The Epilogue to UnRisen
Trina had deeper reasons to visit the Catchold Manor.
One Week Before Trina Started Her Census Job
“It is possible to start a life without you all. And it’s not to spite what we had. What we started as a family-like group sparked something inside me. A flame ignited within and it told me to move on. So I am. No more, no less. Ok?”
Trina kissed and hugged her long time girlfriends goodbye. They all formed a group of near cult like status.
“But you can’t escape what we did initiation night,” one of her friends warned. “It said it would hold onto you or reclaim you.”
Trina turned around and said, “I’m not sure what it told me.”
She dismissed their experimentation with occult rituals and let the memories rumble through her mind.
The group had been there for here after she and her twin brother parted ways at age seventeen. From age twelve to seventeen, Trina and her brother managed a life after their parents died. There had been no one to take them in. During their temporary housing in a church hall, he became a very young pastor-assistant in the local church. Trina couldn’t assimilate into the church so well and deviated when the both of them celebrated their 17th birthday. He didn’t want to admit she was pulled by other forces but had to accept her free-will. This parting of ways with her girl group held a familiar tone of separation and mutual emotions.
And now, she was free of her brother, the church group and her girl group. She pulled herself together and frequented local job fairs.
Within a few days Trina found herself being interviewed and hired to complete census taking.
She was shown her region in great detail. It spawned a twenty-five mile radius and she had to do it on foot. She hadn’t a dollar to her name upon declaring her liberty. Costly car and public transportation options reduced her mobility to her own two feet. She took the inconvenience of it all into consideration by allowing a brief thought to call her brother for money. Her resolve vanished because she felt a distinct need to live life on her own terms. Her instructor trailed her route on the map with her fine-polished fingertips. The route ended on the Catchold Manor.
“Here is where your count should finish up and set you up nicely with the expected numbers we think you’ll confirm. No one else will go here but you. Do this and you may make manager level. “ the manager said with a wink. “Shh, tell no one, alright? You’ll do quite well, I’m sure.”
Trina paused for a moment before this exchange settled in her mind. Something about her route end-point bothered her but it quickly subsided with the prospect of being promoted.
She rushed to the pay phone to call her brother and tell of her fortune. He would appreciate this opportunity for her.
“Ken, Ken I did it!”
“Trina? Hey, how are you?”
“Ken, I did it!”
“Did what, hon?”
“ I left that awful group you warned me about.”
“Whoa, that is big news.”
“You proud of me?”
“I’ve always been proud of you and your better judgment, sis.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Come on, you and I had it rough before the church took us in. It got a little better during our time there. I learned to lead and you followed. And you did well. Until…”
“Until you left for that, er, gang or cult.”
“I left them. Aren’t you listening to me?”
“Yeah, I am. So where are you? Are we due for a reunion or something?”
“No, Ken…not yet.”
“Why not yet?”
“Something incredible happened. Guess.”
“Guess? You’re born again?”
“You’re a nun?”
“Ken! No, “ Trina guffawed, twirling her hair in between her fingertips.
Ken always did have a sharp sense of humour, and with perfect timing.
“Ok, you drive a cab.”
They shared deep, loud laugh together, which brought back memories of them struggling to live ~ with their sense of humour carrying them through most of the time.
“I got a job. And they want to promote me.”
“A job? Whoa. You’re full of great news, today.”
“Damn straight, bro.”
She paused for effect.
They burst out laughing again.
“Thank you, Ken. I knew you’d be happy for me.”
“I am. So what form of slavery is it?”
“Slavery? I’m gonna smack you! Now listen, after I do the census just outside where we used to live, they said I’d be promoted. Especially after counting whoever’s in the Manor.”
“The Manor. You know, the Manor we feared as kids.”
“Is that why they’ll promote you?”
“Well, that’s not written down. But she certainly sounded sure of it.”
“Sis, really? That place is…well…evil.”
“I’m doing a census, not making them dinner and dessert.”
“Just, wait a second.”
“Hey, if you’re going to lecture me. “
“What about your safety?”
“Spare me, Ken. I count at the door, not over a meal.”
“What if those rumours we heard were actually true, Trina?”
“The ones about missing visitors? No one has said anything about anything in this town. “
The pause between them created a thick, almost tangible barrier.
“Ken, I’m doing this. It’s a big break for me. Can you at least support me?”
“Well, you’re not going to like something I have to say.”
“Then don’t say it, Ken.”
“I kind of have to, sis.”
Ken hesitated. The fluttering of pages broke the silence on his end of the phone conversation.
“Ken? What are you doing.”
“I’m going to pray for you.”
“Why? Come on. It’s a census job, not an exorcism!”
“Trina, listen to me carefully. This is serious.”
“Well, this talk we’re having? It’s the last one.”
His words stung like a hive of bees. Trina choked back a huge gasp.
“It’s a census job, Ken! That’s it. Please stop with your cryptic warnings. Please. Just be happy for me, already.”
On the other end of the phone, she could hear him whisper prayers.
“Why do you have to be like this, Ken?”
“You know I can sense the future. This isn’t something I kid around with. When you mentioned the manor, that thud of inner knowing just got me. There’s something about your…your…”
He couldn’t finish his sentence because she hung up.
Ken spoke into the phone as it droned with its deadly sounding dial tone.
“I love you, sis. May your soul escape its fate.”
A tear fell from his eyes.
His soul protested louder than a thousand voices swept up inside a violent storm.
Bill D. Bistak, Author, Producer of Bestshorthorrorstories.com & Founder of Friedrich Imagines, Ltd. a media production company