ISABEL

” What did you see child?” The pastor knelt before the clearly shaken 11 year old. Isabel cried silently, her eyes reeking of grief. Her confession would certainly be a sin. At-least the Lord in her heart told her that. What Her Father was doing, was satanic the church had taught her. Could she confess his crime? He gave birth to her after-all. But the Lord was the true father of everyone. Wasn’t he?
” Isabel, my child, you have nothing to fear about in the Lord’s kingdom. Is this about Stephen ? “. The child looked up her eyes suppressing absolute horror. How could the pastor have known. Was his evil getting noticed. She covered her face with her palms and sobbed.

Days later, The pastor walked up the wooden make do stage, set up in the middle of the city. He had called for a gathering of all Jesuit followers. The righteous people of the old bay of Naples. A democratically agreed execution of the satanic Stephen had to be affected before he took anymore lives. As the gathering of a hundred occurred, the pastor took stage. But he was not alone. Isabel cowered behind him.
” My fellow good people. There exists a man between us who is lost his way. He wanders this earth causing harm and death to creatures of life. This little girl ” he pointed gently towards Isabel ” holds witness to his horrific misgivings. She tells me his tales of torture. She tells me, how one day an year back she saw her father, bind a horse to a pole in his backyard and peeled it’s skin off. His horror continued when he took three cows and gutted them out. . I… The poor girl has seen things no one should ever see” The Jesuit shook his head. The people had long come to a decision. The very sight of Isabel had been enough. The night was decided as opportune. Isabel was to wait at home with her father, lest he escape.

Stephen knew she loved the chicken stew. And some bread crumbs to go with it. The thoughts of seeing Isabel gleefully munch on the food made him happy. He removed his gloves and placed them in the compartment. His backyard stable had become his life for a long time now. But today he meant to spend time with his daughter. Away from all maladies. He walked back to his home, patting at the sheep that were tied up at the door. And started preparing for his daughter’s dinner.
” Isabel? Is that you my child ” he called out from the kitchen.
” Yes, father….I.. I..” Isabel hesitated in her step. The devil had to be contained.
” Come hither, my dear. The stew is almost done… And it does smell lovely.. Come come ” Stephen said stirring the pot.
” I am not…I am not hungry.. I don’t want stew”
” But you like it, remember. Remember how your mother used to add breadcrumbs to it… Well as it were, I’m doing the same ” Stephen added as he heard Isabel enter the kitchen.
” You are not mother. I want her. Not you. Not your stew. Her..” she raised her voice. Stephen went silent. More out of shock than anything else.
” Isabel, is something wrong child?” He regained his composure.
” What did you do to mother. What did you to her” she screamed and stormed out. Stephen stared at her for a moment and turned back to stirring. She was growing. And the day she’d start asking questions was far anticipated.

Isabel locked herself up in her room. She sat on the floor cross-legged and started praying to the Lord. The Lord told her time and again that his father bode no evil. He was a decent person. But what she saw was not good or decent. She remembered the low moaning of cattle and horses. How rains would drench their blood and how his father used to insert something into their stomachs. They would yelp and most of them would die. The Lord couldn’t be blind to it. He had turned to Satan to come out of grief. But that was not a reason. The Lord had to be mistaken. She walked to her window and opened it. Cross bearing men, around a dozen of them stood outside and entered the house.

They unlocked the door and ever so silently made their way to the kitchen. Stephen heard the footsteps approach and his first thought was that Isabel was in danger. He took the butcher knives with him and hid behind the door. One knob turn, and he slashed wildly at the group, taking down three or four Jesuits in a blow. The fight ensued for other five minutes and his senses took control over everything. He cut, ducked, swivelled and punctured. As everything got clear , he remained standing right in the middle of a pile of men. Blood dripping down his knives and sweat burning through his cheeks. But then there was one other set of footsteps approaching. He leaped out of the kitchen and threw the knives at the sound. Isabel took a second to realise the source of the pain as she collapsed on the floor. And Stephen a life time to curse himself. If he wasn’t a Satan earlier, he had become one. A horde of people appeared outside his house with torches in their hands. All was left for him to do, was lie beside his daughter Isabel, and cut his wrists.

What no one realised was that Stephen could’ve eradicated the great plague when it would occur in time to come. Cultivating Vaccination was delayed by a century after-all.

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