Blank Space.

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Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

He awoke, finally. Another uncomfortable, barley slept night. A thirst, that no amount of water could ever quench. In the darkness he lay on the bed, listening to the silence. Slowly his mind began to clear a little. Images of the previous few days passed through his mind.

Acquaintances, strangers. Alcohol, pubs. Airplanes, city lights. Heavy traffic. Laughter. Dancing, darkened nightclubs, Thumping music. A mishmash of images and recollections, fading in and out of his memory. Brief and unclear. His head was heavy. Stomach empty and aching for food.

Never again, he promised himself. It’s just not worth it. Never was. Foolish, inane,  conversations, with forgettable, ridiculous people he hardly knew or cared for. False camaraderie and human closeness. A brief interlude from an empty life. The paranoia as usual was ever present, greatly exaggerated by the copious amounts of alcohol.

His memory was patchy of the previous few days. Unsure how long it had being this time. One evening, a few days, or maybe a week or two. He knew the gaps in his memory would eventually be filed. He made his way to the bathroom, unsteady on his feet, tripping over en route. The bloodstained light coloured carpet, of little surprise to him. His bloodied hands, unexpected. Through bloodshot eyes, he glanced at his face in the low lit bathroom mirror. Sickened, and angry at his own inability to control his addiction. He quickly looked away. Dried blood on the newly scratched scars on his face and neck. He slapped himself hard about the face, encouraging this dream to end. He threw water on his face, to awaken his consciousness.

He again checked himself in the bathroom mirror. Still the bloodied facial scars. He looked at his hands. His body was tense, and tightly held. His fists clenched. Swollen veins protruding through his muscular arms. His once lean and trim torso now beginning to show the signs of alcohol abuse. The unsightly swollen area covering his liver. His stomach losing its muscular definition. He watched himself, through narrow, piercing, angry eyes, the veins throbbing either side of his head in the bathroom mirror. How had his life come to this, he asked himself.

Snippets’ of angry words, surfaced in his memory. Screaming, tearful, hysterical and  pleading. Thoughts and a determination to avenge her disrespect. She would be made to pay. He would see her weep, and be distraught, and only then would he be at peace. He would take from her, what she had taken from him. He swaggered from the bathroom like the wealthy, powerful successful man he was. He had not finished with her yet.

‘Come here’, he demanded. ‘I want to speak to you’. His loud voice vibrating around the house.

He roughly opened the bedroom closest to him, and slammed it closed loudly when he found it empty. In his disoriented hung over state he found it hard to navigate his own home. Doors appearing where they did not belong. Rooms not where they should be.
Like a savage beast intent of finding sustenance, he marauded around the first floor of the house. Again he tripped over it, on the way back to his room. This time switching on the landing light. He looked down at the bare leg protruding from the door, and followed its shape as he pushed open the door to the room. The cream coloured silken nightgown that covered the body, was torn, ripped. Drifting in and out of consciousness, she moaned softly. The bloodied nose, bruised ayes, matted hair, she lay at an awkward, unattractive angle.
He did not recognize her at all. Cursed himself quietly for drinking so much. He searched his mind for recollections, which were not forthcoming. The light from the landing illuminating the scene before him. The upturned chairs, clothes scattered untidily on the floor. The overturned, broken child’s cot. The non moving, non breathing form on the floor. He moved towards the child’s form on the floor, noting the blood matted hair on the back its head. Turned it over, and recoiled from the slightly tinged small blue face, and obviously broken bones in its jaw line. Congealed blood visible under the innocent skin. Thankful it was not his child, but also fearful and afraid.
His breathing now rapid, heartbeat thumping hard in his chest. Perspiration forming on his forehead, back and above his lip. Images of police officers. Court cases, vile newspaper headlines. Prison, for ever.
Standing up, now energized with the adrenaline pumping through his body, his legs shaking. His mind screaming and begging for it not to be so.
He quickly returned to the bedroom from where he came, slipped on his crumpled jeans, and a white t-sheet. Searched underneath the bed for his shoes, and ran down the stairs and out of the house at speed, leaving the front door open. Into the still dark early morning, he ran. Along, somewhat now familiar streets. The shock helping to clear his mind. He ran as fast as he could, as far as he could. Pass the other detached houses. Down the tree lined streets, with the expensive cars outside. In the early morning, birdsong echoed softly.
He could not find his way out of the large, select cul-de sac, passing the same properties, again and again. He stopped outside a detached house, exhausted after his intense running, breathing hard. That dark Mercedes looked quiet familiar, with the sticker from the French holiday campsite on the trunk. He moved closer toward the car in the driveway, the gravel crunching under his feet. Peered into the backseat, at the two property magazines laying there. Further examined the the front passenger seat, and the child seat, with the recognizable rag doll toy, resting on it. The security light from the house, activated by his movement, illuminated the area.

She opened the front door quietly, and peered out. Recognizing his, rather disheveled appearance, she marched out in anger. In the cold morning air, her breath was visible, as she moved closer to him. Her baby daughter on her hip, crying loudly. He continued to peer into the front seat of the car, leaning on the car roof for support. Breathing hard, and gently weeping. Thankful some memory was returning.
She moved closer to where he was leaning on the car, and glared and him, taking him in fully.

‘What have you done’, she snapped at him. More an accusation, then a question.

Her face contorted into an ugly combination of anger, disgust and fear, so close to his. Her screams were loud, piercing, in the quietness of the early morning.

‘What have you done’, again, she screamed.

‘Look at your hands, look at your hands. They are covered in blood’.

 

===========================

Written in response to writing prompt : ‘Trying to make sense of the events of last night’.

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Freedom.

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Photo by Nicolae Rosu on Unsplash

‘Go on, if you can dream it, you can do it.’
‘Don’t be so ridiculous, is that a quote from  your latest self help book.’

‘I’m only trying to be supportive on your endeavors and ambitions.’
‘Well that may be so, but save your silly positive incantations for someone who may actually be damn well interested in them’.

Another nail in her heart. Another tearing down of the relationship that was once warm and loving, but now was nothing of the sort.
She was just too nice, too pleasant. Too gentle. He had grown quiet tired of her ceaseless positivity, never ending support. The way she looked. The way she dressed. Her attitudes. Her character. Just totally sick and tired of her. A change was badly needed. Fresh blood, a new interaction. An energetic shift.

‘I’m going out for a while, no need to wait up.’

She sat alone in the darkened living room, watching but not really seeing the images flickering on the TV screen. She began to question in her mind, just what in Gods name she had to do, to make this relationship work. What she wanted most in life was a peaceful, tranquil, loving relationship. To be happy. To be in love, and be loved in return. But this was not happening for sure. She was very giving of her support, her love, her physicality, her warmth, her everything. Yet it now never seemed enough to satisfy him. She really did not want to leave him, but the never ending nastiness, caustic, cutting remarks about her weight, her looks, her abilities, her aspirations, her career. Were just becoming too much. Thoughts of suicide crossed her mind from time to time, but she had resisted up to now. Although he had encouraged her in that regard, reminding her, many times, helpfully, that no one really liked her. That she had no friends, and that she would not be missed if she decided upon that avenue. Her life, her relationship was causing her way too much unhappiness and despair. How soon would it be before his anger turned to physical violence, and would she accept that also. All in her search for the loving relationship she was seeking. She tried to understand why she was afraid to leave him. Was it, that after soo many years of verbal jibes, the cutting, destructive remarks, she no longer had the psychological strength to believe she could ever be attractive, or a worthwhile partner to any other man. He had told her on many occasions, that no other man would ever want her. After hearing such words over and ever again, she had come to believe them. To say he was a toxic individual, would be an understatement. In her occasional lighter moments she laughed silently as she concluded how he could keep psycharisitics busy for years. But those moments were few and far between.

Even those still close to her had seen, and some had commented on the change. Her family had asked her many times, how things were with him. Fine she lied. But they could see her spirit was being drained, and she was a shadow of her former self. The few girlfriends she meet secretly, so as not to anger him, could see and sense her unhappiness. But she denied it all, even to herself. Her self esteem lowered, to nearly none existent levels. Her once high self assurance disappearing bit by bit. Every day, she died a little. Day by day, under the, if not daily, but fairly regular verbal assaults. Words uttered under the guise of humour, banter, and sarcasm. But words that had a deeper, more nasty intent. Designed to hurt and destroy. To undermine and tear down. Ever fearful of another day living with him. She had tried speaking to him, but he just quickly cut her down any such communication. At this stage she was no more than a nobody. Someone who provided him with sexual release. Now an empty a pointless experience for her, which she dreaded. Devoid of love, warmth and compassion. She was more than happy when it was over, glad when he no longer touched her body,

She did not want to go back to them, but now it seemed like her only option. She wanted to move away from that lifestyle. She wanted to play life on a level playing field, with no extra advantage, and succeed by her own means, without help from them.
The cat, sensing her despair, moved from its resting place in the corner of the room, and jumped up onto her lap. The animal moved its body closer to her face, as if she wanted to embrace and comfort her. She lamely smiled and put the cat in her lap, and stroked it nonchalantly. She slowly drifted off to sleep, as the animal keep her company.

In the noisy atmosphere of the pub, the discordant music thumped loudly from the speakers. The heaving crowd moved as one to the music. Strangers bodies entangled like long term lovers. This to him was more like it. Action and energy with people not so full of love. Glad to be out of the damn house. People with a rough edge. These were the people he wanted to be around. He held the glass of beer in front of him, as he too moved to the music. Watching from the sidelines. The tight leather jackets. Some dressed in Pvc clothing. Sexual in nature.
She came and stood beside him, and brazenly asked him for a cigarette. Dark black hair, dark, black clothing, and heavy boots. With light white make up, and heavy dark eye shadow, and red lipstick, that covered her full lips. She smiled, revealing her perfectly set teeth. He took note of her body, thankful for her revealing, tight fitting clothing. He approved of her look, and offered her a cigarette.
She took the cigarette, letting her hand linger on his, and smiled. It was clear she was as attracted to him, as he was to her. He looked into her wide eyes, and she held his gaze. Just something about her confidence, made her even more attractive. He studied her lips, and moved closer. His confidence boosted by the alcohol, with no words, he moved his lips to hers. She responded. Her lips were as soft and tasteful as he had imagined. He moved his hips to hers. They stood together as one, while the music thumped loudly, they began to gyrate to the beat.

After a short time, after they both ingested more alcohol, which was effecting his vision and stability, unusual for him.
‘Come, lets go from this place’, she demanded.
‘Where to ?’
‘Come with me’. Her voice was loud, and commanding.

In the cold evening night, as other revellers noisily made their way from one drinking establishment to another, she hailed a black cab. She quietly gave the address to the driver, and helped him into the back seat. In the rain sodden night, the cab mad its way to the suburbs. He sat close to her and breathed in her scent. His imagination firing up, about the night to follow. He smiled in anticipation. Somewhat troubled by increasing sense of disorientation. But he comforted himself by expecting it to clear up once out in the fresh air.

The others began to gather in the dilapidated church. Quiet, muted murmurings barely hiding the building excitement. To any outsider, they looked so ordinary, dressed in their day to day clothing. Housewives, elderly people. Doctors, Businessmen, Consultants. But as they donned their dark robes, and began to decorate the large black altar, with the pentagram, chalice, the elements of the earth, wind, ocean and fire, and the unlit candles. The horned skeletal head. Representing the demons worshiped. An opening to that gateway. They no longer seemed innocent. Now, way more sinister.
It had being some time. But she was a good hunter, and the high priestess always knew she could be relied upon to do what was required. The black cab dropped them outside the padlocked gates of the dilapidated and run down church. The city lights, of the vast metropolis looked so inviting, from the elevated area overlooking it. She took his drunken head in her hands and gently kissed her lips. Pressing her taunt body again his, encouraging his speculation. Taking his hand, she guided him towards the church.

‘Come’, she said softy, enticing him.

He smiled foolishly, and followed her through the rusted gates, she opened with ease. From the outside, the church was covered in brambles and leaves, much of the stone work was broken and cracked. The church was darkened within. Up the gravel path they went together, she linking his arms, as he struggled to steady himself. Slightly irritated he was unable to clear his head. Agin he glanced at her well defined body, and his excitement grew. She pushed at the large oak door, that gave way easily enough. Slowly it opened, creaking as it did so. The church was empty. Dark and cold. She took his hand and lead him into the foyer cold stone paving and dark wood panelled interior, empty. They moved through a second door, into the confines of the church.

The door behind him, shut rapidly, loudly and with some force. Once inside, she broke contact with his hand, and moved to stand by the high priestess. Tall and also dressed in black. They embraced each other, and kissed each other softly on the lips. He stood, dumbfounded and watched the scene unfold before him. Rapidly coming to his senses. His disorientation now replaced by a thumping heart, shaking legs and a real sense of dread. The large number of participants busily going about what they were doing, dressed in dark robes. The dim interior, lit by large candle’s. The palatable sense of excitement, of the robed congregation. He watched in some disbelief, as bramble and broken trees were piled high, in front of the black altar. He turned away and towards the door he had entered.
The high priestess laughed as she raised her hand, and pulled him back energetically from his possible escape. She weaved her hand, as she manipulated the energy that existed between them, to forbid his escape. He danced like a pupet in response to her manipulations. She pointed her hand towards the floor, and he sank immediately to his knees, as her forceful evil energy controlled his. To ensure compliance, she formed her hand into a v shape, between thumb and index finger, held it out in front of her, and brought the fingers closely together. He grasped at his throat, trying to release the energetic pressure that was crushing his windpipe, and smothering him. She released her energy, as he fell to the floor, holding his throat. Again she laughed.

At last they had finished building the pyre, and took their seats. The chanting began. Low, monotone, but hypnotic in its flow. He was brought, struggling to stand in front of the pyre. The High Priestess stood beside him, and began to recite in Latin. Her voice took on a deep, almost manly, demonic tone. Rasping and frightening in its intensity.  She then turned to him, and spoke again in latin. The attractive woman he had met in the music pub hours earlier, translated for him.

‘Our sister has called out to the heavens, in her hour of need. She may not have wanted this, but she is one of us, and will always be. It is our belief that you must make reparations for your cruelty. We offer you as a live sacrifice to feed the demons who rule our lives, as we bow down before them, and worship them’.

The chanting became louder, rasing in volume. Reaching towards a crescendo. The perspiration began to stream down his forehead, and his back. His heart palpitating at an enormous speed. His breathing, fitful, and hard to catch. Roughly he was taken to the stretcher that lay on top of the pyre, and tied to it, with old ragged, but strong rope. He struggled as the briars and brambles beneath him were set alight. Quickly the blue and yellow flames rose up the wooden pyramid temple that held him.
She awoke many hours later, the cat having long left her lap. Now securely resting in its basket on the other side f the living room. The shone shone brightly through the light curtains, that covered the living room window. Something was different, she could sense it, or perhaps it was just the result of a good nights sleep.
But she felt clearer and more energized than she had in a long time. More light and free. With all this good energy running round her, she could not stay still and had to dissipate it some how. She set about cleaning the house from top to bottom. Not something she had done for queit some time. Happily she began to prepare dinner for her she and her partner, hoping for a better day. She knocked on the bedroom door, when the food was ready.

Written in response to a photo prompt seen here : https://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Go Now.

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Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

Another night of drunken fighting
Can we not let some light in
Accusations and castigation’s
That don’t amount to much

Why can’t we be at peace
Why can’t all this fighting and upset cease
Will it be like this for ever more

Do you remember what you said last night
It hurt, I’m wounded, its still rumbling round inside my head
Do you even remember, can you even recall
Beating my bloodied head against the bathroom wall

I hate you now, you damn fool
I ain’t in no mood to forgive and forget
Take your belongings and get out of my head, my life
Go, cease and desist, you’ll be little missed

I curse you, never forgive you, with all of my might.

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Written in response to a writing prompt, from my newly enrolled creative writing group. The prompt being : ‘trying to piece together the night’s events’.

 

 

Gambling Losses.

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Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/en/las-vegas-night-time-neon-lights-599840/

Gambling losses, making me right cross
I won a stack of cash the other week, thinking my luck was in
I kept upping the stake I was using, hoping for a bigger win
It did not take long for that same sorry song to appear
I watched in despair as my bank went all the way down to zero

I could not help myself, it was like I was possessed
I could not put that cash back in fast enough
Now I am stuck and skint
In a city I don’t want to be, cant even afford a writing class
A swim in the pool, not available with my financial agenda
Sports classes or nothing, this what life is like currently
Human contact and interaction is missing, and that’s bloody hard

But I’m glad it happened, cause psychological pain such as this
Is hard
Because the riches I was expecting have gone amiss
Events such as this are really teaching me a lesson here
That the riches I desire and seek, are not going to emanate from the casinos
I visit week after week

I have said to myself, that’s the finish of it now
That’s a line I will no longer cross
This kind of nonsense has just got to stop
This is a period of time I will not forget
The futility and pointlessness of believing gambling
Will sort you out, once and for all
Financial stresses diminished
Wealth and riches by your door, don’t you believe it, mate
You’ll soon get to know the score

The only people making money from gambling are the people running such ventures
In my view they are nothing more than criminals, who prey on lonely, unhappy people
They who are seeking some respite, and hoping for a better life
But the odds are so tilted in there favour, those of us drawn in, have little chance of a win
As the owners swan around in there fancy cars, and live it up in hotels with five stars
While we the fools, who play by the rules, believing we have even a chance of a win
Are only adding to their wealth

For those others, afflicted with this addiction, I hope you too, soon see the light
Hit your rock bottom with all of your might
Then you perhaps you too can see the futility of gambling
That it will never lead you to where you think it will be
It only leads down that road of anger and despair
That will be familiar to the many who gamble to excess
Hopefully the pain of gambling and continually losing, will soon put you right.

Regret.

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Photo Credit : Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.

Alone in the silence of the forest he searched for it. Memories of happier times. A memorial made in nature, to remember them forever. The few sounds, the branches and mulch, leaves crunching and melting and giving way under his feet.
After some time searching he came across the memorial nature offered. His mind journeyed to those times, they had all enjoyed here. The laughter and picnics they had shared, at this place. His hand lightly touched and traced the heart shaped indent in the tree, and the names enshrined within. He thought of them both, but not for long, as it was too painful. He lifted the whiskey bottle from where it was now a permanent fixture, forever close by, just inside the shabby coat, that had seen much better years.
It was his way of dealing with what should not have been. The alcohol offered some very brief temporary relief, until he sobered up, and then he would follow on that pointless road, of sorrowful drunkenness, much regret, and yet more alcohol to numb the pain. A never ending crazy pointless circle. But as a method to block all memories, good and bad, there was none better alcohol.

‘I’ve watched you’, the voice startled him. But it was soft, gentle and compassionate.
‘I watched you from afar many times, but sensed you wanted to be alone with your hurt and sadness’.

He turned to see the owner of the voice. She had a softness, a calm strength, and quietness about her. He was embarrassed and ashamed of how he must had looked to her. Unshaven, dirty, with unkempt clothing, and badly in need of a bath. He found it hard to focus, but managed to make out her outline.

‘You must be hungry. We have a cabin, not far from here. Will you join us for some food’.

He had not eaten properly in days. But nourishing sustenance was of little matter to him anymore. Nothing really mattered to him anymore. Living had lost its luster. He did not look at her, but turned away from her, as he held one hand on the heart shaped indent on the tree. How can this person be so trusting of strangers, he asked of himself.

‘No, I don’t want or need anything’, he answered quietly. Preferring his solitude, and freedom to think and come to terms with what had happened, if he ever could.

‘Ok’, but if you do change your mind, we are just over the other side of the big oak tree, on that hill. We’re the only cabin for miles around’.

With that she slowly sauntered away, without looking back. He watched her go. Unsure of what to make of her. But he certainly did like her non neediness, and thankful for her acceptance his wish for privacy, and the desire to be alone.
After she had left him, and when sure he was alone, he spoke quietly to his lost wife and young daughter, and asked then what he should do. Would they question his loyalty. The very idea of some decent food, an opportunity to clean up, while certainly not a priority, would not go amiss either.
The loud sniffling and noise, and the sensation of being watched caught his attention. He was very big when stood on his hind legs. Salvia dripping from it sharpened teeth, bigger that any man he had ever encountered, and the loud growling. The fur was dirty, and ragged, the claws on the feet and paws, frightening. Never had he encountered such an animal at close range, and was surprised at the stench emanating from it. He slowly backed away from the approaching animal. To run was to play to the animals instinct to chase. To climb high, was pointless as bears can climb as higher and faster, that nay man.
He tried vainly to remember what he had ever read, or seen about what to do when confronted by an angry, hungry animal. But his mind was unable to function under such stress. His breathing rapid, his legs shaking, and heart beating strongly in his chest in response to his body’s adrenaline. Any chance of clear thinking was minimal. He did have the fortitude to pick up a large heavy branch of a fallen tree, but guesses success against such an animal, was unlikely.
One fact he wished he did not recall, was how a bear on his hind legs can stand up to seven feet tall and larger, and are capable of tearing a mans head from his shoulders, with a wave of their arm. The bear began to run toward him. He stood his ground, aware that his last moments were soon to be, and in his semi drunken state he welcomed his own demise, so he could soon be with his departed loved ones. He just briefly wished it was not in such a brutal manner. But he briefly prayed to Jesus, and asked for it to be swift.
The perspiration dripped from his forehead, his breathing more rapid than he had ever experienced, he closed his eyes, and awaited the impact.

The shoot that rang out seemed so close, he wondered if he had being hit. The following shoots rang out in rapid succession. The large brown bear stopped, stood up on his hind feet, and growled loudly, before turning on his tail and scampering back into the woods, towards the riverbank. He searched among the trees to find the source of the rifle.
He watched the trees for a few moments before the three figures, dressed in combat uniforms emerged from the forest.

‘What the hell do we got here, eh boy’,

With that the large leader of the group spat some dirty brown chewed tobacco onto the ground. The southern twang, was just like it was in all those movies he had seen over the years. His two sidekicks laughed at the revered leader. He held an automatic rifle under his arm, cradled lovingly, just like a child. The two others, held long barrel shotguns down by their sides.

‘What the hell kind of fool comes out into the woods without a goddamn fire arm. Were going to fight that bear, with a piece of wood. Well were you boy’, and they laughed.

He could sense their aggression, and bad intent.

‘You just gotta be a dumb ass city boy, he just gotto be, dont he Wendell’.
‘Well he sure must, cause he has got the brains of a dumb ass’.

‘Why don’t you just turn round and start running back towards the city, dumb ass, and we’ll see if we can’t shoot you in the rear. Go on boy, run’.

Again the men in combat laughed at the power there weapons gave them, and the predicament the disheveled city man found himself in. The men ducked quickly as a shoot ricocheted of a nearby tree. More shoots rang out in their direction. They searched the trees for the source of the bullets, but could not find it.

The voice was firm, it was strong.

‘Okay boys, you’ve had your fun, now you git along and leave that city boy be, da’ all hear. ‘Go oonn, now scoot, afore I get real mad, and set my dogs on you’.

‘Show yourself, Godamit’, the leader of the men in combat gear demanded.

There was no response from the trees, that hid the unseen shooter. He also took the opportunity to run for cover, and headed in the direction he hooped the shots were coming from. More shoots rang out, pinning down the men in combat gear.

‘Alright Godamit, were going, but don’t you worry Missey, we’ll be back’.

The men stood up, put their hands skyward, and slowly moved back from where they came. They argued loudly among themselves, until the leader angrily kicked and punched his two companions into silence.

‘Are you okay’, he looked at her, from his position low on the forest floor’.
‘I am now. That was some crazy set up’.
‘We get it from time to time, out here in the backwoods. some times survivalists, high on weapons, illicit drugs and alcohol. Sometimes, drug gangs build chemical factories hidden on the woods, and want to keep strangers at bay’.

‘How good dose a hot meal and a nice bath sound like now’.
‘Yeah’, I’ll take it’.

With that, they headed towards her cabin, just behind the large oak tree, just behind the hill, that she had pointed out when they first meet earlier that afternoon, as she was watching him grieve for his loved ones.
With the excitement, the new events that happened that afternoon, he felt a sense of awakening. A sense of being alive. A feeling he had not encountered for quiet some time. A possibility that perhaps there was more to life, than living full of regret and remorse. Maybe this was a new chapter to his life.
They made their way to her cabin, beautiful in its remoteness, and tranquility. As the evening sun began to set, the sky turned from bright blue, into a golden expression of colur. Soothing orange and yellow hues. The crickets croaking the only sounds from the forests. As they made there way onto the wooden porch, the blonde young girl shyly emerged from inside, and ran to and hugged her Mother. Her Mother lowered her rifle to the floor, and picked up and kissed her daughter.

He was quickly sobering up, after such an eventful afternoon.

‘Are you not afraid, living here alone. Is there no man around look after you’.
‘No, we make do. We do fine, don’t we sweetheart’, addressing the young girl. ‘In any case, I’ve got my dogs, and my rifle, and know how to use it’.

‘What of those men, from today. They said they’d be back’.
‘We’ll see. But for now let’s get cleaned up, and lets eat’.

They entered the cosy cabin, lit by wicker oil lamps, and a low kindling fire. She quickly set about preparing a nourishing meal for the three of them, humming happily to herself.
He took a sat by the fire, in the rocking chair and slowly rocked back and forth, enjoying the creaking sound. The young girl studied the stranger intently, as children do, undecided whether she liked or trusted him enough, but given a few moments of serious contemplation, she decided he was safe. She approached him, as he sat by the fire, and handed him her colouring book, and showed him what she had being working on. It was long time since he had being round human company, especially children. It took some moments for his sense of unease to subside, but the young girls wide eyed innocence and open acceptance and trust of him, helped sooth his mind. Soon she was standing close to him, and helpfully showing him previous drawings she had completed.
Her Mother watched from the kitchen, as the stranger began to interact and slowly enjoy the young child’s company. With the meal soon prepared, they ate mainly in silence. Never had a warm nourishing meal being so welcome, and he greedily scoffed the food at speed, and did not refuse a second helping. After dinner she showed her guest where he could clean up, and wash himself, and gave him some male cleaning utensils, used by a previous man.
She set about putting her daughter to bed. In the low light of the bedroom she tucked her child to rest.

‘I like him’
‘I’m glad to hear that honey, now you go to sleep child’.

She bid her daughter goodnight, unsure whether she liked the stranger as much as her daughter. Sitting by the warming embers of the fire, contemplating the earlier interactions she had with the survivalists or drug runners of earlier that afternoon, she considered to herself whether they would return at some stage to cause havoc. She decided to double lock all the doors and windows tonite, and to take an extra box of shells for the rifle, which she was planing to keep in close proximity to her, through the night, should it be needed.

He reentered the lounge area of the cabin. Gone were the ragged clothes. The unkempt hair, washed and trimmed, although not expert, not a bad attempt. The face now clean shaven although still malnourished. The ravages and damage of excess alcohol more than evident. But perhaps she allowed, as she studied him, underneath all that dirt and grime, that maybe there was a fine looking, but certainly troubled man underneath.

‘My, my, my. Why don’t you look just fine.’

He smiled shyly at the compliment, and just briefly caught her eye.

‘Draw up a chair, and join me by the fire’, which is what he did.

They both stared into the burning blue and yellow embers of the fire. The warmth was comforting. He could barely look at her, and especially not catch her eye. For fear she could see into his dark and twisted soul, and the secrets it held. The malicious, cruel and sordid thoughts that he tried hard to keep at bay, but seldom succeeded.
The thoughts that troubled and plagued even more so since he had stopped taking the medication he had being prescribed. It had been some time since he had been in close proximity to a woman. The scent of soft perfume, entrancing. Her gentle feminine energy, soft, palatable. He thought of touching her, and holding her, but he let those thoughts pass. She waited patiently for him to speak, if he choose to. Allowing him the psychological space, to be as he was.
They sat in silence listening to the crackling of the burning firewood, and the occasional howling of a far off wolf in the distance.

‘Well I’m off to bed, you sleep here on the couch. You’ll find some blankets over there’, she pointed to a corner of the room.

With that she left the cosy lounge area, and left him alone with his thoughts. In the quietness his mind started to become agitated, as though some higher power, some demon, some evil part of himself he did not want to listen to or acknowledge, began to call to him. To speak to him. To fill his mind with wild ideas, and suggestions that were too terrible to listen to. He quickly went to the small hallway, where he had left his shabby coat, and retrieved the saviour from one of the deep pockets, and greedily drank from the bottle, wrapped in the brown paper bag. Anything to drown out the voices in his head, which were becoming progressively louder, urging him. screaming at him, to do what he must. Again and again he drank quickly and heavily from the bottle of raw alcohol that burned his insides as he ingested it. But he knew that soon, very soon, his mind would find, if not sleep, at least some form of peace, until he sobberd up. He thought of his departed wife and daughter, and how he loved them, and never ment to hurt them. He had begged for their forgiveness and understanding many times. But they never answered.

The sound of breaking glass, was loud in the quietness of the night. Hushed voices, swearing and foolish laughter, audible. She was half expecting some visitors and was soon out of her bed, rifle by her side, and loaded. She made her quickly towards her childs bedroom, to find her not there. In panic, she lowered her rifle to the floor, and searched frantically under the bed, in the wooden cupboards, for her daughter, and then noticed the open window, that led into the woodland. In the low light of her daughters bedroom, the three figures silhouetted in the darkness blocked the doorway.

Alone in the barn, he layed the sleeping child on some hay, staring at her young innocent face and body. He sat alone fighting the desire. The voices in his head, urging him, willing him. It was Gods wish, it was Gods way, they promised. He despised himself for what he was about to do.
He thought of his Mother, and how he hated her, for her suffocating, overpowering love.
He thought of his father, and how distant he was, never on hand, nor interested enough, or perhaps unable to offer guidance. He recalled the numerous women who had refused, or never encouraged his advances. He blamed them in part for forcing him to find an outlet for his desires elsewhere.
He thought of those in the religious fraternity who abused their power, and secrecy.
He remembered how those in authority paid him little heed. He hated them all. But mostly he hated and despised himself, for what he had become. He blamed everyone and anyone for how he was now, as a man. Blamed everyone but himself. At times he acted in ways which sickened him. His breathing became rapid and loud, the excitement further igniting the already lively adrenalin within his body. She opened her eyes, wide and innocent, and smiled as he hovered over her.

The screams from the cabin pierced his consciousness. Imbued by the alcohol, and wishing to retrieve some semblance of self respect, and self love, he ran like the hero he alway wanted to be toward the cabin, and what lay within. The three intruders laughed as they overpowered and brought her to the cosy lounge area, and shoved nearby furniture out of the way, laying her in front of the dying embers of the fire in the grate, and they like wild animals began to paw at, and ravage her clothing. She screamed again, and the leader of the group kicked her hard in the stomach, which quieted her.
He didn’t stop to think, just came crashing through the porch door, into the darkened lounge, widely thrashing and swinging his fists at anything that was standing. The intruders were caught off guard, and they fell like skittles to the floor. Amid the noise and confusion she quietly slipped away from the melee. They turned on him, and managed to grab hold of him, two holding him upright as the leader of the group, still dressed in the combat gear, of the pseudo solider, began with relish to beat and pummel his face and body. The blood tasted warm in his mouth. His vision was dimming as his  consciousness was near to blackout. Regret loomed large in his mind, for ever even coming back to this place. Still the hateful blows rained onto his face and body. A never ending assault, that would not stop until the leaders anger, and thirst for revenge was satisfied.
The light from the rifle briefly lit up the room, the noise deafening in such a small area. He slumped slowly to the floor, they were unable to hold him upright any longer, as the cartridge entered his body, at chest height. The pain indescribable, the heat, searing. They let him fall and rushed the woman with the rifle, who stood in the door frame of her daughter’s room, and angrily disarmed her. Pulled her down in front of the fire.
Like wild animals, yelping, laughing and screaming they pulled at and ravaged her clothing, and beat her about the head severely, when she used what little physical strength she had to resist. She lay silently on the ground and in the darkness of the room lit only by the crackling wood in the fire. She too began to regret getting involved with a stranger she barely knew.

 

Written in response to a photo prompt seen here : https://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Gone Forever.

acceptence
Photo Credit  https://pixabay.com/en/users/johnhain-352999/

He is gone now, he ain’t coming back
What I wish I said, but it’s no use now, cause he is dead
Would I have said I loved you more, just so that you’d know the score
Would I have argued less, rather than trying to get inside, and upset your head
What’s the point of large regret, for all those words left unsaid
What’s the point of tears to shed, cause now you’re dead, you ain’t no more

You know the big secret now, of what’s beyond the sky
It’s where were all headed, on that day we die
Why did you do it, take your life like that
Why could not be strong like a lion, in the face of such abuse
Can’t you see the pain were in, as you look down from above
I’m praying to Jeasus your sending us, tons and tons of love

Dear brother I love you lots, even though you’re far away
I ache for us to meet again, so I can have my say
Tell you that I love, just the way you are
For in my mind you was ,and forever will be, that bright, everlasting star
I wish you could have been stronger, back here on planet earth
Why could not have been a fighter, a man who stood his ground

Why could you not have tougher, not the weakling you were perceived to be
But then dear brother, you can of course only be, what you can be
Had you been different with your love of poetry, and all the rest
Maybe I would not have considered you one of the very best
Don’t you worry, kiddo I knew just what you were, my intuition put me straight on that
Not that it matters, it was just the way you were
But to me , you will always and forever be that bright, everlasting star.

Bad Attitude.

Bad Attitude
Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

She was shabby, and unkempt, and would not have looked out of place on a park bench
Her body language was unattractive, as she shuffled along
She did not look like at any time, that she might burst into song
She was pretty, it was true, and she knew it too
But with an attitude that was unkind and cruel

Now in my book, that just wont do
There are many more women waltzing along, who may be more to my liking
Desperate I ain’t. I can certainly wait, for a right one to come along
I’ve waited long enough, what’s another month or two
I’ll bide my time, and meet a good woman, and make her mine

Any sign of nonsense, an attitude that’s unkind
Good looking as she may be, it’s outside, that she will find herself
I could have made a move on her, and I suspect that maybe she would have liked that too
But I had a brief glimpse into her soul, of her rude and disrespectful attitude
Considered to myself, your out sweetie, that attitude, just wont do

I think I’ll move swiftly along, who knows, she may actually burst into song
Wish you well, but I reckon I’ll save myself, for a woman, with a better way of looking at life
A better way of treating strangers right
If your like this with strangers in a  public place
What would you be like when were alone, face to face

So I’ll leave you be, and wish you well, and swerve a possible relationship
That could have being nothing more than hell
Live to have another day of peace.