Jess woke up with a pounding headache. Rather than blowing her brains out three days ago, she ended up drinking herself to oblivion. She held her throbbing head as she sat up. Her clothes were wet from spilled alcohol, gin bottles and beer cans were all over the place, and Cory’s handgun still sat on the coffee table. For a moment, she thought that a bullet to the head would be less painful than the way she was feeling at that moment.
When she sat on the edge of the couch, she put her foot in something wet. It was vomit. The place smelled of vomit. She wiped her food on a dry patch of the carpet and went into the kitchen where a bottle of aspirin sat already open on the counter. It was empty.
“Damn,” she said, tossing it into the sink with dirty dishes.
She opened the refrigerator for something cold to drink, but there was nothing. She must have drunk everything all ready. As she closed the refrigerator door, images began flashing through her mind. Confusing images. Bad images.
She stumbled to the kitchen table, sat down, and put her elbows on the table so that she could hold her head. The images seemed fresh and seemed real. She remembered leaving Maggie’s apartment after she spent the night, and she remembered the voices, voices in her ear, telling her to go to the basement and to take a knife from behind a mirror. She remembered doing as the voice said, and she took a knife, wrapped in a stained cloth, from behind the mirror. She saw the odd mirror with the writhing snakes, and she saw herself removing the back to take out the knife and then replacing the mirror. She remembered the mirror being heavy and she remembered the voices, male and female, telling her exactly what to do as if she were in a trance.
Tears streamed down her eyes as she remembered finding a skeleton key, just like Maggie’s, in a drawer in the storage room, along with a roll of binder twine. She remembered going back to Sandpiper Bluff and going into Maggie’s apartment, when she was not home, and taking the sunglasses. Then she remembered climbing the stairs to the third floor and knocking on Mr. Zimmerman’s door. The fool was drunk and let her in. When he saw the knife she was wielding, he went to the bedroom as she instructed and laid face down. She remembered him pleading to not hurt him. He sobbed, saying he would do whatever she wanted. But she tied all four limbs to the legs of his bed, with the binder twine, just like the voices told her a patient had once been restrained. What she wanted was to hack him to death, and that was exactly what she did.
Jess saw herself murdering Mr. Zimmerman as the man cried out for her to stop. His cries were sickening and pitiful. Then, as the voices instructed, she left the sunglasses that Maggie had borrowed from her.
Jess saw herself leaving the bedroom with the bloody knife and walking by the TV dinner he had been eating. She took a French fry from the tray, ate it, and left.
Jess screamed and pounded the table with her fist, causing a saltshaker to topple over and roll to the floor. The images were not over. She then saw herself going back and hacking away at the superintendent on other nights. The voices in her head became louder and the images became vivid and real after the murder. She was able to see a little girl, and a man and a woman. They talked to her vile talk, mixed with words of rewards for doing their dirty work. They enticed her to join them in their ecstasy.
The man, who called himself Bruce, would come to her at night like an incubus, and lie upon her as she slept. And the woman, who called herself Deborah, would tell her how she was prettier and better than Maggie. That Maggie had to pay the price for interfering with their eternal lust. And they told her that she, Jess, could join them and never want for anything.
Jess wiped her eyes and began pulling her hair. The memories were clear and they were real. It was then that she realized that it was she who had committed the crime.
“Why did I do it?” Jess yelled, not caring if anyone could hear her psychic breakdown through the thin trailer walls. “It was those damned voices. They made me do it.”
Then she remembered that Maggie’s court date was today. She picked up her purse and ran to her car, not even bothering to close the trailer’s door. She looked and felt like shit.
When she got to the courthouse, she ran up to a window. “What court room is Maggie McGee in?”
The clerk looked shocked by Jess’s appearance and then said. “Courtroom 222.”
Jess ran up the elegant round staircase and to the courtroom door. She knew that if she went in and confessed, her life was over. But she loved Maggie and shame overtook her. She went into the courtroom, reeking of alcohol and vomit.
She saw Maggie in handcuffs sitting at the defendant’s table with her attorney.
As Maggie turned her head to see who had come in through the door, and as a guard approached her, she shouted, “I did it. I killed Mr. Zimmerman. Maggie is innocent.”
Jess saw a gypsy woman stand up in the gallery and bring her hands to her face in disbelief and relief. She heard the judge pound his gavel as the spectators chattered. Then she saw Maggie, her dear friend Maggie, look at her with love. Jess knew she had done the right thing. Love conquers all.
1 Peter 4:8. Above all, preserve an intense love for each other, since love covers over many a sin.