanne?” When she heard the voice, she turned and saw that it was Mrs. Barker, who was diverted from her afternoon walk by all of the screaming and commotion. “Hello Mrs. Barker,” the priest casually said. “I’m sorry you missed our service today.” “Father Capek was attacked!” Suzanne informed her, now crying from all of her stress. “This thing was threatening us. He was on the ground, and I thought he was dead….” Mrs. Barker comforted her. “It’s okay now, sweetie. Let’s help Father Capek now.” Suzanne held her weapon ready. She glanced around, looking for the bizarre creature, worried that it would return. “Put that down,” Mrs. Barker said, kneeling next to the priest. “There’s nothing there.” Suzanne hesitantly leaned the hoe against the nearby utility shed, though she remained watchful. “I swear it was just here—Father Capek knows!” Two cars arrived, one from the county and one from the state. The officers hurried up the green knoll to reach the back, where the two women were tending to the hurt man. “What seems to be the problem here?” Father Capek said, “We had a bit of a run-in…with a water-horse, I believe.” “Come again?” the trooper asked. “Father, I want you to tell us what happened here. Who attacked you?” “We both saw it,” Suzanne said. “It was like one of the Iroquoian legends I’ve read....a shape-shifter, from the—” The state trooper became incensed. “Not again! Listen miss, it’s against the law to create hoaxes and waste police time. Now, are you the one who reported someone being attacked?” Suzanne became visibly upset. Mrs. Barker comforted her as the state trooper walked away, talking on his shoulder communicator, and not announcing whether he would be coming back. The county officer took up where the trooper left off. “There is a protocol for these cases,” the deputy said mildly, seeming amused now that the priest was sitting up. “Since we’re dealing with the supernatural, all we can do is report our solid findings. But it seems obvious that Father Capek needs medical attention. Father, please sit still for now, at least until the paramedics arrive.” The paramedics came up from the road with the state trooper, and then immediately began examining Father Capek. They questioned Suzanne too, who was flustered and not in the mood to explain what happened and what she saw again—it made her angry that they laughed amongst themselves. But they took his possible medical condition seriously and for that she was at least relieved. He was strapped neatly into a gurney and wheeled to the ambulance, where he was placed inside. They thought it was possible that he had suffered a stroke or a mild heart attack, and needed to be examined by a doctor before he could go home. Later it was decided that he should spend the night under observation. Suzanne accompanied Father Capek to the hospital in Tupper Lake, and then after several hours she decided to go home. The deputy drove Suzanne home. “What really happened here?” he asked as he stopped in front of her house. “Shit, not this again,” she said, gazing at him angrily. “You guys must really be trying to piss me off.” “I’m sorry, Suzanne,” he said, using a serious tone. “It’s just…I’ve wanted something like this to happen to me, and I want to know if you really believe what you say. There really is protocol for dealing with this type of report; I’m not sure what it is for the state, but neither I nor the trooper wrote down anything except that this was a medical incident. We couldn’t submit the statements the priest made.” “So these types of reports get swept under the rug? Is that what you’re telling me?” “Yes,” he replied. “The county legislators made it regulatory for deputies to ignore them. They were hoping the hoaxers would stop their crap if they knew no one would listen.” “How long have you lived out here?” “Me? I’ve been here about six years. I live in Piercefield. I only work for Franklin County because the sheriff has been working the lakes region alone for four years. Before this I was doing Ausable River operations for the state forest commission.” “Now I remember. I read the story in the Leader Herald. So you’re not from New York?” “Not by any means. Originally I’m from Asheville, North Carolina.” “What did you mean when you said you wanted something like this to happen?” He grinned sheepishly, and for the first time, looking into his friendly brown eyes, she thought he was handsome. “I’ve had my share of people starved for attention, reporting stupid things that are easily explainable. I started to wonder if maybe hoaxing helps them to believe—you know? But every time I went out on one of those calls, I really wanted it to be true.” “So what’s your take on Champ the Lake Monster?” He chuckled. “I believe it.” “You believe there is a lake monster…in Lake Champlain?” “Don’t you?” “No!” she said matter-of-factly. “Why would I believe such crap?” “People have been seeing it for years. Have you any idea how large that lake is?” “I know. It’s just…people see all kinds of things, and lots of them have no experience for what things look like out here or on the water.” Suzanne looked down at her hands and then into the deputy’s placid eyes again, realizing how she had allowed the conversation to go on too long, and how Deputy Janusz Turner’s change of tone had something to do with it—he had gotten serious and personal in one fell swoop, like he was no longer an authority figure. She forgot that she was scared out of her wits several hours earlier. “I’ve got to get going.” She stepped out of the car and then walked up the driveway. Her father appeared on the front steps. “Suzanne, are you okay? Did something happen?” “I’ll tell you inside.” Janusz stepped out of the cruiser. “Hello sir.” “What does he want now?” Suzanne headed up the porch steps, looking back once to see the deputy talking to her father; and then she was gone. *** Mr. Talus stood before Janusz. “What happened officer?” “Hi. I’m Deputy Turner of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. There was an incident over at the Seven Founders Church. Father Capek had some kind of episode.” The two men shook hands. “John Talus. Yes, I’m familiar with Father Capek. What happened?” “Well…maybe I better let Suzanne explain the details. For now, we’re considering this to be a pretty minor incident. Thepriest was taken to the hospital in Tupper Lake and is doing fine. But the reason I wanted to have an extra word is…I forgot to get your daughter’s phone number.” “You can’t have her phone number. If you need to get in touch with her, you can contact me on my business line.” The deputy wrote down Mr. Talus’s phone number in his little pad. “Here’s my card,” Janusz said. “Please give it to Suzanne. Tell her if she needs to add any details to the report, she can call me anytime.” He walked away without saying anything else. Mr. Talus’s non-cordial manner left Janusz feeling awkward, even though he was only trying to be neighborly while asking the man’s daughter out on a date.
Author Mason Kuldinow Bio: