A darkness comes full circle, a soul is lost, and an angel falters in her stride and seeks the guidance of an old mentor..
Welt ~ 3
Here Falls Now Undone, Looks Beyond the Credit’s Sum…
My ears rang and the smell burned my nostrils. My head twitched slightly at the neck and my breath came in short, sharp shots through my clenched teeth. Pain shot up my left arm, and then again, and I turned to see why. Bethany. Shrieking and yanking back from me, her hands locked around my wrist as she tried to free her hair from my grip. With a clank I smacked the barrel of the gun across her forehead and she dropped to her knees. She kept struggling and screaming and I felt the bones in my arm grinding where they had cracked and broken earlier. I let out a savage grunt and dropped the butt of the gun’s handle onto the top of her head and she went limp and fell to the floor.
What a day, what a day.
Leaving Brad on my couch where he’d fucked my wife, his blood spattered upwards from his chest onto his face, I peaked between the curtains. The street looked clear. Beth’s car was in the driveway near to the door. I flicked my eyes downwards to the table by the door, her keys were there, I shoved the still-warm gun into the front of my pants and snatched them up. I walked quickly to the kitchen, feeling a certainty and resolve that I was doing the right thing, and took a bundle of zip ties from the drawer. They’d been there since Bethany bought them and asked me to straighten out the tangle of cords behind the TV and stereo. I never had. At least now they’d serve some purpose. I yanked one around her wrists, another around her ankles; tight enough to bite into her soft white skin. I slapped two layers of duct tape tight over her mouth. I picked her up and put her over my shoulder, slamming the door behind me as I staggered to the car.
Someone had probably heard. Someone had probably seen. Someone was probably on the phone with 911 right now. I couldn’t care though; justice had to be served. I reversed out of the drive, pulling the car around too sharp and taking out our garbage cans on the curb. I floored the gas pedal and took off down our nice little residential street as fast as her little import would go.
Bethany stirred in the seat next to me and I took the gun out, holding it in my lap with my left hand pointing at her while I kept my right on the wheel. Sweat poured freely down my forehead and I could smell myself; it was a savage animal smell I’d never noticed before. Shock piled atop rage piled atop grim satisfaction that things were being put to right. The image of Brad driving his cock into her from behind on my couch played over and over in an endless loop across the screen of my memory. It was all I could do not to put a bullet in her whore face and kick her to the curb like a pile of garbage right then and there.
Her eyes flickered behind her closed lids, and as they slid slowly open she remembered what was happening to her; the terror returned and her frightened eyes went wide. She bucked in the seat, straining against her bonds, and I released the wheel for a second to slam the back of my right fist across her whore mouth; the mouth that she had put on Brad’s swollen cock. Recalling the scene I hit her again, then again, wincing as I had to leave the gun in my lap and take the wheel with my left to avoid swerving into the parked cars along the street. She screamed under the tape across her face, quieter each time, and she went limp again when I took her hair in my clenched right fist and drove her face into the dashboard of the car as hard as I could. I pushed at her hip and shoved her to the floor in front of the seat.
Side streets, residential lanes, back ways; I weaved my way through unfamiliar places and eventually found myself back in front of the house the well dressed man and that inky little slut had held me in. I went into the alley, driving right up onto the yard by the back door. Bethany seemed half conscious as I pulled her from the car and drug her by the ankles through and down the stairs; her head bounced off the unpainted wood of each step and she was fully awake when I reached the dirty concrete floor and kicked her in the stomach. Her tears ran through the blood drying on her face, her right eye swollen half shut and her nose and cheek puffing out to match. I was past thought and into the purity of just…feeling. That place where you just know and so you just act.
She tried to scramble away from me across the floor, pushing with her bound feet and thrashing her upper body to achieve motion. I sneered down at her and pointed the gun at her face and she suddenly went very still, looking up at me with a look of feral fear in her eyes.
“It’s just you and me here now, honey,” I pushed the words out between my teeth, a crooked snarl slapped across my face. It didn’t sound like my voice; it was too low and harsh. The sound had edges like torn paper and it came from my chest and not my throat. Bethany was trying to scream something through the tape.
“Shhhhh,” I shushed softly, “I’m not listening to you.”
She went still, the terror in her eyes increasing as I approached and loomed over her. She tucked her body into a ball on the floor as I put the gun in the back of my pants and crouched over her. As I held out my right hand she flinched wildly, I sneered a grin at her and brushed her hair from her face so I could look at her. I took her face in my hand, fingers on one cheek and thumb on the other, and squeezed hard. Pointing her face at me I looked into her horrified eyes and my snarling smile went wider, showing her my teeth as my face twisted in barely contained righteous fury.
“You’ve been bad, Bethany Day.” I whispered harshly, “But I’m here to show you that salvation is closer than you think.”
Hearing the well dressed man’s words come from my mouth startled me at first, but they were the best words for the situation. He’d used them on me, and I learned; he’d taught me. Now I would teach her that all actions have an equal and opposite reaction. Confusion joined the fear plastered across her battered and bloodied face and I knew she needed context. She should know already, but my stupid slut wife had never been the sharpest; she’d been the kindest, the softest, the most forgiving. It’s why I’d fallen in love with her. We all have faults, and if you can find someone that can live with yours you marry them. Bethany’s patience had seemed to have no bounds, but as I’d learned this afternoon even she had a failing. A fatal flaw that had brought her here.
“You did this,” I rasped at her, “not me. Remember that and there still might be some hope for you.”
I released my grip on her face and she tried to roll away from me towards the stairs. She was still trying to run, still trying to hide, still trying to be the old Bethany.
“There’s no way out for the old Bethany,” I said, walking slowly beside her as she wriggled across the floor through the stark pool of illumination from the construction light, whimpering through the grey tape. Its white halogen glare lit her pathetic attempt to get her shoulders onto the bottom step. I stepped over her and sat on the stairs above her. She looked up at me through her tangled hair and tried to scream words at me again, succeeding only in distorted ‘mmphs’ and muffled ‘grmphmmphs’. The look in her eyes was beautiful to me; her tears and eye liner and blood drawing little lines down her cheeks, underlining her futile struggle. “To leave here you have to become the new Bethany.”
She bunched up in a ball on the cold concrete and her body heaved and shook with her sobs. Poor stupid Bethany; crouched at the brink of enormous self discovery and still trying to hide from it. “I know she’s in there somewhere, we just have to find her.”
I went up the stairs and closed the door. The kitchen of the house was filthy, covered in a layer of grease and grime and the dust of the abandoned places of the world. Flies buzzed about, the smell was foul, and a miasma of decay hung in the air. I opened drawers until I found an old rusty kitchen knife. I’d pictured a wide butcher’s knife, but this long slender carver would suffice. In the cupboard beneath the tangled mess that was the kitchen sink I found a wooden toolbox and several bottles of cleaner. The labels were old and peeled, brands I didn’t recognize. As I opened the door to the basement again I saw Bethany had made it halfway up the stairs. I pushed her hard with my foot and she bounced awkwardly back to the floor below. Alone in that cold hole in the ground she would find perspective, as I had.
I put the gun and my supplies from the kitchen on the metal folding table and began to arrange them like a surgeon’s tools. Bethany was trying for the stairs again, but it was slow going so I let her try. One first had to have hope, before it could be taken away. When I was finished I went to her and drug her roughly by one ankle back down and across the floor to the metal pole. I used the handcuffs, still there from before, to attach her bound wrists to the pole. She had stopped trying to scream and instead stared at me with the terrified futility of an animal that knows it is about to be eaten by a larger animal. A primal instinct in her had snapped to attention, the imperative that reminds all prey that they are born to be consumed. I smiled.
“Good,” I said quietly, “you’re starting to see.”
I pulled the metal chair over near her, scraping it slowly along the floor, and sat on it with my legs straddling the back so I could lean my chest against it. My broken left arm hung at my side as I raised my right to gently push her tangled hair from her eyes again.
“There are always consequences, my love,” I said to her in my new voice, “I faced my own here not that long ago. I faced them and I saw clearly. Now, you too will see what I saw. You’ll see that as we bounce off of each other, stumbling through life, that we cannot ignore the outcomes of our choices.”
She still looked confused and it irritated me. I slapped her, just hard enough to make her pay attention. It felt good, it felt right. I did it again, harder, her eyes squinting shut as my hand collided with her face. I stood and pushed the chair to the side with the grating of metal on concrete, going to the table where I had meticulously arranged the implements of her salvation. I came back to her with the rusty pliers, opening and closing them with a grating squeak. She shook her head violently and started screaming through the tape again. I shook my head, pitying her reluctance, and took one of her toes in their grip. She kicked and struggled but I applied cruel pressure and her struggles only helped the pain come faster and more acutely. I clenched my fist hard and fast and felt the small bone break and crumble. Her eyes were wide, her muffled scream sharp and intense. I broke two more that way, twisting the last around after I felt the bone break with a small pop.
“Shhhh,” I whispered. I pinched some skin on her tummy through her sleeveless sweater in the pliers and twisted, her scream dragging out inside her mouth. “Shhhh!”
I smacked her across her bruised and swollen eye with the pliers; once backhand, once forehand, and again backhand. Her hair had fallen back across her face and I couldn’t see her eyes anymore. I had to see, I had to know; I had to watch the revelation come across her features. I went back to the table, dropping the pliers and picking up the carving knife. Her eyes were bigger than I’d ever seen them as I shuffled back over to where she was bound against the pole, sitting on the cold concrete with her feet bound at the ankle. She shook her head back and forth in small fast movements as I leaned down and held the knife to her face.
“Be still,” I hissed through my teeth.
I grabbed a handful of hair and pulled it straight out away from her face and hacked at it with the dull, rusty knife. I sheared off a couple more handfuls and was satisfied it wouldn’t get in the way anymore. Her eyes pleaded with me as I put the tip of the blade against her temple and slid it slowly down her face; over her bruised cheek to the top of the tape over her mouth and then back up so it went ever so slightly into her left nostril. I lifted and she tilted her neck back, a small spot of blood forming on its tip and running down its length. I snapped the knife up and away, deepening the cut, and Bethany jerked her head downwards. Perfect; her hair fell over her shoulders but couldn’t obscure her face anymore.
Now we could begin.
Livid Fractures, Less of Fate…
She was asleep now. She had lasted longer than I thought. I’d never thought of Bethany as being particularly strong but we were both learning today. Learning about the other in ways that three years of marriage had never facilitated. Both her eyes were puffed shut and bruised now, her nose flat and broken and oozing blood, the toes of both feet were swollen and blackened and twisted. There was a surreal beauty to her face now, her cheeks puffed out over the bones beneath. I’d tried to make fine cuts there to let out the blood swelling her face so I could still see into her eyes, but I’m no doctor. All I had achieved were horizontal lines that oozed red down over the tape on her mouth.
Bethany’s sleeveless white sweater hung like a vest where I’d cut it messily open from neck to hem with the dull knife from the grimy kitchen. Her blood stained it and it now dripped onto her breasts and ran in little rivulets over their roundness and trickled down her tummy. Small bruises adorned her soft white flesh where I’d gripped and twisted and pulled with the pliers. A calm had come over me while I’d taught her of cause and effect; the sharp pain in my ribs and arm had softened to a dull throb. Yes, we were both learning today.
She had rested long enough.
I popped the cap from a bottle of bleach I’d brought downstairs and as it clattered to the concrete I upended the bottle over her head. As it poured through her hair and over her face and into her wounds she jerked and started. Her muffled scream doubled in volume as the bleach oozed into her swollen eyes and her body bucked and struggled. She tipped over onto her side awkwardly; I had cut the zip tie on her wrists while she slept and handcuffed her around the pole with her arms in front of her now, and her struggles wrenched at her shoulder joints painfully. I tossed the empty plastic bottle to the side and it bounced and rolled into a corner near the dead puppy under the stairs. She smelled clean now; sterilized, purified, washed of sin.
“Good morning, my wife.” I said, and then kicked her in the face with the toe of my shoe. She kept her eyes clenched shut and writhed in new pain. She gagged under the tape, and with a confined choke she coughed through her nose and blood shot out her nose, a delicate arc across the cold floor.
I took her by the hair and yanked her head around to face me. I used my fingertips to force open her swollen eyelids so Bethany could see her husband’s smiling face. She had told me once that she would endure anything life threw at her if it meant she could see my face every morning when she woke up. The white of her eye was stained red, full of blood, and her pupil was dilated. I smiled warmly at her and caressed her cheek with the backs of my fingers. I let her head drop to the concrete and she moaned, lying still and broken at my feet.
“Stand up, Bethany.” I said lovingly. She shivered and didn’t move, so I kicked her in the small of the back and snapped louder, “Stand up!”
She struggled upwards, sobbing, unsteady as she painfully slid her chest up the pole and put her weight on her ruined feet.
“Good girl,” I crooned, I cut noisily up the back of her white sweater with the knife’s chipped blade so it hung limply in two pieces, sliding over her shoulders to her elbows. I ran its tip down her spine and she shuddered, clutching her breasts against the metal pole. I sawed down through her short grey skirt and it fell to the floor at her bound ankles. Her black silk panties were next, torn and tangled and ripped apart by the rusty, cruel blade.
Her ass was clenched, her legs shivered, and I saw in my mind Brad gripping it fiercely in both hands as he fucked her and she screamed out his name. I wiped the flat of the blade across one cheek and then the other and she sniffled in short wet breaths through the blood and tears in her broken nose. I dropped it to the floor with a dull ‘clank’ and slapped her ass hard with the flat of my right hand. Bethany whimpered in her throat and I slid my hands around her skin to place them on her stomach. I held her body to mine, grinding my hips against her ass, and whispered into her ear.
“You’re not clean,” I said softly, kissing her earlobe, “You’ve been dirty Bethany, and you’re not clean anymore.”
I slid one hand down her stomach and rubbed her pussy, bringing my fingers up to her nose so she could smell the filth she had allowed into her. She leaned into the pole and whimpered and shook as I went to the table. I looked over the tools I’d arranged there, grabbing a bottle of drain cleaner, a dirty rag, and a fat handled screwdriver. As she heard me approach from behind again she shook her head side to side quickly in small motions and her whole body started shaking in earnest. She was either too scared to struggle any longer, or she had submitted to her lesson.
The cap of the bottle hit the floor and she jumped. I poured the thick sticky fluid onto the rag and pushed it between her clenched thighs, shoving it up against her pussy. It burned my fingers and she shrieked in pain through the tape on her mouth. I rubbed it back and forth, cleaning her lips and opening, and she began thrashing again. She turned her body around the pole, her broken toes shuffling across the concrete, but I followed behind and kept cleaning the filth and sin from her pussy. I wedged the screwdriver between her legs and used the fat orange handle to push the rag roughly up inside of her and the scream locked inside her throat by the tape on her mouth was ragged and savage.
I worked the handle in and out of her, pouring the rest of the drain cleaner down the crack of her ass. She dropped to the floor and tried to roll away, wrenching her shoulders and banging her head against the pole. She was on her back with the screwdriver and corners of the rag hanging from her cunt between her bound legs.
“I wish you could see what I see,” I said, my new voice low and calm, “I see a woman being reborn in virtue.”
She screamed and struggled so I moved back to let her work her way through the punishment to the love that drove it. After a moment I crouched down and yanked the screwdriver handle from her pussy; the rag stayed inside of her, soaking up her mistakes. “Are you ready to confess?”
I took her throat tightly in my right fist and quickly jerked the tape from her mouth as new pain shot through my broken arm; bits of skin came away with the grey tape and she coughed a mouthful of her blood onto her face and my hand. Her lips had spilt in several places from being smashed against her teeth and they hung ragged and torn in a circle of anguish. Her teeth were red with her blood, one broken and one missing, and she let out a jagged scream of pain that didn’t stop until she was out of air. As she drew in another shaky breath to scream again I punched her in the stomach as hard as I could and she went still and quiet.
Bethany’s voice was uneven and weak, her battered mouth betraying her usual vocal perfection. She slurred and stammered and lisped. “Wh…wh…why…are you…doing thith to me…Gavin?”
“‘There never should have been a second time’” I quoted her from my earlier vision, “‘Or a third or fourth. Or any others after that.’”
It was impossible to see anything in her expression except terror and torment and pain. Her face had become a tortured map of the lesson I’d been trying to teach her. She struggled to make her destroyed lips form words. “Wh…wh…what …are…you talking…‘bout.”
I frowned. She writhed softly on the floor, moving with no more motivation than the pain inside of her.
“Brad,” I said, “You and Brad and what you’ve made me do.”
“B…b…b…but I don’t…what?” she stammered, blood coming from her mouth and nose and pooling on the cold concrete beside her face.
In the vision in the goggles she’d been wearing a black skirt. A black sweater. White lace panties. I looked to the ruins of her white shirt around her elbows and to the crumpled pile that was the rest of her clothes; grey skirt, black panties. Not black. My hands started to shake and my knees were weak as I stood slowly and looked around at her blood all over the floor, at the tools and bottles where I’d let them drop during the lesson, at my hands wet with her blood. The certainty left me in fast painful rush; I heard feet running on the floor of my previous righteousness and the door slammed inside my mind as it left. A moan started from somewhere deep inside me, rising to a loud groan as it left my mouth, and building to a scream.
I stumbled to the metal table and picked up the gun, putting it to the side of my head above the ear. My hand shook furiously as I looked back to my wife lying broken on the floor and I caressed the trigger. My eyes were wide and my mouth quivered in agony. I gripped the trigger and started to pull.
“FREEZE!” a stern voice yelled behind me. I turned to look, my whole body shaking wildly. A bright glare of light shone in my eyes from the top of the stairs. God probably, here to smite me. “DROP THE WEAPON!”
My arm tensed, there was an explosion of sound and pain, and the world went thankfully black.
The Whisper Winds Blow the Seeds of Hate…
“What did you do?” a female voice asked, tense and mean.
I clawed my way through the blackness like a drowning man groping for the surface he can just barely see above him. Pain. Blackness. Pain. My eyes fluttered open to see a white room around me. There was a beeping, a wheezing, and more pain as I tried to move. My right wrist was held by something and I looked down to see I was handcuffed to a bed rail. I looked to the left without moving my head and beyond the cast on my left arm I saw her sitting in a chair beside the bed. Trench coat, white blouse, cleavage, sandy hair tumbled over her left eye.
“What did you do?” she asked again, her face wavering into focus as I looked at her. There was still more pain as I tried to inhale a deep breath. “They put a bullet in your chest, stay still.”
“I…what?” I tried to say more but couldn’t.
“I can read your thoughts, stupid.” she said, annoyed. “It was a rhetorical question.”
It came back in one hot, fast flash. All of it. I couldn’t feel the wrath anymore and without the lens of righteousness I saw the monster I had become. They monster they had made me.
“They?” she asked, “Make no mistake Gavin Day, you did that to your wife.”
“Shut up and listen.” she snapped, leaning forward like a school mistress scolding a wayward student, “You shot your neighbor dead. You kidnapped and tortured your wife. No one else. You”
“But I…” I stammered through the pain, “…I thought.”
“No you didn’t.” she said with abrupt finality. “It’s out of my hands now. I tried. I told you to be careful. I told you that you were fragile and delicate. I told you how close you were to the edge.”
“You didn’t…” I tried again. I couldn’t get words out. That’s when I realized there was a big tube in my mouth. I could feel it going down my throat and into the top of my lungs.
“Shut up. I can read your thoughts,” she repeated. “Don’t try to pin this on me, either; I tried to protect you but they came sooner than I thought they would. I wasn’t ready for them.”
They’d done this. The well dressed man and that filthy little whore who’d tempted me; Jenna or Miranda or whatever the fuck her name was. They’d twisted me and lied to me and made me do it. I wouldn’t do something like that otherwise.
“You’re pathetic,” she snapped at me, “all they did was show you what you wanted to see. They didn’t put the gun in your hand and they didn’t pull the trigger. All they did was leave it on the table for you. And they certainly didn’t do whatever that mess was in that basement. You did the rest all on your own. You did. You disgust me.”
She stood and straightened out her short beige coat and flipped her hair over her right shoulder with a flick of her wrist. “It’s on you now, Gavin. Good bye.”
Had God sent her? Was she my guardian angel, and had I fucked it all up in one catastrophic moment of pique?
“There is no God,” she said with finality. “Just men and women and the things they do to each other; and those of us that try to get in their way for good or for ill.”
I was sorry. I’d always thought I understood remorse. I’d always thought I knew what it meant to want, no need, forgiveness.
“My caste finds no redeeming value in apologies,” she said grimly as she opened to door.
Was that it? No salvation left? No second chance? Would I go to Hell? She turned her head over her shoulder and spoke in a harsh voice through a clenched jaw.
“You already have. Burn.”
She left and I wept around the hose in my mouth, alone.
Profane the Haunted Heaven, Jeering, Leapt Into the Pit of Calamity…
“Avrielle!” her little voice chimed excitedly out of the phone into my ear. <avrielle!>
“Cherub parum visum est, nimus prolixum,” I said with a strained tone. <little cherub, it has been too long>
“Quid tam tristis sonus?” she asked. Her voice was like little bells and I missed her counsel; she had been one of the wisest amongst us. <why do you sound so sad?>
“Durus est die,” I explained, sighing. <it has been a hard day>
“Disputatio de vultis?” she asked, excited. I could see her in my mind, squirming with glee. Blessed cherubs, always so happy. <do you want to talk about it?>
“Quid alium dicam?” <why else would I call?>
“Lorum nunc pulvinar dicere?” she teased me. <maybe just to say hello?>
“Facetiarum in pretio redemptionis meae caste invenit,” I told her plainly. She giggled through the phone at my stern nature. <my caste finds no redeeming value in pleasantries>
“Venit ergo parvus ad fratrem,” she said warmly and invitingly. “Scitis viam?” <come then little sister, you know the way?>
“Ego jam praeter,” I said. <I am outside already>
“Oh, WHAT!?” she shrieked. “KICK ASS!”
I heard the phone clatter to the floor. She didn’t even bother to hang it up and I heard the clapping sound of shoes on tile. The house was big and fancy. She had done well for herself as a mortal it seemed. Few tried, and most failed. Having the Spark pulled from you, leaving you frail and vulnerable, broke most down into a crumpled wreck of lost hope. The sun was bright, the sky was cloudless, only a slight breeze brushed through the palm trees that lined the street. The front door banged open, swinging on its hinges as she sprinted down the red gravel path that led from the sidewalk to the house. Her face was a huge grin of happiness and I could see her eyes sparkling from here.
Her tiny white skirt was almost see through and barely even there, her unbuttoned white shirt flapping around her and coming off her fine, tanned shoulders to expose her pink bikini top as she ran with her arms spread open. One of her little white flip flops flew off and she skipped and kicked the other off, her little toes scrunching in the gravel. She squealed loudly as she launched herself into the air and threw her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist. Her body writhed against me and her skirt shifted up to show her tiny pink thong as she laughed and kissed at my cheeks. She planted one long wet kiss on my lips before using her hips to push herself off of me, landing spryly on the balls of her bare feet and looking up at me with her impish face and penetrating green gaze. Raw sexuality oozed from her every atom, bubbling out through her pores and as she bit her bottom lip and winked I felt my heart skip a beat.
Cherubs could be so scandalous.
“Aliona,” I greeted her, “it is nice to see you.”
“I thought your caste found ‘no redeeming value in pleasantries?’” she teased me, mocking my grim tone while poking me in the ribs and bobbing her tiny hip to a song only she could hear.
“We do not, but a rare occasion demands rare behavior,” I said.
“What about the redeeming value of…” she bit her lower lip and flashed her dangerous grin at me, reaching to a little packet tucked in the very low waist of her skirt against her hip bone, pulling it out like a gunfighter and holding it out to me “…GUM!”
It was pink and tasted like cotton candy. I chewed thoughtfully, examining its flavor and texture in my mouth.
“It’s a piece of gum, silly; not a demon you’re trying to stalk,” she scolded playfully, rolling her eyes and winking at me. “Just enjoy it.”
“Can we speak now?” I asked, trying to maintain my steadfast composure in the company of her perpetual mirth. Cherubs; gleeful, infectious, blessed cherubs. Even in mortality Aliona hadn’t lost her powerful presence. She had not been just one of the wisest amongst us, but one of the purest as well. Her voice in the choir was missed by many.
“Totally, let’s walk little sister,” she took one of my hands in both of hers, and with a tiny skip turned and led me down the sidewalk, leaving her flips flops haphazardly on the lawn behind us.