Note discovered by William in his bible…at church, last Sunday.
‘YOU Make mE SICK Will’
In the dark recesses of the mind, in the slightest crack, under dusty old crates filled with forgotten memories, lurks the beast. The beast feeds on fear, on suppressed desire, on all the hidden, locked up longings and the succulent, ripe sugariness of veiled, lustful thoughts.
In an open explorative mind the beast is starved, flushed into the open with nowhere to hide. Famished, shrunken to the bone, pleading, with leathery hands outstretched and head bowed in resignation, it falls to the ground like the last pathetic, withered fruit of a thirsty tree.
In a mind like Will’s where so much is prohibited, where so much is repressed and where desires are carted off to concentration camps in the hinterlands… the beast festers. The beast grows and he gathers strength finding his way through the cracks, gathering up all the dirty filthy stuff, like tumbleweed. After years of repression the beast in Will is strong, it can make demands, its voice grows louder, clamouring in his head,
‘Give me the dirty stuff; feed me the forbidden fruit.’ To appease it, Will throws titbits through the bars, slips top shelf fodder under the door. But titbits aren’t enough anymore, they only serve to whet his appetite, and soon it’s demanding more.
But the more Will gives, the more it craves. Beast gets a foothold, seduces him with delicious, succulent longings. Beast, once he sees the potential for dominance, paces the corridors of mind, wanting, lusting, and whispering sensual, dirty, naughty thoughts. Thoughts that tantalise; thoughts that make Will weak at the knees, thoughts that become desires, desires that seep out from within and make themselves apparent in the real world.
Will must taste without gorging; he must take a soupcon of what is considered necessary to feed the beast without causing too much alarm to the victim. But with each bite of the apple the beast grows stronger. The beast always wants more; the beast would have Will running rampant through the boulevards of polite, middle-English society with his trousers down and his hard cock spitting in the face of normality,
‘Suck it, kiss it, touch it!’ the beast shouts.
Will is safe
Will wasn’t out of control, nowhere near it. The risks he took were calculated and, with his upstanding reputation preceding him, it was hard for his victims to believe that he’d ‘meant’ anything by his behaviour.
‘Oh, it’s just Will,’ they would think. ‘He’s a harmless, friendly, compassionate man, with nothing but good intentions.’
Let us put Will into perspective, let’s not polarise him, black and white him, no one is that simple, that uncomplicated. Will’s intentions were as good as anyone’s, and like anyone else, if you were to place his intentions under a magnifying glass you would see that ultimately they were self serving, it paid to intend well. It is better to gain reward from intending well, to the mutual benefit of others, than intend nothing and get nothing.
So to clarify, Will’s intentions were as good as anyone’s and he knew how to disguise his own objectives, make himself appear to be innocuous. Will was also, let us remember, a man of a certain age and a man who had sought out the security of institutions, institutions dominated, as they often are, by men like him…also of a certain age. Will was safe; he had plenty of havens, plenty of places to hide. Nothing could harm him.
Religion is safe.
Religion -Will’s religion- was safe. There were jamborees, fetes and garden parties, marriages, baptisms, confirmations and miracles aplenty. Luckily of course he was a Catholic, born and bred, and couldn’t possibly imagine himself as anything else. Catholicism had, over the years, done him proud; a good, solid, commendable faith with a long and noble history and loads of traditions, Will loved traditions.
Sanctimonious, God-fearing men with cunning no longer in existence had answered all the difficult questions a long time ago. What to do and how to do it? What to be and what not to be. Religion offered him a ‘no brainer’ take it as read and get on with more important things. Things like planning your next colonic irrigation – you can never be too careful – or meticulously mapping next Saturday’s drive to view the abandoned nineteenth century tin mines of Bodmin.
All he really had to do was to follow the rules and he would be fine. Or, as with most people, just look as though he’s following the rules, don’t get caught out. Best to keep up appearances, be slightly holier than the next person, give a little extra kindness because the rewards are so much greater, pride, envy, respect and trust… good old trust.
Everyone trusted Will… well sort of.
The beast grows stronger every day; gets cocky, thinks it has rights, makes demands, impossible demands. The beast is facilitated by Will’s own inflated opinion of himself and his surety that nothing could touch him because, as we have discovered, Will is safe.
Here is Will now: he is stepping out of his car; it rained over night so just as a safeguard, Will is wearing his anorak and, as an added precaution against flash flood or hell fire, he has donned his bicycle clips.
As Will makes his way along the street, he stops to greet his fellow villagers. He is glib, he is slick, he is polished: frivolous with the light-hearted, sombre with the solemn, flirtatious with the unabashed. Will gives people what they want; he’s smarmy like that. Trouser hems safely guarded, Will is making his way over to the presbytery where he will meet the priest for tea. Along with other members of the summer fete committee he will discuss the tombola prize-rigging accusations made by butcher, Jimmy Cleaver and then move on to ‘Hooking a duck for Jesus’.
On arrival at the presbytery, Will is greeted at the door by Father Mathew’s housekeeper, Ms Bennett, a withered looking woman for whom the weight of her shame has caused her to stoop, as if she were carrying a cross of her own. Will has no interest in this woman; she has nothing to offer him and, he believes, is beyond ugly. He breezily passes her his clips and coat before entering the meeting. Ms Bennett returns to the ever-laborious task of scrubbing the kitchen floor. For some reason her results, however hard she tries, appear lacklustre, the linoleum seems to be indelibly sullied.
He greets his fellow committee members with his usual gushing platitudes and stifling warmth but says nothing about the note that was inside his newspaper that morning.
I know what you do, I see you Will
He wonders whether he should make the notes public, at least tell Susan, his wife. Hiding things like this makes you look guilty. People would see that he is obviously the victim of a hoax or personal attack and that, despite this, he is holding up well, getting on with business in a manly fashion.
On reflection he thinks that it would have been a good idea to send himself the notes; his stoic conduct in the face of such misfortune would surely win him more esteem from his peers. Only he didn’t feel stoic right now, he felt a little queasy, a bit disorientated.
When he found the note placed in the business supplement this morning his mouth went dry, he gaped like the kipper upon his plate. Then, with great effort Will brought himself back into Susan’s conversation; it was most definitely her conversation, not his. Luckily, Will did not feel required to add much to the ‘chat’ other than the odd grunt, just as well really, as staying focused on his wife’s witterings, which was hard enough at the best of times, now proved to be a mammoth chore.
His mind wanted to run in all directions, the beast within cowered in his dark corner, he knew he had been seen, someone had spotted him prowling about; leering, letching, sneering, smirking, spilling sacred cum into cotton panties.
God I feel hot.
Calm down, take it easy, no one knows anything, how could they? What was there to know? That you are demonstrative, that you hold an embrace a little longer than is sometimes appropriate? So what? It’s a calculated risk like his friendly squeeze of Miss Good’s thigh or a rub on the nape of Janet Pilkington’s neck or a gaze that lingers a fraction longer upon the bare wanton cleavage of the widow Mary Brown. Ah, the scent upon the soft, nut-brown skin of secretary Georgia Cummins just below her ear, was enough to risk it all, so tantalising, so provocative, so ‘Come and fuck me now.’ To caress her neck; to nuzzle her ear, to bite her, spank her, stab her with his mighty weapon, to take her on his desk, knickers down, skirt up, tits out, his seed on her chin….
What an image, what a whore.
Will’s world was a man’s world where women rarely raised their heads above the parapet of servitude, from the bondage of subservience. Will’s attitude towards women was one of benign guardian; they needed to be protected, guided, looked after and kept in their place. Women should be feminine, motherly and not sexually forthcoming; they should enjoy and probably swoon at a strong, decisive man’s attentions.
A powerful woman was an abomination, an affront to the natural order of things. Contribute by all means – God he wasn’t a bloody sexiest, let’s get that clear from the start- but leave the hard decision-making to men; to men like Will, men red in tooth and claw.
Will had an erection under his newspaper, stiff as hell, throbbing, twitching like a decapitated corpse. Susan was looking at him expectantly; she was waiting for him to respond to her last vacuous question. God she was ugly: plain, drab, beige and boring. Looking at her was enough to lose his hard-on.
‘Let’s pick this up later dear,’ he said dismissively. ‘I have a meeting with the fete committee this morning and some errands to run later, don’t expect me for lunch.’
Once the meeting had ground to a halt; tea sipped, bosoms devoured by greedy (don’t look) disobedient eyes, chest thumped, hands shaken, thighs groped, Will tarried a while longer. He wanted to speak with Father Mathew, show him the anonymous notes, sound him out. But, in the end, he surrendered to his fears and said nothing. Why? Because anyone could have sent those notes: someone did, someone had been watching him, sneaking, slithering on his or her belly through the tall grass spying on him. It could have been Mathew; pompous oaf, with his judgmental ‘holier than the rest of you’ smirk. Celibate prick.
‘I hear from Susan that you are off to Cornwall tomorrow?’
‘Yes a trip up onto the moor, abandoned mine shafts galore and plenty of old engines lying around: I’ll be in my element that’s for sure.’
‘You be careful up there, wouldn’t want any harm to come to you Will.’
‘Yes of course, you know me Father Mathew; safety first and all that.’
‘Well, excellent. You’ll have the weather for it; I’m sailing on the south coast tomorrow and it looks positively balmy, a little breezy perhaps but good outdoorsy weather.’
There was a pause, both men toying with their consciences.
‘Is there something on your mind Will, something you would like to confess?’
The beast drew his dagger.
‘Me? No, nothing. I’m fine, thanks for asking,’ said Will.
The night before …
Two lovers lay side by side, in a state of semi-undress as the glow from their lovemaking faded: post orgasm, post deed, post sin.
The everyday world slowly came back into focus, a world full of stuff, most of which you didn’t need. It also had other people; it had empathy and loathing and it had rules to abide by.
Some rules, like not killing your husband, are enforced by law but this is just an ethical principle, drawn up as a kind of guideline for the masses. Morality, on the other hand, is where the crux of the matter lies. Morality talks to you personally, keeps you in line but also judges others and often finds them wanting. Is it morally right to kill your husband? Only you can answer that. Then there is God’s law but it goes without saying that he’ll forgive your trespasses anyway.
The everyday world has appointments that have to be kept, people to be cared for (whether you care or not), taxes paid and bins put out on Mondays and Thursdays. It has needy, sycophantic backslappers, greedy egocentrics, psychopathic groomers, bleeding hearts, delusional realists, fragile, timorous party poopers, nihilists, potheads, do-good junkies and dirty minded pompous pricks like Will. It has victims and it has predators. The everyday world is red in tooth and claw just like Will.
The everyday world was hard on our lovers because of its realness; reality became their albatross and they wore it every day until it possessed them. Neither was prone to flights of fancy, neither one could afford to wander from the harsh reality of their existence.
No, for Susan and for Mathew the real, every day world would never look the same again. The everyday world would never really apply to them anymore. Something had shifted incontrovertibly, something had un- tethered itself from its anchorage in the bedrock of certainty. They had been set adrift.
Two souls, both lost, met and danced together in the wilderness, by the edge of a bottomless ravine, on the verge of the unknown. Stumbling out of their own fraught existences, momentarily putting down the sodden, heavy burden of the past they reached out to one-another and began to dance. As they clung to one-another reason too was cast aside and the liberation felt by both was immeasurable. Now, for a while, they were lighter than air, two insignificant specs of matter floating in a hidden corner of the universe, unseen, forgotten, pointless. The burden of reason had been growing like a tumour inside them and both tipped the scales when it came to being ‘reasonable’. Being reasonable meant not upsetting the apple cart, meant being whomsoever other people wanted you to be, and once you had given them that person it would be unreasonable to take it away.
In the moment, next to the ravine, Susan and Mathew let go and succumbed to the futility of life, gave in to their own irrelevance and left reason behind. Now the dance had come to an end and the music had stopped. Reason returned. But reason was a different animal now, had a new outlook, walked with a purposeful gait and not a cumbersome limp.
For a moment, nothing else mattered but the dance; desire sated, the itch scratched, the appetite for lust fed. Neither lover thought about the consequences of their union or of the effect it might have on the ‘everyday world’ they had left behind. Whilst caught up in the dance there was nothing but the dance. The dance had been savage, tender and passionate while it lasted but once it had ended and the music faded, it appeared to be nothing more than a fuck on the kitchen floor. They drifted apart, withdrawing to their respective thoughts.
It was from this point that Susan refused to look back: she would merely keep going. She looked out across a calm and pleasant future, uncomplicated, unwritten, unknown, not at all like the past. Past was messy, past had got itself all twisted up, so much so that it became aggressive, bitter with its own fruitless enterprise. Will had been in charge of the past, she had merely chugged along in his wake, obedient, submissive, subjected to Will’s ever-growing lewd indecency. Will had no desire to have sex with her, (which was a blessing) even so it did not stop him from being, shall we say, ‘overtly sociable’ towards other women. Will was no lothario, he wouldn’t know a gang bang from a jamboree and had any of the women in question responded positively towards his rakish gestures, he’d have run a mile. It wasn’t about sexual conquest; it was about being in control and feeling superior. Will made his wife’s skin crawl, had done for a long time, but Susan had never known how to eradicate the irritation: until now.
For all those years Susan’s beast within had whispered unspeakable things: wicked unchristian things and she hid those things in a box marked ‘unreasonable’.
But those things, once whispered, had found a voice and the voice grew into a clamour, a cacophony of despair until the things called ‘unreasonable’ broke out of their captivity. The once ‘unthinkable’ now seemed more than reasonable.
This spontaneous and totally unexpected romp with Mathew had served as a catalyst and was, she had no doubt, God’s doing. God had thrown them together, intervening as a way of getting her to see, with absolute clarity, that killing Will was the only reasonable solution.
Beast rubbed her hands with glee, oh she had longed for this day. How many times had she wanted to kill Will? How many times had that creep been ‘this close’ to having his head staved in with a rolling pin? She wanted to drown him in the bathtub, to catch him masturbating, to deny him his gratification, to hold him down while he struggled in vain, his wilful gaze no match for her wilful grip. She watched Will clawing desperately at her hands, drawing blood, Will angry, Will desperate, Will’s flagging erection, Will’s flagging grasp, Will’s pleading eyes. She’d keep her grip as Will slowly began to fade towards whatever hell awaited him so he’d have something to remember her by.
Every time Will had made some oily sexist remark, every time he placed his grubby hands on another women’s knee or rubbed her arm or squeezed her, touched her, kissed her, held her too long, Beast drew her dagger and pleaded with Susan to kill Will. Nothing would satisfy Beast more than squeezing the life out of that hideous, obnoxious, egocentric, molester.
‘Do it with your bare hands,’ she whispered now. ‘Feel his life force drain away, savour every moment. Think of all the times he’s flaunted his contempt, demonstrating to the world that you mean nothing. He mocked you, made fun of you, yelled at you as if you are nothing more than an inconvenience. You have been too reasonable; being too reasonable has made you into a doormat. Now it’s time to turn the tables. Now you take control and finish him. Erase Will from your life, but do it slowly, laugh at him, tell him you fucked the priest, the bank manager and the Tory MP, but you couldn’t find a bigger prick than him.
Susan quietened the beast, biding her time. Without her beast she would never have realised the exquisite ecstasy of anticipation. She considered her plan.
She had decided to give the beast her wish but she needed to rein Beast in a little otherwise things would get really messy. Her plan was all very neat and it was all very ordered, Will would be proud of her.
Susan had gone to see Mathew to confess her desire to kill her husband and to reason with her priest that this solution was indeed the only solution. At that point she had still been susceptible to persuasion. Now though, after the Lord’s intervention, she was not.
After forty years of celibacy, Mathew had just lost his virginity to another man’s wife and didn’t think he was ever going to get it back. His piety, which sat aloft and only ever stared cruelly down at him over black rimmed spectacles, wheezed with the shock of Mathew’s betrayal. Mathew had just demonstrated a shameful abuse of free will. He’d have to confess of course but what sort of punishment should he receive? Punishment would be pointless in any case; you can’t undo this sort of thing, the deed is done.
God had to witness it too, had to look on as Mathew gorged on pleasure like a hungry wolf with a lamb…. God didn’t give man free will so that he could go about fornicating and doing as he pleased! No, it was bestowed so graciously upon him so that he could chose to do the right thing and love God! Surrender to God’s love and bloody well do as he was told. I mean, what should God think now? After seeing one of his own disciples humping another man’s wife on the kitchen floor, a floor that the housekeeper had only just scrubbed this morning on her hands and knees; what next? Will Mathew throw caution to the wind and mount Ms Bennett as she struggles to scrub his wickedness out of the linoleum? Will he succumb to his beast, that dirty sacrilegious scoundrel, and go about debasing God’s name with ever growing wilful abandon?
Mathew shut down Piety and tuned into his conscience instead.
Conscience wrung his hands with indecision shifting from one foot to the other. On the one hand, the ecclesiastical hand, he’d messed up, he’d succumbed to temptation and rather than let these things fester, which is what you were supposed to do in Mathews situation, he’d turned his back on Christ and had blatant sex with Will’s wife Susan on the kitchen floor! He’d broken his oath, his promise to God. He had forsworn his aspiration to walk amongst humanity, not as one of the flock, but as Jesus did… as an inspiration.
Sex served as a distraction from one’s devotion and let’s face it, he had not been thinking about the greater glory of God when he was fucking his neighbour’s wife.
On the other hand he had never felt closer to the universe, never before understood that so much pleasure could be wrapped up in a single orgasm. He had experienced something intrinsically natural, something magical and something real for an instant. All concerns, all reflection and all speculation were suspended for a single glorious moment. Nothing intruded upon his body or his mind; rather he, just for a second, stepped out into the glory of the cosmos and touched it, joined it. He existed only in the now. How could this act, consensual as it was, be in any way sinful?
Celibacy was a promise he’d made after much deliberation, preparation and guidance and it had only served to allow his beast to fester within. Mathew’s conscience was divided because it felt it should stick to what he’d always known to be right; what his piety had told him was correct, but now having experienced this unforgivable sin he couldn’t really bring himself to believe that it was so wrong.
The beast had been a nefarious passenger, clinging to the inside of his skull, leading him towards depravity with his vulgar temptations. The beast within his skull had grown more and more lascivious with every year that passed; not only that, he’d become increasingly perverse in his imaginings. His beast was born out his own self-imposed abstinence. THIS is where the Devil gets in. THIS is where the Devil flourishes – in man’s desire to be something other than human.
The sunlight, which had streamed in through the kitchen window bathing the lovers with warmth, retreated across the hard linoleum floor leaving them now feeling cold and exposed. In its place a gloomy twilight and the sound of heavy raindrops hitting glass: the lovers stirred.
‘I’m not really sure what to say,’ said Mathew.
‘It’s OK Mathew. You have done nothing wrong, nothing to apologise for. God gave us this moment for a reason. I for one can see very clearly what it is I have to do.’
‘Oh good, you have had a chance to reflect on your desire to … er … kill Will?’ whispered Mathew trying to casually put his underwear back on.
‘Yes and I know how I’m going to do it too,’
‘Oh,’ said Mathew.
In the sanctuary of his car, leather heated seats, walnut dash; tinted glass, Will seethed inwardly.
What did Father Mathew mean by that comment?
‘You be careful up there, wouldn’t want any harm to come to you Will.’ It seemed all too clear to Will that Mathew was as good as saying, ‘Watch your back mate, I’m after you.’
So it was Father Mathew, the only person more impervious to distrust than himself, the only person safer than he, the only one whose word was thought to be gospel. God, he hated that self-serving sanctimonious, frock wearing, duplicitous, phoney, back stabbing dick-fucker.
Will needed to reel it in! Take control and calm down; no rational solution could be found in this state of high anxiety. He reached for the glove compartment: in amongst the maps, pens, torches, reflective vests, Swiss army knife and emergency mint-cake there was a notebook. Will thought he might make a list of revenge strategies, a list he would later eat to hide the evidence, but for now he just needed to get something coherent down on paper. He opened the pad and what he saw nearly made him reach for the mint-cake, for written in the same obscure manner as the other notes was yet another intimidating message.
Scared yet Will?
Will ripped the offensive note from the pad and put it in his pocket, evidence if needed – then started his list. He smiled and felt calmer already.
Mathew makes the call
Father Mathew poured a glass of whiskey and gazed out of the kitchen window. In the wake of last night’s rain a rear guard of grey tinged clouds moved swiftly southwards, their shadows, crawling like a malign cancer across the landscape, promised foreboding.
He dialled a number from heart; it rang twice,
‘Are you still going through with it?’ he asked.
The phone conversation was brief. Father Mathew put the phone down and drained his glass. Last night he had listened to a confession, the penitent had disclosed a growing desire to kill Will. Mathew had tried to persuade the penitent to seek professional help, to take other, less drastic actions, but not under any circumstances to go through with Will’s murder. He then inadvertently made love to the penitent. Now it seemed, in spite of his pleas and his well-constructed arguments against such a violent solution, he could do no more; it was in God’s hands.
And yet, despite his resignation, Father Mathew felt torn – torn between his loyalties to the church, to the sanctity of the seal of confession and his own conscience. If he were to respect the sacred seal, the promise of confidentiality then Will may well die and his murderer walk freely amongst them. If, on the other hand, he broke the code of conduct laid down by the church then he would be committing a sin perhaps far greater. Logically -Mathew’s logic – dictated that God would deal with it, God would know what to do. He, Mathew, a mere mortal after all had done all he could. His heart on the other hand sat heavy in his chest; never in his life had he carried such a burden as this.
Outside, the remnants of cloud had finally parted; the sun bathed his garden with light and warmth, incongruous against the dark, cold misery of his soul. He knew Will was a dick but also thought that he did not deserve to die.
Cut brake cable
Poison – lace his whiskey with arsenic
Hire a hit man (if so whom).
Accident at sea made to look like drowning
Knife in the back down a dark alleyway
Arse raped by a HIV positive bull queer in aforementioned dark alleyway
Burned to death in a house fire
Acid in the font
Hit and run
Castration – if so who would do it, the hit man or the bull queer?
4/ Falsely accuse…
Child molestation, rape, dogging, or just sucking off strangers in public toilets, sexual deviancy, bestiality, incest, embezzlement, being a holocaust denier, a communist, peeping Tom, a flasher, gambling alcoholic with a penchant for dog fighting and fucking gypsies.
(If nothing else Will was thorough)
5/ All of the above.
Unlike Mathew, Will did not suffer from guilt. Will, to his mind, had nothing to feel guilty for. Guilt was a redundant concept to him; if your life is as well calculated as his was or had been then each decision you make is the right decision no matter the outcome. It was all about survival, red in tooth and claw.
If these messages, with their portentous flavour were meant to make Will feel guilty or cause him to reflect on his behaviour, they didn’t. They made him uncomfortable only because he felt violated, intruded upon, and this made him want to wrest back control.
While Will was occupied with this intrusive threat the beast fought for his own survival. The beast wanted revenge on the world, wanted to rub himself up against pubescent school girls; ram his cock in Janet Thornberry’s arse, the trumped up feminist bitch; deep throat Shirley, his wife’s sister, until she gagged, opinionated whore. He was going to shoot his load over every single (gagging for it) sexually frustrated member of the Catholic Women’s Lacrosse Team. His throbbing cock would deal a mighty blow for team Will, make him feel masterful, manly and potent, then, once he’d fucked them all within an inch of their lives his victims would line up for more.
Will regarded his list of possible revenge strategies and realised that he would not pursue any of them because, as I’ve said before, Will was safe. Safe people do not do risky things, they don’t take chances, mess with the law or dance with the Devil…ever.
Will smirked: in reality all he’d had was a couple of slightly menacing notes possibly alluding to very minor sexual misdemeanours. Misdemeanours that were more than likely appreciated anyhow. The fanatic behind the notes was a bloated, alcoholic, sex-starved priest with delusions of grandeur. Like Will cared what Mathew thought! Did Mathew seriously think that, by terrorising Will in this juvenile way he was somehow carrying out God’s bidding? Or teaching him a lesson? Pathetic, that’s what it was! And with that Will decided to think no more of it, pay no heed to the sad empty threats of a supercilious door to door salesman peddling God!
Will was back in control of his own life and God could take care of the rest.
God wanted nothing to do with any of it. He’d grown tired of man a long time ago, meddling only made things worse… in His omnipotent opinion.
Early on Saturday morning Father Mathew, having prepared his Sunday sermon on abstinence the night before with the aid of half a bottle of whiskey, left for the Cornish coast.
Early on Saturday morning after packing the Volvo with all necessary supplies and emergency backup supplies Will and Susan left for Bodmin Moor.
It never occurred to Will that his wife would be culpable of, would even be capable of mounting a fear campaign against him. The perfect devoted little women, timid, quiet, long-suffering and subservient. Susan the wallflower: overlooked at parties preferring to just bath in the glow of his brilliance, rather that than embarrass Will. Susan, Plain Jane that she was, unappealing, dull and frigid was hardly going to set the world on fire; was hardly going to betray him.
Without Will and his guidance Susan would probably just melt into a rather lacklustre pool of insipid dishwater. Oh she had her hobbies it was true: she belonged to the book group, the knitting circle, played bridge and tennis but never really stood out, not like Will. Will was enigmatic, charming, knowledgeable and funny. What a guy Will was!
And so, when Susan coldly announced to Will that she had laced the tea in his Thermos with tranquilisers to make killing him easier, Will didn’t believe her.
They had arrived on Bodmin moor in good time and after surveying the various sites William strode off toward The Cheesewring, a stack of stones on top of the moor, to picnic.
‘What are you wittering about now? For goodness sake Susan sometimes I wonder if you are not losing the plot altogether. It really is becoming an issue, and it’s not easy for me to say this, but I feel I must … You are developing signs of mental illness.’ Susan looked at him, incredulous.
‘Someone had to say it Susan,’ said Will yawning.
‘Feeling sleepy Will?’
‘I am a bit yes; I have had a rather stressful few days, not that you would know.’
‘You mean that you have been worried about the notes, the ones you found alluding to your … let’s say … unsavoury behaviour?’
Will blinked. ‘How do you know about the notes? Did that weasel Mathew tell you?’
‘I sent them Will. I wanted to see if you would reflect on your demons, have a really long look at that lump of deadwood you call a soul. I wanted to see if you’d repent. See if you are sorry. Are you sorry Will?’
‘You really are losing the plot aren’t you?’ said Will irritably. ‘ Your mother was the same: mental illness runs in your family, one of the reasons we decided not to have children, too risky, it was a risk on my part to marry you in the first place.’
‘YOU decided not to have children Will, not me. You couldn’t even give me that could you, you selfish, self-centred bastard. I really have wasted the best years of my life on you.’
Will leaned against an outcrop of rock; he was so very tired. If he could only sleep for a while, gather his strength, his thoughts then he could deal with this nonsense. His eyelids drooped.
‘Will!’ Susan’s shout pierced the air, echoing off the rocks and bounding over the moorland like a shot from a riffle. Will opened his eyes.
‘You have treated me without a shred of respect and to my own shame I‘ve allowed it to happen. I sleepwalked through it all, deliberately not looking at what was right in front of me. Not wanting to SEE what was in front of me. You made me feel worthless Will. You made me feel like I ought to be grateful for ANY attention, however small, however insincere that might have been. You flaunted your brazen, flirtatious transgressions, right in front of me, right in my fucking face Will!’ Will cringed. Susan never used the ‘f’ word. He wouldn’t allow it.
‘What did you think you were doing, Will? Do you think that all those women are interested in you Will? Did you stop to think how THEY might feel? Or, how I might feel seeing you blatantly rub yourself up against my friends, my neighbours, even my fucking sister Will!? What the hell! Why didn’t you do what any normal man would have done and found yourself a lover? Too risky, Will? Why debase my friends and humiliate me? You really make me sick!’
Will’s mind was numb; in fact, he felt pretty good right now, very relaxed. He really didn’t give a damn about Susan or her tantrum. Which was a mistake.
Will’s knees crumpled under him and he slumped to the ground, asleep. Susan looked across the moor. In the south, a line of thunder black clouds gathered on the horizon. Somewhere out at sea a storm was brewing. No storm had been forecast.
God was on the move.
As Susan watched, the gathering storm crept with malevolent foreboding; brooding, dark and vengeful, an approaching army of the apocalypse. The ebony, death black horses that carried riders into battle bore down upon the sinners with derision, grinding their souls into the dust rising in clouds billowing and bulging around them. There would be no salvation for the weak of will, for the slothful, blasphemous, fornicators that festooned the planet in their droves. Only the devout would survive, only the most zealous of God’s children would enter the kingdom of Heaven. Susan looked down at her sleeping husband: let’s face it Will didn’t have a fucking chance!
Off the south coast of Cornwall fifty miles from Susan, much closer to the imminent storm, bobbed Mathew, in his dingy, drunk, asleep and oblivious. The wind began to blow, the sea swelled, waves battered the side of Mathew’s dinghy until God’s emissary stirred from his stupor. He had been dreaming, lying in Abraham’s lap, in purgatory awaiting the final judgement. It had been ok there: not too uncomfortable, just like any other waiting room; nothing to do but wait your turn and listen to the whimpers of the damned.
Mathew looked at the approaching storm; black leaden mountainous clouds gathered on the horizon. The sun, now directly over him, lit the approaching apocalypse like Rembrandt’s Galilee. Mathew had allowed himself to be carried much further out to sea than he would normally; he wanted to be alone. He needed to think, to resolve his fears, to overcome his doubts and accept his betrayal of Will as yet another test. But the whisky had slipped down too easily and now, although he was drunk, his conscience still wouldn’t let him drown his sorrows. His conscience was insistent, trying to get Mathew to see reason.
Matthew was confused, ‘Why should there be a struggle between one’s faith and one’s conscience? It made no sense to him. How could that be?’ His head spun. His faith, or by now, the torn remnant of the faith he once had, told him he was free from blame. He had done the right thing by not warning Will of Susan’s intentions.
His conscience disagreed. He took another swig and dozed, lulled by the gentle swell of the sea.
Coming to, hazy from too much alcohol and sleep, the realisation dawned on Matthew that his life was in danger. He urgently needed to get back to shore before the storm swallowed him whole. He stood up, resolute, a man of action. Swaying, he reached for his phone. He’d call for help.
When the riders of the apocalypse drew close, the sea, no stranger to despair, saw her chance and sent a wave that slapped the priest from his boat.
In the belly of Sea, wretched souls who had perished at her whim and then driven mad by the passage of time swam towards the surface, arms outstretched ready to receive the new recruit. They dragged his body down, down into the lair of the drowned. It was a world with no other sensation than loss; a constant roaring of memories, of lives passed, lives that would no longer be lived: a cacophony of memories encapsulated, trapped forever, screaming silently into the abyss. Some remorseful, others in denial; all longing, all crying at the bottom of the sea, outside God’s jurisdiction and the Devil didn’t dare go their either.
Mad fleshless freaks with empty stares and outstretched bony fingers clawed at Mathew’s capsized body. They had him now and held him tight. He thrashed against the pull, against the lure of oblivion and against the sea, the storm and God.
As the shoal of skeletal freaks clawed at Mathew, his mind replayed a single moment in his life – his first and only sexual experience before Susan. Why of all the regrets did his fumbled attempt to make love to Greta Van Hansson come to the forefront? If it wasn’t for God and guilt and shame he’d have fucked her so hard; like an animal. Instead, there was a muttered apology, muttered theology and he left with his virginity intact. His pride had patted him on the back, said, ‘Well done Mathew for you did not succumb to temptation.’ It was small consolation for a young man torn between the cloth and the unclothed.
Greta wanted it. She’d begged him to stay, finish what he’d started, saying,
‘God will forgive you, you are a good man.’
But would he forgive himself?
Could he not have enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh and lived a good life, a life still devoted to God? This, he had been told was not an option. Sex was a distraction; a salubrious life was a life without sex, without succumbing to basic physical desires. No, to love God completely was to forget about carnal lust, it only served to misplace ones devotion.
And so he’d led a chaste life, a life dedicated to God and his flock: a perverse life where one’s thoughts of sex led to guilt.
‘He knows you know,’ admonished his mother, a mother of six and a virgin to-boot. And so the pleasure of the sin became more intense, ‘God sees you when you abuse yourself. It’s a filthy habit Mathew and you will surely burn in hell. You want to burn in hell Mathew?’
He was a man, made of flesh and blood and cum just like any other man and yet to look at a women and lust after her was a sin. What does one do with all this desire? Where does it go when one suppresses it, denies its very existence?
Oh he SO wanted to be a good man, a pious man…but it wasn’t easy.
Mathew’s beast stirred within now, bitter. He’d lived a scant existence, relying on blissfully guilty wet dreams and fleeting, weak thoughts of molestation and rape. Oh he could have done so much more, really pushed the boat out; after all he had matured into quite a monster. He would have dipped Mathew’s cock into just about anything with a pulse by now. He could have had it stroked by prepubescent choirboys while they practiced their falsetto, stuffed it through drilled out holes in public toilets to be sucked by lorry drivers with three-day growths and calluses on their hands. But Mathew just kept on suppressing the desires, his piety over-ruled.
The beast festered, hammered on the door, rampant, horny, mad with yearning. And Mathew had begun to listen, if only to touch himself occasionally as a release, to let off some steam. His mother’s warning ringing in his ears, ‘He knows you know.’ It wasn’t much but it was a chink in the armour, and a chink is all the beast needed. Then it’s just a few steps away from answering the door to the paperboy in a see through nightdress.
Then there was his union with Susan which had felt so right, so earthbound and yet celestial. Years of yearning had culminated in something pure, a harmony between two souls lost in the wilderness that just for a moment danced together among the myriad of stars.
The storm and the sea were now one, Mathew didn’t know up from down and the forsaken freaks of the deep waters began to feel the priest weaken. His life played out before him, emptied into Sea and joined all the other memories clambering, crying, weeping… regretting.
But Beast didn’t give in so easily.
The Storm left Sea behind, she calmed down, slept a bit.
As Will slept a calm came over Susan, clarity was a beautiful thing; despite the storm almost upon her she knew what to do. She undressed her husband, leaving each item of clothing neatly folded on a rock, just as Will himself would have done. The first few spots of rain splattered on the ground around them: big, bulbous, greedy drops lifted from the sea; within one drop Mathew’s beast did lie.
Susan needn’t dirty her hands; all she had to do was to leave Will here on the moor asleep and naked to the storm. The storm would do the rest. God had intervened.
Susan diligently packed away the picnic items and, after one last glance at her husband’s now naked body, with his self righteous smirk still pasted on his sleeping face, she made her way back down to the car.
Storm roared in over the land like a juggernaut, this was its last stop, the riders and their horses would do battle here, on high ground, overlooking the moor. Their opponent stirred, felt confused and disorientated, he staggered to his bare feet and felt his nakedness.
What the hell was going on?
‘Susan!’ he yelled at the wind, into the murky air.
Will, not used to this level of adventure, this kind of chaos stood still, not being able to decide what to do next. Storm mistook this paralysis for determination and resolve and redoubled its efforts, spoiling for a fight.
Will’s feet took the decision for him and stumbling as he went Will began to walk. He had no idea where to go, the moor was a big place: if he wandered in the wrong direction he would surely die; he needed to find the car. Bodmin Moor was a dangerous place to be in a storm, full of stone and rock and pits and abandoned mine shafts! Someone, anyone could easily perish in a thousand different ways.
And yet, if you were to have watched Will’s descent from the Cheesewring you may have forgiven yourself for thinking that his path was aided by divine intervention. Every step he made brought him closer to safety, each step was just shy of danger, of bringing Will to serious harm. It was as if God himself was steering Will through the fog and fuddle of his drugged and addled condition. God, it seemed, was looking out for Will. Will’s fortuitous descent to safety, naked and against all the odds would surely make him a legend, a man whom the world would not forget… a man that God would not forsake.
Will had no idea what he was doing. Convinced that he must be in someone else’s dream he just kept following his feet. Not ‘knowing’ was foreign territory to Will; he always knew. Confusion was a door he’d never opened, never so much as hovered on the threshold. Having never been there, he couldn’t identify it, couldn’t pin it down and slap a label on it. Will wasn’t totally convinced that any of this was real but being Will, real or not, his reality, his dream or somebody else’s, he’d control it.
Will was not an aggressive man. If anything he seemed a passive man. He found by employing a particular brand of passive resistance to unsavoury intrusions he could force, even shape the world to fit with his vision. Basically, his tactic was to just ignore ‘it’ and it will get fed up and slither back to whatever cave it crawled out of. A blinkered approach maybe, but above all, safe. This attitude of blissful ignorance had served Will well over the years; his will had preceded him, like the bow of a ship cutting through turbulent waters, carving a narrow path towards the horizon. Anything untoward, unsavoury or attempting to influence his predetermined view of the world was ignored into submission. It worked mainly because Will was not alone; Will was part of a larger cluster of like-minded folk who helped each other maintain a certain status quo. They stuck together, a flotilla of harmonious wills bent on illusion. Solidarity is not a word Will would use, it sounded too Red, too Socialist, he’d prefer the term fellowship. Nevertheless, the Wills of this world were solid, not just solid individuals but solid collectively. Together they forged calmly on, no need to worry, no need to panic as long as you all keep your gaze fixed firmly upon the horizon.
But now Will felt adrift; his calm was under threat. Someone was trying to tamper with his control and he wasn’t used to that. Will, for the first time, did not feel safe, did not feel totally in control of his own destiny let alone his mind. Anger welled up within, blurring his view of the horizon, making him feel vulnerable and under threat.
And yet Will’s hubris was a tough monkey, so his reality was a little askew right now. So what? One cannot abandon ship! Unthinkable! Just carry on and maintain a steady course.
Will’s will, his blind determination to cut through life like a razor, ignoring all of the peripheral goings on was to focus only on his end goal. Nothing would kill Will, neither this day nor the next. Will was a survivor, red in tooth and claw, undaunted by anything, a naked warrior savage. He’d kick the hell out of this storm and when he got his corduroy trousers back he’d kick the hell out of Susan too.
Storm felt the force that was Will and trembled oh so slightly but Storm was cunning and looked around for help. Under Will’s bare feet ran a labyrinth of abandoned tunnels once used by Cornish miners. Enough water directed to a specific point would open up a sinkhole great enough to swallow a man. And so, with the last of its strength Storm concentrated her reserves on that specific point and laid a trap for the enemy.
The cavity that had opened up in the moorland, had you the time to consider it, took on the unappealing look of a giant, gaping arsehole! An arsehole that would not discriminate, but take all comers be they man or beast. Will’s feet, now numb and torn and bleeding led him towards the sinkhole, a hole that led to the sea, to the icy depths of depravity, to the forgotten souls with their skeletal, bony, fish eaten faces. And as he was about to blindly step into the abyss he, in his stupor, looked up and beheld a vision.
Shimmering in the haze of the abating storm, Will saw an apparition standing before him. On the path to transgression, on the road to damnation, before he was about to step into the giant arsehole he saw before him The Blessed Virgin in all her glory.
Warrior Will fell to his knees. The weight of this action caused a minor landslide and the sinkhole grew bigger still, to the point where a single raindrop would send Will to his death.
‘My lady, please forgive me my sins, for there are many. I have been such a fool. I’ve had impure thoughts and sought to sate my desires, well not all of them obviously. There is an animal inside me, a devil no less that brings pressure upon me, that beseeches me to transgress, to do the bad things, the dirty things. He torments me so. Please forgive me and put me on the path to righteousness, on the road to salvation. It’s not my fault, I’m but a man, a mere man and yet Beelzebub himself has chosen to reside within me. These women, they need guidance, need to be reminded of their place, as God surely intended…
But before the goat, for which being mistaken for an apparition was becoming a bore, exonerated him, the aforementioned single raindrop, Mathew’s beast encapsulated within, lent itself to a final landslide. Will, in his blindness, slipped very slowly into the giant arsehole.
Will’s nightmare, whether it was his or someone else’s ended slowly. It took several days for his body to reach the sea; he lived for some of them. During his gradual, naked fall into the bowels of the earth he saw the pleading outstretched hands of malnourished children, enslaved forever beneath the surface. Their blackened, coal dust faces smeared with bloody tears, they begged for liberation, as if Will could somehow free their forsaken souls from eternal drudgery and despair. Will had no compassion, only revulsion for idle vagrants. And so, with mounting fury the star-crossed children fed on his pungent guts, his nauseating hubris, his dogged, blinkered will, chewing on his bitter contempt with puckered grimaces they made a meal of Will.
The storm vanished.
The sun reappeared.
Susan waited for the storm to pass before phoning the police to notify them of her missing husband. After an extensive search, the police found only Will’s neatly folded clothes on a rock by the Cheesewring, and a goat with a trace of whimsy in her eye. Susan, satisfied that not only was her husband dead but apparently the only other person to know of her intent had perished at sea, walked anew into her unwritten future. Her Beast came with her, as a chaperone. Suffice to say they would kill again.