And Her Children Shall Rise... -
11-29-2012, 12:56 AM
Author's Note: I usually come up with a Christmas story around this time, but I'm suffering writer's block right now. I decided to repost this one instead for the holidays. Merry Christmas, one and all!
She floated through the misty landscape, a delicate white flower adrift in space and time. Her pale, bare feet could not step onto terra firma, her slender hands could not grasp anything tangible, yet she was not afraid.
In the distance she saw a shape forming in front of her. She drifted closer. The shape was a man. The shape was her husband.
"John." She spoke his name in a whisper.
"Didi." Though close enough, he seemed to echo from a distance.
She approached him with open arms, as did he. How she missed his touch, his strong hands caressing her! Ten long years, almost an eternity, had they been apart. Now they embraced again, husband and wife, man and woman, together as one.
He pressed her down, down...down onto a stinking mattress in a shabby bedroom of an abandoned house. A grubby hand siezed her, the edge of a knife at her throat. She looked up and saw not the face of her beloved husband, but the Vegas Bomber, the man who abducted her and held her prisoner!
"I can do anything I want with you!" he hissed, leering into her face. " Anything at all!"
Dimitra woke with a start, breathing hard, her heart pounding in her chest, clutching the blankets around her. She found herself in he own bed, in her own room, in her own house in Long Island, New York. She gave a ragged sigh. It had all been a bad dream. Four weeks, she counted. A whole month. A whole month had gone by since the Vegas Bomber had met his firey end in the back of a police van, after she escaped from that locked room with the help of God, her son, Christopher, and her Guardian Angel to protect her. A whole month, and the nightmares continued, even after her sprained ankle had healed and her sons saw her off safely back to New York, with Costa to look after her. After an entire month of freedom, he still held her prisoner.
She curled up under the covers and began to cry.
Criss Angel sighed as his cell phone went off in his pocket. Who was it this time? he wondered. Producers, editors, reporters, photgraphers, management, fans--it seemed the whole world made demands on his time. Such was the price of fame, he thought. Still, he wished for just a few moments for himself, get his thoughts together, or just dream.
He pulled out the phone and flipped it open. Costa, the tiny screen read. Well, at least it was family. "Hey, Costa, what's up?"
"Hi, Criss," his brother responded on the other end. "Thought you'd like to know about Mom."
"Sure." Criss always wanted to know about Mom, especially about her welfare. The kidnapping had shaken her so badly she was afraid to be alone. She forsook her own suite at the Luxor to spend a night or two with Criss in his own. That was why Costa volunteered to fly with her to New York. "How is she doing?"
"Well, for the past few weeks, she'd been acting pretty weird."
"Weird?" Criss was bewildered. "Whaddya mean, 'weird'?"
"Well, she wouldn't leave the house for the first week or two since she got home. She'd lock the doors and double check the home security system. Some days she wouldn't even get out of bed. I'd ask her what was wrong, and she'd snap at me. Once I came in to check on her, and I found her hiding behind a chair."
Criss stood in stunned silence. This wasn't his mother at all. What had turned this sweet, beautiful woman into a cowering wreck?
"Did you do anything for her? Take her to a doctor or something?"
"I did manage to get her to a doctor," Costa admitted. "He said she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She is still living in fear from the kidnapping. She says it still gives her nightmares."
Criss mentally damned the Vegas Bomber for the damage he inflicted upon his beloved mother. It was bad enough that both he and Costa were injured from his attacks--hell, he nearly lost his career because of him--but to make his mother suffer like that, even beyond the grave (if he had one) was unbearable. (1)
"What did the doctor say to do to help her?" he inquired.
"Well, he said she should 'go outside of herself'. You know, take up an activity, do some volunteer work. Do something to get her life back to normal. In the meantime, we're to give her all the love and support we can give, and to be patient in the meantime."
Do volunteer work. Go outside of herself. That sounded like good advice. It would at least get her out of the house. As for love and support, she already had plenty of that. Not only from her own family, but on the Loyal Community website.
When word of Dimitra's abduction got out, the Loyal websites everywhere almost blew up. If their outrage for the Bomber's attack on Criss himself inflamed the Loyals' outrage, then the kidnappping of their beloved Mother Angel added fuel the fire. Prayers for her safe return stood side by side with vitrolic threats against the Bomber. Loyals competed with each other as to who could come up with the most vindictive epithets. Many had to be deleted. Others wept cybertears on line for Dimitra's plight. So much love and support for her and her family filled page after page of Criss Angel websites all around the world, it would have qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize. Dimitra would have all the love and support she needed to recover.
"Well, she's got mine already," Criss told his brother. "Is she there? Can I talk to her?"
"Yeah, she's right here." A pause while the phone was passed. Then, "Hello, Christopher."
"Hi, Mom, how ya doin'?" He tried to sound upbeat. "You feeling okay?"
"I'm fine." She tried to sound upbeat, too. "Are you all right?"
"I'm doing all right, it's you I'm worried about."
"Yeah, Costa's been telling me you've been having bad dreams and being scared and all."
"Oh, that." She seemed to drift. "I'm sorry for all that. I just..."
"Mom. it's gonna be okay. You just need to start living again. Go out and do some volunteer work like the doctor said. You don't have to be afraid anymore. The Bomber is dead. He can't hurt you anymore. You're safe."
"Well, I...I don't know..."
"You can do it, Mom, I know you can. You were always there for me, supporting all I did, even if it worried you half to death. You gave me the confidence I needed to succeed. You just need to find it in yourself."
He heard a sniffle over the line. "Mom, don't cry. No more tears, okay? Just find something you want to do and just do it, okay? Don't let your fears get in the way. Always remember, we all love you."
"I love you, Chris." she quavered.
"I love you more," he replied.
During lunch, Criss' cousin, George Strumpolis, was telling his cousins about his fiancee's sister's parole hearing.
"Not only did she ask for a cell with a private bathroom," he laughed, "but she even asked if there was a hair salon in there!"
Everyone doubled over laughing. Talk about being unclear of the concept! Ever since Bianca Honi had been sentenced to two years for petty theft, she had been totally incapable of adjusting to prison life. Accustomed to salons, day spas and health clubs, she was a fish out of water among the prison population. Indeed, the other prisoners made this little "fish" feel very unwelcome on their turf. Mass produced, inferior meals, one shower a week, a cramped cell shared no bigger than a walk-in closet, grueling work details--it was hell on earth for a pampered princess such as Bianca.
"And get this," he continued, his cousins all ears. "She even went to the warden and asked for a weekend pass to attend the wedding!" (2)
"You've got to be kidding me!" Criss shook his head in disbelief, laughing.
"Swear to God!" George raised his hand to affirm the truth. "She really did! Warden turned her down flat, of course."
"Oh, man!" JD rubbed his face to compose himself. "So, did she make parole?"
"Hell, no! The parole board said she hadn't been 'rehabilitated' enough. Anyway, I'm glad she's still in there. She'd have ruined the whole wedding."
Criss and JD nodded in agreement. Bianca had been a self-centered narcissist who abused her sister, Angela, George's fiancee', phyically and emotionally. Maybe a stint in prison would make her a better person, they had reasoned. Maybe not.
"So," JD spoke up, changing the subject. "When is the wedding again?"
"Last week in June," George answered. "You got the invitation, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but it slipped my mind for a moment." JD smiled apolgetically. Then he sighed. "Hope Mom will be okay for the trip."
"What's wrong with your mom?" George became concerned.
"Well, ever since that kidnapping by the Bomber, she's been going through post-traumatic stress disorder." JD explained. "She's been living in fear and acting kinda strange--hiding behind furniture, things like that."
"Gee, that's too bad," George sympathized. "Hope she gets over it before the wedding. I don't want her to miss it."
"The doctor said she should go outside of herself and do some volunteer work to help get her back in the swing of things." Criss added.
"What kind of volunteer work did they suggest?"
"They didn't suggest anything," Criss replied. "Just get out of the house and start living."
"Hmmmm. I wonder what kind of volunteer work your mom could do?" George mused.
"Oh, I dunno, uh, maybe help with the homeless," Criss suggested. "After all, that's what Angie does."
"Or the Red Cross," JD offered. "She's seen you get hurt enough to learn all the first aid she needs."
"Yeah, ha, ha, I forgot how to laugh," Criss sneered. "Maybe work with kids?"
"How about Habitats for Humanity?" George spoke up.
"Oh, yeah, right!" Criss sneered again. "My mother in a hard hat and tool belt hammering two-by-fours? I don't think so!"
"Look, whatever she chooses, it'll help her to help others," JD said with all finality. "She's doing this more for herself than for anybody else."
"Yeah, JD is right," Criss concurred. "It'll be good for her to go out and do something worthwhile, help her forget all the hell she'd been through." And he'd feel better, too, he thought. Whatever made his mother happy was all right by him. The question remained: What kind of volunteer work would best be suited for Dimitra?
(1) See "Avenging Angel"
(2) See "The Cave of Sorrow"