Behind the Veil
Maddie pulled back the flap entrance to Madame Olga's tent. She'd never been to a fortune teller before, but she thought it might be kind of fun to see what this one had too say. After all she was at a carnival and wasn't getting your palm read part of the entertainment?
"Come in my sweet one and take a seat at my lonely table," she said waving a hand over to the chair set before her. "I see it is a fortune you seek?"
"I suppose so. I am after all in a fortune teller's tent."
"Ah, a skeptic," she stated. "Please take a seat maybe I can help persuade you into becoming a believer."
"No offense but I highly doubt that."
"Don't be so quick to make a judgment call. A closed mind is a terrible waste."
"So is an empty pocket book," Maddie mumbled to herself before sitting down in front of the woman and placing her hands on the table palms up.
As she waited for the woman to prepare herself for the visions she would see, she took the time to inspect her surroundings. It wasn't anything fancy which surprised her a bit. In fact it was very tastefully decorated, which was a far cry from what she'd envisioned. She expected to see bright colored curtains and a flamboyant head dress. But this woman was dressed modestly in a pretty pink sundress and a cardigan.
"I take it I'm not what you expected?" she smiled delving into her thoughts.
Maddie gave her a quizzical look and made herself more comfortable. "Alright you've got my attention."
"I suppose you'd like to know about your future?"
"Depends on what you'll be able to tell me."
Maddie sat for a few uncomfortable minutes while Madame Olga studied her and she found herself wishing she was privy to her thoughts. After a minute or so she became inpatient and was about to stand up when the woman said something that made her pause.
"You're not supposed to be here."
"Really, so where am I supposed to be?"
"There's a man," if Maddie didn't know better she could almost swear the woman had shuddered.
"Isn't there always," she replied ignoring her last thought. "Let me guess, he's tall dark and handsome and he's going to whisk me away to his castle, where we will live happily ever after with about a dozen children."
When Maddie finished she realized the woman had a faraway look in her eyes. "There is a man," she repeated and this time Maddie saw the distinct look of fear.
Lucky for her she wasn't one to believe in all this nonsense, but what could hurt to play along. "Alright, I get it, there's this man." She replied rolling her eyes and waiting for Olga to continue.
"He is a dark, sinister, evil man."
"Well that's a new one on me."
"You're not supposed to be here."
Okay now Maddie felt like she was being pulled around in circles. "You're repeating yourself again." She laughed in spite of the situation.
"He's chasing you. I see an empty dark street. Your afraid and crying out for help. But, he's gaining."
Maddie felt a cold shiver and found herself taking a deep breath. She was about to ask the woman how she could be in two places at once when to her dismay Olga closed her eyes and began to whisper words under her breath. In fact if she didn't know better she would think she was chanting something. The blond girl found herself becoming a bit leery. Every fiber in her being was telling her to leave the tent. But when she tried to stand up she realized she was trapped in her seat.
Maddie panicked. "What's going on?" she cried but the woman was still in her trance like state and she wondered if she could even hear her.
The atmosphere in the room became unbearable as a wind slowly swept in and objects were being moved around her. She knew she was screaming but couldn't hear her own voice do to the harsh sound. What was happening? She suddenly had the oddest sensation that she wasn't where she was supposed to be. A thought that disturbed her, since she was obviously still in the tent.
"There are shadows on the ground as you make your way around a corner. I see tall buildings and concrete sidewalks. The only light comes from a dim lamp on the corner. You're exhausted and your side hurts. But, you run. You are almost to your destination when you feel a hand on your shoulder."
Maddies heart was beating a mile a minute and she was panic stricken. Her movements showed fear and confusion as objects continued to whirl around her. She wanted to cry out to make the woman stop but she couldn't get the sound out. It felt as if she were slowly suffocating and she didn't know how to stop it.
"The man he's got you. He traps you and you have no chance of escape."
The only two words going through Maddie's mind were please stop. She tried to release the woman's grip on her hands but couldn't pull away. She wanted to escape, wanted to run. She wanted fresh air. This place, she couldn't breathe and she found herself becoming light headed and disoriented.
"He bangs your head up against the wall and wraps his hands around your neck. Then you are gone."
The wind stops and the atmosphere in the tent returns to normal. Maddie is feeling better and her confusion is gone. Looking over toward the woman she see's she is staring straight at her. She seems to be waiting for Maddie to say something. Her anger is boiling to the service and she finds she's got plenty to say.
"What the hell was that?"
"You're not supposed to be here."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"You are no longer a part of our world," she replied and Maddie could hear the sympathy in her voice.
"What do you mean," Maddie sighed placing a hand on her forehead. "Now I'm repeating myself."
"Maddie, your dead. That man killed you."
The blond girl had to take a step back to really let those words sink in. Even still, she didn't believe them. "Lady, you're batty."
"You must leave, you don't belong here anymore."
"I am leaving, I'm leaving this tent," she cried turning. "If this is the kind of sick joke you play on other people, you need to consider getting some serious help."
Maddie left the tent and ran right into the hustle bustle of the carnival atmosphere. There were crowds of people talking and laughing. There were children playing games and begging their parents for more time on the rides. Instantly she felt more relaxed and alive. Alive where did that word come from?
She spotted London and the twins standing near one of the ticket booths and smiled. She instantly made her way over to them feeling like a giant weight had been lifted. In that moment she made a promise to herself that she wasn't going to let some crazy lady ruin her fun.
"Hi guys," she smiled at her friends but they didn't respond. "Hello?"
"Where is she," London whined. "The line for the thunder bolt is getting longer."
"I'm sure she'll be here soon. She probably just got held up by Moseby or something," Cody guessed.
"I agree," Zack replied looking over toward a group of girls that had just arrived. He smiled at a particular one as they passed by.
"Zack you have a one track mind," Maddie shook her head. "So who are we waiting for?" Still no answer, what was this, ignore Maddie day. "Seriously guys, not funny."
"London why don't you and Zack go and hold our place in line," Cody suggested. "I'll stay here in case she shows up. I think I'll give the hotel a call as well."
"Alright," As Zack and London left Cody opened his cell phone and dialed the hotel's number.
"Hey Skippy," she heard him say. "Yeah, yeah…ok, sure. Skippy, as soon as I get back I'll take a look at the computer for you, but for now, I need some info."
Cody waited for a few more minutes while Skippy talked. By the look on his face she could tell he was getting annoyed. "Skippy enough, I'll look at it later."
She could hear a faint apology on the other end before Cody continued. She was beginning to wonder what the heck was going on when she heard something that made her freeze in fear.
"Have you seen Maddie?"
"Cody I'm standing right next to you."
"We've been waiting for almost an hour and we're getting worried," he paused for a moment to listen to what Skippy had to say. "What time did she leave?"
"I'm right here. Hello?" she said waving her hands in front of the boys face as a fear embedded itself within her.
"That doesn't make sense she should have been here by now," Cody stated. "I'm going to try her parent's house, maybe she stopped there for something. If you see her tell her to give me a call."
Maddie felt like she was going to be sick as she recalled what Madame Olga had said. It can't be true, can she be dead?
"Liam calm down," she heard Cody say. "Your parents are where?"
Before she realized what happened she was standing in a hallway. Unsure of where she was she looked for any signs that would give her an idea. She noticed it right away and she shivered. The word morgue hung over the door like some bad omen. The next thing she realized is she was standing in a room with large doors on her right and a body stretched out under a sheet in front of her. What the hell?
"It's just this way Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick."
An old man stepped into the room looking tired and warn. Judging from his profession she could understand why. Behind him stood her parents, what were they doing here?
"Now I realize this is hard for you. Unfortunately we have to make a positive ID before we can proceed. Since your daughters drivers license was found a couple of blocks from where this young lady was found we have no choice but to ask you to verify if they are one in the same. Do you understand?"
Her parents simply nodded and waited for the man to pull down the sheet. Her parents immediately burst into tears. As for Maddie she was too much in shock to really do much else but stare at the lifeless body now laid out on that cold piece of metal.
"What happened?" her father managed to ask in between sobs.
"I won't know the extent of what happened until after I do an autopsy, but it's my guess she was strangled."
"I knew you'd be back," Madame Olga sat at the table, her hands folded calmly waiting for Maddie to speak.
"It has to be a lie. I must be dreaming."
"I'm sorry, I wish you were," she replied to the poor shaken girl.
"Then how am I here," Maddie asked. "Am I a ghost?"
"This can't be happening. I was so young. I had so many plans. I'm not ready."
"I'm sorry, but no one really gets a choice in the matter."
"So that story, that man…that was true."
"Yes," Maddie let that sink in.
Was it a mugging, she couldn't have had more than fifty dollars with her. It wasn't fair.
"Who is he?" she asked.
"I don't think that is important right now."
"How is that not important, he killed me."
"If my vision is correct he will be found and prosecuted for his crimes."
"And if your vision is wrong?"
"I know what you are thinking, but you must leave this to the living."
"Who is he, I want a name."
"I don't know his name," she answered.
"Are you telling me the truth?"
"I don't understand, why me?"
"The police will conclude that you were at the wrong place, at the wrong time. But we all have a destiny. And unfortunately all roads lead there. It's not something you can fight or run away from. It simply is. You must accept this. I am truly sorry."
"How come you can see me and no one else can?" Maddie asked the woman.
"Because I'm the veil."
"The what?" she asked confused.
"I'm the veil between this world and the next. I am here to guide lost souls to their final destinations."
"And what is my final destination?"
"That depends upon you," she replied. "It's different for each one of us."
"I thought there was one heaven."
"Heaven is what we believe it to be. Therefore it is different for each one of us."
"Well now you're making a lot of sense."
"It's confusing. But, just know that this is where you are supposed to be."
"Can I say goodbye to my family one more time before leaving?"
Suddenly Maddie was standing in a church. She couldn't help but feel if she wasn't careful she'd get whiplash from all the moving around. St. Anthony's was decorated beautifully with flowers aligning the altar. A marble aligned casket sat in the center as her friends and family began to file inside the building.
Sitting through a funeral was never a fun experience, but sitting through your own was worse. She couldn't seem to pry her eyes from her family for longer than a couple of minutes. There were her parents and brothers and sisters, as well as Mr. Moseby, Carey and everyone from the hotel. Most openly wept for her, the rest seemed to be carrying a permanent lump in their throats.
She did however enjoy listening to the eulogies and what everyone had to say. She never realized what a vital part of her life these people had become. And why not, she shared everything with them. She was going to miss them all dearly.
After the funeral everyone gathered in the Tipton ballroom for a luncheon in her honor. All her favorite dishes were laid out for the guests. Peering over at it she almost thought she'd heard her stomach growl but knew that was impossible.
She was watching everyone chatting when London suddenly ran in with an article in her hand. They'd caught the bad guy she said and everyone jumped out of their seats in an effort to be the first to find out who had killed her.
Maddie noticed the picture but didn't recognize the face. She did have to admit Olga was right, he did have a sinister feel to him. A dark pocked complexion, a long sharp nose and two beady eyes that seemed to bore into a person. Javier Fuentes was described as a danger to society but what caught her eye was the caption underneath. A police officer was quoted as saying he would kill his own grandmother for pocket change. Anger again began to take shape and she found herself wanting to know more about this man.
"I hate to say it but, we don't have enough to pin him down for this murder," she heard an officer say as she stood inside the Boston police department surrounded by detectives. "I think he may walk."
"That's not right," one of the men said. "We know he did it."
"Yes, but we also know that knowing something and being able to prove it, are two different things."
"I know," the first man replied. "Nothing short of a confession will give us the leverage we need."
"I can tell you one thing," the other man said picking up the phone. "I am not looking forward to seeing the expressions on the parent's faces of that poor girl when we tell them that their daughter's killer will go free."
She was then standing inside what appeared to be a twelve by twelve foot cell looking down on the man whose picture was in the paper. There were a few benches surrounding the area but thankfully he was the only one currently being held. The room had three concrete walls and a set of bars as a barrier.
She wondered how much time she had before he would be released.
She began to think back on all the ghost stories she'd read about. All the movies she'd seen about what spirits can do when pushed to the limit. Then an idea formed.
Javier sat looking through a magazine that appeared to be about ten years old. The writing was fading and the pages were torn but he was willing to deal with it for the few hours he knew he'd be here. He thought about the girl he'd killed the other night. He knew the cops were buying their time in the hopes of finding something concrete on him. But, he knew an airtight alibi courtesy of his current girlfriend would cut them short. He couldn't help but laugh. He'd be home by dinner time.
He continued reading with a smile on his face when suddenly it began to get pretty chili in the room. Figuring they had just turned on the air conditioner he pulled his coat a little more tightly around himself. A few minutes later he wondered what was going on when he could see his breath in the air. It felt like he had walked into a cooler or some sort of a freezer plant.
"Okay this is nuts," he grumbled to no one in particular. "Come on guys turn up the heat. It's getting hard to breathe in here." When no one answered his plea he became agitated. "Damn pigs."
He forced himself to relax and ignore the apprehension building inside of him. Reopening his magazine he turned his attention back to the article he was reading on cars when he heard a strange noise. Looking over his attention now remained on the bars in front of him. The sound of someone almost taking a sharp object and running it across the bars made him pause. There was no one physically there, but he could feel another presence. Again he took a breath and again he watched it leave his body.
He forced himself to pretend that nothing was off but he couldn't keep from glancing over in the direction of the bars every few minutes. He was so distracted that when his magazine was knocked out of his hands it took a minute to register what had happened. He jumped up in a panic and ran toward the bars. He began shouting for someone to help him. When two officers showed up he described what happened and told them that their jail was haunted. A few minutes later they walked away laughing.
"Idiots," the young man shouted.
They thought they were so smart but he knew the truth. His grandmother had taught him all about the spirit world and that it was not something to ignore. Turning back toward the room he mustered his courage and stepped into the center.
"Who are you, what do you want?"
"You don't scare me!"
He suddenly felt someone or something shove him. He jumped screaming for the guards. None came. Suddenly his chest felt heavy and it was getting harder and harder to breathe. He went to sit down on the bench and when he did he froze. Two hands were around his throat squeezing. He suddenly knew how that girl must of felt. An animalistic terror engulfed him and he began to fight. Unfortunately fighting is a lot harder when you can't see your attacker.
Tears were rolling down his eyes and he was clawing at his throat trying to relieve the pressure. His mind went back to the girl he had killed and he could almost see her now in this jail cell. Of course that was crazy. The bitch was now six feet under. He was thrown up against the wall and scared to death he had no choice.
"Alright, I did it," the pressure was lessening. "I killed you."
"Who?" asked one of the detectives who were standing outside the cell. Apparently his shouts for help had garnered quite a crowd.
"That Maddie chick," he shouted. "Get her off me."Suddenly he collapsed onto the floor gasping for air.
The men standing around didn't know what to think. There was absolutely no one in the cell with him. Some of them suggested a psychiatric evaluation be done but others insisted that it wasn't necessary. They were determined to believe that Javier was doing all this as some kind of a ploy to keep out of prison. An insanity plea would guarantee that.
When he jumped up screaming to them to be put in another cell, they had conditions. One of those being a confession. He instantly told them everything that happened that night, down to what the girl was wearing and where he'd killed her and left the body. It was all they needed to know and when they opened that cell Javier finally felt relieved.
"Did you have fun?" Olga asked her.
"He's going to prison," Maddie smiled. "That was my only goal."
Olga eyed her knowingly. "Maddie."
"Alright, I may have had a bit of fun. But, I'm hoping now that he has confessed it will be easier for my family and friends to move on and be happy."
"How did the detectives take his confession?"
"I don't think they believe that he was attacked by anything but maybe his own conscience."
"Speaking of moving on."
"I know," she smiled. "I can see the light."
"Where do you think it leads?"
"I think you have to figure that out on your own," she replied with compassion. "I know you're afraid. But, I honestly believe with all my heart that you will find your own piece of heaven when you get there."
"It's time isn't it?" Maddie asked.
"No unfinished business that I know of anyway. Like you said you can't run or hide from destiny. Right."
"That's exactly right."
Maddie looked over toward a corner of the room and there was such a look of tranquility on her face that Olga was almost jealous of the fact that she couldn't feel it. As the blond girl stood up she smiled. "My grandparents and my favorite aunt are waiting for me."
"Then I guess you better get going."
Maddie gave the woman a hug before waving goodbye and turning away. Olga waited as she disappeared and couldn't sense her anymore. The next moment the tent was gone and she was also on her way to her next destination.
AN: Originally posted in the 2011 Halloween Tricks and Treats Collection.
Please R&R then read the rest of the stories that were contributed on "Lodylodylody" profile. Trust me they're to die for! LOL! ;)