RICON. I am Jacques’ half-brother by birth, and thirteen years his senior. But I hold no love for him. I knew he was trouble the moment I set eyes on him. Before Jacques came to the abbey, I was the abbot’s favourite. We led the lives of feudal lords – hunting, whoring and betraying everywhere the fruits of our shameless deeds. At the pagan henge I was initiated into his beastly sect, wherein he promoted witches and churlish acolytes, created and approved by himself. We called ourselves The Adamites…(i)
LORD SCALES. And what is an Adamite exactly?
RICON. A man of free spirit who holds that all things are of God – even the Devil. And since all things are of God, evil is an illusion. For evil, like good, comes from God. We too are of God; and since we are of God, we need obey no law. All urges come from God, so the only sin is to resist temptation, which is Christ himself.
LORD SCALES. What better way to release yourself from the temporal laws of church and state!
RICON. Aye! What happy rogues we were, my paterfamilias and me! Our sabbat rites were full of horrid flesh and drenched in sacrificial blood. Sodomy and all sins were permissible if done in Adam’s name.
LORD SCALES. All sins? Your records show a predilection for the strangulation of young girls. A black trait of character that you fail to mention. Explain yourself… What’s the matter? Has Satan got your tongue? Speak, God damn you!
RICON. …It started when I was twelve. With chickens.
LORD SCALES. Chickens?
RICON. Yes, chickens. I got intense pleasure from wringing their necks. If I saw a chicken, I had to kill it. I loved to feel their silky feathers between my fists. Their panic excited me. Sometimes, to prolong my pleasure, I would strangle them very slowly. When I was thirteen I killed every hen in the coup. But I blamed it on a weasel.(ii) Then Satan seized upon my weakness and lured me into strangling girls…
LORD SCALES. Fascinating. And do you remember your first murder? Speak.
RICON. A girl from the neighbouring village.
LORD SCALES. And what was her name?
RICON. Oh, I was just a boy. I do not recall her name.
LORD SCALES. Then let me remind you. Her name was Estelle. She was fourteen years old. She was found by her father, lying naked in a field. Her corpse was frightfully mutilated with numerous wounds. You tore her bowels and genitals from her open body. The erosions on her thighs suggested rape; when she screamed, you packed her mouth with earth to silence her. Beside her body, in a mound of straw, was found a portion of flesh, cut from her right calf. But as the perpetrator of this infernal crime, you always remained undiscovered.(iii) Why do you smile and shrug your shoulders? Have you no conscience? Does it not prick you?
RICON. I do not recall this crime. But if you say it happened that way, then so be it. Why did God bring me into this world? I am not to blame. I was made like that. Throughout my life I felt evil instincts poisoning my soul like a curse. Wherever I glimpsed a pretty girl, wicked voices whispered in my ear: “kill, kill, kill!”. I struggled against them in vain, for their instruction was always overpowering. Many times I resolved to hang myself, but could not. The pleasure of the kill was too precious… I am lost to God.
LORD SCALES. Indeed you are. At the Black Mass you summoned Satan with impunity. You showed neither remorse nor fear of divine judgement. Why did you not fear God’s wrath?
RICON. Because secretly, I did not believe in God – nor even Satan Himself, for that matter. I served the Host from the buttocks of a lusty whore; the sacrament was cut down the middle to resemble His cloven foot. And when my brethren had seeded the whore, the Janus would ring his little bell, and crown the orgy by taking her from behind. We believed his rut would restore her maidenhood. We were inebriate in torrents of wine and flesh, and shrank from no act our hungry cocks suggested…
LORD SCALES. What a riot of demonic fornication. You had a good time of it?
RICON. The best of times! But when Jacques entered the cloister, the Janus turned his back on me. My loyalty to the sect was all in vain. My father spurned me like a rotten egg. From that day forward, he only had eyes for Jacques, his beloved protegé, the apple of his eye. How it grieved my heart and pained my bowels! My cell in Hades is dark, cold and full of unspeakable horrors. Yet I would willingly endure that hideous dungeon in perpetuity, full of rats and scorpions, if only I were assured of God’s forgiveness. But now I am forsaken. In truth, I rue the hour I killed Estelle… I was out of my mind.
LORD SCALES. The Lord might turn a blind eye to your fornications at the sabbat. But not even His finest devils can forgive what you did to Estelle. Out of your mind? What do you mean to say? That you suffer from an acute mental disturbance? That your conscience was clouded? That you are the victim of voices and hallucinations? That you were possessed by the evil powers of demons and spirits? That you were persecuted by the devil? That you awoke as if from a dream, to find you had committed these crimes? ’Tis baffling beyond all reason. I do not believe it. The poles of human nature ascend the heights of heaven and plunge the very depths of hell…
RICON. Who is on trial here?
LORD SCALES. The court will find it pertinent to note, that as brother of the accused, Ricon shows no compassion except for himself. He is destitute of all moral and social feelings. Mali corvi malum ovum [like sire like son]. Like his Janus sire, he bears a heavy hereditary burden. But if his deviant crimes result from a material defect of the wits, then who can say that he is mentally responsible? And in Jacques himself, we find similar traits, and an indisputable sexual aberration. The fact is, Ricon and Jacques spring from the same degenerate soil.
JACQUES. I am nothing like him!
LORD SCALES. No, you are not. But you have both perpetrated monstrous crimes that could scarce be committed by normal men. Whether your evil tendencies are inherited or learnt is hard to determine. Ricon, do you have anything to add in your defense?
RICON. Oh, I always knew that I was different. Abnormal. Even as a boy, I knew that I was bad. I tried locking myself out of harms way. That’s why I entered the cloister. But the Psalms were just an anathema, and I remained a complete atheist.
LORD SCALES. Your crimes did not haunt you?
RICON. No. As I grew up, I got used to them. Then the compulsion for suicide left me. Even as monk, I was rarely troubled by my sins. My selfish reasoning prevented any inward reflection or self-examination. For if God existed, why did he create such a monster? He did not punish me at all. On the contrary, my naïve belief that the world would somehow provide for me a living, proved to be correct. As the abbot’s successor, I lived in the lap of luxury. But to alleviate the possibility of divine retribution, I whipped myself nightly, like any faithfull flagellant. Yet even this was just a half-hearted gesture. Do you think I can be cured of my ambivalence?
LORD SCALES. I regret to say, that during my long years of criminal practice, I have never witnessed the complete cure of a sexual pervert. Even a lifetime of imprisonment fails to do any good whatever. Besides, I do not regard you as fit to live, let alone be saved. What man on earth could prevent you from following your beastly tendencies? None. You would deceive them with your cunning. All sexual criminals require constant unremitting supervision, which only hell can provide. You may beg the devils to treat you kindly, and make your life as pleasant as possible, but Satan shall never let you loose on society again – not even in the cloisters of Mother Church.
JACQUES. Hell is too good for him. He shall reincarnate and suffer as he made others suffer.
LORD SCALES. And pray tell, what would you know of his future life?
JACQUES. I was shown by Future Jack.
RICON. Do I come back an ox?
JACQUES. No. For the next one hundred lives, you return as Estelle.
RICON. As if you could know my future lives, and list them all by name!
JACQUES. I have only seen one, and your name is Jilly Higgins. She gets her throat cut in a wood.
LORD SCALES. What are you implying? That every murdered innocent deserves to die? That each sinless child is steeped in sin from past misdeeds? That each tortured babe was born to the suffer vengeance of an all loving God? Pray do not insult my intelligence! Alas the mysteries of God’s Justice are beyond you, Jacques Vallin.
JACQUES. But Future Jack has shown me.
LORD SCALES. Enough of Future Jack. Ricon has been reserved a very special place in hell; and he will suffer in ways that go far beyond your childish imagination. Perhaps his soul will be cleaved in three: he shall return not only as Estelle, but her mother also – as well as the killer; I triad of suffering that is truly infernal, for only then shall he come to understand his own malevolence, and the consequential suffering he caused. Thus his soul shall be divided, like mirrors in a kaleidoscope, each life reflecting the other, each evil deed begetting more understanding, as his fate unfolds in the time stream. Who knows? Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.
RICON. I curse the night I drank from my father’s cup, and heard his little bell chiming at the henge: “Adam had seven sons, seven sons had Adam. They did not eat, they did not drink. All of them were profligate, and all did as I do…” Alas, I was the sixth son and Jacques was the seventh.
LORD SCALES. Seven is a most mysterious number. First there are seven deadly sins: Pride, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, Avarice and Sloth. With which you are most familiar. Then their are seven gifts of the Holy Ghost: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Righteousness and the most important of all: Fear of the Lord – gifts that both you and Jacques are severely lacking…
IMP. Oh, but let us not forget the Seven Joys of Mary: The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Epiphany. The Finding in The Temple, The Resurrection and The Ascension…
LORD SCALES. Or indeed her Seven Sorrows: Simeon’s prophecy, the Flight into Egypt, the loss of the Holy child, meeting our Lord on the way to Calvary, and His Entombment…
RICON. Why do you mock me in sevens?
KREW. Do you know the names of the Seven Planets? They must be given in their proper order, commencing at the highest and descending to the lowest. The sequence is as follows: Shabbathai, Saturn; beneath Saturn is Tzedeq, Jupiter; beneath Jupiter is Madim, Mars; beneath Mars is Shemesh, the Sun; beneath the Sun is Nogah, Venus; beneath Venus is Kokav, Mercury; and beneath Mercury is Levanah, the Moon, which is the lowest of all Planets yet is The Queen of Tides and Earthly Life.
FURIUS CAMILUS. What about the Seven Hills of Rome? The Palatine, Capitoline, Aventine, Cælian, Esqualine, Viminal and Quirinal.
SATYR. You cannot mention the number seven without calling to mind the Seven Liberal Arts, or as we Schoolmen call them: Lingua, Tropus, Ratio, Numerus, Tonus, Angelus and Astra.
KREW. What else? Oh! Let us not forget The Seven Seas, The Seven Senses, and The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades.
RICON. Enough of seven!
LORD SCALES. Yes, let us leave the number seven alone. Lest we come under the influence of seven things and start swearing like Rabbis… Which reminds me: I am due for Sabbatical next year which also coincides with my Jubilee. That will be: 5439 years in service, which is 7 x 777.
KREW. Congratulations my Lord.
LORD SCALES. Thank you brown nose. But if truth be told, I am not looking forward to it one bit. For seven is such an ominous number. The Apocalypse is so stuffed full of Sevens that it makes me giddy just to think of them; seven churches, seven candlesticks, seven stars, seven trumpets, seven spirits, seven horns, seven vials, seven plagues, not to mention that seven headed monster, and the Lamb with seven eyes. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… I prefer to stick with three and four which are far more lucky. Although I will concede there are seven epochs in the creation, and seven ages in the life of man. So much for the seventh son of a seventh son, the climacteric number of all diseases! Which brings us back to the Janus and his Satanic cup of heresy – which Ricon imbibed with wholehearted abandon.
RICON. Aye, I drank it all down: the wine of the Devil’s vineyard. Clotted blood, tarry and black, served in the sconce of a pig. How I loved the orts and offal of His filthy table! I cannot count the nights of drunken debauchery I spent at the henge, nor the orgies in the abbot’s camera. Mon belles amours: Jezabel, Messalina and Delilah; six tit Ava, hungry Serena, and Gaude who cried like a goose when she came. Mon petite cocottes…
LORD SCALES. Your horns did not frighten them?
RICON. Nay, excited them: the image of their master Satan. I am not a well endowed man, but the Devil has blessed me with a third horn, which grows on my inner thigh (iv): I feign to admit ’twas a great source of pleasure to them…
LORD SCALES. Yes, very well, you needn’t go into details: the court is well-familiar with the dildos of Greece and Rome. Whether these whores adored you by virtue of your ruminant protrusion is neither here nor there. ’Tis no small miracle, that despite your murderous traits, these misguided wretches escaped with their lives.
RICON. I cannot explain why, but I was never tempted to strangle these objects of my desire. Or if I was, I never went through with it. They adored me. They said they loved me. Or they fooled me into thinking so. Perhaps they feared me… How I miss those happy times, feasting with the whores of the wood; waking at Terce with Serena in one arm and Gaude in t’other! Aye, my father instructed me well in the virtues of sinful living. And my illustrious future at the abbey was all he talked of. “You will make a fine devil”, he used to say, “The devil dressed as abbot!” But in all our years of whoredom, bacchanals and banquets, he never revealed the trap-door, nor did he tell of the Titan beneath the church.
LORD SCALES. So you knew naught of the abbot’s sorcery or his plan to cure his corrupt line?
RICON. No my lord; and had he told of such a cabbalistic plot, I would have deemed him insane.
LORD SCALES. Insanity, heredity. So what do you think of Jacqueline, your half-sister?
RICON. Transform in the devil’s name, why not? What else shouldst thou do with such foul flesh as this? Transform, aye! Take thee a wife and bed her to the strings of a lute. Adopt her ways and shave thy flesh smooth as velvet; then let the glory of her feminine curves mend the rust of your tarnished mirror. Forget your vows and embrace forbidden treasures. Become yourself. Cast a spell of blood; drink down the moon and turn into a hare. Flout Nature and bend Her to your will, for all flesh lives through the windows of the senses. When the rite is done, wed yourself to the peal of heavenly bells. For those vile milknuts that once hung in the hairy sac of thy ballpurse have been washed away, and thy withered cock now blows like scarlet ribbons in the wind. What a fine feathered capon thou art! – no longer that rude rutting rooster, but a submissive wanton hen. At sunrise, make provision in your chamber for your new wife. But by the blood of Venus, why wouldst thou delay in acting the husband’s part? So fashion a phallus of hard leather and strap it fast to thy girdled hips. Then be the stallion she always hungered. For the end of the world is nigh, and life is more fleeting than a shooting star…
LORD SCALES. Your mocking tone is not lost on us. And clearly the idea of this invisible disease disgusts you.
RICON. Disgusts me? ’Tis an abomination! If my father knew his prodigal son was but a gilliflower with a false codpiece, he would have died with grief. My father put his saddle on the wrong horse! That seventh son isn’t worth a turd! So help me God, I’d like to cut his measly throat. Let me at him! He ruined everything, everything!
LORD SCALES. Your grievance is noted. Goblin Jury, the witness has revealed to the court the true nature of his character. Please keep this in mind when he relates what occurred on the night in question. Ricon, continue, if you please…
RICON. The night in question. Very well, yes… I had just finished viewing the rood. I kissed my father’s ring and retired to bed with the rest of the brethren. I lay awake for some time, watching my candle leap. But I was soon dreaming of Diana, rapt in garments of flowers. My rapture was interrupted. For I was awoken by a tall dark creature in a black robe. It loomed at foot of my bed and pointed to the southern window. It went suddenly away. Then I saw a light flickering through the panes. So I went to the window and peered across the precinct. A ball of fire was floating above the abbot’s camera. ’Twas like the full moon on a misty night, but thrice as big. It made my blood run cold. My ears rang with eerie sounds that shook the glass and tickled my bones. I tried waking Odo but he wouldn’t stir. Nothing would rouse him, not even a slap. Indeed, I thought him bewitched. So I went to Guillaume and shook him by the shoulder; yet he too was insensible. I cried out: “Witchcraft! Awake! Awake!” But the brethren kept on snoring like drunken sows. I knew not what to do. Then I noticed Lazarus was missing. When I returned to the window, I saw him running across the precinct into the abbot’s lodging. ’Twas then I decided to follow… So I crept away down the aisle and floated down the night stair…
Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2010
i. The Luciferans and Adamites were primarily associated with 14th and 15th Century Bohemia; however inquisitorial records show similar sects and beliefs all over southern Europe – especially in the mountainous regions (“Waldenses”) where the Catholic faith failed to take a firm foothold.
ii. Case 21. Vincenz Verzeni, born 1849. (Lombroso “Goltdammer’s Archiv,” Bd. xxx., p. 13) Cited in Psychopathia Sexualis, p. 99.
iii. Ibid. p. 96.
iv. ‘On Diseases of The Skin’ by William Erasmus, 1847, p.350.
It is most revealing that my submissions via email have always been ignored; yet I remain convinced that my material is stolen by grubs who lurk in the cyberspace woodwork. Such is the way of the world.