As with earlier stories upped this one is yet another work in progress.
I have been told that I should issue them with a word of warning prior to letting people read them so here you go.
This one is for Stu who, like me, was moved by the film 'If', and it is for Al as he likes nasty shit.
“One day, even this, will feel like a dream. After all what are memories? They don't exist in the present. They exist only in your head. Short bursts of electricity snapping and crackling across your brain and opening doors to the past. Nothing to differentiate them from dreams once they slip ever further from the here and now.”
He smiles and looks pleased with himself.
Momentarily lost in a little pocket of intellectual narcissism.
His sense of superiority very obviously worn to impress.
Not just to impress though.
His self enveloping superiority and outward confidence have been fed and nurtured over many years as they share kinship with power, and ultimately it is power that he lusts after.
It is an open secret that is whispered in corners, spoken about in the quiet hours and fearfully shared with the uninitiated, that he is beyond salvation, beyond the reach of morality, and is in fact evil incarnate.
Slowly his attention returns to the room. He smiles again and lets his gaze wander over his flock, his congregation, his boys.
There is not one pupil who wishes to hold eye contact with him, to draw his focus towards them.
Silence reigns in a room that holds over two hundred boys and whose numbers are bolstered by at least thirty adult staff who sit frozen behind the Devil himself.
There is no shuffling of feet, no rustling of hard boiled sweets being extracted from wrappers, no coughs or sneezes and no involuntary spasms of movement.
Power emanates from him. T
he power to use fear to elicit control.
It spreads from him like ice rapidly forming across a lake faster than is naturally possible. Consuming all in an immobilizing grip that saps all energy away.
To anyone looking in from the outside they would be forgiven in thinking that we all existed with in a vacuum.
“House Captains rise”
It is said daily, and with its familiarity the urge to pre-empt him is fierce, but no one dares break ranks as the reaction would be too awful to contemplate.
Uniformly we stand with a precision that seems mechanical and his eyes flash over us all, scanning, jumping from face to face.
We all stare into the middle distance and after what feels like hours his attention moves on to the sitting pupils.
“The boy in the third row, second in from my right.”
No one looks to see who it is. No one moves.
“At noon see me in my office.....and now Captains, if you will, assist the boys in exiting one row at a time, back to front, and do it quietly.”
Brian stands at the window in the dorm. His back is to me, but there is a solid tension there.
It is spread across his immobile shoulders and reveals itself in the whiteness of the knuckles of his clenched fists.
He has been silent since we arrived in the room.
At least thirty minutes have elapsed and he hasn't said one word.
Attempts to engage with him have fallen into an uncomfortable impasse. No words are required though.
There are six of us excluding Brian and we all know what is wrong.
We all feel it.
The boy from the third row is the line that Brian drew in the sand.
For months he has muttered and threatened mutiny.
For days his inaction, his cowardly impotence - paired with that of everyone else - has stoked a fire that has now engulfed him.
No words are required.
The reflection of his face in the window says it all.
Flushed with blood, and with the muscles of his jaw tightened to the point of disfiguring him we are all invited to share his pain.
Every couple of minutes he looks at the clock as the hands snap closer to noon.
With every circuit of the face the second hand sweeps us all closer to an unsaid point of no return.
At two minutes to twelve Brian asks “whose in?” He is still looking at the window rather than out of it, and from six feet away we can all feel the force that he is holding tightly to.
No one answers, but no one needs to.
The clock strikes the hour and Brian moves to the door and we all follow.
Outside the corridors are empty and the sound of our progress as we march towards the headmasters office echoes loudly.
With each step we know that we are all heading for a moment in our lives that will spin everything on its head.
Nothing will ever be the same.
There is no hesitation from Brian as he reaches the door and with one swift twist of his wrist the knob is turned and we are all pushing forward to crowd into the office.....and then we stop.
Bent over the table the boys face is being held down hard and he is looking right at us.
Tears glisten and shame burns across his cheeks as blood from a bitten lip trickles desk-ward.
Momentarily struck motionless the headmaster stares at us. His robe is open, his trousers and underwear are pooled around his ankles, and he is still deep within the boy.
With a grunt Brian rushes forward and using a footstool as leverage he springs into the air and brings his knee crashing into the headmasters face and with that the spell is broken.
Animal like we are on on him before his body has reached the floor.
Stamping and kicking at him. Releasing pent up aggression that has no off switch to it we unconsciously allow the abuse that has been visited upon us all to be returned to sender.
I see his leg kick out and with satisfaction I bring my heel down on his ankle and hear it snap.
A portion of his bare torso appears between legs and I feel some ribs crack as my foot connects.
The room is filled with breathless gasps as we sob our way towards his destruction and in some way our own to.
It's Brian that pulls me away, and then he clutches at shoulders and drags others aside until he is able to stand over him.
Lying there broken we can all see the change in his eyes.
There's no power now.
All that lies before us is an old and unfit man, a scared and confused man who no longer has his hand on the reins of power.
Scared because he is now aware that nothing lasts forever, and confused as he had clutched onto the delusion that it did.
Brian looks around the room and settles on a marble bust of Freud that sits in an alcove behind me.
I reach for it and pass it to him.
We all stand and watch as he raises it above his head, and then with a roar brings it down to crush the headmasters now flaccid penis.
The scream that is torn from his throat has enough force to reach the darkest corners of the school and as it dies Brian leans in close to him and says “One day, even this, will feel like a dream. After all what are memories? They don't exist in the present. They exist only in your head. Short bursts of electricity snapping and crackling across your brain and opening doors to the past. Nothing to differentiate them from dreams once they slip ever further from the here and now.”