WHAT JONNY DUG UP
by Adam Donaldson Powell
October 15th. Blustering winds scattering leaves and raindrops over lush greenery and displaced benches in Kampen Park. The singing of the breeze through shrubs and trees muffles the occasional sounds of traffic in the distance. Non-constant noises … sloshing of cars through puddles … stalling motors gasping and choking … and every now and then, a shriek from a skidding car, grabbing onto the wet asphalt as if clutching for its life. A quiet night: uneventful. Cold. Empty. The kind of evening most people stay inside, cuddled up beside the fireplace with a long novel. Or rooted in front of the television set, even though not a single program of interest is scheduled for broadcast. Perhaps also the kind of night one could expect to sow the seeds of a common cold, or the flu. Otherwise, a night like any other in Oslo during mid-October. Well, almost ….
I was walking Jonny, my golden retriever, around 9:30 p.m. He seemed to be in no hurry to relieve himself, to my dismay – as I found the weather rather inconducive to a prolonged stroll. After much cajoling on my part, Jonny took an interest in an out-of-the-way shrub that had never attracted him before. Wherewith some excited sniffing and barking, Jonny began to whine and dig at the earth beneath the shrub. The more that I attempted to force him to heel, the more persistent he became. Finally, I figured ‘What the hell’ – the sooner he uncovered the bone, or whatever it was, the sooner we could finish up the business at hand and return home. And so, I unleashed the dog and lit a cigarette. After digging about a quarter meter into the loose soil, Jonny began to bark and wag his tail anxiously. “Good boy, Jonny,” I cried. “Bring it over here. ‘Atta boy!” Jonny pulled at what looked like a mass of unravelled brown rope, and began to drag the object toward me with great pride. I was just about to pick up the treasure-find for closer scrutiny, when I began to feel quite nauseous. He had unearthed the severed head of a woman, barely identifiable .. with worms and other insects of the soil crawling about her eye-sockets, ears and mouth. There wasn’t a nose – maybe it had already decayed before the rest, but I don’t think so. It was a horrible sight!
The next half hour is fuzzy in my recollection. I’m not quite sure how, but somehow I managed to leash up the dog and run to the nearest apartment building. Apparently, I had been quite hysterical .. randomly ringing the buzzers of all inhabitants of the building while screaming and crying. The dog was confused and excited over my madness as well. It took several tenants to get us inside and under control. I must have been babbling complete nonsense, because the apartment-dwellers who telephoned the police thought that I had been sexually-assaulted – although they couldn’t understand how that had been possible with such a large dog for protection. The dog and I were sitting in the vestibule, just inside the front door of the building, surrounded by five or six tenants. No one dared to invite us into their homes … Kampen isn’t really the kind of neighborhood where people get too involved in other people’s affairs. It’s quiet, residential – a no-trouble community.
The two policemen who arrived must have asked me about twenty-five questions about myself before I could get a word in about what I had seen. “What is your name, address, telephone number? Where do you work? Are you single, or married? Why are you walking in the park so late at night? Etc.” I was half-expecting them to ask me if I was working as a prostitute, when one of the officers finally told me that the tenants had complained about my screaming, and they would escort me home or to a hospital after I gave them my description of the assailant. By the time I was able to explain to them that I had not been raped, but rather had discovered the partial remains of a probable murder victim, I was so angry that I practically dragged them by the hand to the disgusting head of the poor woman, while pointing and screaming, “Look at that! LOOK AT IT!” That was all I could divulge in my state: ‘Look at it!’ One of the officers led me away from the park, radioed for help, and called for another car to drive me home, explaining that he had all the information he needed from me for the moment. I would be contacted later for an official statement. Once home, I cried .. and cried .. until I fell asleep on the sofa, at God only knows what hour.
I awoke from my troubled sleep with a start. The telephone was ringing, the dog was barking, and the answering machine was signalling that messages had been taken. Half awake, I grabbed the receiver. “Hullo … Jonny, PLEASE SHUT UP! .. No, I’m sorry .. not you .. the dog. Who’s calling?”
“It’s Petter,” said the voice on the other end. “Are you ill? I’ve been trying to call you all morning long. Have you forgotten about the shoot, or what?”
“Oh, Petter!” I cried. “What time is it? I must have overslept …”
“It’s 10:37 a.m.,” he replied. “We were supposed to meet with the camera and make-up crew at Aker Brygge at 8:30 a.m., remember?!! Are you alright? I don’t understand. You’ve never missed a shoot before, Turid. What’s going on?”
My God. I had totally forgotten about the Solo Light shoot. “I’m really sorry, Petter. So much has happened. I guess I was so exhausted that I forgot to set the alarm. But I don’t see how I can work today. I need some time to .. I mean .. I just can’t do any…”
“Okay, it’s okay. Slow down ..” he interjected. “I sent the crew home an hour ago. We’ll reschedule the shoot. But you sound terrible – is there something wrong? You aren’t hurt, are you?!!”
“Yes,” I stammered. ”I mean, no .. my God, Petter. I’m a mess!” Starting to sob over the phone: “It was horrible! I can’t explain …”
“Listen, I’ll be right there. Stay where you are; and don’t do anything. I’ll be there in twenty minutes. Okay? I’ll be right over!”
“Okay, Petter … please hurry. I really need to talk to somebody.”
After hanging up the receiver, I felt lonelier than I’d felt for a long time. I hugged and kissed Jonny, gave him some food and water, and opened the window blinds. I looked at the clock. 10:44 a.m. Petter will be here soon … I’d better try and pull myself together. Looking in the bathroom mirror, I saw that I had circles around my eyes, my face was bloated, and I looked pale. “You really look awful, Turid,” I said to myself. And with that, I quickly washed my face, threw on a layer of make-up and changed clothes. I had just put the coffee on when the buzzer rang. Petter had arrived at the entrance of the building. In less than two minutes he had bounded up the four flights of the apartment building, and was in the entrance hall to my flat.
“Turid, what’s wrong?!! Are you hurt? What has happened?” he panted. And I just broke down and started to sob, all over again – trembling and staining the quick make-up job I had completed just minutes before. Petter put his right arm around me and walked me to the sofa, where he sat me down and held me, saying: “It’s going to be okay, now. It’s going to be alright.”
“Petter, I’m so sorry about the shoot. I didn’t mean to …”
“Don’t think about the shoot right now, Turid. It’s not a problem. Right now we’ve got to calm you down. That’s all that is important at the moment.”
I felt so awkward, weeping like a child in Petter’s arms, and making no sense at all. Petter had taken a special interest in me ever since I first walked into the modelling agency, eighteen months ago. He had transformed me from a gangling, self-conscious nineteen-year-old into a sophisticated young woman – at least on the outside. He’d taught me how to walk, how to carry myself in front of the camera and at fashion shows and, yes, even how to make love. I adored his dark hair, deep blue eyes, cleft chin, and broad shoulders. My perfect Petter. Twenty-five, tall, masculine, self-confident … I cherished so much about my Petter; perhaps too much. I didn’t want to get serious with any man now. My career was just beginning. And so it was I who suggested that we break off the sex, and continue as agent/model and as “good friends”. Yes, it was very awkward crying in his arms at this moment, but I was damned glad he was here, holding me as he was.
“Can I get you something … water, a drink?” he asked tenderly.
I wiped the tears from my swollen cheeks, sniffled a couple of times, and replied quietly: “Sure. Maybe a cup of coffee. I just put some on in the kitchen.”
“Cream and sugar?” he asked softly, with a reassuring half-smile.
“No .. I’ll take it black. Thanks.” Jonny had snuggled at my feet and was looking up at me with worried eyes. “I’m okay now, Jonny,” I said, giving him a few strokes on his head and back. I surveyed the living room and noted that I hadn’t done any of the cleaning chores I had planned to do the night before. The coffee table was littered with newspapers, my half-eaten dinner, and an ashtray overcrowded with cigarette butts. Petter returned with two cups of black coffee.
“Here you are!” he said, handing me one of the cups.
“I feel so embarrassed,” I blabbered. “I’m a mess, the apartment is a mess …”
“Yeah, yeah. Just relax now … and tell me what has happened.”
I took a sip of the hot liquid, lit a cigarette, and exhaled a slow stream of blue-grey smoke toward the ceiling. “You’re probably not going to believe this,” I began. “It was just like a nightmare …”
“Try me,” he said, squeezing my hand lightly and then releasing it.
“Well, last night around half past 9:00 p.m., I was walking Jonny in the park. I was a little preoccupied with all the chores I had to take care of before going to bed, and I wanted to get back as soon as possible since I had an early morning shoot. We were walking on the side of the park closest to the corner of Økernveien and Ensjøveien, when Jonny got all excited and began barking at a shrub. I tried to pull him away, assuming that it was some poor terrified squirrel. But Jonny started digging at the ground with his front paws, and with such determination that I finally just unleashed him to uncover whatever he was looking for. You see, I sometimes let Kåre take him for a walk in the park, and then pay him 10 crowns or so …”
“Who’s Kåre?” asked Petter.
“He’s the kid who lives in the apartment below me,” I replied. “I thought that perhaps Jonny had buried something there recently on one of their walks together, and now wanted to dig it up again. Anyway, I had just lit a cigarette and was about to congratulate Jonny on his efforts when I realized what he had dug up. I totally freaked out .. it was — absolutely horrible!”
“What was horrible? What did he dig up!” asked Petter anxiously.
“It was a severed head,” I blurted. “The rotting head of a woman, I think – with no nose .. and with worms crawling all over her eyes, ears and mouth.”
“Oh, no .. oh, Turid!” gasped Petter. “No wonder you’re in such a state! Did you call the police?”
“No …” I replied. “I mean, I didn’t – I was too incoherent at first. But I scared the hell out of everybody in a nearby apartment building, and someone there called the police. I then led them to it, and a policeman drove me home. I don’t remember much after that, but I must have passed out here on the sofa. I guess I was still in a state of shock and exhaustion.
“I bet you were,” replied Petter. “I’m really sorry you’ve gone through this.”
Petter put his arms around my shoulders and nuzzled his face into my hair … it felt good; very good. I didn’t resist, but rather whimpered: “Take me to the bedroom, Petter … please. I need you now.”
I awoke an hour-and-a-half later to find Petter sitting beside me on the bed, smiling and stroking my forehead and hair gently. “Hi,” he said. “Feeling better?”
“Hello. I must have drifted off. How long have I been asleep?” I asked sleepily.
“Not long .. I guess about 15 minutes, or so. How is my best model now?”
“Okay, Petter. I …”
”Don’t say anything,” he said, interrupting me. “As far as I’m concerned, a horrible nightmare has had a very beautiful awakening.”
“Yeah .. it’s been a long time.” I noted.
“Too long,” he replied, giving me a loving peck on my left temple. “Listen, it’s now 12:55, and I have a 2:00 p.m. appointment with a client downtown. Do you mind if I take a quick shower here before I scoot off?”
“Of course not,” I said. “Go right ahead .. you know the way.”
“I can still cancel if you need me to ..”
“No, please don’t. Really! I’m fine now,” I said, trying to appear cheerful and refreshed.
“Are you sure?” he beseeched.
“Absolutely! Besides, I’ve screwed up your schedule enough today as it is,” I said.
Petter leaned toward my face and kissed me again, saying: “Okay. I won’t be a minute.”
While Petter was in the shower, I threw on a robe and played back the morning’s messages. 8:52 a.m. – a message from Petter. 9:23 a.m. – another message from Petter. 10:10 a.m. – was a call from a Lieutenant Tjæreborg, Oslo Police Station: “Yes, Miss Alvdal. Please call Lieutenant Tjæreborg at the Oslo Police Station as soon as possible regarding the incident in Kampen Park. Tlf. 22.48.00.35.” I sat staring into space for a moment, not certain what to think, and then I nervously picked up the receiver and began to dial. “May I speak with Lieutenant Tjæreborg?”
“Hold on while I page him, please,” said the voice on the other end of the line. “And whom shall I say is calling?”
“This is Turid Alvdal, returning his call.”
Seconds later, Lt. Tjæreborg picked up the phone. “Miss Alvdal? I’m handling the investigation of the Kampen Park case. I wonder if you could come down to the station and review your statement from last night for us officially – just for the record. I’m told that you were in shock at the time, and I just want to re-confirm the information for the investigation report.”
“I guess so,” I said, hesitantly. “When would you like me to come down?”
“As soon as possible, if that’s convenient,” he answered. “Just ask for Lt. Tjæreborg in Room 307. You will be shown the way.”
“Okay,” I replied nervously. “I’ll be there within forty-five minutes.”
“That would be fine. I’ll be waiting for you.”
I hung up the telephone and just sat still for a couple of minutes, staring blankly into space. When I finally looked up, I saw Petter standing over me, drying his hair.
“Yes, fine,” I replied. “That was a Lieutenant Tjæreborg from the police station. He wants me to come down and verify my statement from last night.”
“Do you want me to come with you? It’s no problem, really!”
“No, no. I’m fine. I just have to pull myself together real quick. It’s just a routine matter, I’m sure. It shouldn’t take but a few minutes,” I mumbled.
At two o’clock I was in Lieutenant Tjæreborg’s office.
“Yes, and you must be Lieutenant Tjæreborg?!” I responded.
“That’s right. Miss Alvdal – if you would be so kind as to read over this statement from last night which we’ve typed up, and verify the facts and sequence of events.”
I read the report twice, cringing both times. “As far as I can remember, it’s pretty accurate,” I said finally.
“Good .. have you anything else to add? Perhaps something you forgot to mention last night, that you now remember? Anything – even if it seems trivial.”
“No, I can’t think of anything else,” I replied.
“Very well then, Miss Alvdal. If you’ll please just sign the statement right here ….”
“Do you have any clues about the identity of the woman,” I asked. “… or the murderer? I mean, who would do such a terrible thing?!! He must be a very sick person, indeed!”
“Well, we have found some additional body parts not far from where your dog dug up the head.”
I was shuddering as the Lieutenant spoke.
“But so far,” he continued, “no other significant clues that would lead to positive identification of either victim or murderer.”
I sat back in my chair.
“As for the murderer,” he added, “it could be anyone.”
I didn’t like the way he looked at me when he said that – almost as if even I could be a suspect.
“It’s difficult, Miss Alvdal, to get to the bottom of cases such as this one. When the victim and the murderer are involved with one another in some capacity, a motive can be established fairly readily .. and the killer identified. And in cases where there is a trend, we usually catch on pretty fast. But – an isolated incident such as this one – which happened so long ago, and with no fingerprints – well, it’s difficult.”
I shook my head and said, “I can’t understand how anyone could do such a thing .. and to mutilate the body like that!”
The lieutenant looked me straight in the eyes and asked: “Miss Alvdal, have you noticed anyone digging in Kampen Park over the past month?”
“Not that I can recall,” I replied.
“Let me ask you something else then,” he continued. “How often do you and your dog .. what is your dog’s name?”
“Jonny,” I answered quickly.
“How often do you and Jonny go walking in Kampen Park? Is it once-a-day, twice-a-day, more? In the evenings, mornings,, afternoons ..? And did Jonny run directly to that spot and begin digging up the head, or did he seem to find it by accident?”
“He ran directly, I think .. now that I .. I don’t understand what you’re getting at Lieutenant,” I protested uncomfortably.
“Miss Alvdal, we believe that the woman in question has been dead for about three weeks now. I just thought that you and your dog may have possibly seen someone digging in the park around the time of the murder.”
“No. I haven’t seen anything like that at all, Lieutenant.” Honestly, he made me feel guilty, just by the way he looked at me. “In fact,” I elaborated, “last night was the first night we had been to the park for a couple of months.”
“A couple of months, do you say?”
“Yes. I’ve had a very busy work schedule lately, so we’ve basically just been for short walks around the block.”
“I see. Well, thank you Miss Alvdal. I think that will be sufficient. If you should happen to think of anything else, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.”
I replied that I most certainly would, and left the police station hurriedly, while thinking: ‘I hope they catch that sick son-of-a-bitch soon – I’m really getting the willies.’
Afterwards, I took the subway downtown and bought myself a new outfit. Buying new clothes usually makes me feel better when I’m depressed. But somehow, it didn’t do very much for my mood this time. On the way home, I stopped in at the Pakistani-owned tobacco store between the bus stop and the apartment building. That’s when I noticed the story on the front page of the evening edition of Aftenposten. “Oh, my God!” I exclaimed. “Here it is!”
The caption read: “IF DOGS COULD ONLY TALK.” The story was as follows: “Last night Oslo police uncovered several female body parts in Kampen Park near the corner of Økernveien and Ensjøveien. The police were called to Kampen after a golden retriever and its owner discovered the woman’s severed head. The dog had apparently been digging in the earth and delivered the decomposing head to its owner, who subsequently called the police to the scene. It is believed that the victim was abused, and that her neck was broken before her body was viciously hacked into pieces and buried separately. So far, no positive identification has been made of either victim or murderer. Police investigators speculate that the dog may have witnessed the murderer burying the victim’s head. Anyone with information helpful to solving the case and identifying either victim or murderer, is urged to telephone the police.”
When I reached the door of my flat, I was startled to look up from the newspaper and see Anne, Kåre’s mother, standing at my door. She was out-of-breath and had a terrified look on her face. “Have you seen Kåre this afternoon?” she demanded anxiously.
“Why no, Anne”, I replied.
“I thought he might be up here playing with the dog …”, she snapped nervously, and yet pleadingly.
“No, I’ve been out all afternoon,” I replied. “You see, there was a body discovered in the park last night, and I was a witness sort of and, well, anyway, I had to go down to the police station to …” I was rambling.
She cut me off: “Oh, God. I heard all about it! That’s why I’m so worried about Kåre. I left him all alone in the backyard for an hour while I ran some errands. I don’t do it often, but he was playing so contentedly by himself, and the sun was shining for the first time all week, and … Well, it just seemed easier to leave him there for himself for a little while rather than dragging him around with me. I don’t know where he could have gone!” She was most distraught and was speaking faster, and faster.
“Oh dear. Take it easy, Anne. I’m sure it’s not anything serious. He’s probably playing with some of his friends at their house,” I said, trying to console and reassure her.
“No, he’s not!” she cried hysterically. “I’ve looked everywhere! He’s gone .. I know it. Something terrible has happened to him. I can feel it! Oh, please .. God, please help me!”
“Listen Anne .. just, just let me put these things in the apartment, and I’ll help you look for him. I’m sure there’s a simple and logical explanation. We’ll find him .. you’ll see. We’ll find Kåre.”
And so we began searching for little Kåre. With the help of the superintendent and his master keys, we went through every apartment in the building. Kåre was nowhere to be seen. We found the door to the attic surprisingly unlocked,, but all looked to be in order. Finally, the superintendent noticed that the door from the backyard to the basement had been forced ajar. There, next to the boiler, he found the limp body of young Kåre – hanging from the ceiling by a dog collar and leash – with his eyeballs frozen wide open, and his nose gouged out.
“Don’t let Anne in here!” he screamed to me. “It’s the boy; he’s .. dead.”
Within the next fifteen minutes to one-half hour, the apartment building was swarming with police, reporters, and ambulance personnel – not for Kåre, it was too late for him; but for poor Anne, who was at last heavily sedated and carted off to the hospital. The superintendent and I told the police all that we knew, which was practically nothing, and I went back up to my flat to call Petter. It was now around 7:00 p.m., and there was no answer at Petter’s apartment. He arrived, however, about 25 minutes later, having heard the news on the radio broadcast: “Kåre Holand, a nine-year-old deaf-mute, was found murdered in a basement today at Norderhovgata 73, at Kampen. No suspect has been named, but police believe the murder may be related to that of the butchered woman found buried in Kampen Park just 22 hours ago. Both victims had their noses gouged out of their faces in a similar fashion. Anyone – R-E-P-E-A-T — ANYONE with information concerning either murder is urged to PLEASE NOTIFY THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY!”
“Turid!” cried Petter. “Are you alright?!! I just heard the news ..” He was out-of-breath and very anxious. “I tried to call you but there was no answer, so I panicked and rushed right over,” he explained.
“I don’t understand what’s happening, Petter,” I whined. “I’m really scared!”
“Where have you been?” he demanded. “And why didn’t you answer the telephone?”
“I’ve been down at Anne’s apartment with the superintendent and the police. She’s hysterical .. and they’ve taken her off to the hospital ..”
Just then the doorbell rang. It was Lieutenant Tjæreborg. “Miss Alvdal,” he said urgently. “I would like to have a word with you.”
“Certainly, Lieutenant. Please come in,” I replied.
He looked at Petter suspiciously.
“Lieutenant Tjæreborg,” I blurted, “this is Petter Hansen – my agent, and friend.”
The lieutenant nodded at Petter, saying: “I see .. pleased to meet you. Miss Alvdal,” he implored. “I’ve learned from one of your neighbors that Kåre often walked your dog?!!”
He was looking at me intensely again. I felt as if he were drilling a hole through my brain. “Why, yes Lieutenant. He doesn’t, I mean, he didn’t do so often. But I would occasionally pay him 10 crowns or so to take the dog out. It was more for the boy than for the dog, mind you. Jonny is very good with children, and Kåre has, uh .. had, some adjustment problems because of his disabili ..”
Jonny walked over to me, hearing his name mentioned – wagging his tail and barking softly. The lieutenant gave him a pat on the head.
“His mother and I never saw any harm in it,” I added.
“But why didn’t you mention it before?” the lieutenant demanded. “I specifically asked you earlier about your routines with the dog, and …”
“Now, wait a minute, Lieutenant,” interjected Petter. “She’s been under a terrific strain lately. You certainly can’t expect her to rememb..”
“Petter – no!” I interrupted. “It’s okay. Let me speak.”
I realized that we were all still standing in the entrance hall. “Won’t you have a seat Lieutenant?” We all sat down in the living room. “Do you think there is a connection between the two murders, Lieutenant Tjæreborg?” I asked.
“Frankly, yes,” he responded. “Miss Alvdal – this is a very important question: had Kåre ever taken Jonny to the park by himself?”
“Yes,” I replied. “The park is the only place nearby for dogs and children to run and play freely.”
“And,” the lieutenant continued, “had Kåre been outside with the dog over the past several weeks?”
“Yes,” I said again. “Twice about three weeks or so ago. But not since. I think he had had a problem with some other kids, or was perhaps unhappy with Jonny the last time they were out, because he seemed a little distraught when they returned from their walk. He hasn’t taken much interest in walking Jonny for a couple of weeks now .. Oh, my God!” I exclaimed, realizing what the lieutenant was getting at. “You think that the murderer saw Kåre and Jonny together?!! And that …”
“And that the murderer killed little Kåre because he was a witness!” piped Petter.
“Precisely,” confirmed the lieutenant.
“But Kåre couldn’t speak! Why would he worry about a nine-year-old deaf-mute?” I asked quizzically.
“I never suggested that the murderer knew that Kåre couldn’t speak, Miss Alvdal,” corrected the lieutenant. “Only that if other persons from the neighborhood had seen Kåre with the dog – then perhaps the murderer had as well. Returning to the scene of the crime is more of a frequent occurrence than most people think. My own hunch is that the murderer actually resides in, or near Kampen ..”
“And,” I chimed, “has been watching Kåre .. and .. Jonny .. for a very long time …” My voice trailed off as I understood that danger lurked at my very doorstep. Petter sensed my fear and put his arm around me supportively.
“Not necessarily a long time,” said the lieutenant.
“But perhaps a few weeks?” asked Petter, worriedly.
“Perhaps,” replied the lieutenant. “But, let’s not jump to too many conclusions yet. At least we have a little more to go on now. I’m confident that we’ll catch him soon,” reassured the lieutenant.
“Lieutenant Tjæreborg,” asked Petter. “Is Turid in any danger?”
“I shouldn’t think so,” he replied. “She is not a witness to the crime; only to the remains. Stay calm and call me should any further unusual developments occur that may relate to the case in any way. I must be going now.”
And with that, the lieutenant was off, and Petter and I spent the next several moments sitting on the sofa, speechless and worried.
The succeeding few days passed without incident. Petter insisted upon staying with me night and day. I didn’t object too strongly at first, in light of the events that had recently come to pass. But, by the third early evening, we had begun to get on each other’s nerves – or should I say, Petter got on mine.
I never could deal with feeling smothered .. by him or anyone else. As my sense of personal safety returned, so did my desire for independence. And so it happened that, on Tuesday, I picked a quarrel. It was pretty silly, actually. Petter had scheduled me for a modelling assignment the next morning, even though I had previously told him that I had planned to spend the day with my sister, who lived in Gjøvik. I went through the roof when he told me, and I screamed: “You are my AGENT, Petter. But you don’t OWN ME! I distinctly told you that I’d planned to go to Gjøvik tomorrow, and you just totally disregarded …”
“Oh, come on Turid, “ he broke in. “This is the kind of break we’ve been waiting for! It could easily develop into an entire advertising campaign around you. Damn! You can see your sister anytime …”
“I can seen my sister, OR do anything ELSE I want, ANYTIME, Petter! Do you understand that? You’ve started taking over my entire life here.” I was yelling irrationally now. My shoulders were high and tense, and I was trembling with rage.
Petter looked at me in astonishment, and asked: “What’s really bothering you, Turid?” He touched my face sympathetically; and I pulled away.
Looking down at the carpet, rather than to meet his eyes, I said: “I am sorry, Petter. I … I just ..” I slowly raised my eyes to engage his, and quietly said: “I need to be alone. Can you please ..” This was difficult. “Can you please – leave?”
“I’ll rearrange the job to another day if you want,” he said apologetically. “I didn’t realize that it was so important for you to ..”
“No,” I said. “It’s not just that, Petter. I need some time to think about things .. about you .. and me ..”
Petter held my hands again, and said with a forced cheerfulness: “I understand.”
The next morning I was up early for the modelling assignment. I had walked Jonny around 5:00 a.m. – which was early even for him – so I knew he would be eager to go out again around 2:00 p.m. when I returned home. I guess that I sensed that something was awry as soon as I got inside the flat. Jonny didn’t meet me at the door as he usually did. Then I noticed a trail of dark-red blood streaking the carpet from the entrance hall to the bedroom. I ran into the bedroom screaming, “Jonny .. JONNY!”
He had been stabbed several times in the neck and stomach. I began shrieking hysterically for “HELP”. Suddenly, the superintendent sprang from behind the closet door, where he had been hiding. He grabbed me from behind and firmly planted one hand over my mouth to prevent me from screaming, while restraining my frantic movements with his other hefty arm. I struggled, but to no avail. The superintendent then tied my hands together behind my back, and gagged my mouth with a piece of lingerie that he found lying on a bedside chair. It was then that I realized that we were not alone.
Reflected on the wall opposite from the closet was a third shadow, now moving toward us. I closed my eyes, crying a muffled “Oh, God. Please help me .. PLEASE!” When I opened them, I saw what appeared to be the twin of the superintendent, but horribly disfigured .. as if acid had eaten away parts of his face – his nose was missing entirely. In his hand was a bloody hunting knife. Terrified, my frantically convulsing body gave way to dizziness as the monstrous intruder slowly closed in on me.
And the last thing that I heard was the superintendent saying, “I’m terribly sorry, Miss Alvdal. But, you see .. he’s .. he’s family.”
by Adam Donaldson Powell
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, March 1, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ‘ 89
Well, well … last night was certainly an interesting evening. Evelyn Waterson, of “Evelyn finally got the nerve to divorce Charlie Atkins” renomme, rang me up out of the blue around 4:15 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Caught me quite off guard – I hadn’t heard from her for about a year-and-a-half; only heard stray rumors concerning her ‘strange’ intrigues. Anyway, we had babbled and gossiped for some forty-five minutes when I told her that I would love to talk more but simply couldn’t because my ear was painfully sore from clinging to the telephone receiver. Of course, being the same old Evvie underneath the new garments of time and change, she took me quite literally and emphatically insisted that I meet her for drinks in the East Village: “and while we’re at it, why not dinner as well?!! I’m simply starving and I have so much to tell you!” And tell me she did. Although, I must say, she seems to have gotten over the break-up with Charlie completely, and made not one accusation or snide comment. We ate at Ciao Manhattan, a new and trendy “bistro” with good food, high prices and .. do I need to say? .. a tacky name. By the time her dessert came (I was just drinking at that point) she began to tell me about her new friends: a couple of actors, a recent graduate from Harvard Business School, a homeopathist, a Neo-Post-Modernist (?) painter, a cashier at “East-West Natural Foods and Minerals” who was, as she put it ‘absolutely, exquisitely cute’, and a trance medium (she called him a “channeller”) named Winfield Persons. I expressed polite acknowledgment of the former several personalities, but goaded her into telling my everything concerning Winfield Persons. He sounds quite interesting, actually.
She met him at a “Gems and Minerals” show at the Coliseum last January, and they’ve apparently struck up quite a friendship. It seems that Evelyn has ‘gotten into’ psychic and occult investigations, and Mr. Persons has given her much guidance and teaching; some of it through channelling. I asked Evvie whether she thought that Mr. Persons would agree to a meeting and/or demonstration of his talents with me, as it sounded like a great angle for a magazine series – perhaps an interview with the “channeller” followed up with one, or several with the “channellee”. Evvie thought it was a wonderful idea and told me she would call Winfield to inquire, but corrected my terminology: a ‘channellee’ is called a “focalizer”. Focalizer? Hmmph! But I took it in stride of course, and departed a little intoxicated (if not thoroughly “ripped to the tits”) and in a festive mood. God, do I need a few special themes for features right now! These goddamned movie reviews I’ve been living off of lately are driving me up the creative wall.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, March 12, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-1
At the bottom of a pile of bills, junk mail, and postcards from my mother (she’s gone to Florida again) today, was a note from Winfield Persons. I didn’t recognize his name at first, but his business card, which was included, identified him as a “channeller”. Then I remembered him as Evvie’s friend. She had called and told him about my interest after all. The message was brief: “Dear Benjamin Friou, I have received word of your interest in my work and would be happy to make an appointment with you for next week. My card is enclosed. Sincerely, Winfield Persons.” I read the letter several times, smoked a cigarette while groaning over the bills, and dialled his number. An answering machine with a pleasant message and spacey music urged me to leave my name and number for a return call. He called me back while I was editing a review of “Some Like It Hot” (a ghastly Madonna remake). We arranged an appointment at his place on the Upper West Side for next Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Sounds like a nice guy.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, March 17, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-2
11:39 p.m. – I just got home from Winfield’s apartment, or should I say loft. What a beautiful space! He lives in a huge old converted ballroom, renovated and furnished in minimalist style, with parkay floors, massive windows, antique oriental carpets, Tibetan paintings, and several ceiling-high tropical plants. Although the surroundings were by no means sterile, the pristine cleanliness of the expanse prompted me to remove my shoes in the entrance foyer without even being asked. Winfield is about 34 years old, tall and lean, has red hair and blue eyes, and is soft-spoken. He invited me to sit down in the living room (and get this: on two enormous overstuffed cushions fashioned from Persian rugs which were situated facing one another under a floor-to-ceiling pyramid made of copper rods and quartz crystals); and he brought in a tray with ginseng tea and gotokola wafers. “Gotokola”, he explained, “is the food of the elephants, which many attribute to their long life span.” I was awed and overwhelmed, to say the least.
He didn’t mind my setting up the tape recorder I had brought along, which was quite fortunate as I would have loathed compromising my attention and concentration any more than absolutely necessary. And so we began: first with me asking elementary questions about his life history, work and intentions; and then with him virtually giving me a discourse on channelling, the elemental workings of crystals, gem and flower elixirs, and their impact on present and future scientific technology and world psychic evolution. I’d used two 60-minute cassette tapes and was quite light-headed when he quietly announced that the session had reached a terminal point at 10:55 p.m. He then asked me when I wished to meet Kerry O’Toole. I looked at him in puzzlement, and he explained that “Kerry” was his focalizer (boy, was I glad that Evelyn had briefed me on that word – but I got the impression that she had told him about my previous misuse of terminology, because he seemed to have a curious smile and gleem in his eyes when he enunciated ‘focalizer’). I mumbled an “Oh, right .. uh, RIGHT! Anytime! When is he, I mean, are you available?” Winfield laughed softly and emitted a smile as radiant as the refraction of light on the crystals surrounding us, while saying: “Let’s try for next Tuesday, about 7:30 p.m. We won’t know until then, of course, if it fits Kerry’s schedule.” “Of course?!!” I exclaimed in return. “Do you mean that he doesn’t always appear?” “That’s right,” he answered with a wink, “focalizers come and go as they wish. And when they’re here, they are the ones who are basically in control.” “I see,” I replied, adding: “this should be most interesting.” He agreed to the magazine story on him and his work, and assured me that “Kerry” would not reveal anything to me that was to remain secret. I floated back down to my flat in Soho – I was so elated that I didn’t even once complain or groan about the bumpy ride down Sixth Avenue, as I usually do.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, March 21, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-3
10:41 p.m. – I’ve been home for about 40 minutes now, and I’m still in a state of shock over my first session with a channeller. I don’t know what to write about it yet – it was one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced in my entire life to-date. Was is real? I can’t say for sure, but it was one helluva impressive show!” “Kerry” appeared after some minutes and “overtook” the body and personality of Winfield completely! Winfield’s mannerisms, voice, accent and inflections – everything – were totally transformed into that of a turn-of-a-century gentleman of Irish descent. He introduced himself as “Kerry O’Toole”, born in Dublin, Ireland on September 3, 1899 of Scott Edward O’Toole and Hattie Leary. He was a chemist who emigrated to America in 1922; married Antonia Garfield a year later (who ran off with another man afterwards); and he died in New York City, on March 16, 1947 – a recluse and occult scientist – as the result of a “miscalculation in scientific judgment”, which he refused to explain or elaborate upon. He told me that had had much to teach me regarding techniques for psychic development and expansion, which would benefit me and the human race at-large. He added that, should I consent to his extraordinary tutelage, I would also give him the opportunity to continue his own previous work through me. When I asked him whether he approved of / or objected to my proposed magazine story(ies), he chuckled and replied that such matters were irrelevant, saying: “If you insist on writing, I will help you – but I’ve always considered it to be, as Henri Regniér so well coined the phrase, ‘a useless occupation’.” That was the last thing he said to me before Winfield Persons began to shake all over, and eventually regained control of himself. He didn’t say much after that, other than that he was always exhausted after a channelling session, remembered little of that which had transpired, and did not particularly wish to know either. My dealings with Kerry were not his personal concern. I played back for him Kerry’s invitation to me for continued communication, and we set up a schedule beginning with the following Saturday evening. And then he politely hurried me to the door. He looked truly ill, but I guess that I would feel out-of-sorts myself had I been through such a psychic upheaval.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, March 29, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-4
1:04 a.m. – Tonight’s session was most fascinating. We covered several esoteric and scientific principles, including telepathy, the psychic impact of color and sound, the etheric planes, and the precepts of alchemical research. Kerry is amazing. He knows exactly when to stop so that I don’t overload.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, April 12, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-5
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve become increasingly obsessed with my studies. I’ve stopped socializing entirely – most of my time is consumed with wading through rare volumes on physics, geometry, mineralogy, and theology at Columbia University and the New York Public Library. I’ve left the telephone disconnected the past several days. Kerry has been very encouraging and patient, and assures me that I am making commendable progress. One thing he said tonight puzzles me though: he said that the time is soon coming when it would be more expedient for him to come to me, rather than for me to come to him. I didn’t really understand, but I didn’t question him any further on the matter either. I’ve learned to judge what is to be merely accepted by the tone of voice he employs.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, April 27, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ‘ 89-6
8:21 a.m. – A very sad and disappointing morning, indeed. Evelyn just called and awakened me with some rather disturbing news: Winfield is dead! His sister found him lying in a pool of blood in his kitchen last night. He had plunged a dagger through his own heart. No motive has been established. I feel awful about it – poor Winfield! Poor Kerry! I never once considered this as a possibility; nor did I ever stop to realize how dependent I (we) were upon Winfield. It’s hard to believe that it is all over. So suddenly! I’m depressed.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, April 28, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-7
“Dear Diary:” I feel like a young girl in love! The most wonderful thing has happened. I was so depressed after Evvie’s phone call yesterday morning, that I remained in bed all day and all night long. I awoke around 4:00 p.m. this morning with a migraine headache and a strange ringing in my ears. I had trouble rousing myself out of my somnambulance and, indeed, remained in a sort of half-conscious stupor. I felt moved to get out of bed and find pen and paper in order to write. What I was going to write, I had no idea – but the pull was very strong. After an unaccounted amount of time I heard the ringing in my ears return, my dizziness lessened, and I looked down at what I had written. The writing was in a foreign script – an almost unintelligible scrawl, if you will – but it clearly read, to my astonishment both then and now, “Winfield Persons has succumbed to obsolescence; Kerry O’Toole lives now more than ever. Keep paper and pen by your bedside. You will find it to be of convenience. (signed) Kerry O’Toole.” My hands were trembling as I reread the paper over and over again. So this is what he meant – automatic writing! I’ve been up for three hours now, and it still feels like a dream.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, May 15, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-8
I’ve stopped thinking about the magazine series for now. All the editors I’ve queried have given me a polite “We feel that the market is not ready for the topic” or “Perhaps we could use a short story – but purely as fictional entertainment.” I get the feeling that most of them think I’m mad. It’s just as well, I guess. All I really want to do now is continue my studies with Kerry. Even my personal journal entries are becoming less frequent. Up until last week I had been copying the automatic writing by hand and then transferring it to a computer disk. As Kerry has been feeding me data in one and-a-half hour sessions, three times-a-day, daily – I’ve had to stay up half the night retyping it into the personal computer. But now I’ve begun taking the dictation directly onto a floppy disk. Kerry is quite pleased, as I’m less tired, have more concentration, and we’re getting more work accomplished. He has humor indeed: two days ago he prefaced an essay on mummification and life suspension with the salutation: “Dear Ghost Writer,”. But Kerry is also quite practical. He forces me to take the necessary time out to do the blasted movie reviews – even though I’d rather not be bothered. And he pushes me to exercise and to eat well, saying: “A healthy body and mind are indispensable to our present and upcoming work. They are your vehicle for psychic transformation.” Transformation – that word again. I understand him, and then I don’t .. at least not completely. When I feel frustrated with my progress, he soothes me by admonishing me to be patient with myself, and by assuring me that I will soon know more than even Winfield did. Then he usually makes a joke or finds some other way to make me laugh. For example: last week I had gone to a premiere screening of “Ghostbusters 3”. When I returned home, Kerry dictated a wonderful “black humor” review of the film. I commented that I hadn’t realized that he had been at the screening. He replied that he hadn’t, in fact – but that having access to my mind also meant that he has full awareness of my personal experiences, in as much detail as I sense them myself. I was a bit disturbed by this when he first said it, although I’ve known it to be the case for quite a while now. Over the past two and-a-half weeks our communications have become much more dialogue-oriented. It’s strange to think of how anyone else would react to seeing me sitting for hours on end in front of my computer screen, talking to myself through my typing. Damn! My ears are ringing. I’d better sign off on the journal for now.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, May 27, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-9
Kerry has me researching more and more religious and anthroposophical texts now. He says he has enough physical science and mathematical input. I’ve been reading several obscure volumes on Theosophy and secret societies such as the Essenes, Golden Dawn, the early Masons etc. In addition, he has relayed to me the fruits of his own previous research into the esoteric theories and practices of the early Egyptian priesthood, the Lemurians, the Atlanteans, the Minoans, and the Byzantinians. My mother called and asked why she hasn’t heard from me, and why she hasn’t been able to reach me by telephone for so long. I explained that I’ve been working very hard. She’s invited me to take a break and join her in the Berkshires for a few days, and then spend the weekend in Boston. She has symphony tickets to hear Ashkenazy play the Brahms 2nd piano concerto. She wouldn’t let me say “no” flat out, so I promised to think about it and call her back tomorrow. Kerry has insisted that I go. He says it’s time for me to take a little break anyway, and that it’s better than her visiting my apartment unexpectedly to check up on what’s going on. He’s suggested that I take two weeks and spend some time in Salem, Massachusetts before returning to New York City. When I asked him “Why Salem?”, he responded by saying: “Because of the historical and occult archives, of course.” I asked him if he intended for me to start studying witchcraft, and he explained that “witchcraft” is an uneducated term invented by ignorant Christians who lived in fear of the unknown, and which was fostered by greedy members of the inner-Church who did everything possible to keep the higher teachings from the public-at-large. “Witches” were, then, any persons who presumed to go beyond traditional organized religion in faith and practice. He further told me that all major organized religions have similar outcasts: Islam has its Sufis, Judaism has its Qabbalists, etc. The religions that attempted to preserve knowledge in their practices have been either totally annihilated or forced to go underground as secret societies. New Age spirituality, he elaborated, is not actually “new” at all – it is more a rediscovery of practical knowledge long ago employed by the ancients. I’ll call Mother in the morning.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, May 28, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-10
Needless to say, Mother is delighted – as much for having gotten her way after all, as for obtaining my company. I leave for Great Barrington, Massachusetts tonight.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, June 13, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-11
I’m back. Mother was dreadful – so many questions about my life, my work, my social life etc. But I think I did a pretty good acting job because she seemed satisfied when I left her in Boston. I told her that I was off to Connecticut for a week-and-a-half to stay at Evelyn’s cottage outside Darien. That, of course, pleased her considerably. She’s always worried about me working too hard and isolating myself socially. I felt embarrassed approaching the historians in Salem about witches at first, but I was received quite unabashedly. It appears that such investigations by scholars and writers are not uncommon. What I uncovered proved most fascinating, in light of my other studies to-date. But, I must admit that I am feeling a bit uncomfortable about where this is all heading.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, June 29, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-12
Kerry has had me read several books by Anne Besant, “666” and other books by Aleister Crowley, some writings by Rudolf Steiner, and a curious book called the “Necronomicon”, which I gather was relayed through automatic writing. He has also been teaching me about visualization, the psycho/spiritual effects of religious and occult rituals, the essential qualities of the four elements (earth, air, water and fire), and various geometrical configurations used in talismans. His last communication was as follows: “The time has now come to learn the practical applications of the academic knowledge attained thus far. Go thee to the Magickal Mandrake Bookstore on West 18th Street and purchase the following – four white candles encased in glass tumblers, two black candles, an incense brazier, a silver chalice, a package of charcoal suitable for incense burning, an ounce of “Flying Oil”, a double-edged dagger, and these herbs: a half-ounce of belladonna, a half-ounce of lobelia, and also a half-ounce of absinthe … and, oh yes, you’ll also need to purchase one large and one small mason jar, a mortar and pestle, six bottles of strong wine, and four large white quartz crystals as well as one smokey quartz crystal, thirteen small pieces of obsidian, and twenty feet of one-quarter-inch diameter copper wire. Benjamin,” he added, “don’t question me on this – just do it!” The last statement was demanding unlike ever before. I don’t dare cross him
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, June 30, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-13
Well -– I’ve made the purchases, as requested. What a strange store, and filled with even stranger things! It’s a virtual occult supermarket, frequented by fairly normal-looking people of all ages; and no one flinched at all when I presented my shopping list. I did have trouble figuring out where to buy the crystals and obsidian, but a quick phone call to Evelyn led me to a perfectly-suitable gem and mineral outlet in the East 30’s. I haven’t heard from Kerry all day. I guess he’s giving me a chance to take all this in.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, July 1, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-14
Blast! Kerry work me up at 5:30 a.m. this morning, telling me it’s time to go to work. He’s had me typing all sorts of exercises non-stop for the past six hours – I finally have a break; but who knows for how long. Thank God I have the journal in which to blow off steam. There’s certainly no one else to complain to. The exercises and assignments have to do with astral projection, visualization, ritual methods for casting magic circles, instructions for setting up an altar room; recipes for libations and making incense; invocations of spirits, candle magic; and various chants, dances and sexual techniques for creating a magical power source. The first hour and-a-half was spent taking the dictation for the index alone, so I expect that I’ll be inputting the information non-stop for days on end. I’ve only just started on the visualization techniques section.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, July 12, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-15
I’ve successfully cast circle a few times now, and Kerry has ordered me to rest all day. Tonight he will dictate to me special instructions leading up to final transformation. We will conduct the ritual during tomorrow night’s full moon. I haven’t been feeling so well the past few weeks – not really sick, but generally weak in my body, and I’ve needed to sleep more than usual. It’s probably just fatigue from all the heavy psychic work I’ve been doing.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, July 13, 1989 Computer Disk Number 54; file name: Spring ’89-16
The ritual went well. I followed Kerry’s instructions to the letter, even spilling a few drops of my blood into the libation mixture while invoking the Spirit of Kerry O’Toole. I then visualized the spirit as entering the libation chalice and drank it all. I don’t know what happened after that; I must have fainted, because when I awoke I was lying on the floor of the altar and all the candles had been snuffed out. Kerry’s instructions are to repeat the ritual every Friday night from now until the next full moon. He has promised me that I will feel stronger after the final ritual. I feel nauseous. Almost like I have “morning sickness”.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, August 3, 1989 Computer Disk Number 55; file name: Summer ’89-1
My headaches have gotten much worse, and I’ve been having long lapses where I can’t remember where the time has gone. Kerry isn’t saying much other than that I will feel like a new person after the final ritual. That happens in another week and-a-half. I’m too tired to be enthusiastic about much of anything, but I sort of look forward to getting it over with.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, August 9, 1989 Computer Disk Number 55; file name: Summer ’89-2
I’ve been having a very disturbing nightmare which has recurred for the past three nights now. In the dream I am doing the ritual, but when I draw Kerry’s spirit down into the libation chalice I visualize Winfield in the mixture: with a dagger through his heart and a terrified expression on his face. Then he wrenches the dagger from his chest and hands it to me saying: “It’s your only chance .. it’s your only chance.” I’ve been waking up in a sweat after every dream. I haven’t heard from Kerry since the nightmares have begun. In his last communication he told me that we were soon to meet in the flesh. He seems to be getting stronger and stronger, but maybe it’s just that I’m feeling so weak. I don’t know. Just a few more days until the blasted full moon.
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, August 11, 1989 Computer Disk Number 55; file name: Summer ’89-3
I can hardly get out of bed; I’m so weak and depressed. The nightmares haven’t stopped. I’m a little worried about getting confused during the ritual tomorrow night because my brain has been like scrambled eggs due to the blackouts and the dizziness. I wake up mumbling to myself too; usually the incantation I say right before I drink the libation mixture: “Come to me, Friend in Darkness. From my life so shall you have Light.”
Benjamin Friou – Journal Entry, August 12, 1989 Computer Disk Number 55; file name: Summer ’89-4
Benjamin Friou has died, along with Kerry O’Toole, by his own hand. May the Darkness always remain un …… Bbbyye, Mommm….//
(All paintings and photos by Adam Donaldson Powell.)
You must be logged in to post a comment.