“Father forgive me for I have sinned. It has been ten years since my last confession.”
“Go on my child…”
“I have killed a man.”
“Uncle Jack! Uncle Jack! Will we play today? Please? Please uncle?”
I always got so excited seeing him. He was the fun one, the life of the party. My birthday would not commence unless Uncle Jack showed up. I would pout, kick, and throw a tantrum. Rain hell and high waters.
Nevertheless, he always turned up.
Therefore, it was only natural that when my parents died, I wanted to move in with him.
The first few years were pure bliss. He went out of his way to make sure I was not sulking somewhere at my sudden acquired state of orphan hood. Uncle Jack was pure heroin. Pure magic. How short-lived my utopia was, however.
When we first kissed, I was only seven. I used to kiss my daddy all the time, especially before bedtime. No big deal there. It got a bit awkward when he held me tightly to himself for more than the second it usually took. When he insisted on shoving his tongue in I bit him. He proceeded to smack me right across my face.
His action was so swift that I was taken back by it. I did not know how to react for he had never laid a finger on me in reproach. Before the tears started stinging, he gathered me in his arms and cuddled me. He actually apologized. My feeble heart automatically gave in.
I was ten when he touched my behind. As swiftly as he came, he was gone that I was left wondering whether it had actually happened or not.
When the flames of hell sprung up from the ground and the devil trudged from the smoke, I was only thirteen, with defined architecture. Rounded flesh here, firmness there and little things perked on my chest not so little anymore.
The first night he came into my room, I was scared beyond reasonable doubt. I thought he had figured it out. That it was I who had broken the plates and half dozen eggs and not that useless piece of meat and bones we had for a cat. He walked in looking gruff, like a red-eyed monster with half a bottle of what looked like piss and every time he sipped from it, he would wince. His shirt was already unbuttoned half way, torn from the looks of it and when he started struggling with his trousers, I prayed he did not wear the brown belt with the huge buckle. He had hit the cat with it once and I swear I saw sparks coming off from it and it cackled like thunder when it connected with its prey.
Nothing was said between the both of us. I did not struggle, just whimpered as he pushed his way past my blankets, past my underwear, past my innocence and weak resistance. His foul breathe tainted my neck as he thrust himself inside me and did not come out in what felt like an eternity. I figured he knew it was I and not the cat and was actually punishing me for it but I would have preferred the belt to this. I did not understand what sort of punishment this was. So I started counting. I counted the number of times he pulled out only to thrust back in, harder, painful than the last time. I counted the number of howls outside our house, a cacophony of hounds, crickets and this man-beast growling on top of me. The ceiling swirled and swam in my eyes but I stared dead on. I fixed my eyes on my window, following the fluid movement of the curtain as it flustered in the wind. I mentally chastised myself for forgetting to close my window. I could not will my eyes from there. It was a sliver of light amidst the darkness that crept like an evil spirit. Like a forest fire. Raging forest fire.
After what felt like forever, he let out this ghastly sound and I shut my eyes waiting for death to settle in, trying to separate my body and soul. He shuddered. I squirmed. He left. I curled into a ball and cried.
That was just the beginning.
I was an only child, and my folks dotted on me so much. I was their miracle baby after years and years of trying to get a child. I was special and they made sure I felt that way.
Uncle Jack was the only one from my father’s side who maintained contact with us. The rest of the extended family from that side perceived my mother as a witch, a sorcerer who had cast a spell on my father in agreeing to marry and remain married to a barren woman. The situation did not get any better by the fact the she was the only surviving child of four when a fire broke out one night and razed the family house, killing all but her.
Being ostracized was not easy but we had each other. And we had Uncle Jack. I knew we would be alright, but life still had more cards left to deal another hand on me.
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, my parents died in a gristly car crash. Their bodies mangled with the metal, they literally had to cut out chunks of them to piece up again at the morgue. I blamed God. I blamed Him for taking their lives right after they had come from thanking Him and asking for longevity. For His grace and mercies. I had asked for sunshine but all I got was rain.
Uncle Jack swooped in action. Helped me lay my parents down to rest. Took me in and gave me a home, a semblance of family. He protected me, loved me. Cared for me, and me, feeble and naïve as I was, melted to him.
The first few years went by fast. School was a blur but it was a good distraction. I loved it and I loved my uncle. Those were the only points my compass pointed at.
When he started abusing me, I did not understand as to what I had done to merit this kind of treatment. After the first incident, he did not come home the following day, or the day after. Or the third. He showed up on the fourth day with flowers, looking cherry as if nothing had happened. Asked for my report card and went through it so calmly and so normal, just like he used to. He offered to make our dinner that night as if it was a thing we do.
Then the next day, he did it again.
And the next day.
And the day after that.
And for the many other days and nights after that, that he came home drunk with the monsters in his head.
I was scared, broken and shattered. I did not have the slightest clue as to what to do. Where to run. Who to run to for help. He lurked in the shadows, always a couple of steps behind me. He was in my dreams. The kind that made it difficult to sleep right after. Or any other night. He made sure that I would never walk free without a lick of fear running down my spine.
School was out of the question. Church was a forgone adventure I used to do. Friends were a luxury I couldn’t afford.
It was just the devil and me. But I had to do something or he was going to kill me. What was left of me.
“I just kept stabbing him over and over father. I could not stop myself. He had just rolled off me after pounding me to a pulp. I guessed he passed out of exhaustion. I hoped it was cardiac arrest but I could still see the rise and fall of his chest. Taunting me, assuring me of breathe in those lungs and the certainty of yet another day in hell if I did not do something. Flight was not an option for me so I decided, a fight it was. He being incapacitated gave me the upper hand.”
Seated in that booth, I admired the man’s ability to not let a gasp escape him. He just sat there, tentatively listening. I could see his head nod through the mesh that separated us. As if he understood, exactly what I went through and why I had to do what I did.
I was skeptical at first, about coming to this place. I was not a staunch Catholic and I had absconded my duties to the Lord the minute he orphaned me. But I felt the need to tell somebody, to ease my conscience. Don’t get me wrong, I had no regrets. On the contrary, I was glad. I liked the sight of his blood on my hands, clothes and face. I enjoyed the startled look on his face when he came about and saw my silhouette towering above him. How he opened his mouth and tried to lift his arm to grab me but my knife got to him first. I enjoyed his first growl as the knife sliced into him, repeatedly, until he just laid there with his eyes open fixed on me.
Sixteen stab wounds in total.