Weeping Heavens

Submitted into Contest #112 in response to: End your story with a character standing in the rain.... view prompt


Crime Contemporary Sad

[CW : Strong language, domestic violence]

Be careful what you wish for, they say.

Well said.

In his search for eternal peace and quiet he had wound up here,the five feet by five feet room of solitary confinement. The only opening on the rear wall of his cell, what passed for a window here, opened into an alley within the prison compound not more than two feet wide. The alley was as confined as him, by his cell on one side and a gray wall on the other, seeming like a cliff for all the renditions of the word.

Everything stood still in his cell. The world stopped spinning. The definition of time-irrespective of all the philosopher’s debates-was simply a matter of day and night. Once he had been God, giving and taking lives with equal ease, simply adding entropy to this already meaningless world. In his search for increasing entropy-the forward arrow of time-he simply stood still, contained in this concrete box.

The door of his cell opened.

Ah! Sean has come again.

Sean was the only visitor that he got. He liked the meek man. Sean so resembled his daughter whom he had killed. He had never met any member of family of any of his other victims. But he had met Sean. Sean was the only meaning that he had in his life. Without Sean, without being able to get out of his cell, he would rot.

He would not rot. He had to cling on to Sean.

“What were her last words?” Sean asked, face flustered with anger. This was his usual routine. First he would arrive, take a gulp of water from the plastic cup left on the table, make small talk-yes, small talk with a fallen angel-and then, as he would not give up what Sean wanted, he would get angry and would start showing his claws-well, what passed for his ‘claws’. Once he had seen a photo of a cute little panda with its arms raised above its head. That was meant to be its defense mechanism, to give the appearance of a bigger size. He had never seen a photo so cute to this day. Sean reminded him of that panda.

“Sean, calm down. Are you trying to make your heart explode?” he said.

“All I need is a yes or a no, Emmel. Please. I beg you.”

Ah! The tears. Sean’s tears made him think fondly of the tears of his victims.

“How am I supposed to know!” he exclaimed, face as innocent as a babe still sucking at his mother’s breasts.

“So you didn’t kill Sally?”

“Killing is a relative term, Sean. We are all killed by someone at the end of the day. This world is a poisonous venus fly trap. It gets to everyone.”

“I am not here to listen to your nihilistic bullshit. Yes or no!”

“Did you bring those cigarettes I asked for?”

Sean kept quite. Emmel could tell that Sean was getting frustrated. He was at the end of his rope. Emmel needed Sean to come back, needed to leave Sean wanting more. He needed Sean to get out of his cell, even if it was for an hour after months of confinement.

“So you didn’t bring my cigarettes. We’re done here.” Emmel said, getting up from his chair, making as if to reach for the door handle.

“Wait!” Sean squeaked. “Here,” he said, taking out a pack of cigarettes from his lame satchel and handing it to him.

I should be in Hollywood!

“Bless the almighty for nicotine.” Emmel said as he exhaled a long cloud of cigarette smoke.

Sean kept staring at him-studying him?-unnervingly. And people said he was the creepy one!

“I know what solitary confinement does to a man. C’mon, I need to show you something.” Sean said getting up from his chair.

“That’s a very cruel joke Sean. You know that I’m in here for life.” Emmel chuckled.

What’s he up to? This is new!

“I’ve taken care of all the permits. C’mon now.” Sean said, calling the guards in.

People like Sean were creatures of habit. You needed a stimulus of a very high degree to move them from their set paths.

Emmel felt something-after ages. Emmel was afraid of Sean.

Handcuffed, Emmel was led out of the prison for the first time since he was brought in after his trial. Dark and heavy clouds choked the afternoon sun, diminishing the star to a shadow of its glorious self. He got into the second car of his envoy. Well, a king deserves his envoy. He had no problems with that. All he could think about was Sean and this abnormality in his schedule.

The envoy raced through the expressway bracketed by rolling fields of green. The day was soaked in the smell of damp. Sweat clung to his forehead, rolling down his temples.

Emmel felt free, felt queasy at his momentary freedom.

Sean sat beside the driver separated from him by an intricately woven iron grill.

“Sally was free, you know. She was so quick with a smile.” Sean declared.

Emmel knew this game. He was trying to access his humanity, trying to get through him to the place where guilt resided. Emmel ignored him.

When he kept quiet, Sean began, “I want you to know the person you have killed.”

Emmel knew Sally. She had been one of the generic ones, expressing terror at precisely the right moment, anger at other moments and resignation in yet another moment. She had been a textbook endeavor.

“You want me to cry, Sean? Cry over a slip of a girl?”

“So you knew her!” Sean suddenly exclaimed, turning back in his seat, looking back at him.

Shit! The bloody fields, this damp weather and the weirdness in Sean today had got to him. He had let it slip. He simply could not afford to lose Sean. Emmel wanted him to come back.

“I used to know a lot of girls like Sally. Little Miss Sunshine. Walking around with their bare misshapen thighs, proclaiming to the whole bloody world ‘fuck me’. But I can’t remember Sally. Remind me, was she the one I picked up from the bar?”

He had picked a lot of his trophies from the bar.

Let him chew on that and figure out whether Sally had been picked up from the bar for himself. Sally’s exact location of abduction had never been identified.

Emmel could physically sense the restraint that Sean was showing. Sean kept quiet, his ears shaded with the color of red.

“You’ll remember. Soon now.” Sean muttered to himself.

Sean’s house was as mundane as Sean usually was. Two police officers were placed in each room of the house and the entire house was surrounded by a precinct’s worth of cops. Sean led him down a narrow hallway and then up a flight of stairs. The stairs finished right at the carpet in front of Sally’s room.

Sean opened the door and led him through it. A bed stood sentry in front of the rear wall. There was a carved wooden desk and chair by the only window in the room. Books and notepads and pens were scattered about on the desk.

Sean followed Emmel’s gaze to the desk.

“Yeah. She was writing an essay on the Civil War the afternoon that we lost her.”

Sean had kept the room preserved as a shrine to his daughter. The bed was still unmade. It still had the feeling of being slept in.

“How long it’s been?” Emmel could not stop the question.

“Five years this November.”

Emmel could smell Sally in this room, feel her presence.

“And what’s the point of this?” Emmel asked disbelievingly.

You are the point, Emmel. If only you’ll come clean, tell me what actually happened to Sally on that night, I can move on. Sell this dreadful house finally. All I need is a yes or a no. Can’t you find pity in yourself for me!”

Emmel walked over to the bookshelf on the wall opposite the window. He glanced through the book titles.

Those were good books. Sally had been smart. Maybe if she were not dead, they could have had a lively discussion on one of those books.

No! I can’t let him get to me. This is all an act, to get me to come clean.

“If you want a buyer for this house, Sean, you’ve come to the wrong man. I can’t really own property, now can I?”

Sean sighed.

He went over to the window and crouched up on the window sill.

“She would climb up in here when she was sad and look down on the front yard.” Sean said, demonstrating Sally’s grief.

He could remember his mother, sitting on the window sill of their house, crying her lungs out. He had been so small back then, so insignificant. His mother, Tabitha, always wore what she called battle wounds. Sometimes her eyes would be a dark shade of purple, sometimes her arms would be wounded and she would be unable to lift the arm to a vertical stance. And on yet other days she would not be able to walk straight and he would know that the battle wounds were inside of her.

Emmel could not bear it any more. He ran out of the room, spooking the officers in guard. They came running down after him down the stairs. When they finally saw that Emmel was sitting on the wooden chair adjacent to the dinning table, they finally stopped running and relaxed a little though still ready to pounce on him if he showed any further signs of aggression.

Emmel took out a cigarette from the pack that Sean had given him and lit a cigarette with the matchbox lying on the table.

I can’t let it out now. God doesn’t explain. He simply does.

A thunder roiled through the clouds.

Sean came down after him to the table, pulled a chair from the table and sat there facing him.

“Sally had a boyfriend. I can’t remember his name now. Once he had pushed her aside to go and grab a few drinks with his friends. She had followed him to the bar and clawed his face out. The lad had come begging for her forgiveness the next day. I don’t know what had happened between them on that day but as far as I knew, he had acted the perfect boyfriend since then.”

“Seems like a spirited girl.” Emmel bared his teeth to what he assumed would be a smile and replied.

Where had been that fight inside Sally when he had taken her to his basement? He had wanted Sally to fight. He always liked it when they fought. He would’ve liked a smackdown between this Spirited Sally that he was just getting to know now and his stepfather. That bastard had been a rag of a man and always ended his frustrating days on his mother. He had been one of his first victims, his only male victim to this day.

The cigarette had almost burned down to its butt yet Emmel sat there shaking with self-loathing, with fury at himself.

“Why did you kill her Emmel?” Sean asked, gently this time.

You are a fucking God. You do not hand out explanations, he kept telling himself.

“I know you killed her, Emmel. All the evidence says so —“, Sean began.

“They were all circumstantial,” Emmel interrupted, “and I —”

“No, Emmel. No more lies and no more running around in loops. I want this from you not because of any legality. I mean, look at yourself. You’re already rotting —”

“I’m not rot—”, Emmel began furiously.

Rotting away in solitary,” Sean spoke over him.

“I hated myself after the incident,” Sean continued, “couldn’t live with the guilt, couldn’t live with my incapacity. I couldn’t save Sally’s mother and I couldn’t save Sally. But I’m not there any more. I want to move on and I want to do this with or without your help. This is your last chance Emmel. Whether you put my mind at ease today or you do not, today is the last day that we see each other. No more after this. I’ve had enough.”

Sean finished, got up from the chair and grabbed a chilled water bottle from the refrigerator and drank from it.

A thunder roiled through the clouds.

Emmel saw his future clearly at that moment, saw himself rotting away at his dingy little cell. Time would slip by him, forgetting that once God had lived among them.

Is he God anymore? This little man had already driven him to his edge. His life revolved around his visits, his time spent in plotting how he would lead Sean through the loops of his mind, keeping him coming back.

“Why, Emmel?” Sean asked, his gaze drilling into his eyes.

He could not be defeated. He simply was and always will be a sheer force of nature. He got up from his chair and went to one of the guards.

“Take me back to my cell.”

The guard looked at him pityingly as if eyeing a small spider before it was crunched under his boots. He did not wait for the guards and started for the door of the house. He knew they would follow.

He crossed the front porch and strode through the front yard.

“Why Emmel?” Sean kept shouting from the doorway of the house.

He had had enough. If he were the spider, he would be one of those big ones, always angry, always ready to strike one down if one came across it.

It was time to shred Sean to pieces.

He turned back to look at Sean and noticed his size for the first time. He was a big man. Emmel couldn’t have shrunk down in the span of a few hours. Could he?

Please. What more have you got to lose?”

“BECAUSE SHE DESERVED TO DIE.” Emmel found himself roaring.

A thunder roiled through the clouds.

“I knew the boyfriend Sean. Think for yourself. My endeavors always needed research. She was pregnant and if I couldn’t have a mother then no one could. The world was created in the image of God and I am that God. The world simply needed to reflect me.”

Emmel realized he had broken down and was now kneeling on the ground. He was defeated at last. He had given up an explanation and gods never gave one. He was God no longer. Well, at least he would face his defeat standing.

So he stood up.

Heavens broke from the sky, weeping in grief at the death of God. The rain swept through him, soaked through him.

He felt light. He no longer needed to be God. Playing at being God had ended him up at solitary. He was finally done with this.

Sean stood on the porch gasping heavily.

Emmel stood in the front yard, in the rain, looking up at Sally’s window.

September 20, 2021 04:11

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