JUDGEMENT

I woke up even stiffer than before from a flickering black sleep. It must have been the sudden break in sound that had disturbed me; the sound of the shower was rolling away, and I opened my eyes in time to see the man opening the sliding door to the en-suite, white towel round his waist, dripping wet all over. He didn't seem to care that he was wet and came to sit on the edge of the bed next to me, stopping to look at me. My naked flesh. My white, scarred, naked flesh.

"I'm sorry."

I listened to him sigh. I didn't move. I heard the rough sounds as he rubbed his face with his hands and said again, "I'm so fucking sorry."

I said, quietly, "What for?"

And he said, "For that."

I looked at him and he looked back at me. I wasn't scared anymore. Not uncomfortable. Alright with looking him in the eye. He could only stand it because he had to get his point across just this once. "You're just a wee cub, and I'm a razzer, I'm supposed to look after you and the best I can do is... Prepare you for the world out there... But God knows why I had to do it in such a fucking obscene way."

I told him the truth, which by then was the only thing I knew something of; "I'm not too bothered, to be honest, boss."

"What?" he spat, "You didn't... You didn't mind that thing that I did to you?"

"It wasn't too bad."

He frowned, a face of nothing but perplexity. "Why weren't you afraid?"

That was when I turned myself round, and showed him the scars.

He'd seen it before, but – "Jasus..."

"I've got nothing to fear anymore, boss."

I was being perfectly honest with him. I didn't mind now. I'd shown him my everything; I had nothing to hide.

He found his voice in saying, "You're not feeling... stressed at all?" He sounded like a therapist.

I sounded like something else. "A wee bit shaky."

"Yeah..." he swallowed; "Would you like a cigarette?"

I could have laughed by now. This was crazy.

But I did like a cigarette. That was the next stage in my transmutation, no doubt. The next corruption: the corruption of the lungs. Thanks, man. My childhood's truest aid.

He watched me for a while as we smoked our twin fags (nice ones, quite expensive, a taste I'd savoured before a long time ago) and I watched him as often as I could to see the show of emotions playing themselves out over and over across his face. What an unhappy freak. So fucking twisted. But I couldn't read his mind. I couldn't hear his thoughts. I never understood how he thought and I never knew why he fucked me. But he had done, and he must have thought that as a poor wee cub – barely 15 – I deserved far more than the €500 he'd pacified me with the night before (the payment which, despite it being the greatest sum of money I'd ever had in my life, I only noticed in the morning as it all slipped out of my fleece pocket while I dressed) and in the end, he appeased me with his real leather wallet, stuffed with cash. I'd probably made him broke, but he didn't seem to care about that;

After 9 o'clock, he had turned frantic, his only aim: to get me out of the house. He'd been sweating about it, throwing my clothes at me even though his own towel was nearly falling off his hips, insisting that I spent as much as I wanted on breakfast as long as it wasn't here, pushing me out of the door... So tenderly, I noticed, he could have been a dad sending his kid off to school.

He had changed since the morning, as I had. And I wondered, as I looked back at him, seeing me off nervously, either shivering or shaking on his doorstep, if his was a metamorphosis or a transmutation...

He was a gentle giant, I supposed. Despite how twisted he seemed, he was really a typical human.

A fallen Adam, fallen in Eden.

Landed with a little bird in his hands, one of God's creation, and so terrified that he'd crush the dear wee thing that after trying and failing to love it, he knew that the best thing to do was to push it away, and do it fast:

The Father's torture.

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