Chapter 36: Night Confessions
“You never left.”
Iris’s words resonate in my head. I look down in my arms as she traces the tattoos on my chest. I take one deep breath and swallow. I am scared. I am so scared that she will step back in terror if I tell her the reason I am this fucked-up. She will leave me and that’s when the Hellhound will claim me whole, throw my soul into the abyss. But she is my Iris. Mine. She deserves as much.
“I was six,” I whisper.
Iris goes rigid in my arms but says nothing.
“I was six and Nate was only three,” the memory of my little brother stills wrenches in my very soul. “My Mum...” a lump causes me to stop.
“It’s OK,” Iris props on her elbows, caressing my cheek.
“It’s not. It really isn’t,” a cruel chuckle slips from my lips.
“You don’t have to.”
“I do. You are right. I am still there. In that shed, locked away. He has dragged me there, in the shed in backyard, threw me in with Nate. Mum is there, lying on the floor. She is so pretty, black hair, dark eyes. She used to smile at me and Nate all the time. The time that he wasn’t around. The mornings. But when his shadow would cast on our doorstep, she would lose that smile. Nate is crying. She calls for Mum but Mum isn’t moving. I try, I try to make her look at me but she won’t look at me. And all that blood. Blood on her, on me. Only blood, her body cold.”
“God,” Iris murmurs and holds me tighter.
“Nate sniffles at first. He shakes and glances at Mum now and then. I remember trying the door but it was locked, no windows. We both pee in the corner of the room after holding it for long. Nate doesn’t leave my side but all I can do is hold him as we sit next to Mum’s body. I am hungry, so hungry. And scared. No one comes for us, not even him. I must have slept cause I remember opening my eyes and Nate is crying. It’s the smell. A pungent smell mixed with a tinge of nauseating sweetness. It makes me sick and I take Nate to sit closer to the door, inhaling through the cracks.”
“Rage. My Rage. Ryan,” I feel wetness on my chest and I know it’s Iris crying but I can’t stop now.
“Darkness falls and then light. And then darkness again. When the light comes through the cracks, we hear a car in a distance. And then a door opening. We both start screaming as loud as we can. Then some voices and the car driving away. Suddenly a key in the door. He comes in. Angry, fuming. Nate breaks down crying in loud sobs. “Shut up!” but Nate just cries louder. He is holding something. A knife. A big knife. “Shut up!”. Mad, so mad. He takes one step and yanks Nate from my arms dropping the knife.”
“Don’t. Please, don’t,” Iris begs but I am not here, I am back there, trapped in there.
"“Shut up or I will shut you up,” he tightens his hands around Nate’s neck and I close my eyes. Nate screams for a while. Only when he stops, I open my eyes. He throws him next to Mum as if he was garbage. I move. The knife is in my hand. He turns to me but I plunge the knife in his stomach. Again. And again. He drops on his knees, blood spitting out from his mouth on me, mixing with Mom’s dried blood. “That’s my boy” is all that he says before I drive the knife through his neck. I sat there till they came for me. They said the smell...”
“Ryan. Oh, Rage. That man...” she can’t finish.
I turn to her slowly, acknowledging she is there. I am exhausted, shattered, drained. My eyelids blink slowly.
“My father. Same blue eyes, same blonde hair. He is still in here,” I hit my head. “It’s in my blood. I was born bad. “That’s my boy.”. Like one says to a dog. A hound. The Hound from Hell. That is who I am.”
“This is not who you are,” she caresses my face as tears ruin her cheeks. “I know who you are. You are the man that kept me safe. The one that came for me. The one that freed me from fear. You are the one that tended me, healed me in and out. You are my Rage. My love. I don’t care who you were before. All I care is that we are now here, together. We have each other.”
Tears trickle down my cheeks and I have no power to stop them. I am reduced to a bundle of nerves. Iris moves and cradles my head and my eyes close. She is so warm, so real. She is here, still here, by me.
“Thank you,” she leaves a kiss on my forehead. “Thank you for letting me in. No one should ever endure what you have.”
“No!” she tightens her grip and forces me to look up to her. “It’s not your fault. None of it was your fault. You hear me? Not your fault.”
It is as if my soul smiled upon these words. Relieved. Could that be true? Could I be free? Free for the Hellhound?
“I am here. I will never leave. Never. Yours.”
“Yours,” I surrender completely to her.
She rocks slightly in a soothing way and I drift away in a deep sleep. Iris is here. She will keep the Hellhound away.
“Ryan,” I hear a soft voice.
For a moment the crazy idea that all my life was a bad dream and it’s Mum calling me. But then I think that means that I have never met Iris and a slice of pain forces me to open my eyes.
“Hungry?” Iris smiles at me.
I have told her all the darkness in my head, the shitty things that scratch the walls from the inside and she is still here. Maybe I am still sleeping. I nod.
“Well, I have prepared breakfast.”
I sit up and there is a breakfast set on a blanket on the floor.
“Indoors picnic,” she shrugs.
I don’t even let my mind take over. I wrap my arm around her and pull her to me. I kiss her, rolling her under my body. I relish the thought that she didn’t go out screaming, eager to put distance between us. My Iris.
I keep caressing her lips with mine but soon the kiss turns deeper, unfathomable, more. And when Iris moans in my mouth, her fingers treading needlingly on my skin, I can’t hold back. I caress her thigh up her waist and I nest between her legs, letting her now how I feel with her close.
“Iris?” I need her to tell me I am not doing anything bad.
“Yours,” she whispers in my ear.
I drive myself inside her with lazy moves, cherishing the moment, replenishing my damned soul in her arms. My Iris, the hunter of nightmares. I search her mouth and I kiss her with fervor, sipping on her plump lips. Mine. Her core is drenched and I bite my jaw down knowing this means she like this. She likes me being in her, me over her, me making love to her. I roll my hips and hold her eyes in mine.
I keep my pace, trying to go on forever if possible. But when she sighs quivering, pulling me to her, I reach my limit and I hook her leg over my waist to feel her more. And I do. I feel her all around me, in me. The tinging feeling comes over me, gathers at the base of my spine. And when Iris cries out and rides her orgasm, I can’t hold back. I come inside her with one thrust. Hers.
“I have to go to work,” Iris leaves a peck on my cheek as she changes for work.
“We got to do something special today,” I take her all in.
“We can go buy Vik a present,” she smiles over her shoulder.
“Vik’s birthday party? Tonight?”
“I had no fucking idea that it was that whore’s birthday,” I put on my jeans. “Doubt they sell pussy at the stores.”
Iris throws her head back and laughs. If I loved seeing her smile, seeing her laugh is killing me. Iris said I healed her scars. She is doing so much more for my tattered soul.
“You are right. From what I hear, his collection of women is big. We should get him something he doesn’t have.”
“I am not sure they sell brains, either.”
This time she holds her belly as her whole body shakes with laughter. I did that. I can make her smile. I can make her sigh with pleasure. I can make her laugh.
“I’m sure we’ll figure this out,” Iris leans up for a kiss and makes for the door.
I grab her hand and go out with her through the bar. No one is up but Runner and the thrall, Wood, that looks at our twined fingers and then goes back to gathering the glasses.
“I am so sorry, Wood,” I hear Iris, “I...I slept in. I will help tomorrow.”
“No problem, girl.”
Girl? I snarl openly tightening my grip over her. I take one step to him but Iris caresses my arm and I postpone killing that fucker.
“Have a good day, Ryan,” Iris whispers and smiles widely. “I will be right across the street.”
I nod and I lean in for a last kiss, fighting the urge to pick her up and lock her in the room and on that bed till the Second Coming. But she has had enough of men pushing her around, tying her down. I make her smile. I make her laugh. I need her happy.
“Brother,” Runner calls for me when Iris is out the door.
I lift my chin and he beckons at the seat across him. That is my seat, my table. The one with the knife marks, the blood stains soaked in. The place I drowned in alcohol, wallowing in my pit of darkness.
“You OK, Rage?”
“Brother,” Runner turns completely to me, “I heard Iris calling you Ryan. You told her?”
“Everything, brother,” I rest my elbows on my knees. “All that I remember.”
Runner sighs and I turn to him. He frowns at me.
“What?” I demand.
“Heavy shit, man. You sure she’s OK? I mean she is a good girl but she has been through a lot.”
“She needs to know it all, Runner. She needs to know the bad stuff.”
“You like this girl, I can tell. Really into her. I am happy for you. I am. I still remember the fucking state you were in when I found you. Hurting yourself and all that came close. Like a goddamn animal,” Runner downs his glass of whiskey. “You constantly needed to shed blood. Yours or others’. Same to you.”
“You gave me purpose here.”
“Sure. Gutting the Riders’ enemies. Being send in blind behind enemy lines. Great fucking benefactor. Real damn Mother Theresa,” Runner pinches his nose.
“Runner,” I seek his attention and he looks at me.
Runner swallows hard and lifts his chin. He says nothing and brings over a bottle of whiskey.
“For old times’ sake?” he leaves a glass before me and I nod. “So, you gonna let her in all the shit? You’ve done some pretty fucked up things,” he pours me a glass.
“Got to. She needs to know who’s sleeping with her at night.”
“You...?” Runner almost chokes on his drink. “Did you two...? Goddamn it! Did you use...You know...?”
Protection. He is talking about protection. I get up and I start pacing. I didn’t even stop to think.
“Guess not,” Runner chuckles.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I down the whiskey.
“Calm the fuck, down.”
I can’t. I can’t. I am a fucking psycho. I didn’t even stop to think about her. I just took, took from her what I wanted. That’s the Hellhounds revenge. Forcefully he comes forth and claims me, shakes my core, demands my soul. That’s the plan to kill me. I am bad, bad blood. And I poured it in her, staining her. I can’t see straight, my breath hitches and my vision blurs.
All I see is Mum cold, blood on the floor, blood from her body, dead by the Hellhound. And Nate’s lifeless body thrown like a rag doll, strangled by his hands. That is my future. That is who I will be. Iris on the floor, blood pouring out of her, dead, cold. A baby, a baby with her big grey eyes. My fists around its neck, my baby’s neck. Dead. Killed by the Hellhound. That’s my boy.
“Brother!” Runner calls for me but it’s not enough.
I run to my room and take my knife. The Hellhound is claiming her but I will not give her up. I rush out and climb my bike. I hear Iris calling me but I don’t stop. I need to get away from her, give him the blood he craves to appease him. He might leave Iris alone.