“You are exploring with a friend when you stumble upon an abandoned amusement park. You eagerly start to approach it, but as you get closer, the lights suddenly come on and the rides start to move. Do you keep going to find out what’s happening or do you run away as fast as you can?”
He leans back in his chair and frowns. “What kind of question is that?”
“Leland, you promised you’d take our session seriously.”
“How am I supposed to do that when you aren’t asking serious questions?”
“If you’ll indulge me for only a few more questions, it’ll be over before you know it.”
He crosses his arms. “Fine.”
“Now, do you investigate or explore?”
“Explore,” he curtly replies.
Mona nods. “If you had a choice, which place would to go to first? Would it be the Merry-Go-Round, the House of Mirrors, or the Side Show Attraction?”
He shakes his head. “I have no idea, I guess the side show.”
“What do you see there?”
He huffs. “This is stupid.”
“Come on, Leland, what do you see?”
He lets out an exasperated sigh. “It’s a man.”
“What kind of man?”
“I dunno, isn’t saying it’s a man good enough? I can barely tell, anyway.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s faded, like he’s not really there.”
“Okay, does he have a name?”
“Victor, I guess,” he says, and shrugs.
“What does Victor do at this side show?”
A nervous sweat breaks across his body. He doesn’t know if he should tell her about the things that Victor does when no one is looking. He tries to think of other things the man does with his time, but there isn’t anything else. Victor is what he is, and no matter how hard Leland tries to change it, he can’t.
He nods. “This is stupid.”
After rolling his eyes to ensure she understands that he does this under protest, he says, “He kills people.”
He asks, “What?”
She taps the pen against her notebook. “How does he kill people?”
“Why does it matter?” It’s suddenly a lot colder in the room.
“It matters to me. Listen, just answer the question. All this will be over soon.”
“Fine, he strangles them.”
“The children,” He purses his lips.
“How many children are there?”
“I dunno.” He does know, but she doesn’t know that. He looks away.
“Think,” she says, and leans forward, “think real hard.”
“This is stupid,” He says, but she only stares. “Okay, fuck, thirteen!”
She nods, and sits back. “What are their names?”
“I dunno… how the fuck am I supposed to know that?”
“I’ll humor you all right,” he says under his breath, but when she raises her eyebrows, he blurts out, “Jesus Christ, it’s Katie, Cassi, Alice, Greg, Bonnie, James, Frank, Darren, Patty, Vinny, Kelly, Park, and Vicky.”
“Are we done?”
“Almost,” she says, and the pauses to take an obscenely deep breath. “What does he do with them?”
“I don’t know.”
He shakes his head. “He probably buries them.”
“Where would he do that?”
“Fuck if I know.”
He huffs. “I guess maybe a big lake off interstate 45.”
“Are we done, now?”
“We are,” she says, and closes her pen, sets it on the table between them, and picks up a lighter. She torches the end of bushel of incense sticking out of a silver bowl.
“I thought we were done?”
As she wafts her hand over the smoldering spices she says, “We are.”
“Can I go?”
“Soon,” she says, and closes her eyes.
A moment later, he feels his body burning from the inside. He screams, but no one can hear him. The intensity becomes worse with every second, and then he’s gone.
A tall man walks into the room. He says, “Did you find out what he did with them?”
“Yes,” she says, and looks at the emptiness in front of her where Victor Leland Harris’s spirit once sat.
The man nervously asks, “Is—is he gone?”
“I believe so,” she says. “He’s been in this amusement part for a long time. I can tell this place is glad to be rid of him.”
“Well, I don’t know about any of that, but the families will be glad to have some closure.”
“True enough. What about Alex Cordova?”
He shakes his head. “Not much I can do there. It’ll be hard to convince the court he was possessed.”
She nods. “I suppose you’re right. Just do what you can. He doesn’t deserve this fate. None of the men Victor possessed over the years does.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll do my best.”
She looks one last time at the spot where Victor last sat, and sighs. It’s finally over, but for some, it’s still only the beginning.