By Richard Godwin
The farm lay untenanted for months that passed with the slow resolution of some grim prophecy.
Winter turned and settled a million leaves deep in the soil that acquired new fecundity from the mulch and insects that bred there.
The earth seemed to be ovulating.
And black clouds scudded across the glass screen of the horizon through which Joshua watchfully peered.
The windows of the farmhouse at night would look like black eyes staring at the landscape and the house itself seemed immersed in gloom.
At times a light would be seen crossing the field, it swung like a lantern as if some watcher were traversing the gateway world the farm became.
Local boys saw it and spoke of it to their parents who dismissed them with angry words.
No one wanted to go to the farm.
The bloodshed stained Toft like a knife cut on a canvas.
The pretty village had been violated by lunacy and its inhabitants failed to grasp what had taken place.
Only their animal instincts kept them herded and mistrustful of the farm.
The bodies at the farm were taken away by the ambulance men who shook as they left.
A firm of estate agents were contracted by the distant brother of Adam Grimes.
As his only surviving relative he had inherited the property. He lived too far away to be interested in anything other than the money from the sale.
The estate agents hired a cleaning company who got rid of the stains, dusted and left.
A local painter and decorator splashed some paint on it, working only by daylight with the radio on loudly.
It hissed and crackled, losing its signal and he would stare out of the violated windows feeling he was watched.
Adam Grimes’s brother needed the money and so he undersold.
It was spring and the birth of colour when the new owner arrived there.
Emmanuel Reveille was one of the new tenants and he placed his bag in Joshua’s old room and went to look about the farm.
He was a tall handsome young man with eyes that pooled when he spoke, he had long black hair and had a native grace that placed him apart from fellow men.
He was quiet and contemplative and would muse upon the hidden mystery of things, turning leaves over in his hand as if they were talking to him.
He lived on the broken edge of his heart and felt it bleed within him and he saw poetry in dreams.
As the sun filled the air with the promise of summer he walked to the stable.
He opened the door and felt it, felt the decay and violation and the old sin.
The hay that covered the floor did little to camouflage from him the event that had occurred there and he saw the blood drip from the beams.
He could feel movement within the soil, he could hear the music that the earth held in her heart.
He walked across the field and felt the plough there and knew the tilling was another husbandry.
Stopping by a tree he saw a young boy with tear stained glasses clutching something.
He bent and tucked his knees up and cried.
Emmanuel knew what he was.
He knew he lived on the edge of space and had a claim to the terrain of which he was but a visitant.
He felt the surge of dreams coming on and returned to his room where he opened his bag and removed a blister pack.
He took the pill and swallowed water to ease it down, in conflict with the repression it offered his alternate view of life.
He wondered if he would escape the tyranny of pills and return to the place he had left with the attentions of those around him firmly placed on his moods.
In the farm Alan Strong unpacked his things and barked at his wife Mildred who was undressing for a bath.
‘We have a lot to do’, he said. ‘Hurry Mildred.’
He was a large burly man with a red nose acquired from drinking too much whisky.
Mildred was a plump pretty woman. She jumped in the bath and hurriedly began washing.
They had a teenage daughter Cecily.
She was in the next room brushing her luxuriant hair. It was auburn and cascaded down her white rounded shoulders as she sat in her bra and a short skirt.
She stood and looked out of the window.
Below her Emmanuel passed through the courtyard.
He removed his shirt and washed at an old pump.
Cecily looked at his toned back, watching his muscles ripple. The sun was warm and streamed in through her window.
She lifted her skirt and put a finger inside herself.
She was bored at the prospect of living on a farm and needed distraction.
She had left school and wanted to be free of her father.
She watched the sun glance off Emmanuel’s skin.
She put her finger to her cherry red lips and licked it.
She put it in her mouth and imagined how Emmanuel would feel if his cock were inside her.
She watched him leave the courtyard.
It seemed to her the sun was a flame that spoke to her.
She felt it would enter her womb and she would use it on the skin of a man.
Emmanuel began his work.
Alan wanted to grow vegetables.
He wanted to breed sheep.
He’d brought two horses with him.
Emmanuel found Joshua’s plough and began working.
He started at the edge of the field and he began to till, following the horses towards the farmhouse which looked as if it were bleeding in the sunlight.
Ivy covered the side of it and it had turned a deep red colour.
And as Emmanuel tilled he knew.
He felt Joshua breathing below him.
He saw the soil crumble and turn and all living things talked to him and he smelt the earth open and breathe.
It was less the sudden wind that kicked up as he crossed the field than the breath below that caught him and filled him with some lust and passion for the nameless ones.
He felt the opening of a doorway in his mind and the music of some distant place inhabit him with its dark melodies.
The horses bit at the bridle and their eyes looked at night as the sun stood overhead and gained heat that was the flame of summer rising before its time.
And Cecily dressed, ensuring she showed enough of what she wanted to offer Emmanuel, considering she was a woman in charge of her sexual knowing and unaware she had entered a drama darker than her blistered passion.
She hated her father.
She carried this hatred like a swollen scar into all her encounters with men. She always planned something beyond the sexual act and she knew what she had planned for Emmanuel.
She wanted to burn him once his desire was shown.
But first she had to taste him.
She felt him moving in her mouth as she applied lipstick.
She changed out of her wet panties and put on dry ones.
And Joshua watched at the edge of time.
He was in his earth and saw the second harrowing begin.
He saw the ploughman’s hands nestle on the mould board and he conjoined him to the darkness that was his own.
He steered him towards dreams and the black umbra of his peninsula.
He watched him move the horses and the tools of husbandry.
And he knew his inner workings and the unspoken dreams of his soul.
At lunchtime she knew.
Cecily sat and played with Emmanuel.
She looked at him with the knowing eyes of a seductress and admired his masculine beauty.
They ate from plates that were corroded with the crust of family despair, the father’s hatred of his wife, his steel brutality.
And as Cecily chewed and swallowed she felt she was eating Emmanuel. She wanted to digest him and her juices ran like perfumed acid in her body.
She wore a low top and leant at the opportune moment to take some cold ham from a plate, noting Emmanuel’s eyes.
He looked at the swing of her breasts and she saw him do so and suppressed the smirk that animated her pretty face.
She would have him she told herself.
And Joshua watched her and turned his finger in the air to work her desire to a frenzy.
He wanted to see the fluid rush before the ocean of blood and he smelt the sulphur of her lust beneath the dress she wore to please her father.
It was a patterned dress with floral motifs he liked.
He desired his daughter and resented his wife for this.
Cecily knew this although nothing had ever occurred between them of a physical nature.
She enjoyed her knowing since it allowed her hatred to grow and she fed it with the tears of rage and the burning of boys.
She enjoyed being penetrated and took pleasure in the thought of what she would do afterwards.
She would lie under them and clench their penises hard inside her and their faces would assume the texture of grain into which she wrote her angry promise.
Her deepest arousal and pleasure stemmed from the apprehension of what she would do to them once they had spent themselves.
And now she cast her hook at Emmanuel who ate his lunch in silence.
And as she did so Joshua smiled.
Her attentions did not go unnoticed by her father who spoke to her after Emmanuel had left and returned to Joshua’s field.
‘Don’t be flirting with the ploughman’, he said. ‘He’s not for you.’
Cecily looked at him and his raised finger as he admonished her for a desire he did not understand.
‘Why? Are you jealous?’, she said.
‘Jealous? You know he’s not right.’
‘Not right for me?’
‘Not right for anyone. He’s schizophrenic.’
‘Oh. I didn’t know.’
‘I hired him because he was cheap.’
‘Is he dangerous?’
‘He’s on medication, keeps him quiet.’
Cecily returned to her room and wondered what it would be like to fuck a madman.
And Joshua filled her mind with the images of a passion that knew no bounds and of being touched in ways that ignited her soul.
He air raped her.
He entered her with pony steps.
Cecily lay back on her bed and lifted her dress. She watched her open cunt in the mirror she’d placed opposite herself and she masturbated, seeing Emmanuel fuck her and tell her things that were secret and unspoken.
And he turned the soil and smelt horse semen.
Cecily had clear green eyes as diaphanous as emeralds set in alabaster.
Emmanuel wondered if he would pluck them from her face. He could smell her sexual arousal in the field.
Cecily had creamy skin that smelt of female fertility and an emollient wetness filled her flesh with exotic perfume.
She could seduce any man she wanted.
All through the month they lived there Emmanuel worked the field and became slowly deranged.
He doubled his intake of medicine to stem the tide of images that Joshua placed in his head and to stop the voices.
And he ran out of pills one day as a pink sunset seemed to leak beauty and the face of a frightened child across the furrowed field.
Emmanuel was standing at his window and saw Cecily in the yard below and he smelt her.
He smelt her femininity and his mouth filled with saliva.
The image of a rabid dog entered the room and he could hear the howling of twilight.
He had avoided Cecily’s advances, her attempts to come to his room and lure him to hers.
He wanted to keep his job.
He saw the attentions of the local girls when he went to Toft and he worked himself to a fatigue that took his mind off his desire.
Cecily was arguing with her father who shouted something at her Emmanuel did not hear.
And Joshua entered his head and stirred his troubled psyche to a whirlpool into which he cast his mantra of the plough and the need for reproduction.
He would couple them with harness and yoke and tear Cecily’s baby from her womb.
The argument she was having with her father stemmed from the fact that he had gone into her handbag and found a pregnancy kit.
She was late and worried she had fallen pregnant after fucking a local man name Edward Steers.
She’d met him at the pub one night and let him screw her at his house.
Afterwards she taunted him with his inadequacy and left before he hit her.
Steers was angry with her and wanted to pursue her but was restrained by fear of the farm as all the locals were. No one spoke of the rumours, of what was seen there nor of the events of its past.
That night Steers got raging drunk and headed through the woods to find Cecily.
‘You have no right going through my things’, she said to her father as the yard darkened with night.
‘Are you pregnant?’
‘Then why have you got this?’, he said, waving the pregnancy kit at her like a jealous lover.
Emmanuel walked out and they stopped.
‘She bought it for me’, he said.
‘For you?’, Alan said.
‘I think I’ve got a local girl pregnant, I didn’t have time to get it.’
‘Oh. I see, all right lad, give it to him girl’, Alan said.
Cecily handed Emmanuel the kit and watched him walk out into the field.
She waited for a period of time commensurate with disinterest before heading out into the black night.
Alan sat down with Mildred who sat knitting.
He eyed her with derision and soon became annoyed at the clicking of the needles as she fell within the caul of her submissive life which obviated awareness of the lack of affection in her life.
The clicking needles made Alan think of abortion. As a young man he had stuck one in his girlfriend to force her to miscarry.
He went and drank whisky.
And Cecily saw a light on in the stable and entered it.
Emmanuel was with his horses and Joshua was telling him of the secret plough.
He had his shirt off and Cecily looked at his muscles as they flexed and fell within the rhythm of his skin and she approached and touched him.
He turned and looked at her and saw it in her eyes.
‘I like the look of you Emmanuel’, she said.
‘Then you will like the feel of me Cecily’, he said.
She looked down and saw the shape of his penis in his trousers.
And Emmanuel leant in to her and smelled her.
Joshua watched and turned the air to vapour into which he poured the distilled drops of his religion and its ceremonies as Emmanuel and Cecily stripped.
The horses were sweating from their exertions and the heat of the day lingered in the air and steam rose from their bodies like the emanation of an erotic wraith. The horses neighed and they turned their eyes on the naked man and woman in their dwelling place and they felt the blood beneath their hooves and kicked at the gates.
Night took hold and blackness fell outside intensifying in itself as if it wished to extinguish any witness to the deeds that were about to take place.
Cecily stood with perfect cream skin and looked at Emmanuel’s erect penis and saw what she wanted to do to him after she had him inside her.
He touched her breasts, running his fingers around her saucer-like nipples until he raised them.
He ran his hand across her dark pubic hair and opened her vagina, smelling her desire and entering her with his finger as she rubbed hic cock back and forth and pressed her lips to his.
She lay on the hay over the blood stains where Joshua’s ponies had been violated by him and Emmanuel entered her.
And as he did she saw glasses on his face and felt him change.
She imagined it was a trick of the light since when she looked again they were gone and all she could feel was his hardness in her and her cunt growing in wetness.
He rode her well with the assured rhythm of a good saddle.
The horses watched them there, the coupled beasts blind to the yoke that harnessed them, crutches joined and pleasures merging.
And it seemed to them that man was the strangest beast of all, a blindness of desire and pointless enterprise.
Emmanuel fucked Cecily and Joshua showed him the secret sign, the shadow of the tailpiece falling beyond them where no shadows fell.
He saw Cecily’s secret desire and her body riddled with worms and slowed with age.
The worms crawled out of her ears and mouth and she seemed to suck on them with the delirious lips of sexual hysteria.
He could see a horse break free of her womb, her legs in stirrups, her vagina gaping as hooves jutted out and she spewed placenta and fur at the hidden world they lay within.
She was dripping and she thrust her hips forward as she felt climax stir its licking flame inside her.
She moved into him and started to tingle and she screamed and afterwards heard the scream in her memory and found herself angry at it for she had never made that noise before and felt she was not in command.
She waited for Emmanuel to ejaculate, needing his semen in her before she could do what it was she wanted and which would give satisfaction to her desire.
Satiated hungered in her mouth and cunt like a living word.
And Emmanuel’s semen broke free in her like a boiling river that has burst its banks and it filled her with its brackish promise of more to come, its searching desire.
She smiled and turned over.
‘I’ll be back in a minute’, she said getting up.
Emmanuel said nothing as he watched her leave and run naked through the yard, her curved arse illuminated by the moon which had steered its way free of clouds and sent a spectral ray into the blackened being of the farm. He saw the way the light seemed to pass between her legs in the gap between her thighs and catch the hair that jutted there and dripped with come.
Joshua told him what she had planned and what he would do.
Inside the farmhouse Cecily found the candle and matches and returned to Emmanuel who lay naked on the hay.
As she did so Steers stumbled into the farmhouse.
Cecily stood over Emmanuel.
‘I’m going to burn a candle on you’, she said.
She lit a match and put it to the wick and watch the light sputter and sizzle there and she eyed his penis and felt aroused.
She put her finger inside herself and rubbed her cunt as she moved towards him with the wax beginning to drip.
And Emmanuel reached under the hay where it lay hidden and he brought Joshua’s share up in an arc and sliced Cecily’s throat.
She dropped the candle, igniting hay, and as the horses neighed Emmanuel dragged her bleeding body into the yard. A long line of blood stretched all the way there like a deranged snake.
Cecily’s neck was throwing blood up into the black air and Emmanuel opened her up and placed her organs on the ground.
Joshua told him him what to do and he dragged her parts into the field and dug a hole into which he inserted them.
Then he opened her womb and tore from it the small foetus.
He put it in the ground and went and tethered the horses which had run out into the night.
He cut a small section of tail from both of them and wove these together and tied it around the foetus before burying it with Cecily’s body parts.
There was a noise from the farm, a crashing sound, and Emmanuel turned naked with red eyes and stared at the window at which he saw a light.
He entered there with share in hand and heard shouting, the voice of Alan.
He mounted the stairs and saw Steers shoot Alan and turn the gun on Mildred.
Steers heard a creak on the floorboard behind him and turned into Joshua’s share.
It opened him up and Emmanuel cut him to pieces, rearranging him on the faded rug of the bedroom.
Then he took him outside into the black night and buried him in the field with horse tail tying him to the earth.
He watched the stable burn and send smoke into the night and he quenched the fire with foam and sand.
Then Joshua spoke to him and told him what to do.
No one would visit the farm and he was now the farmer there.
Emmanuel went inside and saw his red eyes on the window pane and went to sleep.
And Joshua gave him visions.
Emmanuel would breed a race of farmers to till the field of flesh.