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Authors: Christopher D. Roe

Embracing Darkness

BOOK: Embracing Darkness
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Christopher D. Roe





1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

Phone: 1-800-839-8640




© 2012 by Christopher D. Roe. All rights reserved.



No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.



Published by AuthorHouse 08/06/2012


ISBN: 978-1-4772-5276-5 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4772-5275-8 (e)


Library of Congress Control Number: 2012913468


Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models,
and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.



Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.


Original cover artwork design by Christine La.




St. Andrew’s

ONE A Brief History

TWO The Stuttering Priest

THREE A Cold Welcome

FOUR A Less Than Auspicious Beginning

FIVE Anything Can Stir Memories

SIX Father Meets Sister

SEVEN Argyle Hobbs

EIGHT A Night without Sleep

NINE Ben Benson

The Poor Lost Souls of 1929

Ten A Morning like No Other

Eleven Four Years on the Hill

Twelve Meeting the Bensons

Thirteen Ellen F.

FOURTEEN The Newcomers

FIFTEEN Zachary Black

SIXTEEN The Newest Residents of Holly Hill

SEVENTEEN True Colors Shine Through

EIGHTEEN A Holiday of Betrayal

Book III
The Benson Home for Abused and Abandoned Boys

Nineteen Three Surprises in One

Twenty One Big, Happy Family

Twenty-One Broken Angels, Broken Hearts

Twenty-Two If You See Darkness, Color It Black

Twenty-Three A Man Lurks from Sun to Sun

Twenty-Four Things That Fall Apart Stay Broken

Twenty-Five Cleaning Up the Mess

Twenty-Six Duty Calls

Twenty-Seven Armageddon



To the abused children of the world, may you always find the strength to persevere; to the bleeding hearts of the world, may you know when you have given too much to others; to the evildoers of the world, may you always get your due punishment. To my students, thank you for making what I do a joy. To my family and friends, thank you for your love and support throughout this difficult endeavor.


All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.—

The evil that men do lives after them.—

Zachary Black embodied every kind of evil that has ever lived in the heart of man. Every act of malice of which human beings are capable, so too was he.—


One night, when I was on night duty, looking after the littlest of the lot, I was stirred from my staring fit by the sound of rustling in the nearby bed. It was little Ziggy, wide awake and apparently a bit frightened. He told me he’d been awakened by a loud noise that sounded like cannon fire. I simply told him that he’d been dreaming, and to go back to sleep.

As I was known among all the children in the home for being the one to weave some pretty interesting yarns, the little boy knew that if asked, I might tell him a story. I suppose it’s almost like when a composer is asked to play his latest piece, or a chef asked to cook up his best dish. I, too, considered myself a professional, albeit one in the story-telling field; and although, at the age of ten, I had a long way to go as far as my writing was concerned, I could keep people entertained for hours with my tales. I was so good at it, in fact, that many times, unbeknownst to my listeners, I would make things up as I went along. It came easy to me; almost naturally, it seemed.

But the story I told Ziggy that night was one I’d been thinking of for awhile. I had always been fascinated with the nearby Indian nations, and had even read comic books on the subject. Although these books were mostly based on real-life facts of how settlers clashed with the Algonquin tribes of the Northeast and the Canadian border, I preferred to spin my own take of the Native Americans, as I found their culture to be somewhat alluring in that they believed in magic, evil spirits and monster-like demons; much like ten-year-old kids believe.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not calling American Indian culture juvenile in any way. I simply mean that their life is quite appealing to an impressionable pre-teen such as I once was.

Before my time at the Home, I would often go to Holly Public Library and read up on the local tribes. I quickly became enthralled with each passing word I read about Abenaki and Pennacook Mythology. It wasn’t long before I began to mold my own Native American legends in my head, and by the time Ziggy had asked me to tell him a story that night, I was ready to accommodate him.

“Tell me a story about the maple.” he begged.

“What kind of story do you want to hear?” I asked him. “A funny one or a sad one?”

“A scary one.” he replied. “One with ghosts in it.”

“Scary, eh?” I said, a bit perplexed, seeing as how he’d been so frightened just a few moments before.

“With ghosts.” repeated Ziggy.

I wanted to tell him that it was ridiculous to scare him more than he already was for obvious reasons. But if you’ve ever tried reasoning with a five-year-old, it’s as futile as squeezing a rock with your bare hands, expecting it to break apart and reveal a diamond.

“Alright, Ziggy.” I said, rolling up my sleeves and then rubbing my hands together as if ready to perform a magic trick. “This is the story of how our maple tree out back and Holly Hill came to be.”

*     *     *

A long time ago, long before the arrival of the white man, there lived a beautiful young Indian girl, named Kerawana, who lived in the north among the Abenaki Indians. People said she was so beautiful, that it was as though Kisosen, the sun god, shed a tear and from it was born Kerawana. Her father, Penaushiwa, a proud and headstrong Abenaki warrior, kept Kerawana hidden from the eyes of any man seeking to catch a glimpse of her beauty.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Kerawana slipped away from her father’s vigilant eye, just so she could wander freely in the woods, for she had forgotten what it felt like to be free. Once at a safe distance from the village, she broke into a slow run, and let her long black hair flap behind her in the breeze, and at that moment, she felt free. Kerawana experienced the cool breeze on her face and thought that nothing in this world felt so good.

As Kerawana grew tired from unfamiliar exertion, she rested at the foot of a large tree. Within moments, she was asleep. Soon after she was awakened by a high-pitched scream, which was quickly followed by its own echo. Kerawana jumped up and stood motionless, her body now trembling as she waited to hear the ungodly distant cry once more.

“It’s the wendigo.” she told herself, and remembered what her mother had always told her about never interfering where the evil demon spirit wandered. As long as Kerawana stood where she was, and let the wendigo pass without seeing her, she would be safe. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and waited. She heard the same shrill scream once more. She held her breath and clenched her hands tightly into fists, causing her nails to dig into her palms until they bled. The scream was quickly replaced by the sound of leaves rustling in the trees as the wind swept through the forest.

When she opened her eyes again, Kerawana began to fear the woods around her. Nothing appeared familiar to her. Being kept in isolation for so many years, she knew no further than the confines of her own village. She was lost. She followed the light from the setting sun, believing that she had originally traveled east. She wandered for hours and hours. By the time the moon was high in the sky, Kerawana had given up all hope, and collapsed into a ball. She lay, trembling with cold, and cried for her mother and father. With her one ear pressed against the ground, she heard a voice call her name. The voice was like no other voice she had ever heard before, for it did not sound human. It sounded like it was filled with rotted leaves and dirt, and it crunched and crackled with every syllable.

“Kerawana.” the voice called.

Kerawana opened her eyes and surveyed the near pitch black that surrounded her. For comfort, she looked up to the only source of light that she had coming from the full moon. All was quiet. Again she lie down and put one ear to the ground and again she heard the voice.


This time, Kerawana was too frightened to move. She lay frozen in fear and began to tremble. She thought the voice to be that of the wendigo, who had found her and was prepared to spill her blood.

“I can help you, Kerawana.” the voice whispered, slowly.

Kerawana, in all her fear, noticed something strange about the voice. She could only hear it in the one ear that was pressed against the earth.

“Who are you?” asked Kerawana, still motionless.

“I am Wanom-keea-po-da, the spirit that dwells below the grass and dirt. As all creatures walk above me, so I see all that they do. I see where the closest of your kind is. I can help you find your people.”

“My people?” asked Kerawana, feeling unsure about enlisting the help of a strange spirit. “I don’t trust you, spirit. How will I know you are telling me the truth?”

The voice didn’t answer for several moments, within which time Kerawana believed she’d been dreaming the entire thing. She was even beginning to doubt whether she’d heard the wendigo just hours earlier.

She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, but before she was able to exhale, the voice replied, “Believe me, I can! But if I do help you, then I want something in return.”

“What?” Kerawana asked, nervously.

“I will make it so that you are found safely, and by someone who will love and protect you; someone who will even ask for your hand in marriage.”

“And what do you want in return?”

“You must agree to sacrifice your first born in my name. That its blood be spilled onto the earth, so that I may taste it.”

Kerawana would have agreed to do anything at that moment just to be out of the cold and darkness, so she anxiously agreed.

BOOK: Embracing Darkness
5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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