Gunnar Lothar was a rapist, a sadist and a murderer. But he was also my father. He paid for my clothes and food for as long as I can remember. Always goal-oriented, words were never wasted on anything “soulful,” but we could’ve never talked enough about my physical appearance and how that could prove exceptionally useful in coming about a rich husband. Gunnar – at least his social persona – was all about good business.
I don’t know by what miracle I escaped abuse – probably because he used the family-man image to cover his true monstrous inclinations, and that image had to be perfect. For and despite all this, deep down I may be grieving. What I know for sure is that I’m very, very angry.
I tap into that anger and imagine him before me. I mentally make my surroundings fade into the background and talk to him. I let out my wrath and spit my disdain at him while the inquisition-like gathering yells and accuses me. They point fingers. Mum cries with her face in her palms, while Pretty Lauren grins like Maleficent with arms across her chest. Jeremy runs from one bastard to another to persuade them of something – I imagine he’s still holding on to his plan of using me as bait for Kieran.
“Saphira, pull yourself together,” Billy the Notary says in a panicked voice. His smoker-grey narrow face with the thick round spectacles and the thin mousy nose is close to mine.
“Take her to the lunatic asylum, that’s where she belongs,” the angry old man with the cane urges. Men and women agree with him in a surge of voices.
I may have gone too far. Gunnar’s “ghost” pulled me in. Now I can’t stop anymore. Turns out I am grieving, terribly so. I feel betrayed, furious and mad, and I’m acting as if possessed.
Mum howls in pain, and my heart breaks for her, but I can’t stop. I’ve lost control over myself. People grab and drag me out in the rain, once again displaying me like a witch deserving of the stake on the road to the lunatic asylum. I realize it, but can’t bring myself to fight it. I can’t stop “talking” to Gunnar Lothar.
The elite is out in the street, while the “plebs” peek from behind their curtains, scared and practically bullied to stay inside their homes. Little do they know that the old houses are no protection. Our town is now cut off from the rest of the world, the wasteland around it crawling with cops manoeuvred by a bitter and ambitious Inspector, mercenaries hired by the elite, and Ivan Basarab’s Black Monks – creatures that are clearly not normal.
They’re many and dangerous to Kieran and his few loyal men. We’re all doomed, every last one of us. As I realize this the last drop of energy leaves me, and I give in to the arms that feel like cuffs around mine. My feet soon no longer touch the ground, I’m being carried like an offering of heathen sacrifice.
The spiked black gates to the lunatic asylum open to receive me as my carriers’ feet make their way through the mud, the heavy rain battering my face and body that’s still covered only with the soaked corset and the torn fishnet stockings. I’m a certain victim of pneumonia, and I don’t even care.
The asylum doors close behind us. Calls instigating to my being locked up in here resonate against the walls, mixing with the cries of agony from electroshocked patients. The ceiling – greenish in the sickly lighting – spins around as they rotate me and put me back on my feet, only to drag me further into the depths of this prison that I may never leave again except maybe in a plastic bag. But, to my surprise, not everybody who’s accompanied me here is a foe.
Jeanie and Billy the Notary run alongside the group, desperate to get me out of these people’s hands. Pretty Lauren is right behind Jeanie, but all she wants is to take full delight in what she witnesses happening to me. Jeremy is close by with a bad frown and a mad look in his eyes, and soon Ronald Lord Barkley, head of the lunatic asylum, greets us. We don’t stop, he simply joins the group as they take me to what must be my cell, but as we advance the screams turn louder, as if someone’s being tortured. The voice seems familiar, and as we draw closer my heart beats in my throat.
We pass by a half-open door that reveals part of a sorry tiled room with a woman lying on the metal table like cattle for slaughter. With devices at her head, she screams under electroshocks. I recognize her and my steps freeze. She seems to feel my presence, and her bloodshot, terrified eyes dart to the side like a killer puppet’s in a horror movie. This is a living nightmare.
A shockingly emaciated and desolate version of my beloved friend Virgin Vivien fixes me for a second before she starts screaming again. Only that this time it’s not voltage that drives her – the doctors are busy looking at us as well, they’re not operating the devices. I understand immediately – Ivan Basarab is among us, and Vivien just recognized him.
To be continued on Friday.
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