Read Visitations Online

Authors: Jonas Saul

Tags: #short stories, #thriller, #jonas saul

Visitations (2 page)

BOOK: Visitations
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The church stayed silent. No one spoke - they probably all thought either Jake or Jessica had invited this man. Jake could tell there was also a desire to see what would unfold. People held a sick desire to see the underground, the darker side of life. Rubberneckers on the highway, horror movies with increased gore.

 

Well, a show they want, a show they’ll get.

 

Jessica nudged Jake’s other arm. He looked at her and followed her eyes to the back, where Jake saw his mother standing with a man he didn’t recognize.

 

“Go to her. We can get through the confetti and out to the limousine after you see her,” Jessica said.

 

Stunned, Jake walked away from the tall man in the trench coat and moved to the side alcove, an area hidden from the guests.

 

Maybe his anger at Jessica was misplaced. Perhaps he had been unreasonable. His mother had made it after all.

 

“Mom, how’d you get here?”

 

“I had help.” Her voice was stronger than he expected. “You know that I wouldn’t miss your wedding for the world. And what a wedding it was.”

 

Jake felt a certain kind of shock settle into his system. His heart raced like he’d been jogging and his body shook like he was about to skydive. “How’re you feeling? I mean, you must be doing better, to’ve made this trip.” Her wig looked like it was a replica of her own hair, almost identical.

 

“I wouldn’t dare burden you on your big day with talk of my illness. Just enjoy the moment and take care of Jessica. She’s a prize, Jake. I’m sure you’ll have two wonderful children and live happily. Now, don’t keep your lady waiting on my account.”

 

Jake shook his head. “I’m amazed you could make it. I don’t know how you did it - I talked to Mary last night and she said you were still in a coma.”

 

“I was, but I had help getting here.” As she said this she gripped the forearm of the man beside her. Until that moment Jake had barely registered him. Nothing about the man was familiar, except Jake thought he recognized the suit the man was wearing, like he’d seen the man’s clothes before. Weird.

 

“I should be going now. You take care of that lovely lady and the two children to come.”

 

After an intense and loving hug that spoke volumes of their shared history, his mother turned and was led out the side door of the church. The door closed. Jake dashed away tears and attempted to compose himself.

 

He leaned against a pillar and slowly turned back to look at Jessica.

 

She wasn’t there.

 

No one was.

 

The church was empty, other than the man in the black trench coat.

 

“What the fuck is this?”

 

“An odd question for the man who facilitated your visitation.”

 

“My visitation? What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

Jake stepped away from the pillar and started toward the trench coated man.

 

“What did you want most today? What did your mother desire beyond anything?”

 

“Are you fucked? This was my wedding. Where is everybody?”

 

“What do you think will happen if you fail to answer my questions?”

 

Jake was closer now. Four feet separated them.

 

“I have no idea. But if you don’t tell me what’s going on I know that one of us won’t be walking out of here on both legs.”

 

“Do you feel your threats hold weight with me?”

 

“What’s with all the questions, asshole! Explain this shit to me or we dance.”

 

“Your mother asked for one last request. She will pay for that for eternity. Unless of course you cover her debt. Are you willing to discuss that?”

 

Her debt? What the fuck?

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“Are you willing to talk about your mother’s debt?”

 

“She didn’t have any debt. Dad left her a large estate six years ago. She had enough money for a private nurse and then some. She always provided for us.”

 

Thunder clapped above them. Jake looked around the darkened church again and felt something akin to an icy fear. A part of him knew it would’ve been impossible to have removed all the guests so fast, and without him hearing a single thing. Where was Jessica? She wouldn’t have just walked out of the church alone.

 

“I see you’re trying to work out what’s happening here, but I wouldn’t think too hard on it. There’s nothing you can do now about anything, other than to answer my question. Should your mother pay her debt or can you cover it?”

 

Jake nodded. “I’ll cover it.” He looked up into the eyes of the seven foot man and listened to what his mother had done. Then he agreed to make sure she would not suffer for eternity.

 
 

#

 

The lights turned on, blinding Jake. He raised his forearm to cover his eyes.

 

A collective gasp came from the guests.

 

Jessica was at his side. Cheers roared through the church accompanied by vigorous clapping.

 

Jake’s heart thumped in his chest with the knowledge of what he had to do. He thought about where his mother was and he hated every single person staring at him.

 

They made their way through the throng of well-wishers to the limousine.

 

Once inside, Jessica asked, “How did she pull it off?”

 

The limousine started moving toward the hotel, where they would get ready for that evening’s dinner and reception.

 

Jake feigned confusion. “I have no idea, but whatever happened, it was a blessing. We both know how much it meant to her.” To complete the show for Jessica, he reached into his inner breast pocket and pulled out his cell phone. “I’m going to call Mary to get the latest prognosis and thank her for making it happen.”

 

After dialing and reaching Mary, he asked her how it was possible. Jake angled the phone so Jessica could hear too.

 

“How was what possible?” Mary asked. She sounded subdued, wounded.

 

“My mother. Last night she was in a coma and today she’s all dressed up and at my wedding.” Jake heard Mary gasp and then clear her throat. “Are you okay?” Jake asked as he looked at Jessica.

 

“I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. Jake, your mother passed away at two o’clock this morning. There is no way she could’ve been at your wedding. I’m not sure what you’re saying.”

 

Jake acted as stunned as he should have felt. Jessica’s eyes were seriously wide.

 

“That’s impossible. Jessica saw her too. She was there, I tell you. She was there, Mary.”

 

“I’m sorry, Jake. Your mother never left this building.”

 

“Are you sure?” he asked, his teeth clenched, sounding angry.

 

“Yes.”

 

Jake hung up and tried to cry. After a few moments Jessica started weeping as she realized she had been witness to something incredible.

 
 

#

 

Two years later…

 

Jake placed the photo album back into the plastic container. Jessica was just home from the hospital. Their second child would be home in a few days.

 

They had had two children, just as his mother said they would.

 

The photo album confirmed the identity of the man who’d accompanied his mother, the man with the suit he’d recognized but couldn’t place.

 

His father had died not long after Jake was born. When going through his mother’s belongings, he’d come across the photo albums and had seen a picture of his father holding him. That was why he’d recognized the suit. His father had been wearing the same suit at the wedding that he’d wore in that picture, thirty-eight years before.

 

Jessica was calling him from downstairs. She was still recovering, as the staples in her stomach had just been removed twenty-four hours before.

 

Jake got up and walked to the attic stairs. He said a silent prayer and walked down the stairs, knowing he was doing the right thing.

 

Jessica called him again. She was stuck in their bedroom. Unless she wanted to scream in pain, she had to wait for Jake to take her to the bathroom. Coughing and sneezing were complete torture.

 

He made his way to the kitchen. There he grabbed a long blade, one used numerous times to slice vegetables.

 

He touched the sharp edge. It would work just fine.

 

Jake headed for their bedroom. Jessica screamed his name again. He didn’t hear her.

 

All that meandered through his head were words related to his mother’s debt.

 

That she would sacrifice for him. That she would pay such a debt to be at his wedding, to partake in a momentous event, was enough for any man to comply with her wishes.

 

He couldn’t allow his mother to burn for eternity.

 

Jessica wouldn’t even perform an intimate ceremony near his mother’s deathbed. Would she love him enough to do what his mother did for him?

 

Never.

 

She was the reason his mother had had to make the choice she did.

 

Women like Jessica were the reason for all the wrong decisions made in the name of love.

 

Jake had made the right decision though: have the two kids, as his mother had said they would, then take Jessica’s life so she could pay. His kids would grow up knowing that their mother was a whore, that she had run away and moved into a whorehouse somewhere. He had tried to stop her, but she couldn’t see what love was. Jessica was incapable of seeing what real love was.

 

What Jake was about to do was real love.

 

Nothing was equal to the love of one’s mother.

 

He entered the bedroom and turned off the light.

 

“Jake, what are you doing? I’ve been calling for you for over ten minutes. I really need the bathroom. Turn the light back on and come help me up.”

 

Jake moved forward by memory, the knife in front of him.

 

“Jake? What are you doing? I can hear you moving around. Don’t make me jump. You know how much that’ll hurt. Jake?”

 

He made the edge of the bed.

 

He placed his hand on her hip.

 

“Jake, watch it. You almost hit the wound. It hasn’t healed completely yet.”

 

He judged where her face would be. He touched her shoulder.

 

“I’m sorry mother; I wish I had done this sooner.”

 

He swung with everything he had at Jessica’s throat, the blade extended, his knife hand ready to jab multiple times.

 
 

#

 

Jessica screamed. She scrambled to the side and flicked on the lamp beside the bed.

 

The pain meant little to her as she saw what had become of her husband and who was standing over him in her bedroom.

 

The man from her wedding. He stood in his long trench coat, smiling down at Jake who lay on the floor going through seizures. Blood raced out of his jugular where the knife had entered.

 

Jessica used up all her resources of strength as she screamed and wailed, trying to move away from the stranger.

 

Then she heard him speak and quieted to catch the words.

 

“Your mother’s debt has been paid. Thank you, Jake, for showing me a greater evil.” He looked at Jessica. “I won’t be bothering you again. This was between myself, Jake and his mother. But I have to tell you, Jake was a good sport. He came here to kill you for me. What a great guy.”

 

The man in the trench coat glided to the bedroom door and then turned back.

 

Jessica panted, wondering what was happening to her sanity.

 

“Maybe we’ll meet again, or maybe not.”

 

Jessica didn’t stop screaming after he disappeared until the police arrived and broke down her door.

 

Near Death Experience

The love of my life died last week. I didn’t even get to meet her.

 

It all started on a lark. I joined an online chatroom four months ago. After a few days, I was talking to an upbeat woman. We hit it off right away. Exchanged email addresses and started a day-to-day conversation. Our online dates escalated to a romantic level. I sent roses to her office for her birthday. I also mailed twenty-seven birthday cards. Each one represented the years I hadn’t met her yet: the years that finally brought us together.

BOOK: Visitations
11.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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