Late August 1776
Paddy’s Brothel, Dublin Ireland
“Would you like to stay, maybe just hold me for a while?” Biddy asked the stranger as he dressed.
She lay propped up on pillows, with the sheet and blanket pulled up over her large breasts. Her long black hair lay to one side down her shoulder and over the sheet and blanket. She watched him through emerald eyes that exuded a deep sadness.
Her skin was smooth and milky white. Her nose protruded a bit too long for some tastes, but it added a unique definition to the twenty three years of her goddess like beauty.
The man had just put his pants on. He hurried to pull his shirt over his head and shove his arms through the sleeves as he sensed the desperation in her voice then quickly tucked his shirt into his pants and pretended to not hear what she had asked him. He pulled a few coins out of his pocket and tossed them on to the bed by her feet that poked out from under the sheets.
She watched him sit in the corner chair by the window and pull up his thick wool socks in the light from the oil lamp on her nightstand.
She examined him while he put on his shoes and tied them and did not think he was that handsome after all, he seemed so much more handsome earlier at the pub. But now, eh…
Please, God, send me a handsome man for once, that’s all I ask.
She knew he would leave. They always left. He was probably married for Christ’s sake. She did not have a husband and was jealous of those women who did have a man, even more so of those women who had men that were kind and honest, but none of the honest and kind sorts of men wanted to marry a drunk whore as she was, even if she were the beauty of all Ireland.
They just wanted to fuck her.
All she wanted was to be held and have a taste of intimacy that always seemed to escape her in every way, but she knew nothing different since her late husband never held her close or gave her any attention. He was surely handsome, but he had no idea how to love a woman. Maybe it was just her. She had never been loved. Was she asking for too much? She wanted to die more than anything, but suicide was a sin for Catholics and her faith was the only thing keeping her alive. She was close to denying the Word and hoped she could find solace in the edge of a blade and be sent straight to Hell. She felt unworthy of love, if love even truly existed.
“What is your name, lass?” The man asked as he stood to put on his coat.
“What does it matter?” She rolled over to face the empty wall, it was empty and blank like her heart.
“I suppose it doesn’t.” He straightened his collar and coat.
She pulled the sheet and blanket up over her shoulders hoping to mimic the warm embrace of strong Irish arms. She stared at the scars on her wrists from what little light remained under the covers and away from the view of the man that was dressing to leave. The scars were memories of how she dreaded this life. Her dreams of becoming a wife and mother were shattered and her only goal was to die. And why not? She had no family, no friends, well, there was Ellen, her childhood friend, but she was being courted by many suitors and did not have much time for Biddy anymore. Ellen’s sake was not enough of a reason to stay alive.
Biddy had no man and no kids. She had nothing to live for. If she could not have love, then what was the point?
Maybe she should have taken the straight razor off the nightstand and slit her wrists right there, right then. Her former attempts were warnings that maybe one day she may muster the courage to cut deep and vertical and let it all out and die in a pool of crimson misery. Maybe she should have slit this cheating bastard’s throat, maybe even have done his wife a favor, but he probably had children. She thought of Laoise, her stillborn daughter and how she had wanted a child so badly. The pain never faded as Father James told her it would that night Laoise was born and then died soon after. Her husband, Patrick Doyle, died earlier that same day, but that made her happy. He was an abusive ass anyway. The horse that kicked him in the face had given her joyous memories on many nights, but the death of Laoise tore out her soul.
“How many children do you have?” Her muffled voice rose from behind the crumpled blanket.
The man finished primping himself and he was getting ready to leave. He sneered a bit at the question, dusted off his hat and approached the end of the bed, “Out of respect for my wife…”
“Oh, you just stop right there!” Biddy sat up, exposing her huge breasts that wobbled and shook. She whipped her long hair around and fanned it out to cover them, for some reason she felt the shame of being naked, and this man was no longer worthy. She gave him a look that made him feel stupid before she even opened her mouth.
“Oh, so being here is out of respect for your wife, is it?” She glared at him and waited for his genius to fill the air with reason.
The man chuckled and waved goodbye, “Farewell, tail.”
She grabbed the lit oil lamp and tossed it at him. The flame went out as it flew through the air and it shattered as it hit the top of his shoe. She could see his pale moon lit grimace as he let out a heavy grunt from the hot liquid fat that had soaked through his heavy socks and seared his skin.
“My name is Biddy, feel lucky I let you come back with me!”
She was not going to let some cheating man call her a tail. She was a whore no doubt, but she had never allowed any to call her one. He was not going to have any of that nonsense. Let some tail get the better of him? Not that day.
He snatched Biddy’s naked body right out of the warm bed by her hair, as if a bear had snatched a fish from a cold stream. The coins flew up into the air and then onto the floor, where one spun for a bit, it’s whirling sound against the wooden floor broke the silence of the impending trauma. A small gust followed Biddy’s body, the smell of sex and ripe sweat wafted into the air.
“Mm, I love that smell, that’s the smell of proper tail!” he said as he brought her closer to him, holding her head next to his knee, the tension forced her to look up at him through the top of her eyes as he held her hair firmly in his hand.
“The floor is where you belong!”
His grip was so tight that she thought her head was going to pop off. The pain of the tension between her scalp and skull was blinding. Her scalp tore as he yanked her hair higher. Blood began to drip from the scalp as he pulled harder.
She had been in situations like this many times before, took beatings whenever she defied a man. And she never took shit from anyone, let alone this sod.
Biddy never screamed. She made no sound and kept as stern as a dead man. She never let these fuckers know she was in pain or afraid of them. Her only fear was loneliness. All she wanted was a bit of tenderness and to be held for a while to feel the warmth of want. It’s all she could think of, even while torn from the safety of her bed amongst the whirling sound of coins on the floor.
But no one wanted her.
He gazed down at her with a smirk. She was holding his forearm with both of her hands, trying to pry herself free. He smiled wide, showing his yellow and black teeth.
At least he didn’t kiss me.
He cocked his fist and drove it straight into her face. She could hear the bones in her face crack from inside her head as it all went dark. Her frail pale skinned hands loosened their grip and her arms went limp. She dangled like a rag doll that had been hung on a hook. He let go of her hair and let her head bounce on the hard wooden floor. He cared less. She was nothing.
He searched the room for his coins in the moonlight that came in from the window. He knew they were on the floor somewhere, he heard them hit and spin about. He got down on his hands and knees and felt around and smiled wide when his fingers ran across one of them and another became visible on the floor as his eyes adjusted to the dimmed light. The last one ended up under the small table opposite the window, the faint reflection of the moonlight caught his eye and he crawled over to secure it.
He stood up and brushed the dust off his clothes and put the coins into his pocket. He was about to close the door, but then he thought it better for it to remain open.
He spit on her face and he strolled down the hall and whistled a happy tune on his way out of the brothel. A few of the other whores stood in their doorways and watched him walk by. Biddy never helped them, and certainly they had no intentions to help her.
Biddy lay unconscious on the floor until the sun bathed her face in light later that morning. When she opened her eyes, the brightness hid the world from view. It hurt to squint with her one good eye, and it took a minute to adjust, after which she noticed that her door was wide open and one of the other whore’s son, Michael, was standing in the doorway staring at her.
She never did like Michael, or his mother for that matter. He was twelve, maybe a teen, she had no idea, nor did she care. He was a peeper of sorts and always tried to cop a feel of Biddy’s breasts or her thick butt, and, “Gotcha Biddy!” had always followed. God only knew what he may have done to her while she was unconscious.
“Go away Michael. Be gone. I hate you and hope you die a horrible death. And if I figure you touched me, I’m gonna be the one to cause it.” She sat up with her palms planted firmly on the ground behind her.
Biddy forgot that she was naked, and that the door was open. Michael continued to stare at her like a hungry dog. She stood on her feet and rushed at Michael and grabbed his hands. She smelled his fingers. She knew her own scent.
It was on his fingers!
She cringed. She knew that scummy little prick put his fingers inside her. He tried to pull away, but Biddy was stronger.
“You devil child! Sick boy, touching a locked lady it’s not right!” She grabbed him by the back of the head and smacked him in the face until her hand stung and until the boy’s mother came running down the hall. Michael fell to the floor and whimpered.
“What the hell is wrong with you Biddy? Leave him be, you witch!” the boy’s mother cried.
“Well, Abigail, your precious little Michael had some fun with his fingers while I lay locked on the floor, and none of you tails had the decency to close my door! I should beat you as well!” Biddy slapped Abigail across the face and stood solid as an oak and waited for her to react. Abigail stood with her burning face she knew Biddy would beat her down if she tried to retaliate. Biddy was crazy.
“Stop your crying, Michael, you got what you deserved, now let’s go and leave this possessed woman to her demons. I’ll make sure to tell Paddy what happened. Take care of your face, Biddy, it’s an unholy mess.” Abigail picked Michael up off the floor and walked him down the hall to their room and comforted him on the way.
Biddy slammed her door and locked it. She put on a gown she had grabbed from the dresser and saw her face in the mirror. Her nose was a deep plum purple mass and her eye was swollen shut. Dried blood covered her lips and chin. She began to cry. The tears broke through the puffy barrier and ran down her swollen cheek and mixed with the dried blood from the man’s fist. The red, bloody tears dripped on to her gown. She swept the mirror aside and caused it to shatter on the chair the big bad man had sat and dressed on. Not one care she gave, all she wanted was to be safe, to be loved, to be wanted.
She crawled into bed and wept her shame onto the pillow. She hissed at the sunny day as she closed the shutters, then went back to her sorrow under the covers. She thought about her mother and father and how much she needed them right now. She wondered how different her life would be if they were still alive.
Biddy lost both parents to influenza a day after she gave birth to Laoise. After that she found it hard to get close to anyone.
There was a hard knock at her door.
“Biddy open the door, it’s Paddy. We need to talk lass.”
Ah shit. “Paddy, not now please. I’m not feeling very grand. It hurts to speak,” she said in a demure voice and hoped he would leave, “and don’t listen to Abby, she’s being a bitch.” Biddy plead her case the best she knew how.
“C’mon, now lass, open the door and let me have a look at you.” Paddy sounded like he cared, but he always sounded that way, especially before he punched you in the mouth.
“You’re gonna be done with me, no, Paddy, no.” Biddy started to sob and gasp for air.
“Don’t make me break the door down again.” Paddy began to sigh. Paddy was about five and a half feet tall and just as thick but not fat, and he was strong as an ox.
Biddy stood up from the bed and made her way to the door. She knew if Paddy broke down the door she would be in real trouble, like she had been before. She unlatched the door and pulled it open and then scurried back to her bed.
Paddy walked into her room, his nose was met with various smells of oil, sex, and sweat, he paid it no mind, as he was quite used to it. He walked over to her window and avoided the broken glass from the mirror and lamp and opened the shutters. She pulled the blankets over her head to hide from Paddy and the sun, she hoped to prolong the inevitable.
Please go away!
“Dammit, girl, let me see you.” Paddy grunted as he sat on the side of her bed next to her. He pulled the blanket away from her, “Sit up, girl and let me see your face!”
She did as she was told and sat up, staring at him with her face the color of an eggplant. Paddy shook his head in dismay.
“Please don’t hit me Paddy.” She begged.
Her disfigured face was pathetic enough. Drool ran from the corner of her mouth and the dried blood mixed with snot to create a pinkish slime that stuck to her face. She clung to the blanket and held it to her chest and hoped her mangled face would solicit the kind side of Paddy O’Shea.
“I ain’t gonna hit you lass. Well, not yet I won’t. Where’s the money from last night?” Paddy asked.
Oh fuck.Where was the money? It fell on the ground!
She tried to smile, but the pain was excruciating. She was comforted and knew that money always made Paddy happy.
“It’s on the floor somewhere.” She pointed to the floor. Paddy’s eyebrows teetered.
“That bastard yanked me out of the bed and when he did, the money went flying about. Paddy, I swear to the Virgin I do.”
Biddy was eager to have Paddy gather his money and leave her to the comfort of her pain and sorrow. Paddy dropped to the floor and searched around on his hands and knees like a meticulous dog that searched for a morsel of food. He was down there a while, Biddy raised up to see if she could see him over the end of the bed. She heard the sound of glass breaking and then an angered grunt from Paddy.
“Paddy, are you doing grand? Find the money?” Biddy asked with faithful hope. Paddy rose up from the end of the bed. He raised his hand for her to see that blood ran down his forearm and soaked into his rolled up sleeve. He stood and stared at her with angry mutton chops that framed his chubby round face.
“I’m not grand, lass. There is no money on this floor and now I’m bleeding. Gimme the money, you dirty tail, or I’ll beat it outta you!” Paddy’s face turned bright red and his pock filled drunken oily nose glistened in the sunlight.
Biddy became flush with fear, “If you didn’t find it Paddy, then I don’t have it. That bastard or Michael took it while I was locked, I swear.” She began to weep, “My door was open all night. Anyone could have taken it, Paddy, please.”
Paddy came to the side of the bed as Biddy scooted back into the corner and hoped she would be able to climb the wall like a spider and escape. Paddy climbed up onto the bed and grabbed her ankle. He pulled hard then grabbed her knee as she kicked him in the chest with her free leg. It mattered not, since she was not strong enough to hurt him.
He grabbed the other leg and pulled her down closer to him, where her legs could be spread around his knees. He tossed up her gown to reveal her vagina. He unbuckled his belt and dropped his pants. His little stubby penis was erect and ready to violate her with abandon. He shoved himself into her and forced the debt paid. He propped himself over her and slapped her face with one hand and choked her with the other while he pumped. Her pale face turned purple and the already purple turned black. Each slap was like a lightning strike.
Biddy would have screamed if she could, but she could not. She tried to use her arms to thwart his efforts, but they grew weaker and weaker until they gave out and she fainted, once again locked and beaten like the worthless whore everyone told her that she was.
Paddy fucked and beat her limp body until he had his fill and not too long after he was able to calm down and catch his breath. He buckled his trousers and straightened his clothes, then he made the sign of the cross at his chest and kissed his hand while he looked up at the ceiling. Paddy felt the pain in his hand as the adrenaline subsided. He tore a strip from the bed sheet and wrapped it tight around his hand.
He picked Biddy up off the bed, he was a caring man after all, and carried her out of the room. The hallway was empty and none of these lasses wanted a similar fate, so they retreated to their quarters. He carried her downstairs and out the back door to the alley.
A trail of blood followed him, it flowed from her nose, ran down her cocked neck, into her long hair and then dripped from the ends. He carried her a few blocks until he reached the back of St. Catherine’s church, a small church in the slums devoted to helping the poor and meek, even half dead whores, and no one paid him any mind. It was not a rare occurrence in the slums of Dublin to see people carry bodies. Paddy propped her up against the wall opposite the back door. He knocked on the door and walked away without shame.
Biddy sat against the wall like a porcelain doll, except this doll was bloody and tattered, and propped up against a stone wall in a in a blood soaked gown. The church door did not open. A group of boys that ran the streets happened upon her. If it had been different circumstances, maybe had it been more of a challenge they would have robbed her or done even worse, but that day they took pity on the poor lass. The largest boy prodded a smaller one and pointed at the church door, “Poor lass smells like piss and death she does. Kevin, go knock on the door, she needs help.”
Kevin obeyed without question and hammered the door just as he was ordered to by the older boy. The door opened after a while. A man in a priest’s habit exited into the alley. He pulled back his white hair and tried to get a grasp on what was going on. He saw the backs of the boys as they dashed around the corner, they had run away as to not be implicated. Father James saw Biddy, “Hail, Mary, full of grace,” the priest turned and yelled into the church, “Sister Mary, come quickly, she’s back.”