by Yoko and Philip Galvin
edited by Demetrio Navarro
Illustrations by Yoko Galvin

A young man answered the door with a warm smile.

“Helen, you don’t know how much I missed you!”

“It’s only been a couple of days, darling. But I have to admit, I missed you, too.” Helen replied sweetly.

With a gentle kiss on her cheek, the young man invited Helen into his condominium. His name was David. With his dark hair and suntanned complexion (with a suntan - redundant),, he stood a few inches taller than Helen. Because Helen looked much younger for her age, they seemed so natural together though. David was a few years younger than Helen. As Helen entered, David pulled her closed to him and held her in a tight embrace. Helen felt at peace in his arms. She wished moments like this would last forever.

********

The first time Helen met David was at a restaurant called “Le Chateau” a little over two years ago. The newly opened French restaurant, that was located in the entertainment district of town, became the talk of the town with a reputation for great food and trendy décor.

Soon after the grand opening of the restaurant, Helen received a call from her friend Caroline. “I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about this new restaurant. Let’s check it out.”

“The last restaurant you recommended was a dump. The food was mediocre at best and the music was so loud I couldn’t hear half of what you were saying,” Helen replied teasingly.

“Are you sure you want to go to this place?” she continued.

“Absolutely! Besides, I heard they have cute waiters there.” Caroline bubbled. She was a career woman who had no interest in marriage but just wanted to casually date men now and then. To her being married to someone was like raising a child. The relentlessness of having taking care of someone with little payoff in return held no appeal for her.

“Well, Caroline. You may be looking for a man, but I’m not. I’m married, in case you forgot,” said Helen in her best stern voice, trying not to chuckle.

“Helen, you’re just too…I don’t know how to describe you…guarded!” Caroline said with a slightly frustrated voice.

“Yes, you certainly know how to describe me. You’ve only said it about a million times times.” Then both women sighed heavily and said at the same time, “You are way too serious. Lighten up, my friend!”

Helen finally burst into laughter and Caroline joined her. Helen, trying to control her laugher, finally said, “If you give me one more good reason why we should be going to this restaurant, I promise I will.”

“Well, remember you always talked to me about that restaurant in Paris? The one you had the most memorable dinner on New Year’s Eve?” Caroline asked.

“Yes. I will never forget that place. They had a wonderful onion soup. The best I’ve ever tasted,” Helen replied remembering that cold night in Paris few years ago.

“And you always complain that you’ve never had anything like it since,” Caroline continued.

“You are absolutely right. Even the five star hotels here serve terrible French onion soup! They are usually over cooked and too salty. Just not the same as the one I had that evening. It was fresh and, well, heavenly!” Helen could almost taste the hot melted cheese in her mouth.

“So there. I just gave you a good reason to go to this restaurant. You have to give it a try at least once, don’t you agree?” Upon seeing Helen’s pensive pause, Caroline knew she had finally convinced her.

“You’re bad. Now I’m craving French onion soup. I can hardly wait. I’ll be there. Tomorrow at noon?”

“Atta girl! I’ll make a reservation. See you at noon tomorrow.”

Caroline was Helen’s best friend from her college days. She was the adventurous type and was always looking for something new in town, whether it was a restaurant, clothes or a show. Caroline would look through newspapers or magazines and when she found something that captured her interest, she would ask Helen to go with her.

Unlike Helen who had long blond hair and blue eyes, Caroline had short brunette hair and deep brown, honest eyes with a glint of adventure. In her own way Caroline was as attractive as Helen as she carried herself with a certain confidence and playful charm. She was a broadcaster who took her work very seriously. Where Helen was the quiet type, Caroline was lively, and cheerful. Helen liked to go out and spend time with Caroline because she always made her laugh. Though Helen could not tell Caroline about her personal problems, it was comforting to be with someone like Caroline who had cared about Helen dearly for so many years.

The next day, Helen arrived at the restaurant just before noon. Caroline joined her a few minutes later. A hostess led them to a table overlooking the flower garden. Immediately, Helen decided that she liked the restaurant. The elegant decor of the white walls highlighted with lavender patterns of the restaurant pleased her visual senses. Even though the place was packed that day, the spacious seating in the restaurant allowed them to carry on their quiet conversation without fear being overheard. Also it was one of the few restaurants in town where they could enjoy classical music. Helen disliked loud music and noisy places, an annoying atmosphere that she felt had taken over the city’s restaurant scene. But everything about this restaurant pleased her.photo1

As soon as they sat at the table, true to form, Caroline began to comment on the waiters who were busily serving their customers,

“Look at him. He is gorgeous. See what’d I tell you?” Caroline winked at Helen.

“Stop it Caroline. You are embarrassing me.”

The waiter Caroline had her eyes on approached them and took their order.

“How is your onion soup here?” Caroline asked.

“The best in town.” The waiter replied.

“Then we would like to have it as a starter and then as an Entre… Cordon bleu would be great… What do you think Helen?”

“That’s fine with me,” Helen replied rather quietly.

As soon as the waiter left the table, Caroline said,

“Wow, He’s more gorgeous than I thought.”

“Stop it!” Helen scolded, “I’m here for the soup.”

The French onion soup was superb. Helen was impressed. Almost as good as she remembered it.

After the main course, Helen excused herself to go to the ladies room. Caroline did not mind being on her own for a few minutes as she wanted to talk to the waiter alone.

When Helen turned the corner at the bar located close to the ladies room, she accidentally bumped into a young man and dropped her small purse. Was he one of the waiters in the restaurant? She looked at the man and tried to apologize to him. The man stood with dark gentle eyes staring right at her. Something about him captured her heart for a moment. Helen stumbled over the words and blushed.

“I… I’m sorry. Sometimes I can be so clumsy.” Helen said slightly embarrassed.

“No, it was my fault. I’m the one who should be apologizing to you,” said the exotic looking gentleman.

The young man continued to stare at Helen for a long moment. He’d felt he had never seen anyone as beautiful as the woman who stood right in front of him. Helen was wearing a royal blue dress with a string of pearls around her neck. Her long blond hair was reflecting the light above the mirror in the bar. They stood still for a moment or two, as if stunned. He slowly bent down to pick up Helen’s purse. With a smile, he placed the purse gently in Helen’s hands. Their fingers touched briefly. Helen blushed some more. Helen felt a warmth slowly envelop her when she saw his smile. It had been so long since someone sincerely smiled at her in this way. Her heart began to race when he touched her fingers.

“Thank you. I…I should be going.” Helen said as she looked over his shoulder toward the washroom.

The young man wanted to say something to Helen, but by the time he could think of something to say, Helen had disappeared into the ladies room. Other customers were waiting to be seated, so the young man left to greet them.

After she returned to her table, Helen’s eyes occasionally followed the young man’s movements as he led customers to their tables. She became excited when she noticed that the he was also trying to sneak sly glimpses at her as he passed by. Caroline became aware of what was going on between them and began to tease Helen. Caroline had never seen Helen acting this way before. Even when Helen was dating Bill. Because Helen was an exceptionally beautiful woman, there were men who tried to get Helen’s attention wherever they went. But Helen had never paid any attention to any of those men.

“Helen, here he comes again. He must really like you. Look at him. He’s so young and handsome. He’s not my type, though,” Caroline ribbed.

“What are you talking about, Caroline. Stop talking like that,” Helen chimed, feigning annoyance.

“Everywhere we go, there are always men trying to gain your attention. On the other hand, poor me, I couldn’t get a date with that good looking waiter. What is it like to be so popular Helen?” asked Caroline.

“Hey, don’t tease me. I’m married. I’m not looking for a man, I told you.” Helen replied, feeling a tinge of guilt.

“But Helen, you must like this young man. I noticed that your eyes have been following him wherever he goes. I’ve never seen you like this. Tell me Helen... I promise I won’t tell Bill. What do you think about him? Do you really like him? I wonder if he is the owner… Hmm, no. He is too young to be the owner. He must be a manager.” Caroline said as her eyes fixed on the young man, apparently sizing him up.

“I don’t know, Caroline. And I don’t care,” Helen said firmly. “He just reminds me of someone in my past. I’m just trying to figure out who he reminds me of. That’s all.” Helen said as matter-of-factly as she could, making a poor attempt to excuse her behavior.

The fact was that he was nothing like anyone she had ever met before. With his eyes so dark, his slender figure so elegant, and his smile so affectionate, he just made Helen feel like she was a teenager again. Helen began to tremble just by looking at him. ‘What was that feeling I felt when he touched my hand?’ Helen thought to herself. It had been a long time since Helen felt excited about anything.

After the first visit, it was Helen who asked Caroline to return to the same restaurant for lunch. Unsurprised, Caroline amusingly agreed to Helen’s request. The restaurant became their regular weekly meeting place for lunch.

After Helen and Caroline visited the restaurant a couple of times, the young man finally introduced himself to them.

“Hi ladies. It is so nice to see you again.”

He welcomed them with that sincere smile and took them to the best table in the restaurant. This time, they were seated at a table located by a large window looking over a small manmade pond. The water in the pond reflected the blue sky and the white stepping stones placed along the pond stood out in the bright sun light. There were some colorful flower gardens skirting the water surrounded by deep green grass that was just being watered. It was picture perfect and alone was worth the price of the food. The music of Mozart filled the restaurant and created a serene atmosphere. Helen and Caroline sat in their chairs and thanked the young man for taking care of them so well.

“It is so nice of you to let us sit at the table with a beautiful view. We really enjoy coming here.” Caroline said.

“You’re very welcome ladies. Let me introduce myself. My name is David and I’m the owner of this restaurant.” David said with certain humility.

Both Helen and Caroline were quite surprised to find out that someone as young as him could own and run such a fabulous establishment.

“My name is Caroline and this is Helen. She is my best friend from college.” Caroline said with utter amusement as she noticed that the faces of both Helen and David were blushing.

“I’ve noticed that you have become regulars here. I really appreciate your visits to my restaurant.” David said with a beaming smile.

“We really like your place. Your French onion soup is superb - it’s what brought us here in the first place. Helen loves it so much she wants to eat at your restaurant every week, you know.” Caroline said and began to ramble on about what Helen liked about the menu.

“Yes, I love…” Helen almost added, “… you,” but stopped just in time to catch herself and continued. “I mean, I love your French onion soup. It is as good as one I had in Paris, which was the best I ever tasted in my life.”

“Well, thank you Helen. This sounds corny, but you and Caroline are two of the most beautiful ladies I have seen in years. You know your presence brightens my…this restaurant. You are becoming part of our beautiful view.” David laughed lightly, slightly embarrassed, realizing that he had inadvertently expressed some of his true feelings.

David seemed to be very fond of Helen, focusing on her every word and gesture. This was not lost on Caroline, nor on Helen herself. Helen never thought that a younger man like David would pay any attention to an older woman like herself. As for Helen, ever since the first time she met David, she could not stop thinking of him. What she didn’t know was that David shared the same feelings for her.

At first, David was innocently flirting with both Helen and Caroline as he would do with some of his favorite female customers. However, he was very conscious that his feelings towards Helen were changing all the while he was trying to deal with them. Soon he began to realize that Helen was not only beautiful and intelligent, but also mysterious and shy. After a couple of months he admitted to himself that he was falling in love with Helen. Something about her truly fascinated him.

Each time Helen and Caroline were to meet for lunch at the restaurant, Helen arrived a few minutes earlier than Caroline. It was a perfect time to spend a few moments with David, but also to see if David would ask Helen to go out with him. One Wednesday, David finally asked Helen if she was interested in having lunch with him and her heart leapt. Though she had been hoping for this invitation, Helen declined by explaining that she was married. As much as she was desperately attracted to David, she knew it was wrong to date this young man. In learning this, David was initially disappointed. However, it did not stop him from asking her out as somehow he suspected that her marriage was not a happy one. He knew Helen had grown fond of him as much as he was with her. By this time, that fondness had grown to real love and he was determined to know how she felt about him. So every time she visited the restaurant David would ask her out. Deep inside, Helen did not want him to give up on her either. Finally, after countless persistent pleas for lunch, Helen decided, reluctantly, to accept his invitation.

“Just for a walk on a Saturday morning,” she stipulated.

“Just for a walk, great. We’ll talk. Nothing more.” David agreed eagerly, with delight.

They made arrangements to see each other at the park near the restaurant one Saturday morning at 10 a.m. It was a warm day in May and the park was in splendor with the trees and flowers in full bloom. David patiently waited for Helen at the entrance of the park. She was late. David kept checking his watch. Five minutes past then 10 minutes. He paced about thinking that she must have had a change of heart and began to think that Helen would not show up.

Meanwhile still in a car at home, Helen was dressed and anxious to see David but did not have enough courage to leave the house. She was struggling with second thoughts about going to see him. Her conscience told her not to go. After all, she was married. Her husband was still sleeping in the bed she shared with him. No married woman should date another man. It was morally wrong. She debated with herself sitting in the car for a long time whether to go or not. Finally, it was the desire to see David that won her over and she started the car. She was late. It was already 10:15 a.m. By the time she would arrive at the park, David would be gone. But she had to take that chance. She wanted to see him.

While she was rushing to meet David, Helen tried to justify her decision to see David.

“After all, I haven’t been in love with Bill for a long time. I can’t remember the last time when I felt love toward him. It’s not that I didn’t try to leave him before. It’s just that Bill is so powerful, I could not leave him. I’m so terrified of Bill. Sometimes I get the feeling that he might even kill me if I try to leave him.” She sighed, exasperated.

“I know I’m doing the right thing. I’m in love with David. I can’t deny my feelings toward him anymore. I’ve got to see him. This could be my only chance to be happy. Besides, as long as I come back home on time, Bill will not suspect anything. He won’t know anything as long as I’m careful. And this is just to have a walk with David, nothing more…”

“David! Please wait for me.” Helen began to pray.

At the park, David thought, “She’s not coming. It was just wishful thinking on my part.” He was on the verge of giving up and was just about to leave the park when Helen arrived. When he saw her, he was elated. She looked as beautiful as ever, wearing an off white dress and a dark blue hat that complimented the color of her eyes. She wore her hair down that morning and it was shining in the bright sunlight.

“I’m sorry David. I ...” Helen began to explain why she was late.

“Helen, it’s okay. You don’t have to apologize. The main thing is that you are here,” he interjected.

Seeing David, Helen felt that she made the right choice to come that day. It also assured her that not only was David gentle and charming, but he was also a very patient man. Helen stood in front of David and smiled for a moment. David was wearing a dark cotton shirt with a pair of light beige pants. The outfit made David look very handsome.

David and Helen walked slowly along the river that ran through the park. Though David was dying to be alone with Helen ever since the first time he met her, he did not know what to talk about initially. So he started talking about his restaurant, hoping work talk wouldn’t bore her.

“I love the restaurant business. I don’t really know why. It could be that my uncle owns two restaurants in the city and I used to help him while I was going to university. I began to enjoy running the restaurant so much, I changed my major from Engineering to Commerce.”

“You made the right choice David. Caroline and I love your restaurant. It’s so trendy and full of excitement. Yet it is private enough to have a one on one conversation. But the best part is the food. Caroline and I really love the food you serve. I know it’s traditional French Cuisine, but all the dishes you have are so light and delicious. You should feel lucky to have such a fabulous and popular restaurant.”

“Thank you Helen. I’m glad that you love the place. Though I thought you always came to see me and not for the food.” David said jokingly.

“Well, it is part of the reason, I guess.” she blushed a little and continued.

“Caroline and I are wondering how such a young man like you could own and manage a fabulous restaurant like Le Chateau. Caroline thinks that you are one of those spoiled sons of a rich man. Are you?” Helen asked teasingly. David did not reply to her question. Instead, he asked her,”Does your friend Caroline know that we are meeting here today?” Helen was somewhat surprised that David avoided her question.

“No, David. I didn’t say anything to her. So when you see her next time, please act like today never happened. Okay?”

“All right. I promise. Caroline seems to be very nice. How did you meet her?”

“We’re friends from college. She is the only friend I’ve kept in touch with all these years. You know, most people don’t keep many friends after they leave school, especially women. Once they get married, that’s it for their female friendships. It’s very hard to keep in touch with each other after we marry and have our own families to look after.”

“I guess I’m like a woman. I didn’t keep any friends from my school either.” David joked while smiling and looking right at Helen.

“But you don’t have any excuse not to keep in touch with your friends. You don’t have any family of your own to look after. Of course I’m assuming that you are not married, David. You are so young you must have just graduated from the college.”

“The answer is ‘no, I’m not married’ and ‘yes, I graduated from university two years ago.’ Well, if men tend to have their friends from school long after they graduate, I guess I’m not like other men. Maybe I’m not personable enough to keep friends around. If that is the case, it’s not too late for you - you can still leave me here while you have chance. Who knows? I may be totally obnoxious.” David laughed and looked at Helen again.

“I guess it is worth finding out what you really are like. Mind you, you are too cute to be obnoxious,” added Helen.

“Thanks a lot, Helen! I’m too cute? I’ve never heard anyone described me as ‘cute’...” David started to laugh.

“Oh, David! I’m sorry. I didn’t offend you, did I?”

“No!” he chuckled, “I’m just kidding Helen. It’s okay to be called cute. Coming from you doesn’t seem that bad. Besides, I’m a really cute kind of guy...”

“Whether you are cute or not, I will eventually get to know you better and decide whether you are worthy to be one of the chosen few that I call friend. But you have to remember it might take a long time before I get rid of you since I’m much more mature than any of your college friends.” Helen began to laugh and David joined her.

“If that’s a threat, it sounds great to me.” David gazed at Helen.

Every time she looked up and her eyes met David’s, Helen felt as if she was melting inside.

After a pause, David said, “Helen, can I ask you a personal question?” with a serious tone.

Helen froze a bit as she thought David was going to ask her about her husband.

“Uhh... personal question? It all depends... If you are wondering how old I am, you will never find out.” Helen replied as she tried to cover her nervousness

“No, I was just wondering what your nationality is. Your eyes are so beautiful, I just love looking at them. They are such a deep blue, I feel as though they are pulling my soul away from my body and taking it down to the bottom of the sea. And your skin is so lovely, I can’t believe you are a living creature here on earth. I promise I won’t desert you even if you say that you are from one of the stars in the outer galaxy disguised as a perfect earth woman.”

“Oh, David!” Helen gushed. Though she had to admit she liked the flattery “You can rest assured that I’m not an alien. Well, let’s see. On Mother’s side, her grandparents were from Sweden and on Father’s side, Germany,” Helen answered as she quickly recovered from her blushing. At the same time she was relieved that the question was not about her husband.

David noticed the changes in Helen’s facial expression as she spoke. He realized that Helen had something she did not want to share with him. At the same time, he did not want to disclose anything about his past either. Strangely, this made David feel even closer to Helen.

They came to the sandy beach by the river and sat on one of the benches. There were a few children playing with their dog nearby. One of the children threw a ball across the river and their dog, a golden retriever, swam into the river to fetch and bring the ball back to him. Helen and David watched them for a few minutes. On one of the fetches, the dog came very close to David and Helen. Short Story 3.3Then it shook off the water from its body and showered David. As they were not expecting this to happen, they looked at each other and began to laugh. The children watched this and joined in laughing with them.

Helen took a handkerchief from her purse and started to wipe the drops of the water from David’s cheek. David let her do this for a little while then gently covered her hand with his. Then he took her hand and pressed his lips on her slender fingers. Helen began to tremble. It had been so long since someone showed such tenderness towards her. For a few minutes, they quietly sat on the bench just holding each other’s hands. Though they kept silent, their hearts were racing.

It was in this moment that Helen felt she finally found her soul mate. Someone who would understand what she was going through without revealing to him what it actually was. Just holding his hand made her feel secure and happy.

After that morning, they began to meet for a date every week. For almost two years they continued their clandestine encounters. Bill had no knowledge of their affair. Helen had been truly happy with David. He had been a wonderful companion. David was gentle, considerate, and showed so much love towards her. She knew she loved him as much as David loved her. In this time, David found out everything about Helen – she was married to a powerful man in the city, she had been physically abused by her husband for many years and also that she no longer loved her husband. Knowing all that, David wanted to be with Helen even more. He knew the risk associated with being with Helen. If Bill were ever to find out about Helen’s affair, he would likely hurt them. David was unaware of how much danger they were actually facing. David considered leaving the city with Helen but it meant that he had to sell his business and start a new restaurant somewhere outside of the state. David wanted to take that risk but Helen was afraid of the consequences. In those two years, Helen and David reached no decision on how they could be together, really together.

*******

When Helen came to meet David at his condominium on that particular Saturday, Helen had no way of knowing that Bill’s spirit was residing in her. She walked through the hallway into David’s waiting arms. David’s condominium was brand new and so was everything else in his place. Bright white walls, tastefully placed furniture, everything in his rooms lifted Helen’s spirit. The paintings of various unknown artists accented David’s place elegantly.

David led Helen to his dining room. The morning sun was shining through the long lacy white curtain. The window was slightly opened and the cool air that drifted through the room was filled with the scent of freshly brewed coffee. On the dining room table, there was a stem of yellow roses in a slender crystal vase. It was Helen’s favorite flower. She leaned forward to smell the rose and sat on one of the chairs. David brought coffee for her and then sat right beside Helen. Helen placed her arms around David’s shoulders and gently kissed him. David saw tears in her eyes. All the emotions she felt the night before came back when she was embraced in David’s arms. David did not say a word. He knew enough of Helen not to ask any questions when she was in this state.

Bill’s spirit in Helen was raging with jealousy. He never dreamed that his wife would have an affair. He thought he had perfect control over her. Bill was still deeply in love with Helen. However he could no longer express his love towards her (?? because he saw that Helen was with another man??). Something inside stopped him from being loving and gentle as he once was. Every time he saw her (when??), Bill treated her completely the opposite to how he felt inside.

Bill felt how Helen’s heart began to beat faster when she was held by David. He saw David’s deep gaze towards Helen. Bill could not accept that Helen had fallen in love with someone else. When Helen was lovingly touching David, Bill could not take it anymore and he lost consciousness in Helen’s body for a while.

When Bill regained his consciousness, he saw Helen sleeping right beside him with a peaceful smile. For a moment, Bill forgot where he was and thought he was at home. The sun shone through the shades. He looked around the place. ‘Where is this? This is not my bedroom? Why is Helen beside me in the strange place? I must be dreaming.’ Then Bill looked at the picture on the night table. There, his wife Helen with a beautiful smile being embraced by a good looking young man. Bill remembered him… ‘He… He was the man who took Helen into his condominium.’ Bill raged with anger. He tried to scream but nothing came from his mouth. It took a while before he realized that his spirit was no longer in Helen’s.

Despite Bill’s uncontrollable emotion, the bright room remained still. Helen was still sleeping right beside him. Helen moved her body toward him and slowly opened her eyes. Then looking right at Bill she whispered, “David…do you have to go now?”

Shaken with fright and amazement, Bill realized that his spirit had left Helen’s body and had transferred to David’s body.

“Helen, just keep resting. It’s still early in the morning. I will make fresh coffee for you. I have some danish and fruit in the refrigerator. Have some breakfast and relax. Just remember to lock the door when you leave, okay? I love you sweetheart... Call me at work.” David answered gently, quietly got dressed and left his condominium.

Short Story 3.4David, with Bill’s spirit inside, drove his car to a nearby flower shop. There he picked up 3 white roses, and kept on driving to a nearby cemetery. After a couple of minutes of walking in the cemetery, he stopped in front of two graves. On one of the head stones, was engraved “Death is Only a Shadow Across the Path to Heaven”. He closed his eyes. The vivid image of the last day of his family briefly returned.

******

David was born in one of the wealthiest families in town. His father was a Jewish immigrant who fled from Germany in fear of the Nazi party in 1938. Even though he was a poor immigrant, his hard work and business sense made David’s father not only become rich but also very well known in the community. He eventually bought a large house surrounded by stone walls with an iron gate where only the affluent families lived.

David did not realize then, but there were many people who detested his father. They were envious of his fortune and felt it unfair that the once poor Jewish immigrant could become so wealthy while they themselves could not accomplish anything in their lives. He also did not realize that there was an established organization that detested all Jews. Though the organization caused a lot of trouble for many other races, Jews and blacks seemed to bear the brunt of their hatred.

It was almost 17 years ago. David was only 8 when the dreadful event occurred. One cold night in December, David woke up from a nightmare and decided to sleep beside his mother for comfort. He quietly left his bedroom and entered into his parents’ large bedroom. Both his mother and father were deep in sleep. When David approached the king size bed, his mother lifted the cover and allowed David to sleep beside her. She always welcomed him into her bed when he had a bad dream. He snuggled up to his mother and was embraced by her arms. He felt the warmth from her bosom. He always loved to feel her so close. Soon he forgot all about the nightmare and fell into a deep sleep.

The next time little David woke up again, he had to go to the bathroom. Wiping his sleepy eyes, he managed to leave his parents’ bedroom. Without turning on the light, he entered the adjoining bathroom. In the dark he stood in front of the toilet. As he was about to flush the toilet he heard some noises coming from his parents’ bedroom. Then he heard six gunshots. A loud voice followed.

“They have two children. We have to finish them off right now.”

Two men in dark clothes left the bedroom of David’s parents and rushed toward his sister’s bedroom. David knew he had to hide somewhere. Short Story 3.1Otherwise, these men would come after him. With his heart beating fast, David quickly hid himself under his parents’ bed. Then he heard three more gunshots. Every time he heard a gunshot, his body jerked. He wanted to cry-out but no voice came. He waited, terrified in the dark, for what seemed like hours. The men looked for David for a little while longer. Fearing that someone might have heard the gunshots and called the police, they soon gave up searching and fled.

David waited until silence filled the house then slowly crawled out from under the bed. What he saw in the moonlight his young mind could not fathom. He went into shock as he saw his parents’ bodies motionless on the bed with blood splattered on the wall and blood quickly staining the bed sheets from white to a brownish stain . He rushed into his sister’s room. She must have gotten out from her bed when she heard the gunshots from her parents’ room. She was curled in the corner of her room close to the door when David found her. Her expression of fear was so terrifying that it made David scream as loudly as he could. His cry echoed in the dark rooms. Then he fainted.

For 17 years, David kept having bad dreams. For 17 years, he had to fight the fear that those men may come back and kill him. The horrible memories of the death of his family occupied his mind every time he visited the graves. He was transported back to that night and the helplessness he felt. He was filled with anger as he sat down in front of his family’s grave stones. He laid the roses on the grave. He chose to bring white roses for his family because red roses reminded him of the bloody room he saw. It was something that he would never forget.

******

Still inside of David’s body, Bill felt David’s pain, sorrow, anger and guilt for surviving. Bill remembered that night as well, for he was one of two men that broke into David’s Short Story 3.2parents’ house. That was his first assignment after he joined the OSR. To invade one of the wealthy Jewish families in town and execute them. The memory of that night never left him. The excitement of climbing the stonewall in the dark, breaking the lock on the glass door to enter the darkened mansion, sneaking around the 2nd floor looking for the victims, then shooting them in a matter of seconds. The sight and the smell of the blood were too vivid to erase from his memories. How excited he was when he was young and had a thirst for violence. How he loved combat - kill the enemy or be killed. He never thought of the boy’s feelings. The flash of Bill’s own childhood pain entered into his mind. He suddenly felt dizzy. Bill wondered why he was continuously having this nightmare – having his sprit entering into the body of others – first in Helen’s, then in David’s. He wanted desperately to wake up from this nightmare. Bill began to fear what would happen next.

 

********

David left the cemetery and drove to his restaurant. As he approached the restaurant, he managed to leave his unpleasant memories behind as focused on what needed to be done that day to get the restaurant ready for the expectant crowd. David really enjoyed running his business. He felt very lucky to be able to own his own restaurant. He did not always feel this way about life. For a long time after the tragic incident, he felt scared and unsure, always looking over his shoulder. However, he was fortunate to have his uncle and aunt adopt him and raise him as their own. They could not have any children themselves so adopting David was almost a gift from God to them. Not only did they take care of him with love but also his uncle taught David all about the restaurant business. Though his uncle was not as successful as David’s father, he was an astute businessman. Whenever David found extra time, he helped his uncle run his restaurants and observed how the business was run.

David’s uncle and aunt made sure that their nephew went to the best school they could afford. With his practical knowledge of business and the intelligence he inherited from his parents, David always did quite well at school. He was able to graduate from one of the most exclusive universities in the state. On graduation day, both his uncle and aunt stood right beside David very proudly. Their eyes were filled with tears of joy.

According to his parents will, David inherited all his parents’ large assets when he completed his university education. David immediately tried to give half of his fortune to his uncle and aunt. He was truly grateful for what they did for David for all those years. However, they graciously rejected David’s offer insisting that what they did for David was out of love. After failing to convince them to accept his gift, David secretly bought an expensive property by a beautiful lake hoping his uncle and aunt would accept his gift and live in it when they retired.

While he was helping at his uncle’s restaurant as an assistant manager, he found a passion for the restaurant business. So, with part of his inheritance, he bought one of the older restaurants in town, had the place renovated and eventually opened the “Le Chateau”. The restaurant was a success and people from all over the state came there to eat.