Some places, are just meant for love and young hearts to flourish and blossom with one another. Lynncann, Louisiana was just this sort of place. Young Francesca Duchannes was one such girl in love. She and Renee Lafleur were smitten right from the first moment they met.
It was the summer after she graduated and she was down by the river with some friends. Now Renee was working a fishing boat at that time and happen to be passing by while the young teenagers were splashing in the water. His piercing blue eyes met hers and from that moment on she was his. They had a whirlwind romance that summer, and when fall came Renee asked Francesca for her hand in marriage.
“Mon chéri¿” he asked, “Would you honor me in becoming my wife?” As she ran her fingers through his sandy brown hair and kissed his dimpled cheeks, she said yes with all her heart. They were wed that December and by February they had bought a small little place in Boolean Parish about 20 minutes from Lynncann. Renee took a job in construction and Francesca was delighted to play the role of devoted wife and keeper of their modest home. However, the place did need to be touched up a bit, and several things around the house needed to be done.
As Renee was gone on business working different job sites he just did not have the time it took to fix them. Renee took out an ad in the paper asking for a handyman. Carl Monet answered that ad. He was seemingly nice, very polite and very capable with his handiwork. Renee agreed to hire him almost immediately for the upkeep of the house. Francesca however thought something was a bit off about the young handyman, but thought maybe she was judging a book by its cover, and quickly dismissed her feelings.
As the months passed, Carl began to spend more and more time at the house. On weekends when Renee was home they would even sit together on the front porch drinking a beer and talking in their native Cajun. As time went on, Renee began to show signs of fatigue, loss of appetite and even some of his hair began to fall out. He began to miss more and more work, and soon everyday Carl would be at his side drinking a beer with him and swapping different stories about growing up in Louisiana on the Bayou.
In winter of the next year, Renee passed suddenly in his sleep on what was to be their second wedding anniversary. Francesca, distraught over the loss of the love of her life, barely got out of bed, drew the shades and didn’t speak to anyone for three months. During this time Carl continuously kept dropping by bringing food, bringing gifts and eventually coaxed Francesca out of her depression. 7 months after the passing of her beloved Renee, Carl Monet asked for Francesca’s hand in marriage. Feeling so grateful for Carl and the time he spent with Renee and how wonderful he was after his passing, accepted his proposal. They were married on a hot August afternoon three weeks later and a week after that Carl had moved most of his belongings into Francesca’s house.
Things got along well for a while, and then Francesca began to notice changes in her new husband. He began to stay out late at night, and started drinking more and more. When he was home, he would be very irritable and eventually became verbally abusive towards Francesca. It wasn’t long after that when the beatings began. One night after a particularly brutal beating, Francesca was crying in her room holding onto a t-shirt of Renee’s that she had saved in the back of the bottom drawer of the armoire they had bought together the first month they were married.
Suddenly Francesca got a cold chill across her back, and the hair on her neck began to stand up. She stopped sobbing immediately and looked around for the source of this cold chill. Then she saw him. Renee, as plain as you or I, standing right next to their armoire looking mournfully at his beloved Francesca. Francesca rushed to be at his side, overwhelmed with the need to be close to him. But as she approached and got to where he was standing, Renee suddenly disappeared. On the floor next to where he was standing, Francesca noticed a brown can with no label. She picked it up, and thought it had a sweet, yet somewhat pungent smell to it.
Confused by where the can came from and everything she had just encountered, Francesca put the can in the closet, and returned Renee’s shirt to the bottom drawer and forgot about it. Her life continued on in the cycle of beatings and apologies angry insults and terrible put-downs. Then one day, Carl stumbled into the house and declared that it was time that she gave him a child. That night and every night after that for 3 months, poor Francesca had to endure the trial-and-error process of creating a child. Every month when she failed to produce a child, Carl would beat her mercilessly and continue on with the cycle.
One night as Francesca was lying in bed crying herself to sleep, she heard Carl stumble up the stairs.
“Oh no,” she thought, “God help me, no more.” As he came through the door, she saw he was wearing Renee’s t-shirt, the one that still had his smell. She was sick to her stomach at the sight of this, but dared not say a word for fear of a beating. But this time something was different… Carl stopped for a moment as if he were admiring her in some way, and flashed her a warm caring smile.
He said to her, “Oh how I have missed you, mon chéri.” Hearing this endearing term, Francesca was overwhelmed with emotion. Her Renee was the only one that ever referred to her that way. As Carl came closer, she could see a difference in his features. She thought maybe it was a trick of the light or maybe the tiredness in her eyes. But as he climbed into bed with her something told her to receive him with open arms.
That night he held her longer and more gently than he ever had before. When the sun came up that morning, Carl had gone to work, and did not return again for 3 nights. And once he did return he was still wearing Renee’s shirt. The night that he returned he was smelling and reeking of booze, and Francesca knew what awaited her. As Carl began to lay into Francesca, a strange light appeared and all of a sudden Carl began to scream out in agony and he said;
“Oh God forgive me, I did it! I did it I killed him, oh God!” Then he began to claw at his eyes in such a way that he blinded himself forever on. Francesca phoned 911 and the police and ambulance arrived. As they were taking Carl out of the house he confessed to killing Renee. He had slowly been poisoning him all those months with a can of paint thinner in his beer that he kept by the porch. Francesca knew right then and there what the brown can was she found by the armoire that night.
There was no trial as Carl had confessed and he was sent to prison for his crimes. Several months passed and Francesca began to feel very light-headed , and had a loss of appetite. She went to her doctor in town thinking maybe it was the flu or some kind of virus that was going around. Much to her shock and surprise her doctor told her that she was into her second trimester and would be delivering within a few months. At this news all Francesca could do was cry. How could she raise a murderer’s child? How could she raise a child of the man that killed the love of her life? But as the months passed she began to feel her baby kicking inside of her and she knew that she could never turn her back on it.
That December, on the day that would have been her and Renee’s 4th wedding anniversary she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. A baby boy with piercing blue eyes… and Sandy brown hair… And two of the sweetest dimples she had ever seen…