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GENERAL FICTION

Behind

Venetian B

linds

Little Wit & Creative Goth

Behind

Venetian

Blinds

Little Wit & Creative Goth

Copyright © 2013 Little Wit & Creative Goth.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means—whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or

electronic—without written permission of both publisher and author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.

All characters in this book are purely fictional. Any resemblance to

actual persons, living or dead, or events is entirely coincidental.

ISBN: 978-0-9923254-0-4(sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-0380-9 (e)

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Lulu Publishing Services rev. date: 10/24/2013

We would like to give thanks to Gary Anderson for his unique

artwork and talent that inspired his creation of the book cover design

and illustration.

Contents

1. The Emperor ...........................................................................1

2. The World-Inverted ................................................................5

3. The Queen of Cups ...............................................................11

4. The King of Coins-Inverted ..................................................24

5. Seven of Swords ....................................................................33

6. Four of Coins ........................................................................40

7. Strength ................................................................................46

8. Nine of Cups ........................................................................57

9. Three of Cups .......................................................................62

10. The Hanged Man .................................................................71

11. The Lovers ............................................................................80

12. Death ....................................................................................91

13. The Tower ...........................................................................104

14. Eight of Cups ..................................................................... 111

15. The Moon ........................................................................... 119

16. The Devil ............................................................................ 131

17. Ten of Swords .....................................................................134

18. Six of Cups ......................................................................... 145

19. Judgement ...........................................................................154

20. Nine of Staves ..................................................................... 165

21. The High Priestess .............................................................. 173

22. Two of Swords .................................................................... 179

23. King of Staves-Inverted ...................................................... 189

24. The Fool-Inverted ............................................................... 198

25. Five of Staves ......................................................................203

26. The Hermit-Inverted ..........................................................206

27. The Empress-Inverted ......................................................... 210

28. The Wheel of Fortune ........................................................220

29. The Star ..............................................................................227

Chapter 1

Welcome to the reality behind the il usion of the

venetian blinds. Please, come in and have a look around,

you look like you haven’t been here before.

Little Wit

The warm sensation spreading through her silk pyjamas

forced April awake. “What the . . .” April eyed Gavin

warily through half-opened eyes as he stood defiantly by

the side of the bed, pissing over her as though it were acceptable.

Instinctively she made to move away from the steady stream of urine

that flowed over her, and was met with a hard heavy hand, straight

across her face. Her head bounced off the headboard, and blood fil ed

her throat as she bit down on her lip, momentarily causing her to gag.

“PLEASE GAVIN, I’m sorry . . . please don’t . . .”

Grabbing a handful of her hair by the roots he straddled her,

pinning her arms down with his knees, his other hand gripped

tightly around her neck. Pushing her head back into the mattress,

he directed the flow of urine upward towards her face, saturating her

hair and the bedding beneath her.

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Unable to move, tears of fear flowed freely as her words came out

in strangled gasps. “Please . . . let me go. Whatever it is, I’m sorry, it doesn’t have to be like this, Gavin. Why are you doing this?”

“You don’t warrant respect, April, you only warrant being trashed.

You deserve everything you get, you unashamed bitch. I despise

everything about you, and your stupid ideas about your stupid job

concerning the plights and needs of your nutcase patients.” Continuing

to hold her steadfast he sank his teeth into her right breast, and she

felt him harden as she screamed in pain. “Keep it up, baby; this is

how I like it.” He laughed a low dirty growl as he taunted her. She let out a sob as he yanked at her hair again, wrapping her tresses around

his wrist. He stalled and studied her a moment; he was aghast that

she allowed him to treat her in this way. She let him get away with

exactly as he liked and never really objected, he just couldn’t help

himself, he got hard at the thought of it. He liked the way she was

beginning to appear androgynous since he had put her on a diet; her

rib cage was jutting out, her voluptuous chest diminishing, and her

waist he could almost encircle with both hands. Pushing her long

blonde urine-matted hair away from her pretty face, which he only

allowed her to wear down behind closed venetian blinds, he looked

at the shiny bruise that was beginning to appear on her cheekbone.

Fleetingly, he felt a pang of guilt, he was normally more careful to

inflict damage on parts of her body not immediately visible to others.

He dismissed his guilt quickly, it wasn’t like he had broken her bones

or anything, nothing that wouldn’t heal or wash away, plus he knew

she wouldn’t talk. It would be more than her life was worth. She

stayed fixed in his grip, as he began to masturbate over her.

“Let’s see if you can actually satisfy me for once.” He threw his

head back as he manipulated himself and the familiar waves began

to accumulate through his abdomen. “Ahh . . . ahh . . . Gonna

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Behind Venetian Blinds

come, April . . . , don’t stop, don’t stop.” Gavin slowed his pumping

groin, deep sighs of sexual satisfaction emanating from his throat

as he ejaculated over her. Satisfied, he pushed her roughly away by

the palm of his hand against her forehead, rolled over and went to

sleep. April forced herself to lie there, covered in his piss and semen, whilst Gavin snored beside her, the cold wet sheets clinging to her

skin and the urine beginning to pool beneath her bottom. Her pubic

hair was full of his cum, the rough curls matted, sticky and bonded

together. She had long since given up trying to fight Gavin off when

he approached with his depraved intentions. The consequences of her

saying ‘no’ only resulted in assaults of increased severity. Gingerly

shifting position, she tried to get comfortable as she winced in pain.

Her head throbbed; her throat was raw, and her upper body covered

in varying shades of bruising. She moved her jaw a little and winced

at the ache in her cheekbone. She would have to look at that as soon

as she was able.

Staring numbly at the venetian blinds of their newly purchased

home, her head wandered towards her three year marriage; it always

did, even if she wasn’t giving it primary consideration, it lay there

festering at the back of her thoughts. She indulged herself, with a

private laugh, that she had hoped that their recent move to London

might have been a turning point for them. She had left behind her

friends and family in Manchester, and the job that she loved in elderly nursing, and accepted her current position nursing acute mental

health patients so that it all fitted in with Gavin’s promotion, area

transfer and an extremely lucrative wage. She had toed the line at

every cost to herself and her own needs, she did, she just did. She

had no idea what she was going to do. Since their marriage three

years ago, he had begun to enforce his physical presence on her at an

increasingly rapid rate. April’s fear of him, coupled with shame, grew

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Little Wit & Creative Goth

at a phenomenal pace. Gavin got her so she couldn’t think straight.

She felt profoundly unsure of herself, and humiliated by physical

agony and disgrace. She tipped her head up slightly toward the clock

that sat on her oak bedside table. Half past four. Gavin would not be

awake until its alarm rang shrilly at half seven, when he would get

ready to go off to his precious job. She closed her eyes, unwilling to

think anymore, and began to run through a list of household chores;

she would start with the vacuuming and then clean the windows.

When he had left for work in the morning, she would strip the

bed, scrub the mattress and turn it to air thoroughly. She liked her

surroundings to have orderliness about them, it distracted from her

reality and helped her feel calm and relaxed when she tidied, dusted

and cleaned. She knew she appeared the epitome of upper middle

class society, she had the mortgage and marriage thing happening at

the age of twenty two, and her life seemed to be steering forward in

the usual, unremarkable, carefully manufactured fashion. Vaguely,

she wondered what people would think if they knew the truth behind

Gavin`s startling baby blue eyes; flitting her eyes over to the venetian blinds, she thought about how they could do with dusting.

4

Chapter 2

Mine is just the same old story, you know the one where we struggle

for meaning and purpose to our lives? And nothing fil s that void

within; it just gets bigger with each passing day. I have no idea

why I am here and I am almost afraid to ask myself, is this it?

Little Wit

For fuck’s sake, Jay, turn the light off, will you, I’m trying to

sleep!” Groaning, Sienna glanced sleepily at the clock. It was

three in the morning. Turning over, she tugged the duvet up

over her head and closed her eyes. He was pissed, again.

“Si . . . . Sienna . . . I’m sick, like.” Jay tripped over her shoes, which she had kicked off carelessly before getting into bed. “Do you have

to leave everything lying at your arse, Si, Jaysus; a bloke can’t even

make it from the living room to the bedroom without encountering

an assault course.” He fell clumsily on top of her, holding his stomach and groaning loudly. “And you don’t give a shit that I’m ill. I might

need a doctor.”

“You’re always sick, Jay, when you mix drink with drugs, which

is, oh, let me see now, virtually every day. How much speed have you

snorted tonight? Oh for God’s sake . . . . get off me.” Kicking him 5

Little Wit & Creative Goth

off herself, she rose to turn the light out. She crawled back into bed, shoving him further over to his own side as she did.

“NAAH! . . . . Think it might have been that pizza earlier.” He

spoke with conviction.

“Oh real y.”

“Some fucking nurse you are.” He groped at her.

“Jesus, Jay, not now, I gotta be in work in a few hours!”

He leaned right over her, squashing her into the mattress. “Why

don’t you just phone and tell ’em you’re sick, like, and get some other eejit to go and do all your nut job activity programs for the day, like.

Because I can think of some nice little activity programme just for

you . . . with no patient involvement what-so fucking-ever . . . but

it’ll do you good, therapeutic like.”

Sienna closed her eyes and pulled the duvet tighter to her body,

further up to her neck. “No Jay, not now, just go to sleep or go

somewhere else.”

“Awwww . . . Si, . . . go on, go on, go on . . . what’s up with you?”

“I’m pregnant.”

He lay still for a moment, staring at her, momentarily sobered,

and then he started laughing. “You’re pulling my pisser; you had me

going there for a moment, Si.” His throat dried up when he was met

with a stony silence, and he suddenly found it difficult to swal ow. He raised his hand and stroked his neck, rolled off her and settled back

to his side of the bed. “What the fuck, Si, you can’t be.” He scratched his head, perplexed. How was he ever going to make something of

his life now Sienna had dropped this bombshell on him? “How did

this one happen, like?”

“I fell off the chair and banged my head, Jay . . . how the fuck

you think it happened!”

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Behind Venetian Blinds

“Well, how soon can you get rid? I mean, you can’t be thinking

of having it, like, I mean there’s just no way. I’m not ready for this

kind of shit; I got my degree and all to finish, like.”

She slowly turned, moving the cover back as she did, looking

at him in disbelief. It was something that had crossed her mind,

without doubt, but it was not the conclusion she had expected Jay to

reach immediately, without careful consideration. “You mean your

philosophy degree? That same degree you been studying for the past

six years since you were eighteen, and you’re still trying to make it

through the first semester of freshman’s year? That the one you’re

talking about, Jay? Huh? The only achievement you’re ever going

to make is into the Guinness book of records for being the longest

standing student ever!”

“Och, Si, don’t be such a bitch.”

Snatching a cigarette from its packet, her hand trembled as

she lit it. “Good old Jay, who just can’t cope with life. Good old

Jay, who reckons that spending all day propping up the bar talking

philosophical bullshit to his mates is going to steer his life in a

different direction from everyone else on this planet. It might help if you made it to class once in a while.”

“You’re the one that’s changed, Si, you’re the one that doesn’t

come out anymore since you started all this nursing bollocks.”

“Well, someone’s gotta earn the money to pay for your drug habit

along with the bills. It’s called growing up, Jay.” She slammed the

lighter back down on the bedside table.

“Now, just hold on a minute . . . There’s no need for that, Si . . .

And did you have to tell me that you’re pregnant tonight, like? The

lads are still next door, Si, how am I meant to go back in there and

pretend everything’s normal, huh?”

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Little Wit & Creative Goth

“Good on ya, Jay. Thanks for your support. I’m sorry this is such

an inconvenience for you . . . Thanks, Jay . . . Thanks a fucking lot.”

She wondered at her feelings of wanting to smack him if he said ‘like’

one more time, and she had found it so endearing in the beginning.

“East Belfast class,” she muttered to herself as she swung her legs

out of bed and yanked the bed cover completely off, ceremoniously

bal ing it up and burying it in the corner of the room before flouncing out and slamming the door behind her.

Sienna lowered the porcelain lid of the toilet and sat on top of it.

She shivered involuntarily in the small confines of the damp-smel ing

bathroom. Their one bedroomed flat was always cold, no matter how

many layers she put on, nor which season they were in. The tiny

radiators did little to take the chill out of the air. Blowing her nose, she opened her toilet bag and unwrapped another pregnancy testing

kit. Every day for the past three weeks Sienna had got up, thrown up,

unwrapped another pregnancy test and tried again, in vain. She had

spent a small fortune and tried several different brands. She had even

urinated in a variety of positions . . . she waited . . . hoping that this would be the one to prove al the others wrong, this would be the one

that would be negative, this would be the one to pull her out of the

shit; nope, no sirreee, not a chance. She knew damn well her behavior

was completely idiotic and she was attempting denial, but she went

ahead anyway, it helped her retain just a little hope. She watched as

the two blue lines came clearly into focus. Sienna Saverese, twenty

two years of age, sensitive to dust mites, pollens, latex, avocado,

animal hair; you name it, she was allergic. And her contraceptive

pill had failed her. It was symptomatic of her existence. Prescription

drugs didn’t suit her system either. She was most definitely pregnant.

She had dreamed of escape for months now, something different, and

something not so humdrum and ordinary.

8

Behind Venetian Blinds

She stared at the venetian blinds and realized how much she

hated the entrapment they represented, suburban dreams and two

point four children. She suddenly hated the accommodation they

inhabited in London’s West End. It seemed suffocating. Her whole

lifestyle was closing in on her, and simultaneously shifting out of

her control. She thought about ringing April, her closest friend, and

then dismissed it quickly. It was late, or early depending on how

you looked at it, and a phone call wasn’t going to change the facts

that confronted her right now. She would catch up with April soon

enough at work. She wanted to run and hide; only this time there

was no cover, so she sat there and, flicking another lighter into life, sucked on a bong Jay had thoughtfully left half-consumed, ledged in

the bath. She felt herself float away, and the pain of her own existence began to subside.

As a young child, Sienna had always found ways to slip away from

reality, more often than not she floated on a cloud and detached herself from the girl below that had long dark, nearly black hair. Sometimes

she felt sorry for the little girl she left behind, like when her mother trapped her in the corner of the kitchen, near the cupboard under

the stairs, and nipped her all over her small body, the tiny pinches

leaving their sting in her soft skin. She could never remember what

made her mother so mad, only that she had made her angry for some

reason, like the time she had fallen and cut her knee and got blood

on her school uniform. As she reached adulthood, she had found

that the quickest way to float away was through recreational drug

use. It worked quickly and it worked a treat. Crossing back into her

bedroom and clambering back into bed, she lay there listening to the

bass of Primal Scream dancing its way through the thin plaster board

which divided the walls, as Jay and his throng partied on next door.

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Little Wit & Creative Goth

Jay stumbled over the myriad bodies that littered the living room

floor and made his way towards the kitchen, fuelled by his need for

another beer. This was not what he had moved to London for; there was no way he was about to succumb to societal constraints and have

the soul sucked out of him by a life of full time work, or any kind of

work for that matter, children and mortgages. He resolutely refused

to get on the treadmill every other human on this planet seemingly

got roped into, and had little choice over. He believed it was going to be different in London; a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance to make

something of himself and break away from his family history that

threatened to define him; a father with a history of mental il ness and a mother whose mantra was that she had been driven to alcoholism

by his dad. Moving from Ireland, Jay had done little but transfer his

drug habit along with his degree course. Not wanting to embrace the

truth, and that so called crummy life he took great pains to avoid,

he cracked open another can. Pumping the stereo up a notch, he

smoked another bong and settled back into the sofa, staring at the

venetian blinds as they took on a life form of their own, rippling and

morphing to the sounds of Primal Scream in his spaced-out, drug-

fuelled reality. It wasn’t long before he had forgotten all about the

conversation that had just taken place, and fell asleep.

10

Chapter 3

Does mental il ness exist? Real y, does it? What if

everyone label ed insane is actual y only operating on

a far higher level of perception than the masses?

Creative Goth

“SHIT!” Sienna fell out of bed; she was already half an

hour late for work.

“Fuck, Si . . . Do you have to make so much noise?” Jay

groaned, as she banged her way through to the living room where he

lay sprawled out on the sofa. She stared at him in disdain.

“Och aye! Sod Sienna. Who gives a shite if she doesn’t get to work

on time? Work is for the bureaucrats and conservative arseholes. I

take it you aren’t going to university today, then?”

Jay ran through the usual excuses of why he couldn’t make it into

university today. He was too tired, too high, too hung over, had food

poisoning.

Sienna duly ignored everything he said and concentrated on

rummaging for her purse and keys, she found what she needed,

grabbed her Ventolin and cigarettes, and ran the two blocks to her

nearest bus stop. Once on the double decker, she wound her way

upstairs, and was grateful to find a seat to herself as she thought about 11

Little Wit & Creative Goth

her conversation with Jay. She wondered whether it had impacted

on him at all last night, probably not. Jay seemed to know only too

well what lay in store for him, and he did a fine good job of avoiding

responsibility of any kind; even she had to admit that. So much for

leaving Belfast to make something of their lives. Whatever happened

to their plans of travelling the world together, and doing ALL of

those things others only ever talked about? She knew Jay far too

well, and was aware he would be lucky if he completed any course in

its entirety or did anything with his life, sometime within the next

century. Bored, restless and aimless at eighteen years old, Sienna

hadn’t needed much persuasion to leave Belfast with Jay in search

of . . . she wasn’t sure what, but it most definitely hadn’t been this!

Now she was up the duff, carrying Jay’s baby. Maybe Jay had the right

idea; at least he seemed content with smoking himself into oblivion,

which was more than she could say for herself. Their nonstop party

lifestyle was no longer enough to distract from the emptiness and

restless dissatisfaction that was unfurling in response to the choices

that life presented to her; these currently fluctuated between settling down and having a family, or terminating and ending up with a drug-induced psychosis. Neither option grabbed her much.

More than anything, she wanted her mum right now, would she

never learn?

‘You’ ll never amount to anything, Sienna Saverese. Just look at you

with a great big head and little wit. The best you can hope for is that

some poor bastard will take pity on you, so you don’t end up with a life

on benefits and a load of kids you can’t afford to feed.’ The little girl with long, dark, nearly black hair looked into her mother’s sparkling

mad eyes as they laughed at her.

Her mother didn’t love her, her mother never wanted her because

she was conceived from a man outside her marriage. She was a

12

Behind Venetian Blinds

mistake, a failure, a nothing to her. When would she learn to let go

of her mother completely and not hold on to any part of her? It had

been six years since she last had contact with her family, yet she still felt like her heart was bleeding every day, sometimes she felt like her heart wasn’t inside her body but that it was her body, it hurt so much.

She spent the rest of the bus journey with her head resting on

the cool of the metal handrail, in an attempt to quell the morning

sickness.

*

Jumping off the number twenty two, she legged it up the main

driveway of her workplace, her heart lifting at the sight of the

redbrick building; The Poppy Field Psychiatric Unit. A small two-

storey building with minimal opening windows, a response to the

Government’s latest initiative to decrease the number of attempted

suicides, but caused the place to feel like an expensive sauna. Tucked

away on the outskirts of the main hospital grounds, this was the

one place where Sienna felt an aura of peace and calm descend upon

her as soon as she passed through the double fronted, shatter-proof

doors. Here she felt she belonged; she felt she had one major trait in

common with the inpatients; they were damaged in unique respects,

and struggled against the restraints and conformities that being part

of society brought with it, some too tormented to adapt to daily living without immense difficulty. Within these walls the boundaries of

society ceased to exist; the tables and chairs were frequently bolted to the floor, the televisions securely bracketed to the wall, and pictures of tranquil scenes were screwed into the plasterboard. These were

the walls which divided them from the rest of the population; her

escape, her haven.

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She loved her job as Registered Mental Health Nurse and nothing

touched her more than being able to connect with another human

soul, it was all about connection. It was about facing her own frailty

mirrored in the eyes of her patients. It was about falling apart and

being put back together again. It was about treating her patients with

respect and dignity, even when they were out of control. Sienna had

found this same philosophy within April. It had drawn them directly

to one another when she had been asked to orientate April as a new

employee at Dreyland Royal Infirmary, a main teaching hospital

in the capital. They found they instinctively liked each other. They

worked well together, thought alike in many ways, and shared the

same sil y sense of humour that had them giggling and pul ing stupid

faces at each other by the end of their first shift together. They couldn’t abide the politics and gossip that dominated the ward culture, and

took great pains to avoid getting caught up in it, preferring to hang

out together on the fringes of the team.

Pelting up the stairs, Sienna flung open the main ward doors,

banging them into the walls on either side, and skidded to a halt

at the office door. Empty. Scanning the corridor, she realized the

patients would be at breakfast right now, which meant April would

be smoking in the toilets. Running her way along the corridor, she

entered the fume-filled recess at the top where she found April

leaning up against the nicotine-stained wall.

“Afternoon.”

“Shite, Ape . . . I’m so sorry,” Si said rapidly, a little out of breath, accepting a cig as she did and then simultaneously, bending forward

to accept the light that was being held out towards her. “I didn’t sleep too good last night . . . sorry.”

April smiled warmly and shrugged. “Don’t worry about it.”

14

Behind Venetian Blinds

Sienna stared hard at her suddenly. “Ape, what happened to your

face? That looks really nasty.”

April bowed her head. “It’s nothing, I slipped in the bath.”

Sighing, Sienna slid down the wall onto her haunches, the dainty

bells of her long green skirt jangling as she moved. She leaned back,

savouring the coolness of the tiles beneath her flimsy cotton top,

which was a welcome change from the overheated hospital. April

turned to look at her, she was not looking her best, which wasn’t

unusual after a heavy night, but she just wasn’t right.

“What?” Sienna frowned when she caught April staring at her.

“What’s the matter, Si?”

Sienna sat sucking on her cigarette, a miserable expression on her

face, quickly averting her eyes from her best friend. April regarded

her with a sidelong glance, Si didn’t move. April threw her lighter at

her, making her jump.

“Tell me what’s wrong . . . Is it Jay again ? What’s he done now?”

Sienna looked up at her and continued staring. April studied her

friend’s eyes for a moment, realizing whatever it was, it was no joke.

They startled as the sound of trademark bangles jangling on the

end of skinny wrists could be heard jostling for space, and the door

to their hide out was opened. Sienna turned to see her care assistant

Marge’s overly made up fifty year old face, complete with bouffant

bleached hairdo, her eye-watering scarlet talons snaked around her

slim waist, hands on hips as she stared at her two young staff nurses

accusingly. Her roughened smoker’s voice broke the silence.

“Knew I’d find you two in ’ere, Horace is that high he’s about

to hit the ceiling, if he don’t get some bleeding pills down his neck

soon.”

Looking guiltily up at her, Sienna bowed her head quickly. April

gave her a meek smile.

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Little Wit & Creative Goth

Marge looked at Sienna, who now sat curled over her own

knees, her face hidden by her hands. Her voice softened at what she

observed. “Whatever trouble have you gone and got yourself into

now, love”? Marge looked from Sienna to April. She was used to the

usual woes of these twenty-somethings, but wisely she sensed this

was something far more serious.

“Give us two minutes, Marge.” April smiled warmly at her.

“I know you two and your two bloody minutes, two bleedin’

hours more like. Sort yourselves out, just not too long, eh?” She

departed, nodding knowingly at April, who smiled before turning

her gaze expectantly back to Sienna. April waited patiently.

“I’m pregnant.” Sienna looked at her, her brown eyes wide with

fear. “Are you sure?”

Sienna thrust her chest out. “Bloody hell, Ape . . . look at the size

of me tits . . . they look like the bleeding Alps!”

April raised her eyebrows at the comment, and started to snort

with laughter. “Sorry . . . I don’t mean it . . . I know it’s not funny.”

Sienna started to grin. Catching each other’s eyes, they started to

giggle as they often did when they were together, and the world wasn’t

making any sense. Their giggling became louder and more raucous;

Sienna sat on the cloakroom floor doubled over with laughter, tears

streaming down her face, holding onto her sides.

“Stop it, April . . . . I . . . I can’t breathe,” and off she went again into more hysterics. “AAAhaaaa . . . . ahaaaahaaaa.”

The pair of them were now in pieces, April’s normally composed

manner nowhere to be seen, her face hurt, she was laughing that hard,

both of them now beyond any form of rationalization.”

“Ahh dear . . .” said April, wiping her eyes, “You told Jay?” “He

wants me to get rid.”

“And what do you want, Sienna?”

16

Behind Venetian Blinds

“For this not to be happening to me right now.”

They simmered down and April did what she knew best, they

both lit up another cigarette, and April produced her worn and used

tarot deck that accompanied her everywhere in her handbag.

“C’mon . . . Let’s see.”

Gathering herself off the floor, Sienna took them from her, and

began to shuffle.

Is this where her dream and every other ended? Was she about

to start treading the same path she saw virtually every other human

on this earth go down? The one she swore blindly she would never

follow? Sienna glanced at April’s face again and mused over the

bluish discoloration on her right cheekbone. “Gavin?”

“Doesn’t matter.”

Sienna concentrated on her cards in resignation. Squinting from

the cigarette clamped firmly between her lips, she cut the deck,

reversed a handful of cards and recommenced shuffling. Finally

happy with the combination, she cut the deck three times with her

left hand, put it back together again and passed them to April, who

began to lay them out in the ten card spread. Turning over the cards,

April gave a clear and methodical prediction of Sienna’s forthcoming

actions and consequences. Sienna listened in silence, taking it all in.

Smoking another cigarette, she sighed loudly in several places, sat up, slouched back against the cold wall, sat up again, flicked ash all over the floor, then tossed her butt end over toward the toilet bowl and

missed. Letting another large sigh escape her lips when April had

concluded, she laid her hands together in the dip between her legs

that formed when they were crossed. April stared at her, waiting for

her to gather her thoughts. The mood had become sombre.

“I don’t even know if Jay remembers. He was wasted when I told

him. I kept waiting for an opportunity when he might be straight.

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Waited for two weeks and it didn’t happen, so I just ended up

blurting it out last night.” Sienna looked solemn and forlorn for a

moment, her shoulders drooped from the pressures life was placing

on her. “Geez, Ape, can you imagine me a mum?”

“Yeah, I can. You would be a great mum. I always saw you with

lots of children surrounding you.”

“Oh my God, I can’t believe this is really happening to me. I am

so not ready for this, April, I mean look at me, I live in a dingy one-

bedroom flat, have been qualified for just over a year, and all my spare time is spent getting wasted. I have a partner who is comatose most

of the time. His sperm would’ve fell flat on its face when he came,

my egg must’ve gone down and fetched the bastard to get fertilized.”

“Bloody hell, Si . . . .” They set off again giggling. “But seriously,

Ape, d’you know what I mean?”

April nodded. For a few minutes, they stayed quiet, still in the

same position. Each woman thinking about the same thing, but one

anxious about the other’s wellbeing, the other terrifically frightened

about what lay ahead.

“Drugs,” they yelled in unison as they heard the jangling bangles

approach the cloakroom, this time with more fervor. The bangles

went into overdrive as there was an immense hammering on the door.

“You two, is there any chance of getting any bleedin’ work done

around here today?”

The bangles clinked their way merrily back whence they came,

accompanied by the sharp clacking of spiked heels on the parquet

flooring that lay on the main corridor.

Sienna glimpsed a nasty bruise to April’s outer right thigh as she

pulled her to her feet. She knew that Gavin hit April, but suspected

April wasn’t telling her everything. April didn’t talk much about

husband, just bits and pieces here and there. Shifting uncomfortably

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Behind Venetian Blinds

under her gaze, April pulled at the hem of her skirt. They separated,

brushed themselves down. Sienna watched April reapply more

powder and more blusher to the bruising to her face, smoothing

imaginary strands of hair back, she yanked again at her skirt hem;

turning, she motioned for Si to lead the way out.

*

“’Ere, Sienna,” a male voice spoke loudly. They both turned to

face Dean, one of their patients. He threw himself headlong towards

them, cartwheeling clumsily; April quickly pulled Sienna out of his

path before his mud-caked Doc Martens hit her. Dean jumped to his

feet. He grinned at Sienna. “That’s you, that is, ’cept when you do it

I see the lotus flowers scattering from your feet.” He gestured airily

in front of her face.

“April, I want me dinner,” yel ed another. April snatched her head

round quickly. Ivan was crouched in his doorway on his haunches,

swaying unsteadily, glazed expression, puffing away on a smoke that

was in an undesignated area. He drew heavily on the tip, and April

raised a knowing eyebrow as she watched him, as if in slow motion,

keel over backwards, until his feet were the only thing seen sticking

out of the door frame. “Pissed again, Ivan? You ain’t left the ward

all morning. What you got in your room?” Her tone was quiet and

acceptant, simply enquiring.

Ivan snorted loudly, “Haha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

ha!”

Marge bustled toward him, cursing under her breathe “Get up

into that bloody room properly. You need a lie down, you do, c’mon,

Ivan, shift yourself.”

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The two nurses looked at each other knowingly, and separated to

get on with minding their clan.

*

The shift ending; Sienna filed her nursing notes away and

wondered whether or not she would even be able to work if she had

the baby, let alone just reducing her hours. She shut the drawer and

leaned her head against the cold metal cabinet, closing her eyes for

a moment. Tears welled behind the soft skin of the lids and slowly

trickled between her long black lashes, rolling silently down her

smooth cheeks at the enormity of her situation.

She gulped hard, trying to stop herself from breaking down

but in vain, a sob escaped her lips, and her tongue tasted the salt of

fear. A tissue was suddenly placed gently against her hand that hung

loosely at her side. Sienna turned to see April staring intently into her liquid peepers, searching for something, anything from her distressed

friend. “Ape,” she implored. She didn’t really know what she wanted

to say, so she did what she did best and made light of the situation.

“Hay fever season must have come early.” She made a lame attempt

at a smile as she wiped her eyes and blew her nose loudly.

Ignoring her feeble attempt at humour, April tugged at Sienna’s

sleeve. “Let’s go. We’re done here.” Sienna didn’t move. April gripped

her firmly by the wrist, “Si, c’mon, let’s go.”

Sienna conceded, and shrugged on her jacket as she followed

April out to the ward exit.

Walking purposefully down the steps, they lit up as soon as they

were outside the doors and wandered over to April’s car. Leaning

against the bonnet, they both automatically turned their faces

upwards to the sun as a mild summer breeze warmed their skin.

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Behind Venetian Blinds

“I’ll take you home, doll.”

Sienna shook her head slowly. “I’ll take the bus, could do with

a walk. I need to be completely clearheaded before I face him.” She

smiled sardonical y, turning to look at April, “that’s if the bastard’s . . .

awake . . . . in . . . . not stoned . . . . alone . . . sober.”

April’s expression didn’t alter, she didn’t need to comment. What

Sienna had said was verging on sarcasm. but the sad fact was that Jay

was about ninety nine percent definitely going to be in one of those

categories at any time of the day. They finished their cigarettes in

silence and lit two more. Sienna rubbed the creases in her forehead

furiously, shaking it in a vain attempt to clear her fog, and then

started to giggle. “Just reflecting on what a pair of twats we’ve both

landed ourselves.”

April sniggered. “You can say that again.”

Sienna looked at her a moment. She had not failed to detect the

twinge of fear and angst in the back of her friend’s comment. “You

can always stay with me. You do know that?”

April smiled and turned her gaze toward the car park, watching

people moving around without focusing on them, her face burning

with shame at the thought of her husband and what he did to her.

Part of her still made excuses for his behavior, that part of her which held hands with fear and denial. She smiled weakly at Sienna, and

reached out to rub her arm in affection. “I know, and I appreciate it,

speaking of which, I’d really better go because he will be watching

the clock.”

Sienna numbly nodded as she watched her grind out the stub on

the floor beneath her sole. She tossed her butt to one side and placed

both hands on each of April’s arms, her eyes burning into hers. “Jay

may be a complete dick, you know, April, but at least he doesn’t . . . .”

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April slid out of her grip. “I know, I know, I know . . . . I gotta

go.” She kissed Sienna warmly on the cheek, and clicked her fob

to unlock the car. Sienna stepped back up onto the pavement and

watched April pull on her seat belt. She wound the window down

and then turned over the engine. “You sure I can’t drop you home?”

Sienna shook her head again. April nodded. “OK, see you tomorrow.

Love you loads.”

“Love you too.” Waving, Sienna began her slow trek towards the

bus stop, already resigned to what she knew she would find when she

got home, and began to feel sick with anxiety when she considered

the life that was growing inside her.

*

Clarke watched Sienna chatting with her friend from his office

window overlooking the front parking lot. He wanted her despite

himself, those slim hips that moved in motion with the sashay of her

skirt, her pink wet tongue that glistened when she parted her plump

lips and threw her head back laughing. How deliciously cruel. He

should know better. He was a consultant psychiatrist, after all; better known to staff and patients as Dr. Ridgewood. She was too fresh,

too naïve, too young to relate to; twentyish at the most, about the

same age as his eldest daughter. He was forty seven years old after

all, light years ahead of her. He twiddled with the wedding ring on

his left hand. Maybe it was her lilting Irish accent that contrasted

her olive skin. Maybe he was just using this as an excuse, maybe not;

what difference did it make when it came down to sex, no matter how

he chose to dress it up. He tried to rise above his basic instincts but never stood a chance. Shame how he had to pretend every day that

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Behind Venetian Blinds

all his judgments on people were based on something other than sex,

control and dominance.

He wondered what she had heard about him. His reputation

preceded him, and that was something he had worked hard to achieve

throughout his lifetime. He liked to create an impression. First

impressions count for everything. They set the scene, predicted how

relationships would form, or not in some cases, each move carefully

controlled and manufactured. Every scene already imagined and

played out in his head, always one step ahead of everyone else who

was out to get him, to bring him down, to poke fun at the freckled,

bullied schoolboy that lay encased in the carefully tailored suit. He

was careful to ensure he stayed one step ahead. No one could outwit

him, no one, especially not a fucking woman!

23

Chapter 4

Damp thighs, silent cries, shivering, sighing,

passion undying, someone is lying.

Little Wit

For the past eleven years, Gavin had been aware that he was

different from all the other boys his age. With the coming

of puberty came the Cumming of Gavin . . . all over a glossy

magazine cover picture of George Michael, who looked out at him

dreamily, bathed enigmatically in the orange glow of Gavin’s torch

under the secrecy of his duvet cover. Gavin explored and began

to understand his sexuality, frantically wanking in fervor over the

page, until it became like a crisp, dried out leaf, and he’d had to find another picture of George to spurt his load over. Gavin soon got

bored of George and began to take notice of the paper boy, an older

boy named Neil who took the same bus as him to school. He would

rush home every afternoon, carefully positioning himself behind

the blinds where he would wank over those strong arms and those

muscular thighs that pumped as he pedaled his bicycle, his tight buns

swinging high in the air.

One rainy afternoon, Neil knocked on the door and asked if he

could use their bathroom. Entering the hallway, Neil had asked if

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Behind Venetian Blinds

Gavin was alone. He was. Gavin led the way and stalled half way up

the stairs when he felt Neil’s fingers running up and down the back

of his shirt, setting fire to every nerve ending in his body. When he

turned around, Neil was standing there, his crowning glory unzipped

and standing to attention, and he asked him if he liked what he saw.

Neil unzipped him, quietly reassuring him that it was natural to feel

the way he did and not to be scared, everything was fine. His words

absorbed quickly, Gavin could concentrate on nothing else apart

from the heat emanating from Neil’s mouth as his tongue worked its

way down the whole length of his shaft and slowly back up again,

the tip of his tongue encircling his glans, his left hand cupping his

scrotum, and squeezing gently. The only sounds that could be heard

were the beating of the rain against the windows and Gavin’s own

rasping breath.

And then Neil opened his mouth wide so it resembled a sea

monster full of teeth and tonsils, and Gavin watched as he swal owed

him up whole, and he dissolved on his tongue like melting cotton

candy. The monster reared again, only this time its head, and he was

pushed to his knees, his face burning against the stairway carpet, the

stairway to heaven. Neil grabbed him roughly from behind, thrusting

readily inside him and found his secret spot. As Neil pushed faster

and harder, Gavin felt he had been split in two as pain alighted

through every part of his body, electrifying his muscles and sending

them into involuntary spasm. His cries echoed loudly throughout the

house as his ejaculation pumped out over the stairs and then with one

final harder thrust, Neil collapsed on top of him.

From then on it wasn’t just the paper that Neil delivered to Gavin’s

household every afternoon, and their secret encounters continued

until Neil’s family found out and discreetly moved away. Gavin’s

parents never spoke to him about it directly. Strict Catholics, he was

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Little Wit & Creative Goth

taken several times to the local priest, Father Jacob. Gavin just did as he was told, too frightened of being rebuked by his family. His sister

Davina was the only one who offered him any kind of understanding,

yet he distanced himself from her, such was his shame.

After Neil, he tried desperately to quell the growing monster of

sexual desire that resided in his ever-throbbing loins by dating girls, only problem was, the monster only responded to stimuli laden with

testosterone. He struggled with this abscess of sin, and the guilt and

shame that festered inside, but he just couldn’t help himself. He said

ten ‘Hail Marys’ daily in an attempt to cure himself of this affliction and slept with Playboy magazines under his pillow, trying to entice

dreams of large-breasted women as opposed to the young Adonises

that left him waking in his own stickiness each morning. No matter

how hard he tried, no matter how much he willed it to happen, no

female he bedded filled him with sexual desire. And then he met

April.

*

Out at a bar one night, his mates had spotted her. Their curiosity

sparked at her dress sense that caught their attention; kind of sluttish, a bit Gothic, a little hippie, all mixed together.

“Whoa, get a load of that, Gav.” His mate Roger elbowed him in

the stomach and stood gawping in her direction.

Gavin studied her, he tried really hard to see her through Roger’s

eyes, he could see the attraction from an aesthetic point of view;

her long blonde hair almost reached her waist, and her face was

kind of nice. Not enough stubble for his taste, and shame about the

appendages, but pleasant enough, he supposed.

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Behind Venetian Blinds

“Yeah,” he agreed with feigned bravado, “looks like she needs

me to show her a good time,” he guffawed loudly, grabbed his cock

and shook it vehemently, “. . . she could do with a load of this, lads!”

His mate grinned. “Go on then, Gav. When’s the last time you had

a shag? We’re beginning to wonder if you bat for the other side.” He

shot their other friend, James, a sideways glance that Gavin didn’t

miss. Gavin felt his face burn up a deep shade of red, and was glad

for the dimmed lighting in the night club. He took a gulp of his

whiskey. “Bet you ten quid you can’t pull that bird, Gav, maybe that

pretty boy over there’s more your type.” Roger raised his eyebrows,

and James laughed loudly.

Gavin downed his drink and banged the glass down on the table.

“You’re on, I’ll have her screaming for a piece of cock by the end of

the night!” Gavin spent the rest of the night plying April with drinks, and spent the early hours of the morning in April’s bed. Eager to

prove his masculine prowess, he threw her over the back of her sofa

the minute they entered her flat and tore down her tight black jeans.

Gavin intuitively hit some latent unexplored area of April’s sexual

desire, and in less than a minute she was yelling her climax into his

binding hand.

April didn’t understand it. She didn’t real y like blonds. She didn’t

like Gavin’s dress sense or image. Yes, he was good-looking and had

a good body, but the complete package just didn’t do it, but he was

the best goddam lay that she ever had.

Gavin wasn’t so stupid that he didn’t realize it was only a matter

of time before other people started to question the absence of a

girlfriend. His friends were starting to talk about him. His parents

were always asking him when he was going to find himself a good

woman. Maybe it was time to settle down and play the game to keep

everyone happy. April wasn’t a bad catch for a woman; she didn’t talk

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incessantly, wasn’t demanding, and was easy to get along with. She

would be a real good smokescreen and keep everyone off his back. So

fixated on her now, as to her being one of his greatest defenses, Gavin pursued her relentlessly. She would be good for him. His family

welcomed her with open arms, any girl was better than a bloke, they

figured, they were just relieved that Father Jacob had saved their son

from eternal hell.

For a brief period after their marriage, Gavin was happy to keep

up the facade. April was a natural homemaker and looked after

him well. Shame the novelty had worn off so quickly. Gavin now

responded only to the most depraved and disgusting kind of sex

imaginable, and he couldn’t help but to push it a bit further each time.

The only thing that made him climax these days was to make the

bitch hurt the way he had been hurting for the past eleven years of

his life. Still she remained, serving her purpose, and Gavin reminded

himself of this every time he felt like walking away from his self-

created nightmare. Yet he was still pissed at her because her presence

denied him what he really yearned for twenty four seven.

And he was even more pissed when he heard her car pull into the

driveway, ten minutes late. Wandering to the window, he tipped a

whiskey bottle to his mouth and drank a hefty amount. He watched

April dart out of her car. Gavin muttered under his breath, “Stupid

bitch.”

The front door opened and her heels sounded on the expensive

wooden flooring. She started when she saw him standing there with

a whiskey bottle and a sneer on his face. He didn’t need alcohol as an

excuse to abuse her; it did, however, enhance his tyranny. Plastering

a fake smile on her face, she closed the door. “Sorry I’m late.”

“You don’t look too fucking sorry.” He took another swig from

the bottle.

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Behind Venetian Blinds

Ignoring his tone, she hung up her coat and tried another tactic.

“Have you eaten?”

“Don’t play stupid games, April. How can I have eaten when you

haven’t been home to cook for me, bitch? I bet you’ve eaten.”

“No. I . . .”

“Have you seen how fat you’re getting lately?”

Silent, she looked down at her shoes, pondering the best way

to approach him without upsetting him. She had tried countless

times to figure out where she was going wrong and what she was

doing to provoke him. It was her fault, he kept telling her, no-one

else ever pushed him to the limit like she did. Her voice was quiet

when she spoke. “Are you hungry, Gavin? If you are, I will make you

something.”

Swaying a little, he took another drink from the bottle. “Of