Losing The Hate (5)

IN THE FLAT

As soon as I entered the lounge of the now all too familiar flat, I knew something bad was about to happen. My body felt like it was wrapped in invisible chains, and I smelt fear. my own fear. It was as though the atmosphere pulsated with such intensity that it grabbed me, shaking my flimsy little body, flaying my limbs in all directions, like some pathetic rag doll.
God, I was so terribly scared.
Ropeman left me alone while he went to the kitchen to sort out our drinks. The sight of the beer made me shudder, and the muscles that didn't tighten, twitched instead.

A dark and gloomy, musty smell,
A place no warmer than a prison cell,
Strange thoughts enter into your head,
You now start wishing you were tucked up in bed.
A frightening chill shoots through the air,
All you do is stand and stare,
It’s a place with an eerie feeling,
Your heart by now is really speeding.
Sepulchre,
Sepulchre,
What a place,
Your heart is beating a rapid pace.
That awful chill is slowly rising,
All you think of is surviving,
But as you try to run and leave,
You can’t help thinking your eyes deceive,
Lurking in that gloomy doorway,
Is something that’s come out of doomsday,
You try to move, but are stuck to the spot,
You try to scream but breathing…, you’re not.
Sepulchre,
Sepulchre,
What a place,
It’s now your home.

To my relief, after handing me a beer, Ropeman slid the video cassette into the player, and we settled down to watch the film I was far too young to see. I tried to concentrate, but I was conscious of his every move; my muscles tightening at the slightest twitch. It was an exceptionally good summer, so when
he asked if I was hot, I replied with a simple yes, pretending to be engrossed in the film. But I knew in fact, every cell in my naïve young body sensed danger. And when he suggested I might be more comfortable if I removed my top, the fear enveloped me to the point of numbness, and before I knew it, there I was, ******** to the waist again.
It wasn’t long before the second stage of his sick plan was being put into action. “Shall we stretch out a bit? After all, there’s plenty of room,” he said. I felt like a rat caught in a trap, knowing there was no way out; no one was going to be knocking at the door and saving me.
“Is it ok if I use the toilet?” I asked the question merely as an escape, something that would give me a bit more time, however limited it might be before the inevitable happened. Ropeman stopped the tape and directed me to the bathroom.
On returning to the lounge, I noticed that he’d removed his top. He was sprawled across the whole of the sofa, smiling, beckoning me to join him.
What choice did I have?
With a great deal of apprehension, which I’m convinced he was aware of, I did as I was asked. After awkwardly positioning myself into place, he began cuddling me from behind, pulling me closer before stroking my chest. Within seconds I felt his arousal in the small of my back. Without success I tried to ignore the feel of his sweaty fingers by losing myself in the movie.
Try as I might . . . and I did try, going so far as
to close my eyes and picturing myself saying the words, but somehow I couldn't summon the courage to tell him to stop.
My silence was deafening, and the sound of his erratic breathing all but consumed me, before I fell away.

You touched me,
Held me,
And stroked my chest,
Told me that you,
My teacher knew best.
I felt your hardness,
In the small of my back,
I had a chill in my spine,
When you said I’d be fine.

“I’ve always felt sorry for you, what with you being adopted and everything.”

“It really is a pleasure to teach you”

“You’ve had a hard start to your life haven’t you?”
“Try to relax a bit more, you feel so tense. I won’t bite.”

These were some of the things he was saying as he fondled me. I didn't respond. Instead, I closed my eyes and waited for the nightmare to end, ironically finding solace in the chaotic sounds blasting from the television.
After what seemed a lifetime, the movie finally came to an end. I eventually found the courage to say that I wanted to go home. To my astonishment my molester agreed, but he made me drink some strong coffee first.
An hour later I was in the safety of my bedroom, alone and isolated, but safe, unaware of the horrors that were waiting for me in the not too distant future.


BODY ARMOUR

As the start of the new school year loomed, the apprehension I felt about going back intensified to an astronomical level. Although my final year brought with it a new classroom and teacher, Ropeman would still be a prominent figure in my life for another ten months or so. He was always putting on film shows in the hall, and it was he who ran most of the music lessons which we were all expected to participate in. More often than not, he was the teacher allocated to take us along to the swimming baths once a week, and he was always the umpire when it came to a game of rounders.
It didn’t take Ropeman long to approach me; in fact, it was only about an hour and a half into the first day back. He was on playground duty and I’d only been playing football for a few minutes before he pulled me to one side, asking me to come to his classroom at the end of the day. I was convinced that he wanted to arrange another “session” and the very thought of being touched again made my skin crawl, but there seemed to be absolutely no way out of the situation.
As the day progressed I realised the photo display had been shown. This gave me some hope that there would be no reason for him to suggest another “shoot” which eased my mind a little.
However, the worry of what it was he wanted tortured me for the rest of the day. And when the bell sounded, signifying that home time had arrived, my heart began pounding in my chest.
Opening the door, I walked in to find Ropeman sitting at his desk marking books. He offered me his usual sickly little smile and handed me a large brown envelope, “There you go young man, and can you give this to your mum for me?” Noticing the puzzlement on my face, he continued, “It’s some of the photographs that I promised her.”
“Oh, err, yeah.”
“Can you tell her I said thank you? And if she ever wants any more taken, tell her to come see me.” No, I thought to myself, as I pushed the memories of his touching me as far back into my mind as possible.
“Yeah I will. Can I go now…? I… err; want to catch up with Peter?”
He leaned back in his chair, laughing, “Go on and scram.”
Instead of making my way straight to Peter’s house, I walked towards the local park to have a look at the pictures Ropeman had selected; surely they wouldn’t be the “secret” ones he’d taken.
Sure enough, upon opening the envelope, I discovered it was only copies of the first few photos. Feeling happy my parents weren’t going to discover anything, I ran home. It never occurred to me the message for my mum was going to result in yet more horrors for me to endure.

Riding my bike around the junior playground, I felt surprisingly relaxed as Ropeman stood in the centre taking snap shots. I’d gotten the bike as a combined birthday and Christmas present, and it was fantastic! Sporting three gears and drop handlebars, it was all that I was hoping for.
My mother had spoken to Ropeman purely by chance after bumping into him outside the school, shortly after the Christmas break. He had somehow manipulated the conversation and re-suggested his offer of some more pics for the family album. With no reason to doubt the man’s intentions, she decided to take him up on the offer, saying it would be nice to have some of me on the new bike.
Once again, it was a Saturday morning but because the whole scenario was taking place outside, I felt very much at ease, knowing he wouldn’t dare try anything if there was a chance of his getting caught.
But apparently Ropeman was more determined than I could have predicted, and I walked into his trap yet again.
Some of the school buildings were very old, and made a strange contrast to the newest additions, which had not long been erected. The playschool rooms were situated in what was once the main hall. It was a very big area with an extremely high ceiling, with the windows arched-shaped and equally high. The bottom panes of glass were covered with various shades of transparent plastics, allowing the sun to cast an array of colours onto the reading carpet.
Somehow Ropeman had coaxed me into this area suggesting we take a few more photos “just for fun.”
I expressed that maybe it was time for me to start making my way home, but even as the words fell from my mouth, I knew my passive protests were in vain. Less than ten minutes later, I found myself sitting in one of the small chairs with the camera clicking away, everything progressing in much the same way, until I was once again ******** to the waist.
And then, "just for fun," he asked if I fancied wearing just a triangle of material over my private area while sitting on the edge of one of the desks.
My head exploded like a volcano. I didn't know how to react, and found myself staring at the floor, counting the tiles surrounding my feet.
“If you don’t want to it doesn’t matter, I just thought it’d be a bit of a laugh.”
Ropeman had given me a chance to walk away from his twisted offer, and until my time on this Earth is over, I will never understand why I declined it.
“It’s not that I don’t wanna do it."
“No one will find out if that's what you’re concerned about. You won’t get into any trouble or anything like that; we’d just keep it to ourselves, like we did the other stuff last year,” he said, locking eyes with me without ever looking away.
“Okay then,” I said, breaking his stare by focusing on the tiles again.

After my underpants were removed, he positioned me on a tiny desk and pulled the smallest piece of white cloth from his pocket. Clearly, he had come prepared. As he began to carefully cover my privates with the flimsy material, I felt his fingers touch me. He apologised, but I could tell by the expression on his face and the sweat forming on his forehead, that he was by no means sorry.

Once happy with the pose, he gleefully stood back to take aim, like a hunter sizing up his prey. There is a belief held by some cultures that photographs can steal the spirit of a subject, and thinking back on it, with every click of his vile camera Ropeman had in effect chiselled away at mine, capturing my image forever, and leaving my spirit to bleed out for many years to come.
Again and again, the camera clicked as I tried to block all thoughts from my mind. After what seemed an eternity, he asked that I move my legs slightly further apart. The cloth fell from its precarious spot. Without warning and quick as a flash, he was there, “accidentally” touching me down below again.

Another dozen or so clicks of the shutter later, he quickly announced that we’d have to call it a day, saying I should put my clothes on straight away. It was as if he’d only just remembered an important appointment and couldn’t wait to get me packed off home.

Sitting on a bench in the deserted swing park, clutching the screwed up ten pound note in my hands, tears began welling up in my eyes. Why was I being treated so badly by someone who was supposed to be looking out for me? And why was I so scared of telling the truth?
Convinced that I was to blame, an unexpected wave of anger exploded inside my body, an emotion so powerful I was unable to control it. And in a blind rage, I picked up my treasured new bike, throwing it as hard as my strength would allow against the railings around the swings. It didn’t bother me that my parents had saved hard to buy it, and I didn’t care that it would break their hearts when they found out what I had done. What did matter was that Ropeman had turned my perfect little world into a waking nightmare, and I had another ten pound note to prove it.

As the year progressed, I underwent a complete change of character. My relentless swearing began to push my mum and dad’s sanity to its limits, and my schooling plummeted from about average to “could do better.” Coupled with all of the bad language and my lack of drive to do well in my 11+, my parents were confronted with a “heart breaking” revelation; theft.
The rent tin was always kept in one of the kitchen cupboards, since no one in the family would have ever contemplated stealing; there was no reason for it to be locked away. My pilfering began with the odd fifty pence, but when nothing was mentioned my greed made me braver and before long I was helping myself to larger and larger amounts. Inevitably, it led to a confrontation, which ended with my storming out of the house, telling my father to "**** off!" as I went. I was eleven years
old at the time.
Thinking it made me look big and tough; I started smoking, trying to impress my mates or anyone else who was around.
In fact, I was prepared to do anything, as long as it was against the rules.
Another of my habits was refusing to be home on time, and I’d often stay out until ten or eleven o’clock at night, showing total disregard for the discipline my parents tried to instil.
None of the changes in my persona were in any way deliberate; I just began to change, each day becoming worse than the last. No matter how much I try to dissect what was happening, I cannot ever remember there being an in-between. It was as if one minute Simon Palmer was an average eleven-year-old kid, the next he’d transformed into the child from hell.
And so with my body arm our flourishing around me, I walked out of school on the last day of term, knowing that I’d never enter the gates again. It was “hello” to my new school, and a fond farewell to that bastard Ropeman.


FINDING JOHNNY

The estate I lived on had nothing to offer in the way of activities, and playing football in the park had long since become a thing of the past. Most of my time was spent loitering on street corners, smoking with my friends and taking the **** out of whoever was unfortunate enough to be walking past.
It was on one of these evenings that I was introduced to something which would soon become an obsession, dominating my life for many years to come.
I was sitting on the wall that cordoned off a car park to some flats next to my house. My mate, Mark Milner, pulled a piece of paper out of the arse pocket of his tatty jeans, “Read this,” he said, offering it to me.
“What is it?”
“Just ******’ read it.”
The paper contained lyrics to a song written by a rock group which had broken up with some fatal consequences after exploding into the charts a few years prior. As I began to read the words I found myself getting more and more excited, they were just amazing; exactly how I felt inside, words that I could unequivocally relate to. They seemed to leap from the page and take hold of my heart. They were angry, goading, but most importantly, they made me realise that I was not the only angry person in the world.
So, with my clothes deliberately torn, and put back together with safety pins, and a head full of spikes, Simon Palmer became a clone of the most feared and hated man ever to explode into the lives of the general public; I became Johnny Rotten.

SyeP SyeP
41-45, M
Jan 8, 2013