ASN 6.0 Daughters Part I

by Matt P.

The garden at the Gethsemane United Church of Christ was just as pretty in the afternoon light as it was in the evening light, but it was a different kind of pretty. In the night, sparkling with lights and candles, it had an almost etherealness to it; in the afternoon it was a more bucolic, natural beauty. Walter appreciated the attempts to keep the space natural even as it was an obviously artificial sunken garden—it had a slope and broadly defined tiers, but they followed natural lines that were quite attractive.

“We couldn’t have met in the garden?” Siobhan griped, as they walked right by it and headed in to the church. “My kind are supposed to burst in to flame in churches, you know.” Walter raised an eyebrow as they walked up to the door, which had a small wooden stop wedged in place to keep it open. The door was made of dark wood, smooth with age and hands over the years. There was carving on it, subtle but present, of a garden scene spreading out from the central point of the doors; the perspective made it look like you were walking in to the garden itself.

“Not sure that’s really the kind of joke to make when we found a maybe-vampire, Bug,” Walter pointed out wryly—only opening the door after he had mentioned the supernatural. Arguments about who should know what with certain Faerie Queens not withstanding, he did believe in operational security.

Siobhan hadn’t seemed to consider that, and she conceded the point with an artless shrug as they entered. The front door entered directly in to the nave, the long rows of benches spreading out toward the altar; up ahead Walter could see the cruciform arms spreading off from the end. Walter had been in a number of churches in his life, but what struck him about Gethsemane was the simplicity.

The inside was stone, with a row of simple and broad arches running through the pews and segmenting them in to quarters. There were small, simple stained glass windows set in the walls depicting different garden scenes; these lead back to the final window behind the altar, which showed Christ kneeling in the garden. The man, who Walter admitted looked swarthier than the normal depiction he had grown up with, looked agonized. Everything else seemed like it could have come from a much older church, in good repair and elegant style but with an apparent age to them.

Siobhan was looking at him expectantly, and Walter snorted. “It’s lovely, Bug,” Walter commented wryly. “I take it everybody else has a much stronger reaction?” She didn’t respond, but she instead combined a pout with a mock glare, which she held until she laughed.

“Cynicism can blind us to beauty, Detective,” a voice came from the front of the church. A woman stood up from the pews there, and turned to face them with a slight smile on her face. The woman was tall, slim, and completely familiar to Walter—and to his daughter.

“Reverend Morrison,” Walter greeted, his tone unsurprised; Siobhan’s face betrayed that she, on the other hand, felt quite surprised. “I had a feeling it might be you, when the meeting was here,” Walter explained, as much for his daughter as for the other woman. “Not many people want to meet in the middle of a church.”

Morrison shrugged at that. “We actually have a safe space for Internet sales in one of the side rooms that is unlocked and video taped most hours,” she offered with a soft smile. “And historically, of course, lots of people ended up meeting in churches. But I take your point.” Her eyes flicked to Siobhan, and she offered the young woman a smile. “Are you sure that Siobhan should be here for this, Detective?”

Walter looked to Siobhan as well, and she raised her eyebrows. “Can’t be much worse…” she murmured softly. He gave a little bit of a nod, and turned back to Morrison.

“If you’re comfortable with her being here then I don’t think it’s anything that she can’t handle,” Walter explained. “Siobhan was in the high school with her sister last semester,” he offered obliquely. Understanding dawned in the woman’s eyes, and she gave a nod while motioning to the pews.

“Well then, if you don’t mind I prefer to talk about it…not in my office.” Morrison offered a weak smile. “It’s also why I didn’t want to talk at home.” Without interrupting her Walter sat down on the pew behind Morrison, Siobhan taking her cues from Walter as to what to do and following him. “I can tell you that I don’t remember a lot of it. I was very young, and it was…terrifying.” She shuddered softly in memory of something, but Walter didn’t have an audience with what was behind her eyes.

“I know it was a long time ago,” Walter said softly, “But anything that you can remember could be helpful. We have a theory that there might be some things from what happened to your parents could be linked to other incidents in the city over the decades; anything you can remember might help bring peace to other people.”

Morrison nodded, and leaned back against the pew, the cushion sighing underneath her. She considered the church around her; Walter couldn’t tell if she was looking around the church to find the rooms, or to draw the quiet strength of the building in to begin describing that evening. “I think of Katherine Haven as my mother, when something reminds me of mothers,” Morrison began, smiling softly and shrugging by way of explanation for the non-sequitur. “Mother says what she remembers is screaming. I remember blood, so much blood…”

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