A Ghosts story - Prologue - FNL - Preview
A Preview of "A Ghosts story"
Events outside of a person's control. More potent than a fate or destiny. Maybe the power of a God?
"wilp is a strange thing. It controls us all, but it only sees those it wants".
"Wilp, like a god, seems to work in strange and mysterious ways".
1. The Burial and the Voyeur, Part 1.
A voice in the darkness asked, "Is it revenge that you want?"
"It is all I ever want', another voice replied.
Father Thomas, The Priest, said his last few words as the coffin was lowered into the ground. The end of the service. The finality of death and the fragility of life. Buried and displayed for all to see. Before he had become a priest, he had been a young alcoholic who roamed from place to place. From town to town, city to city, sofa to sofa. He found his faith, and from that day forward, he had known what he was put on this world to do. He had found his purpose.
He was called to the Church, summoned by a faith that he had not, at that point, know that he had. Years had passed, and he was happy; for now, he was content. Not fulfilled, but content. The Priest had always felt he was on the Earth to do good, to help someone in particular. He'd had that feeling from the moment he had found his faith, and he had found that in the most unusual of ways.
Finding Faith - Then.
Henry Thomas, or "HT" as he was known, threw up. The liquid spewed from his stomach and then up and out of his mouth. Finally making itself at home on the large stone to his side. HT rolled over so that he faced away from the putrid smell and tried to fall back into his drunken slumber. It had been a heavy night. He'd received his unemployment benefit the day before, so naturally, he had blown it all on booze. He was an alcoholic, after all. He had wasted his friends away with his drinking. They had at first thought it was just HT being HT and had humoured him. He would not have been the first person to overdo it a little. He would not have been the first to overdo it a lot!
The friends had drifted as he always had to push too far. He was the type of guy that would tell a joke, and if it offended you, he'd then make you the butt of the joke. He would push and push until you finally snapped. It was, in many ways, a surprise he had even made it to twenty-five. If he continued the way he was going, it would have surprised nobody if he did not make thirty. He would have been mourned by nobody. HT had no siblings, and his parents were long dead. His friends had given up on him, and he hated them for that. He would have admitted - when sober - that he had deserved it. When he was drunk? He would have burnt them in the hottest pit in Hades and then toasted to their demise.
This morning he felt different. HT's side was painful; more than painful, it was fucking agony. Pain on his left-hand side was spiking in the rhythm of his heartbeat. The boom-boom of his heart quickly followed by the spike-spike of this pain that seemed to rip inside him. He rolled onto his back, and then he did something he had not done in years, maybe forever. He prayed.
HT picked himself up to sit on his backside, and he turned his back to the foul smell beside him. He then closed his eyes and prayed for the power and strength to kick the alcohol, the power to banish the addiction. He knew he could quit; he needed a reason to quit. The problem was that he would never stop for long enough to find that reason. HT got to his feet and staggered his way over to a bench he had seen. He sat down and put his hands to his head. This has to stop, he thought to himself. I can't keep doing this. He looked over at the spot where he had slept and puked. It was a graveyard, for Christ sake - pardon me, Lord! - a bloody graveyard, and now someone's gravestone was covered in puke. Covered in his puke. He looked up at the sky and saw the clouds gathering. Maybe it would rain and wash it all away, he thought. If he was lucky, maybe it would wash him away too. He saw the two birds in the sky, one black and one white, and he watched them as they fluttered and flew. Maybe it would be lucky for the world if he were to die; what did he offer it anyway? A little older now and still acting like he was eighteen, worse, at least at eighteen, he'd had friends and places to go. Now he had nothing and nobody, save for the drink. What was the drink anyway? Just another poison to rot his body and mind. The hair of the dog in the morning. The merriment of mid-day drinking and then then the depression of the drunken fool in the afternoon and evening. He would fall asleep where he fell most nights and then rinse and repeat. When his body was lucky, it would get a few days off. Not because he was looking out for it, but simply because he was penniless. He would just be another number on a government spreadsheet awaiting his next girocheck. A sad statistic on a spreadsheet, a homeless bum awaiting death. The way he felt this morning, he would have welcomed it and greeted it like an old friend.
HT looked and saw the two birds again. They had landed on the gravestone he had decorated, and curiously they seemed to be watching him. A white dove and a black crow watching a homeless drunk who was lamenting his existence. They seemed to be fascinated by him, watching him as they would a worm, or whatever it was that they ate and hunted, he imagined. He reached into the pocket on the inside of his coat and grasped at the bottle that was there. He pulled it out and saw that it was still half full, that nectar that is vodka. That would help his morning gut rot; it would help to calm the churning. He unscrewed the lid and then lifted the bottle to his lips. He held his breath as he did so, aware that the smell may cause another explosion from his stomach. It would not have been the first time; it would, however, be the last.
"Don't", the crow hawked at him. HT looked at the crow. Had it just spoken to him? Was this a hungover hallucination? "No-ooooo", the dove cooed. HT's eyes opened wide in astonishment. He was sure that they had spoken, and yet the subsequent noises they made were the usual Cawk and Coo that he'd have expected. He looked at the bottle again, and as he did so, the dove "St-ooooo", and then the crow "P'", ed. It took him a moment to link the two, but he got the message in the end. Got the message, ha! He considered, message indeed. But, still, he didn't drink.
The Priest came over. HT had not heard him approach; he was too intoxicated with the birds that seemed to be speaking. The Priest placed his hand upon HT's shoulder; it caused him to jump slightly as he looked up. "Going to help me clear it up?" HT was asked. The man's eyes were kind; he looked upon HT only with compassion and kindness. No judgements were being made. "I'm sorry", HT said sheepishly. He looked at the floor as he did so. "Judge not", the Priest said, "I haven't always been like this myself". He helped HT to his feet then added. "We all waiver in our lives. The strong are those who get over it and rise above it".
"Gooooooo", the dove had cooed as HT got to his feet.
That was the first step on the long path that would lead to HT becoming Father Thomas. A pathway that would have many steps and at times would feel like an upwards struggle, but he had kept to the path. Years passed, and the world changed, but when he found himself back at the Church he had puked outside, he had returned as a Father and not as a drunk. Many parts of the jobs he liked, some he loved. This, however...
Burial and the Voyeur, Part 2.
This side of his work he did not enjoy. He'd always hated funerals, and he really despised it when it was children. He felt that lives were far too short as it was, but it could be too much when children died. It was a lovely day to do it, he sighed to himself, trying to see the good in the world. The early summer sun beamed down through the trees giving everything an unnatural tint. The man was the only mourner, and that was not right. He had no family, no friends and was a loner. Even so, there must have been someone who could have come with him, anyone? Are we the only observers? The Priest thought.
All he had now is lying in two plots. Deep holes in the ground not even close to each other. A couple of plots of land and stone, the souls long departed. Some things in life are just not fair, not right. He had tried to help, but he could not do anything practical or anything that feels meaningful.
Sometimes a simple gesture was worth more than words. The Priest thought that this was one of those times. The man's eyes had reddened, but he had not been weeping or crying. Some people liked to show their emotions alone, in private, and he was that kind of man. The Priest walked over and placed a hand on the man's shoulder, nothing more and nothing less, a simple gesture. The man laid his hand upon the Priests and turned away. The man started to wander towards the graveyard's end; there was nothing more for him to see.
The man was rambling, but not aimlessly as the Priest had assumed. He had walked this way because he just wanted to get away from it all. Wanted to be free, and just as importantly, he wanted to have a smoke. He had lost everything he had ever loved, at least half of it being his own damn fault. He strolled over to the gate and lit his smoke. As he was taking the first drag, he noticed them.
We could say from the corner of his eyes, but we'll keep it honest.
There was a couple in the middle of the field, making love. No, that is wrong, and we are keeping it honest. Making love is something you would do with a partner you love. This was screwing, pure unadulterated rolling around in the grass and mud fucking. Fucking next to a Church and graveyard.
He could not get a detailed look at the man or woman. He looked dressed for a wedding or, perhaps, a funeral. Wearing a white shirt with a black tie and a black hat perched on his head. They switched, and the woman was now on top; she was smiling and laughing. Her long hair flowed and covered her back, revealing a choker around her neck. He could not pull his eyes away. He tried looking down, but his eyes wandered back. He saw the exposed stocking top, her skirt pulled up just enough to reveal it, and the metal catches that held it in place. He took a drag on his smoke and watched. If they had wanted to be given privacy, then they should not be shagging in a field, he decided.
They switched again, and this time he was taking her from behind. His hat comically bounced on his head as he does so. He grabbed at her hair with his left hand and pulled her head back, exposing her neck. The voyeur saw, or is it imagination, a vein that pumped away in her neck. They kept banging away as the man's right hand slipped out of view. Things are fast approaching the end game now. They both worked harder and quicker, fucking like their lives depended upon it. The right-hand of the man came back into view, and he held a knife. The sunlight hit the blade, and it glistened. He bought the knife around, he pulled the ladies head back with her hair, and when they both climaxed, he pushed the point to her neck. The blade cut from side to side. Her body was instantly drained of blood, the pressure of orgasm combined with an expert cut creating the blood-red flow. The blood that now decorated the grass, similar to a warped and deranged modern art exhibit. Her body slumped to the floor. The man was still on his knees and he released her hair, now he had both arms held out. Suspended on an invisible crucifix, his head leant backwards as he looked up at the sky.
That was how he remained for what felt like an age, but slowly his head lowered. It took about five seconds; it felt like a lifetime. The man's head dropped down, and it looked like he was surveying his work, examining his art. His head then started to turn towards the voyeur at the gate, and as it turned, a smile began to form, a smile that reached from ear to ear, nearly mirroring the cut on the woman's neck, almost... He never blinked; he only stared, eyes opened as wide as possible. He finally stopped and looked straight at the gate where the man had once stood and watched.
The man had seen this coming, watched the head turn, and he had hidden behind the hedge. Voyeurism be damned. His excitement had withdrawn just as quickly as he had. His cigarette had been finished in a few short puffs. They had pumped, and he had puffed. All the way down to the filter and then thrown to the ground with no thought for littering. He would usually be very good at keeping his rubbish and binning it correctly. He was frozen, unable to think clearly. Had he been thinking, he would have never done what he did next. His rational mind screamed, Run, just fucking run! But his irrational mind wanted him to help. At that moment, both choices seemed irrational and rational. Maybe it was a stone-age desire to protect the opposite sex, or a more modern one, drilled in to protect those in need. Perhaps it was wilp, possibly something more. He moved suddenly and almost leapt the gate before he even had time to judge or think about his actions.
He came to an almost instant standstill. The man was still there, unmoving. He had expected him to have run away by now. He was still wide-eyed, staring unblinkingly at the gate that he had just leapt. A smile as wide as Alice's Cheshire cat, he just knelt there staring. The voyeur was just stuck, unsure of what to do. His feet sticking in the mud of indecision, unknowing, a million thoughts flooded his mind at once, a tsunami of uncertainty.
What should I do?
Should I run?
Should I help?
Should I confront him?
What is wrong with him?
Why is he looking at me like that?
Then there was an intrusion. A sudden unwelcome voice filled his voyeuristic head, an uninvited voice that was not his. "Run little man, run. Run run as fast as you can, you can't catch me. I am the", the voice paused for a moment, "Do you like my Columbian necktie?" It asked.
It was too much. The voyeur grasped his head in his hands and tried to scream. Nothing came out; he was losing control; he felt it in his mind. Who is that in my head? It seemed a stupid question because he knew who it was. Was it madness? Was it possible that he was going insane? Was he already insane? He had bottled a lot up inside recently; was this its means of escape. The eruption of madness escaping like coke from a shaken bottle. The unblinking stare had penetrated the one safe space he had, his mind.
He had to look. He had to know. He was not the type of man who can ignore things. Besides, he'd told himself, I do not believe in any of that shit. He peeked out from behind his fingers, like a child checking for the monster in the closet. The pounding into his head had stopped, but he still had to summon all of his mental strength to open his fingers. If willing his fingers to open was hard, forcing his body to turn so he could look was agony. Like being under a strobe light in a darkened room, he seemed to move frame by frame, seeing the world jolt by jolt until finally, he faced the middle of the field. His hands were still upon his face, eyes poked through looking, he scanned the area like a human CCTV system. They were ready to close tight at the first sign of trouble. He hoped that if he can not see it, then he would be safe.
Anyone who has ever hidden under their covers knows this tactic. Some of us know that it does not always work.
However, when he looked, the man had gone.
He ran to the centre of the field, and just as he arrived there, it started to rain. It was like someone in the heavens had let the bath overflow. Sheets of rain hammered down; it flooded his vision. He looked at her, lying on the sodden ground, and knelt next to her. He held her neck with his hands, putting pressure on the large wound. Trying to stop what little was left of her blood escape, he knew it was hopeless. The rain washed the blood from his hands as he held them there. Another voice invaded his mind, only this time it was pleasant. It was not intruding. It was merely visiting; it was just giving a final thought, its one last wish. "Find him for me".
He wanted to run. Oh god, he wanted to run. Pink Floyd's Run like hell buzzed inside his head, almost screaming at him.
You'd better run all day, and run all night. Keep your dirty feelings deep inside.
The song rumbled in his mind; the baseline echoed his heartbeat. He ran, but he ran away from the only man who could have helped him and towards the only other exit from the field.
The Priest stood with the gravedigger and watched the man. The man had run into the field after his smoke. Stopped in the middle and then ran to the other side. They did not see any couple, and they had not seen any murder. They had just seen a man and a field.
The man who had run had seen rain. The gravedigger saw sunlight, and the Priest saw darkness. Darkness like he had never seen before.