This is the final except I am posting of Marcello’s Revenge, at least for the time being and I am able to work more on it. As I skipped posting the fourth chapter, a little explination may be required. Robin and Francine attended the party at the Periwinkles, where Robin developed a headache and sought refuge in their friend’s basement to recover. Matt is Jacob and Cora Periwinkle’s son, and Julie is a girl who Robin saw hanging out with Matt earlier at the party. This chapter sets up the main plot of the story. Thank you for reading.
Chapter 5: Fate Plays Pachinko
The room they permitted me to recuperate in would not make one think of a basement, which usually brings up images either of dank underground rooms smelling of detergents, mildew and humidity, or, even worse, a space converted into the repugnant man cave. The room is spacious with panoramic windows along a wall providing a view of the neighboring houses and countryside. It is a lounge really, with large, comfortable chairs, a desk, a bar, bookshelves, and a leather couch where I was at that time laying down. There is also an entertainment center built into a wall that contains a television, stereo, a game console, and other various electronics shining small electric stars of red, orange and yellow. It is one of two forward rooms on the lower level which border the northern exterior wall of the house, a sliding glass door in each providing access to the outside. For the sake of reference, the pool and lake reside on the eastern side of the property, and the front lawn where the party took place upon the west. The second of the forward rooms is across a small hallway and is for recreation, containing a pool and foosball table, weight sets, and exercise equipment such as a treadmill, a stationary bike and a home gym.
The two rooms are built into a small rise of land the house sits on. The rest of the lower level is situated behind them, and have the more traditional settings of a basement: a storage area and laundry room that are located near the stairwell, and a restroom which is adjoined to the rec room. Should one desire to shower after working out, I suppose.
The curtains were open, but that did not disturb me as I kept my eyes closed for the most part, and the only lights coming in through the windows were from a neighbor’s house some distance off. I took deep breaths but at first struggled in an effort to regulate them. Eventually doing so, I slipped into a sort of meditative state, the deep notes of a cello slithering in my ears. Bach composed such primeval music. Lavish in its simplicity of design, a complexity founded in understatement of the transcendent. For me, it is the perfect music to listen to when the pain is at its worse, and I lost myself in a trance between it and my measured breathing.
After a little less than an hour, I decided to test my strength by sitting up, and though pain accompanied by lightheadedness still held me in their clutches, it was definitely in a more agreeable state that I felt I could travel home to rest properly. Taking out the ear phones, I placed them and the music player in my pocket and rose to my feet. Checking my balance and finding it satisfactory, I concluded that I would be able to properly relieve myself without incident before heading out.
I have found that, as far as fate is concerned, our choices and actions, spurred on recklessly by our thoughts and emotions, stumble around drunkenly, bumping and spinning so that she, for I have always envisioned fate as female in temperament, molds them to our helpless, disgruntled resignation on a course not of our design nor intent. Or, it would be fair to reason, that she lets us loose, shooting us out into the world and watching us as we fall on our own, solely on the randomness of the initial momentum and trajectory, as if she were playing pachinko in some parlor in Tokyo.
And so, in my own personal pachinko machine, in choosing to go through the rec room to reach the lavatory, one of the balls hit a pin and spurred it into a location that would soon release more of its stainless steel brethren. Without even a thought of available alternatives, like possibly using the bathroom door in the hallway, or maybe a different one somewhere else in the house, I turned the knob on the door and slid it open silently. I felt no premonition, no cold feeling or chill running down my spine, only surveying the room as it was revealed to me.
There was an odd, red glow of curious design on the wall at the opposite end of the room. It was a circle with four equilateral triangles inside it. Their bases formed a square in the center of the circle, and their points touched its edge like a compass. With the curtains drawn the room was in utter darkness, the glowing design not emanating any light, seeming more to draw its own light back into itself.
I found the switch to the lights turned them on. The room was vacant but for one person. Stretched out over the length of the pool table, lying face down with arms spread out so that his hands fell loosely over the edge was Matt. I recognized him from by his orange shirt. A white pillow was placed over his head which, as I came nearer, I could see was seeping with red splotches where blood had soaked through. I cannot say why, perhaps with the vague hope the somehow Matt was ok and it was all a sick and elaborate hoax, or maybe out of some morbid interest, I went up and lifted the pillow off of his head. It was misshapen and cracked open, blood oozing out of a large conclave area on the top right and soaking his short hair. Lifting his head a little I found nearly all of his face gone, smashed in and torn apart. With the exception of a lonely left eye staring pristinely useless, and part of his right mandible hanging loosely and dangling on a small thread of muscle, all that was left was a horrendous chasm of torn flesh and splintered bone. I lowered his head and placed the pillow back where it was.
It was intensely and dreadfully gruesome. My stomach churned at the horrific scene, and the pain in my head intensified, yet I did not feel as if I would vomit. Down by his stomach was a pool of blood, but, as there was no wound I could see on his mid-section, I reasoned that was the place where his head fell. Visualizing and reenacting the murder in my mind, it appeared to me that the initial blow would have been to the back of the head. Matt would have been standing facing the windows, his back to his attacker when initially hit, and twisting as he fell to the pool table so that when he landed he faced the ceiling. Then the rest of the ferocious blows were delivered, after which he would have been moved to his current position. Blood was all over the table and a generous amount splattered on the floor with bone fragments, flesh, and brain matter littered in as if it were some macabre stew. Checking the bathroom door, I did not see that it had any blood on it or the handle. It just stood there mocking me.
I went over to inspect the design on the wall. It was ninety degrees from the direction Matt laid in, made nearly in the center of the wall alongside a pool cue rack and a picture of some people cycling in the hills. It was made from Matt’s blood, drawn by someone’s finger as prints could be seen, and before it on the ground there were small drops of blood which I assumed were dripped from a cup or hand during its composition. The sign measured around three feet in diameter with each of the triangles and the square having sides of about one foot in length. I could not ascertain how it glowed, which it still did, noticeable even with the lights in the room on, but the rest of the blood, including that on the floor in front of it, did not. There was nothing that I could find which would indicate why someone would have so brutally bludgeoned the boy only to have then further desecrated the body by moving him and gathering his blood to use as finger paint.
Holding my hand up near the middle of the square I could feel a warmth seething from it. A compulsion took me and I laid my hand on the wall, its structure gelatinous and hot, but not burning. I saw my hand sink slowly into the jelly before everything went dark. There was a sensation of being pulled out of myself and into the wall as if a little hand with transparent fingers took hold of mine and was gently dragging me. More hands joined it the further I went in, taking hold of my arm and shoulder, neck and head, my torso, my legs and feet, until there was a multitude of them beyond count coaxing me along.
It is difficult to relate my experience in that world, as alien as it was and how outlandish the tale may seem. I was completely enveloped and pressed upon, warm and serene in a translucent ooze type state. Perhaps it was like being in a womb, but as it has been so long since I occupied one, and having no memory of that time, I cannot say for certain. My body and its senses fell apart, and time and space, direction, thought and emotion all merged and combined in a murky pool of being. A sense of self still existed, but things passed through me and I through them without any hindrance or obstacle.
There were beings there, sentient and aware, people of a fashion who, though not children, had a childlike presence about them. My life, who I was, am and would be, was peeled apart and exposed, no secret hidden nor defense able to be applied. I was naked before them, and yet in turn they before me. But, whereas they appeared to have no difficulties in understanding me, the foreign environment and conditions left me bewildered, and there was little I was able to learn about them. The same, I would imagine, as an animal must feel in a laboratory. However, I did not sense any hostility, or evil intention from them, but for that matter, no hospitality or good will either. These would have had no relevance to them, at least in that particular situation. In that I existed and was separate from them was an anomaly for their inquisitive nature to explore.
Their minds were open to me, and visions (I use mind and vision here loosely) assailed me, but I was hopelessly unable to sort them into any cognitive relevance, or categorize them into a structure I could understand. I would see, and feel, and hear an experience or idea on all levels, from all perspectives, in all times and places. Things from our world sprang up, and landscapes emerged and collapsed, matter and energy expanded and contracted, life bloomed and death spread. Countless events of wars, loves, joys, sorrows, triumphs and regrets flashed before me and in me and me in them, a participant in all parts, motives, and desires. Their world too gushed forth, a collective ever-increasing and moving, progressing in a purposeful manner, spurred on by a motive I could not grasp. A world where opposites joined and a new creation was formed. Where and when this may have occurred was lost, or perhaps it never happened, or was always happening.
Then suddenly I was back in the room, standing in the same position, hand still upon the wall. It took me a moment to clear my head and get my bearings. Sitting near me with her back against the wall and covered in blood was Julie Stills, her knees up to her chest and arms wrapped around them, a bloody golf club clenched in one hand. On the wall the sign was gone. I looked quickly over my shoulder. Matt still lay there, but now it was as if he was never moved, laying face up on the pool table in the contorted position he should have been in just after the attack, a disheveled heap slumped over the side. The pillow was gone too, and I could see the indentation in the top of his head and the overhead light sparkling in his lonely eye.
I looked down at Julie, unmoving and silent, staring straight ahead and not seeming to notice me. Kneeling down I grabbed her chin and turned her face to mine, looking directly into her eyes.
“Did you do this?” I asked her. She shook her head. “Do you know who did?” Again a negative response. “Right,” I continued, looking around taking stock of this development and the strange new circumstances I found myself in. I could hear the pachinko balls hitting pins all over the place, skittering through the forest as fate looked at her watch and wondered where the waitress was with her drink. “Let’s get you out of here then,” I said as the machine’s bells rang out and lights flashed.