The town of Smithee had always been uneventful and dull. Mr. Robertson had been the butcher for years, Sister Mary had always run the chapel, and the many townspeople had always attended church services every Sunday. Nothing ever changed, and the people of Smithee liked it so. So, when the strange, unwelcome Somana Siblings moved into the largest, most lavish house in town, the townspeople began to talk nosily amongst themselves.
Mysteriously, the five Somana Siblings were the antithesis to the townspeople in every way imaginable: the family comprised three elder sisters who were, in spite of their twenty-something ages, running the unorthodox household where their two teenaged brothers were being raised. The siblings were most strange, from their dark, satanic-like clothing and obscene makeup to the odd language they spoke only amongst themselves, which was less a language and more a venomous mix of unsettling snarls and hisses; spookiest of all, the Somanas had no trace of an accent when speaking to various townspeople, even leaving the impression that the whole family was exceedingly articulate.
I had never agreed with Claire's selfish reasoning for harboring in the pathetic town of Smithee. The cult lifestyle here—from the brain-dead housewives and their monster-like, dominating husbands to the brainwashed children blooming like clones into religious extremists (in other words, following the footsteps of their parents)—repulsed me. The moment I entered our new home I was sure we'd made a terrible mistake; present circumstances proved this beyond any doubt.
Henry Robinson’s death was a tragedy. My dear sister, Claire, spent two years in avid research with him at the University. She had been entering graduate school and he, fresh in University. She took notice to him immediately, noticing his particular attraction to eccentric science. According to Claire, within three months they were studying and experimenting together. All went well at the start, but after two years, a perhaps overzealous Henry felt his time was wasted at a university constricted by tight boundaries and immense interest in only conventional science and political correctness. And so he returned to Smithee, became a bartender, and opened a lab in the basement of his home. He implored Claire to visit often.
"But someone digs upon my grave? My enemy - prodding sly?" — Thomas Hardy
Claire lost her mind. I never saw her in such paranoia and in such rage. She was positive we were next on the chopping block. She locked us inside her basement laboratory after dimming all the lights, forcing us to hide down there in total quiet for three nights straight. Only after much protest did Claire finally let us out, tearful and shaken like I'd never seen her.
But I understood, or at least tried my best to. Evie, who was normally entirely verbal, was quiet and cold. She snapped when spoken to, and could not sleep any longer than three hours at a time. Medaysa repeatedly went into nervous fits where she pulled hair from her scalp, especially the night of Sam’s murder. Jacob, apprehensive but never speaking, was always chalk-white and anguished face. I, only thirteen and too young to be really scared of dying per say, still felt astonishingly afraid all the time...
It was a terrifying time of shock and disruption for everyone and everything in town.
Jacob and I weren’t close to Sam or Henry, no, but it was obvious the murders were no coincidence. Someone was murdering with a clear motive, which, based on the bloody messages, was very religious. As we were far from Christian — and therefore totally unlike everyone else in this small psycho town — I was scared as ever for our lives!
The medical examiner apparently had revealed both victims had been brutally stabbed sixty-six times, after castration — Even beyond death. This shocked and frightened all, naturally. As we hadn’t left our home, I wouldn’t know, but I was sure most everyone else had hid indoors, too. They didn’t want their families hurt.
Detective Horace and Motif questioned us again, but we once again had an alibi. They suspected us less as our entire family was unlikely to be murdering together. Instead, the repeated bloody message seemed to be the new investigative focus, because (finally!) the detectives began looking for clues among the most devoted religious icons in the community...
No one knew of the secret relationship of Sam and Henry beside my family and the detectives. As far as the town knew, someone just liked the taste of blood. Of course, though, the town still solely suspected my family. I suppose they thought my sisters killed Sam and forced two boys, fifteen and thirteen, to watch...
So not surprisingly, we still never left home for a whole week.Then, for whatever reason, I brought it upon myself to prove our insulting accusers wrong. It was Sunday again and I was sure the culprit would be around again. Pretending I was asleep in my room, I slid out of the window, pocket knife in coat, flashlight in hand. I began my way down the road to the church, which was full of townspeople expecting another murder, no doubt. I was shocked there was even a service, given the circumstances.
Local police officers were stationed around the church. The killer wasn’t going to come. I began my way back, but a blinding light flashed upon me. I had been spotted. And then I realized how guilty I looked. I wore a long black coat with a knife in my pocket — Sam and Henry had been stabbed. As the police approached me, a million horrible thoughts raced through me. How could I have done something so moronic?
Three of them came within five feet of me, weapons held ready at side, flashlights on me. I put my left arm above my eyes so I could see. The men looked so intimidating. They were big, tall men and I was a short, scrawny boy. They would frame me, I knew it!
“Identify yourself!” one said fiercely.
“Kyle Somana,” I croaked.
“What are you doing here? Up to no good, I see!” a stern other said.
Then the worst happened. The third officer searched me, and he found my knife. And then all three of them watched me in disgust but in success, truly believing they had found the culprit.
“It’s dangerous to go out without protection!” I screamed indignantly. “Do you see blood on my tracks regardless, on this knife I carry protectively?”
They stopped, a bit taken aback. I took my opportunity to continue. “I came to see if I could spot anything. I have the right to walk around protected. Do you see a body? No!”
I was so, so nervous; I pretended confidence. Why would I expect them to do their job honestly?
“We should take him in for questioning,” said a third officer. He came towards me to try to handcuff me. I jumped three steps back.
“What evidence do you have to arrest me? What you know of the law my sister Evie could probably fit in the palm of her hand, trust me! She’s a criminal lawyer,” I screamed in defense. This was only half-true; although Evie was the most well-read person I knew on the subject, she was only obsessed, not employed in criminal law.
“Let him go,” grunted a stiff-sounding fourth officer with a black top hat on, probably the highest-ranked officer present.
“Go home, kid, or we will have a problem.”
"Yes sir. Thank you," I stuttered anxiously.
His inferiors were hesitant, disappointed clearly because of their wanting glory, but in pure relief I quickly made my way off—And then the glass shattered at the chapel while I was passing and nearly scathed me. Flying through came a marble, almost human-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ, now destroyed. Something horrible was going on in there. I looked both ways, unsure of what to do.
“STOP WATCHING ME!” screamed a female voice from inside the chapel. A candle, kept in a glass container with religious imagery was thrown through the window next, it too shattering and causing a small fire. I was too scared to move as I stood on the left side of the window, not daring to peer inside. Then I heard footsteps coming my way, and I was lucky to see Detectives Horace and Motif running impressively fast.
"Help ... Something crazy ..." I breathlessly managed, unnerved entirely, so it took everything in me to recover and scream, "SOMEONE BALLISTIC HAS INVADED THE CHAPEL AND IS VIOLENTLY DESTROYING IT TO PIECES!!" I shook with panic as I did, as I confirmed that, yes, I myself had first-hand witnessed the latest sight of heinous horror to rampage the town. Needlessly said, I was greatly relieved to see the detectives break through the small chapel's side door a second or two later.
One of them — I was too distracted by my inner anxieties to see which — flipped on the lights. Everything illuminated before my eyes as I took a sneaking glance inside the chapel: Sister Mary was in there, untamed and agitated, in the long aisle between the pews on either side, surrounded by life-sized, broken statues of religious icons. It looked very scary, and for a lack of better term, evil. She was crying. Her hair was a mess; her eyes bulged. She looked exhausted.
“They stare at me, they rid me with uncontainable guilt!” she yelled fearfully, running to a large statue of Jesus at the altar, lifting it at chest-level and smashing it in front of the closest pews. “Make it stop!”
“Ma’am, do not move!” screamed the highly demanding Motif in a full, utterly unabashed voice. Horace ran towards her, grabbed her, and sat her down in one of the pews. Shockingly, she began to calm down as he firmly held her by the shoulders, softly asking her, “Why, Sister? Why do they watch you?” Horace smiled at her sweetly, like a man to his senile mother.
I understood perfectly. She had murdered Sam and Henry and now she was losing her mind. I hated her so much, more than any human had ever before him, I felt so sure of this...
At every pew there were pockets that altogether contained a grand total of probably over 100 copies of the Bible (literally), the King James generic intended for congregants to follow along with at Sunday service. Sister Mary pulled one out and began reading a familiar-sounding passage from the Book of Corinthians. “'Liars, Adulterers, thieves, homosexuals, will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven'.”
Every moment her madness further confirmed her guilt. Horace pulled the Bible from her, relaxed her arms, and smiled at her in a consoling manner. His innocence reflected that of a child as he innocuously requested of her, “Is that why you did it, Sister? Did you do God’s will?”
The aggrieved Sister screamed out loud as she grabbed the Bible from Horace and opened it to a consecutive passage. In a mystical tone shuddered with utter warning, she explained, "Look at the Book of Leviticus: 'And no man should lie with another man, and no woman with another woman, for this is disgusting'..."
Increasingly agitated, Sister Mary was screaming and shaking without any sign of near stop. “THEY WON’T STOP WATCHING ME!!!!!” White as a ghost in her delirium so outright,so incessant, the Sister pointed enragedly over at the remaining religious statues in the chapel.
Horace once again tried to calm her. “Shut your eyes. Tell me everything. The pain will dissipate, you’ll feel better, Sister,” he said with such manipulation, such intimation, that it made my skin crawl.
“Those boys … I saw them kissing in an alley once when I was walking home. When I left the Catholic Church, I came here and was accepted, and I even kept my title of a Sister, and I started this chapel. I had a duty …I will burn this village before I let such disgust, such high level of blasphemous corruption, occur!” she declared, tearful through scourging, barely coherent screams of utter madness, disturbingly inhuman in her body's hideous convulsion.
An unreal rage— one beyond the reaches of human control it seemed— possessed me. Realizing what she meant in one unforgettable suffocating moment, I psychotically grasped the knife and I couldn’t stop. I ran inside, and pulled the knife from in my jacket. I wanted to kill her, to slaughter her for what she had done. She had killed innocent, caused stress and chaos and terror. I charged at her in the most rage I’ve ever felt in my entire life.
“Stop!” called Motif severely. She lunged at me, and skillfully pulled the knife from my hand. She restrained me from destroying the cold-blooded woman, sympathy-stricken as she determinedly whispered, “Don’t— You’ll regret it. You’ll only ruin your own life.”
“...I saw Claire Somana tonight. She had gone out right before service, to grab pain killers from the pharmacy, I took my bloody knife and I, I —” Sister breathlessly began confessing.
I immediately almost fainted. I knew what was coming, and I couldn’t take it. I felt my body sink from this world to the next, to some strange void worse than any kind of religious hell, to a place where there was truly nothingness, and where I was nothing, and where I could not return. I knew what she was going to say, and I couldn’t hear it, but I did. “The eldest sister’s body is behind the alter table.” She got up and raced up the altar. Horace followed and then alas—
He saw the body, bloodied as ever, and with the glance of total terror on its unfortunately lifeless face.
I wanted both for her to be dead and to be dead myself.
My life had been, and was now furthered by, a new excess of misery. My parents, and now my eldest sister were gone. I so wanted to kill her … I deserved that much. Motif grabbed her fiercely, nearly breaking her arm, pulling her from the altar. I was surprised she had left me standing there. How had she known I wouldn’t run and stab the woman? I suppose because Horace was standing by her anyway, examining my sister’s body … Or perhaps it was that I was too traumatized.
“Sister Mary Paul, you’re under arrest for the murders of Claire Somana, Henry Robinson and Sam Williams …” began Motif austerely, but I believe I fainted right then and there as that is the last I remember, before Sister Mary was fully read her rights (which would have probably felt good to hear, admittedly). I’m glad because I never saw Claire’s body, and truthfully I'm glad I never got the chance to.
I think that I would die.
I later learned that written in a bloody hand's print on the floor over Claire's head was the identical message as twice before: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned". Fucking extremist zealots finding a religious justification for their evil actions— How shocking' I recall was my first bitter dry thought.
And even when the murderer was sentenced to never leave prison again, left in the strictest-as-possible solitary confinement behind prison bars, I felt nothing near resilience for a very long time. But I did go on, and so did my remaining family, and how? Well, Claire was the strongest person I had known, and she would not have wanted us to give up, regardless of the pain that barreled the deathly salt into our burning wounds. That's right — for Claire and Claire alone we could not let ourselves die from the abominations of Sister Mary, from the hardships she delivered us. We recovered beyond the loss of our parents, and somehow we would survive beyond the devastating night when that nun poisoned my ears with her colder-than-ice revelations...
"A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyrannies." — 'The Wolf and the Lamb', Aesop