"Communal Bruises" by Raj Raj, November 2012

Disclaimer: All characters presented here are product of fiction. Any resemblances to real characters are of a pure coincidence. No intention was made to insult anyone for any reason.

AN: This story is an act of fiction. No one should attempt to act in the same manner as described.

AN2: None.

Summary: The promise of an eternal family influenced his actions toward his family members. Kitchens facing the toilet are against vastu.

Communal Bruises

Nicknamed "Miss Beach", popular journalist of the local TV station "Star Far" finally scheduled that long-awaited interview with a famous writer, Esther Sherman.

"Well …", Esther smiled meekly as she tended to her roses, gloves protecting her delicate skin from thorns, "… We've been actually 'homesteading' here at the Cottage for almost two years now, but …", she strained her muscles to reach for one rose bud, "… prior to that we did 'urban homesteading' in the suburbs for four years." Miss Beach nodded, checking whether her colleagues got it all on cameras.

"Ms. Sherman … could you tell us perhaps how was it that the spirit of your dead sister entered your body? Or … how is it that you stopped being Esther and became, well …", Miss Beach had to bite her lower lip to prevent laughter, "… your deceased sister, Lucy?"

"It was that 'white witch', Patricia …", she was holding her arms down as if her hands, although well protected with gloves, would soil her delicate silk blouse, "… she told me that the pyramid yantra can be used for wish fulfillment …" her gaze in the distance seemed dissipated and emotionless.

"So … how did you do it then?"

"You mean …", she chuckled in some low tone, checking on the remainder of her flowers, "… how I managed to change spirits?"

"Yes …" Miss Beach seemed amused. Esther grinned straight at the camera and then showed towards the porch area.

After they seated themselves, Miss beach checked with her crew and then waved to Esther to continue. Esther shook her head, smiling to the camera as if offering some ancient recipe.

"Sit calmly in a quiet place and hold the wish machine in your left hand placing your right hand on it." She gesticulated with her hands as well, feeling rejuvenated after the coffee and tea that her house maid made for them. "Repeat your wish for two minutes and then keep the machine in a safe place. Do this twice every day until your wish is fulfilled."

"Now … Ms. Sherman … Can wish fulfillment be explained … rationally?"

"Oh, no …", she twisted her head sideways as if some invisible individual tried to snap her neck from behind, "… no, no, no, no! No way!" She giggled.

"About Patricia … is she descending from some native Indian tribe perhaps?"

"Well …", Esther sighed, noticing new birds on her lawn, "… Thirteen years ago I would have concluded the same, you know …" She glanced briefly towards Miss Beach and then continued in some mildly morose tone. "But after the spirit of two hundred years old 'crazy Apache Indian chief' named High Hawk entered her body …"

"Excuse me for interruption Ms. Sherman …", there were some mild snickers behind journalist, "... but how did it enter her body?"

"Oh …", Esther seemed surprised that Miss Beach did not know that, "… 'in a trance on a Wednesday evening' …", this poised 70-ish lady nodded in some persuasive manner.

"But … these happenings of spirits entering bodies ... it was discovered by your ancestor, Michael Ainslie if I am not wrong?"

"That's right! He got married on April the 13th, 1837, in Kirtland, Ohio." She nodded slowly again, clasping hands in her lap.

"Now Ms. Sherman … could you tell us more after your sister got ill? …"

"Well …", she sighed sadly, looking at a cat that was stalking carefully through the bushes, aiming at the oblivious birds on the ground, "… In the ensuing days of her illness, … my sister's condition worsened, even though they had been able to pause on their journey and find places to rest."

"She was travelling while being sick?"

"Oh, yes." She chuckled coldly, noticing that the cameraman had different socks. "She wanted to see more of the world before … you know …"

"And … when was this?"

"Let me see …", she gasped sadly again and then started to calculate something on her fingers, "… I know that on December the 3rd her husband found her wife very low. He spent the day in taking care of her, and the following day he returned to their cottage house near Lake Erie … in fact … to a nearby town to be more precise …", she smiled feebly towards the camera and then continued, "… to get some things for her, you know …" She shook with her head as if trying to shake off some invisible insects stuck in her head. "She seemed to be gradually sinking, and in the evening …", she sighed again, this time shuddering from suppressed cry, "… her spirit apparently left her body, and she was … dead."

"I am sorry …" Miss Beach replied politely.

"Oh, no need, my dear … it is all right …" Esther suddenly straightened and some flickering light emanated from her grey eyes. "You see … her spirit returned to my body, and from that hour … she was made whole."

"So, I presume … from that hour you were no longer Esther, but rather your sister … Lucy, correct?"

"That's right!" Esther giggled, placing hand over her mouth. A precious stone caught the reflector light for a moment. "And we all felt to praise the name of God, and to trust in him and keep his commandments!"

There was a suppressed laughter from the crew and Miss Beach felt uncomfortable.

"You see …", Esther sighed, noticing the birds flew away, leaving poor cat empty-pawed, "… Those who live under what is called 'civilized rule', are taught the moral law … you know …", she glanced briefly at Miss Beach that was also trying to suppress that mean laughter attack, "… the ten commandments … well …", someone's cell phone rang and Esther waited slightly, then, after Miss Beach nodded that it was all right, she continued, "… they are taught not to lie, not to swear, not to steal, in short …", she realized that the TV crew did not act so professionally as she had expected, "… and not to do those things that are counted ungodly, … unholy or unrighteous in the midst of society." House maid served some refreshments and the camera guy had to change his angle. House maid apologized and then sniggered with a snort, making some crew members laugh behind.

"When parents teach their children these principles in early youth …", Esther poured a teaspoon filled with sugar in her cup, "... they make an impression upon their minds, and …", someone spilt the tea and cursed openly, "… as quick as children arrive at years of accountability …", more curses as the liquid reached parts of their equipment, "… early impressions will have an influence upon their actions, and …", she waited for them to stabilize something, "… throughout the rest of their lives as well." She paused as they had to stop filming for a moment, Miss Beach apologizing for the inconvenience.

After a while Miss Beach nodded to Esther that it was all right to continue.

"Like I said … children that are so impressed and so trained, are …", there was a neighbor peeking over his picket fence at her, "… ever after shocked when they hear their associates swear, and take the name of God in vain, and …", he seemed naked behind that fence and was grinning like a village idiot, "… if ever they learn so to swear it …", she finally realized that he was completely nude, "… first requires a great effort to overcome their … how should I put it … their early impressions."

She sipped her tea, occasionally throwing an inquisitive stare at her neighbor's masculine parts.

"So … Ms. Sherman …", Miss Beach was in shambles as the crew had problems with some wasps suddenly, "… you believe that the children are important?"

"Oh, for sure! If we set a good example before our children …", she waited for the crew to use some spray, "… and try to instruct them from their childhood to maturity …" Sun was getting down slowly, shadows becoming enlarged and disproportionate, "… teach them to pray and to honor the Almighty …", one crew member seemed to be stung by the wasp and he cursed, "… teach them those principles that will sustain them in the midst of all trials, that …", her neighbor was suddenly gone, "… that the Spirit of the Lord may rest upon them …", she sighed, looking at the countryside in the distance, "… then they will not easily be led astray." To her utter amazement she could see her naked neighbor with a dog now. Dow made some attempts to wriggle out of his strong grip, by to no avail. "Good impressions will follow them through life …", she twisted her neck to verify what her mind stubbornly tried to refuse, "… and …", poor dog made some pleading, sad tones and she was still unsure as to what exactly was happening there, "... whatever principles may be presented, … those good impressions will never leave them …"

There was a brief applause from the crew and she bowed slightly, giggling.

"I have long been satisfied that the devil was making great exertions to drive a wedge in between parents and children …", her neighbor seemed to be in some kind of a spasm now, head tilted backwards, his eyes closed, dog still trying to free itself, "… trying to inspire and instill into the minds of the sons … and daughters …", she noticed that her neighbor stared at her with his eyelids half-way down, "… of the saints those corrupting notions that will …", he seemed satisfied and licked his lips in some disgusting way, "… prevent them from following the footsteps of their fathers … and mothers …"

She finally redirected her stare, not wishing to have anything with such depleted morale.

"You see …", she continued more eagerly now, looking at the camera, trying to ignore her neighbor, "… We want to save our children, and to have them partake of all the blessings that encircle the sanctified, … to have them receive the blessings of their parents who have been faithful to the fullness of the gospel … if you see my point?" Miss Beach nodded, looking at her notebook. She waved for another intermission and the hot reflector lights were off.

She approached Ms. Sherman and then explained to her what she will ask her next and how should she answer. She agreed with couple of nods. Mild breeze made her roses jingle.

After the intermission, they continued in full spirits, crew dealing with her "neighboring problem".

"Ms. Sherman … could you tell us more about your spiritual relationship with your deceased sister, Lucy perhaps?" Miss Beach cleared her throat. "How, or rather … when did you join together?"

"Actually …", she giggled politely, "… I don't know the precise moment when she joined me." Some of the crew members tried to rectify her but Miss Beach shushed him down. "It was like we died together on that dreadful day ..." There were tears in the corner of her eyes. "I really started to like staying in that place. But …", she shuddered again, sighing, "... I kept saying that my other brother … who was also spirit …", there was more suppressed laughter coming from the filming crew, "… that it was wrong to stay in somebody else's place."

"You mean … your place, right?"

"Well … in a way … yes." She nodded couple of times, her eyes a bit shady. "You see … her name was now same as mine." She tilted her head slightly sideways as if surprised. "So I entered her body as I needed help from someone."

"You want to say that … you entered your dead sister's body? …"

Esther nodded couple of times with her mouth slightly opened as if expecting some gratitude or even forgiveness.

"Sometimes Lucy herself spoke and … sometimes I spoke through her as a spirit residing her with the lady."

"With the … lady?" Miss Beach repeated, discovering a new moment in Esther's weird story.

"Oh, yes. The invisible hostess of the house. Every house has one, you know …"

There was a tense silence as the TV crew prevented another possible sniggering disaster.

"I remember my brother telling Lucy that there were some spirits in her house and she was scared as hell. She also told that a spirit was residing in her body as well."

"Now … this was before she got ill, correct?"

"Yes. I believe so …" Her stare became hazy and she fixed unconsciously at some spot on the ground. Director wanted to cut the filming but Miss Beach nodded that it was still all right. "You see … even Lucy told us that it was normal to have spirits in the place where she stayed." She looked up, smiling politely again. "And then I said … remember I am a spirit …", she chuckled as she moved closer to the camera, "… 'I am speaking through her. I don't want to trouble this girl and her mother' …", she stopped acting in that over-presumptuous voice and winked at the camera, "… '… But I really like her place. But I know that I am wrong!'" She paused, giggling and then excusing herself, trying to continue. She changed back into that "important" voice. "… 'Please help my spirit find peace so that I can leave her and her mother!' And … she was my mother as well …" She giggled some more, resembling a squirrel.

"And then …?" Miss Beach checked on her notebook.

"And then I saw my younger sister's spirit and told her that now we should not stay at that house as we are … wrong." She twisted her lips in some mocking sneer, almost forcing a smile on her placid face.

"So … how did you deal with her sister then?"

"Well … my parents … AND grandmother as well … they …", there was a firing of three volleys by seven service members on the Army's area of the graveyard, "… they thought she was possessed by a demon, so they attempted an exorcism."

"Excuse me …" Miss Beach was staring towards the graveyard in the distance, "… id you say … exorcism?"

"Yes. That's right!" She nodded briefly.

"Was it performed though?"

"Oh, yes …" Esther placed a hand over her mouth, giggling in some merry manner.

"And, if you don't mind me asking … who performed it?"

"Oh … just a second …", she placed an index finger on the tip of her nose, pondering, "... ah, yes! Dr. Darla Bhatt and her father, Professor Johan Bhatt."

Miss Beach stared at some crew members in bewilderment. Esther smiled and kept nodding.

"And how about you? They never suspected you of being posses by demons?"

"Well, you see …", she changed her position, finishing off her cold tea, "… I've been going back and forth on this, and have found that …", she looked at Miss Beach with some self-assured, almost preaching assertiveness, "… that wearing a loose, linen or cotton long sleeved blouse outside kept me fending unwanted demons off."

"And … was the exorcism successful?" Miss Beach waved to her crew that it was her last question for the day and they already started to pack and get ready.

"Oh, sure!" Esther cleared her throat as if wishing to add something more to her unusual story.

"I have never had any doubts with regard to the truth and final triumph of this work." She nodded couple of times, examining the crew members. "And I have none today! …" She leaned back and then stared directly into the camera.

Director yelled "cut" and was gleaming from happiness, reaching out and vigorously shaking Ms. Sherman's hand. She blushed, lowering her chin as she chuckled.