A Banquet of Consequences(6)

By: Elizabeth George


He was triple blinking. He clutched his stomach to try to hold back what came out like a scourge intended for her alone. “Hot cunt cold cunt doggy meat pork.”

She didn’t react other than to say, “Oh my dear.” Quickly, she came across the room to him. She took him into her arms. He clung to her, but the words continued to pour from within him, so he broke away and went to the wall. There he began to bang his head, but still they came on.

He heard his mother say, “Darling, it’s only a seizure. It’s only words. You’re quite fine behind them. But you must try—”

He laughed insanely. “Bitch cock Broadmoor.”

“Not a bad idea,” he heard Alastair mutter.

“Let me handle this, Alastair,” his mother said sharply. “If you could just begin to gather his things . . . ? Perhaps take them out to the van . . . ?”

“Where’s his gear, then?” Alastair said. “Will, lad. Have you not packed? Did you not remember that your mum and I were coming?”

“Obviously, he hasn’t been able . . . You’ll have to . . . No. We’ll just take some of his clothing for now and Lily can send the rest afterwards. I’ll write her a note. God knows why she’s not here. Will, where’s Lily?”

“Lily cunt cock fuck the troubadour sings.”

The words were louder now. He pounded his fist on the wall. He felt his mother’s hand close over his arm and try to draw him into the middle of the room, but he jerked away and made for the kitchen because if nothing else a knife was there and he could cut out his tongue or do something to pain himself deeply, for it seemed that only deeply felt pain was going to make the Wording cease.

“Stop this, William!” his mother cried. He heard her come after him. He felt her arms come round him. “Please.”

“Caro,” Alastair said from the sitting room, “p’rhaps the lad doesn’t want to go.”

“He has to,” she replied. “Look at the state of him. Will, listen to me. D’you want me to ring for an ambulance? Do you want to be taken to hospital? Elsewhere? I believe you don’t want that, so you must sort yourself out at once.”

“I could ring Lily’s mobile,” Alastair said. “I could ask her to come. Isn’t her shop nearby? Would she be working today?”

“Don’t be foolish. It’s Sunday. Look around. She’s left. And Lily’s the problem, not the solution. Just listen to him. You can hear it yourself.”

“But the words don’t mean—”

“They mean what they mean.”

Will tore himself from his mother’s grasp and clutched at his skull. “Forks knives and spoons because rainfall torrent of floor to fuck. And you too both of you fucking like goats so I can shag is what shag shag shag ’cause that’s how she wants it like Jesus and Mary did to each other ’cause what else was he doing for those first thirty years?”

“Holy God,” Alastair said.

“That’s enough, William.” Caroline turned him to her and he knew that he was quadruple blinking because he could barely see her. She said, “You must stop this at once. If you aren’t able, I’m going to have to ring nine-nine-nine and they’ll take you God only knows where and you don’t want that. Where are your medicines? Are they packed? Did you pack them? Will, answer me. Now.”

“And when he did from the cross and the fucking cow bitch put the bastard in a bun.”

Caroline said, “This is no good. Alastair, will you wait below?”

“I hate to leave you, luv.”

“It’s all right. You know I can handle him if it comes down to it. He won’t hurt me. He just needs to get calm.”

“If you think . . .”

“I do.”

“Right, then. Ring me on my mobile. I’ll be below.” The door closed as Alastair left the flat.

Then, “Enough!” Caroline said sharply. “I said enough. Do you hear me, Will? You’re acting like a two-year-old, and I won’t have it. How did you let yourself get into this state when you know very well what to do to control it? God in heaven, can you not manage five minutes on your own?”