It was traditional for my father to have a bonfire on Sunday evenings. He used to say that ‘it cleansed the week just gone, sending notice to God that we have burnt away the impurities of life and we were ready to embrace Monday without conscience’. I used to be transfixed by the particles of ash that danced and flickered up in to the night sky, thinking that God must look down at our snow globe as the white dust fell about us.
Of course, even God can get bored of watching a snow globe and I presumed it was his way of stopping this and making his point when representation from the Serious Fraud office arrived to get my father to understand His point of view
My father’s complexion turned the colour of the ash that tried to carry his secrets away on the winds, when he was sentenced to life imprisonment for defrauding the charities he was forever championing. Well, it was nine years actually but he took his own life soon after his sentence began.
This was also the death knell for Mother as well. Her occasional cannabis habit that ‘helped her to cope with the stresses and strains of life’, became a heroin dependency to ‘cope with the stresses and strains of your father’s death’. It was no small wonder that the end of this path was Moorlands Children’s Home after the dependency consumed her.
It’s colder tonight than of those when I was a child. It always seemed warmer when I was younger but this bonfire has to be tonight, regardless of this evening’s temperature. Burning paper seemed a simple pleasure, the speed that each sheet disappeared confirmed its eagerness to join the party dancing towards heaven. These clothes seem a little reluctant but I will persevere, I’ll have to.
Just before Reginald’s wife passed away, I made a promise to her that I would care for him until his dying breath. I was always going to as, not only was it my job at The Vicarage Nursing Home to do so, it’s the God’s honest truth that he really was the only true friend I had. I always left his room with a smile and he helped me through the dark times when my sleeping hours relived the times that ‘The Tuesday Club’ visited my room at the children’s home. If I close my eyes now I can still feel the grip around my throat, how my thighs bruised with each thrust and those masks. Those masks are what used to induce my panic attacks and Reginald, Beatrice before him, that coaxed me back to life. That is why I have to burn these clothes. I have to leave no trace of anything that would incriminate his memory for those who only know him as dear ol’ Reginald in Room 14.
I don’t think that I was meant to find it as I’m not quite sure why he would’ve decided to bring it with him when he moved in to The Vicarage but there it was in my hand. I had opened the suitcase in the wardrobe that he always forbade me to look in until that day. He wanted me to find a book from it but I found the clothes and then I found it.
The frailty of his face when I held up the mask made me almost feel sorry for him. He had seemed to have glazed over by the time the room had come back in to focus as I found myself calmly laying a pillow over his head. I applied pressure to it over his face and pushed slowly, pushing harder, until life had left him.
It’ll look like natural causes for sure, at his age, and I don’t foresee further investigations. Still, I had to burn the suitcase and its contents.
That is why I am here on a Sunday night following my father’s tradition to burn away the impurities of what I’ve done and clearing my conscience, as I had already cleared Reginald’s.