The prisoner, or the vices of choice.
Chapter one – Imprisoned:
With a bang his eyes were forced open. There was a dim light from behind him and he blinked and blinked and blinked, still in the waking seconds where you have no idea where or who you even are. As he continued to stare into the dimly lit room he remembered who he was and where. He slide his bottom upright and span his legs over the edge of the bed to sit himself up, gently rubbing the palms of his hands on his eyes to rub away some dried sleep. He stretched his arms up and gave a silent yawn, stroking his hands through his hair, which was growing out from being shaven bald, other than the little tuft of hair that he gently stroked, there was no hair on his face, clean shaven and stark. He was wearing very thin, white, plain trousers and a button up shirt, which were both slightly too big for him but was kept on him by a very old, falling apart belt which looked like it was strangling his waist. He looked around his room while stretching his arm behind his back and leaving it on his shoulder. A small, terribly made wooden stool, with a very old but thick book on it. Other than the bucket under his bed and the bed itself, there was nothing else in this room but these things. He stood himself up, a little too fast causing his eyes to fizz and blur over as if he was about to have a seizure. He fell a bit to his right and grabbed his hands to protect himself from a fall. He reached out and felt steel in his hands, a pipe, a pole, a jail bar. He sat crumpled on the floor holding onto the bar while his vision cleared. He looked at the bars, getting bored of his own weakness and waiting for it to pass. He spotted a very small shiny object just outside of the bars, he reached for it, using one of his hands on the bars to keep himself from falling and dragged it through the dust on the stone floor. He pulled it to his chest and cupped the object in both hands and held it up the same way that you offer someone an object with complete submission. He did this in order for the object to be in the maximum amount of light, he felt it with his hands as he still couldn’t quite make it out…It was small but had a long protruding ending…It could be nothing other than a key.
He felt excited, giddy and somewhat sick. He had not been eating much, although he had been eating everything he was given, he was still underfed. This made him weak, he often just slept in order to get away from the weakness and hunger, but this made his body stiffen in the cold and the lack of movement made his muscles deteriorate. He was and is slowly dying. Even the scraps he had been given lately had just been thrown up due to his bodies inability to digest and accept spoiled food, which was all he was given. He crawled over to the far side of the bars so he could see down the hallway, he could see a shoe. He presumed it to be the guard, he leaned as far into the corner of the bars and wall to see more, the guard was sat on a chair lying his head back, he looked dead except for the random movements his body made, flinching like a dog in a dream. The prisoner presumed from this that he was drunk, and the key was dropped when he knocked into his prison bars and that would explain the bang that woke him up. His body began to feel less stiff; he could not tell whether this was due to his moving around or the adrenaline spike that had just hit him as he thought about freedom and this perfect chance to seize it.
He didn’t feel the strength to stand so he stayed crouched. He slowly steps back to the other end of the room in order to be close to the door. He feels his fingers around the door, trying to locate the lock rather than randomly stabbing the key in the dark and making noise. He gently rubs his finger tips and feels a square plate of metal, and feels the middle and there it is. He slowly slides the key in and with a tiny twist at a time; he feels a click in his wrist and knows the door is unlocked. Now he begins to panic as any noise he makes could mean waking up the guard, although he is asleep and drunk. When freedom is right there, you don’t get excited and risk that chance. He leaves the key in the door, not willing to risk making any noise. He grips both of his hands around the bars and lifts it slightly up while pulling it open from the side, he pushes it up in order to stop the scraping of the metal on the floor, he only opens it a few inches as the fear of being caught stops him doing anything more than necessary. Being so skinny he easily slips through the gap, he slowly and with almost no breathing at all sneaks towards the door out which is the opposite side to the guard, which is a dead end. He reaches the door and gently pushes on it, realising that it is locked. He is completely puzzled how this door was locked by such a drunken guard, which only shows how many years this guard has worked here if he is still able to lock doors while being drunk out of his own brain.
He knows he will have to get the key from the guard and that make him shake, he cannot control his body and is overcome with anxiety and excitement. He grabs his own arms and forces them to his chest and hugs himself, thinking intensely in order to calm his body. As he begins to calm he stares at the guard with his head back on the chair, he looks un-wakable which helps to calm him. He has never heard a single noise from any other cell in the past week, over the years people have been dragged past him in and out of the prison hall. He hoped none were left or that they were asleep or worse, dead and silent. He hugged his body to the wall and made his way slowly towards the guard, gently taking the bars in his hands and then hugging himself to the wall in between each one, until he was close enough to the guard in order to see him in this light, which was only lit by a few torches. To his pleasure each cell was empty. He studied the guard as he got close enough to smell his drunk breathe. He couldn’t see the key on him, he couldn’t even see the key ring that he knew it was kept on. He could however see a dagger handle on the side of the guard furthest from him. He became aware of his own breathing getting deeper and raspy, as if he couldn’t breathe properly. He was panicking, his hands sweating, and his eyes unblinking. He made a choice and put his finger tips on the dagger handle and silently slipped it out of its sheath. He held it in both hands and stared at the guard, still unable to see the keys. He leaned over the guard so he could see his face which was resting on the back of the chair, lying horizontally, presenting his entire face to the prisoner. He lifted the dagger with both hands very slowly and silently, placing it above the face, and then above the eye, and slowly lowered it. He stood in intense thought and effort not to move, feeling his blood in his hands warming the handle, trying to stay calm, he felt strong due to the adrenaline but he knew he was weak and needed to put all of his effort and weight into the dropping of the blade. As he prepared himself he licked his bottom lip in anticipation, putting the blade as close to the eye as possible. As he did this the guard’s eye opened and in that instant he pushed it as hard as he could straight through the eye into the brain. The guard didn’t make a single noise and instantly became dead weight, sliding to the side of the chair under his own weight and lay resting there.
He felt calm, completely in control of himself and strong. He searched the body and found the keys in a pocket near where the dagger sheath was. It would of been impossible to get them from such a place without killing him, he felt relieved at knowing this. He didn’t know or remember ever seeing outside of this hall so he crept to the door and decided to be as silent as possible just in case. He unlocked the door and silently pushed it open. He was in an opening that had stairs leading up to a door and stairs that led down to some water, he crept down the steps and was pleased to see a tiny little wooden boat tied to a pole by the steps. He stepped on the boat which made a creak even under his light weight, he untied the rope which made his fingers ache and burn. He pushes himself off the brickwork and let the small waves take him whether they liked. There was a small black cloth all over the bottom of the boat, so he lies under it and places it over him, covering himself. His adrenaline leaves him, he feels sick and shaky, and unable to do anything, and his eyelids become heavy so he closes them. His last thoughts before falling asleep is the vast amount of choices that now face him; what shall he become or even do? He is too weak and worn down to even care; he drifts in the ocean, further and further from the prison of years past and into the freedom of dreams.
Chapter two – The village:
The now freeman wakes up lying on his back, he can see only blackness. He is somewhat confused and blinks, trying to recall where he is. He lifts his head slightly and with that his nose touches the night, it is fluffy and gentle. He pushes his hands against it and pull the night off of him. It was the blanket. As he removes it from his body the sunshine hits his skin and eyes, it feels like happiness, such joy, almost painful. The warmth on his skin and the clarity in his eyes. He sits himself up and notices the lack of motion. His boat isn’t moving. He slowly peers over the boats side and sees the brightest and most yellow sand that he has ever seen. So clean looking, with this sight he has the instant urge to dive into it and bury his feet to feel it on his free feet. He jumps out of his boat feeling refreshed and stronger than he can remember ever feeling. He sits himself down on the sand and lets his feet and toes bury themselves in it as he surveys the beach. His boat had somehow came quite a bit inland and was now surrounded only by sand, while the sea and its waves lay a good half a mile from it. It must have been washed ashore when the tide had been in and now it had returned back out. He stood up with his hands on his hips letting the sunshine into his skin and eyes. He closed his eyes to feel the wind blow small grains of sand against his body, and gently flap his baggy clothes. He did not only know he was free but felt free. He, unable to control himself, skipped along the beach for no purpose but because he could. He returned to the boat, climbing up and into it and checking if anything was in there, just the blanket and it was a scorching hot day. He decided to leave it, he could always return to it and retrieve it when the night came and made everything much cooler.
He plodded off in the general direction away from the beach. He did not care where he was going, only that he was choosing to go anywhere. As he got further from the beach he noticed that the wild trees and bushes became less randomly placed and formed a path. At first he felt uncomfortable by this, this meant people and maybe a town nearby. He thought to himself that he surely only looked like a poor man, with his baggy clothes and skinny body, and that they didn’t give away his previous situation, all that they could possibly tell from his clothes was that he needed new ones, and all that they could tell from his weight was that he needed his next dinner a little more desperately than the average person, which was of course a signal of poverty. He tried to keep himself reasonable but could not control his excitement. He began walking down the path ways and was hoping to pass someone, he burnt for the chance just to smile and wave at someone as they passed. He could not remember the last time he had such an interaction and he had a feeling that by smiling and waving, he could pass on his joy and freedom. As he carried on walking down the pathways he could hear voices in the distance, it sounded like two people arguing or maybe debating in a friendly manner. Which of the two he could not pinpoint. As he walked closer and closer, unable to see but always able to hear them, his anxiety grew and his urge to wave and smile was quickly strangled. The voices got so loud that he felt at any moment, at any turn, they would be face to face. He panicked, he looked around, side to side furiously and dived into the bushes. He stayed in them, silent but observant. He watched the path from which they had to come. And they did. Two very young males playfully talking and pushing each other, as if pretending to dislike each other but boyishly still enjoying each other’s rude company. They spoke loudly, posturing and full of bravado. They were both dressed in baggy plain clothes very similar to his own but with the shirts unbuttoned and wrapped around their waists by the arms of the shirts. Maybe everyone around here was as poor as these two boys and himself. He hoped so as he would fit in, then he felt disgust at hoping people to be as poor as himself. But at least he had his freedom he thought, which comforted him away from the disgust. He let them pass and stayed silent, he waited until their voices where tiny echoes and he knew they were far further than their loud, booming voices would suggest.
He climbed himself out of the bush and felt stupid at what he had done. Had he found them intimidating or was he just scared of interactions? He thought there was no need to be harsh on himself as he had only just achieved freedom and it was only to be expected that he would be careful and somewhat timid. He carried on walking the way he was before the boys had interrupted him. After a while of walking down the path and having the soles of his feet pricked by sharp grass he heard more voices in the distance. This time they sounded welcoming, there was something feminine about them. They were not loud, but easily hearable, not quiet but still soft. As he came around a corner three middle aged women, massively overdressed for this weather came into view. The path only being wide enough for two people’s width, he moved himself to the far side, pushed his back against the hedges which made the path and made a hand signal to show them to pass him. They thanked him and hopped past him like excited children. He smiled and looked at the floor after each woman passed him. He looked back at them and smiled again. He continued walking with a smile and thought to himself maybe all of those people are going to the beach for a nice day in the sunshine. He wished them a nice day inside his own head.
The path began to narrow and led up to a tiny hill. His breathe became heavy and he realised just how hungry he was as his stomach made that familiar growl and the horrible warm ache began. Upon the hill he looked out and could see a small collection of houses, a tiny village.
There was a sign post pointing its way but he was unable to read it. But went that way anyway.
His desire for food was too strong. As he got closer he realised just how tiny the village really was. All of the buildings looked like bungalows with a maximum of three rooms. Shabbily built but good enough. As he ventured through the village he noticed a man sat on a hay pile with a bowl in his hand, happily stuffing his face. He approached him unable to decide whether to talk or to snatch the bowl straight from his hands. Before he could decide or get any closer, the man addressed him. “Hello! I’ve never seen you around here, visiting?” He stopped walking and for a split second panicked but his mouth moved before he could even think or act otherwise. “Yes” “Ah, from where?” He answered again with no thought “I don’t have a home” The man stopped stuffing his face in between speech and raised an eyebrow. “Then how did you get here?” “I woke up on a beach, on a boat, I don’t remember.” “Oh” He said as he stood and studied the Freeman’s face. “You look unhealthy, hungry?” “Very.” “Well.” He pushed his hands forward with the bowl, there was some scraps left. “Take it.” The free man didn’t even think or thank, he snatched it and ate everything in an instant. The man sat with his hands still out stretched as if he still had the bowl in his hand “My god, you’re hungry!” The free man wiped his face with his palm as in his haste he had gotten some food on his chin. “Thank you.” He handed the bowl back. “How about you keep the bowl. And if you help me with my work, I’ll fill it again. Aye?” The freeman pulled the bowl to his chest and nodded. The man stood up and fetched a few tools while the free man stood watching him, not moving. The man then began working, the free man placing his bowl on the floor near the pile of hay next to the man’s house. Went over to him, selected the same tools that the man was using from the pile of tools and began copying what he was doing. The man looked at him and smiled with approval.
They carried on like this until the sunshine had went from white to yellow to orange, they both yawned and put all of the tools back in the pile. Then both men carried them to the wooden shack he originally got them from. The man walked into his house and flicked his two fingers towards himself to signal for the other man to follow him in. He grabbed his bowl and entered the house. It was, much like the outside, shabby. But he liked it, it was homey, the kind of place that you could just sit and think, or sit and nap, or do anything you like in comfort. The man took the bowl off of him and returned with it full of vegetables, they were soft and soggy and covered in some brown goo. He licked at it with suspicion but after tasting it swallowed everything down with joy. The man sat down and invited the free man to do the same. They both sat looking at each other and then he finally broke the silence. “If you keep working like that, I will have to keep you and feed you every day!” The free man didn’t look away but only said in a calm voice “I would like that.” “Do you have somewhere to sleep?” “Yes, my boat on the beach with a blanket.” “Oh that won’t do, you can take some hay into the tool shed and sleep there if you like?” “That would be easier…” “Then yes, you work for me and I’ll feed you and that can be your bed.” “Okay” said the free man. “Do you have a name?” He looked around, his eyes darting in panic, did he? Without thinking he spoke “Yes, Freeman.” “Well okay, I myself am shattered so I’ll go to sleep. Help yourself to as much hay as you like, and tomorrow I will give you some better fitting clothes of mine…Goodnight…Freeman…” He stressed the name making it clear that the name itself confused him. “Okay, thank you.” The man took that as his signal to leave and went into the other room, where you could hear him rustling about in his bedding. Freeman picked up his bowl and walked to the tool shed, it was nice and spacey. He set his bowl down in the corner as if it was some ancient and priceless relic and returned himself to the hay pile, he took a huge pile in his hands and walked it to the shed, leaving a small trail behind as he did. He cleared it up the best he could and then went into his new home. He took his shirt off and laid it over the hay so it didn’t itch his skin, but he was too hot to be covered. He lay there dozing off into sleep while thinking about his day. Today he had felt freedom. Today he had named himself. Today he had experienced his first day as Freeman and as a free man.
Chapter three – Freedom towards death:
Upon awaking Freeman felt good, unusually good. He couldn’t remember waking up and not feeling the hunger burn deep inside him. He couldn’t remember waking and not feeling crippled, cold and stuck in a position like a statue. He lay on his back looking at the ceiling of the shed. He could feel the hay penetrating his shirt and irritate his skin, but he didn’t mind. He accepted it and enjoyed it, unpleasant or not. He lay there feeling stronger than ever, more flexible than ever and his mind more active due to being out in the world rather than locked in a tiny room. Ironically, seeming as he was in a tiny room. After a while of thinking he heard the noises of the man who owned the shed he was sleeping in. He stood himself up and put his shirt around him, too hot to button it up. He picked up his bowl and went out to say hello and good morning.
As he stepped out he was greeted with a “Good morning!” he smiled and looked, the man was packing a rucksack full of metal objects and a small pile of tins lay next to it. “It is a good morning, hello.” The man carried on packing while speaking “There won’t be any work today. I am travelling to the next village to sell some produce.” “Okay” The man approached him with a tin in his hand, pulled Freeman’s free hand up and plonked the tin on his palm. “There you go, that’s if you get hungry.” Freeman looked down at the tin in his hand and frowned “Thank you.” The man walked back to his rucksack and put the last few items into it and then stood over it with his hands on his hips. “I’m going to lock up the house and the shed.” He walked over to the shed and took a padlock out of his hands “Oh…Do you still have my bowl? Pass it here.” Freeman gave him the bowl and watched, a little confused. The man placed the bowl inside the shed and then locked the padlock on the shed door. “All done.” He said walking over to his rucksack. “Any plans for today?” Freeman rubbed his head and then spoke gently “I’ll travel to the beach and see if I can find my boat and blanket.” The man smiled at him as if smiling at a child. “Good idea! If you can bring the boat back we could work on it, maybe even go fishing!” “That would be nice” said Freeman in a blank voice. “Oh” The man said digging deep into his rucksack, “I almost forgot!” He pulled some clothes out of his bag. They were nothing special but much better than the thin clothes Freeman was wearing. He passed them to him and nodded as if to say try them. Freeman undressed and put on the trousers and wrapped the shirt around his waist, still being far to hot to cover himself. “You look much better already.” “Thank you.”. The man scooped up freeman’s old clothes and threw them into a wicker basket just outside of the back door to his house. “I’ll get those cleaned for you, they can be work clothes as to replace them would cost nothing.” Freeman stood watching and waiting. “Well I’ll be heading off now.” Said the man throwing his rucksack on his back “I’ll see you later.” He gave a wave and started off on his little adventure. Freeman stood looking at his back, watching him turn into a smaller and smaller dot until he finally went over the hill and was no longer within sight. He turned and looked over the filed. The house and the shed was locked, and the sun was fully out by this time. He thought to himself that it would be a nice day to find his boat and see that sand once again.
He slid the tin into his pocket and began walking back to the wooden sign into the village. The sun was so bright he could barely look further up than his feet without pulling a puzzled look. The tin was nice and cold against his leg in his pocket. He passed the sign and began walking through the hedged path, surprisingly he hadn’t heard a single voice today other than the farmer. His walk through the hedged path was only interrupted by the stabbing of his feet by the sharp beach grass and the sounds of nearby birds playing their playful music and occasionally the sound of wood hitting wood. The path seemed to be much shorter than he remembered it being as he reached the mouth of the beach in no time. He thought maybe because when everything is new you take it all in and the time seems slower. He shook his head at the thought and placed his feet into the soft and un-grassed sand and walked further into the beach.
He noticed as he walked that his boat was no longer there, as last time he could see it from the hedged path way. He thought that maybe last night’s tide had taken it. He didn’t much care. He continued walking further into the beach as the tide was a good mile out from the beach’s mouth at the trail. He thought how nice it would of been to find that blanket. It was nice and cool to lay under, even in this hot weather. He walked all the way to the water and dipped his toes in, the water was freezing cold, which pleased him. He walked into it so a few inches of water was playing around his feet. As he was doing this he turned back to look at the beach. He still could not see the boat, it had been lost. But he could see a black patch to the far side of the beach, isolated. Maybe the blanket had been washed ashore. He began walking towards it out of curiosity. As he got closer and closer it cleared in his eyes. It was a black object but he still couldn’t make it out. As he finally got within 10 or so foot he realised it was indeed the black blanket, but there was two heads poking out, with their eyes closed. A male and female face, asleep. They were using his blanket as they must of found it. Without thinking or speaking he felt a rise of annoyance and ripped it off the sleeping people. The blanket was dry but covered in sand, which instantly flew into the air and into his eyes as he did so. He dropped it and put his hands to his face. While the two people awoke, the woman screaming thinking something indecent had happened, and just so happened to be topless. While the man sprang up in an instant, not failing to protect his distraught lady like a lion. He grabbed Freeman by the throat and offered only obscene and unanswerable questions in order to scare him and make him back off. He pushed himself off the man’s chest and fell back; he was still blinking with the grit and sand in his eyes. Without knowing what to do or say he just screamed “That is mine!” The man looked back at the woman who was now covering herself while trying to dress herself at the same time, which wasn’t working. “No!” Said the man, pointing his thumb at his own chest “She is mine!” Freeman let out a little laugh and spoke more gently “No, the blanket. It is mine.” “The man towered over Freeman and spoke down at him “What do you mean?!” “I mean, that blanket you were using is mine.” The woman who was now fully dressed, didn’t speak but just went behind the man to see what was going on. “We found it, so we was using it.” said the man. “You found it on a boat? Then it is mine and so is the boat.” “No, it was lying on a fallen log, to dry. No one was here so we used it and now it’s ours. Do you understand?” Freeman did not understand but he feared more confrontation, instead he spoke as softly as he could. “Okay, you keep it. But do you know where the boat is?” “Like I said, there was no boat.” “Okay.” Freeman stood himself up, poking his fingers into his eyes to get the sand out but only putting more in. The man watched, like a lion ready to pounce. He walked himself to the beach mouth again and stood, trying to get the sand out of his eyes. While the man and the woman grabbed the blanket and walked around the beach side and out of view.
As Freeman stood, having lost his blanket and boat, getting annoyed at the sands persistence to stay in his watery eyes. He stopped trying and just let it irritate him. He could feel the tin in his pocket, but it had warmed up and became unpleasant against his skin. He felt stupid for not punching the man in the face and taking what was his. He pushed it out of his mind and sat down on a recently chopped down tree stump. He looked at his feet, feeling the sun on his skin. It was beginning to hurt him. Maybe he was getting burnt. The sun no longer made him feel happy, but sleepy, and angry, and irritable. He could feel his sweat drops run down his skin, it tickled, which angered him more. As he sat he could hear wood hitting wood again, he had only became aware of it again by being so quiet. He stood up, listening to it. It was rhythmic, like an instrument being played, drums but harder.
He went to investigate, to keep his mind off his anger and to please his curiosity. He went round the beach, onto a small path of rocks. They were hot and round, which made him hop slightly. There was a drag mark of sand over them. He followed it and for some reason and un-be known to himself, he stated crouching and creeping. The rock path lead into a small sand path that wound round the tree, he thought to himself maybe this was just another path to the village that he hadn’t seen yet. He carried on creeping and the noise steadily grew louder, it was without a doubt a wooden object hitting another wooden object. He came to a small cross road in the path and followed it left closer to the noise. As he crept around a corner the narrow path opened up into a wide circular dead end, he slowly leaned himself around the corner, slowly revealing the sound maker to himself.
There stood, two backs with wooden sticks in their hands, they looked like sign posts without the signs. They had their back towards Freeman was. Where both stood there; systematically whacking an object which was also wooden. He leaned further around the corner and could see that they were the boys he had passed the following day. They were playing like most boys, destructively. They were bringing their superior objects down on this wooden mess, breaking it into pieces and then further smashing the pieces into even smaller pieces. The object was about 6 feet long and about 2-3 foot across. He felt bold and snuck even closer to them, as he did he realised the object they were destroying was in fact a object he knew. It was his boat. With this realisation and his previous experience that had sparked his anger, he flew towards them. His violence was more to do with his failed attempt to defend himself against the previous man than anything to do with his feeling for his boat. He pushed the first one into the wreckage of his boat and quickly punched the other one in the face. He didn’t speak; he just dropped his wooden post so he could cling to his face and ran off abandoning his friend. Freeman picked up the wooden post and as the boy got himself up, he hit him in the face with it. The boy with a small spray of saliva and blood fell to the ground and didn’t move at all. He stood over him with the wind gently blowing the sand onto his body. He didn’t know if he was unconscious or dead, and he didn’t care. He took what remained of the boat, well the pieces that were worth taking. Just a few planks of bent and wet wood and left in complete calm, leaving the boy without checking him.
He walked with the planks under his arm and threw the sign post into a hedge as he began his walk back to the shed. He felt rather calm but was still irritable by the heat, he couldn’t wait to get back into some shade. He got back to the shed and tried to open it which caused a jangling noise. He looked down to see the lock and remembered the man saying he had locked up the house and shed. He set the planks of wood in the sun to dry and sat himself in the shade of the roof of the house. After a while he got some hay and placed it there to sit on. He took his shirt from his waist and laid it over the hay and sat thinking and relaxing. Now he was in the shade he noticed just how hungry he was. He put his hand in his pocket, and then the other one. His tin wasn’t there. He got up annoyed and traced his walk back to the beach and the path where he found his boat. The whole time he did not find it and the boy was still lying there. He huffed to himself and walked all the way back to the bundle of hay under the roof and sat there. He thought to himself the man won’t be too long. I could smash a window and go inside. I could just repair it with him. He somehow felt that wouldn’t be right. So he waited.
He sat thinking. Why had his things been taken? The blanket that was the first comfort after being freed and the boat that delivered him into his freedom. Why was it that the loss of his blanket didn’t make him violent but seeing the boat destroyed did? Was he enraged because the symbol and object of his freedom was being disrespected? He couldn’t pin point why. His emotions confused him. It seemed to him like only after events did he make up the reason why and make symbols of everything that had happened. That habit disgusted him. He was free but sat here waiting for the man, like a loyal dog. Hungry and slowly becoming more and more cold as the sun started to fall out of the days sky. It still confused him to think he wasn’t violent to a fully grown man who knew what he was doing but was violent towards two playful boys just playing around with something that was his but didn’t know it. Did he always have to resort to violence to stay free with what was his? Is this the way the world was? With this thought he naturally went onto his imprisonment. If he had to commit these violent acts in order to be free and keep his freedoms, what did he do to have that freedom taken away? The moment he tried to think about such things his mind went blank and he couldn’t think. As he thought away he decided to lie down in the hay on top of his shirt. He thought and thought and thought until he slipped into unconsciousness.
He woke up in a dimly lit room. He sat himself up and recognised the grey flooring and that thin blanket around him. He was imprisoned again. He looked around the room and to his surprise he wasn’t alone. Sat on the stool, was the man from the beach with the black blanket wrapped around him while he read the thick book. He didn’t speak or move but for the turning of the pages. He stood up and went to him in order to look over his shoulder. He couldn’t read the pages but as he studied it he noticed a limb sticking out from under his bed. He stared, blinking, hoping that his blinking would make it disappear. It didn’t. He went over to his bed and crouched and then placed his knees on the floor, as he peeked under the bed he seen that it was the boy that he knocked out or potentially killed. He was grey and lifeless: clearly dead. He stood himself up and leaned himself against the bars of his jail cell in order to keep his balance as his legs started to stiffen and he found moving increasingly difficult. He looked to his left as he tried to keep his balance. It was open. He stumbled forward, falling against the wall and the jail bars. Grabbing furiously as he started to fall unable to stand anymore. He was reduced to being on his knees, so he shuffled himself out of the cell. He looked right and left. The guard was drunk and asleep, as before. He shuffled towards him, which made his kneecaps bleed as they rubbed and ripped against the stone work and dust. He gritted his teeth as he got closer in order to silence his groans of pain. He reached the guard but was unable to stand and pull himself up to steal the key again. As he tried the guard coughed which forced him awake. The guard leaned forward right into Freeman’s face. He was eyeless. He opened his mouth to say something but he was also tongue-less. He fell forward and onto Freeman, like a dead corpse. He struggled under his body until he had pulled himself out from under him. He pulled the body onto his back and checked the pocket he knew the key was in. It was indeed there. He looked back at the door, it looked so painfully far away. He begun scrapping his knees on the flooring again, this time leaving a blood trail. He couldn’t take the pain anymore, he felt he was going to scream if he carried on, it hurt so badly. He laid his chest on the floor and began to crawl. He pushed his fingers into the floor and dust, grabbing at it and pulling his chest across the floor. As he did his shirt started to rip open, leaving his chest bare and open to the floor as he pulled his body across and against it. Just when he felt he could not pull himself anymore he looked up and was full of joy to see he was at the door. He didn’t know how he was going to reach the door lock and open it but he was just happy he was at the door. He looked to his left to see the man was still reading in silence and the boy was still lifeless and unmoving. He pushed his body up with a push up. As he was leaning up he heard the door click. It slowly creaked open and a man in a black cloak was stood over him. Freeman looked up at him and recognised his face.
The face was the farmer, the man who gave him a bed, food and clothes. Just as he went to speak the man raised his boot to Freeman and stamped on his face. As if being hit he was shook from his sleep. It was indeed the farmer, slapping his face. “Wake up!” He looked up at him and spoke with a monotone voice “I am.” He was still a little dazed. His face and body was wet, so was his shirt and hay. He was confused and slapped his own face against his face, feeling the wetness. It had been raining and still was as a drop fell into his eye. He shot up and stood, standing to fast and almost fainting leaning against the house. “Are you okay? I only just got back and found you sleeping outside in the rain.” “I’m fine, just had a dream.” The man went to the shed and unlocked the padlock and removed it, entered it and took the bowl. Go into the shed, take your clothes off, I will bring dry ones and some food.” He entered his house and all that could be heard was clicking noises. Freeman without thinking took all of his clothes off and threw them into the wicker basket and then sleepily walked himself over to the shed and entered. He stood waiting, looking at the door from the inside, holding his arms around him, warming and hugging himself while he shakes from the coldness, goose bumps emergency all over his body. He could hear the man running through the rain and then he broke in, accidentally slamming the door into the side of the shed. He stepped back as the sight of Freeman naked was absorbed into his eyes. He set the bowl down and passed him some clothes. Freeman put them on like a child who was excited to go to school. More throwing them on, than putting them on. “Sit down.” Freeman did what he was told. “Take this and eat it, it should warm you.” He passed Freeman the bowl from the floor and he began eating. The man stood watching him for a while, then he turned his back and spoke softly “I’ll be up early tomorrow; we’ll be working all day again. I’ll come wake you, okay?” Freeman spoke with his mouth full, making him sound like a child “Yes, okay. See you then.” The man didn’t turn his back but just exited the shed. As he closed the door, there was an odd nose and a click. Which was followed by the slow footsteps of the farmer walking through the wet earth and then the click of his door opening and the slam of it closing.
Freeman sat happily eating his food, he ate it a little too fast, producing a huge burp. He set the bowl to the side of his bed and felt a little uneasy. He put himself on his knees and hobbled over to the door and pushed on it. With a clunk cluck of metal connecting with metal his suspicious was confirmed, he had been locked in. But why? If the farm had always locked his belongings then that does make sense. You don’t know who would steal them, but surely him being in here was protection enough. If he was being locked in here just like all of his tools, was he just the farmer’s tool? A belonging? This thought deeply worried him. He set it aside and lay himself down. He needed plenty more rest for tomorrow mornings work.
He was woken up by the click of metal and just as he had said, it was early and the entire day was filled with food. He was rewarded with food, and then they both carried on working until very late. They spoke a little outside of the house and then the farmer always seemed to make an excuse to go into his house, always locking the door behind him. Freeman would stay outside but feel watched. He would then go into the shed where the farmer would come in with some food, leave it and lock him in saying goodnight. This became the usual routine, day after day.
Freeman had just been going with the flow of work and eating and not thinking too much. But one night he could not sleep, he was restless. He sat himself upright and leaned his back against the door, as all the other walls had tools on and to lean against them would mean cutting your body open or having a rake stuck in your back. He thought about all that had happened since he had killed that guard. Was it worth it? He would of course died of starvation eventually if he hadn’t. With each day of work he realised that he was owned by the farmer, being put away like a tool and being feed to work. He was in basic and essential talk, imprisoned again. But this was different to him but he couldn’t identify why. Why was this different? When he was imprisoned he made no choices, they were all made for him. With the farmer was this not the case still? He knew logically it was, as he hadn’t really made any deals or choices. Merely gone with the farmer’s. But to call it unjust or unfair seemed a leap ahead of what it was. The more he thought, the more it seemed to him that he was imprisoned again but in a different way. When in the cell he was imprisoned to other peoples choices, he was now but he was also imprisoned by the sheer amount of choices he could make. When the farmer offered him work he took it up as it meant he didn’t have to face all the choices that freedom meant. He had enchained himself to fewer choices and made the farmer his master. This made him extremely uncomfortable. As he thought about how he could tell the farmer and leave, he felt sad and scared. Sad that he would loss what he had, but what had he got? Chains and owned? He felt scared that he would be open to every choice and possibility and that overwhelmed him. And what if the entire world was like this? He would just have to find another master and what if they were worse? But what if they were better? He toyed with those thoughts for hours and let them disturb him greatly.
As he wrestled with this idea, he knew whatever his choices, he would be faced with more and that, to him, was the key issue. He didn’t want to make choices, he didn’t want anyone to be his master, he wanted to be free but freedom made his choices unlimited and that terrified him. He knew that he must made a choice, but he made the one choice he knew, that would give him no more, and if he choose the choice, was he not free? He stood himself up and looks at the scaffolding on the shed ceiling. He unbuckled his belt and wrapped it around the scaffolding. He was still underfed and weighed almost nothing; he knew he couldn’t break it even if he tried. And with that he set it up and used a little stool that he found in the corner. He stood on it and wrapped the belted around his neck,. He sighed and kicked the stool from under his feet. And with his last moments, he made himself utterly and entirely free. The only way a man can.
A quiet voice, or the virtue of finding one’s voice.
Chapter one – Escaping the nest:
In a small room, bare and Spartan, this is interrupted by the walls, on these walls rests notes and small scraps of paper with drawings and paintings on them. They are of everything and anything; buildings, flowers, animals, hands, faces, abstractions and none-sensical depictions of emotions. These are raw and pure emotions expressed through art. They are alone by subject but a collective of one being. Solitary but one. They all belong to a young girl named Geneva. Being somewhat inward and apparently unusual. She brings attention to herself by the mere fact that she never seeks or brings attention to herself. She often sits quietly, content to draw or paint and collect them on her wall. She doesn’t know why but having them all together on the wall and being clearly visible no matter where she is, comforts her. Even when she is out of her room, she can see the wall in her mind which comforts her. The wall often brings her to tears which she cannot rationalise or express in words. That is why she paints or draws, she knows no other way to express herself so accurately. Although she doesn’t identify how she feels or thinks, she knows that her art is her and exactly how she thinks and feels.
When she first started to do such things at a much earlier age due to going to school and being introduced to the arts, her parents were shocked and worried. Often getting angry by her constant and obsessive desire to make such things and express herself only in this way. They used to take these works of her expression and burn them or destroy them or remove them in some other way. She could not understand why this was and never asked or even opposed them doing such things. This was more due to her not actually understanding why than through her timidness. She just accepted it and continued expressing herself in this way regardless to their reaction. Whether they approved or not, destroyed or not was irrelevant to her urge to create, represent and express herself through her art. She could always create the pieces removed again and again, which she always did, but making them slightly different each time. The difference was not due to a failure of pictorial memory but due to her urge to change and experiment with herself, never staying the same, being a constant changing person. She wasn’t able to do such a thing outside of herself, so she did it inwardly through her art.
She was at dinner, which was always a silent, awkward chore. Her entire family would sit at a circular table, chatting and eating while she sunk into her chair wishing to become invisible, but someone would always mention something about her. Like today a speck of paint was left on her chin, although she furiously washed all of the paint or ink or pencil marks off her body every single day before breakfast, lunch and dinner because she knew how her parents hated it, she had somehow forgot her own face while cleaning everything else that paint had touched. This speck of paint on her chin was noticed by everyone as she sat down, sparking interest in her parents, then her uncles and grandparents. Her mother making some crude remark about not being clean and able to look after herself despite her age. Taking a wet and warm flannel and roughly grabbing her chin, rubbing it furiously onto her face and chin as if the immediate removal of a speck of paint could save her life from some disgusting and mortal illness. There were no words, no sighs, and no complaints from Geneva. Her mother having finally become happy and satisfied with her efforts which long ago removed the paint, stopped. Pulling a smug grin and throwing the flannel into the bin as if now diseased by the minuscule droplet of dried paint. She then sat down and continued to eat her food as the rest of the family shook their heads and carried on too. Geneva felt starving and felt the desire to quickly eat all her food and return to her room and art and more importantly; herself. She started to eat, not too slow but not too eager, resisting both the urge to play with her food to satisfy her boredom and to quickly eat to satisfy her hungry and return to herself. She made sure she wasn’t the first to finish, nor the last.
She sat patiently as each person finished, stood and left, talking and laughing their way into the living room to be together. As her granddad got up and left, finishing last, as he always did. Not saying a word or even noticing her presence. She got up, cleared and cleaned the table and begun washing the dishes. She thought of how her granddad annoyed her the most. She had a suspicious feeling that he ate so slow in purpose. Even when everyone else was done he deemed to slow and eat in a painfully messy way, dropping the same forkful of food again and again and again and yet again just to drop it again. This agonised Geneva daily, three times a day, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. She noticed as he ate normally until someone left, with each person’s presence gone, he slowed and slowed and became accident prone with his food. She knew he was perfectly capable, as he was often in the living room eating some snack normally and quickly, to grab another and another and eat it with haste and no accidents. This made it all the more agonising for her. She took her time, knowing that anything less than a perfectly clean set of cutlery would never be forgotten and would result in some kind of self-expression being limited. Like her paints being taken. This had been done before. So long as she did everything that was asked and expected of her, then they would allow her to keep expressing herself. She could tell her form and way of expression annoyed her parents for some reason. Maybe because it wasn’t seen as useful to the family. She didn’t know, or particularly care, as long as she wasn’t stopped. That is all that mattered to her.
She let everything dry, then wiped everything with a cloth and left the kitchen to go to her room. Walking through the living room to get to the stairs, feeling eyes but looking at her feet and keeping her hair on the side facing them untucked behind her ear so she couldn’t see them even if she wanted to. She reached her room and closed the door with her back, leaning on the door and not moving. Slowly sliding down to her knees. For her, it is not the people or even if she does or doesn’t care that bothered her. It is the atmosphere; oppressive and suffocating. It tires her; it wears her down and out. She is always glad to be back with herself. Being away makes her mind cloudy, her emotions fake and impure. She cannot and will not express herself outside of her art for she doesn’t feel it to be authentic. When she was younger and tried to talk or interact with others, she always felt somehow fake, lame, somehow not her. She was content to be back among herself. She stood herself up and walked over to her bed, making a little hop onto her bed, sitting herself on her pillows cross legged with her back against the wall. She pulled her curtains aside to look outside, as she always had them closed so she can concentrate on her art. She felt somehow different, she didn’t want to paint, and she wanted something new.
She looked outside and could see the sun resting between two distant mountains, slowly sinking. Without a second thought she opened her window and began to climb down the plant bed which ran up her house wall. She knew she wouldn’t be seen as her room was on the side that the kitchen was and no one ever goes in at this time. She gently and slowly lowered her almost weightless, petite body down and placed her feet in the soul, pushing her heels of her boots into it with pleasure. She felt excited and giddy, casually walking towards the sun and its two worshipping mountains. Slowly her shadow grew longer behind her as the sun sunk deeper into the valley, and she, a shadow, disappearing into the distance.
Chapter two – The crushing of the ant:
As Geneva walked on and on, the night descended down on her. Although it darkened quickly the temperature barely changed. She was no longer sweaty or stuffy so she was still warm enough to have no complaints. But she was tiring and her feet began to stumble as her boots became heavier and heavier. She had no idea where she was; she never went for walks and was unfamiliar to the area. Also her leg muscles ached at the new exercise that her usually sedentary life style never gave her. As she walked on and began to think about taking a seat, she imagined how stupid such a thought was, as if she was going to stumble and walk, run out of strength and fall only to look up and see the seat she imagined; her bed. She shook her head to physically as well as mentally push the thought aside as she walking on. She came to a group of trees and approached them. She looked up studying them. They were extremely tall and branched out far and wide creating a roof of leaves and branches. She thought how this could protect her if it began to rain. As she looked up at the branches spreading out across the sky, she considered how they looked like the veins in her eyes when she didn’t sleep. Interlocking strands of wiggly lines. For some reason this made them far more beautiful then she had ever considered them before. She made plans to paint them if she got the chance. As she followed one of the biggest branches down, she realised it was all one tree. The tree’s trunk split into three, all three being nearly as thick as the beginning trunk, making it look like three trees until you see the split further down. It reminded her of the odd and old books that her uncles kept, with pictures of tall, hairy men and stuck together children. This made the tree all the more beautiful yet again, purely because it stood out and wasn’t like all the others. As she walked towards the tree and gently stroked the trunk, she walked around the trunk in a wide circle, never walking more than two feet from it so she could continually stroke it as she surveyed it. She noticed the back of the tree was situated right next to a small mound of dirt, like a miniature hill. In the back of the tree was a gap, not cut but naturally split open. It went up from the ground to about three feet and then ended in a semi-circle arch. Without even caring to investigate anymore, she sprang to sit in the gap. It wasn’t exactly what she would call comfortable, but was also nothing to moan about. It kept her hidden, the mound would protect her from the wind and the tree’s wide branch span would prevent the rain from getting her, if it did rain, that is. She snuggled herself to the back of the tree gap with her back leaning on its sturdiness and with her feet placed in front of her. She leaned slightly to the side and hugged herself to sleep. For once, her mind was blank and peaceful.
She woke suddenly being hit by something; she opened her eyes and couldn’t see. As she moved her head her vision was clear and then covered again. She blinked with confusion. Then slowly realised it was just light. It was shining over the small hill directly into her face, blocking her vision until she moved her head down so the hill blocked it again. She kept her head down and placed her hands in front of her, slowly crawling forward. She turned herself to face the tree and stretched herself up. Clicking and popping her back and arms as she stood and stretched, she let out a little sigh at her new found flexibility. Feeling the sun on her back felt strangely energising. She felt a warm pang of pain in her stomach, she was hungry. She successfully re-found the original path she was walking and hoped that the way she was facing would lead her further from home, rather than back towards it. She began walking, looking all around her as she did, for any trace of food; a tree with hanging fruit , a patch of grass with a randomly growing vegetable, a bush covered in berries. She could see one of these things she imagined, which made her stomach hurt more. She considered returning home; maybe it wasn’t too late for breakfast. If she did and indeed could return home for breakfast her absence may still be unknown and unnoticed, and of course she could fill her groaning and growling stomach. Even if she made the choice to go back home, which she did not, it would change nothing. She didn’t know which way it was either way. So she merely carried on walking.
After an hour or so of walking while her stomach growled for food she came to a corner which revealed a small town. Many houses, some with sighs outside of them. She approached them to read them, they read ‘bookstore’, ‘Tool supplies’, Clothing’ and so on. As she explored she passed a small cafe with people sat outside in the sun eating all kinds of delicious foods. Her eyes widened and she had to grab at her stomach for the urge to gorge herself on other people’s was so strong that she felt her stomach was going to escape herself. She knew she had no money on her, she never did. That pleasure was for parents and the well off children only. She had never had that pleasure nor cared to try it, even if it was available to her. She walked inside the cafe which was empty except for a aged man behind the counter, everyone else was sat outside eating. She awkwardly approached the counter as her nostrils filled with the pleasurable smell of freshly baked bread. She shyly made some none-sensical noise in order to get his attention as she stood at the counter, he turned around to face her as he was stacking small boxes on the side which was now behind him. “Yes ma’am?” he said with a smile which quickly wrinkled into a grin and then into a frown as he studied her messy hair and clothes, covered in light grass and dirt marks. “Erm, I don’t have money, I am starving, could I erm…” her voice faded into silence as she noticed how utterly selfish her request was. “Could you ‘erm’ what, young lady?” He smiled again, this time keeping it genuine and pleasant. This restored her confidence and she continued “Could I work for some food?” “I’m afraid children cannot work.” “Hm…I won’t tell anyone?” “Let me change the request for you. Are you homeless?” She stood thinking, she thought to herself, she was homeless as of last night. “Yes…” “Well then, instead of working, I can give yu the leftovers when the day ends.” “Oh, thank you!” As she said this her stomach made a monstrously loud groan. The man couldn’t resist laughing as she blushed, having her hope that he hadn’t heard her smashed by his laugh. “I see, or should I say hear’ that your stomach cannot wait! Hold on.” He leaned down and pulled a freshly cooked piece of bread from out of the display counter and passed it to her. “Eat, if you wait around the back, I will bring the leftovers of the day for you to eat. I do this for a homeless man called George everyday. You will meet him when you go.” “Oh, thank you, again!” She resisted the urge to snatch the bread out of his hand and respectfully took it from him, gently and slowly, smiling at him and then leaving the cafe holding the bread like it was some holy relic, her smile beaming like the hot day’s sun.
She sat herself at one of the cafe chairs outside and happily ate the bread. She deliberately took her time to savour each bite while she over heard several conversations at other tables. She wasn’t listening to the words but just the noise. She didn’t care for what they were saying or talking about, just the fact that the noise of other people somehow comforted her. After a hour or so of just listening and letting her stomach devour the bread inside her stomach, she set off on a small walk around the town. Later deciding to go back to the cafe. It was too early for it to be closing but she didn’t see any harm in going there and resting.
She approached the cafe and walked around it to get to the back, there was a small alleyway between the cafe and the building next to it. Walking down it she noticed how soft the ground was. Like a soft carpet of dirt. It smelt ever so slightly damp, which she guessed was from the lack of sunlight access for the dirt here. She walked with added emphasis, pushing her heels into each step, twisting them into the floor with pleasure. She could over hear someone moving around and then silence. As she came to the end of the path it split into a open area; a garden. She surveyed the area as she walked, most of it was out of the sunshine, just grass and a dew very small, weak looking trees. She could see a shadow sat in the shade, she continued walking the small garden. After a while getting bored of the starkness and its lack of anything else but grass and a few trees. She walked into the shade and walked across the strip out of the sun until she was close enough to the shadowed person to make him out clearer. She guessed it was the man who the cafe worker had mentioned. He was sat n a tree stump that wasn’t attached to the floor, leaning back, almost laid all the way back, his back on the wood of the building with a ragged, old looking hat tilted to cover his face while his hands were together on his lap. He was twiddling his thumbs. Very, very slowly.
As she watched him play with his own fingers she went to speak but he beat her to it. “And you are?” She panicked by the sudden words and didn’t get a chance to reply before he spoke again “Scared you, did I?”, he lifted his right hand to tilt his hat back onto his head so he could see. He looked at her from feet to forehead, studying her “Hello, young lady.”, he said with a soft but wrinkly smile. “Hello, you must be George.” He continued looking up at her, smiling. “So I not only am a bum but I also look like one?” She panicked again and felt she had offended him. He broke the silence left by his remark “I can tell you’re not social, I was joking.” He pulled a tree stump from behind him and pushed it to his side. “Take a seat, if you like? I’m just napping anyway.” “Thank you.” She sat and as she took a seat she made a small, soft sigh as her skin touched the hardness of the make-shift seat. “Erm, I’m Geneva by the way,” He didn’t say anything or move his body, he stared into the distance and then reached his hand from his side in order to shake her hand. “I’m George, as you well know.” “Hello” she said shaking his hand and returning a smile as thanks for changing the atmosphere to one of friendliness. “You just shook the hand of the only homeless person in this town, aren’t you honoured.” “Erm, yes.” “But if you’re here, are you meant to be cutting the grass?” “No, I’m not. I’m just waiting for the cafe to close.” “Why?” “Food” She replied bluntly. “Oh! The same reason as me then.” “Yes, the man in the cafe told me you would be here.” He looked over to her with a face of puzzlement as he studied her, as if he was trying to figure something out. “So…You’re homeless too?” “I guess so.” “Then I am no longer the only one.” “I guess so to that too.” “I see.” He reached his hand to his chin and rubbed gently at it, making a quiet scratching noise as is few days worth of stumble is stroked at. “How did you become homeless? You’re very young ad clearly haven’t been homeless long.” She looked at her grass and dirt marked clothes and admitted to herself that she doesn’t look nothing more than a lost girl after a walk in the forest. “Erm, I ran away.” “From home?” “Yes.” “From your parents.” “Yes, I left home ” “Why?” She leaned her chin on her hand and furrowed her eyebrows, thinking. She had not actually thought about it since she had left. Why had she left? “I just wanted an adventure.” “I see.” There was some truth in what she had told him but it wasn’t everything. She knew she left for many reasons, even if she hadn’t voiced them or even thought or considered them at the time. But to deny that they didn’t influence her instincts to leave would be to deny the obvious truth. “Well, I left because I didn’t like being there.” “Oh, tell me” “Erm…I just felt oppressed or suppressed to be more exact…Maybe.” “How so?” “I don’t really know…Any way in everything?” “So, nothing was good about it?” “I like my paintings, my room, my own company.” “Ah, it sounds like you did indeed just need an adventure. If you paint, the adventure could help you!” “Yes” She looked at her feet and stayed silent for a while, thinking about this.
They sat and spoke for what seemed like minutes but was actually hours. About anything and everything, somethings and nothing. As they talked the sun began to lower and with that came the sense and sight of the coming night. Someone was heard closing a door and clunking metal together for a short while.Then the slightly soggy sound of the dirt path being walked, got louder and louder until the man from the cafe came around the corner and approached them without even looking. This gave Geneva the idea that this homeless man must always stay in the same spot in the shadow. He smiled at George and nodded at Geneva. Passing them both a small wicker basket full of half eaten or hardened breaded goods. “There you go, enjoy! I am heading home now.” They both thanked him with a nod and by respectfully taking the food from this pleasant and giving man. He gave a small wave over his shoulder as he left and disappeared with the sound of his footsteps, which soon disappeared too. They sat happily filling their faces and stomach with random pieces of different baked goods. Some sweet, some savoury, but all delicious, even the slightly hard and mouldy pieces, when you’re hungry almost anything is delicious. They both finished and George placed Geneva’s basket on top of his and put them under the roof of the back of the cafe, so tomorrow the man could pick them up, as he did everyday. They both sat back, content and gently rubbing and stroking at their now full bellies. He turned his head to her “You have somewhere to sleep?” “No.” “Well, if you look over there, under that tree I have a small mat and some old clothes. You can use that as a bed for tonight.” “Oh thank you!” “Just tonight though, I need it and they are mine.” “Of course.” she nodded at him and yawned “I think I will go right now, I am sleepy.” He raised his hand to wave and then slid his hat forward again to cover his eyes while he stretched his legs out, making a big yawns and sign which knocked his hat to the side, which he tilted back again. She stood herself up and walked over to the little tree, there was indeed several small piles of clothes on a small mat. She sat in the middle of the mat and laid herself on her side, pulling the clothes over her. They smelled musky, like a grown man who had been working and hadn’t changed or washed yet. The smell didn’t bother her. She fell asleep so quickly and suddenly that she didn’t even get the chance to think about her day.
Geneva was forcefully woken up by having her make-shift bed sheets made out of clothes torn off of her. As she opened her eyes, not even knowing who she was or where she was yet, she was roughly and force-ably picked up and placed onto a huge, muscly man’s shoulder. In panic she kept silent and paralysed. He slowly walked, gripping her close like a possession he needed to keep close at all costs. She could barely see over his shoulders, as her sleeping mat became more distant she noticed the rising sun in the distance over the roofs. It must be extremely early in the morning she guessed. She wasn’t sure why she was being so docile but she remained still, watching as the back of his man’s boots came into view one by one, a heel at a time as he walked. They were heavy and strong looking boots, the kind she imagined on a soldier. He slowed and turned, standing next to a man dressed exactly like he was. “Take her home, now.” the man not carrying her said with a dominant tone, almost a growl. She stayed still and just watched this man as the man who was carrying her turned and carried her away. As she was carried further away she noticed that George was standing at the far side under the shadow of the roof, he walked forward and looked as if he was talking but she couldn’t hear him at this distance. “So where is my reward?” said George, “What reward?” replied the man, putting his thumbs under his belt and flexing his chest out while he straightened his back. “The reward for returning her.” “Ah.” he said and then cleared his throat, coughing into his closed mouth and then spitting what he coughed up onto the floor next to George’s foot. The man narrowed his eyes at George as he spoke, “We’ll be keeping that.” He turned to leave and as sudden as George had heard this and noticed his intent to leave, he grabbed his hand at the man’s wrist and spoke, looking up at him “That’s not how it works, son.” The man gritted his teeth as he had suddenly became irritated and was losing his temper “Oh, is that so? Says who? You?! A homeless! Old! Pathetic man!” George loosened his grip on his wrist feeling the man’s irritation, but he did not let go. “Just give me my money.” As quick as George’s sentence ended the man raised his free hand and slapped it across the homeless mans face, making him release his grip and fall back, grabbing his hands at his face. The man then stood over him and shook his hand in the air as if to shake off the sting of striking him with it. “That’s not how it works, ‘son’.” He turned his back on the homeless man and walked away, slowly, with the purpose of showing the old man that he felt no rush or danger to do anything other than be completely calm and take his time. George sat himself up rubbing the palm of his hands at his face.
Chapter three – The making of the Queen:
Geneva was walked all the way home by these two men, talking about obscene things and not caring that she was clearly in ear shot. She however, was not listening anyway. She was thinking about the future or to be more precise; the immediate future. She wondered what her parents thought when they found out or even how they noticed she was missing in the first place. She thought to herself it was probably during breakfast when she guessed her mother had noticed her absence. Mots probably going red-faced as she noticed and with rage she must have stomped up the stairs like a storm personified, only to smash Geneva’s door open to find nothing. Did she get angry? Did she worry at the thought of her only daughter, her only child being missing? Maybe she had regret. Who knows? Geneva didn’t. She wasn’t sure what her mother’s reaction would of been, but she betted more on the anger being the reaction, and the indifference of everyone else. She got lost in these thoughts and didn’t notice the passage of time. As the two men walked and talked on, they walked just as much as they talked. The man who wasn’t carrying her told the carrier to stop while they were about half way there, informing him that they were t sit and rest while they have a little something to eat. The man gently lifted her up and placed her down o the floor, sitting a few feet away from her. While the other man, the one who was obviously in charge, removed a small sack that was hanging from the back of his belt. He opened it and took a few handfuls of some odd looking cracker like things, then he threw the bag at the sitting man as he ate, each bite making a echoing crunch. As did the man sat next to Geneva, he passed her one cracker, which she gladly took from him with a nod, eating the entire cracker in one bite and instantly regretting not savouring it with many tiny bites. She sat and watched them as they ate, one standing, one sitting. Just as she started to get a tiny bit bored and about to sigh, the man who was sat stood himself up and tossed the now empty sack at the man in charge. He caught it as it gently lowered down to his height in the air. Geneva stood herself up knowing they were about to set off for the rest of the journey to her house. The man with the sack in hand, tucked it back into the back of his belt without looking and begun walking without a word or sign to his partner to follow him. The man stood next to her and slowly and gently placed his big, rough hands on her wrist and started walking to follow the other man. Geneva did a little skip in order to avoid being dragged and then slowed her pace to match his once she had caught up with the skip. As she walked she did a few times entertain the idea of wriggling her wrist and yanking it out of his grip. She was skinny enough she assumed that it wouldn’t be too hard to flex her wrist out of the grip. What prevented her was not the thought that she couldn’t do such a thing, the thought that stopped her was the thought of ‘What next?’ She would either risk injury and be grabbed again and most probably thrown on his shoulders once again. Or she would escape and have to run, but to where exactly? She couldn’t return to the town, that was too obvious. She no longer wanted adventure right now, she wanted to rest, to eat decent food and to be alone. Se wanted to paint and express herself. She wanted to be her, but not in the way that she was as always, but the way that she was when she was expressing herself, which was to her opinion, when she was at her best, when she was truly herself. She pondered and wondered all of this while walking in the man’s loose grip, but at this point she had forgotten he was holding her, wrist or even existed.
And walked and walked together in silence, with the birds singing and the sun breaking through from behind the clouds only to become shy and hid itself behind them once again. They walked in the middle of two steep hills, following a pathway. She recognised both the path and the hills, she was almost home. In silence the house came into view in the far distance, to grow in size and become larger and more real with each step. The sound of their boots changed as they crushed and pushed down into the pebble footpath leading to the door. They stopped a few feet from the door. Geneva looked up an for once did not entertain her urge to slip back into her thoughts and her own world. The man let go of her wrist suddenly and sat himself down next to the footpath, looking up at the sky as he sat cross legged. The other man, the leader, rapped his knuckles on the door and waited. Neither one of the men seemed to pay any attention to Geneva or her presence. The door clicked and creaked as it was opened from inside. As the door slide open, the face of Geneva’s mother was revealed. She had a somewhat blank, almost dopey like expression on her face. She held the door with both hands like a curiously shy animal peeking around a corner. Giving a quick glance at Geneva, she then stared at the man, waiting for him to speak. He stared back, as he assumed her to speak first and then seeing that this was not going to happen and unwilling to waste time staring at each other he spoke. “I have returned your child, courtesy of the local police force.” “Oh.” she said, pushing the door fully open and away from her, she stood in the door entrance and took two steps outside of the doorway. “So I see.” she said softly as she gave Geneva a quick, studying looking over. Geneva did not look away, nor did she feel uncomfortable. ‘Why should I be intimidated or timid?’ she thought to herself. “I take it the reward is still available for collecting?” said the man, playing his teeth grin on his face as he spoke like a happy and slightly devilish young boy. “Of course, if you would just like to com in for a moment. I can get that for you right away.” She passively signalled her hand for him to enter the house, he did so, looking straight ahead of him as he did with his gin and stopping to stand just inside the house. Her mother gave Geneva a nod and turned her back to approach the man, she said something to him that she didn’t quite catch and then she, but not him, walked into another room. Geneva looked to the man sat near the path, he had glanced down from his sky watching and had noticed her watching him. She began to move closer to the house and gave a meek wave to him as she did. He did nothing but give a nod to show her that he had noticed her wave and then continued his sky watching. She entered the house and casually walked past the man who was waiting, staring at a picture on the wall and humming to himself. She walked up the stairs and went straight to her room. As she entered the familiar and comforting smell of herself entered her nostrils. The sight of herself on the walls pleased her eyes. She gently closed the door and sat herself on her bed, her back to the wall with her legs crossed. She just sat taking in the smell and sight of her room and the gentle feel of her bed pressing against her body. She listened to the muffled noise of her mother speaking to the man, his speech in return more bassy and harder to hear the individual words but easier to feel. This went on a few times, exchanging words and then it stopped and the familiar slam of the front door was heard and then another door slam. Her mother had closed the front door and entered another one, and was now talking, most probably to the rest of the family. She however did not come up stairs as Geneva has expected and was waiting for. Se waited and waited until it began to dawn on her that she was waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen. She laid herself down, her head on a fluffy, soft pillow and stared at the ceiling going through all that had happened to her since she had left. The bed softly and tenderly comforting her body in such a way that she thought how stupid it was to ever leave it. And with that thought she fell asleep like an exhausted child who had just sat down after a long and adventurous day out.
Geneva woke up nestled into her pillows, her arms wrapped around one with her torso laid on it as if it was another person in a loving embrace with her. She looked up in her confused state and sat herself up rubbing her palms into her eye sockets gently to remove the clouds inside her head as well as the sleep that had formed around and near her eyes. She swung her legs over the bed and placed her feet on the cold wooden floor, making her instantly fully wake up with a small creak as her tiny weight pushed into the floor. As she stood herself up stretching her arms behind her back she spotted a small plate on the side of her desk, she could only make it out from the darkness because it was so white compared to the rest of the room and its environment. She found matches with her hands not her eyes and struck one after fumbling with the box, lighting a small orb around her, of which everything was visible inside that orb of light. She placed it into the lamp-turn, lit it and blew out the match, as the wisp of smoke arose to her face and wraps around her until it reached the ceiling she slid the container over the flame in order to bring light to the entire room. Everything came into view so quickly, yet so clearly in an instant. She took the plate which she could now see properly, it had scraps of different foods on it, bread, cooked vegetable and small pieces of grey cooked meat. She slowly picked them up one at a time and ate them, chewing each one for much longer than she had to, just to savour the flavour before she swallowed each piece. She did this while walking around her room and stopping to stare at her wall which was still plastered with her art. She looked at her art and decided she wanted to paint. She placed the plate back down onto her desk and crouched down by her bed and reached her hands under. She stuck her tongue out as she searched with her hands, she grabbed at something and pulled it out from under the bed. It was a plastic like sheet. She gently removed it to reveal large pieces of hard paper and placed the sheet on the floor, hobbling around on her knees making sure it covered as much floor as possible. She came back to the paper and made one pile of them all roughly in the middle of the sheet. She took several brushes from her desk draw and laid them just under where the paper was, returning to the desk to take small tubes of paint from the very same draw and placed them all out along side each other at the side of the paper. She placed them down so carefully, so slowly and reverently, as if they were the most precious items in the world to her. She opened each one only as she used them but never the less opening them all with the same reverence of the last, putting the paint into the lid and gently placing her brush’s tip into it to get the exact amount of paint she needed for each stroke. She leaned forward over the paper from above and placed slow and perfectly planned strokes of paint upon the paper. She stayed like this, working calmly and only stopping for a short time when she needed to let the paint dry so she could continue. When it did, she carried on painting in this exact same manner, again and again.
The sun began to pierce her curtains as she painted. She stopped and sighed as if stopping some laborious action that had taken all of her energy. She sat herself up and stretched into a standing position. As she stretched she spotted the light behind her and slid its container open to reveal the flame, pursed her lips towards it and blew it gently to blow it out. She sat herself back down at her painting, studying it as it dried. It was essentially complete except for the drying process. The painting was of the three segmented tree that she had slept inside the trunk of. It was adorned with auburn leaves, that looked as if they would fall to the ground at the slightest hint of movement or interaction. Geneva glanced at them admiringly and gently put her finger tips closer and closer to them wanting to touch the leaves and expecting a crunching noise as she did. The nose only sounded in her mind, while the paint of the leaves were already dry, she gently took the corners of the paper in her finger tips and revolved it around so it was upside down. Where the branches came up from the trees and formed a semi-circle shelter from the sky it now appeared while upside down to be the semi-circle start of a blood shot eye ball which the auburn leaves where the flesh of the eye lids leading up into a light brown trunk. It looked like a brown cat’s eye that lead into a mall mound of dirt. The sky was now the white of the eye. She smiled at it, she was pleased. She kept it where it was and ventured into the bathroom in order to wash herself as morning was coming.
She returned to clear everything away, placing everything together, taking all of the tubes of paint to her draw and carefully putting them back into their original places. Taking all of the brushes she had used and placing them inside and empty jar, brush side down. Taking every paint brush she didn’t use and putting them back into the draw just as she had done so with the paint tubes. She very carefully placed her painting against the wall, leaning it back. She collected all of her unused paper and placed the sheet around it, again and again until the sheet was nothing but a paper shaped parcel. She slid it under her bed only to find she had paint all over her hands again. The sun was breaking through her window and curtains with a full orange blaze. She took herself into the bathroom to wash yet again. She returned to her room and sat around for a while until she heard some noise and talking downstairs. After a while of listening she decide to go down stairs to get some breakfast. Breakfast was already made by her mother, she sat herself down and ate the food down almost as quickly as she had sat herself down. The family spoke as usual, offering her glances but nothing more. She was essentially acknowledged to be there and then ignored. She sat thinking while everyone else finished, they all finished and left together, even those who hadn’t actually ate all of their breakfast still left. Geneva tidied up and cleaned everything that had been used. Leaving the kitchen to go back upstairs, she wasn’t noticed as she did so.
She took her jar of paint brushes and took them downstairs to fill with hot water and left them on the window sill for the paint to wet and separate from the brushes. When she came back up into her room she gently took the painting from the floor and placed it on her desk. She stood with her palms on her desk looking at her painting and studying it. It was good, it pleased her but she didn’t feel quite the same comfort that she felt when she looked upon her wall. She stopped and strolled over to her wall to study it too, glancing at all of the art placed on her wall. This too did not satisfy her. She felt as she looked upon these pieces that she was not looking at herself or expressions of who she is, merely glancing at expressions of who she used to be, a person she used t be and cannot quite understand now. She went over to her desk again, looking at her painting. She took some sticky substance out of her draw and placed it on the back of her painting so that she could stick it on the wall. She didn’t have enough so she took more from her desk but her fingers stumbled, it dropped, she watched it drop as she tutted her lips with annoyance at her stupid hands failing to do exactly what they are meant to do. She leaned down and couldn’t see it. She put her knees to the floor and pulled her face down to the floor to look under the desk. She could see nothing but blackness. She reached her hands under, feeling dirt and dust on her finger tips. She continued to reach and search her hands around, feeling through the dust, the fluff, the dirt, her hand touched something that moved the sudden she touched it, she instantly pulled her hand back in panic and watched a spider run out from under the desk. She sighed at herself and continued, she pushed her hand until it touched the wall at the back of the desk, and sliding her hand to the left, as she did her finger slightly pushed into something rubbery, plastically and ever so slightly sticky. She thought to herself that this must be it and gripped it and pulled her hand back out of under the desk. As she did her hand touched something cold, as she hit it with her hand by accident, the object began to spin and roll itself from the impact of her hand. It rolled towards her and stopped at her knee. She placed the sticky substance back onto her desk and picked up the object and took it in both hands. It was a metal pen. She had never seen it before, it was certainly wasn’t hers and nor was she sure who’s it was or how it had got there. It was covered in dust but wasn’t rusted or dirty in any permanent sense in the slightest. She opened it, pulling the metal lid off it and looking at the pointed end. She had only ever used pencils. She took some thin paper from her desk and put the pen point to it, it worked. She didn’t write anything, she just allowed the ink to make a blob on the paper before pulling the point of the page. She put the paper away exactly where she had took it from and placed the pen on top of it with the lid back on its rightful place. She closed the draw and carried on with sticking her painting and putting it on her wall to add to her huge collection of art. Soon forgetting that she had just gained an object.
She took herself for a walk, something that she had not done for a while and in her mind ever. She never really was a fan of the sun and even now she rarely looked up from her feet . When she did it was always with a contorted, pained looking face, the sort you pull when blinded by light or having some substance stuck in an eye. After a while of walking she looked up to see the familiar valley in between the two hills and thought about her travels to the distant town. She decided to go back inside. Resting herself up against her wall while sat on her bed she suddenly got an idea. She jumped up and off her bed and approached her desk and opened the draw to see the pen was still there with the blob of ink a slightly lighter shade of black upon the paper. She took both out of the draw and placed them on top of her desk and began writing. Frantically, possessed by words. She tried to move the pen as quickly as the words flowed but she found that was impossible so she merely tried to keep up with her train of thought as quickly as she could without making mistakes. She finished it and signed it with a scribble of her name; Geneva. She folded it up and left it on the side with her newly found pen on top of it. She carried on with her day as usual, going downstairs to eat and painting and drawing her day away until the day took the sun away and forced night into play. She was exhausted and laid herself down staring at the ceiling while she thought. She couldn’t keep her eyes open and longer so she rolled over and fell fast asleep like a baby.
When she awoke it was dark, she guessed it was very early morning. She shook her sleepy aura off her and felt around for the matches, lighting it and the lamp while yawning. She got dressed in the light orb which stems from the lamp and slid the letter off the desk and into her pocket. She took the lamp from the top handle and carried it with her to the front door. It was indeed dark, but not impossible to see, she could already see the corner of the rising sun outside. She started walking down her path and followed it the way she knew would take her to the distant town. Brighter and brighter the sky became as she walked on until the lamp was practically useless, so she blew it out. Light rain hit her as so did the sun’s rays, it was warm but gloomy. She reached the town after a few hours of idle walking. There was not many people around as it was still morning, she guessed it was seven or eight o’clock from the sun’s position in the sky. She had no idea how wrong or correct she was but it didn’t seem to matter to her. She could see the man from the cafe putting chairs out and yawning as he did, stretching his arms and making bear noises as he did. He instantly hid as she seen him and watched. When he went back inside she waited again, he left and walked off, she didn’t know where he was going or why but she took this chance to quickly run into the cafe and leave the letter on the counter. She ran out of the cafe and didn’t stop until the town was out of eye-sight. She hoped that as she threw the letter down that it didn’t fall to the floor or blow off with the spend that running had produced. She smiled to herself and skipped home, which made her journey home seem far shorter. She thought to herself that she really must skip more often is that is the case. As she entered the house everyone was in the living room talking and laughing. She went into the kitchen to find everyone had eaten, so she cleaned up and made herself something to take up into her room.
She came into her room munching on a big buttery slice of bread and swallowed it down, placing the plate on her desk. She took the pen from her desk and took some paper out. She began writing. She found that when she wrote her hand was always far slower than her thoughts, so she had to pace herself or the writing would be illegible. She was not writing about anything in particular, her journey to the town, what she said in the letter, what she hoped the reaction would be, her life, her day, anything and everything. It was like a jumbled up memory. Essentially it was her brain on paper. For some reason this gave her a sense of calm while writing. She looked over what she had wrote and read it all to herself out loud, but in her tiny shy voice. She also found this pleasing to herself. She felt the same way as she did when she used to look upon her wall. That she was looking at herself, an objective self which she could not deny being. She was expressing herself, she was using her voice, she had found her voice.
The letter that she had wrote was merely a note to thank that man at the cafe for his generosity and hoping him a happy future. He was indeed pleased by it but having nothing but a name and a note, he didn’t know how to reply. He just kept the note to read when he needed cheering up and hoped he would run into her one day again.
Geneva did not stop her painting or drawing, she regained the same comfort from it as she continued to write, but she found a new way of expressing herself that wasn’t so abstract. Neither of these ways was more important than the other, but as a collective they formed manifestation of who she was. She decided to paint for other people, to write stories and give them as gifts, to thank people with notes, to send letters to completely random people with a return address. Externally her circumstances and situations was unavoidably the same. But internally, there was something brewing, a creative spark that demanded to be expressed, which demanded to be built on, which demanded to be transformed from a spark into an unstoppable fire which was to consume all of her energy and time, and indeed, her entire life.
Sins of the father, or choosing one’s own choices.
Chapter one – Absolved from choice:
I am writing here because I have no one to confide in, you’re but a piece of paper but I hope that just expressing myself here will relieve me of many pains and worries. I will keep you close in my pocket at all times, living next to a pen in that dark recess for me to summon up at anytime that I wish to express myself. I have had many ideas or thoughts and lost grasp of them merely by not expressing them to others or even myself. I hope too, that these writings will help me to pursue those difficult thoughts and no longer lose them to idleness or lack of social interaction.
I am known by my family name of Odinfeider, but I am also known as father. I am a priest in a small town. Obviously being the father of this town I get to know pretty much everyone, giving sermons and advice and…well…just generally being a part of the community, serving the people. As I write this I do consider that me being a priest in a small town seems no cause for suffering, which in general it really isn’t. I take great pleasure in the serving of the people that I do, the talks and advice I give and the way that I see I am influencing people towards God’s way. That in itself, is greatly rewarding. But like all men, I have questions, I have worries, I have debates inside my head, and that is the key to my own pains. I wish to exercise myself of this pain, or would that be exorcise? I think the best way to come to an understanding of yourself, you must delve into your past, considering all that has come before the present and use that to teach you about where you are right now, which of course is only happening right now because of that past.
I was raised like many, common and poor. My father was a deeply religious man who influenced me so greatly. Never in my life since my childhood have I had such respect and fear for one person. He was intimidating, scolding, but fair. He taught me God’s ways as I was being raised by him, my father teaching me about our father. I quickly picked up most of what he spoke of. The human condition being a curse, our own nature being corrupted and always ready to turn from God in order to indulge in some temporary pleasure. I began reading the scriptures my father had the moment he had taught me to read. I didn’t go to school, he taught me at home. And being such a wise man, he was the most excellent of teachers, but never easy on me, to which I am greatly thankful. He was quite obviously and evidently preparing me for the holy life, to serve the people and to serve our father.
At the age of fifteen I was ready to begin my priesthood and was apprenticed by my local parish, that priest himself was looking for someone to take over his main duties as he was incredibly old and literally falling apart with each year. He needed someone to take over the greater duties and to be left to advise or just help with small duties. I was delighted but took this opportunity very seriously. Solemnly. I carried on with my daily studying of the texts and began to look after my dad as he fell sick from working himself into exhaustion. With more experience my duties became more demanding, giving talks and advice, group meetings and travelling to other towns in order to educate and collaborate the masses. It was of course rewarding, not in a material sense, but deep down it rewarded something inside me, my humanity was being nurtured and pleased. By the age of nineteen my father had only worsened, not being able to work anymore he relied on me, who relied on donations to feed him. A man in that condition can only last so long, but my father kept on.
This however stopped. I was woken up by a scream one morning not long after my 20th birthday. My father was screaming my name. I of course ran to him and tried my best to comfort him, believing he had a nightmare. He grabbed my hand in his and told me he knew his time was up. He begged me to promise him that I would always do my best to serve God. I of course without a single moments thought or hesitation promised him on everything that I knew and was, that it would be done. I was sincere and he knew it from the relief in his eyes. He squeezed my hand and closed his eyes, until his grip loosened and he passed away.
As to be expected, I was broken. My father, my teacher, my everything had died. But I knew that as it was such a sad event, it was also glorious. Such a great man cannot pass away and fail to be rewarded for all of his services. Using donations I worked up a funeral which almost everyone I knew from the town came to. They offered me no words, only sorrowful stares. I am sure they understood my pain and that I didn’t want or need to be comforted. It was a beautiful sermon and I surprised myself by keeping perfectly stable and calm as I delivered a eulogy and song of praise. With my father’s death the house became mine, I took on more duties in order to keep myself busy and studied far harder than I had ever done before.
Currently I am thirty three and I have been the priest of this Church for over 11 years, the poor old teacher of mine passed away not long after my father. I am far too young to be looking for an apprentice and all people in this town see me as perfectly able and capable in all duties and religious matters. So I am the only priest and religious advice in this town. To which I am greatly proud of myself but I am more proud of the people who offer me constant social questioning and their presence at every meeting, sermon and anything else that I choose to do.
That said, leaves me with only now to explain. I have been thinking about and considering my past for a very long time now. I see that I choose my religious duties from the upbringing my father gave me. So I never actually choose this way, it was given to me. From my father most definitely, from God I am sure too. But I do also get some form of pain from considering this. It seems to me like I reacted to my father, instinctively picking up what he did and said and thought to be right for me. But I honestly don’t remember ever making that choice for myself. I understand that at that age questioning him would of been an extremely stupid and bad choice to make. I will admit that it is much easier just to go with what you have been told and feel to be right and correct, whether it is or not doesn’t seem to bother many people. I will admit that questioning the truth of what I do, say, believe and am, scares me. I cannot even imagine doing otherwise, and at this point it would be far easier just to carry on the way I am. But I cannot help thinking that although this may be the right path and I feel it to be, maybe I should of questioned my father, because at least then whatever I do and would be right now, would be by my own choice. It seems that by going along with what I have been taught has absolved my from choice.
Chapter two – The questioning:
I have looked over and read what I wrote about before countless times. I can no longer sleep, I just stare at the page willing thoughts and words to be expressed out of me. I have been mulling these thoughts over and I think I have the words to express my thoughts on them, finally. For quite a while my thoughts just seemed to be mist inside my own head, ungraspable and inexpressible.
I have begun questioning myself constantly, questioning every single thought and word I let manifest itself. What I have been questioning most of all is the why and how I can follow such a thing from my past and stay to it? By why I mean why do I think such a thing is correct to follow? It is really just my upbringing? Is it really because I know it to be so and correct? I have no answer to all of these questions that I throw at myself like scorn filled spears. Why am I attempting to impale myself with this questioning? Even that I do not know. It would be a lie for me to say I know any of these things of which I speak of, and that, disturbs me so greatly. So much more so because I have never considered these things up until now. What a thoughtless drone I must have been. But it seems so odd to me to have these thoughts, even now.
The how of the question is yet more disturbing to me. How can I follow such a path when it takes my freedom away? I can see why as a child or even an immature man one could take up such an offer with glee. But I don’t even remember the offer. It merely was the way it was, no alternatives. And a child with only one choice can obviously only make one choice. But now, as an adult, I feel a sense of remorse at not making that impossible second choice of freedom to choose my own choices.
This line of thought leads me onto something that has became so painful to me of late. Other people’s questioning. My own is painful enough, but other people’s just tears me apart. I am trusted to know what I speak of and advise. But the questions…I know the answer as much as they do, if not less. If only they questioned themselves and searched for the answers themselves rather than torturing me with their innocence and child-like trust in me. The problem to me, is that I already know the reply to when an old woman speaks about fearing death, when a young child is upset about their dying parent, when a young girl has just lost a friend.
I already know the replies, but they are not mine and I do not know if they are….Good advice…Or even advice at all. They are more comforting statements then anything else. This bothers me now more than ever because when somebody asks me such a complicated question, I instantly have a prepared reply rather then digging deep inside myself and finding a human answer with them and for them. To comfort them with my own experiences of life’s pain and death’s dread. To repeat some text seems….unthinking and dare I say…Dishonest as an emotional being who they are reaching out to. I think having the ability to recite a text and not actually dig into my own experiences has always comforted me, which seems egotistically absurd when I am here to help my fellow man deal with his Earthly problems and coil. Reciting a text gives you the feeling of an objective reply, which is not what they need. They need your subjective human experiences, they can trust that as it is purely emotional and human, which is exactly what someone needs when they are seeking another human to talk to.
Repeating written words no longer comforts me, I get the feeling I am a liar. That I am being dishonest. At least when I speak of my own experiences, I know them to be true. When I speak of texts, I myself question them. How can I sit advising someone about something that even I do not and can not know? The worst thing about it is seeing the humans reply “Of course” and smile back with acknowledgement and all the wild the children frown or cry or just do not understand my words. Is that due to the corrupted human condition being more acute in children? Or is that just due to adults being raised as I did and seeking childish comforts? Childish comforts that even children don’t accept as truth.
Chapter three – The resolve:
I haven’t wrote down my thoughts for quite a long time. Again I have just been thinking over and over what I have wrote before. People approach me as if I have some kind of divine link. As if my friend is God and I know and speak to him. I do not and cannot. I know God as much as the next man. But why do I have this position of power that demands respect when essentially I know as much as the pauper or the criminal when it comes to facts about God?
He does not speak to me or reveal himself to me. And since I have begun questioning this had done nothing but frustrate me into a state of melancholy. I have been unable to smile or answer people’s questions. And they have noticed. They have put it down to a very delayed reaction to my father’s death. But ironically maybe it is, but not my material father. It seems God is dying in me.
I have left the Church under a few people for a week in order to rest. They happily allowed me and filled my place, wishing me a nice week to return my health. There is nothing wrong with me or my body. I have decided that I would rather live in the uncomfortable position of replying ‘I do not know’ than to carry on giving assumption based platitudes. I have, for so many years been regurgitating texts, regurgitating my fathers words. My life is a regurgitation of his. These texts, thoughts, words, platitudes, morals, ways and lives are not my own.
I am not sure how but I want everything that I do and say to be my own. I want to live in the uncomfortable position of not knowing and admitting it. I want my life to be my own, not modelled or fashioned after anyone else’s nor a continuous of someone’s who is no longer able to live their own. I still have God, or at least I believe so. If he contacts me or reveals himself to me than so be it, I will not and cannot deny it then. I will not deny him now either, I just don’t know and I will not ever say I do know until I do know exactly that. I have always kept a small amount of money behind as a reserve, I donated that to the local hospital and I plan on travelling to another town to seek work…or something. I do not know. All I know is that I do not know.
I do not denounce God but I denounce my faith. I see it as nothing but a hindrance to me coming to know anything, which includes God. I’m leaving this notebook here and I do not care for it anymore. Maybe someone will find it when they note my missing and see what I see. As for now and me, I am mine and so is my life. And I intend on cherishing and embracing it from now as mine, with each and every choice including this one, they will be made and informed by me, and no one else, and certainly not faith.