Just to forewarn all of you, this third piece in the series is a little darker than the others. However, it is justified by the fact that her entire life was darker than Lawrence or Rodrigo’s. Theresa’s life is quite sad, as you will see when you read the story. If you have more questions about her, please leave a comment. I will answer what I can with the little information I have. Without further introduction, here is her story:
Theresa Lehner opened her eyes, blinking away the thick eye mucus haze. Her vision still felt fuzzy, but she could see the fluorescent lights glaring down at her from a blank, stark ceiling. Turning her head to one side, she groaned softly at the sight of torn, padded walls and a cushioned floor. Somehow, she knew where she was. She tried to move her wrists and ankles to stretch her limbs. Padded leather straps gripped them in place. A long slow sigh escaped her lips. Why would anyone tie up an eleven-year-old girl? she wondered.
“Daddy!” she cried. There was no answer. Where was her father? Surely he could untie her. “Daddy!” she shrieked, her voice growing more panicked as she tugged at the restraints.
Theresa began to struggle in earnest, wriggling her fingers and toes and she tried to slip her hands and feet free. She thrashed her body from side to side, screeching until her throat was raw. Why? Why would they do this to me? I am just a baby, innocent, vulnerable, sweet.
In the lock of the only door in the room, she could hear the impatient rattle of a key. As it opened, a tall, blonde man dressed in white entered the room. He looked none too pleased.
“You done hollerin’ in here?” he demanded. “You been causing a ruckus. You need to shut up and quick,” he ordered. Striding across to her, he roughly checked the restraints. “Crazy bitch,” he muttered.
“Why are you so mean to me?” she asked as tears threatened to slide down her face.
“Mean to you? You tore into two of our female staff! You deserve this and whatever else might be coming to you.”
“God will punish you for this,” she said, her voice no longer wavering.
“God ain’t got nothing to do with this. You talk about God? You ain’t no nun, that’s for sure.”
“Nun? I-I’m just a child,” she stammered.
“A child wouldn’t be able to do what you did. You coulda killed her.”
Theresa began thrashing about again. “I’ll kill you, asshole” she screamed.
He pulled his hand back and slapped her across the mouth. “That’s for Elizabeth. Now pipe down! What, you don’t believe your 42 and it’s 1922 and you just tried to kill two women? And you call me an asshole. Child, ain’t no child!” he yelled, backing away and slamming the door as he left the room.
1922. You’re 42. It had to be lies. She was 11. She was a nun. Her daddy loved her. She was his Tressa. That was her name, wasn’t it?
The man spoke English. So did she. She must not be in Bavaria anymore. When was she born? Where was she? He said she tried to kill two women. She couldn’t imagine a little thing like her capable of such an act, but the idea nagged at her. There was someone in this world who thought her capable of murder, a sin. There had to be a reason for it.
She was beginning to remember a letter. It was written to her bishop. She had written it herself. She had asked for something important regarding her status as a nun. Doors had slammed in her face numerous times before that letter. Doors to nuns just like her. They turned her away because she was sick, because they didn’t like her friend, Mother Antonina. In shame she had asked for dispensation from her vows. He had never written back, so on she moved. More slammed doors; then she was sick. So very sick. She was naked and running. There was a judge with a hammer and here she was. That’s why this room looked familiar. She had been in it before.
The two women had mocked her, called her Sissie Marie, had taken her father’s prayer book. She just wanted it back, but they pulled on her hair, slapped her, and ran away with her book. She had gotten angry. So very angry. In a rage, she clawed at one and bit the other, tearing at her clothes. She dug her nails into one’s eyes, raking them down her cheeks. So much blood! She had turned her attention to the one she’d bitten and clawed at her clothes, shredding them. Then back to the bloody one. She had placed her hands around her throat and squeezed as tightly as she could before several men pulled her off and now here she was, back in the padded room and tied to a bed.
She wasn’t sorry. She would do it again. Sadly, she wondered what had happened to her book. She would die if they destroyed her daddy’s book. She couldn’t fight anymore. She was lying there helpless and defeated. They broke her spirit just as they had intended to. She would have to do as they said now. She would have to obey for her daddy’s sake. But her stomach ached so badly and her legs were very swollen. It would be hard.
She knew she would never leave; she would die in this place. She didn’t know it would take another 27 years and that she wouldn’t get a Catholic funeral rites or final sacraments. She would never receive the dispensation she had requested, but neither would she be buried in her habit. Her body would be donated to science. She didn’t know that her whole life had been spent in limbo.
I hope you were moved by this story. I certainly was. I still want to do some work on it, but am open to suggestions for changes. Please leave a reply if you have a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for reading!