by Jodie Louise
Author's website: http://freespace.virgin.net/jodie.mouse
Disclaimer: not mine -- borrowed
Author's Notes: thanks D. thanks people who have been following this series.
Story Notes: more writings from Matsukaze by Kan'ami.
This story is a sequel to: Matsukaze
By Jodie Louise
When blood sees blood Of it's own It sings to see itself again It sings to hear the voice it's known It sings to recognize the face "Blood Sings" by Suzanne Vega
It is myself, Elaine, Fraser and Vecchio standing at the grave. The mountie's strong arms stop the detective from flinging himself into the hole in the ground. I sigh and hold Elaine's hand.
She has been inconsolable since Ray died. After all she knew him the best out of all of us. I pull her tightly to myself. Ray was always kind to me.
The priest reads from his book. The service ends. The four of us walk in silence. It is quiet without Ray.
Sometimes at night I think I can hear the blood rushing around my veins. Pounding. Hard. And I wonder if it is dirtied like his was, and if it is, I wonder what will happen to us all. I took them all on as my family, I said I would look after them as if they were my own.
But I didn't.
Fraser is barely talking to me and Ray is lying in the cold, cold earth.
Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you talk to me and let me know what was going through your head? Even now in death I can feel you.
I didn't find out until your body had been cut up into pieces. When they told me it felt like steel bands tightening around my heart.
I had had sex with Benny and we had not used a condom.
We are not free of you. You have not released me as you thought you would be, instead our bond is now tighter. The three of us tied together.
If my blood is dirtied then Benny's is too. Benny's is too.
And I'm not angry at you. It is myself I am angry with. If I had not been so selfish then you would still be alive and Benny would not be in danger. You should've been enough for me.
Now I have lost everything.
I get in from work to find Fraser packed up. All his things in bags.
"Where are you going?" I ask him.
"I'm going back to Canada."
"Does Ray know. Have you told him?"
Fraser looks away avoiding my gaze. He is just going to leave and not tell Ray. I cannot believe it after all that has happened.
"You're just gonna go?"
"Yes, Elaine. Yes."
His thumb goes to his eyebrow, massaging it. In his other hand is his hat.
"I feel like everything is my fault. I need to go."
I nod. I go to him and hug him tightly.
"Cindy will miss the wolf."
"What?" I ask pulling back from him.
Cindy comes into the room from our bedroom holding a puppy. She is laughing.
"It's one of Dief's offspring. I thought Cindy would like it." he explains.
"I do Fraser, I do." Cindy squeals with delight.
"What are you going to call it?" I ask her.
"Kowalski. See it's fur sticks all up like Ray's hair used to. I thought Ray was a silly name for a dog -- Kowalski sounds quite cool." she replies.
We both hug Fraser. From out of his pocket he pulls an envelope and presses it into my hand. He looks very serious and sad.
"Give this to Ray. It explains things to him."
"Shouldn't you stay and tell him yourself." I say, capturing his elbow with my hand.
"No, I can't."
The mountie gathers up his bags and walks to the door his wolf following him. He takes one last look around the apartment, smiles sadly and leaves. When I hear the door close behind him I notice he has left his set of keys on the coffee table. He will not be coming back.
I turn around to find Cindy playing tug of war with the pup, using one of Ray's socks. One of my Ray's socks.
For a moment it is like Ray has just popped out to get some junk food and will be back anytime. Kowalski is a good name for the pup. I collaspe into the couch and sob. Cindy and the pup come and sit beside me on the couch and she hugs me. We are like that for a long time.
I hear the front door. I am dreading this. Ray is home. I turn and look at him as he comes in.
I get up and go to him pushing the envelope into his hand.
"He's gone back to Canada. He left you this."
"Gone back and you didn't try to stop him?" Ray says angrily.
Even though he is shouting at me I can see the pain behind those eyes. The pain of knowing he has been abandoned again.
"He didn't want to stay what was I supposed to do?" I ask.
What could I have done? Fraser is a grown man -- I cannot, would not want to stop him leaving. Not if he wanted to go.
"You shouldn't have let him go. He's in no state." he almost shouts at me.
"What d'you mean?" I ask hot on Vecchio's heels.
"He might be ill."
"Well he looked totally fine to..."
Ray grabs me by the shoulder and I can hear Cindy make a noise behind me. Mutters something in Korean -- she is frightened. I try not to show I am. Cindy is too used to men being violent, to hitting women.
"You're hurting me." I complain.
Vecchio is slow close I can feel his breath on me.
"Did he tell you?" he snaps.
Vecchio shakes me. The puppy starts yapping behind me. I think Cindy is sobbing. I'm not gonna let him intimidate me.
"Who tell me what?" I ask.
"Ray. Did he tell you about having it?"
I shake my head. Confused.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
I am released and Vecchio paces up and now in the apartment like an animal in a cage at a zoo. He doesn't look at the letter, instead he is mumbling to himself. I can't make out what he is saying.
"Ray?" I ask.
For a moment he looks at me and then away again.
"He had the virus and never told me, Elaine. The virus."
"No." I say, shocked.
Why didn't Kowalski tell me? He knew he could trust me. And he should've told...I look at Vecchio. He said the mountie might be ill. Which means Vecchio must think there is a chance that the mountie has got it which means...
"You had sex with Fraser." I state, because things make a lot of sense now.
"Yeah. And we didn't use a condom."
I could strangle him.
"Jesus Vecchio, of all the dumb things..."
Again, he is pacing, this time he is moving faster.
"I've had the test. I mean we were careful Ray and I but...I haven't had the results yet." he says.
Vecchio is worried. I can see fear in his eyes. I turn and look at Cindy who has remained quiet. Her glisten slightly. She is holding the puppy up near her face. I think Ray scared her, but she turns and looks him right in the eyes.
"You stupid, stupid man." she says quietly to him.
"Don't you think I know? Don't you think I know I have really fucked up this time?" he says gesturing wildly.
"Ray found out didn't he? He knew you slept with Fraser didn't he?" I step closer towards Vecchio.
"I think so." he says holding my gaze.
I slap Vecchio across the face. I think part of him welcomes being struck.
"You bastard, you little shit." I scream.
And then I lose it totally. I am pounding and pounding my fists against Vecchio's chest, hitting him and crying, hitting him and crying. He pulls me into a hug holding me and is sobbing too. We both stand there crying because we've lost Ray Kowalski.
It's good to be back here. I missed the endless snow and ice. Clarifies things. I can't believe that I let my baser desires override my mind. I have hurt too many people by my actions. It is better for me to be out here in the wilderness where I belong with no-one here to hurt, or to, in turn, hurt me.
I just hope Ray Vecchio understands why I had to leave him. And I just hope Ray Kowalski will forgive me for my actions. I wronged him the greatest and he now has died because of it. Because I could not be strong and resist my sexual drives.
How I have ruined everything -- ruined lives -- with my actions.
So I have been walking through the ice and snow. I have been working on my father's cabin, only Diefenbaker and my father's journals for company.
At night I light up the cabin with a lantern and read my father's journal by the pale glow.
I am ashamed to say that sometimes I think of Ray Vecchio and feel myself harden. On nights like that all I can do is relieve myself by thinking about situations, dreams. Dreams which I cannot take hold of because the price is far, far too high.
I am like Lady Macbeth. I can see the blood on my hands and it will not wash away. It is stained, ingrained into my skin, into my soul. I am a murderer.
I will never make that mistake again. I will never let my head be ruled by my heart or my sex. I will be logical at all times. It is the only way to protect others from me and my actions.
I blow out the light in the lantern and sit in the dark. I can hear the wild outside the cabin and it calls to me. I belong here.
I cannot stay living here with you any longer. It would be wrong. I have come to realise that I should have been stronger and refused your advances. Because of me a man has died. I cannot forgive myself for what has happened -- for what has transpired because of my lustful actions.
I am therefore returning to Canada. I hope you understand why I must leave you. Please do not come looking for me. I think we made a very grave mistake.
The letter still feels like a kick in the stomach each time I read it, and I must've read it a hundred, a thousand times since Benny left. I have worn the paper until it is crinkled.
I have hardly moved from the couch for days wrapped up in the same blanket Ray used to wear when he felt ill. I do not want to move. I do not want to do anything. I don't eat, I don't wash, I don't go to work. I don't want to live anymore because what the hell have I got left to live for?
It doesn't matter if I have my eyes open or closed. I can see Ray Kowalski. He has followed me to Canada with his two female companions.
Out on the ice this morning there they were in my peripheral vision. Kowalski: blond spikes, haggard face, cut up wrists. Skin pale white -- he was so pale that he melded in with the snow apart from the angry red lines on his arms.
I could barely see the women.
When I turned around to get a better view of the figures they had disappeared.
I know it is only right for him to follow me -- he is my victim. I as good as took the razor to his wrists. I slashed through flesh watching the blood collect and bead before running down the wrist.
I am not at all surprised when I awake to find he is standing at the foot of my bed with his two Japanese companions. One is wearing a blood red dress and has scarlet ribbon wrapped around her arms. She speaks:
You are lost in the sin of passion. All the delusions that held you in life -- None forgotten!
The other Japanese woman is wearing black silk and extends her hand to me. Ray Kowalski also holds out his hand. I notice that the ribbon wrapped around his arms is stained, tarnished. Kowalski speaks:
I hung all my hopes On living in the same world with him
"I'm so sorry, Ray. I didn't..." I say rising to meet them but the ghostly apparitions fade away.
I feel my tears burn down my face. Hot tracks scalding my skin.
I hear tapping.
Through the blur of tears I can see them outside beckoning me to follow them out into the whiteness of the snow. And I want to go because I feel so filthy, so dirty, so sullied and tarnished.
I go to the door of the cabin and walk out into the night.
For a moment I think I can hear my father. For a moment.
The three are there with open arms. They promise me freedom of the guilt I carry upon my back. They promise I will be clean and pure once again.
I step towards them and the two women, Kowalski, are there embracing me. Hugging me. I feel forgiven. I feel cleansed.
I feel happy.
I have Ray Kowalski's gift of love coursing through my veins, in my blood.
I am not angry. It is strangely fitting. I murdered him and he has murdered me, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Punishment that fits the crime.
I've hurt too many.
I miss them both it aches, it hurts. I want to scratch my heart out of my chest and fling it across the room.
I want to die.
Yesterday we got news that Benny is dead. Got caught in some sort of snow drift and died from exposure. I don't buy it myself. Think he was too ashamed, eaten up with guilt. Went for a walk in the snow knowing he wouldn't come back.
At least I didn't have to tell him he might be ill.
I want to die.
I have sat here beside Elaine for many days. I do not think we should be here but Elaine said we must. Said whatever happened between Vecchio and Kowalski didn't matter now. Said no one else would care for Vecchio.
Elaine sits in the chair beside Vecchio's bed. She holds his hand.
After we learned of Fraser's death he weakened very quickly. Gave up and let the virus do it's work. Until he went full-blown. He has not been conscious for days. Hardly breathes. So shallow his breaths.
Slowly Elaine stretches and gets up from the chair. Yawns.
"I'm going to get some coffee. D'you want anything?"
"No. I'm okay, thanks Elaine."
"Why don't you read to him while I'm gone. The doctor said it might help."
"Yes. I think I will."
I watch as Elaine leaves the room taking my book out of my bag. I turn to the page continuing where I left off last night:
"I see in the moonlight One who has renounced the world"
For a moment I stop. Look at the figure dying on the bed. I am happy that Elaine is mine -- that we are both alive and in love.
Vecchio is shrunken. His skin thin and stretched. I kiss his hand and tell him more about Matsukaze.
They cling together - the river waters Will surely swell with the tears they shed.
It is myself, Elaine and Kowalski at the funeral. In the time Vecchio was dying in hospital Kowalski grew from a little pup into a full grown dog-wolf thing. He sits quietly watching us humans.
We don't cry. We can't. We have shed too many tears over the last few months. Nothing left.
During the last week at the hospital Elaine got a priest in to read the Last Rites to Vecchio. She explained it is supposed to help absolve you of your sins. I'm not sure if Ray would have approved -- perhaps he would have done -- I don't know. In the end his Catholicism was discarded.
However, it was strangely peaceful watching the priest speak his words. Comforting.
I take Elaine's hand as the priest continues his speech at Ray's graveside. I pet Kowalski.
After he finishes we stand by the grave for a while. Elaine leans her head on my shoulder. I kiss her. It is just us now. We are silent because there are no words.
There are no words.
End Blood Song by Jodie Louise: email@example.com
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