The Boy With the Golden Eyes
by London Lampy
If Jane had stopped and looked up at the main building as she made her way across the rain soaked yard she might have briefly spotted Exit, balanced on a fourth floor window ledge before he jumped back inside when Ward announced his presence.
As it was she was far too intent on her own mission, and in getting there as fast as possible so as not to become thoroughly soaked, to do anything else except hurry toward the chapel. When she reached it she let herself in through the large wooden door, wincing as it squeaked loudly on its hinges. The inside of the chapel was in virtual darkness, the only light was coming from the open doorway at the other end beside the altar which led to Father Frederick's office and personal quarters.
All along the chapel walls were alcoves, each one containing a statue of a god or goddess. In the darkness they took on a sinister look, and she couldn't help but imagine them reaching out as she passed and grabbing at her clothes and hair with their stony hands, she even fancied that she saw a representation of the goddesses of justice turn her head to look at her. She chided herself for being stupid and childish, if Dana was there she wouldn't be jumping at shadows, but even so she was still extremely relived when she had gone through the darkened chapel and into the well lit corridor beyond.
When Jane reached the priest's study she paused outside the door, listening to see if she could tell if he was in there. After a while she thought she heard sounds of movement so she took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
"Who's there?" Father Frederick called out, his voice sounding harsher than normal.
"It's Jane." She replied. For the first time it occurred to her that he might be angry with her for being out of bed after lights out.
"Jane! My little ray of sunshine. You can come in." She opened the door, her fears flying away. Inside Father Frederick was sitting behind his desk in his usual deep red robe, but he had it unbuttoned at the neck which she had never seen him do before. Beside his elbow was a half full bottle of something that looked like milkless tea, and an inch of the same liquid was in the bottom of a small glass that he had clutched in his hand. As she shut the door he drained the glass and poured himself some more from the bottle. The room smelt somewhat different from normal, and she recognised the smell of alcohol on the air. She'd never tasted anything with alcohol in it herself but she knew the smell from village festivals, and sometimes Jack had smelt like that too, normally in the morning after the nights he stayed out late.
"You know..." He peered at her. "You really shouldn't out this late, but I won't tell if you don't." He put a finger to his lips and made a shushing sound.
"Thank you Father, I'm so sorry I didn't come to see you earlier." She said, her hand going to her hair.
"Darling girl, you're forgiven." He gave her a wide smile, his eyes bright. "You're here now to drag me out of my darkest despair, you must have known I'd be needing some comfort tonight. That...Mother Hardigan I mean, she knew...how much...how much it'd upset me, took pleasure in it I don't doubt. Do you know what this is?" He held up a folder that was sitting on his desk.
"No." Jane shook her head.
"It's Elodie's medical report, from the hospital." He took another sip of his drink. "That stupid, pretty little thing. She should have told me, I could...so much, done so much." He rubbed his hand over his face, his short beard making a rasping sound. "Jane, you must always be honest with me, do you promise? I can't go through that again."
"I promise." She replied.
"Good...good. We're here for each other aren't we?" He took another sip of his drink. "We can rely on each other, if you...if you're ever in trouble you must tell me, must must." He banged his hand on the table, spilling his drink.
"Yes, I will." It occurred to her that he was behaving rather strangely, but then it was late at night and he was off duty, maybe he felt he could be more relaxed and less formal she reasoned. "Father, you said you might be able to find out where Jack is." She reminded him.
"Ah, Jack, tall Jack. Do you want to know where he is?"
"Yes please." He repeated. "Yes please. You are such a nice polite girl, not like your so called sister, she, that Dana, she could do with a few lessons in humility. I'll tell you where he is, but not in here, I don't want to be in here any more, too formal for this time of night, come with me."
He picked up his bottle and glass and led her stumbling a little out of the office and further down the corridor, unlocking a door and letting them into a small living room. Jane followed, starting to realise that he had maybe drunk too much, she knew that drinking too much made people fall over and she had never noticed him be unsteady on his feet before.
"Have a seat my dear." He pointed to a worn leather couch by a book shelf, as she sat down on it the springs creaked under her.
"Don't mind that." He commented on the noise. "It's old and worn out, just like everything here. Except you, you're young and fresh aren't you?" He looked her up and down, and she felt slightly uncomfortable under his gaze.
"I'm nearly fourteen." She replied. "I'm not a child."
"No...no, you most certainly are not." He came and sat beside her, putting one arm around her shoulders, she tried to slide away but he followed her until she was pressed up against the arm and had nowhere else left to go.
"Father, could you tell me where Jack is now?" She was suddenly starting to wish she hadn't come out here, she felt the way she had when he had made her sit on his lap and it wasn't a nice feeling.
"What's it worth?" He pulled on her shoulder so she ended up bumping against him.
"I don't know what it's worth." She replied confused. "I only want to know where Jack is."
"A kiss." He suggested. "One kiss, then I'll tell you where he is."
Jane turned her head and kissed his quickly on his bearded cheek. "Little sun goddess." His voice was full of mock disappointment. "That is not a proper kiss."
He looked at her, his bright eyes locked on hers. "I want a real kiss, then I'll tell you where he is."
He grabbed her by the back of the head, pulling her face toward his until his lips were on hers then pushed his tongue into her mouth.
Jane couldn't move, she squeezed her eyes shut and balled her hands into fists waiting for him to be done with her. After what felt like an eternity he pulled back and she wiped a hand across her mouth, trying to rid herself of both his saliva and the feel of him on her skin.
"Very nice." He breathed.
"Where's Jack?" She whispered, trying to hold back her tears.
"In his bed by now I should think, like all good boys should be." He laughed. "He's been out in the city all afternoon working...working hard, hard work good for the soul... and he got held up in the rainstorm coming back."
"He's here?" She asked shocked, her horror at the priest kissing her temporarily pushed to one side. "Why didn't any of the nuns tell us that when we asked?"
"Because they're a bunch of dried up old bitches who can't stand anything young and alive." He reached out and touched her face, she flinched back then stood up, she didn't want to be anywhere near him, didn't want him touching her ever again.
"I'd better go now." She pointed to the door feeling sick. Jack had been safe all along, she'd come here for nothing.
"No no no, stay little Jane." He shook his head, standing up too and blocking her passage to the door. "I know you didn't really come out in all this... weather...rain, and risk getting caught by the old bitches only to ask about Jack, I know what you really want."
She was trapped, if she moved toward the door she would be moving closer to the priest, but if she went the other way she could only go deeper into his apartment. "You want me to make you a woman, don't you?"
"No." Jane wasn't quite sure what he meant by that, but she knew everything was wrong here and she didn't think she'd ever been so scared in her life. "I want to go back."
"Don't be a tease little Jane, we've both know it all along...all those evenings you came to me. I've given you time to adjust, plenty of time." He pulled his key out of the pocket of his robe and locked the door. "But tonight I'm going to give you what you're begging for."
Jane didn't register the cold sting of the cobbles on her bare feet, it was just one more pain to add to the others. Her face stung where she had been slapped for crying, her shoulders were bruised from being held down and there was a burning ache between her legs from the awful thing that Father Frederick had done to her, but worst than all of that was the shame and humiliation she felt. She wanted to hide, to find the smallest, darkest place she could, curl up in it and never come out, never have to face the world, or him, ever again.
Dana had been right, how could she have been so stupid? They were all going to say told you so, we told you that the priest wasn't a nice man. And now she knew he wasn't and that they were right, he'd hurt her in the most dreadful way and it was all her fault. He'd told her that she knew what she was doing, that she wanted him to do those things to her, that if she hadn't wanted it then why had she kept going to visit him? And he told her something else too, that if she breathed a word of what had happened to anyone he'd make sure the nuns not only punished her, but Dana and Jack too, even suggesting that he'd tell Mother Hardigan Jane had been doing the thing he'd done to her with her own brother.
She didn't know where she was headed, she was just trying to get away, running through the corridors and climbing up the stairways, putting as much distance as she could between herself and Father Frederick. So when she saw Jack with the two other boys all she could think of was how much she wanted her brother to protect her like he had so many other times before. She didn't stop to wonder why he was there in the middle of night, she simply threw herself into him, muffling her sobs in his shirt.
Jack held a crying Jane, bewildered as to what was going on. Exit and Ward were both staring at the pair of them and he stroked Jane's back in what he hoped was a soothing way while giving them a questioning look. Ward continued to watch them, but he saw Exit glance down, seemingly at Jane's legs, and when he looked up again he met Jack's gaze with an expression of shock and pity.
"Jack." He said quietly. "I think I ought to go and get Dana."
"Why?" Jack asked, Jane's face still pressed into his middle.
Exit looked down again, and this time Ward's gaze followed him.
"Oh gods, she's got..." Ward started to say before Exit clamped a hand over his mouth.
"She needs another girl." Exit said, glaring at Ward as he removed his hand. "I'll be back as fast as I can." He called over his shoulder as he ran off.
"Jane." Jack asked softly. "What's happened?"
"I can't tell you." She replied shakily.
"Would you rather tell Dana? Exit's gone to get her."
"Can't tell, can't tell anyone...we'll be punished." She started sobbing into him again.
"Are you injured?" He was beginning to realise that this was more than just the usual Jane hysterics. "Did one of the other girls hurt you?"
"Where?" Jack's question made her sob even harder.
"Can't tell you." Came the eventual answer and Jack was very relieved to see Exit coming back down the corridor with a confused and sleepy looking Dana following behind. As soon as she spotted Jane in Jack's arms she sprinted toward them.
"What's going on?" She quizzed Jack, standing behind Jane and stroking her hair.
"I don't know." He replied helplessly. "She won't tell me."
"Exit said she was hurt, has all this got something to do with you going missing?"
"I was never missing, I was in the city with Sister Macintosh working, the bloody nuns didn't think you needed to know. I was coming back to the dorm when Jane came running out of nowhere crying, and I can't get her to say why."
"You've only just got back from the city? Ward and Exit weren't with you, I know that, I saw them this evening." Dana frowned.
"No...look." He shook his head. "I'll explain later, we need to sort Jane out right now."
"Jane." Dana spoke softly in her ear. "If you don't tell us what's wrong we can't help."
"She's got some blood on her legs." Ward announced bluntly, and Dana stepped back to look.
"Jane." Dana's voice took on a steely tone. "Who did this to you?"
"Did what?" Jack frowned, Dana ignored him.
"Jane, look at me." She commanded, making younger girl turn around in her brothers embrace.
"I can't tell you."
Jack felt he was missing something. He was fairly used to Jane being in floods of tears over one thing or another, and her crying on him wasn't unusual, even thought right now the circumstances were, but it was Dana's behaviour that was worrying him, he didn't think he'd ever heard her sound so grim. He glanced at Exit, giving him a puzzled look and a small shrug, the smaller boy moved closer to him and beckoned for him to bend down so he could whisper into his ear.
"I think she's been attacked, you know, by a man." He said quietly to Jack. As Exit's words sank in he felt as if his whole body was filling up with boiling acid.
"Jane, you have to tell me." Dana took her by the arm none too gently. "Someone did something to you didn't they, who was it?"
"He said he'd have you punished if I told."
Jack saw Dana's eyes widen, and she looked up at him, then back at Jane. "Father Frederick." She breathed. "I'm right aren't I?"
Jane gave the tiniest of nods. "Please, don't tell anyone else, it was all my fault." She whispered. "I know I'm stupid."
Jack wasn't really aware of staring to walk, all he knew was that the priest had done a terrible thing to his little sister and that he had to find the man.
"Jack, where are you going?" Dana's voice came from a million miles away as she jogged to catch him up.
"I'm going to kill him." He replied, meaning every word.
"He can't." Jane's voice was still thick with tears as she stood her watching her brother and sister disappearing from sight down the stairs. "We have to stop him." She said, then turned and followed the direction they had gone. Exit trotted behind her, but neither of them noticed that at the bottom of the staircase Ward slipped off in a different direction.
"This is my fault." Jane kept repeating to herself as they crossed the yard, trying to keep sight of Jack and Dana up ahead of them. Jane could see that Dana was trying to speak to Jack, grabbing at his arm to pull him back, but he simply shrugged her off, moving faster and faster until he was running.
Jane and Exit sped up behind them, hurrying through the darkened chapel, this time Jane didn't even notice the statues of the gods. A crashing, splintering noise made the pair if them jump and when they came out the other end into the corridor and stepped into the priest's office was apparent what it had been. The door to Father Frederick's private quarters was hanging off its hinges, Jack had simply kicked it down as if it was nothing more than a sheet of paper.
Jane felt sheer horror, both at what was happening now and returning so soon to the scene of her attack, but despite this she followed Exit through the broken door and into the small sitting room.
The priest's bottle and glass was still sitting on a side table, and her shoes were on the floor, one under the table and one in the middle of the rug. Coming from deeper in the apartment were sounds, wordless shouts of anger and pain, and thuds like something heavy being thrown around. After a moment Jane started toward the door at the other side of the living room, the one she now knew led to the bedroom, but she was halted in her tracks when a white faced Dana came running out.
"Don't go in there." The dark haired girl said in a panicked voice, blocking the doorway with her body.
"But....we need to stop Jack." Jane pleaded.
Dana shook her head. "It's too late."
Mother Hardigan didn't appreciate being woken in the middle of the night by a child, but she also realised that Ward wouldn't have done so except in the gravest of circumstances, and if his garbled story were even half true then these were grave circumstances indeed.
She ordered him to return to his dorm, with strict instructions not to tell anyone what he'd told her, then she dressed hurriedly and made her way toward the chapel, seething with anger that the priest had succeeded in violating another girl before she could stop him.
Ward had said that Jane, her older siblings, and for some unknown reason the little echoback boy too, had run off to the man's quarters, and she wasn't sure what she was going to find when she got there. The broken door was a bad sign, but it was only the beginning. Inside the living room the tall boy was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall, his legs stretched out in front of him he was staring straight ahead, and didn't even look up when she entered. His skin, hair and clothes were splattered with blood, and his hands, which were resting on his knees, had swollen and bruised looking knuckles.
The girls were on the couch, Dana was sitting in the corner with Jane's head in her lap, the younger girl was curled into a ball with her eyes tightly shut. The echoback boy was standing, trying to wipe smears of blood from the wall and door with a towel, but his efforts had done little more than smear it around further. He and Dana were the only ones who acknowledged her as she walked in.
"Hello Mother." Exit said, not stopping what he was doing, while Dana simply gave her a hopeless look, shaking her head.
The nun stared at them, her hooded eyes taking in the scene. "Father Frederick is dead I take it." She addressed Dana, as she looked the most likely to answer.
"Yes." Came the flat reply.
"And he violated Jane?"
"Yes." Dana said again nodding. Jane opened her eyes and briefly caught Mother Hardigan's gaze, then shut them tightly again.
"Are you going to fetch the police?" Dana asked.
"Eventually." The nun replied.
"They hang murderers, don't they?" The dark haired girl stroked her sister's back.
"Not any more, sadly. But no one in this room killed anyone, did they?" She looked at each of them in turn. "This is what happened, when Father Frederick failed to show for morning prayers I went to investigate, and I found him dead. He must have disturbed a burglar, a dangerous, violent burglar, and he was attacked. That's what I'll be telling the police, and no one will ever say anything different."
"But I killed him." Jack suddenly uttered, staring at her with wide eyes.
"No, you didn't, the burglar did. Now you all need to get out of here and get cleaned up before dawn."
"I'm sorry." Jack shook his head hopelessly.
"Don't be." Mother Hardigan replied sternly. "It was no more than he deserved."
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