Warning: This story is of a graphic nature and depicts vulgar and disturbing actions.
A link to Part Two of The Hail Mary Confession is provided at the end of Part One... toward the bottom of this page.
Donna sat quietly on the side of her bed brushing her long Auburn hair. She carefully and slowly brushed each section of her hair as if she were lovingly caressing a beloved family dog.
After she finished with her hair, she walked over to her small kitchen/living room. Her 19 year old son, Christopher, lives with her in an older one bedroom one bath apartment. He sleeps on the sofa. They live in New Orleans in the 7th ward surrounded by a few shopping centers and a 30 minute walk to The French Quarter. Donna and her son walk everywhere. Donna says she doesn't trust the streetcars or any other form of public transportation. Although Christopher will ride his bike and sometimes take the streetcar when he's not with his mom.
"Wake up Christopher," Donna shouted out, "It's 7:45 and you need to be at work by 9 am."
"Ah, mom can't I just sleep another 15 minutes," Christopher pleaded as he stretched his arms above his body.
"No, Chris. It takes you 20 minutes to get ready and 45 minutes to ride your bike to work. You don't have any minutes to spare."
"I can Uber to work," Chris responded, "I'll get there in 20 minutes."
"What and spend $20 just so you can sleep in for 15 minutes? Get up Chris," she said sternly, "We can't spend our money foolishly. We need every penny we can get."
Now sitting up on the sofa with his sheet covering his lower body, "Well, if we're so broke maybe we should find a place with lower rent."
Donna laughs, "Lower rent? Are you kidding? We only pay $900 a month for this dump. You can't get much lower than that."
"Okay, okay, I'm up, point taken. I'm gonna get dressed."
After eating a quick breakfast Chris gives his mom a kiss on the forehead and looks at her. "Mom," he said, "Why do you always wear two or three layers of clothes? And that veil, you're always covering your face. How about a little color sometime?"
"I feel comfortable this way," Donna responds.
"I don't see how you can be comfortable in this 80 degree weather," Chris commented.
Donna responds frankly, "If you don't leave me alone, I'm going to call the police and report you. Now go to work."
Chris just looked at his mom with a sadness in his eyes, then left for work.
After Chris left, Donna took a sip of water and ate a slice of buttered toast.
Before leaving the apartment she put on a heavy knee length black coat over her already multilayered clothing despite the fact it was 72 degrees outside at 8:40 in the morning.
She left all bundled up as if she was going out into a cold winter's day.
She went on foot from Laharpe street to Roman street where she encountered three small children walking to school. As they approached her, the two boys and little girl stared at her with a somewhat frightened look. The children just kept walking quickly by. That horrified look on their little faces stuck with Donna. She just couldn't get the look out of her mind. It stifled her so much that she started to breath heavily, gasping for air. Donna stopped in her tracks and had to sit down but there weren't any chairs or benches so she uncomfortably sat in the middle of the sidewalk in an effort to regain her breath.
An elderly man came up to her and asked if she needed help. She heard his voice but could not see him. Her mind was so muddled and agitated that she was unable to focus. All she could see were the trees above her with the leaves gently swaying back and forth. She aimlessly looked up and managed to utter the words, "I'm okay, just leave me alone." The man walked on saying, "They need to get these drunks off the streets."
Once Donna regained her composure she got herself up and walked back to her apartment. It was only about a seven minute walk.
When she made it back she sat at the kitchen table quietly playing with her fingernails. Then she caught a glimpse of herself in the reflection of the window. When she saw her face covered with the black veil she put her head down on the table tucked beneath her arms to hide her face. She stayed there in that position for the rest of the day.
Voodoo and Vampires
When Chris arrived home at 6:45 pm, Donna was still sitting at the table with her head buried under her arms.
Chris walked up to her and patted her on the left shoulder, "Hey mama, come on I brought us some dinner." Speaking in his heaviest southern accent he continued, "I brought us some Shrimp Creole with a side of garlicky green beans and mushrooms."
That sparked Donna's interest. She lifted her head and asked, "Where'd you get the food?"
"From the Quarterflash Deli."
Donna seemed irked as she looked directly at Chris, "What have I told you about that French Quarter! Stay away from there. It's filled with voodoo and vampires. Stay away Chris," she said with a fixed stare.
"Come now mom, come on," Chris tried to coax her, "Have some food. You love Shrimp."
"Not if it's from that evil place. Keep it away from me," she got up and walked to her bedroom.
Ten minutes later Donna came out of her bedroom, "Uuuummm, what's that cooking? It smells delicious."
Chris went with the flow and answered, "Shrimp Creole with a side of garlicy green beans and mushrooms."
Now speaking in a deep southern non-rhotic accent with a big smile on her face and a cheerful expression in her voice, "Now son, pull a cheh fo' me and suve me a plate of them spicy crustaceans."
The two of them sat at the table for the next 30 minutes eating their food and laughing and talking like nothing had happened.
Chris always took advantage of these good times as he never knew where his mom's mood would be from one minute to the next.
The Morning After
The next morning Chris was up at 4:15. He had a sharp pain in his stomach. A horrible debilitating pain. He's experienced pains like this before - since he was around six or seven years old.
He began groaning from the pain. The groans began soft but grew louder as the pain became more intense. He started shouting out, "Help me, help me!"
This frightened Donna and woke her from a deep sleep. She was groggy and off-balance and had a hard time concentrating. She managed to stumble her way, in the dark, to the living room.
She turned on the light and caught a glimpse of her son buckled over in pain. This triggered several adverse emotions and her hands and inner body began to shake. Donna felt like she had lost control of every part of her body and emotions. But this was her son, her baby. She had to do her best to help him. She made it to the sofa and knelt in front of him and began to lovingly rub his forehead with the back of her hand, "Relax baby. I'm gonna call 911 and get a doctor here." "No, that's alright mama," Chris answered, "This has happened before. It'll go away. The spicy shrimp from last night must have messed up my stomach."
Chris struggled with the burning pain for about another 20 minutes. He said to his mom who was sitting in the chair next to the sofa, "I'm feeling better now. I am going back to sleep." "Okay son," she responded. But it's 5:30 in the morning and you'll have to wake up soon for work." "Uhhh, no, no I'm not going," he responded. "Well you better call in sick. You don't want to lose your job." "Can you call them for me mom?" Chris pleaded.
Donna called Chris' job then went back to bed.
It's 8:30 a.m. and after a few hours of sleep Donna became restless and started tossing and turning in her bed. Despite the fact that she was very tired she decided to get up. She began her usual routine sitting on the side of her bed patiently brushing her hair making sure every strand is perfectly in place. Then she twisted her shiny reddish-brown locks up into a bun.
Next she slid on some loose fitting black slacks and a baggy black sweater over her head. Then she zips up a black jacket over the sweater. After that she grabbed her knee length trench coat and wore that over the other layers of clothes and buttoned the coat from top to bottom. Not one button was left unbuttoned.
She walked out to the living room/ kitchen where Chris was still sleeping. Donna put her black hat on her head and pulled the veil down in front of her face.
At about 9:20 am she left the apartment. She started walking on Laharpe street before turning onto Roman; she hesitated as that's where she saw the children with the scary faces. She could see their faces in her mind and that sent a shiver through her body. She stood there at the corner of Laharpe and Roman for a few minutes and contemplated turning back to go home. She decided to move forward on to Roman. This time she lowered her hat further toward her eyes and looked down at the sidewalk so as to not see anybody's face. Donna walked slowly, taking each step carefully so she would not fall.
From Roman Street Donna passed six streets to make it to Saint Philip street. She turned right on to Saint Philip. When she made it to the first corner which was Saint Philip and N. Prieur Street Donna was standing in front of Saint Peter Claver Catholic Church. It was a modest building but had a peaceful sort of mission look about it.
Donna stood outside of the church for a while to take a few deep breaths and regroup her frame of mind. There were a lot of things going through her mind such as she might be hit by a hurricane like Katrina or dark demons might strike her down before entering the church. She felt like there was an evil force preventing her from visiting the church. That force came alive in the faces of the children.
After seeing there were no hurricanes or dark demons Donna walked into the church. As she stepped in she felt a sense of calmness overtake her body. It's as if her mind had been cleansed of all the fear and confusion that had been living inside her for such a long time.
There were only two other people sitting in the pews toward the middle of the church. Donna stood at the back of the endless rows of pews staring at the altar which was adorned with flowers and candles and potted majesty palm trees along each side.
The air was light and fresh and Donna was able to breathe easy as she walked further into the church. She was overwhelmed with this wondrous feeling of freedom.
"Excuse me," Donna's tender polite voice echoed slightly as she spoke to the man and lady in the pews, "I am looking for the priest."
The light skinned black man with friendly smiling eyes answered, "Thank you for enquiring ma'am, I am the Reverend."
Donna asked, "May, I speak with you for a moment Father?"
"Yes," the Reverend answered, "Let me finish with our Director of Music. We should be just a few moments."
Donna sat quietly in one of the pews waiting for the Reverend. As she waited she kneeled in the pew and began to pray. After about five minutes the Reverend approached Donna.
"Hello Ma'am," he said, "How may I help you this morning?"
"Father," Donna said, "My name is Madonna Moreau. I apologize father, I have not been part of the church for 20 years. Since I was 18 years old."
The Reverend responded, "I am Reverend Ferdinand Gibson. No need to apologize for not coming to church. The important thing is you are here now."
Donna smiled and sat back in the pew. Reverend Gibson had a calming manner.
"May I answer any questions for you Miss Moreau?" The Reverend asked.
"Yes Reverend," Donna commented, "I need to talk, I'm bothered."
The Reverend gave her a welcoming look and nodded yes once.
"Reverend," Donna continued talking, "I am so scared. I've been scared for the past 20 years. I feel like something bad has happened to me." Donna paused and tears began flowing from her eyes.
The Reverend comforted her by rubbing her right shoulder for a few seconds.
As she spoke Donna hardly looked up at the Reverend. She mostly kept looking down at her hands, "I am having the same dream every night. It's so dark. I can't see anything. But, I feel like demons are following me. My body starts shaking from head to toes and I feel cold. Then I smell something burning. It always ends with a baby crying. The crying starts out faint - from a distance but then it gets closer and by the time the crying is in front of me it has turned into a scream. I still can't see anything, but I hear the baby screaming and the sound scares me so much. Then I wake up with my body still shaking and feeling cold."
Donna sat in the pew crying. The Reverend comforts her by holding her hands, "I'm here for you Miss Moreau. I'm here for you."
"Thank you Reverend," she said, "Thank you."
"I want to see you again on Wednesday," the Reverend said, "Next week at 11:00 in the morning okay Madonna. May I call you Madonna? "
"I go by Donna. You can call me Donna."
"I will see you next week Donna." The Reverend confirmed.
"Yes, Reverend next week." Donna answered, keeping her tearful eyes looking down at her hands.
The Poetry Book
When Donna Made it back home Chris was lying on the sofa with his blanket over him. He was reading a little purple book.
"Hi Mom," Chris shouts out. Where were you? You were gone when I woke up."
Donna hesitated to answer, "oh, um, I went to visit your Aunt Vickey."
"I don't have an Aunt Vickey," Chris responded.
"Oh, uh, yeah," Donna commented, "She's my friend Vickey. You used to call her Aunt Vickey when you were little."
"Hmm, I don't remember," Chris said, "I found this interesting hand written book in the back of the junk drawer in the kitchen. It looks like someone's poetry. I just started reading it."
Chris began reciting the first poem in the book:
"This one is called My Abyss.
Here comes another day… early morning and it's dark outside.
The tears well up to remind me that today will be no different than yesterday.
The pain in my heart is unrelenting… a pain I want to hide
My head is aching, both sides..."
Right at that moment Donna quickly ran toward Chris and grabbed the book out of his hands while he was still reading.
"Why did you do that mom?" Chris asked in a disappointed tone, "Did you write that?"
"No, I don't know who wrote it," Donna's hands were shaking as she answered. "But, you shouldn't be reading other people's private thoughts."
Donna took the book with her into her room. It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and she was emotionally drained from her talk with the Reverend.
She looked at the cover of the book as she lay on her bed. Up in the right hand corner was a handwritten title "Poems from the Deep." She just stared at that cover afraid of opening it. She hadn't seen it since she was 20 years old, Chris was two.
She thought to herself as she rubbed the cover with her index finger, "I forgot all about this book. I thought I lost it. I want to open it up, but I'm afraid."
She took the book and set it on the nightstand next to her bed and drifted off to sleep with all her layers of clothes still on.
Donna had been asleep for two hours and she suddenly awoke. Her room was eerily dark. All she could see was a long hallway leading to a dark hallway that was dimly lit on the other side of the house. Within the stagnation of the dim light she could see smoke in a distant well lit room.
Donna got up from her bed to walk toward the room. But it seemed that with each step she took the room became further away. This made her become frantic as all she wanted was to see what was going on in the room.
Her heart was beating harder and faster. Then she heard it, like a siren on an ambulance, the baby began screaming. It sounded like it was in so much pain. From the room came the muffled voices of a man and a woman speaking and laughing. Donna thought, "How can they be laughing when the baby is screaming."
Suddenly the baby let out a piercingly loud death scream. It was so loud that it overtook the entire house. Donna stopped with so much angry fright and guilt. She became delirious and distraught with herself. "How could I do such a thing," she thought and this frightened her with a chill. Then she woke up and quickly sprung up from her pillow sweating and realizing it was a bad dream. She then looked at the poetry book on her nightstand and murmured, "The answer is in the book."
She reached over to grab the book. But the book was gone. Donna was confused, "But how can that be? The book was here just a second ago." She got up out of her bed and bent down on the floor to look underneath the nightstand and behind it, but still no book. Then, Donna realized she was still dreaming. She forced herself to wake up. Finally awake she looked over at her nightstand and the book was there. She reached over and took hold of it and held it to her chest as she lay there on her bed crying.
Sausage and Cabbage
"Mom," she could hear Chris calling her from the living room, "Come out here. Let's talk."
"Okay," she said, "Let me change out of these clothes and into my nightgown."
Donna walked out to the living room/kitchen and found Chris frying up some kielbasa sausage and cabbage.
"Ummmm, that smells good," Donna exclaimed. "You are such a good cook Chris. I am so lucky to have a son like you."
"I'm the one who's lucky mom," Chris looked at Donna with an everlasting love and sincerity in his eyes.
"What time is it?" Donna asked.
Chris looked at his smart watch, "4:45 pm."
"Here mom sit down," Chris pulled the chair out for her. "Let me serve you your dinner my beauty queen." Chris set a plate with a generous slice of kielbasa and sauteed cabbage in front of Donna.
She immediately replied, "That is nice. I am very hungry."
Donna took two small bites of the sausage and a taste of the cabbage then pushed the plate away from her then said, "No more. I ate too much. I've been eating all day."
Chris was confused by this behavior. One second she's hungry then the next she's full after only a few bites. He did not know what to say.
"Okay mom," Chris said. "If you want more let me know." He picked up the plate to take it away.
Donna quickly snapped at Chris, "Why are you taking my plate away?"
Chris answered in a confused and somewhat agitated manner, "Well, you said you ate too much. I thought you were done."
"No," she said, "I'm still hungry. Just leave the plate." She took another small bite of the sausage then pushed the plate away.
Chris became very confused by this behavior. He had never seen his mom act like this before. This time he did not question her. He just left the plate on the table and walked over to the sink to wash the frying pan and his plate and utensils.
After he finished with the dishes he sat down at the kitchen table but was quiet. He wasn't sure what to say to his mom.
"How was the sausage mom?" Chris asked.
"Not good," Donna answered curtly.
Chris' feelings were hurt by this and his first reaction was to respond with something equally hurtful. But he didn't he just sat there and remained silent.
Without saying anything Donna got up from the table and walked into her room and closed the door behind her.
She sat on the side of her bed looking at the poetry book as it lay on the nightstand. She knew the words inside the book would crush her soul. She really wanted to open the book and start reading its pages but she was not emotionally ready.
Once again she put the book aside and decided to go to sleep for the night.
She Will Ruin Your Life
It's the weekend Saturday afternoon and Chris lets his mom know that he will be going on a date that night. At the age of 19 this is Chris' first ever date.
He's going out with the young lady that works the counter at the Quartermaster Deli on Bourbon Street. Her name is Tina, she's 20 years old and is of mixed race. Her mom is of French heritage from New Orleans. While her dad is a black Creole whose ancestry goes back to Africa.
"Mom, she is beautiful," Chris says, "Her dark brown eyes sparkle. She makes a killer roast beef PO' Boy. Also gives me a little extra meat in mine. "
"She sounds like a nice girl," Donna commented, "But." Chris cut in, "But she likes me mom."
Donna was not looking forward to spending the evening at home alone. But maybe, she thought this would be the perfect opportunity to read the poetry book.
Still she tried one more time to dissuade Chris from going on this date, "Chris, I am your mom and I forbid you from going on this date." Donna looked Chris straight in the eyes with a threatening look and said in a dry deep voice, "She will ruin your life."
The look was so deep and piercing that Chris was almost going to cancel his date. Instead he lightly chuckled toward his mom and responded with, "You'll say anything for a laugh."
This disturbed Donna but she didn't have a comeback. She just looked back at Chris and giggled with a confused look trying to act as if she got the joke.
"I'm gonna get ready so I can leave," Chris said.
"Okay," Donna responded reluctantly. She looked as if she had the wind knocked out if her.
Chris took a fifteen minute walk to Tina's house. He was dressed in a nice fitting pair of tight leg white jeans and a slim fit aquamarine colored long sleeve button down shirt which matched his eyes and a skinny white tie.
In his left hand he held a bouquet of yellow and pink wild flowers with a white lace ribbon tied around the stems.
Back at the apartment Donna worked up her adrenaline and began pacing in circles in the living room singing the one line over and over, "I want it that way. I want it that way. I want it that way."
She became more and more agitated and drove herself into a frenzy. Her hair was frazzled and tangled. Donna was a mess.
Chris and his date Tina arrived at Curio a bright and lively restaraunt on Royal Street.
The two were seated quickly with menus set in front of them. The greeter took their beverage order.
"Well," Tina said in a whimsical manner, "You look very dapper this evening."
"Thank you Tina," Chris responded confidently, "And you look striking." Tina smiled appropriately.
They both laughed at their courtesy with each other.
"So, I know where you work and I know you love PO' Boy sandwiches with extra meat," Tina hinted for more information from Chris.
" Well, I live in a small dump in the 7th Ward," Chris said proudly, "I live with my mom." He paused for a few seconds, "She's mentally disturbed."
By now Donna is melting down and yells out, "Why, why? What did I do? Just once it would be nice if you did something nice for me." Donna then hurled her body against the wall and banged her head so hard that she fell to the ground and lay there helpless and sobbing calling out for Chris.
"I noticed a behavior change in her about a month ago. She seems to be getting worse by the day," Chris said.
"Could she be bipolar?" Tina asked.
"I don't know," Chris responded, "I think it's something deeper than that. Whatever it is, my mom seems to be scared and in denial."
"Maybe she was abused as a child," Tina replied.
"I never considered that," Chris responded, "Wow, my poor mom."
The walk back to Tina's house was hand in hand signaling a successful date. The two engaged in silly small talk noticing how beautiful the stars in the dark night sky were.
A few minutes into the walk Chris' stomach began to hurt painfully. But he hid this from Tina. He did not let on that he was experiencing such discomfort.
After arriving at her apartment Tina and Chris stood in front of her ybuilding talking for another 15 minutes.
They ended the date with a short and sweet kiss.
On his way home Chris became winded and had to stop for a few moments as his stomach was really bothering him. He stood there bent forward with his hands on his knees.
After a few moments Chris caught his breath and he was fine.
When Chris made it home he found his mom passed out lying on the floor in the living room area. When he saw her like this he broke down and ran over to his mom yelling at the top of his lungs, "Mom, mom oh no," his voice was shaking as he thought she had died. Then, he noticed she was breathing and he was relieved.
Donna woke up when she felt Chris take her small hand and held it in his big strong hand.
As she lifted her head he noticed a bump and bruise on the side of her forehead. This shocked him.
"Mom, are you alright? What happened?" Chris asked.
"I'm okay," she responded in a quiet, shaky voice.
Chris asked her, after he lifted her to a sitting position, "What's your name?"
"Madonna," she answered.
What's your last name?"
"Good", he said, "What happened?"
"I was just walking and I tripped over my feet and fell."
"I should have never gone on that date. That's it, no more dates. I am never leaving you alone again."
Chris helped her up off the floor and guided her to the sofa.
"I'm going to find someone to stay with you while I'm at work."
"I'm okay Chris," she pointed out, "I don't need anyone to babysit me. It was just a little accident. It could have happened to anyone."
"No mom," Chris commanded, "You don't have a choice in the matter. That's final."
The hail Mary Confession continues in Part Two... Here's the link: https://vocal.media/quick-edit/the-hail-mary-confession-part-two
About the Creator
Writing is a distraction for me. It takes me to places unknown that fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and a soothing of the breaks and bruises of the day.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Original narrative & well developed characters