I hope that you enjoy it.
Even at that age I considered mother over-fond of the bookseller, a drab, delicate man topped with a mop of hair, face squeezed by the presence of too-small spectacles. This lonely man was captivated by her womanhood, and she enjoyed his hungry attentions. Although my father was a cold and distant figure in my life, I took exception to the man's return of my mother's sexual energies, and of his feeble reachings for her hands.
I never saw my mother purchase even a single volume at that place.
On the day of my awakening, my mother had forsaken many of her routine stops, and had chosen instead to go directly to the bookshop. I remember bawling like an angry kitten on that day, batting at her and tossing about the various treats that she had acquired to pacify me.
Of course, this was merely theatre on my part; I have never shed a true tear in all my days, nor have I been privy to the emotional indulgences enjoyed by most. These behaviours I undertook were merely the unsophisticated canard of a merciless killer in his first blossom. I intended manipulate my mother into to sending me into the side parlour of the bookshop, where my revenging of the bookseller's indiscretions would take place.
Mother clutched my hand aggressively and drew me through the door of the shop. We stood inside for a moment, adapting to the odour of ancient book-paper, adjusting our eyes to the slightly dim entryway. She put on a forced smile to disguise her irritation and jerked me forward as one would a petulant puppy. We were greeted by the effeminate shop owner from behind a book-piled desk.
"Hello, Mrs. Treacher," he lilted, as he lifted his spare frame from the chair, "so delightful to see you here once again."
In an awkward display of courtesy, he took my mother's outstretched hand in his, and brushed it lightly with his slender moustache. Mother turned a light shade of pink and made no attempt to disguise her amorous intentions. There was an obvious and unsavory history between them, the exact nature of which was not entirely clear to me at that time.
"Mr. Stewart, you certainly know how to greet a woman," she chirped.
"As any gentleman should," he replied, taking a jaunty stance, "In my opinion, the wise man studies such things with great care."
They both laughed like drunkards and went about their thinly-veiled romantic pukings with unsightly enthusiasm. I was thoroughly disgusted by this absurd show; pure Grand Guignol. I tugged against her control and thrust my feet at the floor with all the strength my small legs could muster. I felt her grip intensify.
From the vantage point of adulthood, I fully understand why men paid her attention. She was a voluptuous creature, full-breasted and fair of skin, entirely unable to restrain her potent sexuality. In spite of this, my mother was a purely utilitarian commodity to my father. Her dull wits and spiteful nature had become an anathema to his highly intellectual sensibilities, and had gradually counterbalanced her profound erotic vitality. Over time, this drew aspects out of him which were simultaneously cold and fierce. I suspect this to be the reason she sought out men who desired her so desperately as did the bookseller.
During their lurid display I continued my childish assault upon mother's patience. I struggled against her control using alternating methods, and if memory serves, I bit at her fingers more than once. Mr. Stewart regarded me coolly when he regarded me at all, and seemed prepared to rid himself of my presence by any means. He raised an eyebrow and gestured to the side room of the shop.
"Perhaps we could give young Mr. Treacher a place in the parlour?" He suggested. Mother gave a relieved sigh.
"That would be delightful, Mr. Stewart, how considerate of you."
"Not at all," he replied, "I would be privileged to have the young sir as a guest; my parlour rarely entertains such a distinguished client."
My interior self roared with laughter. Of course, I knew that when Mr. Stewart said 'guest', he meant 'prisoner', and by 'distinguished client', he actually meant, 'horrid monster'.
Mother shared this desire to eliminate me from their tryst. If it were possible to suffocate me, and then, undetected, to hide away my minuscule corpse, I believe she would have relished it. I almost feel a touch of pride at the thought. The image of mother's hands tearing at my flesh, the gore from my throat staining her pale, white, skin certainly has a macabre appeal to my senses. My mother, however, was not a killer. She was nothing so forceful or notable. She was merely a selfish and desperate woman, whoring herself to satisfy an addiction to masculine affection. A pitiful creature, by any measure.
Mr. Stewart bent over to me.
"Perhaps you would come with me, young sir?" He asked. What I truly wanted was to stab him in his eye, but I contented myself with my charade for the moment. I stomped my foot and squeezed my face into a gargoyle-like grimace. I could see a barely perceptible expression of irritation cross his countenance.
"Go on with Mr. Stewart, Edwin," Mother commanded.
Inside I felt a warm feeling; how weak and stupid these people were, to be manipulated by one so recently out of his infancy. I was led into the parlour, a dull affair of red velvet upholstered chairs, oak bookshelves and a very large tea table coated with a light layer of dust. The main object of interest to me, and the focus of my revenge strategy, was perched in a tarnished brass cage in a corner.
It was a small, yellow bird.
On our various visits to this horrid place, the bookseller referred to this frenetic wad of feathers with some emotion. He spoke of it in nearly every dull conversation he shared with my mother. I fixed my eyes on it immediately, ending my outbursts and intently observing its staccato seed peckings and sudden movements. I could feel the relief wash over my mother and her repulsive lover.
"You seem to enjoy my pet, young sir," he said, "it shows you to be a young man of taste and character. I raised this bird myself, having found it fallen from it's mother's nest."
I had heard this pitiful story many times before. I'm certain that the bird possessed the position in this man's life that a child normally would…a small thing upon which to lavish his meager affections. This sort of sentimentality served only to increase my desire to punish this foul adulterer; I nodded my head and turned to him.
“I will be quite content in here, sir.” I said.
Mother gave a light laugh and put her hand gently upon the bookseller's forearm. Her gaze had a hard quality, and her nails dug lightly into the fabric of his jacket.
"Edwin has a keen interest in all manner of creature," she said.
"Indeed," replied Mr. Stewart in a somewhat lowered tone, "he is a fine young man."
I continued my quiet contemplation of the feathered creature, which seemed to suit them both very much. I could peripherally detect the laughable attempts at subtlety between them. At any moment they would recede into the main floor of the shop, where I am certain the bookseller would lock the door and they would continue their repugnant exchanges. Mother gestured to a red cushion.
"Edwin, sit here and watch the bird", she said, "I have business to discuss with Mr. Stewart in his office."
I nodded, not taking my gaze from the thing. Mother and the bookseller gave each other a meaningful glance and moved into the other room. A moment later, the parlour door closed, and I heard the lock click shut. I waited a moment, and after a glance over my shoulder, I stepped near the cage.
I looked up at this bird, and saw my plan near fruition. I moved to the chair closest to the cage, and gave it a push. It was too heavy for my small frame to move easily, but with effort, I managed to maneuver it to the required position beneath my intended target.
Oh, I felt such a delightfully devilish sense of anticipation!
I gripped the arms of the chair and raised myself onto the seat, at an angle ideal for my intentions. I steadied myself and opened the cage door. The little bird stayed where it was, turning its tiny head to the side to fully perceive me. Its yellow form bobbed to and fro, yet it made no move from where it was perched. It had grown to trust the human presence, and sadly, it would not live to regret that trust. I thrust my tiny hand into the cage and clutched at the bird. My fingers curled around its slender skeleton, and I tightened my grip.
The creature began its struggle for life.
I pulled it from the cage and took its head into my other hand; it attempted to peck at my fingers, but I was too quick for its feeble defences. I drew it to my chest and grasped it as firmly as I could. Though my fingers were of small size, I could feel the creature's tiny bones breaking. I held it tightly for another few moments, until it went limp in my grip.
It was done.
With an energetic burst, I leapt from the chair. I raised my hands and gazed at the dead thing. It was far more beautiful in death than in life, to be sure. I felt something akin to sexual release. An eruption of pleasure raced through my child's body, and my seven year old mind was overwhelmed by the majesty of this potent new sensation. It intensified when I considered the likely reactions of my mother and her ghastly lover.
It was upon this delectable thought that I composed myself. I placed the broken corpse of the bird onto the center of the tea table, and I pressed the chair to its former position. Returning to the table, I plucked a tail-feather and hid it away in a pocket. It was like pocketing a piece of gold. Taking a moment to arrange the limbs of the thing into the most repulsive configuration possible, I took a seat on the smooth velvet of the sofa. I sat there in wicked anticipation, relishing the warm, fiendish sensation that coursed though my veins.
What occurred afterward is of such a predictable nature I shall not write it here. It is enough to say that the uproar my actions caused gave a fiery vigour to me. It fueled dark impulses ensconced deep within my soul (if one such as myself could possess or deserve such a very human thing; according to the so-called facts of my protestant upbringing, Hell would be a most unwelcome certainty).
If mother ever saw the bookseller again, it was unlikely to have been very amorous or even cordial. I am only aware of the fact that they, in the end, were finished. Perhaps he was frightened by a woman that could birth such a ghoulish child, or was unable to forget his beloved dead pet when considering future coital exchanges. Alas, one cannot know such private things.
It should suffice to say that mother never brought me on her errands again.
In any case, I'm told that his life went poorly for him after that event, which says much about the frailty of his constitution. So entirely pathetic. The delight that I still feel when I recall his misery warms me as it did on that day. Of course, mother eventually sought other arms to abuse with her misdirected affections. This behaviour continued for many years. When my father finally found her out, he crushed her skull with a stone bust of Vercingetorix, tribal king of the ancient Gauls. After a failed attempt at suicide (in spite of everything, the stern old bugger actually felt remorse), he was imprisoned, and shortly thereafter was sodomised and brutally murdered on the anniversary of his marriage to my mother.
A colourful cycle of events, to be sure.
Perhaps, if I had any capacity for human feeling, I might have attended either of their funerals, but I confess that I do not and that I did not. I certainly do think about them from time to time. It amuses me to suppose that mother regretted her actions, or that father at least felt some modicum of delight in the killing of her. Though I know neither of these things to be factual, I prefer to believe them to be so; the thought brings a kind of joy to me.
I still have the feather that I took from that little bird. Although I have progressed to other, more challenging prey, I look upon that feather from time to time with nostalgia. It was the moment that I became the truest kind of monster; one that both causes and savours the death of his fellows.
To this day, the bookshop remains a shrine to me. I have passed it on occasion and have peered through it's windows into that parlour. It is my Mecca, my Sistine chapel, a sacred place at which I can bask in the source of me. It instills a sense of darkness and pleasure into my corrupt soul. Incidentally, I have heard from diverse sources that the bookseller was found murdered some years ago, bones broken, neck crushed. His body was placed on a tea table, and I'm told he was laid out in the most repulsive configuration possible.
©2011 Clayton Walter