Short StoryThe Clearing

The Clearing: A Lust for Pain (A Short Story Series 4/9)

The Carpenter rested after the roof was completed. The shelter not enclosed but protecting him from the sun and rain. They attempted to visit him from time to time. It was in vain, this place gave him the strength to resist them. While he was in the structure the world could only be what he saw and remembered.

Perhaps They had agreed to this provision, the loneliness needed for the task to be completed. The isolation from all needed to be absolute, rejecting bias from any other. The Carpenter needed to own the decision as his own, and one his own he needed to be.

Their desire to have back what they forgot was strong. Even They had desires beyond comprehension. Intelligence even as great as Theirs could not protect from bias.

It was weeks that he lay under the structure unable to move forward. The memories acquired for this task reminded him of the connections he now lost. The love he saw just once. The pride he saw in his work and the people who had admired it. All these memories built a palace, at its damp depths holding sadness.

There was also a deep shame that gripped him. A shame that he allowed Them to keep him away from Marilyn, that Their will was to be done at her expense. He was shamed about running from a country that hated him. That he allowed a man who was a dictator speak to him like a friend. To take money from a country that did not have it to give.

Looking up at the Clearing

On this day though sloth was overcome by the need to finish the cabin. It stood incomplete and that needed to be recrified. He spent the start of the day sharpening his tool, readying for a flurry of work.

The moment he began to affix the material to the outside walls he was struck. These walls closed the inhabitant from the elements but they also gave the cabin its style. The image of complete, the outside of a home was something that so many obsessed over. Curb appeal was nothing more that vanity of residence.

The memory was painfully forced, They assigned it with an ignorance of the how delicate the human brain was. The creatures who enslaved him needed to know the answer. They were powerful, interacting with time in a way we cannot comprehend. Even so they could not see his decision, they had to wait like mere mortals.

Eric Montgomery was born of wealth and influence, a child who wanted for nothing. His mother and father were both successful in their professions, he was the trophy life awarded the successful couple. They worked hard to give him more than he could ever want. Employed people to care for him who were not allowed to reprimand. He was never to be told no, this was an affront to the station in life he was born too.

As you can imagine this did not create a child who worried about other peoples feelings. The parents could pay for any issue, a fire at the school could be smoothed over with a substantial donation. Throughout his life consequence fell away from his reality. The very rich experience reality in such a different way, at times being able to mould it.

Eric could not understand the concept of bills, he was never given them. He did not understand the concept of reponsibility as all that was broken was not his fault. Those who do not have in their bank account enough zeros to mould society will not understand what it does to a mind. Instant gratification was standard, those around you trying to cater for what you would like next.

Eric through highschool and university took from class mates as he felt. The women feared him, his eyes and intentions. The usual crowd that gravitated around him would allow him to do whatever he wanted, bending to his reality. To be around him made you in society. His money bought experiences that so many would degrade themselves for.

The women who followed him allowed more and more depravity to be perpetrated against them. Eric didn’t have the same reaction to tears that an empathic person would. The sight of their will being broken gave him a sense of power that rivalled money. Sex could be bought but dignity had to be captured.

Time takes away joy, the highs and lows eroded to normality. Even those with a darkness in their heart feel joy slipping away from them. Those with absence of heart loose joy much quicker, if they ever truly felt it.

Eric lost the joy of the groupies who followed and obeyed. Their tears less sweet to him, their cries quieted and their pain less intoxicating. He owned their dignity, and ownership was not as thrilling as acquisition.

University Hall

By this time he was in University, studying economics. There were many people here who he preyed on. New women to affect. Eric took advantage of this, of the stars in their eyes. The bright lights and his money brought an attraction.

As with most sociopaths he was adept at concealing the evil of his soul. Eric could be the charming gentlemen, opening car doors and using all the pleases and thank yous. He would always turn up with flowers, the look of joy short lived but it did lull those into a false sense of security.

This was the plan he had in place for Ava. She was new to the city and the faster pace of life outside of the country. In her first semester of a Chemistry degree, her future was bright.

Ava’s personality was kind, she was a soft and caring person. She was the type of person who had stray animals follow her. She could not say no to a person in need. She made friends quickly and intensely. She was more content with hearing their story than telling hers.

It might seem odd that Eric and Ava would find each other. Different of personality and study but it was true that opposites attracted. In the lightness of Ava, the darkness of Eric craved. To consume it and swallow it to the depths of hatred.

Ava saw in Eric his damage, the need to help. She mistook evil for hurt and her light was drawn to this darkness. He was a child in the world, not prepared for it. In him Ava saw a stray animal in need of love.

Eric turned up to Ava’s apartment with flowers in hand. An impeccably tailored suit and a smile that any mother would be convinced by. He handed over the flowers and put on a nervous smile.

The amoral quickly learned to display human traits. Eric was the master as his shivering hand took hers. Ava smiled, place her second hand on top of his and the shivering stopped. He smiled, knowing that he found her motivation. He would use this.

Eric took Ava to a small family run restaurant, much below his usual standard of cuisine. He wouldn’t waste a dining experience on her, she wouldn’t understand the subtlety. They ordered wine and food, and laughed at each others company. It was going well Ava thought, seeing how kind this man was.

Eric bathed in her kindness, taking in every softness she allowed him to see. In his mind he thought about the ways he could harm her. The ways he could degrade her and make her regret life.

Date wine

It was a sense of superiority that drove him. Eric hated that the person in front of him thought she was his equal. It drove a deep rage that she could be in his presence and not acknowledge his superiority. He hated that he wanted and needed her. He hated that he lusted so deeply for someone so devoid of refinement. He lusted strongly for so many below him.

They left the restaurant and went back to Ava’s apartment, she invited him in not knowing the true person behind those sad eyes. They sat on the couch and drank wine. Eric looked at the label, another sign of her inferiority.

Things went like a normal date till Ava said no. She did not want to go into the bedroom on the first date. Eric’s true nature began to seep as he stood and took off his jacket and shoes. Ava looked on confused for a moment. Then he struck her, hard on the side of her face. Leaving a mark, the force sent her to the ground.

“You think you have rights”, she ran to the door in search of help. Eric grabbed her hair and yanked her backwards. “You are nothing more than a plaything. You will do as I say or I will kill you. I have the means and money to end your life.”

Eric threw her onto the couch. “All you will be is pain and sadness to your family. The rest of the world will forget you. You are inconsequential”.

“Please don’t  do this” her tears and fear stoked something in Eric. It was a sense of entitlement. It was everytime his parent fixed a problem, every time their money reinforced his superiority. Reality is a concept that humans invent, it is outside of nature. Reality can be warped, a person believing that they are godlike.

“I will do what I please”. Eric attacked Ava brutally, the more she cried the greater the joy. The monster was unleashed. The pain gripped her and the joy him.

Eric let Ava live, not out of mercy but for the future possibility of joy. He hoped to see her again, to draw on that frightened look. He left the apartment as she cried, he dropped a hundred dollar note on the coffee table.

Eric forgot about Ava quickly, she disappeared from his world as others were introduced to the pain. University was a joyous time for him.

The Carpenter stopped for a moment. He fell to the floor with a great pain in his head. They put the memory in his mind, so he would know the pain. Even after all this time it was stil intense and an affront to his humanity.

How They could not understand the pain was beyond him. They were clinical in all aspects, Ava was not a person of note. Eric was not a person to hate. They were elements to study, they were parts of the answers to the question of humanity.

The Carpenter stood and he began to see the memories again. He saw himself walking into Eric’s home, unaware of the evil of him. The memories were only given to him after.

Eric viewed those who worked for him and his family as the help. That was what Ezra was to him. A Disposable commodity.

The maid let him in and showed him to the 14th century French dining table. “If Mr Montgomery comes in please do not make eye contact and address him as sir”.

“Of course”, Ezra stood in front of one of the most magnificent tables he had ever seen. It was large enough to seat 12 comfortably. The detail on the legs was enough to take his breath away.

“This scratch needs to be taken out.” The maid pointed to a scratch, 20cm long. It looked to have only taken off the top coat.

Opening Door

Eric walked into the room, he was cut a trim figure. His hair combed back and shone its jet black. “That is what happens when the woman has a belt on.” He took an apple and stood beside Ezra “don’t worry she got a spanking.”

Eric laughed as he walked out of the room, “maid make sure the carpenter puts down a cloth. The tradesmen are so dirty”. Then he was gone

Ezra turned to the maid, “I will make sure not to make a mess”.

The scratch while small was on a piece of great age and beauty. Ezra made sure to take care. Over the 4 days he was there he saw many girls come in and leave in tears. The memories slowly came to him as he worked, They dripped into to Ezra’s mind what Eric did.

When he was finished Eric looked at the table, “nice work carpenter.” He walked off and shouted over his shoulder “you can go now.”

The maid appeared from around the corner, the staff there avoided being in his presence. “The rest of your money will be sent to you tomorrow”, she usher Ezra out before he could respond. There was a feeling of fear.

Eric came back into the room and saw the maid and Ezra still not having left. “I am having someone over to fuck, it usually ruins the mood if the help is in the room”. He shouted in their direction but not at them. The maid pushed Ezra to the door.

Ezra walked down the path and out the front of the property. A lady came into the yard and their eyes made contact. She smiled politely and he returned the gesture. There was something so familiar about her. He almost stopped but thought better of it.

Ezra got to his van and sat there for a moment, thinking to himself about Eric. His history and what future such a person could have. Someone lacking a moral compass could succeed in the world because he had money. That money was able to assuage some of the most terrible acts.

The van started up with its usual low hum. Then it hit him, the women he passed and why she was familiar to him. They had showed him her face, Ava the young woman he attacked. That he treated like nothing more than an object to be played with. He heard her cries in his head. The images attacked him in their ferocity.

Ezra lept out of the van and ran for the house. There was a awful feeling gripping him. He entered the property and ran for the front door. He could hear sounds inside, no screams.

He burst through the door and into the dinning room. Ava stood over Eric, he lay on the table bleeding. She held the knife to his throat he was silent. Eric let out a word “carpenter” it was his cry for help, the only time he acknowledged him. Ava dug the knife in and swiped across his throat. Ezra could have stopped her, could have shouted or ran but instead he watched. He thought it was just punishment, and if he could not judge then who could.

Eric's dead hand

Ava turned and saw Ezra there, she had tears in her eyes. “He did awful things to me”. Ezra moved towards her, “I know, please put the knife down” she placed it beside the body. “You need to leave before the maid comes back.” She looked puzzled, “I won’t allow you to be punished for what you have done. Leave here now, burn your clothes and wash yourself thoroughly.”

Ava cried and experienced a deep unburdening. The pain and fear she had for so long was replaced with power. “Leave now”. She ran past Ezra and kept going for the door. She was gone to the night, he had let a murderer go free

Ezra called out to the maid, and she screamed at the blood. There was a moment of thought before she called the police. They took Ezra in, questioned him about the phantom women he saw. The maid corroborated that there was a women there.

They let Ezra go without charge, he had no blood on him. It was the mystery woman that they sought but never found. Eric died for his sins, for the pain he inflicted on the world. The family poured in money to find the murderer but in death the absurdity of wealth was apparent. That a human construct only worked when humans were in charge. Death was something else altogether.

Eric was an example of mutant lust and a person of deep self devotion. He was an example of a society so focussed on the hollowness of money and fame. That terrible things are allowed to happen if there was enough motivation.

Eric was an example of the blindness of humanity, to suffering and greed. He liked pain and sex, because of his station in life he was given it with unlimited supply. In death he was a story, another chance at fame. Always chasing the limelight of self importance. Many around him gave interviews, cried for the cameras as they remembered the money. Even in death he was a cash cow, who didn’t want to hear about the dirty details of the rich.

The Carpenter looked out into the forrest. Eric was the first person that he experienced as evil. Marilyn and  Herman Gorthel were not seeking out pain and hurt. They did not in their motivations set out to experience another’s suffering.

Herman Gorthel caused a great deal of it but it was in pursuit of a higher ideal. That his country would be great, his people safe and happy. Marilyn did not seek to harm another for the purpose of its satisfaction. She allowed something animalistic deep in her soul to control her.

Eric Montgomery was only driven by the pain. Even as he sought out sex he could only enjoy it through the pain of others. His upbringing made him believe in his superiority and he needed to act that out with every human encounter.

If humans could be persuaded to seek out evil so easily what hope for judgement could they have. Eric was extreme in his practices but by no means unusual. The number of people that caused others pain was large, they kept it in check because they did not have the luxury of money.

Eric’s memory made the Carpenter want to burn everything to the ground. The deep evil that existed in the human psyche made him feel sick. Judgement should be made, he did so when he allowed Ava to run free of prosecution.

The people who came out to say nice things about him horrified the Carpenter. Those spouting kindnesses for his death. It was as if the blood being spilt absolved him of his evils. That he could go up into the clouds of eternal happiness.

If there was no eternal deterrence for earthly actions how could we be expected to be better as a people. Perhaps They were right to have destroyed there worlds, that evil was a cosmic contagion. If there was not a threat of eternal destruction then could we really be expected to be good on Earth?

The Carpenter thought about Eric and his sense of exceptionalism as proof of a defect in humanity. As he lay down to sleep he wanted to destroy all that allowed this person to exist. If They had come to him that night he would have wanted destruction to fall on humanity.

Thanks for reading the fourth part to the 9 part series. If you want to catch up go back to Part 1: A Cabin in the Woods , Part 2: The Image of Love or Part 3: A Country to Love Posses.

Read what happened to Ava; out now Part 5: A Revenge Justified

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We are quickly coming to the end, how do you think the Carpenter should decide.



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