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Heaven is under our feet..


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Dita Morgenstern

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“Where did you want to walk to Dita, and did you want company? It won’t take me but a minute to get ready and come with you wherever you want to go.”

“I promise I'll stay close. Just to the bakery and back. I'll even get those lovely pastries with the chocolate, for you.”

It was the last exchange Dresden and Dita had before his disappearance. The statuesque but meek blond declined his companionship that morning out of fear. She worried he felt she was too needy. She was attempting to prove to Dresden that she was able- that she wasn’t a burden, that she wasn’t ‘crazy’.

She dawdled at the bakery to bide time so that she might survey the animals at Paris Zoological Park. The girl loved caring for the animals she emancipated and she was looking for a new addition to the growing collection. It gave her purpose while Dresden worked the many hours his job required of him. It also helped pass the time quickly and kept her from growing bored. There were rules Dresden had; rules to keep her safe. Rules that kept her a relative prisoner. And she would lie about how she acquired the animals out of fear that Dresden would put his foot down and disallow her this new hobby.

A little, white lie ..the things it can lead to.

Upon returning home, a plan to return to the zoo after Dresden retired for the evening fresh in juvenile mind, Dita found the house empty. It wasn’t unusual, it was Wednesday and the young girl imagined Dresden had gone to work. Even as day turned to night, Dita was still not concerned. There were many nights that Dresden returned home late. The only disappointment was that she could not venture out for the otter she was so keen to emancipate. God forbid Dresden catch her returning from a late night stroll with a freshly nicked sea otter. So she did what she always did- Dita went to sleep. Except, when she awoke, Dresden was still not home.

A week passed.
Had he grown angry with her for lingering at the bakery?

Two weeks.
Would he leave her out of anger?

A month.
Was he dead?

Dita dared not call the police out of fear they would investigate both she and Dresden’s names. A quick search of her alone would show she spent 13 years of her life in an asylum for the deaths of many children and that Dresden was an 'imaginary friend'. Neither of those things were true but the courts, the doctors deemed it so. No- she could not call the police. So she waited. Barely eating, barely sleeping, barely surviving ..but she waited.

She was insane by the third month.
April 23, 2018 05:22 am

Dita Morgenstern

You shall not covet your neighbor's house, wife, or property.

Laurel hues, bloodshot from little sleep, watched studiously through dirty glass of upstairs bedroom, the couple next door for the second month in a row. They were exquisite, the pair. The female, petite grace in her husband’s arms as they danced slowly to unheard music on their terrace, garnered the crazed girl's attention. The man, tall and lean of build, reminded Dita of Dresden; the way he looked at his wife, the way he would cup her cheek before pressing a kiss to awaiting lips. Dita found herself immensely jealous of the duo. But she continued to watch, night after night, unable to tear herself from her bedroom window until they retired each evening.

And each evening, the abandoned girl would dream of her last night with Dresden.

"There will never be anyone for me but you Dita. I'll never leave, never stop loving you."

You shall not murder.

It was easy to lure the couple to her home. Separately of course. The woman was the first to find herself victim of Dita’s carving knife. Dita mused over how a simple invitation for coffee could be so dangerous while she butchered the woman’s body.

Bojangles and Mattias ate well that night.

You shall not commit adultery.

The husband, frantic over the disappearance of his new wife, arrived a month later to inquire of his wife’s whereabouts; if the young girl had seen her leave. The police had no information, no leads. Dita explained, with ‘heavy heart’, that she had seen the man’s wife leave with another man. Of course she consoled him in his grief and when he became angry at his wife’s infidelity, the girl consoled him in other ways. Unfortunately, he didn’t take kindly to being called ‘Dresden’. Or to the knife that was buried in his chest when Dita realized he was not Dresden.

“Would you like something to drink before I retire for the evening?”

Verdant eyes inquired of the corpse at the dining table, glossed lips pulling into a Cheshire smile behind the porcelain teacup held before them.

“I didn’t think so.”

April 23, 2018 05:29 am

Dita Morgenstern

You shall not steal.

Sleep arrived that night; true sleep for the first night in seven months. Dita dreamt of a man that lived a few streets away. She had seen him on occasion at the bakery, exchanged polite conversation while perusing baked goods. He was handsome, always kind. The dream was odd though. It took place in the man’s home, in such detail, Dita began to doubt she was dreaming.

“You have a lovely home.” A sip of coffee, its robust scent heady in her nose, Dita gives a polite smile before continuing. “I’m surprised at how close your house is to mine. Would you like to come and see? I have a menagerie of animals I think you’d find most enjoyable.”

“A Menagerie? This is true?” he thinks upon her words. “The large house near the zoo, yes?”

“Oui.” She nods and gives a most innocent smile. She is attempting to lure him back to her home. “Would you like to see? I have a beautiful tiger.”

“Allons-y!” He's quick to reply, excited at the prospect and practically dragging her over the threshold towards her house. A brisk walk finds the duo at the abandoned manse. Surely a girl so young as Dita cannot own a home this grand in the suburbs of Paris. He knows she is unemployed. “Where are your parents?”

Honor your father and your mother.

“Hopefully they are dead.” Dita utters calmly, her carving knife slicing a path upwards from his lower abdomen to his diaphragm. “Tell them I send my hate.”

A scream tore through the house as she awoke, bed linens soaked with sweat. The dream, so vivid and graphic, left the girl unsettled. So much so, she forgot that Dresden was missing and immediately ran to his room for comfort. When she realised, once more, that she was in fact alone, Dita decided to make some tea.

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

“Jesus F-cking Christ!”

The man she dreamt about was now a guest at her table, his body a gruesome shrine. Rib cage pulled open like triptych doors exposed a ghastly diorama of Paradise and Hell; gone were his internal organs. Miniature dolls represented angels and demons ..there might have even been a nativity scene where his stomach once was. Soft pink roses and bramble decorated Paradise while fiery orange Tiger Lily represented flames and burning lakes. The Leviathan Cross branded into his forehead drew attention to the empty sockets that stared back.

Dita glanced nervously about looking for the missing eyes.

She found them in the sugar bowl.

“God damn ..I can’t even.” It was all she could say as she closed the doors to the dining parlour and returned to her room.
April 23, 2018 05:43 am

Dita Morgenstern

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

For months after, Dita drifted in and out of consciousness only to awaken at sundown every Friday. Weakened by dehydration and hunger, the girl would make her way downstairs to fix a simple meal and check on Mattias and Bojangles. The two larger animals seemed well fed and quite content to watch over the house without her attention or instruction ..which puzzled her greatly. She imagined the two bodies in the dining parlour, the room she now avoided at all cost, kept both the wolf and tiger well fed. But they were always happy to see Dita and always affectionate towards her until she retired for the evening a few hours later.

And every Friday night that she returned to bed, dreams so unimaginable plagued the fragile girl.

They were terrifying dreams. Unfathomable in their violence and realism. Especially from someone so meek, so mild mannered as Dita. Yes- she had killed her neighbor’s wife, but that was out of rage and jealousy when she was insane with grief over Dresden’s disappearance. Yes- she had killed the woman’s husband, but he had taken advantage of her hospitality and pretended to be Dresden ..hadn’t he? She questioned herself in those moments of clarity that came few and far between.

But still the dreams arrived like clockwork to torment her.

It was the same dream every week. Dita would find herself in another man’s house, speaking casually, confidently even, about the menagerie at home until it sparked the man’s interest. If it didn’t, she would find other ways to draw the male’s interest. Upon arrival to the old manse, or soon after, the male would meet his death at the end of Dita’s carving knife then find himself seated with the other guests at her table.

One by one ..until all seats were filled.

The last man she dreamt of though ..he could have been Dresden’s doppelganger. Instead of the carving knife, this particular male found death through a cup of tea steeped in the water that held fresh Lily of the Valley stems and a jam made from their berries.

He needed to be perfect Dresden.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.

It was truly poignant, his death by the sweetest flower. Not only did it symbolize humility, chastity, sweetness, and purity- everything that Dita once was- there was a Christian legend that the flower sprang from the Virgin Mary’s tears as Jesus was crucified. Another legend said it was from Eve's tears that the flower sprang as she was cast from Paradise.

Others believed it a sign of the second coming of Christ.

Dita smiled as the last nail was driven through the man’s ankles. He was a beautiful totem to her darling Dresden, wherever he might be. Neatly crucified on the dining parlour wall, the Dresden idol watched over the twelve who were gathered there at her table.

I am the Lord thy God, thou shall not have any gods before me.

On her knees, at the foot of her new ‘God’, Dita prayed to Dresden.

Prayed he would return to her, to their home.

Prayed for his forgiveness.

Prayed for the dreams to stop.
April 29, 2018 09:40 am
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