He buried his face in his hands. He was trembling and sobbing faintly. He kept murmuring one word. Olay got close to him but couldn’t quite figure it out above the sobbing. He eventually heard it. William was repeating a name, “Susan…”
His wife? Olay looked at him and asked softly, “Is she pretty?”
“She is the prettiest woman…I have ever seen…” William said. At that moment, Olay noticed that an extremely tender and warm blue peeked out from between his fingers, brought out by his memories. Oh, so that is his original color, a happy and decent man.
“Do you love her?”
The man’s body was trembling. Despair and pain depleted the air in the tiny room, making it suffocating. “I love her deeply…deeply…”
“I didn’t even know… That she was pregnant. She told me that she was gonna give me a big surprise on my birthday… my god…my god…”
Olay looked at him blankly, not knowing what to do. Such heavy and desperate sorrow exuded from him like poisonous gas. Maybe Quincy was right. If there is such a thing as true love in the world, it has happened to this man. But he has lost her now.
“You did nothing wrong. Don’t do this to yourself.” He said dryly.
“You don’t know anything, you have no idea…” The man sobbed. His voice was hoarse from the sorrow. “I had no choice…god….” He trembled hysterically, but couldn’t make another sound. Grief deprived everything from him, making him shake but unable to cry out.
“Stop it, this is not your fault, why are you…” Olay paused, a bit short of breath. “Fine, fine! Please just shut up, I don’t like it. Damn!” He yelled, “It has already happened. Why do you unreasonably punish yourself for someone else’s crime!”
Then he heard someone coming in. He opened the window and jumped out.
*** *** ***
Although it’s not apparent from his look, Olay spends most of his time in the library. It was not because he wanted to get a degree during his spare time in prison or something; it was mainly because he enjoyed killing his time in this way.
However, the library had its disadvantages. It is the place those overly sex-deprived men uses to sodomize and punish people. There are few people and plenty of obstructions. What happens inside cannot be heard from the outside at all.
Other than those who had actually served time in jail, this is probably knowledge to the prison guards only, because that new “cop” obviously didn’t know it. No, maybe he did. Perhaps he did it deliberately. In any case, he continued to torture himself harshly.
Olay saw him enter the library. He might have been looking for some books, or maybe he was summoned by someone else. Soon, he could hear the noises from inside. Such a charming man, he thought, he literally just walked in.
He closed his own book, stood up and walked towards the source of the noise. He couldn’t tell exactly why he did that. Perhaps he just wanted to see what’s going on.
Between the seventh and the eighth row, he found William. He was surrounded by three men. One of them grasped his arms from behind, in case he struggles – which seemed unnecessary, in Olay’s opinion. William just stood there in a trance. He was pretty. He was a pretty shell. His shirt was pulled up, exposing his tight abdominal muscles. A man was stroking and admiring them. Perhaps there was more than desire involved. William could attract men, indeed. Another man tried to kiss him but was dodged. So he still couldn’t quite accept a man’s kiss even in self-exile.
When he looked aside, his gaze met Olay’s directly. His blue eyes were like two empty shells, looking through him and into another space, dark and desperate. He shut his soul off thoroughly and offered it to be swallowed by darkness. The only thing left was the body, and he allowed them to do whatever they wanted.
Olay frowned. He hated that scene. Three horny men, surrounding someone whose soul was dead, erotically kissing and groping him….
Something horrendous was dug up – something that was deeply buried underground – and exposed to the air unexpectedly. Olay’s heart twitched in discomfort!
He hurried over, shoved the men aside and grabbed William. It might have been inhuman to interrupt man in his lust, but no one thought of that. This was because at the very next moment, Olay’s fist landed on one of the guys’ face, which swelled immediately. He might have lost several teeth, too.
They glared at the furious Olay in fear, letting him drag Willam away. None of them dared to come after them.
*** *** ***
They didn’t punish Olay much, probably due to the special identity of William. Olay couldn’t tell why he did it, but after that incident, he somehow became William’s protector. He could be considered qualified, considering his reputation in prison. Although saying that he was unwilling to do it was a lie. Olay clearly knew that he had been watching William subconsciously. He hated seeing people target him. He knew that such persistence was unreasonable but he couldn’t control himself.
This had nothing to do with him. This prison had its own rules. He’s not a righteous superman, but was only a witness. Nevertheless, he just couldn’t control himself. William’s eyes made him very uncomfortable. They summoned some bad memories which made Olay hate seeing him, but at the same time, he couldn’t stop himself from protecting him.
He even brought William with him when he went to the library. He knew how many people were after this guy, and the latter would not even resist.
Olay was looking for a psychology book. William sat on the floor next to him against a bookshelf, staring quietly in front of him, clearly not interested in books.
“You don’t need to meddle in my business,” he said.
Olay froze for a second. He thought he was having hallucination. He looked down. William was not looking at him, but gazing straight ahead. Olay squatted down within William’s sight. He was sure that William was talking to him. There was finally the ghost of a soul meandering in those blue eyes.
“Are you talking to me, Mr. William?” Olay raised an eyebrow.
William remained silent and stared fixedly at him. Olay moved around and sat next to him, also without saying anything. There was nothing much to say. If William wanted to say anything, he would talk.
William passed him a cigarette. Olay looked at him in surprise, then realized that this was part of “the best treatment” the slave owners talked about – of course it included bringing cigarettes in. He shrugged and took it. William lit his up, and threw the lighter to Olay and blew out a puff. “You don’t need to meddle in my business,” he repeated.
“Are you ordering me? Or bribing me?” Olay lifted the cigarette in his hand slightly, “Your words don’t count here.”
William sat quietly. Silence enveloped them quickly. They smoked in silence. Olay spoke, “I did not want to save you…… I just, hated seeing that.”
“You told me that before,” said William.
“Do you have to be like this?” Olay asked.
“Oh, I don’t know… Pain is the only thing that would make me suffer less and temporarily release my heart from the gnawing memories of her… I hate those things wholeheartedly,” He curled his lips, “so when they told me to be careful, that I might be… by men, I thought, so what, no matter how deep or dark this hell is, it would not be as horrible as when I lost her. If it could be worse… that would be a good thing. At least I can get rid of the pain and coldness I felt.”
William turned to look at Olay, who was grabbing his hair in frustration. “Do you know why I killed those three bastards? Because -” He paused, and then stopped talking. His fingers were trembling uncontrollably, his eyes were like the dark and bottomless abyss.
“I had no other choice,” said William.
Olay abruptly turned around and grabbed William’s collar as if he was triggered by something. He almost lifted William up. He yelled at him, “No choice! Good excuse. No matter what people say, you just won’t LISTEN anyway! You are always like this, so is she! Those things happened… not because you have done anything wrong. You are the victim. Why do you exile yourself, and live in pain! What about those that are alive? What about those who loved and cared about her? Why doesn’t she care about me, she is the only person I have!”
“Why did she leave me alone for those bastards. I was her only family…” He hands shook, his well-defined face twisted. He almost cried like a child. William sat there, staring ahead silently. That big man lowered his head in front of his chest. William felt a warm drop fell onto the back of his palm.