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It was before the hands struck afternoon when the white sun crisply peeved his way into the cloudy abyss of a cruel winter's day. It fractured upon meeting the slow icy fragments, as it scattered its homage across the shaded lands and spread lovingly its dark warmth. As the natural gloom mingled with the bitter wind, the streets remained uncurious.
A quaint smell of hurt trailed like ants at a picnic, painting the town nonchalant shades of pale white and crimson. They say broken wails echo still across the barren shires of despair, while their misery lurks the skies ominously. Buildings slouched tall, browned by moss, but shadowed by an eternity of deceit.
The stripped lands tainted the prowess of a once great civilisation, whom before then, boasted a candid affair with refuge. A future of broken hope is all that remained since that law was passed.
Chapter 1: Empirically Biblical
He slammed the diary crudely. The room effervesced with dust that scattered into the sharp air, glistening like a child’s dream, as it peacefully spread into bliss. The meeting had been cancelled, which usually led to less impressive earnings for that month.
His eyebrow furrowed with sweat, as a great anger lapsed through his pink body, and rendered his senses useless. He stood dumbfounded. The butler, Erwin, watched faithfully at his master’s striking fist, as it trembled with hunger. A dramatically silent period of painful irony was broken by a sigh from Father Harold. He knew what this meant, yet thanked Erwin for his time and gently dismissed him, who respectfully curtsied and took his leave. The lost priest stumbled for breath and paced about his crooked study. He combed his confused hair with frail hands as it lay hopelessly behind his ears, and collected his thoughts. Within moments he yanked the telephone and began keying in the prime minister’s digits—her numbers were worn out. At first, he did not recognise her voice, which he had heard countless times. Grieved and defeated, he found himself, for the first time, scared. How could she? The trades brought happiness. So why did she pass the law? He mustered a lip tremble and a few noises were made, but no matter how much he tried, no words were spoken as he realised what this meant for him. She knew who called. “Harold. They found us. I had to. I’m sorry”
Before he could even reply, the call met a rude end. He reached messily into his untidy robe, and pricked his fingers on his smoking pipe. Feeling no pain, he returned his hand with a comb and half-heartedly brushed a thick moustache. He donned his top hat and left the room abruptly. After exiting the room and walking across the road from the chapel, he heard the children laughing playfully—one of whom he recognised fondly, Oscar. Oscar whom he had once taken. He sat on the nearest doorstep, and palmed his sweaty face harshly. His eyebrows remained flustered as he finally understood what he did. He remembered Harry, and how he cried in that hospital. He remembered how the cruel Gods plucked his last breath; he could almost hear the angels whom he had once worshipped, sing. He blinked a wet eyelid as he regained his balance and regretted. 12 weeks only, he thought.
Chapter 2: Requiem of a Dream
He lightly kissed Lanette on her forehead, as he also reached out to touch him. He felt a cold trickle run down his face, it burnt him as it met his scarred cheek. The established priest did not react. He felt a sudden pain as the horrendous truth came upon him. He looked his wife dead in the eyes and was faced with seven years’ worth of regret. Her chestnut hair had never looked so delightful, he thought. He acted a smile while holding his son of three months, and stroked the little hair that sprouted from his weak head. ‘My child’ he thought in his head, not ‘our child’, he felt in his heart. He blew out his bedside candle, wished them goodnight, and lay his head on his firm pillow.
Some moments later, he awoke. The plump man felt inclined to see his baby boy. He rubbed the gound off his crystal blue eyes, and stretched the remaining sleep out his pink skin. He felt Autumn’s cruel breeze on his naked body, as he reached for his sheep skin robe. Small hands squeezed tightly around his bare back before he could do so. “Daddy!“ He heard from a child’s innocent mouth. He took a moment to respond, but let off an uncharacteristic chuckle and replied, “Harry, my boy.” The moment was precious, and for Harold, time no longer existed. Everything in his life, he felt, led up to this special point in which he felt truly content. Harry ran to his room and came back with a velvet, black box with the priest’s initials embroidered in magenta silk on the top face.
“Happy birthday, Papa!” You could see the truth in his fiery brown eyes as he presented the gifts to his father.
“Oh, thank you my boy. Where’s Mumma, little one?”
“In the kitchen making you breakfast, Papa.” Harry replied. Harold watched the boy, gold of hair, exit the room. He continued to open his gifts from his dear son. Gently prying the box open, he was greeted with a rosary and a note. ‘Dear dad, have a nice day, Love Oscar’. Shaken and stirred, he shivered for a while, and set the rosary on his desk beside his ink and parchment. An unfamiliarly burning happiness filled his harsh body as he felt confused.
“Honey?” It was Vivian. In a lustful trance, he found himself in the kitchen. She was at the sink, cleaning up from the breakfast he loved every time he came to this place. A kiss on the neck, and a warm hug from behind was exchanged. He made sweet love to her perfect blonde hair, it remained ruffled as he progressively made passionate love to special areas of her body. “Careful Harold I have an interview today, you know this.” Dismissively, he continued to taste her plump skin. He could taste her perfume and makeup; it pleased him. He forcefully turned her around, and looked into her longing burnt eyes. Before he could see the feast she had prepared, he noticed the room becoming blurry. With his monocle now on, he still watched them crumble. They were leaving him. He could see the flakes of his disintegrating family, as he felt his heart draining every second. Screaming and crying, he reached for his lover and cried out for Harry and Oscar and proclaimed “No, not again. Don’t leave me! Please!” The sorrow in his voice echoed around the tumbling room, as it all began to fade away. It all condensed into a small aura of misery that struck straight through his heart. And then darkness. And then emptiness.
Opening his eyes sweaty and struck, he already knew what happened, and he knew what he must do. Longingly, he swept aside his linens and reached for his rosary. He clutched it, but he didn’t. Another tear dropped from his cold eyes, this time warm; warmer than anything he had felt. It was pure emotion, and he knew it. He looked aside at his beautiful wife and son sleeping peacefully. It hurt him. He strutted out of their bedroom, and left for the patio. Pipe in hand, he smoked a long draw and thought. A plague of irresponsibility hit him like his father had. His right hand tensed as a rogue vein throbbed. Thoughts daunted him like a nightmare, the nightmare of his troubled upbringing. He smoked until he physically could no longer, and reached for his flask and drank. He drank until his stomach rebelled as he struggled for breath. He re-entered his house, and slammed the door, he knew his wife would awaken—he cared very little. The floorboards creaked as he eerily crept back up to his betrothed and child. Each step taken filled him with power, but also torment. He eventually reached his sleeping quarters, entered, and rubbed his moist forehead. Collecting his letters and briefcase, he turned to his half-asleep wife, and explained he had an urgent exorcism on Wincrock Road. Dutifully, she agreed, and he took his swift leave. After one last look at the dark haired boy, he went. Pacing towards the living room, he clutched the nearest lantern. It burnt him a bit, but he was too focused on his demonic plan to feel any sort of hurt. He raised it high above his head, almost as if he was summoning the power of the Gods, as he gracefully slammed it unto the dusty floor. It lit instantly. The flames remained in his unburnt eyes, as the smell of burning compassion lingered about the empty hallway. Accomplished, the smug man exited the building, and strolled down the street. He heard their broken wails, and remained unphased.
Chapter 3: Bittersweet Justice
“Harold, darling?” A warming voice said beaming to a sleeping boy. Instantly, the boy of 10 sprang up like a fawn. He loved his mother more than anything; a real ‘mummy’s boy’, people would call him. He cared not. She was the only one ever who showed him love, despite his behaviour. A troubled child his teachers had said, my troubled child, his mother says. Harold appreciated her, and that alone was the reason her heart still beat. He put down his cards and took off his cape, and set off to his beckoning mother; he saw himself as an aspiring magician after his mother gave him his ‘Al Munroe’s Magical Marvels’ kit on his eighth birthday. The box was tatty and half empty, it was all she could manage, yet he treasured it more than anything. He walked past the stacks of spent amphetamine pouches and into the kitchen. It was small, but it was enough for the three of them, giving that his father was seldom home. Harold was intelligent for his age although his mental illnesses held him back in class. He was always aware of what was occurring around him, especially the strange men who came during the day, and made his mum cry. He understood why and what his mother had to do for them, and it made him love her more. But the empty cries would never leave his head for some reason. Harold’s mother was half Austrian, but born in England. After the war, many men considered her to still be an enemy, however the majority saw this as an opportunity, as she slaved away her body for cigarette change, and food in her baby boy’s mouth. Sometimes he would open the door, and multiple men would enter, he would take their coats and hang them, and often dry their umbrellas if the clouds were unkind. This became routine for him as he continuously would let strangers in to make his mother giggle and cry. He did not know it, but it troubled him more than he could fathom. Often, he would walk in to her room and watch her apply powder to her beautiful, blackened eyes, and prepare herself for the next meeting. “It’s just business my darling boy.” Are some words that reverberated throughout his mind every night as his bed shook from the violent antics in the next room. A beautiful woman with a beautiful face, tainted by man’s cruel lust.
William Wooldridge, a seemingly sweet man, and renowned military sergeant, was Harold’s mothers’ ‘Sweetheart,’ and unfortunately, also his father. He would come back after training, and say very little yet make the most noise. He was a different man after the war. A man whose son would grow to resent him. Harold grew up with bruised ears from when he would force his pillow into them when he heard his parents together. They bled every time he heard her shriek with in-compliance. A rude man his father was, and it rattled Harold forever. She had little choice, but to respect him due to the reputation behind his ‘brave’ name, and the ribbony that he bore on the breast of his uniform every day. It wasn’t rare that he would not come home, and she could only guess who he was pleasuring this time, but he would always bring back a pink lily. He called her his ‘lily’ with plenty compassion once before, but now those words bore very little meaning to her, as he beat her bloody and true. Her broken heart remained stone cold after he was sent out on those frontlines, with only her darling boy to kindle what was left of an indefinitely broken woman.
It was the 12th of August. It was a special day, but no one would know why. A strange, unfamiliar knock at the door, and Harold leapt off his bed to see which crooked man would be accompanying his mum today. He expected a slouched, aged man with few teeth to greet him, but he found himself confused about who stood before him. Unlike the grotty men he, and thus his mother, were used to, a beautiful, smart gentleman looked him in the eyes, and spoke softly “Good evening dear boy, is a Madam Lily home?” His piercing eyes struck Harold, it made him feel happy for some reason. He gave a smile that could light a thousand matches; it lit up the whole corridor as his soothing tone filled the room with hope. A real man of beauty. A loose rosary dangled from his perfect neck, reflecting the Gods’ tremendous might into the eyes of a yearning child. His bounding voice, his angelic dialect. It was too perfect, and Harold was in a wondrous trance. A surplus of emotions. He willed the world different, and he willed this man his father. Nevertheless, he shook off his amazement and allowed this gentleman in. He hung up his own coat and rested his cane beside the fireplace, which roared with enthusiasm as he walked by. He let off a beaming aura that made the whole house feel special again. He seemed to know already where Mrs. Wooldridge’s bedroom was, which surprised Harold, but he was too confused to notice. The man entered the room after politely knocking, which was alien compared to the previous ‘appointments’. The door shortly remained ajar, and squeals of pure excitement reverberated and touched Harold in particular ways, before being gently slammed shut. Harold promised his mother he would stay in his room when such events happened, but this time he could not resist. He eagerly pressed his bruised ears against the timbers of the thin walls that separated the kitchen and her bedroom. He heard gentle conversation. An eyebrow was raised as he listened intently to their seemingly romantic discussion. “Petunias! Erwin you know me too well!” he heard faintly.
“Always, my dear. Fare thee well, my sweet?” Replied the gorgeous man with the gorgeous voice.
“With God’s grace I be well. I’m trying my prince. William becomes more suspicious by the day; his fists prove so.” Peeping through the keyhole now, Harold saw the man inspecting her discoloured eye. He felt equal disgust as he saw the man’s body lapse with a great anger, but he controlled it and channelled his voice into her and it seemed to hit her deep within.
“There is always a place for you at the Chapel my dear. Bring Harold. Escape and we can be together under the almighty’s eyes and forever shall we be at peace.” A now smiling man said.
“William is a cruel man, Erwin. He will find us. He speaks tales of his previous wife, and what he had inflicted onto her as she tried to run. I wish not for Harold to meet the same fate. I can’t. Not again.” Replied Harold’s mother. Her clammy hand had now met the perfumed hand of the cooling gentleman. The chemistry between the two had given off sparks that were unparalleled, seeming like fireflies, dazzling on an empty night sky. Harold felt the compassion in their conversation, and he uttered a smile, printing his hand on the wall with great intent.
He turned around and saw his father dear. He must’ve finished training early to see his wife, but sweat dripped from his crooked jaw and his anger was obvious. He had seen the coat and had known. He stormed into the kitchen, grabbing a wimpy blade from the drawers. He aimed for the bedroom where he met a young boy, Harold. “Please daddy, no. Mummy is in there with the Doctor!” said the child, desperately. However, his father saw right through the empty lie, and found himself struggling with his son, now fighting for him not to enter.
“Off me, boy.” His fiendish father replied, waving an armed arm. A trail of red was left on Harold’s face as he was shoved away from the door. Hands on his bleeding cheeks, Harold shouted for his mother and ran away. His blinding cry alerted her, and she was aware of what had happened.
“Erwin, hide, please, quickly. It’s William. He’s here, you know what he will do!” Urged a desperate woman. Her forehead seemed to have aged, as wrinkles of worry expressed true concern. Erwin understood and lay by the dresser, which was crammed with perfumes and crushed tablets with needles. The raging man burst through the door, and immediately targeted the helpless woman. His hands wrapped nervously around her frail neck, covering the width of her throat. The warm room became cold as the beautiful life was being squeezed out of Harold’s mother. The sky became darker, and the fires burnt ominously. It was as if the world knew, Harold too. A quick handed Erwin jumped and fought with the wicked man who was relieving his love of life. Erwin was rudely nudged away. William was a military man, and his impeccable strength shone through his malicious vigour. Erwin, now on the floor, struggling for breath, could only help but watch as Lily’s broken body hit the ground with a great thud that would shake everyone and everything in that house. He watched helplessly as his heart drained. They were in love, but no longer in the physical.
“Boy, fetch me my gun.” Bellowed a powerful man to his powerless son. The boy returned empty handed, or so it seemed. “Insolent fool. Just like your mother. Weak. I’ll do it myself.” His father said disappointedly. Fate’s tone echoed through the still room. He lunged for the wheezing man on the floor, grabbing him to his feet and began hitting. Hitting repeatedly. The walls were dyed red, and the pride of a once prestigious man littered the floor. Erwin’s perfect face was becoming tainted, and it was almost unrecognisable until a brave blade was thrust. William found himself on his knees. A crimson waterfall sprang from his limp body and Harold could not help, but think it somewhat majestic. The blade was through him and his uniform was now stained. Behind, a child of ten stood gripping. Feeling somewhat accomplished, he removed the knife he hid in his shirt, and pricked his father’s chest again, this time with extreme intent and pain. It pierced the fabric and haunted his stomach, relieving him once again of a mighty pool of blood. Harold felt an unusual sensation as his father too fell. Perhaps it was the euphoria of justice flowing through his head. He looked at his mother, and then his father. Swings of feelings hit him as his cheek pained benignly. “Come on. Let’s go.” A now powerful boy demanded. Erwin stared longingly and admiringly and agreed. “Aye, the police will be here soon. Come with me dear boy. Let the lord wash away our hurt. I am forever in your debt for my life son.”
Hand in hand, they took their leave. Harold turned around, and cried a short tear of grievance which soon turned into a stream of anger as his wet face became hot. The once handsome man, and a smiling boy left for the Church, together.
Chapter 4: The crippling criminology of a crooked chap
Finally explain how he takes kids yay.
Harold found himself pacing about the chapel, his robe brushing the shoes of worshippers who crowded dusty wooden benches as he carried an impish candle towards the altar. He couldn’t help but notice how tremendous the church looked now that he was ‘Father Harold’. His empty hierarchical priesthood had caused him to see even the ugliest of men beautiful, through the eyes of God. He continued towards the altar where a grand stand stood proudly atop a marble platform. He settled his roaring candle aside, and opened the Bible that lay upon the fine stand. He breathed a breath and paused a second. Harold had felt a holy presence within and around him whenever he gave sermons; he felt truly mighty. He raised his right hand, the sleeve of his garb dangled gracefully as he summoned all the people in the room to stand as he spoke his prayer.
Hear us now,
Today and here,
We beseech your truth,
Relieve us with blessings,
Take offerings of praises,
We give thanks for your holy light,
We implore you to enlighten us,
Harold found himself lost.