SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Monday, December 8, 2008

Forgiveness and forgetfulness

After having removed my clothes, I wrapped myself in the blanket and crouched in a fetal position for a while. Then, I washed my face, washed my hair and the rest of my body, feeling loathing and rage. But the water could not wash away my emotions. I felt rotten.

Ed was standing in the middle of the room, still clenching the dagger with both hands, staring at me, speechless.

- Why on earth have you done that? -he whined bitterly-
- What do you mean? I killed him! –I protested-
- No, you haven’t! This will put him out for the count just for a few time and then he will come back to life beside himself with fury, claiming for revenge.
- But I’ve slit his throat! Look at him, he’s dead!
–I complained energetically-.
- No, he's not dead, Leni. That’s not the right way to kill him.

Jimmy was still on the floor, bleeding like a stuck pig. His thick black blood was flowing like a river from the wound in his neck. In all honesty, it was hard to imagine that in a few hours he would be alive and kicking.

It was already hard enough for me to realize that I had failed to murder him. How could I possibly know that there was a special procedure to kill that guy? That sounded quite flippant to me. Like staking a vampire’s heart, beheading him and filling his mouth with garlic; shooting at werewolves with silver bullets, or locking up Superman in Lex Luthor’s kryptonite cage. That was just fiction. Or so I thought.

When it comes to questions of belief, I must say I’m quite skeptical. As an obstinate unbeliever, my attitude towards rituals has always been hilarious. Seriously, I never felt the need to perform a set of imposed actions with a supposed symbolic value. That sounds to me almost like superstition; something hard to process by the small, but existing rationalistic part of my brain.

These thoughts brought back a fond memory: when I was 20 I had a Burdish boyfriend whose father was a freemason. You know freemasonry: the secret and esoteric fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th century, organized into Grand Lodges. Masons conduct their meetings using a ritualised format, believe in a Supreme Being and their members belong to a tight hierarchy. They use signs, grips and passwords to gain admission to meetings and identify legitimate visitors.

My boyfriend used to joke about this particular thing: the grips. So if I ever asked him on a masonic meeting day how his dad was, he would always answer “Uh oh, it’s brotherhood day today”, placing the fingers in the form of a cat's paw, performing one of the most famous masonic handshakes, called "Lion's Paw”.

So, just as the freemasons needed their rituals to socialize and fraternize, Jimmy Moon also required specific etiquette to be killed.

Ed looked terribly disappointed about the results of my unexpected move to slit Jimmy’s throat. He strongly rejected my help. He lost it and ran around the room screaming, tearing out his hair and grinding his teeth, almost in tears.

- Don’t tell me I need to give three sommersaults in the air and then clap my hands twice looking north before I shoot at him a 24 carat gold bullet exactly one inch and a half above the eyebrows and then sing the hymn of the seventh galaxy to make sure he is dead and not just dazed. Come on! –I said, with great skepticism-.
- Leni, I’m not kidding. There is only one way to kill Jimmy Moon: We have to fight till death. Nobody else can kill him but me.
- Can’t you ask Hellgirl for help? -yes, silly question, but I had to ask-.

Ed stared at me, smiled sadly and said:

- Do you think Hellgirl is the solution to all our problems? I’m already paying a high price to her for past my arrogance and ambition. I could call Hellgirl; James Bond; the SWAT Squadron; Harry Potter; the Incredible Hulk or the X-men. It would make no difference at all: I have to face this by myself.
- Call somebody from the underworld, then.
- The laws of the underworld must be observed and its inhabitants must not be bothered unnecessarily. As I said before, I have to kill Jimmy; the sooner the better. Now get dressed, honey. I need to wait here until he wakes up and continue the fight. This may happen at any moment.

I put my peasant girl’s clothes on again. Jimmy Moon was lying on the floor in a pool of blood, apparently dead.

Ed sighed deep. We waited quietly in the house for two hours until we saw Jimmy roll over onto his back and open his eyes. He was still stunned. He slowly touched his wound with his fingertips and had a thorough look at them, all soaked in his sticky black blood. Then he stared at me accusingly and I trembled, expecting his wrathful revenge immediately. He quickly stood up, miraculously recovered after I had almost cut his throat from ear to ear. His black cloak waved continuously, fluidly, with every move he made.

He jumped beside me and held my right arm in a strong grip. I screamed in terror. Ed pulled firmly my left arm and shouted:

- Don't you dare touch her. Let her go and take me.
- That would be way too easy. You must accept your fate. If I kill you, you’re dead. If I keep her with me, it will be worse than death. You don’t deserve any less.-said Jimmy-
- Shut up and fight. –threatened Ed, pulling out his dagger from his thigh sheath-.
- Say goodbye to your gal before you die –said Jimmy, literally throwing me into Ed’s arms-.

Ed held me tenderly and whispered into my ear:

- You’re so lively and full of life, Leni. I love you more than you’ll ever know. But I’m destroying your life. And I’ve just dragged you into this dark world of death and sorrows, where three hundred year old men can’t help stopping the most unsolvable disputes but in a fight till death. I hope you will forgive me for that.
- There’s nothing to forgive, Ed. And you haven’t destroyed my life. Now fight and then come back to me. I love you too. Never forget that.

We kissed long. It tasted of a last kiss, soft as the touch of a feather on the lips. We kissed deep and tender for a few seconds of eternity. I couldn’t stand that painful sting of sadness and cried quietly. He kissed my forehead and told me to stay as far as I could from them.

- It’s fighting time, bloke. –said Jimmy to Ed, with his dagger raised, staring him in the eyes-

Dagger fighting is swift and vicious. The gypsy tradition calls for the two fighters to be tied together at the wrist during a knife fight until they end up cutting off the arm that is tied to theirs. But Ed and Jimmy were fighting a duel to the death.

The sound of metallic clanging impacts of blades clashing and their fast breathing filled the room. I closely followed every single movement they made with anxious eyes. Both acted and reacted fast, knowing the first good strike would kill or disable the other. Both could inflict a killing wound. But mutual killing was not the desired result of the fight,

Options for defence were limited. Everything happened in fractions of seconds. Ed tried to confuse Jimmy feinting cleverly three or four times real fast. Jimmy stepped back quickly; he slipped; stumbled; his dagger dropped down to the floor and he fell onto his back.

Ed sat on Jimmy’s chest, raising his dagger to stab it into his heart. For a split second, Jimmy’s eyes stared into my eyes and I spotted the most horrible fear: Fear of cruelty. Fear of pain. Fear of death.
Ed pulled a face at him. His expression was cruel and merciless. If we could only forget a past that cannot be changed. But the wrong sticks in our memory like a needle.

Jimmy continued to gaze into my eyes with his piercing look and I was overcome by his panic. I stepped in and stopped the fight seizing Ed’s arm.

- Please, don’t kill him. -I said with a low voice-.

Ed stared at me with puzzlement.

- What? Are you crazy or something? –he asked-
- No. Let him live, Ed. Forgiveness will be your part of the deal. You will let go off the need for revenge and your negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment –I answered- . And forgetfulness will be your part, Jimmy. What you did was a disgusting abuse of power. Enough is enough. It should sound fair to you.

Jimmy sighed deeply, relieved but confused. I had just taken a major load off his mind; nevertheless, he didn't feel completely safe. Ed lowered his arms and put the dagger back into the sheath. He looked at me with puzzlement.

- Who do you think you are, honey? Devil’s advocate? I'm a big boy now and I can solve my problems without your help! –said Ed, very angry-
- Killing other people? Is this the way you solve your problems?
- He started!
–shouted Ed, pointing at Jimmy-.
- No. You started it accepting the deal! Be positive and stop acting like a kid!

And this was all the thanks I got.
I got out of the house slamming the door and walked back to civilization, leaving them behind.




"Angel (lust)" Joe Jackson.

11 comments:

Skeeter said...

Very nice. Great imagery.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

max said...

Hey Leni!

I hope they learn the lesson. These two look like dumb and dumber.

Take care.

Masonic Traveler said...

Interesting metaphor between ritual of esoteric living and brutally dying.

Grass said...

I agree with Masonic Traveler.. I was gonna comment on that as well.. no matter how you lead your life, dying is inevitable but to live an esoteric life and to die brutally has an ironic feel into it.

It's human to forgive. It's also human to be angry to the point of murder. This said, I was still surprised about the ending.. I guess killing or trying to kill Jimmy the first time had its toll on you sis.. hehehe And did you think of not doing the same mistake again hence, the final act? :-)

I wonder if Ed will forgive your interference on his fight.. :-)


xxx

ysfb said...

That was creepy yet satisfying. Whatever happened to just blowing somebody's head up. Ah, the old days.

Everytime I hear about freemasons, I think of Jack the Ripper

Leni Qinan said...

Welcome Skeeter!

Glad to read you loved the images! I like gothic aesthetics –you’ll see a few of those images in this blog-.

I’ve put my thinking cap on and asked you a couple of questions in your blog. It was too tempting. (*laughs loud*)

Take care!

Leni Qinan said...

Hey Max!

Vengeance and hate lead nowhere. I think it’s better to negotiate. I’m convinced that anything can be solved this way. Life would be much better if we all struggled in that direction, I think.

Bug hug.

Leni Qinan said...

Welcome, Masonic Traveler!

I appreciate your comment on rituals. Maybe the metaphor was a bit extreme, but there’s always a meaning for them. In that genuine esoteric scenery, it’s hard not to die brutally.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Grass!

I think someone as evil as Jimmy Moon is not easy to kill, hence the ritual. He has the scent of wickedness and power about him. Brutality was inevitable.

I agree with you, it’s human to forgive, but it’s very hard sometimes. Not everybody –including myself- is able to forget past offences so easily and it’s a rare virtue to put aside these thoughts forever. The world would be a better place to live if we all learned something about it, don’t you think?

About Jimmy’s fake murder: actually, a fake murder may not kill an individual but in the mind of the person who starts the action of killing, it’s the same as if it was true. Only the results change, but bad feelings are inside the soul of the killer.

The final act was my last attempt to solve an old dispute. It was a give and take. Max (above) was right, negotiation is sometimes the key.

About Ed getting pissed off for my interference… dear sis, I think it will be our first serious fight! Wait and see. ;))

Big hug.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi ysfb,

Always on the dark side, eh? I think these guys belong to a time when daggers and swords were most fashionable than firearms.

Yes, it would have been more effective to blow his head up, but I think staling and feinting within the fight itself, are important too.

(Oh my, what have the freemasons done to you to make you think of Jack the Ripper?)

rebecca said...

Every time I hear freemason, I think George Bush, the senior. Oh yeah, he's one.

I think Jimmy Moon is far from gone. Oh, he'll be back..... :)

Poor Ed, you got some serious making up to do, Len...he's a little pissed you stole that moment from him...oh, you can kill him, but he can't? he-he!