Lina: Written By Stephen Fahey – Part 8

“Look at you, Eli! You’re so pretty.”

“Yes, Joe.”

“Ah don’t be shy, here, look at yourself in the mirror.”

“Yes, Joe.”

“What do you think?”

“I… ”

“Don’t cry.”

“But… ”

“Stop it. I didn’t go through all that effort to listen to you blubbering.”

“Y-yes, Joe.”

“Now get to your chores. This place is a sty.”

“Yes, Joe.”

Joseph Fay pulled a book from the shelves and sat back in his lounger. He never felt happy anymore, but in that moment he was the least angry he had been in years. Ola smiled down at him from the wall and he knew that she would approve. If anything, she would have been even more vicious. But Joseph Fay had decided that physical pain was not to be McIntosh’s curse. He would be dismantled piece by piece, living a nightmare of not being able to sleep for fear of waking up without some other part of him having been removed. And that is how it went. Day by day McIntosh lived in increasing fear until his nerves were soldered shut. Over the following ten summers he became closed off from emotion. When Lina and Ola’s birthdays came each year and he was again deprived of another part of his body he no longer wept.

As both men aged Joseph grew more indifferent than McIntosh and while he performed amputations twice a year he grew tired of McIntosh’s acceptance of his punishment. He wanted to make McIntosh endure the suffering he visited upon him and his guest’s complacence defeated that wish. By that point he had removed the McIntosh’s remaining right thumb, then the rest of his right hand. Then the right wrist. The right forearm. Then the right elbow. then the toes on his remaining foot, one after the other. Then his left testicle. Then half of his penis. Then the second half. Then he removed the tops of the fingers on his remaining hand. And then, his left eye. All these amputations were spread out over ten years and it was then that Fay grew bored with taking pieces of McIntosh.

Sat there, with book in hand, Joseph went to call McIntosh over and explain to him that things were about to change. But then he stopped himself. Instead he decided that surprise would add to the suffering. And so, as McIntosh hopped across the kitchen to the front door Joseph kicked his leg out from under him. McIntosh hadn’t been looking when the blow came and though he put out his arm to break his fall he still clattered his face into the floor. Then Fay grabbed his ankle and dragged him out into the autumnal afternoon.

“I’m going to set you on fire, Eli. Then I’m going to beat you with a bat. It’s going to be so much fun.”

McIntosh learned to scream again that day. Joseph poured lighter fluid on his guest’s leg and set him on fire, then pummelled him with a length of wood. The screams were shrill and piercing. And Joseph Fay loved them. He knew that he would only have a minute before he would have to extinguish the flames. Each blow landed with the power of a father’s love. The wood wasn’t thick enough to kill McIntosh, of course, but there was enough heft in it to injure his guest. A flurry of smashing blows to all over McIntosh’s body ended with a kick to the face that rendered him unconscious and when he woke he was tired to a chair in the kitchen.

His leg was bandaged and every inch of him ached from the beating. He couldn’t help but focus on the pain, his leg, his ribs, his face, his arm, they all felt as shattered. But he sat there and enjoyed not be on fire, that is, until Joseph Fay returned, carrying rope.

To be continued…

© Stephen Fahey

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