When Ms. Pattinson’s body was found in the factory, her cross pendant fallen beside her on the concrete, everyone believed she’d died here on purpose. It was just too convenient that her latest plea to have the factory razed to the ground was denied merely two days before.
A crane had hovered over the warehouse for years, a sword ready to fall. But the threat had become an empty one. The demonstration, rallies, petitions in the neighbourhood had achieved nothing. The factory still stood and remained the drug dealing place.
Everyone had tired of Ms. Pattinson’s nagging; few people even felt sorry she died. The bigot old maid with old fashioned ideas was a self-righteous bitch. In fact, the only people present at her funeral were the priest and myself. If I’d come to meet her family, it would have been obvious she had none. But I knew that already. I was here for the priest.
I found myself uncomfortable and sorry. After all I’d grown up alternatively fearing and mocking the woman. And I’d been ignorant.
I didn’t think anyone ever entered her apartment before me. Soon I felt like I was intruding. Violating the life that she kept secret from everyone: the one where a child with eyes wide as the doll that rested on her bed was a victim of drugs and its users.
Savannah Lakers and her unborn child died at the factory 15 years ago: they were the reason for the crane even though it never fulfilled its original purpose. Could it be that the Ms. Pattinson who looked to be in her 50s was actually 34 year old Savannah Lakers? How could nobody ever recognize her? Who would have faked…? I found my answers hidden in two shoe boxes.
She’d documented everything religiously. She’d taken self portraits as she went through withdrawals symptoms. There were even some tapes. I couldn’t watch them in full: too much pain. She’d also kept diaries describing her delirious nightmares. How could she relive them in writing? I didn’t understand. She was a much braver person I could ever be. She’d seen monsters everywhere only to realize they were hidden inside herself. The child she lost haunted her. She almost died.
Father Jacob saw her through it, helped her find God. Still as years went by, she’d never shown him the diaries; most her thoughts were unclean. And even though she’d dedicated her life to its destruction, she knew the factory was just a place. If it was gone, drug users would find another.
She couldn’t tell Father Jacob that; he’d say these were the thoughts of the devil inside her. She knew he was always there, in hiding, ready to strike at the first sign of weakness. And her weakness was children. Even though all the kids in the city thought of her as a crazy old bat, she only ever wanted to protect them.
When Father Jacob told her a child died of an overdose at the factory, she was angry. Why hadn’t the newspaper spoken about it? Because all the town’s staff made money out of this.
So she tried to have the court support the destruction of the place. But it failed. And she lost it. Her well constructed world fell apart. Another child had died, because she’d failed. Father Jacob was right. She’d failed. And there was no other way. To show them that the place was evil she must do something drastic. Beside it wasn’t suicide since she already died there, 10 years ago.
So I’d come for the priest, the man who celebrated my wedding. The devil inside.
In response to the writing prompt Collage #19 on Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s