I walked in a lot of activity has taken place in this office over the past couple of months; I started my career in this room and met the men who abused and left me. Well now, I was in the room again under entirely different circumstances to before where the only man with power in the room was Monsieur Artoir. Surrounded by these four wall careers in the arts are made and destroyed and now it was my turn to face his wrath. For a while, he did not talk just wondered about the room working out what he was going to say "How long has it been going on for?" he said with a tone of disgust "Since December after I met my Uncle." I said innocently not daring to look him in the eye, "Marcus is Claudia's son. He brings enough shame to his mother by bringing down her reputation because like you he is illegitimate. But either way she loves as any mother does." "She doesn't love him. She has never loved him. She beats him at every opportunity she can get. Nobody loved him until I met him." "The child needs discipline." "Discipline not beating to a bloody pulpit." "You starting this relationship done him no good and it hasn't given your career any credit." "What is going to happen to Marcus?" "Claudia will deal with Marcus and you before you go." "Where am I going?" "Out onto the streets, we don't need people like you in our theatre." "I'm not leaving without Marcus." "Why are you so concerned about him?" I didn't answer, and then Monsieur Artoir noticed the brilliance from my ring "Oh now I see is there anything else you need to tell me?" "Yes but Marcus knows about it." "Well?" "I'm pregnant." he looked at my stomach in shock and with a surprised and with an ironic tone said to me "You had better go and let him say goodbye to the two of you then." I stumbled back towards the door and he followed "Where is he?" "He would be in the stalls being talked to by his mother." he said this with a devious smile, fear ran swiftly down my spine and ran through to the stalls, and as I ran closer Marcus' screams grew louder and louder. I burst through the door and saw Marcus flat on his face and being kicked in the chest, but not by his mother, instead two other actors, both of them big strong and very well built merciless in their actions and deaf to Marcus' cries, were doing it. Claudia approached me head held high, for a while she stood there staring at me straight into my eyes, then swiped her hand across my cheek I raised my hand to strike back when I heard Monsieur Artoir's voice call behind me "Stop!" I put my hand down when Claudia spoke her French accent was very strong and defined "You lead my son astray; seduce him into your life like a whore." I ignored her; my thoughts were focused on Marcus' cries for help Monsieur Artoir said in a cold merciless tone, he showed no remorse, no sympathy for Marcus' cries or for my pain in having to hear them, "What do you have to tell my son?" I paused, thinking about what to say to her "Everything I want to say to him is for his ears only." I looked at her spitefully and she looked down her nose at me. She called the men to stop, I sighed in relieve but as they dragged him out of the auditorium I could do nothing, motionless the sight of him caused me to go paralyzed I couldn't even speak I wanted to but I couldn't for that brief moment I was nothing and there was nothing I could do. "Mary." said Marcus breathless and exhausted, blood pouring from his face and body almost collapsing where he stood as the two men, one on each arm held him their grips getting tighter and tighter as he squirmed and gasping for breath. I couldn't hold back the tears and instead of tell him what needed to be told I turned to face Claudia, I looked into her stone cold eyes and with no shame, I did to her as she had done to him, I swiped her so hard it brought her to the ground. Suddenly as I was about to hit her again the two men holding Marcus grabbed me then twisted my arm around my back as Claudia staggered to her feet. Monsieur Artoir stood his ground and lit a cigar, after exhaling the smoke he nodded to the two men restraining me.
They dragged me around the back of the stage screaming, they were going to put Marcus through the same pain I felt when he was being beaten. He could hear my screams, hear me but not see me and too weak to stop them. The ripping of stitches and parting seams put Marcus through a greater pain, he saw this happening to his mother now he was hearing it happen to his fianc. There was nothing either one of us could do, but he did try to help me, "Why are you doing this? She has done no harm to anyone." "She was out of place. She needs to be punished." said Monsieur Artoir in such a patronizing, unsympathetic attitude. Eventually the screaming stopped, and I was dragged out to the front of the stage with my corset ripped then pushed onto my front and left there. Claudia restrained Marcus from helping me "Go and get your things Mary, I'm sure your original landlady will still have a room available for you." said Monsieur Artoir avoiding to look me in the eye. I turned to Marcus, but I couldn't speak, the indescribable pain the men inflicted on me, had paralyzed my voice, instead I just turned and walked away.
I on purposefully took a long time in packing my things, my thoughts where else where, with Marcus and our unborn child. What could I do? I didn't want an abortion but neither did I want the child to grow up with out a father. When I had finished I walked out of my dressing room and all the other actors and actresses were standing over the beams and railings, none of them talking none of them moving. I saw Jacqueline on the way down she couldn't bear to look at me. She was responsible for Marcus getting beaten; I pulled on her hair and whispered spitefully in her ear "Are you happy now?" then with my grip still tight I threw her down the stairs, following her down slowly, and then leaving her with a dislocated shoulder at the foot of the stairs. Everyone stood in silence out fear, it wasn't until I left that everyone came back to life. But I had one more obstacle to overtake, while struggling with my case I noticed Monsieur Artoir and Claudia standing at the doorway; together they opened the doors, which led me out onto the filthy streets of Paris. The streets where I started and the streets where I finished my career in theatre all that is left for me to do was to start back at zero and restart my vocation in another theatre. I walked back to the tavern I stayed in when I first arrived and stayed in the same room as dark and melancholy as my future.
In the cellar at the theatre was Marcus nursing his wounds, having used up to two bottles of iodine on his chest wounds alone he resorted to using the coarse bandages without treating the gashes. After tying the last bandage, he would have to tie one more as he picked up the cutthroat razor and slashed it across his bruised wrists for a while he just allowed them to bleed for every drop of blood which spilt was one more dream lost and one more hope forgotten. Once again he tied another bandage around his wrists when Jacqueline walked down the stairs "Marcus?" he glanced at her and then returned to his thoughts while lying on his bed he said "Your brave coming down here." without looking at her instead he stared long and hard at the ceiling day dreaming about the bleak future ahead of him. "I came to apologize, I didn't want Mary to be expelled from the theatre." he stood up from his bed and walked across in anger towards her "You told everyone about us. You made me loose my fianc and my child. Why should I accept your apology?" she shuffled her shoes and massaged her shoulder "I don't expect you to accept anything I say." "What have done to your shoulder?" she pulled down the shoulder of her dress to reveal her swollen shoulder, the doctor had slotted it back in to place and now it was a bubble of fluid "Mary pushed me down the stairs. In result of being expelled from the theatre." in response to this Marcus pulled up his shirt to expose his bruised and battered chest "My mother ordered this for me being in love. The two men who did this to me rapped Mary. Your swollen shoulder and my bruises will heal; but the hatred I feel towards you will never heal, you have torn us apart. You deserve that swollen shoulder now please leave." she left without a word leaving Marcus with his bruises and slashed wrists.
Marcus didn't show himself for the rest of the day, he stayed in the cellar alone; he caught a glimpse of the photo of his mother and unknown father, and threw it across the room and enjoyed the satisfaction of hearing the glass frame shatter on impact, unfortunately the photo remained intact. He placed it in the centre of the fire singeing is fingers while watching the photo burn from the outside inwards. The only thing, which reminded him of his mother, had burned away but the wounds remained, spoiling his perfect posture. Regrettably, everything surrounding him reminded him of me, the bed we slept in, the cups we drank out of and obsession we conquered. But Marcus was so depressed that merely burning memories could not ease his pain. So that night he took some money from his mother's purse and went down the back streets of Paris behind the Moulin Rouge where the drug dealers made their trade.
With his coat pulled over his head, he walked into a small house with little lighting and shadows in every corner and one at the table he whispered to the man "Opium." "It doesn't come cheap; I hope you have plenty of money. We wouldn't want you to be in debt," said the stranger with a devious undertone, Marcus slammed his money on the table; the man looked in amazement then gave the money to another man and told him what to get "We haven't seen you here before. Just got onto opium?" "No I stopped using it for a while but circumstances have caused me to use it again." the order arrived in a small brown paper bag, with a syringe which appeared unclean to accompany the small bottle. Marcus left and returned to the theatre encountering his mother while going down to the cellar "Where have you been?" "Nowhere." "Monsieur Artoir wants to see you tomorrow night after the performance." he ignored her and went down to the cellar to make use of the fresh bottle of opium. After drawing the drug into the syringe he tightened a rubber armband around his biceps to put pressure on the veins and arteries, when the veins where visible he jabbed the needle into his arm forgetting the promise he made to me, that he knew he couldn't keep. He had not used this drug in many months now and came over light headed when the drug circulated in his blood stream but as soon as he injected the substance, he once again became addicted to it and within an hour half of the bottle had been used. The room around him began to spin and turn to orange, but something happen which had never happened before, a seizure took place he collapsed to the floor and started shaking. A shooting pain began to grow in his chest the heart valves pulsing and his screams rising. No one heard him and no one would care after the seizure was finished he had wished it continued, he was wishing that the seizure had sucked out all the life within him deep down he felt that his life was not worth living. He had lost the one person in his life which cared for him, no one else would mourn his death nobody would care, in his mind he believed that people would prefer it if he had never been born. It was only after he met me that his life began to make sense.
The next morning he walked to the office of Monsieur Artoir and knocked on the door tensely and entered slowly with his head peeping slowly around the door. Monsieur Artoir was writing at his desk, but was still aware of Marcus' presence "Marcus come in, and sat down." Marcus sat timidly in the chair; shoulder hunched forward and face focused on the pattern in the rich carpet, fidgeting with his fingers, ringing his hands. Monsieur Artoir relaxed back in his chair, twirling the lid back onto his pen; "Now Marcus. You have been in some trouble recently. How long were you and Mary involved in that relationship?" "About 6 months." "And the baby?" "I don't know what she intends to do. But any decision she comes to, I will support her." Marcus said boldly, looking intently into the eyes of his captivator. Monsieur Artoir chuckled at the statement, "How do you intend to pay for looking after her in her condition?" "Every penny I earn, every franc will be sent to her, to pay for the baby." he said with a determined expression. "And how do you expect to pay for the child, with lower wages." snarled Monsieur Artoir "You can't cut my wages because I fell in love, because I cared for her." shouted Marcus resting both his hands on the desk "I can do what I want. I am the owner and manager of this theatre. Just be grateful you still have a job, if it wasn't for the fact that you are Claudia's son I would throw you out onto the streets." roared Monsieur Artoir, Marcus and him now face to face. "Mary needs my help. If not her then our child, why should he or she suffer for your spitefulness towards us? An unborn child is no criminal even if we are." Monsieur Artoir was struck down by the power of his words, for a boy with little education he knew his values and always stood by his opinions. Monsieur Artoir just stood proud, an inner feeling of pleasure in Marcus' pain began to show, "You can send her the money, but she won't be allowed back in this theatre, not while I am still here." Marcus knew he had no hope of winning an argument with him, so he swallowed his pride and went back to his chores.
At the tavern I had settled back into the room I started out in, I looked out of the same window, which overlooked the Grand Guignol knowing that still trapped in its evil grasp was Marcus. I could not dare to imagine what he was being subjected to, in my minds eye I could picture him dabbing the iodine into open wounds hoping that the pain will eventually go away. For the hour which past I numbed myself with absinthe. Early the next morning the same maid looking at me disappointment, as she had seen the effects of absinthe and loneliness, firstly in Monsieur Dupont and now in me. I woke up with a blurred vision and an aching head, spending my days at the bar of the tavern giving men the pleasure of buying me drink after drink, unfortunately, drink does not release me from the pain and solitude I was in. I turned to stronger substances drinking Pernod and living with the intoxication for two nights in a row and then enhancing it with cocaine cheap from the streets given to me over the bar of the tavern by a sleazy drunken man, overdosed on Pernod and other toxins. I had spent all my wages on the drugs.
Everything around me had changed; my company had changed from the rich and sophisticated to the poor and corrupt. But more importantly I had changed at the Grand Guignol I was successful as well as in love, but now I was nothing but a slut from the back streets of Paris, captivated in alcohol, drugs and prostitution; to pay for my rent and clothes but also to feed my ever growing obsession. To help myself through solitude I wrote to Marcus everyday of the week, but knowing whether he would receive them was as likely as me seeing him ever again. I cried at every word I wrote and every kiss at the bottom of the page was intentional in everyway, but it wasn't the same as feeling the sensuous touch of the kisses I shared with him. Three months had past since I last saw him, my stomach had swelled into a fine bump, and it was merely a matter of days. One evening while standing at the bar the local doctor came in, he was a thin man and exceptionally tall, his well-defined looks and strong rules made him standout among the crowds. He had a good reputation in his work, an expert in the field of midwifery. He was the only one who cared about me; "You won't do your child any good, continually drinking that stuff." "Something has to take away the pain." "As the child is nearly due I will see you every evening along with a nurse." as turned to walk back towards the door, I abruptly began to breathe heavily smashing the glass in the process. The breathing got deeper and deeper and a tearing pain occurred inside of me. The doctor ordered two men to carry me up to my room as he brought some hot water and towels. He injected some morphine into the base of my spine to ease the pain then there was nothing to do but wait. Two men were standing outside my door to ensure no one goes in, but my screams shook the building as the morphine began to wear of. For six and a half hours, I was in pure pain; I could feel the inside of my body tearing in two, in exhaustion I fell back on my pillow when I heard a pitiful cry, "It's a little girl Mary. It's a beautiful little girl," said the doctor wrapping her in a clean towel and handing her to me. I felt so proud holding her, and as she opened her eyes, everyone gasped at the beauty of them, the big gorgeous blue eyes could only belong to her father, if only he was here to see them.
Marcus wasted away his days with opium, within the week he had taken up to four small bottles of opium paid for by his mother's wages without her permission, but his habit had increased dramatically opium was no longer enough for him to escape life and the pain of living, cocaine and drink blended together was now his addiction. However, no drugs in the world could seal the hole in his heart. I was banned from seeing him ever again. Monsieur Artoir was now harsher towards him, his wages were slashed, so was his body and from now on only the kitchen leftovers were his meals and all the other actresses were turned against him making him feel like more of an outcast in society.
© Copyright 2017 Emie Ruth. All rights reserved.
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