Thomas.

Thomas.

He wouldn’t have being the first, and rather doubtful he’ll be the last. Many had chosen this hiding place. It was a respectable hiding place, At least in the view of the older people. The true believers. Yeah,those ones with the blinds pulled firmly down in front of there eyes. It wasn’t like it was a prison sentence, although to some it wasn’t far from it. No women. Not much alcohol. A false front, of caring, compassion, and interest in others. But what happens behind the doors of a religious order, never has to reach the knowledge of the outsiders.

    As he lay in front of the Bishop, on the altar. He and the three other victims, or should I say cowards. Well he and the other men running away and hiding from life. From themselves. Their friends and families in the Church looked on with pride. What an honour to have  a family member in the priesthood. Surely that would ease the passage of all associated with the new religious entrant into heaven. Hardly going to work against them.
               As Thomas lay on the altar, while the bishop conducted the very long, drawn out ceremony. Thomas with his arms outstretched to his sides, and his face down in the red carpet. Striving to cope with the current discomfort. The coldness of the Church. The hardness of the ground he was laying on. He reflected on what had brought him to this situation. To this choice. Was it really the only choice he had. Could he yet run from the scene before  it was too late. Before he was inducted into the priesthood.

That Certainly Would Be Unheard Of, And A Total Unforgivable Scandal In 1930’s Ireland. His Mind Turned To Her. She Was Never Far His Mind Now. The Forbidden Love. She Was Older, A Lot More Mature Than Her Fourteen Years. In Looks, Manner, And Outlook. But It Could Never Be. Not Now, Not Ever, He Told Himself, Many Many Times, As He Twisted And Turned alone in his bed at night.
                                 But The Deep Feelings Of Love, Or Was It Just Lust, He Wondered, Were Impossible To Hide From Himself. True Yes She Was The First Female To Show Any Real Feelings Of Warmth Towards Him. But He Had Heard Of How Many Young School Girls Fall In Love With There Teachers, But Very Seldom Would They Fall In Love With A Guard. Solid,Upstanding,Member Of The Community. This Was One Secret He Knew He Could Never Let See The Light Of Day.
                His Mind Travelled Back, How On That Sunny Day, As They Walked Along The Clifftop, Alone And Out Of Sight Of Others. That’s The Way It Had To Be. She Spoke Of Her Wishes For The Future. How Happy She Was, The Prospect Of A Family With Him, A Long Life Ahead Of Them.
           She Reached For His Hand. He Hesitated, And Suggested Instead, She Loop Her Arm Through His.

’It Will Look More Innocent’,

She Smiled And Laughed In Response. As They Continued To Walk Along The Cliff Top In The Warm Sunshine. Valuing Their Time Alone Together. He Teased And Chided Her For Missing Out On School To Spend Time With Him. She Laughed At His Mock Teasing, And Ran When He Chased Her In Jest. Catching Up To Her, She Turned And Softly Put Her Arms Around His Neck And Kissed Him Gently On The Lips.
              He Turned Back Towards The Clifftop Path. Feeling He Was Being Watched, And To His Utter Disbelief He Saw, The One And Only, Mrs Delia Murphy. Who Was Better Known As The Local Town Gossip. Standing And Watching Them. With Her Long Three Quarter Way Coat, And Large Handbag, Dangling From Her  Arm. A Small Hat Upon Her Head. She Had Never Married, And Had Taken Her Bitterness About That Situation Out On The World, On The Village By Spreading Scandal And Rumour. Overly Exaggerating Half Truths , About Anyone She Chose Too In The Village.
                                She Very Much Fitted The Image Of A Bitter, Aging Spinster. With A Large Physical Frame, Hair Always Tied Tightly In A Bun, In An Angry Manner. A Plain, Always Stern Face, And Less Than Pleasant Demeanour. She Eyed The Scene Of  Thomas And The Young Girl, And Her Mouth Dropped Open In Shock, Consternation, And Some Envy. But She Also Smiled, Because She Certainly Had Some Scandal To Spread In The Village Now. She Hurried Along The Clifftop Walk Towards The Village.

‘Mrs Murphy’, Thomas Called After Her, Releasing Sinead’s Arms From Around His Neck, As He Followed In The Footsteps Of Mrs Murphy’s.
‘i It’s Not What It Looks Like’, He Pleaded.

She Have Turned To Face Him,

‘Get Away From Me Guard Thomas Brennan, I Know What I Saw, And Soon Everybody Else Will Too…..’

Her Face A Picture Of Triumph, Joy, But Also Envy, As She Again Hurried Along The Path Towards The Village, With Her Self Righteous, Indigent Walk. He Knew It Was Pointless To Reason And Argue With Her. He Returned To Sinead Where She Stood By The Cliff Top Edge.

‘Now Do You See What You’ve Done’, He Voice Raised, And Face Reddened. ’You Know We Have To Hide Away From People. You Know Who That Was ?’

.‘Yes, I Know’. What Can We Do ?’

‘I Don’t Know What We Can Do, But We Have To Stop Seeing Each Other, For One. You Will Just Have To Find Someone Your Own Age, We Cannot Carry Any More’.

With That Sinead’s Face Reddened, And She Hung Her Head. Thomas Reached Out To Touch Her Hand, But She Pulled Away. He Reached Out Again, Again She Pulled Away And Ran. Her Tears Blinding Her View.

‘Wait’,

The More He Moved After Her, The Faster She Ran, In A Disoriented Manner. He Watched, As If In Slow Motion, As She Got To The Cliff Top Edge. He Looked At The Clear Blue Sky, And Asked God For Help. God Didn’t Answer. He Watched Her Eyes Widen, And Her Lips Parted To Scream, But No Sound Came Out. He watched in the silence, As She Moved Forward Into The Clear Blue Sky. He Ran To The Cliff Top Edge, But It Was Too Late. He Didn’t Want To Look, But Forced Himself. A Quick Glance At Her Broken Body, Lying Bent And Misshapen On The Rocks Below.

       As He Lay Prostrate On The Floor In Front Of The Bishop, Again He Thought Of Her. She Would It Seems Never Ever Be Far From His Mind And Soul……

 

 

 

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The Beach.

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Photo Credit : https://unsplash.com/@venegas?photo=OhIfU2AczOg

She had threatened long enough, although no one had believed her. Just a call for attention. Nothing more, nothing less. they had decided. An old womans empty, and at times, humorous threats.
But obviously beneath the humour, there was hurt, and distress. No one had bothered to investigate. Everyone busy with their own lives. There careers, children, and business. Had someone actually taken the damn time to sit down with her, and sincerely ask her, what life was like for her. Had they show  more consideration and kindness, and maybe spent more time with an old lonely woman, life would have turned out differently. Perhaps many would have spent more time with her, aside from the one solidary visit a week, for the Sunday lunch. Nobody considering how the rest of the week was for her.
It was of course, too late now. The chance had disappeared. She lived for the weekends, and the once weekly visit from her children, and newly born grandchildren. Laughter and energy and happy voices once filled her household, just as it had been, when her own children were grown up. But there were always strains between her and her grown up, and now adult children. Did they really like each other , as people. Would they actually want to spend time in each other’s company, were they not related.

Some had taken sides, when the separation from her husband was first enacted, and then the divorce. Allegations and counter allegations flew between the two parties, and none of it pretty. Lies, distrust, and anger followed. Made up stories of abuse, and cruelty that may, or may not have had a grain of truth in them. Loyalty and kindness to her children, soon forgotten and dismissed by them, as they took the side of her husband.

The final straw for her, was the cessation of contact with her children, who were convinced by her husband, that she was the villain in all of this. That and the denial of access to her grandchildren, that she had helped care for, soon after they were born. No viable reasons given. All the love, kindness, and generosity she had shown them, and their Mother, her daughter, throughout the years. Amounted to nothing, it seemed. Kindness granted, soon forgotten.

It was that dull overcast November afternoon, that she headed to the isolated beach alone. With the tablets to hand, and a last small bottle of whiskey to encourage her bravery, she laid her reading glasses in the sand, and headed towards the ocean, and into the cold, uninviting waves. The mixture of the tablets and whiskey having the desired effect. As she stumbled and swayed, as she walked toward the sea. Her vision blurred slightly, and  feeling quiet light-headed. As a non swimmer she struggled and panicked at first, as the powerful waves, did with her as they wished. The whiskey and tablets helped to quell her rising fears, somewhat. The waves, and weight of her own clothing soon pulled her out and down, to the ocean bed, where she waited for God to take her.
In the cold, dark church, the priest stood at the lectern, gazing upon the congregation of mourners. Having conducted most of the formal ceremony, he could no longer hold himself back. Behind him the magnificent altar, towering upward. To him, they were nothing but hypocrites. He was well aware of the family history, having had been closely and connected to them for years. From births to marriages, to baptisms and confessions. He had heard and seen it all. They were here in this place of worship now to mourn her, with their crocodile tears, and false sadness.

The priest gripped both ends of the lectern tightly. His face thunder red, and perspiring. ‘What does it mean, to mourn someone when they have died. It means very little when you showed them little kindness or understanding when they were alive”. He spoke slowly and loudly. The anger and frustration plainly obvious in his tone. Her children shifted uncomfortably in their seats, as did her former husband. One or two loosening their shirts collars. The females fanning themselves with whatever was to hand. One or two members of her family gazed quietly at the floor.
‘I have very little time for hypocrites like you people, I want you to leave this church now. Get out of my sight. I am sick of the lot of you. Go, and may God have mercy on your black souls. Get out, go’, his voice rising to a crescendo. His booming voice reverberating throughout the silent church. The congregation left the church as directed, for the most part, with their heads held low. In the sacristy as the priest changed from the formal clothing of the funeral mass, he gazed out onto the cold uninviting waves of the ocean, under the dull grey November sky.

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

Paragon….

Paragon

That’s what he was know as in the village. The paragon of virtue. So clean, so saintly and God like it was questionable if he ever needed to use the bathroom. So pure was he. Worshiped by the many who were taken in and fooled by the persona he presented to the world. But to those that knew him, it was a very different, more truthful and unpleasant tale they could tell. If only they had being asked.
Ask his wife, the recipient of his countless violent and drunken beatings. Ask his children, the recipients of his crushing, caustic and never ending criticism of everything and any thing they had ever achieved. The open invitation he offered to those in that sordid circle, to come and be cruel and abuse his children whenever they wished.
A paragon alright, but not one of virtue. More a cesspit of nastiness, cruelty, and vile intent. Assaulting those he took a dislike to, which were many. In his own family, and outside of it. In the village, among other members of the clergy. Very few were immune from his sniper like targeting. He had people fooled initially. With the charm, the friendliness. With the praise. With the building up of others. It was of course only a ruse, to get close to others. Then like a snake in the grass, he would attack and destroy, when within range.

She could see straight through him. The new Bishops wife. An eledry woman, used to many years of inner city work with drug and alcohol addicted people, and those with serious mental health issues. She could see straight through his facade, his disguise. See through the charm and friendliness. The smiles and generosity. She could see through it all to his vile, corrupted core.
He had of course tried his moves on her. The moves of the snake in the grass. The strategy to get close, then strike and destroy. Fully believing it was his destiny, his right to be promoted to Bishop. Not to be the lowly village vicar that he perceived himself to be.
The thought of the large Bishops house, come palace. The opportunity to gain full access to the large parochial accounts and funds, to use as he wished. Mainly for his own pleasure. But most especially he wanted the prestige associated with such a position.
He made it his full time mission in life to destroy and take down the new Bishop, and particularly his ever so cleaver and uppity wife, and he himself would replace them. He began to hate the new Bishops wife. he could see she was not to be fooled by the persona he presented. He endured many sleepiness nights, calculating and scheming how to bring about there downfall. As his frustrations and anger increased. The drunken, violent outrages towards his wife and cruelty towards his children increased in severity. In his own mind he declared open warfare on the Bishops wife, and decided she had to go in the cruelest way imaginable.

Staggering home from yet another heavy session of drinking at the village pub, towards the vicarage. Along empty, unlit roads. The warm air of the summers evening more than welcome. The Bishops wife was on his mind, yet again. She definitely had to go. Who was she to dare defy him, and stand in the way of his ambitions,and rightful place in the higher echelons of the clergy. He deserved nothing less, he had assured himself on many occasions. all he needed was a plan, a suitable plan.

In the car Bramhes played softly from the speakers. The late summer evening, with the sun just set. The unlit, mostly empty roads, as they made their way back towards the bishops home, come palace. The warm breeze flowing through the open windows. Life in there new appointment in this quaint village was looking promising. She had not mentioned to her husband what she had heard and knew to be true about the local vicar. Preferring to shield him from such nasty realities, and un-necessary strain, since his most recent illness. His recovery was slow, but progressing.
The headlights just caught a brief glimpse of the struggling figure before the impact caused the seat belts to tighten hard against there bodies, making breathing quiet difficult. The Bishop struggled with the wheel. His hands too weak to control the car,as it careered off the country road, overturned twice and landed on its roof. He was unconsciousness, barely breathing. Her vision was unfocused. Her chest painful and sore,with blood flowing freely from the wound above her eye. She struggled to undo his seatbelt,and attended to her own. The scent of the summer grassland, and the wild summer flowers was tinged with the strong scent of vapor. Bramhes continued to play gently from the car speakers. She fumbled and fought with her seat belt. Screamed at her husband who was unresponsive. The blood flowing freely from the wound above her eye, impinged her vision. Through the shattered windscreen she watched the small blue and yellow flames spark and ignite under the crumpled bonnet. The stench of vapour in the car was strong. She stopped struggling with the seat belt. Held her husbands cold , unresponsive hand and began to pray.

On the darkened road she drove faster than she should have. But she wanted, no needed to get back to the vicarage before he did. Because she knew her absence would only add to his anger, and the severity of the beating he would dish out to her.
The overwhelming noise startled her and drew her attention. The bright yellow and blue flames bursting high into the night sky, as the moonlight and stars shone down. The uncomfortable bump the car suffered, which very nearly caused her to lose control of the car,  she assumed to be an unfilled pothole, damn useless council. She pulled the car to the side of the road, and watched alone as the flames ignited and the fireball engulfed the overturned car. After what seemed like a short time the fireball fizzled out, leaving nothing but the smoking embers of the burnt out vehicle.
The birds high in the tress again resumed there calming evening song, and the moon shone brightly in the clear night sky.

 

Written in response to : The Daily Prompt.