Chapter 30 – ‘I’ve never seen a Miracle’
‘He’s scared’. Hans listened to the statement of FBI Investigator, ‘Saul Mares’. Hans watched the news bulletin in the early hours of the morning. The much awaited trial of Michael Martyn had been concluded in the state of Texas. The jury decided that he was not fit for trial after top psychotherapists had submitted reports that Michael Martyn suffers from ‘Dissociative identity disorder’. He was to be treated for this condition in an institution for the criminally insane.
The report concluded with the words of anchor’ ‘Heather Lawrence’, ’This case has gripped not only the state but the entire country. Since ‘Michael Martyn’s’ arrest and the strange fire at the police station where he was being held, each detail surrounding the trial and this man has become subject of growing scrutiny. The haunting and brutal past of this town has also come onto the surface and many arrests have taken place. Is Michael Martyn a vigilante or simply a psychotic killer, opinions are divided over who he really is? A man who was well liked in his small town, developed an alter ego, the dangerous personality of his own brother. Today the doctors who treat him for this rare condition state that he has no awareness of his crimes, in fact he is as scared as his own victims were. Michael himself believes the killings had been carried out by ‘Gabriel Martyn’, his brother. In his own mind this is the truth and the medical team leading his treatment agree. At this moment we are told only Michael Martyn exists with the scars from the injuries he suffered following the fire at his holding station, which some believe may have been an attack by ‘Vincent Cunningham’, a fugitive whose father was killed by Michael. Gabriel Martyn, the other personality is absent. Whether he will ever return no-one knows but the hope is that Gabriel Martyn has been laid to rest finally, along with the crimes of the small town of ‘West Side’’.
Hans didn’t sleep, he thought about what he had witnessed and if a lifetime was in fact enough to understand how strange the truth can be. Kay had returned to her job in Chicago and insisted Hans helps her with a book she was writing about her experiences in this strange town. He had refused to be involved.
He had one important job to do this morning and that was to go and visit the ‘Martyn’ house. That house had been the center of attention for many months, with the press constantly taking photos and video footage of the house in which the ‘Martyn brothers’ lived. This was the name the media gave this brutal case of ‘Michael Martyn’ and his crimes. The house had become a place of nostalgia for ‘grief tourists’, people who visited sites where murders took place or where infamous killers once lived. This was the time we lived in and it was no-one’s fault, yet people never look behind the headlines, never wipe away the dust on top to see what is actually underneath. Hans knew or at least believed what really happened in this town, it wasn’t what Kay believed and it may not even be what Jacob Turner preached. The truth was somewhere in between.
Ethel watched the last items of any value be loaded onto the back of the removal van. She looked at her house for the last time, it had been sold to a wealthy investor who was probably going to try to make some money of its reputation. Ethel wiped the dust of a photo, it was her, Shane and their three children. The photo was a reminder what ‘normal’ use to be. She had stopped opening the curtains, because of the constant presence of photographers outside. The trial itself may have gripped most people in the state but the one person who refused to go to court even one single day, was Michael’s own mother. She never went to any of the trial, not even on the day of sentencing. Ethel said that she didn’t need anyone to tell her what her son did and if there is anything wrong with him. She was his mother and knew him like no other ever could.
‘Mrs Martyn’. Ethel looked up at Emily. ‘I know it’s hard to leave your home and this town, are you sure about this’?
‘Yes, Emily. I should have left this town a long time ago, I stayed because I got use to calling it my home. But home is wherever your loved ones are. This place reminds me only that my loved ones are gone ……gone forever’. Emily sat down slowly, she was beginning to show a little bit. ‘Mrs Martyn. I’m so happy that we are doing this. We’ll get by, somehow. My mum’s family is great, my step father is like a father to me. After what happened, he was there the whole time supporting me and helping me through it’.
‘I know. I want to see my grand-child come into this world and have no knowledge about this town, or about his father’. Ethel touched Emily’s stomach where a small miracle had taken place. A woman who could not conceive was now carrying a child. There was a knock on the door, Emily walked up to open it. Hans smiled at Emily as he walked into a place that had been stripped down. He walked in, holding his hat in his hands, looking almost guilty for having to say goodbye to an old friend and a family he knew for so many years. Ethel put the photo back into the box as she greeted Hans, ‘Mr Mansell, thank you for everything. I know how much you supported me and my children. Even your words were kind when you wrote about my son’. Hans said nothing as he looked at the lounge, there were dusty boxes scattered around and he still couldn’t believe Ethel Martyn was actually leaving this town. ‘Mrs Martyn. I know your family so well, and I saw your kids grow up. Whatever happened is something no-one will ever understand and much like life’s mysteries, we are better off not knowing the reasons behind it’.
‘I just hope Jacob Turner leaves us alone. Stops mentioning us in his demonic sermons and fanatical statements. Maybe by us moving away, this circus around my family will stop and we’ll have some peace’.
‘We better make a move’, a voice came from the hallway. Hans stepped forward and gave Ethel a hug. ‘If you ever need anything Mrs Martyn. You know where I am’. Ethel shed tears as she looked at Hans, a noble man who had walked the path of truth on his own for much of his life. ‘Mr Mansell, just take care of Amy. She doesn’t want to come with me and her parents have thrown her out’.
‘She’ll be okay Mrs Martyn. When they realize she is all they got, they’ll have her back’.
‘Mr Mansell, if life’s mysteries were never explained or noble men never talked about the things that our minds cannot accept then how would we learn and how would we find the path to greater discoveries. How would man have found God’? The door opened and Hans looked around. There stood Rebecca, ‘Come on Ma. We have to go’. Hans smiled at Emily as they hugged and then Rebecca walked forward and hugged Hans too. ‘Mr Mansell, please go and see my brother and tell him that I will always love him. I will always wait for him’. Rebecca cried quietly as Emily put her arm around, ‘Come on Becky. Be brave for your mum and for all of us’.
They walked out of the house together. Hans watched from the sidewalk as Ethel closed the door of her house for the final time. Hans watched as he said to himself ‘I’ve never seen a miracle …….until now’! This was a town of miracles, if anyone had any doubt then come and see this family. He watched as these three remarkable women prepared for a journey far from their home, Emily was told years ago that she could never conceive after injuring herself in an ‘accident’ at her home. But here she was three months pregnant. Rebecca was paralyzed for life, her chances of recovery were one in a million, in fact they were negligible. But today she was running around, putting the last few bags in the car. The doctors couldn’t understand it, let alone explain it. They had never seen such a remarkable recovery at their clinic, no patient had ever responded this well to treatment. What did Becky say? All she knows was that her brother came to see her one night, BUT he was in the forest, a fugitive surrounded by police and the FBI. The most reasonable explanation we were given was that she was hallucinating! Hans walked closer as he waved them farewell, their car drove away behind the removal van. Ethel smiled briefly at him then turned her sights to the house, a final reminder of what it meant, the memories, the tears and everything that was buried beneath.
Hans decided to call Kay as he arrived at the library, he had refused to participate in her book or even sell his story to journalists who discovered he had provided the evidence that locked away eight men and was the reason Vincent Cunningham was on the run. Hans was even invited by Jacob Turner to join his movement but he stayed away despite the fact that he agreed with some of Turner’s rhetoric. The only difference was that the ‘miracles’ witnessed don’t have to be given a name or to become part of a religious ideology or legacy, just accept it as something weird and wonderful. Don’t spoil its worth and beauty by giving it an explanation. ‘Kay. I am thinking of coming to Chicago’.
‘Mr Mansell, I am coming to Texas. I have been given permission to meet Michael, just one meeting for my book. No-one has seen him this close or talked to him except people involved in his case, it’s amazing. I would like you to come with me’.
‘Kay, you know I …..’.
‘I know and I promise I won’t ask you to be involved with my book. Just be there for me. One more time’.
The morning of the visit was wet and dull. Kay had been waiting in the parking lot for about twenty minutes before Hans drove in. The institution was two hours’ drive from the ‘West side’. Hans walked across to Kay’s car and got in. ‘It’s good to see you Kay’. ‘Thank you. It’s good to hear you call me by my first name’. Hans smiled, ‘It took some getting used to’. Kay smiled, she looked older and very smart. Kay had aged in the space of nine months, she had learnt about life and the need to slow down once in a while. She had planned to fly to Canada and meet her son, re-connect with him again. ‘Mr Mansell, I learnt so much from you. I never thought when I arrived in that sleepy town that I would find my best teacher there’.
’No, no Kay. I am not your teacher. Whatever you think you learnt from me, it wasn’t as much as I took from you. Your passion, your resolve and thirst for the truth. It brought me back from those ‘dusty shelves’. Kay allowed herself a wide smile. ‘Let’s go in’.
Kay looked across to Hans as though he had grasped time itself and brought it to a standstill. ‘Kay, do you know who you are going to see in there’? ‘Yes, Michael’!
Are you sure’? Kay waited before repeating her answer. Hans looked at Kay, his look was that of a man who had seen the unknown, he had received a revelation and all he wanted was to describe it and hope the one who is listening, believes in it.
‘Just for a moment forget what the doctors said. Block the whole trial out of your mind and think about another possibility’. Kay looked straight ahead as though Hans was about to take her on a journey, and she was an unwilling passenger. She respected Hans but didn’t always agree with him, yet there was always that respect. In the last nine months, if she had learnt anything it was to always listen!
‘Michael has a multiple personality disorder, this is not a fact. It’s a theory’! ‘I believe it’. Kay said as she turned to face Hans, a tension had crept into the car and was working its way inside their veins.
‘So did I. But belief should never be borne out of denial’.
‘Denial of what’?
‘Of what we can see in front of our eyes. What cannot be explained by a doctor or a shrink. There are no experts in matters that are beyond our comprehension’.
’Mr Mansell. I know what you believe and I respect that but …..
‘What I believe is not what so called experts tell me. It’s what I know’. Kay looked outside the car, through the steamy windows at ‘GRAYS’ mental institution. This was a maximum security facility for the criminally insane and that was now the home of ‘Michael Martyn’. That was the only truth she knew.
‘The man in there, behind those walls, he could never kill anyone. Michael Martyn was a mixed up young man who lived in this town as quiet as a ghost. He may have gotten into abit of trouble now and then but taking Reginald Cunningham hostage and blowing his brains out …. I don’t think so’! Kay looked at Hans, his eyes were fiery and he not only believed in his truth but he had seen it. ’What do you know Mr Mansell? There are thousands of men who commit the most violent crimes and people who knew them say they never said ‘boo’. Mental disorders can change people, I agree Michael could never commit that crime, someone else did. At that time, he wasn’t Michael’.
‘How about what happened in that town’?
’Emily Cunningham was Gabriel’s sweetheart. Today she is carrying someone’s baby. A woman who was told by the same ‘experts’ you swear by that she could never conceive’. Kay looked in amazement at Hans. ‘Whose baby is it? It can’t be Michael’s’.
‘I don’t think it is either. Emily believes it is Gabriel’s’.
‘That’s absurd’. Kay pushed her hair back as she held back her anger.
‘He was a weak man who probably didn’t have the courage to start his own family. He was there when his sister got shot but couldn’t do anything about it’.
‘I can’t listen to this’. Kay opened the door of her car, ‘He couldn’t save his sister but then he went to see her in the re-hab centre. And miraculously she began to walk again in days’. Kay stopped, ‘Mr Mansell, this has nothing to do with Gabriel being alive. That man is Michael, and Gabriel is his alter-ego’. Hans put his head back slowly, he felt like a preacher much like Jacob Turner, someone who had so much to say but people were too scared to listen. ‘Are you going to come inside’? ‘No. I will wait here for you. Meet him and remember what I said to you. Remember that science tells us that a man who is clinically dead for six minutes, would become brain dead. I spoke to Doctor Rogers about that night when you brought Michael in to the hospital ….. after he had been shot’. ‘And’?
’Michael was clinically dead upon arrival. In hospital he was clinically ‘dead’ for twelve minutes. How could he come back? He couldn’t have! At least not according to medical science. Then he escaped death again at the station where a raging fire broke out, maybe Vincent was behind it but Michael survived. The other six men who the FBI had arrested as part of the larger investigation into the crimes of the West side department, never did’! Kay said nothing as she closed the door and walked towards the gates of the clinic.
A man dressed in a smart blue uniform, greeted her upon arrival, carefully checking her credentials before having her purse checked. He walked alongside her down three long corridors, she was still thinking about Hans. She had never depicted a war of good and evil taking place in a backward, strange town like ‘West side’, surely there are many more gracious arenas where God would line up his pawns of the light and dark side to do battle. Would one of His chosen men be locked away in this institution for men who are sick but too violent to be treated like normal patients. She was asked to take a seat in an office, where a middle aged man entered and sat down. ‘Morning Miss Winters. I know why you are here. I didn’t want you to have access to this man. But powers above mine favoured your visit. So here we are’. Kay smiled, ‘I didn’t catch your name’? ‘Kenny Logan’.
‘Mr Logan, I have come here to meet someone who may be famous today … or shall I say infamous. But I’ve known him from the time when he was just a regular man. I would like to see him and listen to his side’. ‘Which one’? Kenny Logan grinned, but Kay remained stone faced as his humour was lost on her. ’He hasn’t had any visitors since coming here. I don’t doubt that you think you know him but I don’t think you do. Nobody does. He doesn’t talk to anyone, whatever his mental state was at the time of the murders has become worse. His face is partially dis-figured due to the accident at the station, he doesn’t socialize with anyone and even our therapy has failed to work on him.
‘So what does all this mean’?
‘It means Miss Winters, we don’t know him whether he is Michael Martyn or anyone else. We haven’t got through to him yet. Having visitors can be dangerous’.
‘I would like to see him now’. ‘Okay’. Kenny Logan sighed, he was a stout looking man, untidy in his appearance. He seemed to have the world on his shoulders, yet it seemed whatever he said lacked sincerity. He signaled to a young officer who was standing behind to take Kay towards the consultancy rooms.
The young officer, walked respectfully behind Kay, his keys were making a small clatter as they reached ‘Consultancy Room D’. ‘Ma’am, I will be outside the whole time but he won’t hurt you. He don’t speak much but I believe in him, seen what he can do’. Kay looked at the young guard, he was fresh faced and had a twinkle in his eye. He probably hasn’t worked here that long, so he still spoke with humanity and was as fresh faced as a young graduate out of college. ‘What have you seen’?
’He can heal people. Even himself, that isn’t the way he looks, when he wants his scars to disappear his face is clear as daylight. Some nights ago, a fuse board short circuited in the ‘F’ wing and caught fire. The doors got locked and we were trapped inside. Three guards and five inmates, all gonna roast in there. He told everyone to walk behind him and covered us with a blanket. Nothing happened to us and the doors opened for us.
‘You saw that’?
’I was there, in that room. But the management told me to stay quiet because he is so high profile. We get tons of mail for him saying he is the ‘second coming’ or something like that’! Kay looked towards the locked door as the officer went to open it. ‘Ma’am I even started reading that book that Jacob Turner wrote. He knows everything about him’. An older guard approached and the young guard suddenly stopped talking and unlocked the large door of consultancy room D.
Kay walked into a large room, it was very neat coated in white. In the middle of the room there was a long steel table. There sat a despondent figure, shackled and sullen, it was Michael. He was looking down as his long shiny hair covered much of his face, his beard was trimmed and he wore grey clothes which were spotless. His hands were in chains connected to his ankles, which had a brace on them. Kay looked at the windows, which had bars on the outside. Kay walked slowly towards a lonely chair placed on the opposite side of the table. ‘Michael, can I sit down’? He didn’t move, and said nothing. Kay sat down slowly as she glanced at the CCTV cameras in the corners of the room. He sat with his head down, his hair veiling his features from Kay as she watched him closely. She suddenly remembered sitting with him in the coffee shop as they ate ice-cream. It was a night that ended the life of many people including the one who sat before her. ‘Mike. How are you doing in here? Are they treating you well’? There was no response from Michael. Kay waited for a few moments, ‘I would like to talk to you as a friend. Just know what you are thinking and about everything that happened. I care about you and I know that it wasn’t your fault. I want to know more about you and who it was that committed those crimes. Only if you want to tell me’. There was a silence that in itself spoke many words. The walls echoed the defiance of a man who was being hailed as a serial killer by some and an ‘apostle’ by others. Michael was the only one who knew the truth but he only offered his silence. ‘Mike, I can go if you want me to. If there is anything you want your Ma’ to know then you can tell me. Say something ……please’. Mike stared down, his long hair hiding him away from her questions and her expressions that displayed her desperation. This was how the medical team at ‘Grays Mental Institution’ had felt for many months, a sense of despair like a man trying to knock down a wall, which was impenetrable. She wondered who he was at this time. Was he Michael or ……..Gabriel? He seemed like Michael, he was human and he was scared to talk. Just like that night at the restaurant, when he took so long to say even a few words. He did open up until something bothered him, those men who entered the restaurant. Mike’s knuckles bled as they drove home from their date, who was he that pummeled someone in the restaurant before driving her home? Kay was talking to herself as she watched the silence of the man before her, she remembered about ’the one who fights with monsters will become one, as he looks into the abyss, the abyss stares back’.
Kay was doing that right now, just watching a man enshrouded in his own darkness and she realized that none of her words were reaching him. He looked up for a second, Kay shrieked ‘What the hell’, she jumped up from the chair as though a current of electricity had hit her and everything in the room, ‘Open the door’!! The guard outside opened the door quickly, ‘Are you ok, ma’am’? Kay looked back at him, ‘He …. that’s ….’. She stopped and said nothing. Kay brushed her hair back as she felt the sweat on her brow. ‘I’m going. That’s it’. Kay looked back one more time at him. Mike was looking down again. Kay watched as they unlocked his feet from the bars under the table and then pulled him up. Kay stepped back as they led him away.
Kay walked outside as the rain was falling heavier now, she was drenched in it but couldn’t feel even a single drop. She felt herself trembling as she sat in her car, Hans looked at Kay carefully like he was studying her expressions without asking her what happened. ‘Did you meet him’? ‘No’.
‘They didn’t let you meet him after the journey you made’. Kay looked at Hans in a way that said ‘Why are you asking me when you know more than me’?
‘The only man they never found was Vincent Cunningham. They never will’! Hans raised his eyebrows, ‘Why’s that’?
‘He’s in here. I just met him’!
Salvation, is this what we search for? A lifelong struggle to find redemption for our past. Every man needs acceptance, so we can look in the mirror and say ‘It’s ok, now’. I would lie awake many nights as a boy just listening to the faint voice of Ma’ crying and praying, but never understood it. I could never ask her why she would cry and recite those prayers, what was she asking for, and who was she asking from? I knew that it was personal to her and I had no right to question her about it. As I grew up, I realized she was searching for salvation as we all are. But how do you know when you’ve found it? No one knows but you. So when you find it, if you ever do then are you really free from your demons?
I am as free as a bird flying in the morning sun. Salvation is Paradise, and that’s where I am now. Demons don’t exist in Paradise, they are the evil that inhabit mortal men in order to destroy them. I am more than that, because my search is over. I am home now and remember nothing of the blood that was shed.
And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. (Hebrews 11:4)
T H E E N D
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