Aino gasped in shock, she noticed the dead man on the ground, the man that had his pants undone, then she saw her brother. Alexander held him; he was naked, unconscious, bruised and battered, blood everywhere. She ran to them, calling his name in despair, wanting to wake him up.
“We have to get him home.” Alexander said, still holding him. “May I use your jacket please, to cover him up.” He asked Nils, Hanna’s father.
“Yes, of course.” The man answered with trembling voice as he started to remove his jacket. He felt sick, it was quite clear what had happened there and he felt really sorry for the poor boy. He glanced towards the dead body, his mind filling with hatred towards the man that was no longer.
“What should we do with that?” Nils asked gesturing towards the thing. Both the girl and Alexander turned to look.
“I take full responsibility; he did not deserve to live after what he did. If someone asks, it was I who did it.” He said and stood up, scooping Olavi into his arms. “Now we must hurry, he needs a doctor.”
“Don’t worry about that body, no one here would blame you for killing him, I think I might have done the same thing, had I found that animal on that poor child. We’ll simply bury him; hope that no one misses him.” Nils said then. “I’ll take care of it, you two go.”
“Why did you let him go with that stranger?!” Aino screamed. She was sick with worry; the doctor had been with Olavi for some time but that felt like forever. Emma cried.
“Believe me; I do blame myself for it.”
“This is not the time to be blaming anyone.” Alexander spoke. Aino glared at him.
“Everything was fine before you!” She screamed. “Fine before you came and ruined his life.”
“Aino, Alexander just saved your brother’s life, how can you blame him?” Emma asked.
“He did more than that Emma; he has bedded my brother, more than once as I understand.”
“What?” Emma gasped. “What do you mean bedded?”
“What do you think I mean by it? He had sex with him.”
“But he’s a man! They… they both are.” She stammered.
“Indeed.” Aino merely answered.
Emma looked at Alexander with question in her eyes, with shock.
“It is true, we are lovers.” The man admitted. Aino humphed.
Emma hardly found any words, she couldn’t understand it; lovers? She was silent, what could she say? How should she act?
“There is more to be said.” Alexander said finally, it was either Aino or him to tell the rest and he rather told himself. “And I shall begin my story as soon as I find out the news of Olavi’s condition.” He looked at Aino. “I know, he is young, I know what you think of me. There was a time, longest time, when I thought that my heart had shut itself for ever loving another, time when I thought it to be too badly broken. Olavi changed that, his energy woke me, he is sweet, caring, warm, so much things that I cannot help but to love.”
Aino listened to him quietly, different emotions running through her, not sure which one she should grasp.
It was then that the doctor stepped out of Olavi’s room. Wiping sweat from his forehead, a worried frown upon his features. He looked at them, looked at the fearful wait on their faces, questions they were too afraid to voice.
“He sleeps, hasn’t come to, I am not sure when he shall wake.” He said and sat down, taking the drink that Emma offered to him.
“Will he survive?” Aino asked with fearful, childlike voice. The man who had seen a lot during his 60 years, smiled at the girl, a gentle smile, a fatherly smile that one would give in a sad circumstances as this to comfort.
“He will live…” He told them. “But this is a severe trauma that he has gone through, he will need a lot of time to recover physically. Mentally he will need an even longer time… At war time, I saw few cases such as this, such things are hardly spoken, but they do happen. Circumstances might have been different, but many times the trauma of it is the same. It may somewhat comfort him to know that he is not the only one who has had a horrible experience such as this.” Silence followed. “He needs you all to conquer this, give him time, listen, but do not ask for questions that he is not ready to answer, when the time is right he will tell you, but not sooner than that. It is likely that he will have nightmares, best not leave him alone with those, especially at first; be with him, make him feel save again. I will check upon him tomorrow. If he wakes, I advise you not to move him, his injuries… “ The man sighed, took another gulp of the drink that had been offered to him. “He has taken quite a beat physically, whoever did this to him…” He shook his head. “Such a sweet boy, it’s hard to understand the monster that would hurt that child so severely.”
“I am drifting off, I apologize. It’s hard for me to be objective when I’ve known your parents since they were children.” He said, speaking to Aino, he smiled just a little, it was a sad smile. “Do not fear little one, we will get him fixed, we will get your brother smile again one day.” Then he stood up.
“Now, I must take my leave, if anything comes up, I am at your reach 24hours per day. And I shall call on you tomorrow noon.”
They said their goodbye’s. Aino didn’t waste any time, she went straight into her brother’s room. He looked so small under the covers. She cried when seeing him more closely, there was bruising on his neck, his lips were swollen slightly, a cut on his lower lip. His left cheek; reddish from where he had been hit. There was a bandage to cover his forehead, circling his head. With trembling lips she kissed his unbruised cheek, a tear of hers falling down on his skin; gently she wiped it away. He was dressed in pyjama. She carefully took his hand from under the coverlet, warm, felt so fragile, she saw the bruise around his wrist. She held his hand and kissed it, bringing his hand on her cheek then. She touched his face, stroking the skin gently.
“I love you little brother, please get well, I’ll die if I lose you.” She whispered, hoping that he would open his eyes, that he would be alright and he would smile that sweet smile of his. She tried to remember a day when she would have seen him unhappy, a day when he would have been mad. Lately there had not been such days, they were all in the long ago past. Here he had been so happy, just yesterday she had seen that sparkle in his eyes, would it be lost forever now?
Anger burned her soul as she thought of the man that done this. How could he? It had not been enough to take one time pleasure of an unwilling body, no, the man had taken more than that. How many hours? Minutes? She remembered what they had done to Elias, and now Olavi had been forced to go through almost the same experience. She thought of him crying alone in the forest with the monster, begging for help that had not come.
She heard a sound and turned to look. It was Alexander who stood at the doorway, his gaze on Olavi, who still was lying motionless. There was worry in his eyes, true worry, true fear, true… love? She questioned in her mind before turning towards Olavi once more.
“I’m glad he’s dead.” She said suddenly, still looking at her brother and not the person that she spoke to.
“I am too.” Alexander answered quietly. She started crying then, still holding Olavi’s hand in hers, almost afraid to let go.
“He’s my whole world. All those years ago, Elias asked me to take care of our little brother and I have, I made up my mind to always take care of him, never let something…” Her sobbing broke her voice. “…Something like this to happen. I have failed, only 16 and I already failed.”
“He loves you Aino, I don’t think that no one can ever mean more to him than you do. You have not failed him.” He spoke carefully, not sure when or if she would jump in his throat again.
She looked at him again, thinking. So many different thoughts, so many different emotions. Battle in her mind. This man was the reason for the bright smile on Olavi’s face, the cause of the sparkle in his eyes, she hadn’t seen it before, could it be that they really loved each other? The man had beaten and killed the monster and on the other hand, hadn’t he been the reason for this monster to get here in the first place? And then there was Elias…
“How and when did Elias die?” She asked finally with quiet voice. Alexander sighed deeply, he took a chair and sat down.
“Are you sure that this is the right time? Are you sure you wish to know?”
“I am. I want the truth, all of it. I want to get my peace with all the questions that I’ve asked myself for all these years. And maybe… Maybe it will help me understand.” She said, looking at her younger brother and stroking his hair gently.
“I’ll start it over, from the start as I remember it.” He said, she glanced at him, but remained quiet. Emma had appeared to the doorway. “Please sit down, this is not an easy tale to listen.” Without a word, slightly trembling, Emma did so.
“It was late evening when they brought him there. Our lieutenant, I knew him before, I knew of his perverted desire to hurt, war, as I feel, woke the true monster inside of him. But had I expected him to bring a 15 old boy, an enemy’s child to the camp to…? Well, I hadn’t, none of us had. But they did, saw it to be fun I guess… I…” He had to stop for a minute. “I was young, it did shock me to see how fast the men who I had thought to know, changed into non caring animals. I wanted to help Elias, but I had no clue of how to, without putting my own life at risk… I tried to do what I could, Elias faked illness so that they would not touch him. I was ordered to take care off him. You have to understand, that he was feeling quite lonely and unsafe, he was frightened and I was the only person whom he could at the time rely on. And I must say that I found some inner peace by his side, a world that was so filled with misery and pain, people doing crazy things, turning into monsters like I just told you. But Elias, in that darkness he was my light, and I guess I was his. I did fall for him, in love I mean, we didn’t speak the same language, but understood each other despite it. We tried to escape, and were so close to succeed, it’s something always weighting on my mind and my heart. But we were found. Elias, I have never known someone so brave, especially thinking how young he was, he saved my neck, I failed to save his… Your brother died on 8th of April, he ended his own life rather than have it taken by them, with himself he killed the man responsible; our lieutenant.”
Aino was quiet, concentrating on Olavi, her head ached, her heart felt heavy, lump in her throat. She remembered the soldiers who had found her and Olavi and took them to safety. She had begged them, telling the same thing over and over again; three men came and took Elias, save him, you must safe him.’ But it felt like no one listened, they just comforted them, telling that everything would be alright soon. Three months, they would have had three months…
“This can’t be true, what on earth are you talking about?” Emma breathed out, standing up. She looked at them in disbelief. “It’s not true!” She screamed and ran out. Alexander stood up, trying to force the tears away. It was hard. He looked towards the bed, at Olavi. It pained him to see him like that, just that same morning… He remembered, the worry in his voice then the way he had smiled and kissed him.
“Alright, I’ll see you in the evening then.” And now he laid there bruised and unconscious…
He hesitated, not wanting to leave him, but knowing that he had to. He had to speak to Emma, besides, Aino looked like she wouldn’t let anyone close to Olavi but herself, not now.
He found the woman at the porch, sitting on the bench, arms wrapped around herself, gazing at the sky tears in her eyes. she did not look at him.
“Emma, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you this sooner.” He spoke quietly, silence. She took a deep shaking breath.
“He loved me. Elias loved me.”
“I know.” Alexander said coming closer.
“Go away! Leave!” She screamed looking at him, tears running down. Her breathing was tense. She didn’t want to believe that the boy that she had loved had met such an afoul end, nor did she want to believe that he had loved this man.
“This is for you, it’s from him, I have not read it, since it had been addressed to you. I’ll leave you alone, if you want to talk, then…” She took the letter from his hands, looking at it, not saying a word. Sighing Alexander left her.
She opened the piece of paper with trembling hands.
“Dear Emma.” A drop of her tear fell on the paper, paper that was yellowish after the time.
“This is my last letter to you, my goodbye. I am dying, I’m not sure how many hours I have left, but I know it’s only matter of hours. I do not wish to shock you, but knowing you, my friend, my love, you will want the truth. They brought me here on January, it’s been hard. Language I cannot understand, men that treat me like an animal. But I’ve found comfort. Alexander, Sascha as I call him, I hope he can deliver this to you. He’s been very good to me. He is a good person Emma; you would like him, I’m sure.
My thoughts are running. I hope you will be able to read my handwriting, I’m trembling so bad, I can hardly hold the pen: the truth, I know you want the truth.
I thought of you last night, I could not sleep; my body does not need it anymore. I thought of the summer, I thought about how we kissed by our tree, remember the kiss in the forest, our promises to wed. The smile on your face, laughter; you are so beautiful. Your golden hair, your warm eyes; I miss you Emma. I miss the summer, my family, everything. I miss the time when… When there was no war, when it was just a far away thought to us.
There’s not much time, they come for me soon. I love you, never doubt that I hadn’t. I hope you’re happy, I hope you’ve found a good man by your side, a man that treats you as an equal, accept no less Emma. I loved your craziness, never change to please others, be the wild child you are in your heart, and be the girl that I have always loved. Life is too short to live it to please them, what matters is you. All the good small moments and the people you love are what matters.
My last confession, it will come as a shock, but I feel I must tell it to you before I don’t have the chance to do so. I fell in love with Sascha, it sounds strange I know, but it doesn’t lessen my love for you. He has been good to me, he held me, and he tried to save me. It can’t be wrong, love can never be wrong, that’s what I’ve learned. Just remember that I do love you, it has not changed, and it will not die. You always had me and you always shall, even after I am gone, I am there. Goodbye Emma, I love you.
After finishing the letter there was no stopping her tears. She cried for him, and yet she started to understand, she wanted to understand…
Everything good will be destroyed, all beauty dies in the hands of evil. World; how cruel and cold can you be? It is your screams that keep me awake, your pain that haunts me. I belong by your side; Why have you not asked for me?
There is no justice, not in this world.
Pain flickered in his body, there was a desperate sob that escaped from his lips. Opening his eyes, instant brightness, his head was throbbing, his throat felt sore.
“A-Aino.” He called weakly, his voice hoarse and not sounding like his own. She was instantly by his side, taking his hand, kissing his palm. Tears of hers falling on his skin and he tried to look at her.
“I’m so glad you’re awake, I was so worried.” Aino whispered. Olavi closed his eyes, opened them again. He groaned in pain, feeling it all over him, finally breaking down in desperate tears, it was too much, just too much.
“Hurts… it hurts…help me…” He whined with small voice, dizzy with the pain, wanting to end it and not knowing how. “Help me.” He begged, weary, not himself.
Aino felt helpless as she looked at his pain, as he tossed and turned on the bed crying, moaning, sweat glimmering on his forehead, asking for help, for release from it. It had been almost 24hours that he had spend in his unconscious state and all the time she had spend on his bedside praying for him to wake and now that he had…
She watched him in shock, tears falling down helplessly. She did not know how to help him.
All I know is pain, the truth is too horrid and I beg your forgiveness brother. Had I known, had my heart known…How can I escape from these memories?
He trembled from cold, why was it so cold?
He could not breath, the man was choking him.
“All beauty must die…” Whisper, lustful lips on his tear soaked skin. “..But perhaps just one more taste…” And slowly the slippery and limp organ had began to harden again. One merciless thrust was all it took for the man to penetrate him fully. He hardly heard his own screaming anymore.
“He’s burning up…” Voices, where was he? Who was speaking? Hand on his forehead. He had to get away, had to breathe, had to tell them.
“Shh.. calm down son, it’s okay, you’re okay.” Who was speaking? A man? There was a man; had to get away… “Shh…rest, you need to rest.” Couldn’t get away. Weak, cold, whispers, voices, worried, restless steps.
And I dream, I call for you, but you will not come, why won’t you come? I should not want you anymore, but I do…How can I stop my heart from crying out for you? For loving you even after the horrid truth? Even after what happened?
A week passed, then two. His fever eased, his physical strength slowly returning, but it had left him silent, like a ghost of himself. They all feared; would they ever get him back?
Aino stepped into the room, bringing some flowers in, placing the vase on the table.
“I brought these to lighten up your mood.” She spoke, “bluebells and daisy’s; your favorite.” She smiled then and glanced at him.
Olavi was on the bed, in half sitting, half laying position, staring out into the sunshine, not acknowledging her arrival in any way. The bruises on his face and neck were fading fast, but his eyes still revealed the sad truth; the joy was gone, every feeling was hidden and he was silent.
“Would you like me to read something to you?” Aino asked and sat down, there was a brief look, but no reply. Swallowing some tears and forcing herself to smile, she took the book and began to read.
“Are you hungry?” She asked after half an hour of reading. Again she got no reply. “Olavi?” She asked. “I’ll bring you some tea.” She said then, holding the urge back to shake him, to scream at him to wake him up.
Smile to me brother, don’t you see how we miss you?
Alexander found her crying in the kitchen, she had spilled some tea on the table, a cup lay broken on the floor. He placed his hand on her shoulder and in the need of comfort; she sprung around to hug him. Surprised, he carefully hugged her back.
“Go to him, bring him back for I cannot.”
I have missed you, can you not feel it? Do you think I’m going to let you drown? I cannot, I love you far too much.
Alexander stepped in, closed the door after him softly. He looked at the boy, wanting to reach out and touch him.
Do you know how much I feared for you?
He walked closer, took out a chair and sat down. Olavi turned his eyes on him, but quickly turned them away.
“You have to keep on living.” Alexander whispered after long moment of silence. “We all miss you, speak to us.” He could see him starting to tremble, tears forming in his eyes, at least it was a reaction, at least it meant that he heard him. “I’ve missed you.” He reached out to take his hand in his. “I love you.” Olavi tensed, looked at him, drawing his hand quickly away, tears falling down.
“Do not tell me such lies.” He hissed.
“Lies? They are not lies sweetheart.” Olavi gulped, looking down at his hands; clenching into fists.
“And do not call me with such sweet names either.” His voice broke.
“Olavi?” Teary blue eyes met his.
“I know,” He said. “I know about Elias and you…I know what you did to him.” Alexander looked at him with surprise. “I’m surely going to hell, I’ve let you…The rapist of my brother; I’ve allowed his touches on my body and I’ve even begged for them!” He cried more openly now. “I deserved what happened, I should be dead… but even after everything… my cursed heart still loves you! Why did you do this to me?”
” I wish I would have told you before he fed you lies, I wish…” Olavi looked at him trembling. “Elias was the one I told you about. I loved him, I never raped him.”
“And I was only his replacement! A mere ghost of him to you?! He was my brother! Why did you do this? Why did you have to make me fall in love with you?!” He screamed.
“You were never his replacement, I have loved you for you, not as his ghost.”
“When you firs saw me, did you not see him in my place? I do not need your lies… Go… Just please go!”
How could I leave you like this? How could I leave you with these thoughts, You have my heart, you healed it, and now it longs to be by your side. Do not turn me away.
“I love you Olavi.” Alexander whispered and the boy cried.
Do not feed me lies, I want to believe, but how can I? We’re both on our way to hell most surely if I let you stay, most surely if I give in to my poor heart.
“Go! Leave! I do not want you here!”
You were his first before me, did I ever really have you?
Slowly you rise, helplessness on your face and I want to reach out, but I cannot get rid of the whispers and I cannot be anyone’s ghost. Leave, my love, let me lick my wounds in peace, please leave my heart forever…And as you go, I let myself fall.
There is no justice in this world.
Alexander walked away from the room, his heart heavy, he went outside and walked towards the river and sat down beside a three, the tree, their tree. He cursed Vladimir in his mind, the man that now lay somewhere in the forest, under the heavy ground, the man that had destroyed so much.
How can I let you go?
He lighted a cigarette, stayed out until the darkness fell. The night was chilly, after smoking one, he lighted another, watching as the smoke danced with the wind.
How can I bring you back? Should I let you go? Should I leave? Do you really want me to?
He closed his eyes, listening to the water, how calming the soft gleaming sound was. A sound woke him. The light of the moon revealing the angelic sight to him. The boy walked in the water bare feet, holding his shoes in his hands. Looking at him, smiling softly. Alexander hardly dared to breath.
“Elias…” The boy smiled still, walking closer, letting his shoes drop from his hands on to the soft sand, but he stayed in the water, walking along the shore line, never taking his eyes away from him.
“Is it really you?” He asked, watching him.
“Did you miss me?” The boy’s soft voice asked as he knelt down to touch the water with his hands, playing with it.
“He needs you, Sascha.” He said then and smiled at his wonder. “Do not let him push you away, he needs you, he hesitates, but you cannot leave him. Don’t leave him, not now.”
“How did you…?”
“The sky is so clear, the water… so cold…He feels cold, it’s warm where I am, he longs for it, do not let him… Your warmth is better Sascha,”
“I don’t understand?”
”He needs you, there’s still time. He needs you Sascha.”
With a startle Alexander woke, looking at the lake; he was gone. A dream, another dream, but again it had felt so real.
“The sky is so clear, the water… so cold…He feels cold, it’s warm where I am, he longs for it, do not let him… Your warmth is better Sascha,” Were they truth or dream? What did they mean?
“My father told me you were hurt, he said I shouldn’t come, but I wanted to see you.” Hanna told to the boy, who lay on the bed, gazing out with such a blank expression that scared her. “I brought you some cake, I baked it myself. Would you like a taste?” She offered then. He blinked his eyes, but said nothing and did not even look at her.
“What happened to you?” She asked then, frustrated of not knowing. There were all kinds of rumours going around, but none could tell for certain what had happened to the boy. Something horrible it had been and Hanna knew that her father knew about it. He had come home late that evening, it was almost night. His clothes had been covered in filth and he had taken a drink the first thing. Her father only drank on rare occasions; his face had been white and she had seen how his hands had trembled. “Go to your room Hanna!” He had shouted at her, taking his second drink, gulping it down. She wanted to know if Olavi was alright, the man she had every intention of marrying, making other girls in their village green with jealousy. But her father had silenced her, forbade her to go and see him. He was alive, that was all that he was willing to tell her. Now she finally decided to see him for herself.
“Olavi?” She asked, when she got no reply from him. But the boy remained expressionless, so not like himself. And tears fell from her eyes, landing on her lips. “Talk to me, please say something?” She begged.
“I think you should leave Hanna, I’m feeling tired.” He said then, still not looking at her.
“But … Olavi?”
“There is nothing to say Hanna. Please leave.” Even his voice sounded hollow. Swallowing up her tears, she left the cake on the table and turned to leave.
Olavi watched her as she stepped out of the room, closing the door after her, he was alone once more, just how he preferred it, how he thought he did.
The sun was shining, endless sunshine, warm, hot, he wanted it to rain. He would welcome rain, grey sky instead of the baby blue. It was how he felt inside; grey. What was the point?
The child’s laughter echoed from outside, he closed his eyes.
There was nothing, the laughter would always eventually die and then there would be nothing but pain left. His heart… What it had felt like to taste the feeling of happiness, how warm he had felt drinking the sweetness of first love. What it had felt like to… But it was a lie, he had been caught up in a lie and yet he missed it, praying that he could return back in time, that he could relive that dream of love. But the world was nothing but lies, love was nothing but lies and he didn’t have the energy to walk the long, lonely path of misery and sorrow.
He didn’t have the energy to smile, to pretend that nothing had changed, so that others could still relish the sweetness of living in lies, the sweetness of not seeing how dark it really was and how fragile the walls where, how easily and suddenly they could break around them. For them he hoped, that they’d never find out what he knew.
He saw nothing but darkness ahead of him, he saw his life… there was nothing, not even a hint of light to walk towards to. He weighted others down with him, to the darkness from where he could not climb up from, his sister, Aino… all she did was cry now, he heard her at nights, saw the tears whenever she would look at him. If he were gone, they’d free from his hold, they’d be able to climb back toward where the sun was, where the laughter was, maybe they’d be able to walk through the path of life without falling, without seeing. What good did it make to know what he knew?
And that was why he got up from his bed that night. The reason he took the piece of paper, took a hold of the pen, feeling such odd calmness whit every word that he wrote down.
“My dear sister, I am leaving. A choice I make, only choice that feels right. I am tired and I cannot bring myself to walk this path, every step feels too heavy for me to take. Forgive me, forgive that I cannot be stronger, that I cannot stay. You’ll do fine, I know. I love you, you’ve been my world, my rock, my sister, my best friend and I thank you for all the love you’ve given me.
Good bye, your loving brother: Olavi.”
He sneaked out to the chill morning air, with the first light of the sun coming from between the clouds and it was almost as if in a dream that he walked. The voice of his brother, the cold fateful night, he remembered his voice now, remembered how he had smiled, how he had held him and Aino in his arms when they had been scared of the bombing. How had their lives come to this? Why had it happened to them? And Alexander…His lips trembled, after everything he still loved the man and it was the hardest part of it all, he didn’t know how to stop loving him, it felt easier to… felt easier to walk toward what would end his suffering, walk towards the end.
The birds were singing; he hardly heard them.
He reached the lake, soft morning mist playing on the mirror-like surface. He felt calm, feeling the fresh air fill his nostrils, the soft breeze on his skin. He took his shoes off. The sand under his feet, between his toes. He stepped closer to the shore line, looking up towards the sky. It would end soon and he’d be free of his memories, free of the pain that still held him. He walked forward, determined, trembling as he felt how cold it was. Such a beautiful morning, such a perfect day. He felt calm, for the first time in days; he felt calm. Tears fell from his eyes, but again he looked toward the sky and smiled.
“The sky is so clear, the water… so cold…He feels cold, it’s warm where I am, he longs for it, do not let him… Your warmth is better Sascha,” The words repeated themselves over and over again in his mind, almost screaming at him, he was screaming at him. And the whole walk back to the house, he felt such restlessness. Olavi. He needs you. And though the boy would hate him, though he would scream at him to leave, Alexander found compelled to go to the boy’s room, only to find his bed empty, only to find the letter on the table and with trembling hands he read it. It all became clear to him right then and he did not waste time when he rushed out, when he ran towards the lake as fast as he could. He had to make it in time, if he didn’t make it in time everything would collapse. He wouldn’t be able to take it, he had to be there in time. Taste of blood in his mouth, but he didn’t stop to rest, breathing heavily, almost stumbling over, he ran.
“Olavi!” He called and when he reached the lake he saw him, just as the boy’s head disappeared under. And he ran to the water, swimming, diving under, grasping the fragile body and pulling him up with him. Olavi coughed the water, fighting as the man dragged him closer to the shore.
“I want to die!” The boy screamed. “Let go of me, I want to die!” He cried and the man looked at the boy with the urge to shake him awake.
“That was so stupid of you! Don’t you ever try anything like that again! So stupid Olavi! Why?? Why did you do that? Why??” He shook him, not letting go, anger clear in his voice and the boy cried.
“Why not?? What is there left for me? I am no good to anyone any more, no one would want me now! I’m tired, I can’t go on! I can’t breathe anymore! Why do you care!?”Alexander breathed tensely.
“I love you, I care for you, more than I can ever tell you.”
“You loved my brother, it’s not me you love, it’s his memory…”
“No, it’s true I loved him, but I also love you. Your brother was forced to end his life, I was forced to watch it. Do not force me to watch yours, do not kill me by killing yourself. I love you, you are my life, you cannot wake me and then leave me.”
He held the boy, kissing his forehead, his cheeks. Holding the wet body tightly against his own. “Do not slip away from me.” Olavi could do nothing but cry in the man’s arms and he held him. It was all so confusing, so overwhelming. “It feels hard now, but in time it gets better, it gets easier. Let me be here for you, let me help you. I miss you, I miss your laughter.” Alexander whispered, feeling as the younger one shook.
“It hurts so much…” Olavi whispered. “It never ends, the pain… I can’t breathe, it hurts so much to breathe…” He was gasping for breath, tears, endless tears.
“Let it out, just let it out, scream…” Alexander whispered to him and so the boy did scream, on the top of his lungs, he screamed from the pain that had gathered up inside of him. He screamed for the death of his brother, screamed from the pain of the knowledge that they both had loved the same man and he cried of the agony he himself had been forced to go through. Finally, feeling exhausted, he let himself relax in Alexander’s strong arms.
And the man carried him from the water to the shore, kissing the smooth skin of his cheeks. Brushing the wet hair from his forehead. “It will be alright,” he whispered reassuringly and Olavi simply looked at him, into his eyes and faintly he nodded his head. “Let’s take you home and out of these wet clothes.” Again he nodded and he let him carry him, all the while looking at him silently. He wanted to trust him, use his strength to go on.
It was still early, everyone else was asleep. Olavi changed his clothes and Alexander wrapped him under the blanket in bed, staying close to him, stroking his forehead gently.
“Tell me the truth, tell me about my brother… I need to know the truth, please?” Olavi asked quietly. Alexander sighed.
“If you wish, then, I will tell you.” And he did tell him, he told it the way he remembered it; told him how close they had been to escape and that in the end, Elias had been the brave one, saving him. And Olavi listened quietly, carefully, wanting to understand and he cried and Alexander cried and Olavi carefully reached out to take the man’s hand in his, looking into Alexanders eyes then he finally saw the hint of light, a small fire of hope.
“We will get through this Olavi, I won’t let you fall, just… please don’t slip away.”
And for a moment Olavi was silent, looking at their joined hands, the back up.
“I won’t,” he whispered. “I wasn’t thinking, please don’t tell my sister what I almost did?”
“I won’t, I promise.”
“Hold me?” He asked opening his arms to him, inviting him close and Alexander did. They lay there, wrapped up in each others arms, whispering, promising, it would all turn out alright. Just how they didn’t know, but they didn’t want to worry about it now.
Finally they fell asleep that way. It was Aino who found them; hesitantly she stood at the door and watched the two men and how lovingly they had curled up together. She closed the golden cross, the cross that hang on her neck , the one Elias had given her all those years ago, inside her palm, weight of worry slipping away from her shoulders and weakly she smiled.
She turned and closed the door after her, she had feared to lose him, she had seen a dream, a terrible dream and feared not to find him. Anyting would be better than to lose her brother completely, she had become to realise. Even if he were to choose a life with a man, a man she had thought to hate, it would be better than to lose him completely.
She would find the time to talk with them both later.
Web published: My Secret Shore