He stepped onto the icy road and commenced the ending of his journey. Unrepentant prodigal treading God's earth once again. God's waste. For a thousand deities conspiring together could not in a thousand years contrive such a desolation. The boy eventually arrived at the crossroads and made yet another embarcation. He sometimes viewed his lonely, filthrugged existence as nothing more than a series of departures, punctuated solely by quiet disappointments. Ephemeral and all-too-briefly glimpsed instants of truth, epiphanic despairs marked by the lowering of a gaze or a defeated grimace. Departure and arrival, marred; always marred.
Still, he walked on. His breath frosted the air before him and the path beneath him glittered falsely, as if the lie was itself embedded in the very stone of the place. Occaisionally he glanced upward accusingly at the sky. He knew its treacherous patterns well and carried them inside his chest. If they sliced me open, he thought, they will find the etchings upon my bones. He had known the lights of those constellations for nineteen years and sometimes he wondered how many of them had expired long before his own arrival onto this wretched stone of a world, their death throes echoing across unknowable fathoms to eventually inform him of their passing many decades later. He walked quickly despite the capricious winking and the unsteady footing his path offered. There was nothing for him here, save the soiled covenant and the pained stares of those he had abandoned. But he had abandoned them long ago, and he knew this and accordingly he reckoned.
I long for the freedom of my stillborn brother.
Warmth touched his iced cheek and dumbly he realised that he was crying. Stopping before he crossed from one side of a barren road to the other he clumsily wiped his face and set off again, eternally in pursuit of some obscure and inaccessible destination. Another refusal, another decline, another negation. He could see orbs of light suspended in the air before him, their scrutinies sliding over him, piercing him, one after another. After a time he reached the house and opened the front door, silently closing it behind him. He stood in the darkened hallway for a very long time. Eventually he stirred and entered the front room of the house, and sat down opposite his father. It was as if that sickly amber glow had crept in the door after him, despite his practiced vigilance, for it hung in the room like a dense and noxious cloud. The boy's face, jaundiced by the lamplight, passively regarded the man who had crudely and inexpertly molded it for a number of years. The man's eyebrows arched slightly. How much, he asked.
How much what?
How much money, he sighed, exasperatedly, as if something filthy and unwelcome had tarnished his shoe.
Enough, the boy replied, after a moment's hesitation.
That's not what your mother told me, the man said, rising from his chair and leaving the room without looking at him. Outside in the hallway the boy's father swore loudly and went upstairs.
The boy brought his gaze back to the empty chair before him and to his lap. His hands, he suddenly noticed, were lying there upturned in a gesture of importunement, as if they had moved of their own will or of the willing of his scowling and winedrunk father. Certainly they had not moved of the boy's own behest for he would never do such a thing. He cursed them, loudly, like his father had done, and he too rose and went upstairs. Later when he was lying in bed crying in the early hours of the morning he heard his father walk to the bathroom to piss, stopping briefly but tellingly outside his door. After he had finished, he stopped again outside the door, this time for an instant longer, and the boy heard the man murmur something with imperceptible quietness before walking back to his room. The boy let out a long, protracted last sigh of consummate defeat and fell at last to sleep.