13.A Chapter by Shiloh Black
Nothing could hurt him anymore. Not cuts nor scrapes nor words nor tragedy. Garrett had faced them all, and had become immune to their sting. When hurts could no longer wound the surface and his humanity seemed to fade to a dull monochrome of emotion, he turned to his only alternative -- hurting others. At times he perceived he should despise his very being, but he was far too animal a creature to harbour hatred of self. He inflicted pain for sake of feeling. Hunger and thirst could come as they may, but he felt them not -- contention was his only staple of survival.
It was a principal he had lifted from Bess. Shortly after Kirill had abandoned him in New Seattle, Garrett had been rescued by the weathered gangster. Bess’s body was composed of a series sharp edges. He had a crookedness to his form that never seemed to iron out. Back in ‘63 he’d come over on the boat, as people liked to call it -- that great migration of Russians to America. He spoke English with the steadiness of a politician but moved in a way that suggested motors and gears. Bess was a gaunt, disquieting soul who made quick work of a knife and quicker work of burning bridges.
Garrett, on the other hand, was different. He stuck his neck out with Bess until the very end, right up until the day his mentor perished. A.I.D.S was the name Bess had given his illness. He’d spent his whole life avoiding drugs and drink, only to fall victim to another sort of addiction. Without dignity, he’d died sprawled on a park bench with only Garrett at his side. In the morning, men in green overalls had taken Bess away, and he could do nothing to stop them but scream his little head off and wave a switchblade around. They stuck Bess in the potter’s field. That was the first time he’d visited the place, having followed the dump truck all the way to the gates of the Rectory.
That was then. It didn’t really matter to him anymore -- Bess’s death, that is. It did, however, stir in him an intense fear for his own mortality, and consequently, of impurity and sickness. With the rage of a zealot, Garret had set out to purify himself and those around them, whipping himself up into a tempest of occultist proportions. He’d never touched a woman before, and the very sight of female skin made him nauseous. Men were no better. His bane came down upon whorehood, alcohol, drugs, disloyalty -- ideology, even. It was a hard order, but it needed keeping. They would survive by it, live by it, while the whole hellhole of humanity sunk in its cavernous stench. Stench, stink -- he felt sick already.
Not long after Bess’s death, he began gathering about him all the young children he found wandering the streets on their own. The thought that even one might fall into prostitution was the only motivation he needed to cloth and feed as many as he could. In a broken building in Old Seattle he sheltered them, keeping watch over them like his own little flock of sheep.
Oftentimes, he had the help of a man named Casper -- a negro he’d met at a soup kitchen a couple years back. Casper’s wife, Anita, had once been a good friend of his, a very good friend in fact -- but then she turned her body over to do the devil’s wishes. Now he wouldn’t let her anywhere near the children -- no, not when she was filthy. Every inch of her probably crawled with disease; she was no good for the little ones.
The children mattered so much to him because they knew no evil. He would raise them in a broken world, but a perfect one. They would be his to contain and trap, teach and instruct, and his instruction would be the word of a God.
He could not have saved himself, but there was hope yet for them.
As Garrett watched the children play with toys and knickknacks paid for by crooks and murderers, a smile lit his face. Any man could make do with good things in life -- he’d like to see someone else make an evil thing into something of beauty!
© 2010 Shiloh Black
Added on June 20, 2010
Last Updated on June 20, 2010
A Stone to Kill
Saint John, Canada
AboutI presently reside in Atlantic Canada. My interests, aside from writing include drawing, reading, and indulging in my love of all things British. I'm currently attending the University of Dalhousie, w.. more..