Into the Shadows

I was the only one who cared, but obviously I didn't care enough. Now, all he has left in this world are shadows and memories.

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1. I

 

The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places.

Bryant H. McGill

We are the Earls of Exeter

We are beautiful yet we are chaste

We are rich because of our own effort

We are charitable in all our prosperity

We are of etiquette and propriety

We are honest and we are true

We are born into good heritage; an untainted blood line

We are god fearing.

We are the leaders,

We are the perfect example.

Father makes me repeat this. I’m starting to think it’s lies.

***********

England 1809

I told myself every single day, that the boy was better off with the Master. With him in the Manor our family’s respectable reputation and honour would be at stake. He wasn’t loved, sure, but the daggers that would be shot at him at home by my mother and father were worse and the starvation in the crooked streets of London would lead to a quick demise. Now, I think of it, I was only lying to myself. Anything would have been better than what he had to endure in the end.

I was the only one out of all of us who cared, but obviously I didn’t care enough. Now, all he has left in this world are shadows.

Mother couldn’t care less when I told her about her ‘beloved’ child’s misfortune who didn’t know the definition of mother. Shaking her overdressed head, she made me promise again not to tell my oblivious father about her previous lover’s child. My unfaithful mother. The picture still burns at the back my head; a weeping babe thrown into the tarnished arms of the master sweep 8 years ago. I should have told father, when he returned, of what mother had done, but the thought of another son in the house made my 10 year old self shiver, green in envy. How petty it was, now I think back.

Yet, I still found myself visiting in the cold nights as the years passed. It began as a game, I was the guardian angel- like the ones in the bible- teaching him to read picture books and giving him my bars of chocolate now and then, but I never granted him what he actually needed from me. I never freed him from the fate of chimney sweeping. I had the money. I had the power. I didn’t have the guts. Now I’m too late.

Rubbing my swollen red eyes, I try to remember. His tarnished face was a tinted mystery, as black as a raven’s feather, cut and bruised along the bones, though it never seemed to bother him, stance hunched, no shoes and ripped clothes- though I had more than plenty to spare and the only sunshine in his life concentrated into a pair of green gleaming eyes that had seen too little.

It must have been hard for those eyes. The only image they would have ever seen would have been the soot thrown by the very devils claws. In sleep, in day, in chimneys, in rest, everywhere. But the eyes always seemed to laugh when I was there. Maybe he was never taught the meaning of pain? If I were him I would have killed myself for heaven sounds a better option than being forced up a dark abyss, but then again the boy did refer to churches as shop windows with funny pictures on them. I miss that naivety.  

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