Tranquil, a short story by Sarnia de la Maré FRSA from the Tale Teller Club
Sarah answered the door.
The Priest smiled and Sarah let him immediately. Without taking off his coat, he said
‘Yes, indeed Sarah I can feel a terrible energy here. But I can help you now. Let us begin.’
David sat alone in a dark room. There was a table and another chair and a light hung from the ceiling, swinging, creaking. He hurt all over, it was the dull ache of disaster. It was cold, very cold. He put up his collar and folded his arms in an attempt to keep out a determined draft. There was dried blood all over his shirt and jeans which he couldn’t disguise. How long had he been here? He couldn’t be sure. This room was familiar now but the hours, days and months were not his own. He hadn’t been able to think straight and concentration after the incident had been sporadic. He wasn’t even sure when he had last eaten.
There was a door on either side of the room, to his left and to his right. He wondered if he could just get up and leave but some unknown force made him stay put. He would wait it out, besides, he was exhausted, he no longer slept.
In Sarah’s house the Priest lit candles and incense all around. He went into each room and recited prayers and passages of scripture. Sarah was not a Catholic but her situation had driven her to ask for help. Her life was almost beyond liveable. Her friend had recommended the Father who would guide Sarah through the process.
In the cold dark room the door to the right opened suddenly.
‘Hullo, hullo, David. Now, how are you this fine day?’
A man in a heavy coat and scarf entered the room. He was jolly and spoke in a thick Irish accent.
‘Well, now then, it’s not the warmest place is it?’ he continued, rubbing his hands together. ‘Ah forgive me’, he said, ‘let me introduce myself, I am Darragh O’reilly, and I am here to help son, only to help.’
Darragh walked to the side of the room and put on a heater.
‘That’ll warm us up soon enough he said,' pulling the chair out on the opposite side of the table and making himself comfortable.
‘A nasty business this David, but we can sort it out. Just tell me what happened, in your own time.’
David looked at Darragh whose kind eyes were pools of hope glistening in the half-light, and then he began.
‘We used to be OK, me and Sarah. We had some great years. She was funny, you know, quirky. Not a girly girl, one of the lads. I liked that.
We had been friends first, from school, did you know?’
Darragh smiled and nodded slowly.
‘Well, things changed, you know, when she got this new job, and she started wanting more. I wasn’t really enough, you know, she wanted a better car, better house, better boyfriend. I really tried, long hours, lots of overtime. I loved her, wanted a family, to live and die together. Simple, normal.
She started moaning. Always fucking moaning. Home is supposed to be calm and tranquil, not stressful. It was a battleground. I lost my job and things got worse. More fucking moaning. Screaming sometimes, so the neighbours could hear. Trying to make me feel bad when it was her fault I was getting angry all the time.
Then this one Saturday, I admit I was a bit pissed, I’d been watching the football. England had lost so that pissed me right off. You know, I was tense, you know what it’s like. I’d run out of beer so I messaged and asked Sarah to pick some up from the offy; she was already out shopping, would have been no bother. Well, she forgot Darragh, I mean one thing was all I asked, one fucking thing.’
Darragh looked sympathetic and nodded slowly. David felt solidarity and continued.
‘So, she gets in, no beer, and starts going on about the rubbish. I hadn’t put it out see and, yeah, well I guess it was stinking but I was distracted with the football. She starts yelling right, said I looked like a dosser, like a vagrant. Said I was a mess and she couldn’t bear to be near me anymore. She was all tarted up, smelled of fancy perfume and had new shoes on, like a right dog’s dinner she was. Fucking slag.’
David looked down at his bloody hands. A tear rolled down his cheek, then he sobbed like a child.
The Priest fell to his knees on Sarah’s living room floor calling the unwelcome spirits in the house to leave in a chant-like song.
Sarah had never seen an exorcism before and felt a chill through her body and a wave of nausea. She assumed it was fear. The lights flickered. A door flew open and something in the kitchen fell to the floor.
Sarah ran towards the kitchen but the priest yelled.
‘No, be still child!
Exsúrgat Deus et dissipéntur inimíci ejus: et fúgiant qui odérunt eum a fácie ejus,' the Priest was chanting in Latin.
A gust of air surged through the house.
Darragh put his hand on David’s arm.
‘It’s OK David, I am not here to judge, only God judges. Tell me everything.’
The sobbing had stopped and David continued.
‘I was just so fucking angry. I just grabbed her by the neck and pushed her against the wall. I was so close to her then, closer than I had been for ages. I could feel her breath on my cheek. I almost kissed her but I head-butted her instead. I didn’t mean to do it so hard and she was bleeding. I could smell the blood. But she spat at me and I just got angry so I punched her in the face. There was so much blood, it was pouring from her nose and her brow. There was a big cut. I watched her bleed for a bit. It dripped down her neck and over my hand and I licked it. I wanted to taste her blood. I loved her you know, really loved her.
She was quiet. It was so peaceful without her rabbiting on about all that shit. I was squeezing her neck still but I released it a bit because I thought she may be dead, that I’d killed her. I didn’t want to honestly.
Everything in Sarah’s house began to rattle. Things were moving about, flying at speed through the air and being thrown around the room backwards and forwards. Things were breaking, pictures falling off the wall and mirrors cracking.
The priest carried on shouting despite the danger of a hundred objects hurtling through the air.
‘Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His Face! As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.’
‘Carry on David,’ said Darragh, ‘keep going son, keep going.’
‘Well, then she said I was pathetic and I couldn’t help it Darragh, really I just went mad, I lost it then completely. I bit her lip really hard. It was like meat, her lip in my teeth, I could feel it coming off in my mouth, felt all her blood on my tongue.
That’s when she did it. She picked up a knife, from the side. She stuck it right through Darragh. Straight through my heart. I mean, how could she?
It didn’t hurt, like a punch, then hot. But I knew, I knew I was a gonner.’
The priest stood up in Sarah’s living room and moaned. Then he opened his eyes. The wind had slowed and things were no longer flying about.
‘Well David, it is good that you have told me and I know you will feel better for it.’ said Darragh.
Then he took off his coat and David saw the white collar of a priest.
‘Do I have to go?’ He asked. ‘Yes David you do, I am here to guide through the door.’ Darragh pointed to the door on the left which was opening. There was a bright light beyond it like a summers’ day.
‘But don’t be afraid David, beyond the door is salvation. Let me take you now.’
Darragh took David’s hand and escorted him to the door. David dropped to his knees.
Darragh spoke in prayer, ‘God our Father, I believe that out of Your infinite love You have created David. In a thousand ways he has shunned Your love. David repents of each and every one of his sins. Please forgive him, Dearest Lord, Amen.'
Then he kissed David’s forehead and led him through the door.
Sarah’s house was quiet. There was a phenomenal calm that had never been in the building before. The pain of all that had happened was lifted and gone. There was peace here now.
‘Has he gone Father?’ Sarah asked.
'Yes, Sarah he is gone to Jesus, and he has found peace in forgiveness.'
‘So what happens now?' She asked.
The Priest looked at the young girl, her face scarred and her eyes sage,
‘I will hear your confession and be on my way,’ the Priest said ‘for all that is tranquil has been resolved.’
© 2019 Tale Teller Club / Goddamn Media
Friday, December 15, 2023
Sunday, December 10, 2023
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