Chapter.3 Sins of the Father

The door slammed shut and the two siblings bounced down the steps. Books shifting in their backpacks, smacking their shoulders as they descended. Rushing away from the front door of the Victorian-style manor house, Daniel’s body shook with adrenaline. He would have stayed and defied Grant’s threat if not for the pleading of his mother that they go. The pair walked in hurried silence for three blocks before Kate spoke.

“That was brave of you.” She looked at Daniel intently and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder before speaking again. “To stand up to him.”

Daniel rubbed at his throat. “Lincoln better be there when we get back.”

“I have a feeling he will. Grant won’t want to go through the effort of returning him himself and Mom will refuse to do it.”

“Yeah,” said Daniel, “he’ll just be a pain about it the whole time now won’t he?”

“Is he ever not?” said Kate, looking down at her shoes as they walked.

That made him smile. “No, he isn’t.” Kate could be such a comfort. Like him, melancholy struck her, but she always managed to somehow handle it better; she wore it like an accomplishment around her neck instead of added weight.

No matter how far back he went, in every memory the black cloud of Grant hung over the family, like a specter that clung to happiness, staining it. Grant, at his most harmless, had always enjoyed spouting tired profundities, with an awareness of his own failures absent. If Kate, their mom, or himself, committed the slightest error, he’d shake a finger in their face saying, “You reap what you sow. Gotta put in one hundred ten percent.” Daniel could bear the harassment personally, but not watching him inflict it on the rest of the family. Even before the wealth came and went, Grant’s rotten behavior stunk to the heavens.

Years ago, when Grant returned home triumphantly to declare that one of his anti-depressants had finally passed clinical studies, Daniel had thought maybe he would get better. They’d be rich after all. What ever went wrong for rich people? Money however, like any other horrible disease, infected the family. Prior to Grant’s monetary success, he had at least a sort of forced humbleness, brought about by many unsuccessful attempts to create something capable of passing testing. He’d even had a partner he’d worked with, a kind man: Sam.

Daniel had liked Sam, he represented a counterbalance. Sam could deflate Grant’s overblown ego like no one else. He would visit sometimes; he and Grant were drinking mates. After a few, Grant would call Daniel or Kate into the kitchen, eager to reprimand them for whatever fault, but Sam wouldn’t allow it. Instead, on these singular occasions, Sam would turn the criticism around. He’d cajole and tease, in a self-deprecating fashion, he and Grant’s impotent forays into pharmaceuticals. Sam was able to split the blame between the two of them; his humour cut just deep enough that Grant would yield, leaving the target of his cruel affections free to leave. After Grant’s drug got approved, Sam disappeared, and along with him any sense of humility—forced or otherwise—Grant ever had. After that, he had as much confidence as he did money; the prosperity’s bolstering effect on his warped self-worth redoubled his criticism of the family. The best way Daniel could describe his father was a frenzied drowning man; he could only ever breathe if someone were below him. Suffering in his place.

Human existence, so often referred to as—life, a funny delineation Daniel always thought, considering so much of it is death—would eventually take its karmic revenge. Grant had just enough time for a meteoric rise. Soon after, many people prescribed his wonder-cure for depression—ironically—started killing themselves. In the tragedy’s aftermath it wasn’t Grant’s company that was going to go under, it was him. The resulting backlash against Grant was severe: loss of his job, humiliation in the public sphere, fighting off jail-time, and all accumulated wealth consumed by legal fees. The trauma on Grant’s psyche evolved his base meanness. A predilection for bullying his wife and children became something more sinister, something violent.

 

——

 

“Well that’s an eye-opener.” Kate pointed at a building they approached at the end of the block. Large at a distance, it took a closer look to fully appreciate just how immense it was. Gothic and ancient looking, it stood anachronistically at odds with the tiny 7-eleven and dry cleaning shop huddled insignificantly next to it in the shadow of its western corner. A mess of construction scaffolding and support lines held up sail sized blue safety tarps. Ostensibly erected for renovations, they blocked much of its eastern side from view. The project’s scale reached many meters up and off the side of the building. Through a high fence running parallel along the side of the block, the siblings could see a lone rectangular temporary portable, set back from Escher like labourer paths. Likely a headquarters for engineers to coordinate the work crews efforts. It sat atop cinder blocks, above the mud and muck of the winter construction yard.

Daniel stepped up to the fence lacing his fingers through its links. “Shut down for the winter.”

“What do you think they’re actually doing?” said Kate.

“Just what it looks like I’m sure. Old buildings need repairs. Probably just taking longer than they thought it would. Sure would be fun to explore though. Look at that stuff. It’s a maze up there.”

Kate looked at her brother. “I won’t tell you not to get any stupid ideas—I know that’s impossible—please just try not to act on them.” Kate’s gaze was serious.

Daniel laughed. “No promises.”

“Are you kids alright?”

Kate and Daniel both jumped in surprise, turning to find a man stood behind them, hands crossed in front, resting at his waist, dressed in grey robes. While they’d spoken he’d walked up behind them after descending the white stone steps of the religious building.

“Christ, mister, you scared us.” Daniel put an arm around his sister pulling her to stand next to him. The man raised his arms, palms upwards, as if indicating he had nothing to hide.

“Terribly sorry, not my intention, did you two have any questions about our humble grounds? You seemed to have an interest in them?”

“Hell. Damn.” Daniel paused. “Well let me think.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. His sister cocked an eyebrow watching him bemusedly. “Now that you mention it, yes. What’s going on with all this construction? Looks like this project has gone on for a while.”

“Renovations, old building,” said the man in grey flatly. “We’d hoped to have it complete before the winter, but alas, the plans of mice and men.” He smiled invitingly.

“Of who?” Daniel looked confused.

“It’s from a book, oh wise brother.” Kate jabbed her brother’s ribs playfully causing him to keel over, loosing his protective grip on her shoulder. Kate stepped forward and looked up at the man who stood many heads taller than herself. “So what do you worship here?”

“The one true God of course,” replied the man.

“Which one?” Kate’s words cut quickly, she barely allowed the man time to finish speaking.

The man frowned, perturbed. “His name does not so much matter, young lady, as what he does.”

“And that is?”

“Why, free you from pain, from sorrow, all the sadness that this world heaps on you. Release from all those feelings, in a word, absolution.”

“I like my sorrow, it keeps me warm at night,” said Kate, crossing her arms.

“You’ve been hurt very badly, young one.” He put a hand on his heart. “I can see th-”

“You see nothing,” said Kate angrily. She did not let the man in grey continue. “Daniel, let’s go.” She tugged on the sleeve of his jacket.

“I didn’t mean to offend you, young lady.” The man gave a slight bow. “Please consider coming by to see us if you ever have more questions.”

Ignoring the offer, Kate pulled her protesting brother further down the block. The man in grey left waving pleasantly in their wake. Moved out of earshot, Daniel spoke, “What’s crawled up your ass and died, Kate? That was fun. How many more times do you think we could’ve blasphemed before he lost it?”

Kate never stopped looking straight ahead and walked with quick determined short strides. “I don’t think that’s the team he cheers for, Daniel.”

“Huh, what are you talking about? He’s some kind of Christian.” Kate did not respond. “Not a big deal anyways, he seemed nice enough.”

“Hitler was kind to dogs,” Kate mumbled.

“He really got to you eh? You’re usually a rock round people like that.”

“No one gets to say to they know me; they have no idea.”

Taking the hint, Daniel shut up. Three blocks later he and Kate arrived at their new school. As they did, the sun lifted high enough for its beams to flood down the city’s skyscraper lined corridors, unfurling like a blood-red carpet under their feet; they walked on light.

 

 

 

So Long And GoodBye

Had a love and she ran away
Didn’t have all that much to say
I use to tell her you gotta grow up learn not to lie
To bad she listened and now its goodbye
Guess that’s the lesson when you teach you are taught
But I thought I knew that lesson guess I forgot

So long and good bye the suns never gonna set in those eyes
I wouldn’t let her go and yet now she’s gone
Wanna pull you towards me I see now that that’s wrong
If you want to love her let her go if you want to love her just let her know

Love its gonna hurt you love its gonna break you down
But it will matter what you do with all that empty sound
Laughter as it echos still matters as you fall
Hate as it grows will wait tells its lies make you so tall

So long and good bye the suns never gonna set in those eyes
I wouldn’t let her go and yet now she’s gone
Wanna pull you towards me I see now that that’s wrong
If you want to love her let her go if you want to love her just let her know

Circle bound did I not learn from all that sound
Now I’m dancing with a different woman we hold each other tight
Our disguise is to good again ain’t no room for the light
I know there’s a glare from all we have done
It’s keeping me from looking you in the eyes
Got my sights on another one

So long and good bye the suns never gonna set in those eyes
I wouldn’t let her go and yet now she’s gone
Wanna pull you towards me I see now that that’s wrong
If you want to love her let her go if you want to love her just let her know

I loved the chase I love the excitement of the kill
One more notch on my bedpost oh what a thrill
When I look back on all those tear-stained eyes
I wonder did I win the prize
Theres a lesson here that I forgot think my sons gonna teach me
One day when I stop

So long and good bye the suns never gonna set in those eyes
I wouldn’t let her go and yet now she’s gone
Wanna pull you towards me I see now that that’s wrong
If you want to love her let her go if you want to love her just let her know

Strangers In The Dark

The devil played a dirty trick makin you so beautiful
As if to say no matter what you’ll walk away
Until death do us part you can have my heart
Or one of us gets bored finds some new thread
That shines brighter than the others we’d bound together
And then one of us will pull to see what new dream lies beneath
What new truth to burn all others that came before this braided wreath

I never knew that love could be so violent
One moment we run to catch up with each other when we do we are silent
Searching for the words that before came so easily
Now we choose the sharp ones cutting to be free
I never knew that love could be so terrible
You want me when I hurt you never when I don’t
You should know what you’re making
But the words get stuck in my throat
A devil with a soul an angel with the mark both are bound to fall
It all comes round again to strangers in the dark

Now I just watch you watch you walk away
Searching for that next gold thread that leads to another broken day
Oblivious to the wheel that we’re all just spinning on
Stupid monkeys with our brains and cliched living songs
Climbed out of the water to come die in a different place
But not before we suffer every loving horrible disgrace
I don’t know what you want me to tell you
We can’t yet hear anything but ourselves
Our lives are what we live on and we live them for no one else

I never knew that love could be so violent
One moment we run to catch up with each other when we do we are silent
Searching for the words that before came so easily
Now we choose the sharp ones cutting to be free
I never knew that love could be so terrible
You want me when I hurt you never when I don’t
You should know what you’re making
But the words get stuck in my throat
A devil with a soul an angel with the mark both are bound to fall
It all comes round again to strangers in the dark

Safe Walls

I walk down the halls check all of the rooms
Everything in its right place clean sharp corners to sleep
No one’s getting round my eye on my keep
It took so many years to get it right
Each timber a flight from some new life

I made it safe I made it sound
Safe walls that rose from solid ground
I wonder though am I afraid these walls that surround of mortal clay
They keep everything out except what I’ve let in
The cast is growing smaller patience growing thin

These hands were good these hands held strong
How quickly they built a mocking bird’s song
I’ve got a castle now fill it with all my pets of prey
They are the only ones I can count on not to come back at the end of the day

I made it safe I made it sound
Safe walls that rose from solid ground
I wonder though am I afraid these walls that surround of mortal clay
They keep everything out except what I’ve let in
The cast is growing smaller patience growing thin

To build a home is a sacred thing
They say build it in your heart where you can be king
But what of your heart its state and its place
Making decisions in the dark hidden from the light of days
The perfect sanctuary respite reprieve
Who knows behind a darkling gate what we come to believe

I made it safe I made it sound
Safe walls that rose from solid ground
I wonder though am I afraid these walls that surround of mortal clay
They keep everything out except what I’ve let in
The cast is growing smaller patience growing thin

I Believe

For the spoken word version check out DaveReadin

Glorious sadness this euphoric madness
Burn me in its fire all that I desire
Throw me on a pyre of beauty that fades in an hour

You and I don’t stop tear it down to reach the top
The constructions destruction is what I crave
Stirs the ashes of my creative grave
Phoenix born and raise us up
I believe that I believe that I believe

I might as well
Steel your heart make run your eyes
Dance till the curtain falls watch the sunrise
Good now that’s done let’s march so smart beyond the horizon

You and I don’t stop tear it down to reach the top
The constructions destruction is what I crave
Stirs the ashes of my creative grave
Phoenix born and raise us up
I believe that I believe that I believe

Now maybe you already know
I don’t hear what you hear
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t sing together crystal clear
Let’s be each others metaphor
We’re stars after all
Similes that are shooting cutting strutting across the sky
Like diamonds like razorblades
Revealing just for a moment
Wait, whats that…
So bright, so right on the other-side

You and I don’t stop tear it down to reach the top
The constructions destruction is what I crave
Stirs the ashes of my creative grave
Phoenix born and raise us up
I believe that I believe that I believe

It’s art for art’s sake
A song for the human race
A beat to chase down that bitter-sweet taste
Of livin
Now put down your morals begin to climb
Nod your head inhale sublime

You and I don’t stop tear it down to reach the top
The constructions destruction is what I crave
Stirs the ashes of my creative grave
Phoenix born and raise us up
I believe that I believe that I believe

 

Benefit Of Doubt

Been listening to long to that voice in my head
Who is it today that it wants dead
Is it me or is it you don’t think its going to decide in time
Guess I’ll write another rhyme
I woke up today and the voice just said I think it’s her that I want dead
Now I’ve been through this it’s such a chore
She can’t go she would’nt before
That voice don’t care won’t leave me alone
Guess its time to throw that next stone

Why is it when I’m alone with my thoughts
I watch my past while it rots
Lookin at the world with hourglass eyes
Time slips in while time slips by
I stand in awe of all that change
Superficial words made with a superficial brain

Maybe though theres that spark of hope
I think my friend has found a boat
He tells me all that doubt it ain’t no thing
He always picks up when the telephone rings
He’s one of the oldest to teach me to see
The benefit of doubt grows like a tree
It grows slow and you won’t always understand why
But mark my words it reaches for the sky

So thank the stars it reaches to I’m not alone
Even when I don’t pick up and he’s there callin on that phone
And it may sit there and just ring ring ring
Sometimes I just don’t want to hear anything
Only that voice so loud in my head that decided today it wants her dead

Always so insistent always on my side
Fuck her it says would’nt care if you died
But I think I’m starting to know that voice so well
King of its little kingdom angry outside its boundaries you dwell
So it hurts and I don’t always wan’t to agree
But that phone doesnt stop ringing that calls for me
And maybe a conversation is just what I need
To plant the benefit of doubt that sacred seed

Dead Lips

One’s as good as the other don’t worry to much
That’s just one liar to another
So many choices to make so many dots at the end of the line
You better know by now it’s all just borrowed time

Just one more kiss on dead lips then we can make it all stop
This time on dead lips now lets take it from the top
Glad I know the feeling now that won’t happen again
Won’t ever put a picture inside another broken frame

I could never imagine being apart from you
I don’t want to hear that you woke up
I hadn’t finished drinking from my fathers broken cup
I wanted that fence so white and beautiful
Behind it a dream that housed utopias glow

Just one more kiss on dead lips then we can make it all stop
This time on dead lips now lets take it from the top
Glad I know the feeling now that won’t happen again
Won’t ever put a picture inside another broken frame

But I guess when I really look back I was filling in all the holes
Happy smiling faces where my bruises and tears could not console
A million wrongs have I made right shadow on a past shadow cast by early light
Maybe we were meant, meant not to be
But now your just another one hiding inside of me
A loophole in the past something maybe we should’nt grasp
An empty space I fill with light that lets me sleep for one more night

Just one more kiss on dead lips then we can make it all stop
This time on dead lips now lets take it from the top
Glad I know the feeling now that won’t happen again
Won’t ever put a picture inside another broken frame

Red Vermilion White

Feels like stone to step out and see
Cracked chipped and struck from some mad revery
Now I keep talking the words keep dropping slipping away from me
Hold close hold tight articulate the angles of second sight
A nursery rhyme over my bed a lullaby cry to something I dread

Over and over this sky tumbles forward
Red vermilion white a fantasy so bright
Write a thousand words write a million dollar score
Belief is not a word that’s winning anymore
An echo of an echo for all to see who is it that slouches back but an echo of me

Twist and turn the mold only to reveal
The blood stamped copy of an ancient seal
A history writ in sand and time
Each grain runs to the beat of the mariners rhyme
Call and answer attack and release
The keys are being pounded like waves on a beach

Over and over this sky tumbles forward
Red vermillion white a fantasy so bright
Write a thousand words write a million dollar score
Belief is not a word thats winning anymore
An echo of an echo for all to see who is it that slouches back but an echo of me

Spoke with my father and I’m ashamed I don’t bother
To listen much more than dutie calls for
I’m a third son on a wheel that spins even keel
I want to hear what is unsaid
Overdramatic the word that comes up instead
So wrong to speak or think this quiet consideration
To climb the walls of quiet inspiration

Over and over this sky tumbles forward
Red vermillion white a fantasy so bright
Write a thousand words write a million dollar score
Belief is not a word that’s winning anymore
An echo of an echo for all to see who is it that slouches back but an echo of me

Wrong From Right

Had a little talk with god um
He said don’t mumble, you’ll be fine son
I asked how long will it be
How long does it take
For me to see what I should be
I said I’m starting to get tired from all this running around
Then he laughed at me, asked, why not write that down
If you like to read, then write, that darkness will be a place for your light
And never fear your always asking why
Realize its not a curse, it’s a door you walk through to your greatest high

Looking to the sky I no longer wonder
What am I for, where do I go, turns out these answers, I don’t need to know
Just love, just fight, struggle to define your wrong from right
Know that love is not a feeling it’s something you give
Not a right, but a privalage, lucky to give once for as long as you live

So I finally know who this is staring back at me
Who yet still somehow judges what he cannot see
A friend in need someone who battles his greed
Your greatest hopes your worst desires
He’s not like me he doesn’t tire
Of this, this endless list, demons and angels all in a row
Which is which, he doesn’t seem know

Looking to the sky I no longer wonder
What am I for, where do I go, turns out these answers, I don’t need to know
Just love, just fight, struggle to define your wrong from right
Know that love is not a feeling it’s something you give
Not a right, but a privalage, lucky to give once for as long as you live

So I finally know why I have a shadow
Always keeps me wondering what I have yet to show
Use to hate the questions will I be free
A tiger eating its tale endlessley
But now it is that I finally see the questions are the answer to who I will be
Gotta box my shadow gotta keep on the fight
It’s how I change it’s how I know wrong from right

Looking to the sky I no longer wonder
What am I for, where do I go, turns out these answers I don’t need to know
Just love, just fight, struggle to define your wrong from right
Know that love is not a feeling it’s something you give
Not a right, but a privalage, lucky to give once for as long as you live

Nuspeak

For the spoken word version check out DaveReadin

Laughing was always me
But somehow it had a cost we cut it down to three
You use to smile your face next to mine
Now we write it out a two dots and a line
Our faces blank with dignity emotion would betray
Our fragile hearts in honesty borne weakly to the fray
Nuspeak for the everyone you’re signed up for free
Nuspeaks got the answers leave your questions at the door
You had a language once that was beautiful
Sometimes less has a greater cost than more
You’re trading your dreams for an empty sleep
Convenience for a starless sky
A world without the magic of you in front of I

How many do you need when is enough to get your hit
Whenever I am breaking it takes only one to see where all my pieces fit
Drowning in opinions none of which are solid ground
Strangers casting shadows
Yelling shapes that have no sound

Nuspeak for the everyone you’re signed up for free
Nuspeaks got the answers leave your questions at the door
You had a language once that was beautiful
Sometimes less has a greater cost than more
You’re trading your dreams for an empty sleep
Convenience for a starless sky
A world without the magic of you in front of I

We speak to each other across a crowded space
While the ones who stand next to us disappear without a trace
I think its time we looked at what is written down
Stop thinking that letters only make a typing sound
What you say will echo through more than just your cares
Your name is so much more than something that floats along the air

Nuspeak for the everyone you’re signed up for free
Nuspeaks got the answers leave your questions at the door
You had a language once that was beautiful
Sometimes less has a greater cost than more
You’re trading your dreams for an empty sleep
Convenience for a starless sky
A world without the magic of you in front of I