From this line forward I would like to bid the faint of heart farewell.
It was a meeting like all the others,
experienced in the dead of night.
All costumed in ghostly white,
swapping stories of hooded victory,
No one to blame in a faceless brigade,
As they shook each other’s hands and slapped each brethren on the back…
not one could have anticipated the train rushing toward them, in fact,
it was sitting right out back dressed in a morose black gown,
the one she’d once worn to her grandmothers funeral…
Waiting for the moment to feel right,
A tiny shadow by the bushes, waiting for the sound to die down.
She picked up on familiar voices, neighbors from town,
too numb to feel shocked any more angry tears blurred her clear vision.
She closed them and replayed her plan with precision, there was so stopping now.
She would find the courage to face them somehow…
A voice called out above the rest, this voice she knew the very best.
The man who’d been her hero had turned out to be a terrible fraud,
For his sins, he would have to answer to God,
The little figure stood there glaring down the stained glass windows of the temple,
a white pillowcase from her bed dangling from her tiny hand,
As if on command the inside had gone silent,
It’s time. The little voice said…
She timidly lifted the white linen over her head,
Thanks to the covering and only two haunting holes cut out for the eyes,
no one would see her if she started crying.
“Harvey you know you can’t go talkin’ about this stuff outside of these meetings, it’s just asking for trouble, don’t you think?” The man in the crowd remained silent,
The atmosphere stank of violence, and cowardice, though each thought it a patriotic game. Oh, how the call of the wild can be twisted, into the ugliest things, ‘in the shadows lurks a beast’ unnoticed the trait can breed the worst in us beings…
Like a pack of wolves each feed on their own form of fear, some jeered at the mans’ suggestions others snapped a hate-filled retort, not a single one, seemed to agree completely, using different words to describe the same thing, while missing the point completely.
“Does anyone ELSE have any suggestions?” The pompous ringleader bellowed, quite sure they’d gotten on quite long enough without his beloved voice being heard.
The doors at the back of the room burst open, revealing the form of a child in a hood to match.
Not a word was spoken in the crowd as the little body stepped somberly through the room.
Some of them chuckled proudly.
Others wondered which father had enlisted their offspring for such a prank.
Soon enough each was cheering for the little thing with all the makings of a mascotte.
“Some father must be really proud!” someone called from the crowd…
After she’d walked the distance, without so much as looking from side to side.
At the stage she turned around and scanned, bound and determined to pin the man of the hour.
The anonymous pillowcase came to rest, on the man with a red cord on his dress,
… and around his neck in the light shone a gold necklace,
And suddenly she could picture his face…
“I only have one thing to say, you may not like to hear it, but I fear if I don’t expose it the secret will eat me whole.”
The little girl’s voice only broke a little bit as she cleared her throat to try again,
each of the men wondered which she belonged with.
Only one could place the strong little bird, only one man froze at her very first word,
The direction her speech was taking had the crowd at the edge of their seats, listening,
Where was she going with this?
“I know what you’ve been doing, I’ve seen it all first hand… I don’t understand what makes you think your approach is a part of God’s plan…”
The child didn’t so much as pause, “Now I know most of you go to the same church as me, sitting outside, I could hear you laughing, believe me, your hoods hide nothing.”
She pointed to a shiny pair of shoes in the front row, “Sherriff, I’d know that polish anywhere…”
“How is it you could look Miss Aileen in the eye and tell her you’re sorry her husband died?”
“And Mitch, maybe you’re just sick, isn’t being a butcher brutal enough for you?” Her innocent finger drew back with its next rock, ready to fling it toward a guilty target.
“Mr. Woodlan, you put Dillain in detention for talking badly, yet you feel the authority to string a man up in a tree?”
“And you,” She looked straight down the center of the aisle she’d walked through, “You have children the same age as Mr. Robert, in case you’ve forgotten, his child’s known yours since kindergarten.”
The little voice trembled with building emotion as she pushed it back with such devotion,
This is the only way to ensure attrition…
“That night when you took him from his bed, I heard the things you did and you said,”
“We’d hid beneath the bed and in the closet you never checked….” She sniffed as she looked at the twisted image of her father, as a single hood shifted, sticking out from the rest.
She choked suddenly, barely able to speak at the thought of what happened, she whispered. “The things you all did to Miss Aileen, I won’t begin to repeat…”
The room was so silent she could her them not breathing, as eaches heart filled with dread…
A single hood shifted forward, out of his seat moving through the crowd so he could really see,
“I know it was you, Daddy, I saw the necklace I gave you last Christmas… The one his daughter helped me pick out…”
With that, she went silent, and again walked through the center of the aisle, as the men began to mumble,
all the while, hiding her tears bravely behind the veil of her pillowcase she disappeared into the growing murmur of chaos.
The speech left a bitter taste in each mans’ mouth, everyone was hooded, and the only one knew who the child was, and he would never come forward for the sake of her life,
but for the rest of his, he would live knowing, his daughter saw his antics as murderous…