“The Resurrection Love Song” by Seamus Scanlon
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, Seamus Scanlon walks along the railroad tracks near Galway City, Ireland.
Dusk was falling on a high summer day in Galway City, a place that claimed me but never loved me.
My time for walking.
“The Line” was shrouded in fog and mist. The derelict fever hospital was a smeared outline in the distance. On the light summer breeze the heavy vibration of trawlers’ diesel engines leaving the docks and fighting the heft of the incoming tide reached me. A foghorn sent low laments out into the deep channels. I let my hand slide against the rough metal sides of a goods train that slowly passed me.
Far off I saw them.
I was Indian scout material.
I was kamikaze material.
I could have avoided it.
I kept going though—it was in my rule book.
Up close I saw.
Two teenage boys.
Two teenage girls.
The mist and fog did not deter them.
The boys were bare chested.
One had a tattoo: I Love Galway United. A pure lost cause.
The other had a round, pale, pink birthmark under his breastbone.
Like Jesus’s spear wound on the Golgotha hilltop.
It looked impressive.
Like the real thing must have.
They all wore sixteen-eye Doc Martens.
They wore black parallels, black shirts, thin red braces, and shaved heads.
They carried flagons of Bulmers in their fierce fighting hands.
The girls lounged about, lithe lethal sirens married to mayhem.
Smoking Silk Cut. Drinking vodka and orange lifted from Dunnes Stores.
They swayed to “Mary of the 4th Form” coming from a small radio.
They talked about crushes.
And Galway boy wonders.
And Taylor’s Hill girls they wanted to sunder.
The group’s black German shepherds stood up when they sensed me close. Their metal-chain leashes rattled as they shook themselves. Rain flew from their pelts.
They deep-throat growled.
The laughing stopped.
“Close As You’ll Ever Be” played on.
I probably had it coming.
“Well, if it isn’t the little gay professor with the clubfoot and the baby face.”
“I’m not a professor. I am only in sixth class—ipso facto, it’s impossible.”
“Ipso fuckto what? Fuck off back to Mervue where you came from.”
“It’s a free country—1916 and all.”
“Only if you’re fucken alive.”
He had a point. I shrugged.
“Jesus, you must have a death wish. Get lost.”
“I have to go from A to B. This is my path. There’s no turning back.”
I know that rhymes.
“You can fuck off around the road.”
“No detours. It’s in my rule book.”
One of the girls sauntered up and slapped me across the mouth.
“That’s in my rule book.”
They all laughed.
It was a good one.
Blood trickled out of my mouth.
The guy with the Jesus birthmark walked up.
“Get outta here before I kick your fucken head in.”
I was unafraid. I was calm. I was inside-still.
He looked uncertain then.
I could see us from above.
I could feel his body.
I could feel the wild bushes beside us.
I could feel the dark water of Lough Atalia below us.
I could feel the coarse hair of the German shepherds.
I could feel the warning sirens resonate inside me.
I could feel the fear shimmer through the girls’ drunk brains.
Rule book girl said: “Leave him—his ma is Nurse McGowan.”
The birthmark boy hesitated.
I pulled the glass shard from my jacket. The handle end was wrapped in a white linen cloth I stole from the presbytery. It was blessed. That was something I suppose.
I pierced the Jesus stain.
It went in deep. Thomas would have no doubts.
The boy staggered back.
He looked down.
He looked at me.
The tears ran down my perfect skin, which was made in sin.
I felt nothing but real wonder.
Girl shrieks tore the air asunder.
I pulled the glass shard clear.
Blood cascaded onto the gravel.
It was red-black.
He went down.
Onto his knees.
He cried Mammy-wise.
I blessed him with the knife of glass.
He kept going to the ground.
The German shepherds attacked me.
They were nature blest.
I offered it up. They tore me asunder. I was in heaven.
SEAMUS SCANLON is a writer from Galway and currently based in New York, where he is the librarian at City College’s Center for Worker Education. He is a graduate of City College, the University of West London, and University College Galway. His short fiction collection was named after a Boomtown Rats song: As Close As You’ll Ever Be (Cairn Press, 2012). The Spanish translation of the collection, Irlanda en el corazon (2015), is forthcoming from Artepoetica Press. Check out his previous Mondays Are Murder story, “Laffey Minor.”
Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: May 4, 2015
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