Power in the Blood - Pt.1

A grunt escaped Reggie’s mouth as one last kick landed in his gut. He felt the cool pavement on his face and heard the cursing only as white noise. His body struggled to block out all sensation. Something lifted him up and the last thing he remembered was the world turning red and the taste of metal in his mouth.


He woke up in his bed at home, every part of him aching. Surrounded by the plain, but fastidiously clean wooden furniture and the trinkets of his quickly retreating boyhood, he was at peace.

Mom sat at the foot of his bed hands folded in her lap, saying the rosary over him. Worry painted her face careworn face. She was old well before her time, sad but still beautiful, like Botticelli’s virgin. “Who did this to you son?” She leaned forward as if his reply would be barely audible.

His voice came out strong and clear. “I can’t say.” It hurt his jaw to talk, but pain had become his friend a long time ago. Years of getting his ass kicked by bullies and more than once by his father had given him intimate knowledge of its language. The boy who had delivered this beating was almost as fluent. He didn’t think he had any broken bones. As he sat up all he felt were bruised muscles. The mirror behind his mom revealed mussed brown curls, a few bruises on his face and a rainbow on his upper torso. “Can you leave so I can get dressed?”

Dorris, no stranger to beatings and the silence that followed, knew that further questioning would be pointless. She shook her head. “I’m sorry Reggie.” The thin wooden door closed behind her.

A clean school uniform lay draped over his chair. St. Andrew’s was the best school in the city and he was one of its brightest students. He loved the knowledge that it gave him and he saw the brutality as a small price to pay. It made him angry, but he used the anger, the humiliation, the pain to help him focus and push through. Eighteen more months and he would be free of its bonds. College beckoned him, a cool and soothing mistress.

The ritual of showering and dressing gave him time to get his mental armor on. Visions of the violence he would do to his enemies given the chance got his adrenaline pumping. He knew realistically he’d never have the guts to carry a knife and use it in the precise ways he imagined over and over again, but it was nice to think about.

Toothpaste and dried blood mixed in his mouth as he finished the last steps. The taste had an electricity about it that he enjoyed. He remembered getting nosebleeds as a kid and relishing that coppery smell and the brilliant redness of it. If that made him some kind of freak, he lived with it.

Ten minutes later he was out the door and pounding the pavement. Chain link fences topped by razor wire flanked him. Beat up, spray painted cars crowded him as though vying for their own slice of the sidewalk. Today he managed to avoid being hustled by vendors, protected by an aura of danger that he was oblivious to.
The school sat an island of carefully tended green surrounded by wrought iron fences. It was protected by reputation more than anything else from the encroaching rot of the city, but graffiti on one gate post showed how tenuous that was. Once inside, throngs of children chatting and laughing swallowed him and he lost himself in the anonymity of a crowd. No one stared at him, not that he noticed. There was no laughter, at least not to his face.

English, Math, Latin all came and went. The last brought sweet Margaret and her pink silk panties. Boys were almost always guaranteed that preview to Paradise that more than one had actually entered or so the bathroom stall said. That view was afforded by the seats in concentric circles radiating out from Father Tim, the center of their universe. Lost in thought of what lay beneath the plaid kept the droning from driving him to sleep. So lost was he that it wasn’t until the laughter was fairly loud that he looked up.

“Enjoying your reverie, Master Stevens?” Father Tim stood at his right shoulder. “Penance for lust can be quite severe. Perhaps you need to go straight to Chapel after this class and seek out Father Donovan?” The smugness on his face had once been love for these boys and girls.

Reggie felt the heat crawl up his neck and over his ears, the blush making it to the roots of his curly blond hair. Margret and her friends were laughing. He wanted to stand up and call her every dirty name he could think of. Expose her for what she was. The boys around him laughed, thankful it wasn’t them. He wanted to lash out and remind them of their own sin. Instead he sat in humiliation, as the teacher regained control of his class.


The Chapel sat at the end of the marble floored hall, lurking in the shadows. Donovan always creeped him out and he had a feeling that the old man would be all too interested in the lurid details of Reggie’s fantasy. Instead he headed outside. There he could find fifteen minutes of cool air and maybe a smoke. Strictly speaking it was against the rules, but it was one of the many unenforced ones here.

An oak supported him as he thought of smashing Father Tim’s head again and again into the brick walk at his feet. That and the cheap tobacco smoke warmed his core. Once again though, his meditations were interrupted.

“Enjoy yourself you little fucker?”

Reggie looked up into the face of one of his more frequent and violent tormentors, Don. It actually required him to look down as Reggie was close to six foot four inches and Don was a more average five ten. Both boys weighed in at one-eighty, though and Don’s weight came from muscle. “Sorry?”

“Tryin’ to get a look at my woman’s cooze.” He stepped up and poked a finger into Reggie’s sternum. “Are we gonna have to have a repeat of yesterday’s lesson?”

From a place that Reggie often wished he could plug up, he said “I wasn’t aware that the pussy in question was owned by one man.” He immediately regretted that as Don’s beefy hand grabbed him by his hair.

“What was that?” His other hand punctuated the question with a slap. “I didn’t hear you.” A backhand to the face.

Impotent rage bubbled up. Tears formed from Reggie’s anger and shame. “No.”

Don released his hair. “Damn shame. I was lookin’ forward to kickin’ your skinny ass again.”

Reggie straightened and ran the back of his arm over his nose. Mucus and tears stained the navy of his jacket. “I wasn’t aware that you needed a reason.”

Part Two...


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