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Jennifer Galletti
I think I'm a Rockstar...
I think I'm a Rockstar...
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Apple Books: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-unbeloved/id1165236000?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-unbeloved-amonte-littlejohn/1124828396;jsessionid=3B5FBA92DE6F22FD23AE4CC6277C82A2.prodny_store02-atgap05?ean=2940153315386

Smashwords.com: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/667994



Chapter 1

A thick and calm summer night erupts into a maelstrom of chaos at St. Gabriel’s seminary in Cleveland. The halls of the cathedral flooded with mad cries that rival the thunder outside. The Ohio sky rolled violently above, branches and power lines whipping back and forth in the jaws of a malicious gale. Truly, no scripture would dare preview calamity such as this, for this was the type of pandemonium that took faith and married it with fear. To even the unbelieving eye, all that was in existence was destined for the end times that seemed to be nigh.
If there was one to stand against the swirling chaos, it would be Ignacio Hernandez, a young minister in training at the seminary. Since he was a boy, Ignacio had been taught to love God and all his teachings. His parents enrolled him into Sunday school as soon as he could read, and from then on, his life would be one balanced between the sacred and the secular. A stellar student from grade school on, he would attribute all his accomplishments to providence, never once placing himself above or before grace. He endured ridicule and rejection in his teen years, his resolve unwavering even in the face of solitude. Every banishment and insult was comforted by holy text, the words of his divine father soothing the wounds born by a cruel society. It was these very words that molded Ignacio into the man he had become: compassionate, understanding, trusting, and most important, devout. His life would become a light to many consumed by trouble. Wayward youth, the addicted, the vicious, all would take solace in his presence and perhaps for the first time, know without question that they were loved.
It was in this mayhem, this darkest of storms that blackened the sky, that his light would begin to dim.
He lead the charge down the marble hallway, eyes wide with panic yet his movements deliberate and swift. Flickering lights above mingled with the lightning outside to light his and his fellow minister’s path. Paintings of saints gazed in the direction of something foreboding, their forlorn faces and wilted, pointing hands showing a path toward horrors unknown. Fearlessly, though, Ignacio bolted on, his footsteps sounding out against cries of agony and pain.
“What was that?!” a minister asked, freezing in his tracks.
“It came from the shelter….” another minister answered, his voice trembling in the darkness. A pause gripped the brigade of holy men, who now looked at one another, paralyzed with dread.
“If it came from the homeless wing then they’re in need of our help now more than ever. Stay here if you want, but I’m going, alone if I have to.” Ignacio gripped his flashlight and took a deep breath, eyes locking on the doorway that led to the homeless shelter wing of St. Gabriel’s. In his heart, fear and courage battled resolve and duty as his lungs exhaled as he pressed on. His party reduced from six to three, he and his fellow ministers raced towards the screams of anguish, hearts quickening anxiously as the screams, once deafening and unrelenting, suddenly stopped. Only inches from the double door that would take them to the former source of the cries, the troop all look at one another with great apprehension as Ignacio’s hand slowly reached for the handle, fingers slowly turning the knob to expose to them what they could only imagine to be a vision of terror.
The erratic bursts of lightning and electricity would slow just enough to become consistent, illuminating for Ignacio and his cohorts a still life of suffering and carnage. The homeless shelter, once an orderly and warm arrangement in the church’s annex, had become an abattoir. Cots once carefully placed side by side had been strewn about the room, their sheets and pillows bathed and splattered with the blood and viscera of its indigent tenants. These same tenants lined the floor, riddled with horrible wounds that told of a murderous hand frantic and crazed. The vision proves too much for Deacon Robert Henley to bear, and he found himself scrambling through the gore to wretch in the one clean corner of the room. Ignacio and his remaining partner, Thomas Giles, still stood, Ignacio in horrid awe and his aid fraught with mortified query.
“Wh-who would do such a thing?! These pe—these people…they…they were innocent…all innoce—“ his sentence halts as his hand slams shut over his mouth. Ignacio looks to his side to see what brought on the sudden silence, and he found its source in a slain woman clutching her butchered child. Her arms still folded around her son, his tiny body ravaged with wounds that leaked the life from his young body. Ignacio’s flashlight, his sword amid the darkness that surrounded him, fell to the floor, its lens cracking as Ignacio’s lips struggled to speak.
“Ghhh…God in Heaven…”
“Hhhh…hellllllp…me….” A fading voice called out from the mounds of the slaughtered. Ignacio’s eyes scan over the room from behind his wire-framed glasses, spying a blood-streaked hand trembling as it rose to the ceiling from beneath a shell of corpses.
“Help me, Thomas!” Ignacio barked, snatching his companion by the sleeve and yanking him to the pile of dead. Sickened and frantic, they tore the corpses away one by one, unveiling the body that owned the risen hand and the eyeless face that followed. Thomas shrank back in terror, Ignacio paused by the nightmarish visage of the elderly man, his wrinkled face caked with dark blood that streamed down from wells of crimson and black that were once his eyes.
“Mr. James! My God who did this to you?!” Ignacio shouted as he fell to his knees, taking the elderly man in his arms and bringing him close to his chest. Mr. James, an elderly and rowdy older man, had once been a problem in the shelter. His caustic personality locked him in heated arguments with all those around him, homeless and staff alike. It was after one conversation with Ignacio that the fire in him seemed calmed. The anger in his heart had ceased, and the chest that held that heart was now heaving. Mr. James labored to speak, the breath escaping his lips slowing further and further still.
“Fffff…Father…”
“Mr. James please! I need to know what happened here!”
“Father…Father Mattigan…sci…scissors…he…he…killed them…killed them all…”
Ignacio and Thomas look at one another in utter confusion. The headmaster of St. Gabriel’s, the embodiment of all the teachings the Bible held, the man who sought to leave his legacy in Ignacio’s hands, could not have wrought the nightmare the befell the homeless of St. Gabriel’s. Father Mattigan’s hands, that baptized newborn infants, fed the poor, consoled the grieving, and turned page after page of holy text, were incapable of violence such as this, yet here was Mr. James, a regular tenant at the shelter, rendered blind and dying by those very hands. Ignacio was overcome with questions that sought to wrest truth from what was surely the maddened hallucinations of a dying man.
“Mr. James, please! Father Mattigan didn’t do this” Ignacio proclaims, “I need to know who did this to you and the others!”
“D-Ignacio…” Thomas whispers, trying to reach his unraveling compatriot. Ignacio kneels among the dead still, shaking Mr. James in his arms as he begs for the truth.
“MR. JAMES!”
“He’s gone, Ignacio. He’s gone.”
A somber calm washes over Ignacio’s face, his once frantic visage replaced by one of sorrow. Gently, calmly, he laid the tattered Mr. James down over blood-drenched linoleum, quietly whispering his last rites before folding the elderly man’s worn hands over his stained parka. Slowly, the young minister rises to his feet, retaking his flashlight as he stands erect, eyes locked on a set of doors that leads to the church’s offices. Ignacio’s fingers clench in unison; one hand around his flashlight, the other, over the crucifix under his shirt.
“Thomas,” said Ignacio with a dry, reserved tone, “You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”
“No. I’ll go.”
The ministers share a nod as they push through the double doors, venturing into a dimly lit hallway where more murdered bodies lay. The ornate rug that stretches the length of the hallway is nightmarish guide, landmarked and streaked with the torn husks of humanity and smeared with erratic trails of their life’s blood. A hall that once led to knowledge and salvation had been transformed into a chamber of torment and mutilation. Ignacio and Thomas, stricken with sorrow and fear, marched further and further down the corridor before finally reaching the great wooden door that bears a plaque that reads “Father Mattigan.” Ignacio’s hand races to the handle, seized only by Thomas’ as the minister looks into Ignacio’s eyes. They shine bright amid such darkness, burning with all the conviction of a crusading knight yet glow with the gentility of a healer. Thomas relaxes his grip as Ignacio turns the handle, bracing himself for what might be inside.
A flick of the light switch illuminates nothing, the office chamber lit only by the flickering lightning outside and the warm glow of the fireplace inside Mattigan’s office. Shadow dance in the wavering shades of dim orange and yellow, highlighting the edges of the intricately carved furniture within. The fibers of the scarlet oriental rugs glow gently as embers, fading into black as they flee from the light. These things do not interest Ignacio in the slightest, his eyes fixed on the great chair faces toward the flames, and though barely lit by the fire, the young ministers make out the silhouette of Father Mattigan. Softly-smiling cherubim faces catch the fire’s light on their curves, reflecting the light of the flame back on to the white priest’s robe that adorns Mattigan’s motionless frame. A single step is all Ignacio manages before the elder minister detects their presence.
“Always with the cautious step, Ignacio, hehe,” Mattigan chuckles. Ignacio and Thomas freeze just inches from the doorway, unsure of all that is unfolding before them. From the arm of the chair, Mattigan’s hand drifts, his blood-soaked fingers opening welcomingly to his students, drops of crimson glowing in the firelight as they fall to the floor. “Come in, boys, you’re always welcome here.” The deep red paints the whole of Mattigan’s hand, staining even the once pristine white cuff of his robe as the two warily venture deeper into the chamber.
“Father Mattigan…what…what have you done?” Ignacio asks, an audible tremble of fear welling within his throat. He grips his flashlight half-heartedly, knowing that even though it was clear Mattigan was the murderer of all those innocent men, women, and children in the shelter, that he was still a hero and mentor to him ever since he was a boy. To strike him down would be a feat not easily accomplished. Still, the truth had to be discovered, and Ignacio and Thomas, paralyzed with fear yet spurred by wanting to know the truth, slowly draw near as Father Mattigan speaks.
“I…I know what it looks like, boys. But you must understand, what I did, it wasn’t murder. It wasn’t out of hatred or loathe, but love. ” The seated priest rises, the warm glow of the flames gently washing over his white robe as he turns to face his pupils. Wrinkle by gentle wrinkle, the light from the fire illuminates Mattigan’s aged face and reveals to Thomas and Ignacio the fruits of only the most savage of labors.
“Good God…” Thomas gasps, his hands clasping over his mouth, the clear figure of Father Mattigan born for them to see. The priest’s robe, once a pristine white, was now smeared, streaked, and splattered with dark red blood. In his mind, Ignacio could see the priest assailing the innocents in the shelter, his robe that cast him in such a forgiving glow growing darker and darker with each victim slain. In his right hand, his instrument of malice, a pair of gore-stained scissors, glinted in the firelight; on his face, the teeth in the most gentle smile followed suit.
“No no, boys, it’s okay. It’s okay. They had to be slain, all of them. I didn’t want to do it, but I had to…” the smile melts away, replaced by a look of dread, as though Father Mattigan knew of some great and terrible tragedy to succeed the one wrought by his own hand. “I…they…they had to be saved.”
Ignacio’s mind feels as though as it is about to rip apart at the seams. Before him, drenched in blood and confessing to the murder of dozens of innocent men, women, and children was Father Mattigan, Ignacio’s guide on the spiritual path since his adolescence. This same man, who preached pacifism and gentility, now stood guilty of spilling the blood of the indigent, the very souls he once said were most needing of God’s love. All the while, Thomas wept behind Ignacio, who shook his head free of confusion and looked Mattigan in the eye. The priest’s eyes, even amid the frame wracked with carnage, still shone with the most soothing of lights.
“Father Mattigan, what did you have to save them from?”
Mattigan’s face froze, a lone tear trickling down his wrinkled cheek as he struggled to answer Ignacio. “The hounds of perdition, the very agents of suffering themselves. They will come for us all, and nothing…nothing…can stop them.” Ignacio looks to the terrified Thomas, quickly looking back at the gently sobbing Father Mattigan, trying to ease closer to him to make sense of the madness being spoken. “They’re coming…they’re coming…” The one tear becomes a streaming torrent down his face, Ignacio and Thomas struggling to understand the sinister prophecy they were just told. Ignacio takes a single step forward, the weeping Mattigan quickly raising his blood-soaked scissors into the air.
“Father Mattigan, wait!” the young minister says, thrusting up his hands to halt the crazed priest. He knew he had to calm Mattigan down, if not to understand in greater detail what he was talking about then to ensure his mentor’s safety. Slowly, cautiously, Ignacio inches closer and closer to the tearful Mattigan, Thomas staying put and whispering for his friend to stop. Such actions would be out of character for Ignacio, though. This young preacher, who single-handedly disbanded the local gang and got them into night school, who threw himself in front of a pit bull only to have it stop in his presence to save a wheelchair-bound little boy, would not cower in the face of an adversity like this. If anything, for the sake of someone so loved, he would risk even his own life if it meant sparing their own. “I need you to put down the scissors and talk to me, please, I’m begging you. I don’t know what made you do that to all those people out there, but together I know we can figure it out, but I need you to put the scissors down.” He extends a lone hand to the sobbing preacher, fingers stretched out to pull Mattigan from the insanity that grips him.
“So much pain…”
“I know, Father…”
“…so much suffering…”
“Father Mattigan, please…”
“…so much blood…”
“Put down the scissors, Father, please!”
Against the gentle glow of the fireplace, Father Mattigan’s once-saddened eyes flash up toward Ignacio and Thomas, an eerie calm swelling within the priest’s chamber.
“ …and all we can do is weep.”
The streaks and beads of blood on the blade of his scissors leave a trail of glowing droplets in the firelight as Mattigan drives the blades deep into his throat, his eyes bulging from their sockets as a thick and strained gurgling noise erupts from his mouth.
“No!” Ignacio shouts, stumbling over furniture in Mattigan’s office as he races toward the dying priest. Thomas joins him, plodding over uprooted chairs as torrents of crimson spill and spurt forth from Mattigan’s mouth and nose. He collapses, Ignacio and Thomas falling to their knees, fighting to wrestle the scissors away from their teacher as he grips the thumb and finger holes of the scissors, working the blades open and closed again and again, the sound of muscle and tissue being cut apart drowning out the cries of the two young men.
“Get the scissors, Thomas!”
“I—I’m trying! I’m trying!”
They fight, in vain, as Mattigan tears a canyon of severed skin and muscle across his gullet, his eyes wide with pain, locked with Ignacio’s as he drives the slicing blades up to his ear. Ignacio and Thomas can only look on in disbelief as the scissors finish their work, Mattigan dropping his tool and dying, slowly choking on his own blood. Ignacio quickly clamps his hand over the wound, pressing down before looking through tearful eyes at Thomas, who slowly shrinks back with dread.
“Thomas! Get help! Call 9-1-1 now! NOW! THOMAS GO!”
The chubby preacher struggles to his senses before stumble-sprinting from the room, leaving Ignacio kneeling beside the dying Mattigan. Tears of panic well in Ignacio’s eyes as he looks down at his teacher, dressed in his murder-stained robe, drowning in a scarlet sea that roils from his mouth and neck. Mattigan’s blood pours through Ignacio’s fingers as he fights both the tide and his tears, cradling Mattigan’s head in his hands. He holds his mentor tight, one hand pressing the priest’s head to his chest, the other hand damning the torrents of blood that surge from the wound.
“Hold on Father Mattigan, just hold on…”
Dying, Father Mattigan looks up into the eyes of his student, shaking his head from side to side as Ignacio looks down, confused, saddened, shocked, as Mattigan exhales his final, crimson breath. His mouth opens, but no sounds escape Ignacio’s lips. Instead, he squeezes Mattigan’s body tightly in his arms, crying out for his friend.
“Thomas! THOMAS! THOMAS!”

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His Day is Done - A Tribute Poem for Nelson Mandela by Dr. Maya Angelou

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Our community cried when these girls disappeared, cried as we hung flyers, placed flowers and held vigils, every single year, we gathered as they searched and dug and we cried and cried. For them, for their families, for hope that they were alive and in fear that they were not. We were just young teens then. We grew up watching their unaging faces grace the television screens for a decade. We walked passed their secret prison everyday, hung out on the neighboring porches every night, often discussing the missing young girls. They were held in so many prayers for so long, it should really be no surprise that they have been found alive and well, protected by the thousands of guardians we sent to them. But it was a surprise. And as they were reunited with their families, our city came together in a tearful celebration that none of us will ever forget. We gathered in the streets in disbelief, surrounding that familiar house, we hugged and honked and cried and held signs, cheering around the hospital. Then we went home and hugged our children extra tight, sending "thank you's" into the heavens. Thankful for their safe return, for the safety of our families, for our streets being just a little safer without the monsters who imprisoned them, for the heroic neighbor who kicked that door in, and for Amanda's courage in getting out of there when she got that chance. She saved them all. May 6, 2013 is day no citizen of our community will ever forget and I am thankful for Amanda and Gina for reminding me of all of the things I have to be thankful for. Our hope for the safe return of all of the mising children in the world has been renewed. 
Breaking News: Three women who disappeared were found alive in the same home in Cleveland: Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. White was 20 when she disappeared in 2000; Berry went missing in 2003 when she was 16; DeJesus was last seen in 2004 at age 14. One man was arrested. Anderson has more info at 10pm ET on AC360. 

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