The room seemed to swim in a fantastic kaleidoscope of color and solid objects seemed to gain flexibility akin to silly putty. As the furniture stretched I noticed that it was also reforming into pieces I had never seen. A small bed, surely belonging to a child began to materialize, as well as a small chest. Perhaps for toys. A chair was placed next to the window like a lone soldier standing watch at the window. Gradually the walls solidified into a bright, off white color. Other that the bed, chest and chair the room was barren. I tried to walk to the door, but it seemed as though I was gliding, and I found that I continued to glide right through the door into the hallway. The hallway was decorated with a burgundy and gold tapestry from floor to ceiling. Small half-moon tables were set strategically through the hallway with pictures above them on the wall or small knick-knacks arranged upon them. I began to sink through the floor, but it didn't really feel like that. More like I was being pulled. As the last of the ceiling was removed from my line of sight I noticed that I was now in my living room, but that wasn't right either. The cream colored sofa we had with the cigarette burn on the left armrest was gone. In it's place was one of those half couches, where the back slopes away at one end, seeming to taper away and deny someone the comfort of whoever was unfortunate enough to occupy that end.
The floors were now hardwood with an Oriental rug draped across the center. Before my eyes a hole was worn into the center as if a million feet suddenly wore a hole in it, just like time delayed photography. Then the rug snapped into being again. I had the sensation of being pulled again, now towards the kitchen. There was a handsome young man with a pencil mustache standing over a woman who appeared to have fallen. She tried to stand but as her body ascended a vicious fist emerged and embedded itself into her kidney. She moaned and slid down the cabinet into her former slouched position.
"You don't ever want to talk to me like that," Pencil moustache said, "Not ever. The good book says that you will OBEY me, woman. If I say that whelp doesn't get the bike, then he don't get it."
She stayed where she was, gasping for breath. A mask of fear hid her thoughts, but her eyes betrayed her. I spotted her gaze moments before pencil moustache did. If I could have warned her, I would have. But I was motionless; the strings that moved me wouldn’t allow me to comfort or defend. It seemed that my purpose here was to observe.
Her eyes only fixed for a moment before moving on, but that was all it took. Pencil moustache followed that brief gaze and his face darkened.
"Is it not enough that you have broken the sanctity of your vows, now you would commit a mortal sin? You are no child of god."
He seemed to consider for a moment, then faced her fully having reached some decision.
"Demon," he said quietly, "Demon of hell, get thee gone from this woman. This house has been blessed by God as has our union, and you must be driven out. Release her in the name of God almighty!" His voice reached a crescendo and shook the pane of glass over the sink.
She glared at him with unmistakable hate.
"There," he cried," The demon shows his true nature, get thee gone!" He lunged at her and the unmistakable sound of breaking bone and a cry of human suffering rolled over me like a sudden wave, and I braced myself for the next deluge that would flow over me and tear my tenuous form away.
But that next cry never came. He knelt over her shaking his head from side to side.
"Satan," he murmured, "You possessed my wife and whispered the adulterers prayer to her ear. And she was defenseless. And she bore that child which was conceived outside the bonds of marriage, and brought it to our home. But that wasn’t enough was it? You planted thoughts that the child, a bastard, should grow under the shadow of decency like a tumorous growth. Did you think I would not see? And now you have taken my precious wife from me. Now you have laid another cross upon my shoulders. I shall not allow others to know of your work here tonight, evil prince. I shall hide your evil works from the world, and not allow the satisfaction you would have at dragging my beautiful wife through the mud."
And he began to weep.
I glanced about the room, anywhere but at the unfortunate woman in the corner. As I did I noticed a small child in the doorway, a boy of about six.
"Papa? Is mommy ok?" he asked.
At this point the child seemed to notice me, and then to speak.
"I was seven when he killed my mother. I found out later that he thought she had committed adultery, but he had administered beatings to her for such major infractions as not replacing an ornament in exactly the same spot after cleaning."
That child spoke and yet my mind had a hard time grasping the caliber of words being expressed by this tiny being.
"Come on, one more thing to show you," the child said.
The room blurred again, but Jake’s voice did not. If anything it deepened and he began to speak in my head again.
"After my mother died, he told people that she had gone to Boston to take care of a sick relative. Of course he later told people that she died there. As I grew up he began to beat me for small things as well; in fact nothing was too small for him to beat me for. Then, when I had just turned sixteen, I decided to confide in Julius. Julius was going to have a hard time and I think I was the first one to spot it. You see Julius would look a guy over the same way I looked at Tracy Marshall. So I thought I should do something to prove my love for him before I told him I knew, because you see I did love him. Julius was my best friend through everything. He never made fun of my tears when I cried for my mother, or when I cried after my father would really go to town on me. Julius never hurt anyone, but he was always there for me. He was one of those kids who are on the sidelines cheering on the jocks like me to score for them. And he never understood that I needed him as much as he needed me. I mean, what point is there in scoring a touchdown if no one knows about it, right? So, I decided to kiss him. I figured it wouldn’t be so bad. But it didn’t happen the way I planned."
As he spoke images swirled, formed and fragmented to be replaced by another form. In each frame there were two boys. Sometimes they laughed and sometimes they cried, but whatever they did they did it together.
The room began to form again and two boys stood before me. I recognized Jake and realized the other was Julius. They leaned into each other and the door burst open. It was pencil moustache and he had taken the boys by surprise. He cuffed Jake to the floor with a shout about devils' work in his house ordered Julius out. Jake mouthed for him to go, and Julius did. What happened next was too much to bear. His father grabbed him by the hair and slammed him face first into the wall and his nose exploded into a bloody smear on the wall. Pencil moustache reached between Jake’s legs and squeezed his testes. Jake groaned in pain as pain flowered from his groin and up into his belly like a hot, greasy lead weight.
"I knew you weren’t mine," he breathed in to Jake’s ear. "My flesh and blood would never allow itself to be used like that. God struck down Sodom and Gomorrah, and your kind were the reason why. So this must be Gods will."
He slammed Jake’s face in to the wall again leaving a second bloody smear, then grabbed his left arm and twisted it viciously up and between his shoulder blades. Jake moaned. His arm suddenly gave way and twisted at an unnatural angle. Jake slid bonelessly to the floor.
The view blurred momentarily and I didn’t recognize the room. It was dark save for the single light guttering on a wooden table. A portion of the brick wall that served as the border for this room lay in a cluttered pile on the floor. Jake was also on the floor, but he wasn’t moving. He was bound tightly hand and foot with twine that bit savagely into his skin. Another band of twine was cinched about his upper thighs and his upper chest.
"I am going to give you the same judgement your mother received, you misbegotten bastard," his father said.
He lifted Jake in to the open area and then withdrew. He then moved the candle closer to the open portion of the wall and set it on the ground. He reached inside his coat, which was hanging from a nail on the wall and removed a small glass flagon of clear liquid. He uncapped it and began to spray it over Jake’s still form, which began to stir.
"May God accept you into the kingdom of heaven and purify your soul in fire," chanted his father.
Terror showed through Jake’s eyes as his father began to cement the bricks in place on his grave, in the side of the wall.
I would like to say that Jake died as he lived, with courage and conviction. But He did not, he screamed and begged and pleaded to the deaf monster that was walling his life into the foundation of the building. He cried much to no avail. When the last brick was in place and the candle extinguished I could still hear the cries through the wall.
As light began to filter through to my consciousness I awoke to the concerned face of Kyle looking down on me from a kneeling position. I sat up and felt the tears that had filled the sockets of my eyes and roll down my face.
"Are you ok?" Kyle asked.
I looked around the room, my room again. I looked back at my friend and nodded.
"I know where Jake is," I said.Previous Chapter Next Chapter