It was gratifying to watch that bastard Tommy bleed. It didn’t take much, the anonymous tip to the prisoner who procures the main bulk of the inmates anabolic steroids that Tommy was seen in his cell earlier that day, the prisoner finding that his latest stash had disappeared, and the convenient discovery of that stash in Tommy’s hold all after three large prisoners held Tommy down and the dealer searched Tommy’s cell. I will give one thing to the great big pudding; he went down fighting. I stood with Henry watching him from the marginal peripherals of the action, as he floundered and fitted wildly, his football sized fists swinging riotously like pink wrecking balls, whilst his face became slick with wet crimson and scarlet. The cunt caught my eye once whilst the dealer was unhinging his jaw with a heavy black boot. In the eye that wasn’t soaked in claret glared as if he knew. He knew that I had planted those drugs. So fucking what?
Henry looked grim and calculating as he watched every thud and smack hit home, he didn’t even flinch as the evil bastards nose cracked like a whip as the dealer threw a meaty elbow into his face. I suppose twenty or so years in hell teaches you not to be squeamish, and to treat blood like any other liquid. Blood. Snot. Saliva. Ribena. What’s the difference when it’s leaking from a malevolent prick such as Tommy? As his life seeped out from his body across the marshmallow stone floor, I felt no regrets, I felt no sorrow for what I had done. I felt simply that I had leveled the playing field. I had pulled some points back in the game, and now not all casualties were those of the rebels.
Henry placed his hands on the ice black railings of the balcony and slumped his shoulders like the mad weight of a tired world rested there. His fringe flapped a little as he languished through a lengthy exhalation. The lines on his face were tired, too exhausted. The exhaustion of a man who has spent his entire life in turmoil, or near violence, and can no longer escape it was slathered in the age lines of his face. Just another day in paradise.
We stayed silent, unmoving and serendipitous as we watched the small army of screws scurry over like hyenas to a fresh cadaver, circle the stiff like vultures, and without word or argument removed the festering hump that once was Tommy. Years ago they would have investigated the incident, found the culprit and punish them accordingly. These were far more apathetic days, they ask no questions, and we tell no lies. It’s not like we are going anywhere, so the screws just assume that we are all the model citizens of the incarceration system in Great Britain.
As a scrawny inmate attacked the viscous pool of blood outlining the place where Tommy made his last stand Henry and I ambled back into our cell. Henry sighed heavily as he himself awkwardly upon his uncomfortable mattress. I could hear his stifled sobs as I continued looking across the block at the perplexed and invigorated tenants it housed. I was to be settling down in a few minutes to enjoy what I hoped would be the last night of my own fraught tenancy. I barely heard Henry speak.
“Is it going to be any better than this on the outside? Will all this bloodshed end at some point? Is there any hope for a normal life do you think?” His speech was covered by a long sigh.
“Define normal Henry.”
“Normal, as in having children, raising them and teaching them to skim stones at the boating lake.”
“Having a family? Yes there is for me, but you being ugly certainly won’t give you an advantage.” I smiled as Henry grinned at me.
“You can be such a prick you know Cameron. A real grade A tool. Does it come natural or did you have to work at it?”
“You taught me very well Henry.” Although I was joking my mind had wandered to the pool of blood on the floor. It reminded me of the pool of blood on my mother’s kitchen floor, only I was eight years old when Tommy had left that there. I thought having Tommy slaughtered would bring me a measure of peace, some tranquility that can only be gleaned from lasting revenge. There was still a fair amount of disquiet in my mind, a festering sting of memory and hatred that I have begun to believe will never leave me. I will always be fucked by this never ending loathing.
“I want it all to end Cameron. I have seen enough blood to last the rest of my life, it is everywhere. I have seen, heard and felt more hatred than any man should have to suffer in the longest of lives.”
“It will end Henry, one way or another. Eventually, a few days, weeks, perhaps even a few months, the black veil will lift. You will have your peace again. I will order you a bride from the internet and you can have your family brother. But I need you to stay strong until then. We have been rocks for one another. I need you brother. I need you to keep believing that we will come out of this alive, and victorious.” I was serious, this wasn’t some motivational speech to gee him up. I wasn’t beating a shield with a spear and urging him on. I needed him.
Henry didn’t speak again that night, he left me alone with my dire contemplations and my challenging schemes for the future. My hand was shaking at the thought of it all, seeing sister, seeing Joey, seeing Dad again, missing my mum, and my aunty, but at least I could see the rest of the people that mattered.
I thought back on the night when Casey ceased to matter. I was sixteen years of age, she had come to my house, unzipped my trousers and went for my cock before I had even begun to say hello to her. I began to wonder on that night when the last time we ever talked had been? A couple of days later I had finished it, regardless of what we had been through together, we had grown apart and one of us needed the balls to let go.
It certainly wasn’t going to be her.