A simple, yet beautiful heart-shaped locket becomes the focus of appreciative and unsuspecting women. Someone should warn them of the danger of owning the cursed piece. But who? Sadly, the previous owners are no longer around…nor are the loved ones they killed in a fit of unexplained rage.
Excerpt: (UNEDITED TEXT)
Boston – October, 1940
Sheila Townsend hauled open the heavy Cathedral door and slipped inside. She scurried up the long aisle into the safety of the confessional and collapsed. Panting, she creaked open the little sliding door. The priest’s outline loomed on the other side.
"Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.” She swiped at her bangs, wet from the fog outside.
“How long has it been since your last confession?” The priest’s voice filtered through the mesh between them.
“Six months, Father.”
“Tell me of your sins, my child.”
“I-I’ve had evil thoughts and fear I’ve done something horrid.”
“What have you done?”
“I might have killed someone because of the curse.”
“Curse?” The deep voice raised an octave.
“The one that plagues this locket.” She dangled a necklace close to the screen. “I must leave it here with you and stop this madness.”
Sheila rose, dropped the pendant onto the shelf separating parishioner from priest and fled without another word. The stained glass window in an image of the Holy Mother looked far less impressive at night than when the sun shone through the tinted panes. Pausing at the door, she secured her scarf over her head and pulled her coat collar higher.
She leaned her weight against the door, allowing the breeze to flicker the candles at the altar. The gripping hatred that had consumed her for the last month melted away like snow in springtime. Her need to hurt someone had only intensified when she put a picture in the locket. But now she was free—free from everything but the guilt and memories of plunging the knife into her boyfriend’s back.
Stepping back into the misty night, she headed toward the river. She hadn’t actually been honest with the priest. The police were sure to soon find the body in her living room, and she no longer had a will to live. She’d made peace with the Lord now she needed to find peace with herself and what she’d done.
Father Finnegan’s brow furrowed at the woman’s sudden departure. “A curse?”
He stood and pushed through the curtain at the rear of the confessional, walked around and opened the door to the parishioner’s side. There, on the shelf lay the necklace the woman had left. A heart-shaped gold locket hung from a long chain, and when opened, displayed a picture of a mustached gentleman wearing a black fedora. Father Finnegan pinched the locket closed. The pendant looked entirely harmless—nothing more than delicate piece of jewelry.
“What have you got there, Father?”
He turned to find Sister Mary Catherine. “A locket… supposedly cursed.” He laughed. “Me thinks ‘tis the soul of the person who left it who needs the blessing.”
“The jewelry looks to be a fine piece for the fund-raising bazaar, if you’ve no other plans for it.” The nun smiled and opened her hand.
“You’re welcome to it.” He dropped necklace into her waiting palm. “Although the strange behavior of my last visitor surely makes me wonder what it is about this lovely piece she found so frightening. Certainly not the picture of the handsome fellow inside.”
Father Curtis arrived for his time in the confessional and Father Finnegan retired to his room via the kitchen, carrying a pot of hot tea. He sat at a small round table in his sparsely decorated chamber and poured himself a cup of orange pekoe. With a glance at the golden crucifix above his bed, he crossed himself.
The morning newspaper lay unread next to the ceramic teapot. Prepared to unwind from the multitude of confessions heard earlier, he flicked open the publication and gasped at the picture adorning the front page beneath the words, “Found Murdered.”
“Mary, Mother of God!” He stared at the face from the locket.