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May 20, 2012

After Minnie and the woman of the house had vanished into the gloom, I asked Marlin to sit with me, motioning to a small white dinette set in the only relatively lighted spot in the place. We sat directly in that shaft of sunlight pouring through the parted curtain and talked.

“The Haitians,” I began. “Why do you think they are bothering you,? I have never heard of them.”

Marlon was entirely free in telling me everything. I had the feeling that I might have been the first person allowed into the darkness of both house and mind.The chilling details left no doubt. I was chatting with someone who was driving a car without a steering wheel. He was all over the place!

“The Haitians are after my wife,” he said. “They want me to turn her over to them. They watch our every move. See that tower over there? They are up on there watching us now. They monitor every move we make. They come almost every night. They wear Halloween masks, the ones that just cover your eyes. They are all white and often when you look out the masks are all you can see. They makes strange noises, signalling one another, whistles and grunts, like pigs.”

As he paused I was able to get in another question. I was fascinated, like a child listening to a tale of dark magic and scary creatures of another place and time. “What do they want with your wife and why won’t the police help you?”

“They want to possess her. They started by breaking into this house when we were not here. They only came in that one time. They stole things that belonged to her, personal things, like her perfume, a music box, her deodorant, things like that. Later they stole some of her things off the clothes line. We dry things in here now. The police have been out several times for the breakin and the prowling, but they don’t do a thing. They work for the Haitians. So do the judges. No one will do a thing to cross them. I worry that you won’t help us either. They know you are here. They watch constantly. They will get to you!”

When we had first entered the house, I began to glimpse the madness. Now, Minnie were part of it. I was stunned a bit, like coming to the end of a very scary roller coaster ride. But, I was not particularly afraid. Marlin was not threatening. It was the Haitians!

Minnie joined us then, but not the wife. She chose to stay with the children. Minnie sat at the table with us and reported that the kids were fine. Marlin went on for awhile. He spun out more details, now introducing Minnie to his fascinating world, a place as unbelievable as the land of OZ. I watched as her eyes grew huge. I saw her grip the edge of the table, knuckles turning white, almost like she was preparing to push away and run. Then Marlin summed it all up for us.

“The trouble is, no one will believe me,” he said.

My retort came from a need for me to be honest with Marlin, for there was no doubt that we would have to intervene in some way to pull this family out of their nightmare.

“Well, you know, Marlin, I don’t believe you either,” I said.

Immediately I was kicked hard under the table by my companion. I looked at her in utter surprise. She seemed to levitate a few inches as if she was literally coming out of her chair. Her look was more frightening than any I had seen from Marlin. Minnie told me with her eyes that she was going to kill me!

We left after a few more particulars, saying nothing really save for the fact that we would help. Marlon listened but I doubted that he would believe. He ushered us out into the daylight. The sun felt warm and comforting. He and I shook hands, but Minnie did not offer hers. We turned and started toward my car. While still within earshot of Marlin, standing there smiling at about the same place we had met, Minnie exploded!

“Don’t you ever talk to a crazy man like that again! A  man with a gun! You could have gotten both of us killed! You are as crazy as he is!” she screamed. The rant continued almost without pause until we got back to her office.

It was simple really. The experts called it group schizophrenia. The wife was mentally ill. But she had drawn her husband into her altered universe. He, loving her as he did, bought into it and made it his on. He was straightened out quickly with good out patient therapy. The wife was ordered into residential treatment. The kids moved in with grandparents so Marlin could get back to work.  The kids were able to rejoin their classmates in school.

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