Ghost of the Past

Soft footsteps; somehow though, no matter how quietly you walked down the polished hall of the mansion, he always heard you. It was not that you cared if he did – you had stopped being afraid a long time ago; stopped screaming, stopped hating the pain. In fact you loved it now. It fascinated you, and you made it your goal to never feel it again.

So if you weren't afraid, why did you walk so damn quietly? Was it habit? No; you just loved the challenge. Trying to always get past him, it was fun. You would always get caught and he would inflict pain on you, but you didn't care anymore; the pain was merely a tickling sensation. His evil laugh drowned out while you concentrated on finding pain. The slightest pain had to be analysed so you could figure out the source; find the nerve in your body that made you feel pain and stop it. Let it get so used to the pain that it would be non-existent.

Your bare feet touched cold wooden floor; the shiny polished wooden floor. It was polished every day, spotless every time; no speck of dirt to be found. You hated it. It was overly clean; so clean you could see your own damned reflection. You would always end up staring at yourself, hating yourself.

Cold eyes void of emotion, twisted smile, same forsaken hair; all of it. And that hideous jacket you always wore to hide the garden he grew on your skin. To hide the sprouting violets and bluebells. And of course, to hide the bright coloured doodles that adorned your once flawless skin. You used to hope someone would find out about your secret, but over the years you hid it more and more. You didn't want them to find out. You enjoyed the pain. It was your only way of knowing you were real; of knowing that you had a purpose. If they found out, they would take it away, and as sick and stupid as it sounds, you would never let them stop his abuse.

Then there were the days when he was overseas. Gardens wilted into bruises and doodles into cuts. Surreality melted into reality. The pain stopped altogether. But you could not have it stopping at all. There was always the risk of your body becoming used to the painless nights and you wanted to be immune to the pain which you loved. So you planted roses to replace the dying flowers. Not as much as when he did it, but pain nonetheless. Very quickly, the roses bled. Beautiful, crimson, blood. It amazed you. The edge of the penknife you had used dripping with it. You would sit there and stare at it as it left you and as all the pain left with it, and by the next day it would all be gone. Nothing but a scar left behind.

You looked up from the floor, away from yourself. You realised that you had passed his room, but he did not call you in. You stopped and walked back, towards his door. No longer did you try to hide the sound of your footsteps. You should not want this, you should be happy that you had gotten past him, but you loved the pain, craved the pain, needed the pain.

You opened the door enough to just peak through. It was dark as always yet unusually dead quiet and empty. Where was he? You opened the door more and stepped inside, no longer cautious. A low, menacing chuckle greeted you. His own, no doubt, for it was drenched with the promise of pain. Without waiting for an order, you locked the door.

He calmly strode towards you. When he stopped, you had to look up; he was obviously taller than you. His small smirk faded into his emotionless mask. You closed your eyes and waited for the slap which would start the pain. However, his coarse hand gently caressed your cheek as he bent down to look you in the eye. Your eyes snapped open to stare into his. They were full of mock amusement.

You know, son… You are not much fun anymore… You seem to be getting too used to these meetings, so much that you come willingly. So, I'm going to introduce you to a whole new kind of pain. One that that will fortunately please me… And cause you to cower in fear. Why? Because it is human nature to fear it. You cannot escape this pain, James, and I'll enjoy every minute of it…

"No!" You scream angrily, pounding your fist against the concrete floor of the shower you're sitting in; your back was against the cool tile wall until you exploded like that. You thought you'd buried that – you really thought you had, and the fact that it came up so quickly bothers you. It's because they said they cared about you – but he said that caring denotes punishments for your own good. He was wrong, wasn't he? Wasn't he wrong? Didn't you discover that? They would never hurt you. But still, but still! There's that tiny little bit of doubt in your head. And that tiny little bit is all that's needed to make you question your safety. Especially when you can still feel their hands – those hands ghosting up and down your thin frame. You lean back against the tiles, willing the sensation away. It's times like these you feel the weakest. Times when you remember what you let them do to you – the things you didn't stop. Sometimes you feel so worthless, you don't even want to breathe anymore.

One slice for you, one for the past, and one for the whole fucked-up world. And one just for the hell of it. Four neat little bloody lines on your wrist. Not that anyone will see them underneath that jacket you wear.

They said it was punishment – and you hated yourself for it. He said you were a horrible child – that people like you didn't deserve skin to skin contact with others – that you'd contaminate them. That all those men loathed to touch you, but had to because otherwise you wouldn't learn. One time he even said he had to pay them to get them to touch you. You had to learn, and he obviously wasn't teaching you well enough. You never felt as bad as you did right then – the implication that you were so bad, he needed help in order to help you be good. But still – their hands; they were everywhere. You learned so many skills you didn't want to learn – how to please someone. How to be a damned good little whore – because that's all you really were in the end – someone's fuck-toy; another's payday. And, of course, a stress-reliever. Where else would you have gotten all those bruises?

He loved to mess with your head – or else he wouldn't have made you memorise those words. The words that you can never forget now.

Baby… pretty boy… damned model… gay… filthy… contaminate… whore… deserve this, you know… pay them to touch you… teach you to be good… so bad, so bad…

You hate the voices in your head because they won't leave you alone. Just a bunch of ghosts echoing around in your head – and you hate them. You hate them almost as much as you hate yourself – and that is pretty scary. You don't even hate your father that much – and he's the one who made you feel this way.

You sigh in frustration. You hate the way you feel. You hate the way you still flinch when someone comes near you. You hate the way you avoid contact with others because somewhere in your brain you still think that you don't deserve to make contact with them. That somehow you'd contaminate them.

Sometimes there isn't anything you can do. Nothing. Like when he says you're nothing, and you know he's right because if you were something, you'd be able to stand up to him – you'd have a reply. If you were something, he wouldn't treat you like this anyhow. No. It has to be because you're nothing – and there's nothing you can do about it, either. Just sit back and take it and try your damndest not to cry because you know it'll hurt worse if you do. Sometimes there isn't anything you can do. And that's the lie you tell yourself every time he gets that glint in his eye and your legs tremble too much for you to move. That's the lie that lets you sleep a couple hours every night. It's the lie you have to tell so you can live another day.

You still think he's everywhere. A dark ominous shadow that seems to rise from the floor like a phantom, or Death in corporeal form. Perhaps, it really is Death. You now fear it like you once feared Death. One day this shadow may bring your death, may take a bit of yourself or your body. Just like how it had sometimes drawn on your porcelain-coloured flesh.

You tried to be a wall, a small fortress. You knew that it was futile, but you tried anyway. The shadow, though, only scoffed at the precariously-perched stone of your fortress and thrust it apart. And each time, you frantically gathered the stones of your walls but it was always quicker and stronger.

Now you wish you were stronger – you really do. Just like you wished someone would come and take you away from your home, wished your mum would step in just once and smooth back your hair and tell you that she loved you. But she was rarely sane enough to register what you needed anyway. And it's not like he would have really listened to her. You can understand why she didn't step in, and though it hurts, it's okay now because you think it's all over. But somehow, the words still echo in your head, the ones you thought you were long past.

What are you?

I'm a freak.


It's freakish to be smart. It's bad to be a freak; it's bad to be smart.

Do you want to be bad?

No. No, I want to be good.

You know I love you.

You give me punishments because you love me; you are the only one that loves me – the punishments are there so I can be good.

Is it good to be hungry?

No. It's bad to be hungry.

Is it good to disobey me?

No. It's never good to disobey the one who loves me.

Are you strong?

No. I'm weak. So weak, you have to protect me and take care of me. This costs you money you shouldn't have to spend.

That's right. And you will earn back our money by being good, won't you?

Yes, sir. I will earn it all back.

So you will be good.

So I will be good.

You know it hurts me to do this, right?

Yes, sir. I'm sorry for my weakness sir.

It's alright, James. Just try harder next time, so I can be proud of you.

I will, sir. I will.

You inhale gently and slowly through your nose. You're still bleeding. Maybe it'd be nice to bleed all the way out? But the blood's already clotting. And besides – it wouldn't change anything and as selfish as it may be, you don't want to burn in hell for your wrongness just yet. Not just yet. Another sigh because the tightness in your chest hasn't eased at all which was the reason you were cutting in the first place. The knife again in your hand – just a few more, just a few more, even though there's a small puddle of blood on your pants. It's a good thing you brought a change of clothes.

Just a few more. Just a few more. You have to feel something, you have to feel something because otherwise he's succeeded in breaking you. And damn, you really don't want to be broken. Finally calmed down enough to think straight, you stop. You remember the promise you made to yourself years ago, "I'll keep feeling pain until I can't feel it anymore, and when I succeed, I'll find more pain and get used to that too." A pretty stupid promise actually, but you won't break it. What makes you feel pain? It is your past, and probably your life now. So you kill it. Then that pain will soon be a mere tickling sensation as the one before. You smile to yourself – a dead smile with no humour or happiness in it; a smile bordering on insanity – before you feel the darkness claim you.

And as you fall into the void, you finally realise how broken you truly are.