With Pierre's sudden aggression I could no longer make sense of what was in front of me, but I can honestly say that the ride from hell to a deeper hell was very quick. And as soon as I saw those note scraps, I knew something was in store for me.
Pierre repeated his question. I asked for what in the world he was talking about. He told me I should’ve known because those note scraps were mine. It was true—they were mine—but I couldn’t remember writing a sacrificial ceremony in it.
‘So you’ve been planning this from the start,’ said Pierre. ‘The front doors were never locked. You pushed them against us so we couldn’t get in, then you shot yourself before you disposed of the weapon. But thanks to that, I became suspicious of you at the start.’
I denied. I said it wouldn’t explain the amateur pistol use toward Sawney and Lucius, while taking a brief glance at Sevrin and Neilan. Their faces remained indifferent. ‘And what about the blade you showed everyone else?’ asked Pierre. He demanded me to show the blade to him and questioned me again why I had kept it. I asked him if there’s anything wrong with keeping evidence, but he gave me a look telling me I was stupid.
‘By the way, I found Gabriel,’ said Pierre. ‘She was on the cellar, dead and stabbed on the back. I wonder why…’
Gabriel had gone off to her own trouble, so it made no sense why he accused me. ‘Well, if what Neilan said was true, you told him only Gabriel knew where the cellar is. But don’t forget that Sawney and Lucius were also killed in the cellar.’ My eyes narrowed. Even if Gabriel knew about the cellar, that would mean she’d killed Sawney and Lucius; except she also died. That would mean someone was hiding their knowledge. And since none of us had been on the island before, it was natural he would suspect me because of the Necronomicon.
No one had asked where Pierre had been. Before I could do so, Pierre asked Utterson if it was true he had gone to Lucius’s. For a moment Utterson became surprised at such a question, but then he smiled and looked at me with malignity. ‘Yes. Allow me to tell?’ offered Utterson. I knew he was going to talk about Papa again, and because of that I struggled to keep to myself how much it irritated me.
He told them everything; from how I had offended Sawney because ‘I didn’t care for Papa’ to how I ‘showed insensitivity’ toward his death. ‘It’s hard to say, since I wasn’t there myself—but Lucius can back me up. To start, Marwin told them, “I probably loved my dad, but we all expected our parents to die.” Obviously, that upset Sawney. Not only that, but he also said he didn’t care. Yes, he told them in front of their faces. Then, he ended with, “I can visit his grave any day.” Ridiculous, no?’
From his tone we could all tell he was dramatising a little, but I saw no reason to point it out as everything he said was true. There was a brief silence, before Silvia asked Lucius to confirm. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘But it’s not that… there’s more than that.’ When Silvia asked him to elaborate, however, he ran out of words. Silvia snapped her mouth shut. With denial, she asked me whether any of this was a lie. ‘No,’ I said. ‘Except Lucius stopped me before anything got worse.’
Lucius shot his head up, lips tightened expressing silent gratitude. But that didn’t last long when Silvia overtook my attention with a mix of two contradictory looks: disgust and concern. Then she asked me again if Papa’s death had been hard for me. I insisted, like I had told Sawney, that Papa and I never expected much from each other. Silence washed over us again.
All of a sudden Utterson asked me when exactly Mama told me Papa died. I didn’t want to answer, but from his insistence I went over to my mobile again. We all looked at the lock screen. He pointed out in an ironic tone that Mama had sent me the message half an hour before we came here, giving me plenty of time to tell the others I could no longer come. ‘This is the man who, after his father’s death, goes on a holiday and throws his father’s last promise like a plastic bottle into the sea. Not only that, but also strips away the future of our classmates.’
It wasn’t like that, Lucius repeated. But Utterson questioned him whether he was trying to defend the criminal. I interrupted: neither Lucius nor Papa had anything to do with these crimes. ‘Bold of you to say that a lack of heart isn’t a crime itself,’ said Utterson.
He then continued to talk about Penny. As soon as I heard her name, fury consumed me like wildfire. How dare he use her as a tool? My restraint kept me still as I listened to his narration. As soon as he got to the part where I had bribed her to kill herself, I cut him off. I told him that Penny wanted only the best for me and demanded him not to make her his toy. ‘And yet you used her and abused her right in front of me!’ he scorned. ‘You wanted to install fear in me, didn’t you?! That’s why you kicked Penny in the face!’
‘You did what?’ Silvia exclaimed. ‘That’s just wrong… why did you do that?’
Her voice faltered at the last question. As soon as I told everyone it was self defence, Utterson declared once again that it wouldn’t explain the three more kicks I had given her when one was more than enough. That horrified them even more. Neither did I have an explanation, so I stayed in silent shock. ‘Of course,’ Utterson continued, ‘we can’t fully blame him. It might be self-defence as he said, but at least he must’ve known about his Papa, mustn’t he?’
I noticed he was using ‘Papa’ instead of ‘father’. I couldn’t tell whether he was mocking me or genuinely accusing me. But one thing for sure was that Papa had given the group even more impact than it should have. Of course my self-defence was unjustifiable—but I was more frustrated on how a man’s typical values can become an excuse against a guilty man.
I clenched my fists. It was ridiculous how Lucius, our most important witness, hadn’t even the chance to speak. And now that Papa had got into these ceremonial murders, I had this urge to raise my hands up and shout, ‘Hold up. So are you accusing me for murder or for not crying for my dad?!’ But it died down all the same. Even if I’d done so, Utterson would spread his arms and declare, ‘We accuse you for killing your father with murder in your heart!’ It was then I realised how powerless I had become, and for the first time in years I had the urge to cry because of how suddenly everything had declined.
That was the last straw. I wanted him to shut up. A tug on the neck broke my sentience away. I was exiled into a life and a world that wasn’t mine, but one in which I could turn even the worst of smells into an utter bliss. My silence, whether voluntary or forced, had cut my tongue, and I could no longer hear what Pierre was saying. Neither could I fully hear Lucius expressing himself right in the end, that I was already suffering and I shouldn’t have been accused any more than for a crime I didn’t commit. I don’t even know if anyone was listening.
Like a psychiatric ward, they restrained me. I looked at them with utter disbelief on their betrayal. I tried to find a hint of untruth in Pierre, but my gold rosary, which was now but a pile of beads, had hindered all my hope. Pierre asked me if there’s anything I wanted to say. I thought for a moment, but the beads’ reflection overtook me with ease, so they took me away without waiting any more. They must’ve rendered me unconscious too.