Friday, 10 September 2010

Chapter Twenty-Six

When Jobe awoke the pain was gone, leaving only a dull headache, but the emptiness returned. He felt like a powerless child. He remembered the boy. He remembered passing out and plunging into a kind of blinding blackness. A flush of dread went through him. The bloodstained girl was sitting silently with Serima. All he could think to do was put his sister in her bed. Prayer seemed to gaze at nowhere like a painting. It made him feel sick.
Jobe, this isn’t happening. It can’t be happening.
But it was happening.
Serima was like dead weight in his arms. The bloodstained girl didn’t stop him, she only watched as he slowly carried his sister to her room, trailing silently behind him. He put her in the bed as gently as he could manage. Prayer watched. Jobe kissed Serima’s forehead and then left the room, forcing Prayer from the door. He closed it softly behind him. Grey light washed the corridor from the single window at the end, as rain pattered against it.
“She’s a really brave girl, your sister, but I think this has been too much.”
“Leave her out of this, you crazy bitch.”
“Can’t do that. She’s an important deliverer.”
He shook his head, ignoring the remark. “I’ve never felt something like that...”
“What was it like when you saw him?”
“You stride…into my life…and violate my mind with your psychic freakshow. That boy – he was real. That thing. It’s fucked.”
“But you’re different now. Isn’t that worth it?”
Jobe walked past his unwelcome visitor and down the corridor, into his bedroom. She followed him. He went to his dresser and lit a cigarette, appraising her carefully. He realised he was trembling. Something told him that he should take his sister and flee from this abomination at the first opportunity. But then another part of him knew it would be suicide. Things were coming. Bad things; changes that he and Seri would have no hope of surviving alone. Serima had known something like this was on its way. He had known too, though he’d tried to live in ignorance of that fact.
He couldn’t blame Maya Kistori for this anymore. His mother was merely a catalyst. And without this girl, Jobe doubted they would ever learn what had happened to her. She would slip through the cracks of the system, disappearing forever. He and Seri would be left with a genuine ghost for a mother, rather than the flesh-ghost that had been locked away. Jobe felt bound and caged by something that threatened to eclipse his fragile identity. He wasn’t even sure if he and Seri would survive the rest of the day.
“What the fuck is he?” The boy had been real. It had felt so damn real. And this girl, this spiritual aberration, had done it with just a kiss. Christ, I think my mind has finally snapped.
“What’s Akin, you mean?”
“Yes – Akin.” She didn’t die…she’s a harbinger, and you know it. What’re you gonna do now, King of Dreamless? He laughed suddenly, but Prayer didn’t seem to notice.
She glanced at Jobe’s white bedroom walls and at the small paintings and collages that dotted them. She stared at one in particular; two glowing figures entwined, a soft amber light emanating from them. “These are beautiful…”
“What the fuck is he, Rebecca…Prayer? He’s a demon, isn’t he?”
She nodded, tracing a hand across the collage, fingering the depiction of the illuminated lovers. Images torn from other magazines surrounded it, all dark in essence. “You’ve got a good eye for these things. Yeah, he’s a demon. It’s an adequate description. Not in the medieval Catholic sense…” She glanced at the small crucifix above his bed. “…In a more post-modern way. But then I guess the spirits of the olden days were victims too, of their time and their culture, just like the living, don’t you think?”
He stared, and then glanced at the crucifix. This girl…and I brought her into my home…what’s wrong with me? She’s a murderer. That boy…that thing.
“Akin isn’t evil, if you’re wondering,” she said. “He’s a strange guy, but he’s got the heart of a poet. All travellers do, in the end. Kind of like you.”
He nodded carefully, “I see.” I was insane to bring her here.
She laughed, “You will see, Jobe. You’ll see and then you’ll read. Then you’ll know. Nothing will ever scare you again, not truly, not the horrific mind-numbing fear that you live with now, that you accept as an inevitable part of your existence. Once it’s gone, you’ll feel like a child again. The mysteries will move you to tears. All your days will be filled with glorious inspiration, hearts will overflow with love for life, even its darker aspects. I’m going to take you into that place, I’m going to take everyone, kicking and screaming if I have to.”
He watched her through the drifting stream of cigarette smoke. Fear was shimmering in his stomach now.
He went to the bed, sitting silently on its edge.
Eventually he lay down on it. “I feel exhausted.” She walked over and lay down beside him, still streaked with her own blood. “What’re you doing…?” Jobe tried to shove her from the mattress but she just batted his hand away, drawing an arm around his waist, laying her head on his chest. The blood still hadn’t dried. He let the beautiful stranger hold him. Her hair smelled of lavender for some reason.
“It feels good to hold you,” she muttered. He didn’t say anything. “I could never have done this if my dad were still alive. Isn’t that fucked up?”
He didn’t respond. She lifted her head. “Your eyes remind me of his,” she said softly, “Akin’s eyes that is, not my dad’s. Well, not your eyes really, but what’s behind them. You have an ancient soul. By ancient I mean aware. Your soul is deeply aware.”
He laughed with courage he didn’t feel. “I’m not your demon-boy thing.”
She stared, a hand stroking his chest. “I know that. I’ve dreamt about you, Mr Vesson. You’re going to help me wage a war.”
This is nuts…
“You’re turning me on, so get the hell off me.”
She leaned in and kissed him. This time there was no burning and it was just a kiss. He couldn’t understand what was happening. He felt himself getting hard, and realised he wanted to be inside her. Jobe put a hand to the back of her head, holding her mouth against his. It felt good, taking away some of his fear. With his tongue in her mouth Prayer’s kiss turned into a smile, and then a laugh. She pulled away, looking at him and grinning.
I really have lost my mind, he thought blankly, wanting her in his arms. In a near whisper he tried to focus and said, “Tell me what you really want...”
Prayer kissed him again, to silence him, with a scowl in her expression.
The world felt like it was sliding away. He didn’t care, and he let himself fold into her, this magical, bloodstained beauty. He wanted her, and she seemed unlike any girl he had been with, especially Emma, who had taken away much of his self-hatred. He was afraid but didn’t stop, and he heard her laughing as she undressed him, as he kissed at her, weaving for her mouth like a moth to a red flame, her lips creasing into smiles against his. Perhaps she felt like she had won something.

Yielding, giving himself to her. It felt like being caught in a reflected glare, brighter than the ability to define it, like confusing many camera-flashes for a lightning storm. A deep hunger, consuming the moment. Perhaps it was that leviathan forest, or perhaps it was the boy, or the kiss the boy had given him. He came inside her and something had shifted. Now, Prayer held him in silence. The sheets were tainted with touches of scarlet.
Jobe… what the hell…have you done?
He could think of no reason why he should care, no reason why he should care about anything at all. She didn’t answer him, just pulled the sheets up over her bare breasts, her nipples glistening with his saliva. Silence for a while. A creeping fear began to inch through him. You’ve flipped… and you’d do it again, wouldn’t you?
She put her head on his chest and said, “You could have been my father, you know. You even moved like him, like you were trying to respond to my every gesture. Sweet and very strong, but innocent in its own way.”
The girl said it with such certainty that Jobe went cold, his flesh crawling at her words and the way she’d said them.
He glanced across the soiled bed and saw Serima standing in his bedroom doorway. Her eyes looked sleepy. Jobe felt his stomach drop; bizarre, guilty, unmasked. “Seri– ”
Serima wandered casually to the bed, looking down at them like she might keel over, swaying gently. Without a word she crawled into the bed beside Prayer, drawing an arm around her waist, her fingers just touching Jobe’s bare chest.
“Seri…are you okay?” Instead of answering him, Serima pressed her lips to Prayer’s. They kissed for a moment and then his little sister lay her head against the beautiful girl’s breast, closing her eyes.
“You two just fucked?” she murmured like she was already half asleep.
A soft laugh came from Prayer. “I guess you could say I coerced him.”
Jobe felt immediately sick and sat up, climbing naked over them both. Neither of them said anything.
He locked himself in the bathroom, sliding down the door to the linoleum. They were sliding back towards it again, towards hell. He began to really cry; a hard, pathetic sobbing, for the first time in a long time.

1 comment:

  1. Raj, this story is just getting better and better. Thanks for posting these new chapters; I look forward to seeing more. I still have a crush on Jobe ;)You really do have a gift for writing! Post more when you feel ready.