Imago Dei

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Asmodeus, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Just a little Freudian nastiness for you. Don't expect it to make any literal sense.

    I wrote this a year ago. I think my writing has really improved since then. You can see how disconnected and repetitive I was back then... >_>




    My love - you really don’t deserve it; your tears mean nothing to me. But sleep, in your fondest memory. So insignificant, sleeping dormant inside of me. Are you hiding away, lost? Perhaps you’re happy. You will not hear me say I’m sorry. Oh well, here’s a lullaby to close your eyes. It was always you that I despised. Goodbye.


    His father had cleaned him up, wiping away the blood and dirt. Yet no matter how hard he scoured, Benjamin remained with his crime.

    ‘Who was she?’ asked Jonathan Karova, a solid figure, upright and resolute against the doorframe of the lounge. He refused to sit, standing with his hands in the pockets of his long coat. A well-groomed beard covered half his face, and dark eyes stared out at his son.

    The wheelchair squeaked as Benjamin turned his head. ‘I don’t know,’ he answered weakly, looking away. He was still as a corpse in the wheelchair. Dust floated in the sunlight between them, spiralling to the old floorboards. He wondered if it was the dust of his own bones, falling from his body as he sat. He twitched his broken legs, the skin chafed by the coarse fabric of the robe.

    His father snatched up a pair of plastic bags, bloated with tins and loaves of bread. He slung them through into the kitchen, onto the splintered worktop. A drop fell from the kitchen tap, making no sound as it hit the rust. ‘You’re sure there’s no pain?’

    Benjamin nodded, the hood of the robe falling further over his face. ‘Is it because you did it?’ he asked, his voice a whisper, poised for grief. Jonathan did not answer. The old man’s boots pounded the wood floor as he moved over and reached above the lounge doorway. An electrical cover sagged off its hinges and his fingers probed the gas meter, checking the settings.

    ‘This is the last time,’ said Jonathan, his gaunt face turning to glare at his son, ‘The last girl.’

    A small sound, like a whimper, showed that Benjamin understood. His arms were folded beneath the robe, hugging his chest, head hung and staring at his broken legs. Jonathan closed the heating cupboard and then moved towards Benjamin, scooping up the phone from the floor and reeling out the cord. ‘For Christ’s sake, you should have used a condom!’ he hissed, as he slammed the phone on the windowsill next to his son.

    Benjamin scratched at his wrist, hiding behind the hood and wincing as his father pulled at the robe, making sure it covered his torso. The memory of those hands - the length of metal his father had struck him with. Benjamin’s legs ached. The memory of being found by his father, on top of the girl, ached more. ‘Father…’ he whispered, looking up at the powerful bearded man, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t want to hurt her.’

    The wrinkles on Jonathan’s face were vertical, like scars, and theexpression they formed was one Benjamin could not read. ‘It’s too late for that,’ answered his father, moving away. ‘I’ll come back on Thursday. That’s four days.’

    ‘Father…’

    Jonathan turned back as he buttoned his coat. Benjamin was holding a flap of skin. It was peeling from his wrist, three inches wide. He had unravelled it like apple-peel and blood was dripping onto his robes. Jonathan raised a finger. ‘I want changes.’

    He moved away, footsteps echoing down the hallway. As he left, Benjamin looked down at the torn skin and the raw tissue underneath. Black ink glistened amongst the blood, where words had been inscribed. “SHE IS COMING” it read.




    How does it feel to be home? How can one answer that question? For it is perhaps the most indescribable, the most intimate thing: home. Sure, Benjamin had described the surface; he had told friends and lovers how it felt amongst the trinkets of the past, tracing alterations in the passing years. Yet it was only that: a surface. For beneath the carpets and behind the walls there laid a filth; insects and worms and all the twists of festering darkness. A honeycomb, where Benjamin’s every pain and scream would tangle. He lived in his waste - the human waste of regrets and traumas. Each ruse of sorrow – here - in the place where he grew. The place he called home.

    The young man sat in his wheelchair, tracing the rolling sun across the rooftops. He had given up on the streets – they were empty now. Earlier he had watched the people: mothers pushing prams through the alleyways, an old man staggering with his stick above the ground, not using it. Young girls in tight skirts, rushing to get somewhere – he turned away when they came. The boys in caps, staring, chewing, doing nothing. It was quiet now. Birds fluttered silently, like specks in his vision.

    He had had his fingers in his mouth for a long time. He gripped another tooth now, twisting, feeling it slide from the gums. He placed it down on his lap with the others, turning it over to show the underside. Each tooth had been marked, black ink filling the knife-like grooves. He ran his tongue across the bleeding gums and read the letters inscribed on the teeth. “CASEPHENY



    Footsteps on the stairway, barefoot, a light slapping of flesh and the creak of wood. Benjamin’s wheelchair whined as he turned from the window. The hallway ran parallel to the kitchen and lounge, flanking the left wall of the house. A shadow was coming from the stairway, cantering left and right into the room, as if worming its way inside. The hood of his robe obscured his vision, but he felt safer behind it. He peered across the lounge, where beetles struggled in the sawdust, their legs dragging spider webs. The final step creaked and then he heard the rustling of clothes, light and subtle. The shadow lengthened as the figure appeared in the doorway. Benjamin’s teeth fell from his lap, sprinkling across the floor.

    The woman stepped into room, the evening throwing silvered light onto her legs, where blood and seminal fluid were caked. Her steps were awkward, fractured. The gore on her legs grew darker towards the inner thighs and then was lost beneath the skirt of her crimson dress, short and skin-tight to the body. Benjamin felt himself collapsing as she staggered towards him, his head sinking towards his stomach, his knees pressing together. One of her arms was twisted at an odd angle, trailing behind her as she walked. The other was holding the hem of her dress, where it plunged to a bruise-fingered bosom.

    She stopped in front of him, bringing her arms together, a slight crack of bones as her joints aligned. And then Benjamin felt her thighs press against his, the wheelchair whimpering as her weight came upon it. He brought his head back as her breasts touched his face, and then her hair was all around, raven black and like the fingers of a willow tree. A sharp face, accentuated and beautiful. Her hands moved beneath his robes and he felt the half-bitten fingernails, sharp against his torso.

    ‘Mother…’ whispered Benjamin. Her fingers dug into his flesh, gathering up the folds of his skin. Benjamin smelt her and sobbed quietly, clenching his remaining teeth as she slowly stripped the skin. He blinked, struggling for breath, and then brought his head down, the tears flowing. On the muscles of his chest cavity, words had been scrawled in dark ink, spelling out the lullaby:

    Don’t cry, don’t cry, I’ll hold you close today
    Don’t cry, don’t cry, I’ll wipe your tears away


    His mother, Casepheny, let the skin flap loose and then pulled her son’s head closer. Through the hood of the robe she gripped his hair, lips brush against his ear.

    ‘I… hate you,’ she whispered.




    There was another layer beneath his house. Should his mind have gone deeper it would have slumbered amidst a world of ivy and reaching thorns. For down below the dirt the limestone tendrils of the building were fusing with a nature long forgotten; and just as the histories of man were written in the architecture, so was every plant that shunned the summer sun creeping to this underworld. An underworld of curling roots, strangling the green-hued depths. It formed the crust of deeper nightmares, the voices that had sounded before his earliest memories of life.

    ‘Mother… why are you here?’

    She was in the middle of the living room. She was dancing. No one style, just her own, her body moving seductively now, as if she had found control of her mangled legs. Her toes pushed through the dust and debris, brushing aside the insects. In places her dress was stained, dark; in others it was torn, showing the flesh. He watched her hips in motion, the heave of her breasts. Dark hair masked her face.

    ‘I’m taking you to the angel,’ she answered, her rhythm unbroken. ‘I told you not to watch me dance. You never listened. Insolent child - I should have hit you more.’

    Benjamin held the edges of his robe across his flayed chest. He was shivering now, the hood damp from his misted breath. ‘An angel…?’

    She pirouetted, ending with her eyes on him. Then she moved back, the paintings on the walls drooping as she passed. The Last Judgment, Hieronymous Bosch, its lower parts fusing with the dark mould of the walls, sinners and half-beasts melting into one. Benjamin flinched, crying as she reached inside his robes, beneath his arms, towards his stomach. He tried to resist her, but his arms were feeble. She fingered the gaps between his ribs, till his breath caught. The red gowns of the demon torturers flared from the paintings. He grabbed for the rib as she pulled it free, a dry snap sounding amidst the mess of blood. ‘It’s mine!’

    She backhanded his face, eyes glaring then holding with disgust. She turned the bloodied rib over in her hands, reading the inscriptions. ‘The angel will be here soon. But first, we’ll eat – I’m hungry.’ The bone clattered to the floor. Benjamin eyes were raw with tears as he struggled to cover himself again. The wool of the robe stuck against his wound.

    ‘I said I’m hungry!’ shouted his mother and her palm struck him again. She went for another backhand, but this time he caught it by the wrist. They glared at each other, bodies trembling. Her other hand snatched at the skin of his arm, pulling it from the elbow joint, peeling away the flesh as he tried to grip. Wide letters marked the bloody tissue beneath. “VIRGIN

    The pain was too much. He let go and she released a rending laugh, twirling backwards as she giggled. ‘Amy was the first, wasn’t she? I found her for you, because you were too afraid. A virgin, till I helped you. Oh, little Benjamin, you only had to ask…’ Her hands moved to the sides of her dress, lifting it, the skirt rising over fluid-smeared legs. She laughed again as Benjamin looked away.




    When he was young he had fallen from the apple tree. He had landed on his father’s work, the fibreglass mould of his kayak, and it had broken. His father had struck him on the shoulder with the haft of a rake. But Benjamin had stayed in the garden, because mother was still inside, sitting in the conservatory, waiting. And now, this morning, father had broken his legs with a length of steel, and mother had come.

    Her hand couldn’t grip the knife properly. She held it with three of her fingers, the other two splayed as she dipped it in the jam and spread it across the think and brittle toast. She was sat on his lap, facing forward, her skirt hitched up. He glanced at the white traces of her underwear, creasing into her buttocks as she leant forward to bite the toast. She was eating over the counter next to the sink; his knees were jammed against the cupboard beneath.

    ‘Silly little girls,’ she said, between mouthfuls, ‘They should’ve known. They should’ve seen it in your eyes. Were they surprised – when you held them down?’

    His arms hung, dripping blood onto the arm rests of the wheelchair. ‘Can I have a glass of water?’ he asked, looking over at the rusted sink, where a nest of tumblers stood, clouded and dirty. His mother spread another coat of jam upon her toast. He could feel her legs kicking absent-mindedly against his shins. The skirt moved higher. He glanced at the tiny bead of sweat that crept between her buttocks.

    ‘You never could talk to women,’ she said, stripping the crust from the slice, ‘What was wrong with Alice? I liked her.’

    ‘I didn’t love Alice.’ Benjamin shifted slightly, feeling the robe peel away from the gash where his rib had been. Tiny threads of the material snagged, like stitches coming loose. His stubble-black face was twitching as it itched.

    ‘Love,’ she scoffed, placing down the slice of toast on the counter. She then sat up, coming back into his groin. She started gathering her dark hair into a pony tail. Jam and blood mingled with the strands and his eyes watered as he watched the flesh on the back of her neck. ‘Is that what you did to those girls? Did you rape them because you loved them?’

    ‘Mother…’ he sobbed. She sighed heavily and brought her legs down. More of her underwear showed as she leaned over the sink, snatching up one of the dirty tumblers. The taps squealed, filling the glass with clouded water and then she turned, leaning over him. She pushed the glass between his teeth, and as the cool liquid sluiced into his mouth she gripped his throat with her other hand. His head shook; he squirmed. The nails dug through, piercing the skin and tissue. The water from his mouth dribbled out around her fingers, trickling down his neck and chest. She stooped, reading inside his gaping throat.

    ‘The angel is coming soon. It’s time to go.’ He tried to swallow, but the water was gone. His mother placed the tumbler down and pushed on the armrests of his wheelchair. She moved him away from the sink and then reached beneath her dress, sliding her knickers down, white but smeared with sweat and darkest blood. She lowered herself, coming down onto her knees, eyes still on him as she removed the underwear. ‘Do you remember when we took you to Venice? We walked so far ahead, you couldn’t keep up. You cried when you saw the watermarks on the walls.’ Her hand moved up his robes, from the bottom, like he had reached up the skirts of the other girls. He felt the knickers sliding over his own legs.

    ‘Did they go to Heaven – all those people?’ he asked softly. His mother came off her haunches, hands moving the underwear up his legs, towards the upper thighs.

    She shook her head, pitying him. ‘No, Benjamin, they didn’t. I’m so sick of these questions.’ His tears flowed as she twisted the knickers. He felt his skin breaking, the muscle being sloughed. The feeling of the robe, falling against his bone, was unbearable, like a tongue on naked flesh. She kept pulling. ‘You never stopped asking me. What did you want me to say? We all die.’

    Wet sounds on the floor, his skin dropping. Her hands moved around his bones, pushing the meat away. He cried out, sharp and brief, as she began snapping each joint. ‘You’re not supposed to say that!’ he wept.

    ‘Your tears mean nothing to me,’ Casepheny answered. She folded the footplates of the wheelchair away – they were no longer needed. In the ruin of flesh on the floor, Benjamin traced the fragments of a painting, tattooed against the tissue.

    The Garden of Earthly Delights, where commotion and henpecking held the dying world, imps and devils squabbling. They squawked and trampled in their haste, and amongst them the tiny forms of sinners moaned, impaled on twigs and tied in torture. A compact hell where half-beasts skittered, forcing chunks of hair and flesh into their gaping mouths. And here and there the tiny fires to which the sinners were fed, naked men and women lumped together by perverted beasts. Insects, fish and rodents that walked like men and robed themselves in peacock feathers. They pranced amongst the entrails of squealing goats and lambs, spearing the prisoners around them.



    Benjamin stared at the stumps of his legs, wincing as his wheelchair was hoisted up the stairs. Mother’s hands were firm on the handles; she moved him roughly, ever upwards. Dust cavorted in the sunlight above, as if the landing before them was fogbound. He saw the doors, two on the right, one at the end, ajar. The two led to bedrooms, and between them a small table held a vase of purple flowers. They were a husk now, as if the slightest breeze would disintegrate them.

    ‘You lied to me,’ his mother grunted as she moved him up another step, ‘The job applications, the interviews. How many did you really go to? Hiding in the library, walking the streets.’

    ‘I didn’t want you to worry…’ croaked Benjamin. The flesh of his throat hung down, the bloodstain pyramid-like across his chest. He could not speak properly.

    ‘All that time, I thought you were trying. But you just came back to mope, sitting there in our house like a parasite. You think I wanted you there? So useless, leeching from me like you always did…’

    ‘I couldn’t do it,’ he said, his voice barely sounding. She jolted him up another step. Without his legs he had to grip to stay in the seat, wrists sore, snagging on the robe. He felt her arm on his sleeve, pulling the material up, and as they came level with the landing, she used both hands. Rolling up the sleeve, she pressed her fingers into the upper arm. Her breasts pushed against his head; he wailed, reeling watching as she exposed the muscles and the writing upon them. “TOO AFRAID TO TRY





    ‘I met your father by the lake in Cumbria. I remember the fog, how it hung there on the banks, the same shade as the water. Jonathan said it was like Heaven, what it should be, those mornings. There was rain on the hills; it had travelled through the night – perhaps it would carry out to sea. I wanted to go with it, follow out on the winds and then come back to him, after crossing the world. You changed all that, Benjamin. In the Apocrypha an angel says this: “Tell me what should be judged when the woods of the forest and the floods of the sea do battle? Measure me the weight of fire and the blast of the wind, and call me again the day that is past. Then you shall be fit to judge the works of God.” We never had that day again, thanks to you. I still think of the lake, that mist like Heaven.’

    They sat at the table, by the French windows. Up here the rooftops slumbered, sprouting here and there with flowers and fluttering birds. He thought it the floor of another world, where things could start again. This was his parents’ bedroom, and dust-grey was in flood. Casepheny held his hand in the middle of the table. She was slumped forward, her head resting on her arm as she delicately severed his fingers from his hand. ‘But what do stories care for people? They do not help them - not real people. Then again, it is not my place to deal with real people - only to remake them.’

    Benjamin was sat to one side in his seat, one arm being dismantled by his mother, the other tucked inside its sleeve and resting against his stomach. He was like a monk in prayer. The hood hung across his face, shrouding all in darkness but the gleam of his red-raw eyes. He was no longer crying. ‘Thankyou, mother.’

    She was stripping the finger bones away, like petals from a flower. She came across the table, pressing her fingers into the elbow joint. He looked down the front of her dress, the nipples erect and dark. His expression did not change. ‘Thankyou for teaching me. My inspiration… my muse in all things. My mother…’

    She brought her knees up, hoisting her weight onto the table. His arm separated from the socket and dropped away, onto the floor. She came up, hands and knees, moving across the table towards him. Benjamin watched her, still in his seat. There was a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. She came back onto her haunches and her hands moved to the straps of her crimson dress. She dropped them over the shoulders; the dress fell away from her chest and stomach. The table creaked slightly beneath her weight as she raised each knee, sliding the dress from her. On her naked body, full and voluptuous, Benjamin traced the dark swirls of blood, like the daubing of an artist. Casepheny was young, beautiful, ravaged and bloody.

    Benjamin’s remaining hand lifted towards his face. Casepheny watched him, her breasts rising and falling with her breath. He moved his fingers beneath the hood, against his face, up the cheekbone, into the eye-socket. It didn’t hurt anymore. He reached inside, a slight wetness the only sound made. Casepheny watched, silent, the same slightness of elation, arousal. Benjamin pulled out his left eyeball, twisting till the nerve broke. It rolled briefly into the centre of his palm and he held it out. On the back on the eye, carved amongst the white, the two marks were clear. The male symbol and the female symbol.

    Her naked body curving beautifully; she leant forward, dark hair falling either side of her luscious face. Casepheny’s hands slipped the hood of his robe back, uncovering the short silver-blond hair, the stubble-dark face, skin rugged and pitted. Benjamin’s jaw was defined, his lips slightly parted as he smiled, his remaining teeth showing. His other eye was azure blue and sharp. He lifted his head towards her, they kissed; and for a while stayed as such, she naked and on all fours upon the table, he sat in his robe, his face uncovered.

    And then he fell as Casepheny ceased to be, his weight pitching forward, his body starved of her warmth. He hit the side of the table and tumbled to the floor, landing face-down. The rest of his abdomen crumpled, his ribs were shattered. Lifting his face he saw ahead of him and reached out his remaining arm, pulling forwards. Each movement made him gasp, but his body was lighter – he was freed from it. Through the cobwebs he dragged himself, where flies were lain in their thousands, dead upon their backs. The space between the table and his parent’s bed was narrow and choked with dirt. Magazines and discarded clothes splayed as he pulled himself over them. The green-grey wallpaper was peeling, the curtains of heavy red were going dark.

    And there, behind the French windows, framed by the silvered rooftops, the angel waited on the balcony. He could see its legs and the gentle billowing of his its brown robes. The creature’s wings shifted slightly, playing with the shafts of sunlight that probed the room. Benjamin dragged himself onwards, smiling up at the bearded face, the vertical wrinkles, like scars.

    He was almost there… just a little further…
     
  2. Hurr hurr.

    I got frowned at by my tutor for that.
     
  3. .... Asmo.... make this into a religious horror film... now...