[6] Seven Deadly Cardinals – Kindness/Envy

“Don’t forget to water irises!” – Father loudly remarks from the porch, as I stand further out in the garden.

Instead of shouting a reply I simply wave a hand. I can hear him clicking his tongue, from all the way out here, as he dropped his hand in that dissatisfied gesture at me.

“Asshole.” – I mutter under my breath.

The hose sprinkles the water over the flower bed, the evening is letting the heat of the sun die down. It’s quite the odd heat in July, but still, it makes me enjoy it as it goes.

“Alois!” – The old lady Margaret that lives up on the third floor waves at me from the balcony.

“Evening!” – I reply to her with a smile.

“Come get apple pie, once you finish! I baked a lot!” – Margaret giggled and went back in.

She’s by far the nicest lady I’ve met in my life. She is easy to be around, so very relaxing and nice. Unlike my father, for example. The old man is bossing me around a lot, yet I’m alright with it. I get that he’s doing his best in his own way, with over the top high expectations for me. Yet he often forgets that I’m still in university, still a few years before graduation. 

Once the colorful flowers are watered, the weeds pulled and the beauty of the place upkept – I finally have some little moment to enjoy in the company of old aunty Margaret.

Up on the third floor, door number 7, I gently knock.

“Yes, Alois, come in! Been waiting for you! I got the tea ready. Come join.” – Margaret was all over the kitchen, sitting room, as she went back and forth bringing out bits for tea.

I sat at the table, which was right next to the balcony – overlooking the garden and the land that stretched beyond it. 

Our house was on the hill, so we had the mighty experience of seeing all from above. The beauty of our town near the lake, the tourists that come and go, the people who are young and old, even the mischief once and again that kids pull off by setting bonfires or dancing in costumes.

“I’ve been so absorbed in the book you gave me. What a read.” – Margaret liked to chat, and I was the most often guest she had. Although she has a family, they all moved out to another city and never really came to see her. After her husband Frederic passed away, she became quite lonely. So I couldn’t stand her sweet heart being this much in pain, so I proposed to her a book club. That was the start of our friendship. For a few good years now we read books and discuss them. Sometimes we play chess.

“The main character was quite the menace, but once that explanation mid-book showed up – oh did I get the wish to deal with those rascals like she did! Oh my! It made me so furious!” – Margaret was so happy to share, as she held her cup in her hands, but facial expressions kept changing in a very comical way, with wrinkles up and down.

I ate the pie piece she gave me, as I listened to her. With my head nodding to her statements here and there.

“There was a time when Francis was alive…” – Margaret would at times create these warped moments when she’d tell a bit about her late husband, as she reminisced about the moments she spent with him.

“It was our second year together, it was such a mess. I was still trying to be acknowledged by his mother. As my mother in law had the distaste for me and my cooking. She would always be unhappy with my cooking, no matter what I’d make. Not that she was fussy, she just did not like me.” – The story was out and about for a while, as I did my best to keep track of the way it was going.

“So, I was so mad when I made the meat pie and Francis told his mother that it was him and she loved the pie! Can you believe it?” – Margarets wrinkles were the silly kind, as she made this comical expression between acted out surprise and a little anger. It was adorable to witness.

“As you make lists of the new requirements, please remind me to get that all bought up right before I make my way to shops.” – Father was on his high horse again, as he was throwing his assignments to me.

Without waiting for a reply, he got his bag and went out the front door.

The silence instilled in the room for a while. I let out a sigh, as I recalled all my duties for today. From cleaning up the place, to cleaning around premises, to watering flowers in the front garden.

Out in the light, doing the chores, as I slowly have an odd feeling seeping through. Observing tenants passing by, going to their appointments, businesses, jobs. Most of them are middle aged, working the whole day and not very talkative. Which is fine – having to talk a lot at work makes you wish to stay silent at home. Some people are chatterboxes, so that they’ll keep on going, but somehow our tenants are not like that.

Having my head buried in books that are for assignments, I feel the pang at the front of my head.

The realisation comes around – “ah, headache…”, I breathe out.

Door shut violently, as father came back home. I could hear him pour whiskey for himself and rant about the day to the house.

That was his typical ritual he did, as he came back. 

Always unhappy about some things or people. After he’d let out his stream – he’d sit in the chair, in the sitting, turn the radio on and look out the window to the garden. With enough alcohol in his system – he’d go to sleep. That’s when I come out to have a walk, before my sleep.

Such would be the typical day for us.

Father was in his room, most likely getting down to sleep. I got ready for my usual evening walk. Just after I left the house – I saw Margaret sitting on the bench, in front of the house.

“Evening.” – I said, as I approached her.

“Ah, Alois, so late outside.” – She let out in a bit of a surprise, as she snapped out of her daze.

“I tend to enjoy evening walks. Maybe you wish to join?” – I asked, as I watched her fiddling her thumbs one against the other.

“Maybe I should.” – She replied, as she stood up. – “What would be our route?”
“Don’t worry, it won’t be too long. I remember your joints’ condition.” – I smiled in reply.

She let out a short laugh, her features regaining the warmth she radiates daily. Yet there was some new sensation, feeling to her – like she’s somewhere farther than usual.

After passing by the barber shop, that’s down the road, our silence was broken by Margarets voice.

“Alois, how old are you now?” – She asked.

“Twenty three as of this year.” – I replied.

“Slightly younger than my granddaughter. She’s twenty six.” – Then she let the silence hang around.

Evening bugs were buzzing, creating this peaceful feeling. Our footsteps cracked against the pavement. Walking down to town park and back – that’s the idea. As we reached the park, we sat down on the bench to rest.

“Not so young anymore to keep up the greatness.” – Margaret let out. – “Alois, you know, I lately got something weighing on my mind.”

I watched her. She looked at the flower bed in front of us, her expression serious, yet dreamy somehow.

“I feel like I’ll be dying soon and will need to do amends with my children.”

Her words made my heart feel the squeeze of the denial. I don’t want her to disappear. Suddenly the realisation of how meaningful to me she became over the years smacked me. I opened my mouth to let out protest, but she continued.

“I have visited a fine gentleman that asked me what I’d like in my will. Who will have what. And to my surprise – I did not know how to give away all my possessions. Didn’t really think of death for years. Even as I saw neighbours being driven off in black coffins, even as I had cards from friends’ families, notifying that my friends died – I haven’t thought about my own departure. And then I rummaged through my mind, and then some more, but still it was empty. Yet somehow lately I’ve started to feel like I’ll go soon. Like a sixth sense that suddenly reveals itself.”

She fiddled her thumbs. I sat in the silence, digesting what she gave me. I could not agree to her being alright with death, or to be there to think about it. Even to be there to be able to apply self to that and accept it in such a short notice.

I was facing up more to the inner protest I had now in my heart. I don’t want to let her go.

In silence we got up and walked back. Then she went upstairs, to her apartment, I watched her go, standing and waiting for the click of the door.

Only then did I go inside. Room seemed a little alien. Guess it was also the side effect to heart wreaking havoc, at being unable to find it’s “how”.

Doing my studies now was more complicated, as I was distracted. I couldn’t put myself into the right track, as I still would go to see Margaret and talk about books, spend time and feel like I’m slowly more and more being pulled into regretful feeling.

She’d still be there, trying to look like nothing was of the grave matter but it was. I was sensing it from her.

Slowly she began having more and more time in her thought-filled daze. Eyes drifting off, finding something in a single dot on a room, then minutes later, she’d be back to her jolly-old self.

I felt myself suffocating. I had no rights to tell her of my feelings. To show angry protests to her dazes and acceptance of death. And I struggled to not say odd wrong words, to not make it harder for her. She, after all, did her best to show her best face too.

It was a sunny day. End of July, as the heat picks up and the moisture in the air grows, as the sweat makes garments stick to the body, the body becomes more and more tired. That’s when my heart began its worry.

I haven’t seen Margaret throughout yesterday, haven’t seen her today. Rang and knocked on the door – yet no answer.

“Father, we should check on Mrs Margaret from the 7th flat. She’s not been out.” – I found myself standing in the doorframe to fathers study.

He raised his head, his eyebrow going up.

“So she was at home, the last time you saw her?” – He plainly asked.

“Yes.” – I gave a slight nod, as I gave the answer.
Father let out a deep sigh, then a grunt, and got up. Walked across study to the built-in locker with keys to all apartments. Opened it, taking out the key with tag “7” attached to it.

“Well, seems like another burdensome thing…” – Father was mumbling and grunting, as we were making way to the apartment. Few knocks later – no reply.
“Mrs Margaret, you there?” – Fathers voice rumbled in the quiet in the halls.

Key in the lock, the door opened and we walked in. There was a smell. Pungent smell.
Dad walked towards it, to the bedroom. I stood outside, looking around, wishing that maybe the smell came from somewhere else.
“Aw damn.” – Father let out loudly. – “Decided to give me some work now, eh? Ehhh…”
I went to see what’s going on.
Doorframe. I got stuck in a door frame. As if legs were glued there. Margaret was in bed. Blue of colour, the smell was horrid. She looked peaceful. But so very still.

From then on it was like the scenes in the movie.
Father called the ambulance, police and the agency funeral service Margaret spoke with before.
Then there were people going in and out, asking endless questions to verify what’s where. Then they took her away. Father threw out the dirtied bedding. The calls were on and on. I felt like the night was long.

I stood there, paralyzed, glued to a spot, lost.

Waking up, preparing for the funeral, the suit and flowers, her favourite book.
Buried six feet under, with a great amount of friends surrounding her. None from her family. My father and funeral home did everything.

I think a week or two passed, before I heard sounds again.

Same work in the garden, same walks in the evening, same routine kept up, but my head felt stuffed with a great amount of cotton. Hazy eyesight, as there is close to nothing to focus on.
And then it was, mid-late August, I stood outside, watering flowers in late evening, watching the balcony where she’d so joyfully pop out and leave a word or two, a greeting. Then it hit like a ton of bricks, like a train at full speed.
My tears came crushing, I wept, wept, sat and wept.
When I felt empty, I cleaned up the gardening tools and went for a long walk. Long, long walk. I came back at the dawn. Father was still in bed, so he most likely didn’t notice.
So I went straight ahead to prepare breakfast.

That day felt like any other day. From father having breakfast, to doing chores, to seeking typical tenants back and forth.

Evening approached.

I sat in my room, preparing for my papers. Could hear father returning home, then radio.

“My time for a walk…” – I mumbled, as I got ready.

Once more, down the road, around the park…

I got stopped in my tracks, as I saw three girls, drunk and wobbly, get out of taxi right opposite my house.
“Shh! I’ve got the keys here somewhere..” – One of them, in a long dress with a side cut up to mid tight, was both hands in her purse, trying to fish out keys.

“Aww boo, come on.” – Another came up and pouted, holding third by the hand.

“Got it!” – Triumphally she called out, as she managed to fish the keys out and with a smirk she pulled others to the door.
Now the theatrical clumsy act to open the door, as she tries to fit in keys with no luck.

I came up to them, feeling like the bunch must have gotten to the wrong house. As I’ve never seen them before, also, each new tenant is to be approved, so once my father chats to them – I get to know new people.

As I stood a few steps away, one girl nudged another, as that other pulled the one with keys to face me. All three looked quite ready for the fight.

“Evening, ladies, may I help?” – I speak up.
“The heck you want boy? Are you a stalker?” – Key holding lady was gripping keys in hand.

“Um, actually I live here.” – I squint eyes at them.
The one with keys made a surprised look, whilst others let out the sigh.

“Oh shi-it…” – The key holder said. She sucked her lower lip in, then looked around, smacked lips and got in my face. – “Yeah, um, I’m flat 7, can you help me out here?”

I froze. Flat 7? Who the hell is she? How is she, to go into Margarets home? There were no moving trucks, no claiming of the items, no nothing from the Margarets family and then this?
She grabbed me by the elbow.

“Come on… You live here, right?”

I let out a sigh, opened the door, but she pulled me with her.

“Where is number 7? Can you lead me?” – She puckered her lips.

I gave a nod and led all three to the third floor, door number 7. Key girl managed to get the keys in. After a bit of fiddling she opened the door. To my surprise.

“Babes, we go in…” – The key girl let out.
One of the girls that passed by, grabbed me by the cheeks and landed a smooch on my lips.

“Thank you sweets.” – She giggled, got in and the door closed.

I was stunned. I stood there for a moment, then shook my head and went down.

Just sitting in my room did no good. Who are they? How is that girl having keys to Margaret’s apartment? Who is she? What is this drunken thing about?

The pain in my head did not cease, so I got out into the garden. “Might help” – I thought.

The moonlight shone magically. The land was covered in the blue hue. With a soft summer breeze still tingling senses and peace of summer end.

“M-m-m”

I hear from above.

“Ah… M-m..” 

Are they for real? I feel the shock and rage brew inside me. Ready to swear out loud. I take a few steps and look up. All I wanted to say gets stuck in my throat. Stupor smacks me off my tracks.

All three on the balcony. All naked. One spread out on the table, with one more eating her in between the legs, another kisses the one on the table, as she strokes her soft, hot parts.

“M-m!” – The one on the table mewls out. – “Ah! Ah!”

By the way she lets moans out – she seems to be reaching climax. And then a moment later – she squirts the liquid over the girl in front of her.

The one that kissed the girl, got around, now facing her and lying over on top of her. The one that was on knees pleasing one on the table, got to work on the girl that got on top.

Soft giggles, kisses and wet-wet sounds.

With my senses regained, as the stupor faded, I turned around and went back to my room.

Those girls dirtied the sweet heartfelt image of Margaret on that balcony with such lewd atrocities. I can’t believe this is happening. And I can’t even preserve that dignity in real life, one that the flat had for years. This is really frustrating.

Making a scene would be pointless, not to mention I’d be the one in the trouble. Definitely blamed with voyeurism, or sort and then be the one to be at fault.

No way I could do that. Guess then trying to figure out what to do with it would be something for another day… But my head just disagrees.

Sleeping was a troubled issue. I woke up from nightmares every few hours. The “seen episode” was not giving me any rest. The boiling frustration and anger were also keeping me tense. Sleep was a hard quest to manage. So I woke up with more headache, then there was initially.

Father managed to get out for his things earlier today. Leaving me with a bunch of chores and my own thoughts that won’t stop, no matter what.


Even cleaning the house was tedious, when the head is giving you trouble. Just mopping floors and hoovering carpets was just barely there to be the background wizz to soothe something.

With mop in hands and now washing the floor in the halls and stairs of common use, I got to be passing by flat 7. The door slowly opened a bit and a head of the “key-girl” peeked out.
“Hey..” – She spoke hoarsely, with mouth dry from alcohol, – “Ufff..” – She breathed out, gulping whatever taste from yesterday she had in her mouth. – “Babe, could you do me a favour?”
My brows got tangled in the moment. She dares to ask me of the “favours” now. Whoah. What audacity. I just bite my lip and nod.
She looks me up, then lets out another sigh.
“Babe, would you so kindly bring some coffee and sugar up here? There’s nothing food wise in the kitchen.” – She yawns and scratches her belly, as she stands just in her undies and bra. – “So, can you do that for me, pretty please? I’m really dying without caffeine.”

I deeply breathe in, then out. She’s ruining the whole energy of Margaret that was in the place.
“Ok. Will mop the floors first. Then get you some coffee and sugar.” – I say.
“Please, hurry. My shit state is killing me.” – She closes the door.

What a… I’m at a loss of words to describe the whole madness of feelings of rage, sadness and pity I’ve got in my gut.

After I mop the floors, I go back to my apartment, grab the coffee jar and sugar jar and head upstairs.
Few knocks on the door later – it opens, the “key girl” is there.
“You’re a saviour. Come on in.” – She opens the door for me to go in. I do.

Straight off I go to the kitchen, see that the kettle is still there, so I pour the water in and put it on to boil.
“Seems like you’ve been here.” – She lets out.
“I’ve been friends with Margaret.” – I let out.

She nods, then sits at the table. Still in her underwear.

“Where’s others?” – I ask, as I face her, waiting for water to boil.

She leans head back, against the chair, the breeze blows from the open balcony.

“They left early. So I’m alone now.” – She lets out a sigh. – “So, what’s your name?”

I tend to find two cups and spoons. The water boils.

“How many teaspoons of each?” – I ask.

“Two coffee, two sugars.” – She replies.

I make coffee for both of us, then bring cups to the table. She looks at the table, then takes her cup.

“Thanks.”

I sit down, taking a cup in hands, looking at her.

“I’ll be honest. I don’t like you. Seems like you ruined the presence that Margaret had here in just one night. I don’t appreciate it one bit.” – It poured out of me.

She drank and listened, then her eyes looked at me, she smiled.

“I get it. She seemed like a perfect granny, right? Did she ever say anything about her granddaughter? Most likely no. You know why?”

I shake my head.

“Because I’m deemed the black sheep of my family.” – She looks out, then at me. – “I don’t really give a rats ass about that. If they hate me being me – they can fuck off, for all I care.”
Now I was not sure if I had the right to be pissed off. The turmoil was getting me confused.

“Oh no.” – She smiled, watching me. – “Did I get you worried so much, boy? Come on. Did you not say you have beef with me?”

I looked up at her.
“So, am I getting to know your name or no?” – She drinks up coffee.

“Alois. My name is Alois.” – The moment I say my name, she looks as if shocked, then the anger begins to show on her face.
“You…”  – She shakes head. – “So it’s been you who got to be the favourite. What pathetic twat. Hah.” – She sat up. – “Pack your shit and leave. Now. I don’t need your shit help or pathetic mercy. Fuck out of here.” – She spoke in anger through teeth.

I got up, took the coffee, the sugar and left.
Once back in my apartment kitchen, after putting all in place, I froze in thought.

I get why I’d be annoyed at her. But why the heck is she so pissed off?

The rest of the chores in the day were done. I sat at my desk, with my head buried in papers. I heard father return.
“Alois!” – He called out, right after he closed the apartment doors. – “Alois!”

He sounded quite urgent.

Got up, went over.

“Yes, father. Here.” – I stood in his study, as he went off straight there.
He looked at me, as he now sat at his desk. Hint of dissatisfaction playing on his face.

“I just received the letter that’s addressed to you from Margaret. Her lawyer had kept it.” – Father held up the envelope.

I was surprised. I went to take it, but as I was about to touch it – father pulled it away.
“Kid, be careful of what that may be. I don’t need any more trouble than that woman already gave me.” – Then he pushed the envelope in my hands. – “Don’t get me in trouble.”

“Thank you.” – Was all I could muster.

With an envelope in hands, now sitting at my desk, in my room, I was looking at it.
From all sides – white, with red stamp on the back, sealing it tightly. The front was with Margarets handwriting “To Alois” it said.
I carefully opened the envelope, taking out the letter.
Two pages of her handwriting and a small book. I decided to first – read the letter.

“To dear Alois,

My dear,

I have not really thought that it’ll come to it, but decided to be prepared for a case of me dying faster than anticipated.
Let this old lady have her worries be calmed with such little things as creating words for my sweet boy.
I know that I am no relative to you, but over the years, watching you grow and seeing, feeling your help and sincerity, I had thought that I should really leave something to you too.
After that evening of us walking outside, with my memory of Frederic there and feeling of the end closing in… I felt that Frederic had been calling out to me. I began hearing his voice. The sweet way he called me. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay any longer, as Frederic was more and more clear in the way he sounded, the way he called out to me.

I have had regrets about my own family.

Since I could not entirely leave Frederic when he fell ill, my daughter had left just a year after my sons did. Twins decided that work in the city was better suited. When my daughter left – she said that she needed options for suitors and more variety in the work. I could do nothing.

Once my granddaughter was born, she was staying with me from time to time, but then Lillia had decided that granddaughter needed more time studying, more time doing more.

After Frederics death, some calls were made. Emmer, my eldest son, had shared a story of how heartbroken Lillia was about her daughter.
Apparently the child got to be rebellious to no end. With outbursts that caused much damage. She was not merciful to parents. She was like wildfire.
I pitied that child, as I could not help it. Nor did it seek my help.

From how my children left me, to how my dear granddaughter Evelynn had stopped communicating with me… I feel much regret for how little I could do for them.
I wished for their success, prosperity and good health. I have sent them letters. But I had no replies. Tried calling them – but all futile. After Frederics death – those were the last calls that they had answered.
They spoke more with Frederic, as he was indeed the holder of a business. That all went to kids. Yet that sort of greed pained me. They saw only their need to be more.
So you were my solace from my loneliness.

I had left much of my things to my family. Writing all in the will for them, yet there is something that I thought I could leave to you. I felt like you were my grandson, in spirit, sent by the angels. So for all the goodness you gave me, I have something to return to you.
The account book has some extra that I kept for many years. It should be of help to you.
It was my personal thing. My account that my mother had helped me open when I was little, working in the flower shop. Ah, those were beautiful days.
All that had been earned had been standing there, as just years later Frederic came around. He too, fiddled with the account, as he said he should support me forever.
Kind soul, he was. So now, this good thing that kept the stories of life, this old account – it’s yours.
I had asked the lawyers to help me set up all that’s needed for you to take over it. So all you have to do is take the book and go to the bank. They’ll do the rest.
Thank you, for being there for me.

Thank you for your love.
Please grow healthy, happy and smart.
Much love,

Margaret.”

I was awestruck. I looked at the letter a few more times, re-reading it. Then opened the account book to see what’s there.

The money was so big – I was absolutely shocked. And she left it for me? How could I take that?!
What should I do with this? Should I return it to the family? But she left it for me… I could not just throw away her good intentions…

My head is heavy, with more rushing in and making it a mess… 

I opened the door to see if father was asleep – I really needed to go for a walk. Maybe fresh air could help this cluttered brain of mine.

The walk seemed to last eternity. Eventually I laid down on a bench, watching the night sky.

“So what did that old lady wish for you?” – Father was poking around in the morning, as the coffee was being made.

I was not sure if I had to lie, or tell the truth.
So I went with the lie.
“Just much of the thanks and wishing me well for the studies. Just a letter. Nothing more.” – I replied.
Father watched me, as he squinted eyes for a moment, then sighed and went to sit at the breakfast table.

I was in a garden, collecting apples, as the season is in and the abundance of the ripe fruits is absolutely astonishing.
As I kept picking apples from trees, I felt the shivers. Like someone stared me down. So I turned around.
She was on a balcony. Watching me, smoking. Same look people give to the worthless and miserable, disgusting people. Somehow I just wanted that to stop.
But no, even after five minutes – she’s still there. Watching.

“Can I help you?” – I asked loudly, so she could hear.
She gave a nod.
“You could help by dying, like a dog you are.” – Then she gave a smirk and disappeared behind the balcony door.

She sure has issues… I thought to myself that there must be some cause to her stress. But I’m sure she won’t really tell me anything.

With a few baskets of apples I return back home.
“Go take one to Clara. She said she’d make us a tart.” – Father had said, without raising eyes from the newspaper.
“Shall do.” – I replied. – “Will change and go.”

Outside, with a basket of apples in hands, I walk out from the front porch. And I sense someone once again eyeing me.
I look up – in the window – there she’s at it again. Now showing me the middle finger with a smile. What great manners. I shake my head and get on moving to aunty.

Down the hill road, further to the town, then out to the lake side. Aunty Clara lives quite a bit from home. But walking to her for an hour is not bad at all. It’s actually nice. The changes of the little things in town – you get to see them from another point. Pubs, ships, fishermen… 

I walk up to the old house with an arch of vines that greets you at the gates and the flower garden with something like magic to it.
I go in, knock on the door.
“Who’s there? Is that you, Alois?” – Clara had asked from inside.
“Yes aunty, that’s me!” – I call out.
“Oh, come on in, my hands are busy with dough. Door’s open!” – Clara speaks up.

I smile. This lady is always busy with something. From gardening, to growing herbs, to collecting berries and things for herbal teas for the local sunday market, to brewing home-made wines, to baking and creating. She certainly knows a lot.

I remember how once she tried dating my father. That finished barely a few months after. She plainly said to my fathers face that he is “a dried out weed, with no principles ”, so dry apparently “that you can’t be capable of love, you old fart!”. I still remember how that whole scene went, how father was dumbstruck. That was absolutely priceless comedy. 

I walk in, closing doors behind me.
“Ah, here he is!” – Clara smiles at me. – “Oh, sweetie, you grow more and more handsome by the day. Or have I not seen you for so long I think you’re getting better? My oh my…”
“I’m just me. Here’s the apples.” – I show her basket. – “Where should I put them?”

She looks around, then points with her nose to the corner stool in the kitchen.
“There would be the right spot for it.”
I put it where I’m told.

“Ah, while you’re here, could you help out?” – Clara looks around, as she’s baking a lot of things here. – “Preparing the small tarts for the tomorrow morning bakery stand.” – Then she looks at me with a cheeky smirk. – “If you’ll help me, I’ll give you some good tarts to go with and treat to tea. Sounds good, right?” – She twitches eyebrows.
“Pfft.. Aha-ha-ha!” – I couldn’t stop my laugh from getting out.
“Come on. There’s plenty to do.” – She smiles.

Few good hours later. With laughter and silly stories, we manage to prepare the tarts for the morking baking, as well as bake a few small tarts now. Then there was tea time.
When I got out – it was late evening, with darkness upon the land.

Walking home was nice. A fresh breeze from the lake, yet as I got more and more uphill – it was warmer.
Nearing my house I heard music. The closer I got – the louder it got.

Once I was at the corner – I could see how the lights were on the third floor, balcony open and music blasting out. A whole on party. I got in – went straight for my fathers study.
“Father, what is this?” – I ask, as I point upwards. While he just sits and enjoys his read.
“M?” – He looks at me, as I point up. – “Ah, nothing. Don’t worry about it. It’ll cease before midnight. Or maybe past one in the morning.”
I frown.
“And since when is that alright?” – I look at him confused.
Father looked at me with a stern expression.
“Don’t question me boy. You’ve no place for that.”
My lips pressed, I walked to my room.

What the hell is that?
Not once in all the years I’ve been here such parties were allowed. Not once people were blasting music so late at night, not one human was allowed such behaviour. Father never tolerated it. He always expressed his concern and disagreement to such things. Preferring peace over madness.
But right now that’s just not him. Or is there something I know nothing of…

After one at night indeed, the volume went down a lot. I got outside, as my head was in pain from all that rached music. Once outside – it was indeed, finally silence.
For a moment.
Then I could feel the anger tingling.
“Ah, mmm, Ah!” – sounded from above.
I went off few steps, looked up – yep, there she was, sitting, smoking, while a man was having sex with a woman in front of her.
Speechless. I felt my stomach drop.
The couple that were openly doing that were our tenants. Flat 5. The quiet couple, people who kept on working diligently and not once showed anything of explicit content.
She stood up, then walked to them, smacking the man on the bottocks.
“Put some more into it.” – She said, slapping him again.
He roared and thrusted harder – slapping sounds all the more vivid.

I couldn’t bear this, walking back to my room, with all the “this can’t be happening” spinning round in my head.
How are they there? Why are they alright with her being like that to them? What’s going on?!

Sleep was impossible. I managed to doze off when the sun began showing light, as the dark went away.
Few hours from there – the alarm clock got me up.

“I’m off to see Uncle Lars. You look after this place.” – Father tells me at the breakfast table.
I’m surprised, to be frank.
“Uncle Lars? When are you going to be back?” – I ask in amazement.
“Two weeks.” – Father replies unfaltered.
I pour coffee on top of my confusion. Father gets up once finished and goes to his study.
Just a few hours later – he’s picked up by taxi, to be taken to the train station.
“You better not mess up, boy.” – Father tells, before boarding the taxi.

Since then, I felt that things were planned. Planned by a mastermind that’s nowhere near the level of my father.
That girl from the third floor, that granddaughter of Margaret – she did something, she was the one to begin the mess that befell right after.

The same evening father left – the party began again. This time – music did not cease until two in the morning, with the moaning and sex audible from the balcony once again. I did not go to witness that scene.
Next day the same repeated. Same the day after.
Yet I decided I will not go anywhere out. I managed to go to the park around midnight – to have at least an hour of peace.

I thought that her rant would end somewhere there, but oh how was I mistaken.

On the fourth day I was in for a surprise.

The party was there, yes, the people were there, yes… People I did not know. And then came the part that had me shaking with anger, yet trying to hold it.
Around one, the music ceased… It changed to classical music, peaceful, beautiful, not loud. Like a distant radio.
I thought she’d stopped. But once I got to the door, to the garden, where I usually come out, as I pulled the curtain aside – I saw people in the garden.
Not there to sit and enjoy evening, or maybe smoke, as some usually did, no.
There was an orgy.
Few girls enjoying each other on the garden swing, the couple that was against the apple tree, the few other couples of men, women – just there, in different spots around – having sex.
Mewls, moans and wet sounds.

I pulled the curtain shut again.
In rage I stomped to the phone, grabbed the receiver and froze.
“Shit!” – I exclaim in defeat and anger.
If I call father, saying the things that are on – there’s either the moment of “poor management” or the “you’re mad, there’d be no such thing” and blame my rotten imagination. But this is not imaginary!
Calling the police would be also troublesome for my father.
But I still decided to do just that – I called the local police station.

“The patrol will arrive in a few minutes.” – The dispatcher said.
I had to say that there were atrocities, I said it as much overblown as I could, so that I wouldn’t sound insane.
I did see police arrive, I saw them come and see for themselves an orgy in the garden. They spoke with that girl from the third floor.
And after tipping a hat – they left.
They left… 

Shocked. Empty. Confused. What the hell just happened?

The crazy endeavours had proceeded. The next few days she repeated that cold hearted sexual madness. I called the police, yet they’d tell me that the patrol is to be sent. But on the second call, third – they’d tell me to stop calling and just deal with that by myself. As there’s nothing bad going on.

Now even the police did not care. What the hell did she do?!

Day seven of this madness.

I walked around, unable to sleep, relax or produce any work. My head feels heavy, the whole body is heavy. The mind simply does not comply with simple tasks.
Midday I find myself walking. Walking…
I snap out of my daze right at the gate of Aunty Clara. Standing there for a moment, I decide that, the hell, might as well.

Two knocks on the door – silence. I wait a bit, then knock again. Still silence. Disheartened, I turn around, make a step. Door opens.
Clara stands in a doorway.
“Ah, Alois!” – She looks me head to toe, then steps aside and makes an inviting gesture with a hand. – “Oh my dear, come in.”

I walk in. She guides me to take a seat at the table in the kitchen. Then she goes to put the kettle on a stove, pulls out some herbs out of the cupboard, around five-seven jars, mixes the herbs in the teapot, then the kettle boils.
She pours hot water in the teapot. The nice, calming herbal smell fills the room.
We wait for a moment, in silence. Then she pulls out the cups and pours the tea in them. Setting one right next to me.

“Come dear, have some tea. Breathe in and out, and let this woman see what’s bothering thy heart.” – Clara says with a soft voice and a smile.
I let out a sigh. Take a cup, blow on the tea. So hot, steam is still rising. I take a little sip. It takes a bit for the tea to be just a bit colder, so I could drink a bit more.
And then I pour it all – the way this girl arrives, to what is going on in the house, to how father is not there and I’m not sure what’s going on anywhere.

Clara nods, then comes over and hugs me. Then I cry. I cry, as I feel so powerless, useless, like nothing can be done.
Once my tears run dry, and my sniffly nose is wiped by my sleeve, Clara decides to tell something to me.
“So that girl from a third floor, Margaret’s granddaughter.. Evelynn, as I recall.” – She looks up, nodding, then back to me, – “That girl is filthy rich. Well, the whole family is, to be honest. Had Margaret not told you about herself much?”
I shake my head.
“She never spoke about her or her husband’s work. She only told about life travels, family.”
“Oh dear old me…” – Clara lets out. – “Honey, the whole family began a large business. Frederic was the one to open the whole crazy thing. Since the children took over, then expanding to other bits – the whole thing is now international.” – Clara presses lips, then says, – “Well, it’s us, that have been here and appreciate this small town as is. Appreciate the tourists and the little things, the same few shops and offices. But some actually are way larger than we can imagine. And that girl seems more than one can expect.”
I sat in shock.
Just trying to digest it is already plenty hard. But to that extent… Then maybe she paid them? Then maybe she uses money to her advantage… Then maybe… Did she pay my dad?
Pang in heart. The kind of personal attack that is nowhere near to be subtle. I felt my breath go faster, heart beating in my chest so hard, it seems to get out.

Clara takes a little vile and puts it to my nose – the smell is burning my nose and shock gets me to look at her.
“No, no, no, no.” – Clara shakes head, her eyes on me. – “Now, how about I give you some good tea to go, with a tincture that can help. Alright? If you ever get again like that – just smell the bad smell and it’ll go away. Ok?”

Was I panicking so bad? Seems so… I cast my eyes downwards.
“I’m sorry to come here, to make you worry.”

Clara smirks, puts a jar and a vial with tinkture next to me on the table. Then I see her hands reaching for my chin, her fingers lifting my face.
“Alois, it’s life. I rather have you over, pouring it out, than leave you with all that bottled. Now, take that with you as you go. But if you need – have some rest, some sleep. The couch is free.”
She points at the couch, then pours me another tea. I nod. Just nod. Then I manage to drink another cup, and as I feel her presence around, I feel like falling asleep. Eventually I get to the couch and out like a light, once my head touches the pillow.

I woke up from the smell of the herbs and the dinner being made.
Clara made me eat before I went.

As I was on the path back home, I sort of recalled a dream I had. All there happened were the smoke and some chants in words I could not understand.

This time, as I got to my house – it was silent. I was even surprised by the silence. No more pestering? No more pushing me to insanity? What is she up to?
I went inside my apartment. Closed door. I did not bother turning lights on. Just undressed, went to bathe, then in the dark had been in my room.

It felt like I should give some thoughts about what I got to know. So, that mad thing upstairs is the granddaughter of a wealthy family. With wealthy parents.
Most likely spoiled to boot and through some things I can not even imagine. Well, due to pretty obvious rebellion.
But this – this is something that truly does not add up. Why was she targeting me?

Wrapped in a blanket and about to fall asleep…
I hear some sounds from next to my window. After breathing out, then getting up from bed, I walk over to the window to check behind the curtain, but barely, so that I cannot be seen.
And I peek through.

And I wish I wouldn’t. But now I could not look away.
There was her and some girl. Making out. Half naked. Touching the most inappropriate places.
“You sure are hell bent on making something, aren’t you?” – I whisper, as I manage to look away.
Ah, hell… I scratch my forehead, then decide to just tackle this craze head on. As my hand reaches for the curtain – I remember that I am not even in my pajamas. So I walk over to put pajama pants on me. Then go back to the window.

Now the curtain is aside, I open the window and look at the two.
The mewls and wet sounds are quite profoundly audible. By this moment in life it somehow seems to faze me less than before, so I go.
“And? Are you planning on endlessly showing some sex madness in my yard or are you going to just spit it out by now? Or what are you planning? What’s the point of all this madness that seeps through?” – I let out, in a very tired tone. As I am, goddamn tired of all her bullshit.

They stop their making out. She then looks at me, turns the girl with her in front of herself, right opposite me, begins to touch her under, making her shiver and mewl.
“Don’t you enjoy the show?” – She retorts.
“Not at all.” – I let out.
“What bummer. And here I though you had a pervert side to you.” – She replies. – “Ah right, I did not say my name to you,but you must have heard it already from someone. I’m Evelynn.”

She licks the side of the girl she holds, pushing her fingers in deeper, making her prey moan, legs wobbly.
“So what? What’s the great plan? What’s your beef with me?” – I put a hand to my cheek, as I lay my elbow resting on the windowsill.
“To make you feel shit. To get what I wanted to have.” – Evelynn let out, as she grabbed the girl tighter, bit her neck, then licked it. – “I want to have what she gave you.”
“And what’d be that?” – I sigh.
“Goddamn bitch, aren’t you?” – Evelynn smiles. – “The little book. The magical holdings. I want it.” 

“That was already signed to me.” – I shrug.
She seems so boil with anger.
“Oh just you wait. I’ll make you hand it to me on a platter. Pleading for me to take it off of you.” – Evelynn then pushes the girl down. – “Come on babe, let’s go inside.”
The girl complies.
They leave.

Next morning I find myself in an utterly odd situation. Evelynn comes knocking on the door.
“Come on. I propose some truse. How about you come over for dinner?” – She plainly looks at me.
That’s not a way to propose truce. Far from it. It’s like asking to come into the trap.
“Alright. What time?” – I ask.
“Make it by 8 in the evening.” – She turns around and walks back upstairs.
I nod, as I close the door.
“She’s absolutely gonna do some odd shit, is she not?” – I ask myself aloud.
That makes me think of something. So I call aunty Clara and manage to go see her during lunch.
Explained her situation. She looked at me, then did her “tsk-tsk-tsk” thing, that she does when she tries to think of a solution to something. Then says this:
“How about I do something for you? I can’t guarantee that it will help hundred percent, but it might do well, than nothing.”

She went around then gathered some herbs, pulled out pestle and mortar, blended and crushed herbs, berries and other odd bits. Oils, candles and crystals.
Then with her gesture of “follow me” she guided me to the back room – the room that no one enters.

I felt like I was in a cult. There were pentacles, crystals, some drawings, some odd things, herbs drying in bulk, then the pieces of odd things – from feathers to crow feet and much, much, more.
She pulled a stool in the middle, made me sit on it. She lit candles, then the herbs – they began smoking, then it all looked like a fog in a moment.
Clara had drawn on my forehead something, then on her arm, called out on words I did not understand, like she prayed, she walked around me with smoking herbs, chanting something, then the candles all fizzled and died out. I felt my head heavy, painful. She then opened the door that led right outside from this room and as the smoke left, my ache left.

“If she does try things that are not meant to be toyed with, then it’ll come to me. It’ll work for things that are very-very strong. If that is less – it’ll bounce off. But if that will be too much… Well, I have not really encountered things that would be even bigger.”
She led me back, we had tea, then I left.
I felt light. Sort of like flying.

As I got home – I managed to accomplish some work that had to be done, assignments. Then called father. He plainly said that he had begun helping uncle Lars with something interesting and will be returning not two weeks later, as he planned, but a month and a half.
That sounded suspicious. I could not understand what went wrong, but the way he said that – that was suspicious.

By eight in the evening I stood outside the flat 7. I knocked.

Footsteps approached me, then the door opened and there she stood – Evelynn.
“Come on in.” – She gestured.

I walked in. Then, to not be so stuck up, I waited for her to close the door, then lead me to where I might be sitting. Well, at the table it was.
There were boxes on the worktop. She pointed at them.

“That’s some chinese food I ordered.” – She said. – “You knew that they opened a chinese place here? Quite unexpected, really. In this god forgotten hole – for sure unexpected.”

My thought was – she either could not cook, or saw it as bothersome. So I was not sure about whatever follows.

“Ok, little man. Here you go.” – She puts a box in front of me with a fork.

I hesitantly open the box – noodles, vegetables and some sort of meat. Really have not seen such a thing before.
I hear her laugh. I look up at her.
“Oh, have you never tried chinese food before?” – She giggles. – “I think your very serious forehead did the answer for you.”
I let out a sigh. She’s quite the piece of work.

I take up the fork, then I try the food. I open my mouth to breathe in, as the spiciness strikes me.

“Yep, definitely your first time trying.” – She laughs. – “So how much is there?”

She looks at me, as she eats without batting an eyelash.

“Where?” – I ask.

“In the account, you silly. How much did she leave you?” – She could not cease her questions.

“Hundred and fifty thousand.” – I sigh.

She stops, putting the sticks into food, looking at me in the eyes, surprised.
“Are you sure?” – She squints eyes at me.
“Yes. Pretty sure. I know it’s..” – I begin, but she cuts me off.
“Shit that’s peanuts. I thought she’d have a few millions up there.” – She rolls eyes, loudly making a dissatisfactory sound. – “So she had there fucking peanuts. And she gave that mercy to you. Sweet old granny Margaret. Pff… Ahaha!” – She began laughing mad. – “And here I thought she left you all of it!” 

She continued laughing like it all was a large joke. How could this many thousands be a joke in this day and age? She mad?
“Ah honey, I thought there’d be more. But if there’s so much, then I don’t have a need for it. Ahh.. All the work for nothing…” – She lets out, as she picks up the food where she left off.

“But that is still a lot of money.” – I say, as I finish my box, with my mouth numb to spices by now.
She looks at me, like I’m a little kid.
“Babe, that’s a joke summ. I have more than a few million at my disposal just for being the black sheep of this lot. And it multiplies without me trying.” – She looks at me pitifully. 

I feel a pang of pain and anger in me. Mustering to keep it in, I sit there.
“Thanks for the dinner.” – I let out, as I got up.
“Oh sure, come over tomorrow by 9. I have some idea.” – She says to me. – “You know where the door is. Let yourself out.” 

And I do. Then I walk down. Then out the house. And I found myself in a park, same bench me and Margaret sat in.

I smack the bench with my hands.

“Fuck off!” – I shout. – “How the hell am I supposed to know?”

“How the hell am I supposed to know…” – I say aloud. – “…that she was wealthy, that the kids are so wealthy it hurts. That Evelynn has issues, that everyone wants something… So tiresome… So tiresome…” 

“Yeah, I lied to her about how much you left me. But it’s still way less than what your granddaughter has. This seven hundred thousand with bits is a lot. A lot. And yet in comparison to Evelynn, as she said – “peanuts”. 

“Are things here to try and battle me, or is it to challenge me? What’s going on with this madness? And all that orgy shit in my garden, all that open showing for what?”

I look up, feeling anger taking over.

“FOR FUCKING WHAT?! AM I SUPPOSED TO BE OBEDIENT AND EAT THIS SHIT JUST TO NOT CAUSE TROUBLE?! THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!”

I feel my breath intensely, lungs filling with cold air, deeply in and out.
Pissed off, miserable, annoyed, jealous and with no answers.

No books I’ve read had the answers to the events that took place during this summer, this start of autumn.
I lay on my back, on top of the bench, looking at the stars.

“How should I know, if you never told me?” – I hoped that Margaret would just answer all my troubles. But all I’ve left of her are the memories and the money in a bank.

After reaching the point of feeling utterly empty – I return home.

The rustling in the house, the radio and the fiddling around. I wake up to someone in the house. Anxious, I get out slowly, to see who’s there.
“Father?” – I stare at him in surprise, as he makes coffee.
He turns around with a scowl.
“What? Though to see someone else?” – He turns back to his coffee, – “Damn brat.” – He mumbles.
I went back to my room to get dressed. I had a wish to ask what brought him back so early. It had not even been two weeks, since he left. 

But I somehow sensed that I should not ask.

“Go today to the post office. We need some envelopes. Also, go to Clara. She called to say she’s made us some pie.” – Father spoke at the breakfast table.
He looked greatly pissed.

After the post office, I went to aunt Clara.
Knocked on the door.
She opened the door, looking sick.
“Ah, there you are. Come in.” – Her voice sounded hoarse.
“Are you sick?” – I asked, as I walked in.
She shook head, then sat me at the table, sitting opposite.
She let out a sigh.
“Don’t worry. I called my sister to come and help with my health, no need to be of concern.” – She smiled at me, tiredly. – “But there is something I have to tell you.”
Clara pulled out the pendant, handing it to me.
“That… When you feel like it’s tough – hold onto it. I’ll be there for you.” – She gave a few nods, as I took it and put it in my pocket.
“Now, about what I have to say…” – Her head as if slowly bobbed, – “I got to know, from a few acquaintances, that what is on in your house is quite the more than you’d known yourself. The reason why the madness was so lasting and not reported – is that Evelynn had paid many people to keep it that way.” – She had a sense of pity over me, as she looked in my eyes. – “Alois, this is going to be hard to take, but whatever happened is due to people being paid. Due to their greed.” – She paused. – “Your father was not an exception.”

“What?” – Resounded in my head. – “What? What? Even father? What?” 

“Sweety, it’s really hard to accept, but even your dad was doing what he did, because he got paid.” – Clara took my hand in hers. – “Alois, I know that it’s really heartbreaking, after what you’ve been through…”

I shake my head and jolt up, pulling my hand away from her.
“That’s mad. That’s very mad.” – I step away, as I say it. My own thoughts rampage in a turmoil, as I try to wrap my head about it. – “Even father? Even… That.. That’s…”

I feel a shortage in my breath, I need air. 


I turn around and dart out of Clara’s house. I run, run, run… Eventually standing right next to the lake.

Water moves, slowly. The dark of the lake is so still, inside of it.
I feel my head being heavy, yet no longer able to think a single thing. Just water. Waves slowly move, grass rustles and the air is filled with chill.
It smells like autumn here.
Few hours I sat like that. Once the cold began chilling my bones and my teeth stuttered, I got up and walked to the bakery, got a pie and walked home.

Dinner was there. Father once more nagged me about the roast potatoes I’ve cooked not well to his taste. Which is a typical thing he does say each time.
Then by 9 I was outside the door of flat 7.
Few knocks and I walked in.
She led me to the couch in the living room. I sat down.
The sounds began coming back, as I just now, began to realise what’s around me.
People, half naked, the incense smoke around, candles and dim lights. People smoking, drinking, chatting in soft voices, giggling.
And the head of this – on a vintage chair, as a queen, sat Evelynn, with wine glass in hands.
“So, who wants to try the new ‘fairy dust’?” – She lets out, so that all can hear.
And the nods with “me, me, me” chants begin around me. Everyone was there to try this fairy dust.
I sat in confusion.
Evelynn pulled out the bag from beside her, it was like a bag with flour. And then the girl to her left took it, taking the bag to the coffee table. The large mirror was on the table, some cards. That girl poured out all the contents of the “flour” on the mirror.
“Enjoy your ‘fairy dust’ you all.” – Evelynn smiled.

People came around to make a thin line of this powder, then rolled a money bill and sniffed it in.
The heck was I witnessing? Is this… Is this what I guess this is? Speechless.
Evelynn then gets up and goes to the kitchen. She comes back with a glass of wine and hands it to me.
“Well, you might at least begin with a beverage.” – She smirks, then walks back to ger chair and looks after others.
The girl that was on her left, also had a dose, then she got back to be beside Evelynn, rubbing her face against Evelynns leg. A few moments later, the whole scenery begins to look like a mad house completely.
People begin pleasuring each other. Kissing, rubbing, licking…

I try to stay in my corner. Try to be aside from it. But then this girl is pushed on me, she starts to touch me. I try to get away, but that’s when I realise – I can’t move my body, I can’t even speak. “Fuck..” – sounds in my head. – “Why the fuck did I drink that wine she gave me… You dumb fuck..”
But the girl was already touching me, kissing me, rubbing around. I could not hold that, what I felt… The girl wandered in my pants, then unzipped those, pulling my thing out, rubbing it. She went on to licking and sucking it. I finished quickly. She smiled, licked it all off me and went to suck it again. A bit later she was on top, I felt her from inside, as she rode me. I… “And that’s how my second time having sex in my life went… Shit.” – This whole situation made me feel sickened.
So much so that I managed to push to the side, to puke. It lasted. I was pulled to the bathroom, to hug the toilet as I went on to puke. The girl that was on top of me a moment ago, held my head above the toilet seat.

Then it all went to haze.

I woke up in Evelynn’s kitchen, laying on the floor. Feeling dizzy. Hungover. Sick.
I got up, holding onto the wall that’s next to me. Looked around to find all the people from yesterday scattered around the place – asleep. No sight of Evelynn.

From all the sick feelings, I just got out and went to my apartment. From how it was still quiet – father seemed to still be asleep. I checked the clock – twenty minutes until the alarm would go off.
“Fuck.” – I mutter and go to the bathroom to clean up. As I look in the mirror – I’m stunned. I was in my underpants, with crunchy stains all over me. My hair sticks together from it all. I went inside the bathtub, the shower pouring over me. I check my sides, body – seems like nothing… Then I touch my butt. I feel my heartbeat fasten. It hurts. It hurts. And it’s sore.
I feel the tears run down my face, as I hold back my scream.

Crouching down, my whole body shaking, I now am on my knees in a bathtub. My teeth are cluttering, body shaking… Tears won’t stop. Silent shouts… Silent shouts…
Eventually I get up, wash myself, get out. I wrap in a towel and stand there, watching myself in a mirror.
“Not today.” – I let out. I wipe my face. Then pat self dry, get dressed and leave. I go straight to Clara’s house.

There I am greeted with a closed door. The note on a door window read that she left for a few days. I manage to go around back, through the door of the back room, into the house. 

I get a blanket and get wrapped up on a couch, lying down, crying. Eventually crying myself to sleep.
It was afternoon, when I woke up.
I got up, feeling my mouth dry. I got to the stove, poured water in a kettle and put it to boil. I turned around to see the table. There I noticed a piece of paper. I took it to read it:
“Alois, if you find it… If you are reading this – I’m sorry.
I had a feeling she might do something to you, but my health worsened and my sister asked to take me to her town for treatment.
I don’t know what she’ll do. But I have a bad feeling. I… I’m sorry dear. I’m so very-very sorry.
I knew you might come, so the back door is opened for you. Only you. Use what you find around the house for food or drink.
Even if I’m not around, I hope this can be your safe place.
Regards,
Clara”

I closed eyes, once more, tears rolled down.
The kettle whistled as it boiled. I turned the stove off. Took out cup from cupboard and was about to prepare tea, when a phone rang. I jumped at a sound. Feeling like my heart is about to jump out of me. I slowly walk to the phone. If that’d be my dad – he’d stop calling by now. But this was a long type of ringing. I pick up the receiver.
“Hello? Alois, is that you?” – I hear Clara on the other end.
Once again I tear up, nose runny, as I wipe my face.
“Yes, that’s me.” – I reply with my dry throat.
“Oh sweetie.” – I hear her regret of leaving from here. The way she breathed out, then breathed in, – “Oh my dear… What happened?”
I could not hold my tears in, I wept aloud.
“It’s alright, it’s alright, let it all out. I’m here. I’m here.” – She kept saying it until I felt that all tears run dry.
Then I told her what happened. She was silent there, with all that I heard is her breathing. I could feel like she had things to say, but she herself was trying to find the right words.
“I’m so sorry sweetie. I’m so sorry. I cannot imagine what you’re going through right now… Honey, stay in my home as long as you need. I’ll arrive back the day after tomorrow. I’ll call here every day afternoon. In case you’ll be here, alright?”
I nod, then agree aloud.
“I’m with you hun. I’m with you. Shall be going for the medication, so shall call tomorrow. Blessid be honey, hang in there.”
I say my byes and put the receiver back.
Then go to have some tea.

I slept at Clara’s house that day. And waited for her return. I didn’t bother trying to figure things out.
Right now I was in distress, I was… I was worried, alone and insecure. I was… I don’t even know who did this to me. I don’t know what happened or how it happened.

I just crawled to the most secure place I knew right now.

Thinking at it – I am glad I have done something quite out of place, yet as a precaution, just in case of emergency.
When I went to the bank, to sign the account to my name and to view the contents – I also took all the valuable documents I had with me. Thinking that maybe, maybe a vault in a bank is more secure than the room I lived in that home.
Right now, thinking at this odd decision – it was like I felt what might come.

I waited for Clara to come home. I had slept on a couch, ate what was found in the fridge and her dargen, as I sneaked out there, once I knew that not a single human would see me, even with a corner of the eye.
She would call as promised and I’d answer. Other calls – I didn’t even bother. But I was worried that it might be my father or Evelynn, who figured out where I was.

I went to sleep on a couch another day in a row. By then I acquainted myself with the fire stove, that would keep the house warm and be the one to cook on. It calmed me, watching the logs inside burn, as the nice smell filled the rooms, as it felt like home.

Then Clara arrived, with a sister of hers.
I prepared the lunch for them, from what I could find. Clara gave me a long hug and thanked me for sticking around, for being brave and for hanging in there.
I felt once again the pang in my heart, but this time my tears were of happiness. Someone cared.
Then I was hugged by her sister from behind.
“Oh sweet baby, we’re here for you. We’re here.” – the soothing voice of aunty Maya made me all become mush of a man. I felt grateful to have met them.
Once I finished sobbing and clinging to aunty Clara, we sat to eat.

“My sweet munchkin!” – Aunty Maya exclaimed – “This is so delicious!” – She looked at Clara. – “Honey, please tell me, we adopt this man into the family, and oh my sweet pumpkins! I’ll be the happy woman alive, eating the food made by this sweet hearted child!”
Clara laughed, then she had a mouthful. She looked at Maya.
“Sweetie, we so much, do take him in.” – And ate more.
It made me smile. These ladies were ones to believe me, to host me in their home and to support me. I’d not think twice, but agree to be called their son…
I let out a sigh, as I smiled.
Maybe father would not be such a bad person, if mother was still alive. Maybe, if I talk to him… He would be understanding.

After the food and the rest, we had sat around in the living room, on couches and chairs.
“So, hun, what do you think to do now?” – Aunty Maya asked, as she knitted.
“I… I am not sure…” – I reply.
“Well, even if he goes to report it – I think it’d be a hard case. With previous history of police being paid off and all.” – Clara had moved the blanket, covering her feet more.
“But then it’s sad, if they’re left without the punishment.” – Maya pulled the string.
“Yes honey, but that would be… Eh… Think how hard it is to say out loud that your own family might be part of that too.” – Clara let out a sigh.
We sat in silence, the wood crackling in the stove.

“How about you try to approach your dad tomorrow? See how it goes.” – Clara had let out a sigh. Sleepily yawning. 

It was one very calm night. I slept like a log. Dreaming of the flower field and how it felt nice. Sun, breeze and there was Margaret. “I’m sorry”, she said and she left. I felt a bit sad. But I had checked my hand – to find the pendant Clara gave me.

Waking up to the smell of pancakes was absolutely the best surprise.

“Oh, you’re up dear! Come on! Come on! Get here!” – Clara urged. – “Maya-a! Is the tea done?”
From the garden there’s the voice of aunty Maya:
“Yeah, just grabbed this rosehip! Coming!” 

So sweet and lovely.

I got out, the chill of the air was already biting.
I walked back to the house, where father was supposed to be. But, as I got in – there was… Nothing. There was nothing of furniture, I walked over to my room – there were no items there, I walked to fathers study – nothing either.
No father, no nothing.
Then I hear the wooden floor creaking behind.
“Ah, look who is back.” – Evelynn stood there, leaning at the wall. – “Guess you’re lost, m?”
“Where’s father?” – I ask, feeling as my body gets into tremble, as my worry makes my blood cold.
“That old man… He’s off to his brother. Had paid him well to fuck off from here for good. He signed this house to me. I also said not to talk to you again – he signed a paper for that too. Well, one that’s kicking you out of the family registar.” – She smiles at me. – “Did you think your lie would save you, boy?”
I look at her, feeling as if cornered by a snake.
Can a person really do that? Can a person have so much influence? What the hell is her problem? Why is she doing this?
“Yeah, I got to know how much you got from her. Way to sell me bullshit. But hey, now all that shit, which is meant to be yours is mine. Retribution, m?” – She smiles, then turns around and stops. – “Ah, right, you no longer live here, boy. And this is my house. So, fuck out of here, before I call police.”
“You… You… After what you did to me… And now this? How can you be so… so…” – I try to find the right word.
“Fuck off kid. The games you tried to play ain’t games for little kids, such as you. You dared to cross me by getting her money, then you were ballsy enough not to hand it to me. Well then, I’ll take it myself. And that thing with drugs and dicks in your ass – well, ain’t nobody believing you. Even your dad said he rather not be even part of it. Police would not even believe your bullshit. Heh. You’re now pathetic little shit. Go figure life now, fuckface.” – Then she left.

I walked to Clara’s speechless. But the anger… the anger. How… how?! Even father had thrown me out of the family for what? For money? Was I that cheap to get rid of? Was it that hard? And that horrid woman… She just had no heart… 

I wish I would be as influential as her, to make her eat her own shit… To get back at her… To make her pay for what she did… Why is this happening to me? Just because someone gave me compassion? For care that I had? What miserable lives do they live to be so depriving of living little poor me?

Inside house it was a bit of a shock, then a bit of conversation. Next day I had went to get the things from the bank, even all the money that was there. And I went with aunty Maya to the city she was living in.
Maya helped me to understand town.
It took a bit, a bit, a bit… I managed to open my own business there. Had to change my name, in order to not be bitten by that evil Evelynn despair.

They live better… I’d think as I see the nobility of this place.
They can wear such expensive things…
I hate them with my heart, for what they can afford and not be seen as atrociously snart. 

Joking about the caviar being from so far… Oh how shitty a low case like me would be, huh?
Travels to the other countries and enjoying lavish life… How come you are still here, you bloody swine?
“Oh, I got a new dress for a million, do you like the embroidered emeralds? Does the diamond collar stand out?” – Hearing them during balls and receptions, makes me puke from all this fake perfection.
“So I got a new fine wine from the new area. Said to be a hundred years old. Care to try in my resting area?” – Some posh horrid men would come on.

In this business for a while now. Hating all those who come close. I have ceased my ties with aunties, as I couldn’t keep them close.
The addictive places, drugs, alcoholic rages, people with expensive rugs and diabolic traces… These I hate, I wish I’d be them, so I’d hate self less a bit.

“Oh! You’re Alois!” – I heard behind me, as I was already leaving the establishment. Turning around, I see a young man, beautiful, looking at me with… wonder. Like I’d be a movie star.
“That is me, yes. And who’re you?” – I let out sigh, trying to hold my poor self together.
The man approaches, then looks with those dazzling blue eyes in mine.
“I can help you. Is it alright, if I take some of your time?” – He smiles at me.
“I’m on my way home, so if you wish – we can go together, you could tell me on the way.”

We get inside a taxi and it’s a silent ride.
Arriving at mine, we target out, he follows me inside.

“Um, Alois,” – He calls out, as he goes inside. – “I have to say. I got to know of you just the other day. But I’m very awed by your mind and success. I truly wish to add to that great empire you build.”
I look at him, then pull out a few bottles of wine.
“Care to join?” – I ask, tiredly.
“With pleasure.” – He replies.

So the brat is a son of a local conglomerate business run by his father and uncle. The business had been built by the grandfather, since then it had been in the hands of his dad, uncle and aunt, also cousin. But that is a different round.
“My father Emmer, you might have heard, is the head of the whole of it. Director, does the decisions and ruling. And I’m to succeed him. But, lately my cousin is there to try to get ahead. I think you might have heard of her… Her name is Evelynn.” – He lets out.
It all clicks now.
All story makes sense and I know who he is and where this ends.
“So, what did you say your name is again?” – I ask him.
“I’m Damien.” – He replies.
“Nice to meet you, Damien. Hope we work well together.” – I smile.
He clings wine glasses with me. He then looks me dead in the eyes, serious, yet retaining a smile.
“I’ll help you get your revenge. I hate where they pulled it all and how it became deranged. I too, wish to see them burn to ashes. Please, take me in, I’ll do my best to be your new kin.” – He let out. I stared. I was surprised, and yet expected that end.

Months later, in bed, early morning.
“Hey, wake up, it’s seven, we have to get going.” – Voice of Damien wakes me up. Smell of coffee and breakfast that’s already set up.
“Yeah, coming…” – I yawn and yeply.
“You did that last night a lot, should I remind?” – Damien smiles cheekily, as he’s looking at me. – “Come on, we don’t wanna be late, remember, the decisions have to be made.”


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