23. Seven of Cups
It was so quiet. We lay there on the kitchen floor, spent and happy. The first moment I could ever remember being happy in Grimwalt Place. It was dark. Hours had passed since we put Enid in her room, since we had peanut butter kisses and made love on the bare tile floor and stopped listening. Stopped thinking.
Louis made me forget. That’s the danger of love. It clogs your senses with bliss. It masks any risk or ugliness with pleasure. It’s the Seven of Cups – the false Grail. Aunt Gerda had taught me Tarot. The Death card was only change – transformative change. But the Seven of Cups was the real death card. It’s an omen that all your illusions must fall away and you are left to despair. That which you believe is yours abandons you, is taken from you.
I was wakeful now. Aware of the mad gap of silence just before a coming storm. Brief bursts of lightning affirmed familiar shadows around us. Thunder followed, angry gods stamping their feet. The hairs on my arms prickled. I woke Louis.
Suddenly, I heard the splintering of wood, the flat metal bang of broken hinges.
Ig was out.
We pulled on our clothes and sat still, trying not to breathe. The hallway lights flipped on.
“Oh, you creeps!” he bellowed. “You dirty, dirty creeeeeeeps! Haha! I found your little hammer! I found it! Oh yes!” He lumbered toward the hall, his steps weighted by rage. “I’ll find you! Girl creep and her filthy gimp!”
My mind was racing for anything in reach to defend ourselves, kitchen knives, rolling pin…I had left the axe in my old bedroom when we moved Enid. My old bedroom, the slaughterhouse, the Cabinet of Dr. Ignatio Ormonza. The Death Hole that had once been an illusion of safety and innocence, the façade of my childhood.
Ig’s footsteps turned the other way, toward the end of the hall. I could see his contorted face in my mind’s eye. Pandora’s box was flung wide. His life’s secret work of torture and mutilation, handiwork of twisted nightmare, all exposed and brought into the light.
“Ah! Ah!” Ig’s high-pitched voice echoed. “Ah! You’re dead now, Girl Creep! You are finally dead!”
“We have to get outside.” I whispered to Louis. “We have to get out now!”
We navigated around the cabinets and across the open space, heading toward the sliding door. Just as we crossed the threshold into sheeting rain, Ig appeared around the corner.
Ignatio Ormonza, a grimy, rabid wolf, in his soiled flamingo underwear, black dress socks, and patent leather shoes, wispy hair drawn wild by static, eyes black and shining, raised his cattle prod above his head and grinned.
“This is for you, Girly Girl Creep!”
He lunged forward, but Louis pushed me into the wet grass and stepped between us.
“That’s okay, Gimp!” Ig brandished the cattle prod. “Remember your old friend?!”
My guts sank and I knew immediately where Louis had gotten his starburst scar. I pushed myself up from the grass, moving toward them. I had to put myself between my love and The Man.
As I dove toward him, Louis pushed me back again harder. “Stay there!” I landed on my face this time, my head grazing the doorjamb on the way down.
Ig lurched forward. Louis grabbed Ig’s head and flung him against the sliding glass door. At the same time, the cattle prod connected with the Louis’s heart.
His pale body convulsed and fell backward next to me. He lay motionless, glacial blue eyes wide, mouth open filling with rain. Death – the true death and despair – my burnt angel, my love, my hope. Lightning arced, illuminating his face, burning in my brain and freezing my heart into stone.