Lina: Written By Stephen Fahey – Part 28

“Good morning, Eli. How was your nig… Oh, I see you had a visitor. Must have been a bid boy judging by these marks. He didn’t scare you did he? I put you up there where I knew nothing could reach you.”

“Thank you, Joe.”

“Why so glum?”

“Ok, Joe.”

“You know, they never come this high up. If it weren’t for the trail of your old bandages I left leading up here you’d never have seen that bear.”

“Thank you, Joe.”

“What the fuck is going on with you? You’re not happy or sad or angry… ”

“Yes, Joe.”

“Look at me… now I know that we have a special relationship and it isn’t easy… ”

“Yes, Joe.”

“This is exactly what I’m talking about. Don’t drone out a “Yes, Joe” and think that that is participating. We have work to do.”

“Sorry, Joe. Do you want to strangle me for a while.”

“That’s the spirit, Eli. But no. I have something else planed for you.”

With that, Fay lifted McIntosh down from his perch and carried him back to the house. The warmer air lower down the mountain drew the chill from McIntosh’s meek body and gave him a sense of comfort that he immediately dismissed. It wasn’t for him to feel any comfort. He knew that he should be in constant distress. It was the only way. he was just a thing to be hurt and traumatised. Whatever Fay had planned would not be bad enough, he didn’t deserve any pity.

Back at Park Castle Fay propped McIntosh up on a chair in the lounge and lit a fire. Sitting in his fur wrap, McIntosh felt guilty for enjoying the warmth. He didn’t consciously stress himself or his body, but in his stale state of being he thought only of his necessary suffering. He wondered how long Fay would wait before he beat him again. The long periods of sedation aged McIntosh more and more as he grew older. And each time Fay injured him so much that he had to be sedated there was always the risk that he might not wake back up. But McIntosh was true to his word and told Fay that he had to keep hurting him. That it was what Ola would want and what Lina deserved. But Fay saw his desire for punishment.

“Now, now, Eli. There will be plenty of time for that. Besides, I can’t keep breaking you up. You’ll fall apart altogether one of these days. So rest. I’m going to make something to eat. You know, I never told you how Ola and I met, did I?”

“No, Joe. you didn’t. Wouldn’t you rather burn me a little instead of cooking? Or cut me?”

“I want you to stay there and rest. I need you fit and healthy first. So, Ola and I had both been in bad relationships before we met each other. We both held no stock in people and we were certain that life would end in a lonely bitterness. Kind of like you, Eli. Anyway, one day we were both in the library and I see this woman crying while she’s reading. It was the strangest feeling. I stood up and walked to her and knelt at her feet, then put my hand on her knee. She startled because she hadn’t seen me but when she looked into my eyes she just stared. We stayed like that for about a minute before she spoke. And when she did, Eli. Oh God I was hers. She had this silk voice that was intonated with a assertiveness that was kind, despite being powerful.”

“Sounds wonderful, Joe.”

“She was, Eli. She was pure and righteous like nobody you’ve ever met. Honour actually meant something to her. And she bettered every single person that ever came into contact with her. People used to literally benefit just from knowing that someone like her existed. And she mine, Eli. Mine! She cared about me more than she cared about anyone in the world. I was the centre of her universe. Can you image how that feel? Having an astonishing and singular woman love you?”

“No.”

“Oh come on, surely you… whatever, as I was saying. Ola and I built our life and even this house to be together and live as we had always wanted to. It was sublime, only better. Our life was the way people always wish they could live and what’s more, we knew it. Each and every day that we had we knew just how lucky we were. Do have any idea how that feels? To be blessed and to know it?”

“I don’t, joe. No.”

“And what’s more. After the upbringing she had she had more right than anyone to hate everyone and everything, but she didn’t. That suffering she grew up in gave her wisdom, not bitterness. She’d used to laugh at the small and unimportant things and made every day a joy… now here, eat up.”

Spoon feeding McIntosh, Fay was glowing with reminisce. Ola had been gone for so long, but he remember every detail about the life they had had. Even then, while he sat next to McIntosh forty years after he last touched her skin, he could feel her. And that comforted his soul. All the brutality he had enacted, all the horrors he had performed, none of them had sullied him. He was still Ola’s man. Still a good husband and father. He was still Joseph Fay.

To be continued…

© Stephen Fahey

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