The metaphor rolls oddly around my mind, the Americanism harsh against my thoughts. But that’s what I’ve got to get used to from now on. I’ve left good old England behind and removed any temptation to walk into a former accomplice’s business and ask for help. I’m alone in unfamiliar territory. I have to, want to, do this properly.
My hand shakes as I reveal how much I wanted Lily, and my horror when I realized that my own subconscious tricked me into killing her. I relive the shame as I write about how I behaved immediately after, dishonouring her memory, and what I then couldn’t do. I explained how I’m now a shadow of the god I used to be, how I feel so weak and powerless. When I place the final full stop on the page, I feel spent and exhausted. I suck in a few lungfuls of air and present my scribblings.
As I do, my hand brushes against something. It tickles my skin and stops me in my tracks. I stare down, taking in the sight of a single, out-of-place weed. It is a hideous, useless wildflower, and it reminds me so much of myself.
I wanted my proximity to communicate how sorry I was. Yes, I’d had the unspoken conversation with her over and over again in my head, but I felt like I actually needed to be in the same room as her once again. It oddly made me feel like she might hear me, forgive me. Yet, I didn’t know if it was okay. Should a killer attend the funeral of the person they murdered? Was it really the done thing?
I want to cry and can feel the pinpricks of tears behind my eyes, but I won’t give them the satisfaction. Whoever those bastards are, they won’t win. They will pay, though. I mean it. Revenge will be mine. As I sit up, my shoulders slump, failure a bitter taste in my mouth.
It takes a while, but finally, the crate is dug up and eased out of the hole. The workers shift back as one of them wrenches off the lid. It looks past the box’s top and then turns to me. It can’t speak, but there’s something in its features, something I don’t think I like. I step past it, every fibre in my body jangling. I think I’m ready for what I’ll see.
There’s a flash, and I’m looking into the face of one of my clay men. The grey features glare at me, perfectly created eyebrows dipping over unseeing eyes. Its grip around my neck tightens, but I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. Why is my own creation turning on me?
I straighten slightly, my mind’s eye showing me palaces covered in gold, women at my beck and call, and the other gods grovelling at my feet. As quickly as I conjure it, I know it’s not right. That’s not who I am. Not what I want. How can someone so rebellious ever keep others in order? Who wants that sort of life? Not me.
The needle of the gramophone scratches slightly, and the next song spills from its polished speaker. The cheerful warbling of the Fab Four pours into my large lounge, and I ease back, not needing to look at what I’m doing. I enjoy watching dust particles as they dance through the sunlight streaming through the immense windows. They twist and turn perfectly in time with every rise and fall of the Beatles’ upbeat tune.
It’s not that I have a problem with my lowly position in the organisation or the dull tasks dished down to me. I just don’t like being told what to do. I never have, never will. It was always one of the problems I had back home and part of the reason the family got annoyed with me. Well, that and the tricks.
We’ll snuggle back up in bed. I’ll read the paper, and she’ll have her nose in one of her fantasy novels. She was always rereading them, the pages so dogeared and tatty. Maybe I’ll treat her to some new ones.
I seethe at my reflection, my chest rising and falling in sharp, ragged movements. I grind my teeth together, knowing full well the voices are getting to me, and I’m only making it worse. I am in control. I am in control. I utter my supposedly soothing chant, trying to ignore the cackling it invokes from my unseen tormentors.
“I don’t know what you mean.” I grin slightly, the lie so transparent. The revolver reappears in front of me, and Trixie taps it pityingly against my temple as she speaks.
“You are a god,” tap, “and I have got one over on you,” tap, “how does that make you feel?”
“Whatever you are thinking, just give it up.” As she speaks, Sophie advances, waving the gun back and forth like she’s fanning a fire. “I have you covered, and I’m not afraid to use this.” I just manage not to sigh at her words. It’s so theatrical. I could be at a movie.