It always takes an absence so great to cause a flicker of light. As he brushed his hand over the dancing flame, the holy illumination was a reminder of this symbol of truth.
Such light can reignite and fire an imagination to move it away from the darkness or the intense feeling of pain, it becomes the perfect distraction from hovering too long over any sorrow of loss. Having walked through these ornate walls many times before, he was always fascinated by its scene stealers, the paintings, the colours streaming from the stained glass windows; how it all reminded him of childhood picture books, images imprinted long ago. He felt as much intrigue for the inside of this place as the reverence it gave him to be able to now mourn for her in peace.
The heat in the palm of his hand, brought him back for a moment, as the images of her beautiful bright face flooded him, seared into his mind for the brilliance that had belonged to her. Even the shades of darkness that extended out from the aisle & then crept their way further back into the arcade of arches, couldn’t diminish the strength of that type of light. It would stay burnt into memory for those who had crossed or walked along some of her path. As they had filed in to take their place along the rows of wooden seats, he had watched and waited, studying their idiosyncrasies, taking note how in her animated descriptions shared with him she was again right. The trepidation and nervousness of some stood out like the soreness he was sensing with his thumb, rubbing it over the holster of his gun.
Steady Rob, easy does it, he reminded himself.
The wave of warmth from the candles flame, was an energy that very much needed to comfort and steady him now. He observed how its silhouette was casting his focus to a single spot, the frame on the mantel that was her. She was certainly enough to make you shimmer from the beauty she had radiated.
Oh yes, it was her light that used to amplify on a frequency most could never quite catch or understand, it could expand and radiate in all directions and carry a momentum that could interact with anything when it had cared to matter, and matter it always did, to her. She was the switch to turn on by only the touch of a hand. Her hands, attached to arms that he so desperately wanted to feel wrapped around him again now.
But the light today, had to dance to a different movement held by most under its spell of grief and for others he hoped it would be a spotlight to capture the drama that had unfolded and for the part they had played. He had never been able to understand why she felt the need to keep him ‘unknown’ or why most of their life had been lived in secrecy & code, that was until he had moved into the same line of work with her, recognising the danger from an underbelly most did not realise existed.
Her fulgent patterns and sparkling shapes that had framed every part of him since birth, that no-one from any amount of trying had since been able to quite reach or cover such fullness in girth. He was more than just the concept of that though, she had influenced his decisions and choices throughout life, his developmental lens had become finely attuned with distinctive capabilities attributed to her. He was a graduate of her specialised training in a field only reserved for the elite. It was this grit and physical toughness that had kept him calm and collected today.
Just like his favourite novel, she always set the mood for what was being expressed, those animated features, the glow of her face - she didn’t need to be anything else other than herself to simply shine or for him she was the read to know what was going on. She had taught him to study her well.
But today, it was him that had set the scene, making sure she was a light that heightened the level that all could see, for it had been this he just knew that had made her the angry attack of what she had referred to as “a group of human stinging bees”. Funnily enough, he remembered how she had said it whilst spreading honey on his toast. He had loved that about her too, how her wit in times of trouble was so coruscating in its striking display. He’d heard it again in her voice on the message she’d left for him on his phone that day. Even when young he had known that her job always brought risk, how it had potential to open them up for attack, yet they had been careful to stay out of the spotlight, to not raise interest, and to always loop back. It was this code that had been easy for him to trace her killers. Like the eleventh hour or at the eleventh call, she had always said it is from here you will get the simple answer that reveals all.
As his hand brushed again over the flickering flame, he picked the addiction before connecting either of them to anything else. He watched their nervous, awkward slide into the pew, impressed at how they could pretend a sadness he knew they didn’t feel. Their emotion was more a shocked elation of what they had been able to get away with, probably the similar rush they had often experienced when in the peak of drugs. People he had learned, often gave themselves away, comments dropped into conversation, recognition written on their face, the groups they had to form for protection; for him it was all so easy to read, yes, the Milesy/Morgante boys were a ‘dead giveaway’.
In their haste to leave the scene they had not bothered to look over her body. There is often so much evidence in the lead up to the crime, if a proper investigation is done. He had pulled apart the Coroner's report after retracing her steps and it was here the first of many alarm bells began to ring for those he was realising had dirty feet! He had revisited places and faces that easily mapped the route she had taken, detecting the sloppy work that often comes in the coverup of homicide. It brought him back to the items found in her bag, how it had been their way of gloating from the sick games they had played, another way to attempt to add shame from what they had done. “Boys will be boys” he chuckled to himself. Little did they know that above them, a ‘bigger brother’ had been looking on.
“Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood, and all the people shall say, A.men” Deuteronomy 27:25
It was this call the minister made that drew him up to the pulpit to read his eulogy. The exchange between them read loud and clear of what they had both discussed in private chambers in the lead up to this day. Milesy & Morgante in the chemical warfare they had carried out on half of the town, the same one they had used to fry their own brains, were beyond any state of awareness or comprehension at how the law and its protection ran deep, how today it would all come undone. As he unfolded the paper in his hand, this eulogy would be sure to let them know what they had taken away and that somewhere through the length of time that would become their way of life the judgment of God would be his savior. This message Father Kent had reminded him many times whilst in chamber was just as powerful as his gun. “Do not take matters into your own hands, my son”.
‘Thank you all for coming today to celebrate the life of my mother and her passing at the hands of a cruel fate’. It was this first sentence that sent an echo through the church, the surprise on all the faces before him that had not been aware he was her son.
“Denise was my aggregate: those superb elements formed into combined clusters, like stardust, an ethereal quality in her stride, she was simply magic, how it showed in her sparkling mesmerizing loving eyes, a smile that sent you such thoughts of heaven impossible to not feel pride’.
Oh yes, Today he would be sure to let them know what they had taken away, that through God there would come a time when there would be a hefty price they had to pay.
“What most of you here today, probably don’t know is that my mum was a great detective. Until today, most also wouldn't know that I was her son, the other one working undercover as her ‘backup plan’ or as she used to like to call me her ‘number one main man’”.
He remembered telling Father Kent how each case they had worked on, she would write letters addressed to those she believed to be the guilty party or assassin to the crime, they were never sent, just attached back to a file. It was how she measured her skill and acknowledged what she did well. Those letters had always stayed hidden away, but these last two he had found tucked under her pillow and shared with Father Kent had given them both the idea. Its what had made him reveal his identity today, that and the fact that he wanted her congregation of family and friends to know there could be a different way to right a wrong.
‘On that eleventh call she made to me, she asked that I distribute the two letters she had written, the very same ones I hold in front of me now. If the names Milesy & Morgante are here today, please come forward and accept this gift.
Feeling his heartbeat a little faster now, he waited in anticipation wondering what the two boys would do. Knowing that what they had done would make it hard to accept a ‘gift’ or that there even could be a gift, he could see the look of horror and confusion playing out on their faces; would the drugs take over, the paranoia kick-in and see them run? He cast his eyes to the back of the church, a slight nod of the head was enough for Father Kent to know he could see him blocking the exit through the door.
Remember my son, kill your enemies with kindness, for that alone is enough to drive them into hell.
He knew it only needed her words on the pages of those two letters to bee the price the boys had to pay.
As they ran for the exit, he watched as Father Kent began to pray.
Through those words of prayer he heard another divine message:
Always hold faith in my love, he could hear her say.