“Tap, tap… tap”. The conscience of Arbutus Marley was forever manipulating his presence; on a more ignorant occasion he was used to letting himself believe the rattling outcries were just his ‘D.I.Y’ neighbours he’d never cared to meet, instead of allowing its true nature (which some might say was a sinister reminder of his past from a time before) into his private existence. I suppose that if it was indeed a reminder, it was a little unnecessary: Arbutus could never forget (however hard he had or hadn’t tried) that night of 40 years ago. The night it happened. The night even Ignis Clark turned his back on him.

Nevertheless this annoying sound (whatever he allowed it to be) was interrupting the revision of his even longer time of before- his childhood. He now spent most of his time indoors, listening to ancient radio broadcasts from the 40’s, a time when he’d lost faith in everything but Ignis Clark. He found great refuge in ‘Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh’, it had always been one of his favourites and more often than not; came out when he was feeling a little under the weather, or more so than usual. As it played he could almost taste his dead mother’s cigarette smoke, he could hear her crying in the next room, (he always, even now, made the assumption that her time to time bawling had something to do with the war although he liked to believe, even as a young child of nine, that it was the product of her deserving punishment). You, reader, unknown to his character- even from yester years, may wonder why he was never completely sure of why his mother cried so. But those who maybe knew Arbutus Marley too well would make the assumption that he simply never cared. They would be right. Arbutus even found that the recollections of his mother’s tears gave him a sense of happiness, it had made him a better believer of Ignis Clark: Jennifer Marley deserved to cry all she did for she wasn’t a believer. You must, however, understand this: Arbutus had always the notion that his father’s disappearance (because that’s what it had been) was all her fault. She drove him away with her clawing paranoia, her constant arguing and most significantly: she let herself grow as ugly as a plagued dog. Maybe that was what made her a bitter old maid, her beauty turning to dust before the world. She only had one child yet her, once worshipped, body had given up way before it’s time. In the end his father had no reason to stay, especially after the war- not even his beloved son could fill the gaps that came from a head-strong woman.

“Have you read any good books lately?” He felt he had dwelled a little too strongly on the past that morning causing a little sickness to shy over his grimacing body. He turned off the broadcast and imagined what the sanction of death held for a man like him.

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