Sunday, May 18, 2014

My First Time by Michael McCarthy

A boy orphaned by a horrific rail crash grows up witnessing abuse, and his pent-up resentment threatens to reach boiling point; by Michael McCarthy.

I recoiled as his lips sought mine, his stubble sharp against my baby soft skin.

I could smell something unpleasant on his breath and I struggled to twist my head away but it was no use; he planted his puffy, wet lips firmly on mine and I felt something sour rise in my throat.

For me and, I don't doubt, many others, that became his signal smell.

'How was that?' he shouted joyfully, to a waiting bank of journalists and photographers, standing at a safe distance from the smoking, mangled remains of a passenger train and an oil tanker.

I heard afterwards that I'd been picked up a short distance from the immediate carnage, clean and unscathed, by a member of the public. Eager to help, she'd been shunted aside and I'd been rudely snatched from her arms and triumphantly hoisted into the air by local MP, war hero, member of the Cabinet and opportunist supreme, Sir Richard Horatio Deáth.

I was billed as the 'miracle child', who had somehow survived immolation in an inferno, being crushed to death under the concertinaed train or a fatal battering through the repeated impact of ricocheting helplessly around inside a railway carriage in the worst train crash in British history.

Deáth made it a regular thing visiting me after that, wherever I was; in the orphanage, foster homes or at school. Showing the world how much he cared for that 'poor orphaned child', how he was 'taking a special interest in my education and development' and would 'always be there' for me.

I remember his orphanage visits in particular. He had the run of the place and his own keys and could go wherever and whenever he wanted, unescorted.

And that smell, whenever he bent down to talk to me, his mouth right in my face, I would nearly gag.

He lived for 'taking a special interest in his junior constituents' as he liked to call us. 'Taking a special interest' meant having his evil way with the orphaned boys in his private office at the institution.

But I was the one he cravenly lusted after and the one he never got.

He was unsure of me, I radiated something then, still do. I now know, almost, what it is. So do a lot of other people, but most of them aren't around anymore.

This something emanating from me is a pretty potent mixture of evil and malice, with a dash of something still unidentified, but very threatening.

Yes, there was a train crash, on the approach to London. Yes, scores of screaming people were engulfed by the flames, many leaving no identifiable remains.

The driver of the oil road tanker had had a heart attack and his out of control vehicle plunged down an embankment and crashed head on into the packed passenger train. It had been a Bank Holiday weekend.

I was thought to be about three or four years old at the time, 1979, and not overly communicative.

After the crash, despite endless, gentle questioning, I apparently could not or would not (the former was deemed the most likely) reveal anything about my background.

Later, I used to sneak into the orphanage office and read my file. I enjoyed that.

I liked the enigmatic figure it portrayed. Reading between the lines, I delighted in the frustration of those concerned with trying to find out about me.

Not surprisingly, they named me after 'my saviour', Richard junior, which then became Little Dickie. I had nothing against the name, except it hadn't been my choice.

A couple of years later, I decided on the name of the dead oil tanker driver, a Scotsman, and wouldn't respond to anything else. Ever again.

What really foxed them was that after a while, my run of the mill, everyman accent transformed, inexplicably, into a slight Scottish burr.

There was something there, they said 'a depth that we need to plumb' to find out what made me the youth I was becoming, someone who seemed 'perfectly happy in his own company, who did not seek out or need the companionship of others'.

As time went by and my origins remained a mystery, speculation grew that perhaps I had not been orphaned by the train crash but had been left there for the authorities to take in and look after. Experts had spoken of how people sometimes use such a tragedy to disappear and start a new life, and as nobody ever came forward to claim me and no record of my birth could be found this was the explanation that was finally settled on.

Slight of build and possessed of an apparently meek manner, as I still am, I had, at the beginning, been bully fodder.

The first time I'd been picked on I'd accepted it. I'd seen it happen to others.

But when other victims had spoken to me about it, seeking out a kindred spirit, I'd seen that while they felt near paralyzing terror, I felt the opposite; a near elation on discussing the subject of violence, and a desire to face up to my tormentors. Which I had done and, although I hadn't been able to defeat them, they'd seen something in me, a lack of fear and a steely determination allied to an acceptance that there were no rules when it came to fighting, and word had spread quickly; hands off.

They'd even tried to recruit me, but I'd made it unmistakably clear; I was and would remain a one man band, I had no need of them or anybody else.

When I hit my teens I began to go walkabout, disappearing for days on end from care, only to reappear days later with allegedly no recollection of where I'd been. I was convincing.

Apart from that, I had not been a problem child, although I had remained insular. However, those responsible for me had always praised my impeccable behavior and readiness to help.

By now I'd also grown in height, in fact I'd made a remarkable spurt, although I still remained thin and shy looking.

A pattern slowly emerged: just before my disappearances, I would grow moody, impatient and short tempered, and when I returned I would be relaxed and at ease as though something had been sated.

They worried that one day I would vanish forever. And they would never have a clue as to where or why.

And then, I wasn't there anymore. And despite my picture appearing in the papers and on television, I was never seen or heard from again. I'd disappeared as mysteriously as I'd appeared. I reveled in that mystery.

I remember my first time. When I was thirteen.

There had been no virginal fumbling, it was as though everything had been pre-ordained, the sureness and confidence of my actions had been like second nature.

As darkness fell, I'd silently and effortlessly removed myself from my foster home, it was as though I could make myself invisible at will, and begun walking the streets of the capital. I hadn't felt even remotely concerned or frightened, in fact I'd felt quite at home.

I walked until after midnight, tirelessly, along the river, across bridges, through mainline stations, down dark alleys and as the streets had emptied so had the feeling of approaching epiphany grown.

I'd passed bodies huddled in shop doorways, on the approach to underground stations, some just lying in the street, some conscious, some begging, some oblivious to everything.

I didn't feel sympathy for these dregs. That's the way it is in life. You choose your path.

I was following my destiny. Life was beginning to make sense. Something inside me was stirring. It had been for a long time. I felt it coming to life. Something that would complete me. I was ready.

I wasn't nervous. Why should I be? How could I be?

Although still a child, I felt different from the others, always had, class mates, other children in the orphanage; games and make believe were never enough for me, there was always something missing, something ill defined, something just the other side of my known horizons, something I occasionally thought I could almost taste before it faded again.

Reality.

My reality.

I used to believe it was connected to the way people looked at me, usually men and lingeringly. I knew this was down to my youth, my pale skin, my blonde curls, but there was a kind of unidentifiable charisma I was transmitting.

That's what it really was. My uniqueness.

I enjoyed it. I knew it meant some kind of power. But a kind of power that was developing and would continue to develop, as I did.

I knew all this instinctively, it was not something I could put into words.

Yet.

I was walking over a bridge again, looking down at the free flowing dark shiny waters, appreciating the strange, hypnotic, paralysing power water can yield.

These were powers I too could possess, but first I had to serve a form of apprenticeship. An apprenticeship I could only experience if I followed my true path. It was lit out before me like a runway.

Looking up at Big Ben, it was after 1am, this was, I recognised, from the TV news, Westminster Bridge with Westminster Palace shrouded in a murky hue.

I was standing at the Westminster end leaning contentedly against the bridge, in the shadows, and looking up at the rolling blue black clouds, when I noticed two figures climbing up the stairs on the left, leading from the tube station. One a tall, rangy, distinguished, familiar figure, while the other, much shorter and slighter, cowered pitifully, reluctantly following in the older man's wake, his body language indicating he longed for the night to absorb him.

I moved away, leaned further into the bridge and watched them. They were now standing at the top of the stairs.

The tall man had a thick, ostentatious mane of white hair resting arrogantly below his upturned coat collar.

I couldn't help noticing the number of times he leant his head back slightly, raked his locks back with both hands and then, somewhat effeminately, shook his head from side to side, like a pre-mating ritual.

Then, after one such display, he plunged both his hands into his coat pockets, thumbs remaining on the outside and, bending forward, carefully scrutinised the unfortunate figure, who was by now squatting before him, quaking.

I couldn't hear his words, but the threatening, guttural tone of his voice left no doubt as to his mood.

The squatting figure appeared to be in his teens, about my age. As the tall man spat out his venom, the youth whispered hoarsely and held his hands together as if in prayer, then he held up the index finger of one hand, giving the distinct impression he was pleading for one more or a last chance.

The standing man straightened his back, looking down from an impressive and imposing height. I noticed he had a huge unlit cigar jammed between his jaws.

He took a lighter from his jacket pocket and made a great show of lighting the cigar; a man consumed by rituals and a need to display his affectations, immersing both of them in a thick, blue, swirling fog.

I was transfixed, I'd never seen such preening and posing.

The youth was trembling, clearly desperate for his fate to be decided. Even that would have been preferable to enduring the endless self-aggrandisement.

The man inhaled, long and deeply, and let the youth have the full force of his exhalation right in the middle of his face. The boy rocked back on his heels.

The man spoke, but this time loudly and clearly, almost as though he was aware of somebody's presence and wanted to warn them off, like pissing on the ground to declare his domain to any would be intruders.

'Get up!'

The boy stood up uncertainly.

'Listen to me very carefully boy. Are you listening?'

The youth nodded manically in the middle of a cloud of malignant mist.

'You know what to say, boy.'

The youth nodded.

'You own me,' he replied without hesitation, his voice shaking.

'And don't you forget it.' Then, gently, he placed his cigar between the youth's lips, rotating it and encouraging him to fellate it and, without looking back, stalked off towards the Houses of Parliament.

The youth took a long extravagant drag, walked over to the edge of the bridge and, softly sobbing, flicked the cigar into the dark, shimmering Thames. Then he slumped to the ground, sniffling, his arms on his knees, chest heaving and his head shaking.

I walked quickly past him, in pursuit of the older man, he didn't even notice.

The man had stopped and was looking out at the still, reflective waters. He withdrew a silver hip flask from inside his coat and took a short sip.

I recalled, how as a child I had squirmed in this man's arms. How I had ignored the pleas of the photographers and staff to 'smile at the birdie' and had focused all my energies on staring into his mocking, brown eyes, trying to transfer my fear and confusion into him.

I heard him smack his lips in pleasure as he swallowed.

I approached unhurriedly, confidently. I knew I wouldn't have to think. Events would unfold the way they were supposed to.

He didn't react, although I was almost standing beside him.

I had considered him to be tall, well above average height. What I hadn't realised, but now did, was that I was just as tall. Admittedly, I was skinny and had yet to fill out, but I was on the way to being an equally daunting figure.

I watched him reach inside his coat again and retrieve a long thick cigar, balance the flask on the rail of the bridge and then, carefully and slowly, light the cigar, enveloping himself in a pungent, thick fog. He picked up his flask and took another sip, before finally noticing he wasn't alone.

He turned to face me, a tense smile stretched his lips as he sought to camouflage his surprise at being so closely observed, by someone he knew. I didn't react, but felt something surge through me, a clean orgasmic power.

He offered me his flask. 'Little Dickie. At last. We have unfinished business, my friend.'

I returned the smile, mine a genuine reflection of my thoughts, and took the flask. I smelt the open top and almost retched at the strength of the rank bouquet I remembered only too well.

I shook my head weakly and he pushed the cigar gently against my lips, rubbing the saliva soaked end against my mouth, in a circular motion, teasing it open until my lips, suitably prepared, accepted it, drawing it into my mouth.

Then it happened.

Quickly.

So quickly I myself couldn't believe it.

I often look back to this moment, full of admiration for the speed of my younger self's actions and presence of mind. Truly remarkable.

Deáth opened his mouth, revealing a mouthful of yellowed, jagged teeth and chuckled. With one hand he held the flask and with the other he reached out to stroke me on the cheek.

I withdrew the cigar from my mouth.

It was like slow motion as Deáth was rendered totally helpless by the stunning choreography of my movements.

I moved to his side and stamped my foot hard into the soft hole behind his knee, causing him to fall forward.

As he fell I was on him, twisting him onto his back, his mouth was still open and

I drove the cigar in, placing my hands firmly over his nose and mouth, and knelt firmly on his upper arms.

I even had time to watch the flask fly through the air, describing an arc, the brandy sprinkling onto us like a form of absolution, before it plopped into the Thames.

Of course Deáth spluttered and struggled, his mucus running through my fingers, but he wasn't as strong as he looked.

Or perhaps, I pondered, he was, but I was stronger than I looked.

I locked onto his eyes, I could see shock, confusion and pain, but not fear.

Not yet.

This must be like what it was to ride one of those wild horses, bucking broncos,

I had often seen being tamed in western films on the TV.

I appreciated the strength that desperation and fear could infuse into someone who only now was beginning to realise he was engaged in a battle for his life.

And against a boy, no less. I sniggered at the delicious irony.

My victim seemed to have dredged up reserves of strength from somewhere and

I began to lose purchase, but not composure.

I leaned back, placing my hands either side of Deáth's legs.

He sat up immediately, instinctively coughing out a mixture of still smouldering cigar as he did so.

Spitting and wiping his mouth, he leant on one elbow and reached out for my leg. Fluidly I stood up, jumped and with the full force of both feet stamped on his forehead. Then I lifted my heel to finish him off, but there was no need, his lifeless gaze was directed towards the Houses of Parliament.

I walked over to the boy who, clearly, had been watching this performance with a mixture of wild eyed terror and amazement.

He was pointing at Deáth and trying to formulate some words. Finally, he was able to articulate his nearly paralysed thoughts.

'You killed him,' he stuttered. 'I saw you kill him.' There was no fear in his voice, just disbelief at what he had seen. He looked at me with a slowly growing expression of gratitude and awe.

'And I'll give you five seconds before I kill you.' I answered.

He began to shake when the words finally hit home and he recognised that this was no idle threat.

'But, I...' he started.

'Last chance.'

He turned and half ran half stumbled his way across the bridge, not sparing his dead tormentor even the merest of glances, towards the sanctuary of Parliament.

I watched him go, filled with an almost bursting invincibility.

'My first time. My first time,' I yelled looking up at a full moon in the blue black night sky.

The boy looked back briefly at me baying at the moon and at that precise moment I turned to face him, framed my hands into a camera shape and with my right index finger pressed down as though taking a picture.

'I'll never tell anybody. I promise I'll never tell anybody,' he shouted.

I saluted and then waved as though seeing the boy off on a journey.

A journey, I'm sure, he hoped he would never come back from.

Now, I don't want you getting the wrong opinion about me. I didn't kill Deáth out of revenge for myself or others. I killed him because I wanted to.

It's what I do, after all.

After the murder acres of newsprint and hours of TV and radio time were devoted to this paragon, defender of the under privileged and selfless server of his country.

No stone was to be left unturned in the search for his savage killer. Suited me.

Nobody came near to catching me. How do you catch lightning in a bottle?

Years later it all came out about Deáth's proclivities and the media had a field day, with a few of those 'I always thought there was something odd about him' stories, and an 'explosive' TV documentary unearthing his devotion to a life of 'unbridled, self-indulgent, sexual perversity'.

But there was no word about his unknown killer and the service he had done, unintentionally, admittedly, to society.

I also owe him something.

He set me on this road to total, unrestrained self expression and determination and, eventually, worldwide fame and acclaim.

OK. Not worldwide. Not yet. But it's only a question of time.

I'm a killer.

My name?

Oh yes, Yeats.

11 comments:

  1. Very gripping, the details are impeccable. Also, love that it was set in London. This is really dark (My kind of story). Just like those crime documentaries, you took us to his childhood, providing us with a hint of where the story was heading. I also like that you added the 'I always thought there was something odd about him' quote. Well done.

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  2. And so it begins....
    I love how the story keeps building, buildING, BUILDING slowly yet deliberately, pulling you in as though you were snared in a net. I agree with Ethan, the details are indeed impeccable. Especially the little ones, such as where he got his name. This is excellent, Michael, quite the read.

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  3. many thanks Ethan for your kind comments, if I may mention there are other stories on this site featuring this character!

    Jim, thanks yet again, I always look for your comments.

    Michael McCarthy

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  4. Your best story yet, Michael -very creepy!

    M

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  5. Many thanks M, glad you liked it.

    MM

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  6. Gabi: Fantastic! This story is thrilling from the very first sentence. After having already read some stories about the monstrous creature "Yeats" I had - of course! - speculated what his personal story might be. Now I know and do not know since Yeats does not reveal everything. What about his real background? He himself seems to know. And what did he do during his disappearances? How did the cold and pitiless character develop the ability to see through other people´s minds? Or does he only see through evil or miserable minds? Yeats is fascinated by his own dark and mysterious sides and seems to look forward to surprising himself. The idea to create a person who is not only proud of being a mystery to others but also of being a mystery to himself, this idea is very clever. It enables the writer to move very elegantly and unpredictably through the story. Readers will appreciate this.

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  7. thank you Gabi, I can always rely on your honesty! that means a lot!

    Michael McCarthy

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  8. After reading the comments now I wish I could have read some other "Yeats" stories first, I would have appreciated this even more. Even as a standalone it's masterfully executed, but I love reoccurring characters and origin stories, at least from authors who take pride in the character building process. Engaging, great depth of character and excellent character voice, I'm gonna have to read some of your other Yeats stories.

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  9. Hi Pathos,

    many thanks for your Kind comments! Please read the other Yeats stories (Money for New Rope & Yes, It is you). I`d love to read what you think about them.

    Michael McCarthy

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  10. Alright, now I'm a Yeats fan. Can we expect more of these? This guy's irresistably creepy. Just a second, there's some weird blonde british dude in a ratty black coat that keeps showing up near my apartment, I wonder if he's a new tenant. Come to think of it, I've seen him around town a few times lately...

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  11. Hi Pathos,
    many thanks for taking the time to read the other stories and for your comments. I´m very pleased you like them.
    Yes, there will be more. That new dude............could be.....
    If he tries anything I`ll delete him!

    Michael McCarthy

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