"Little ghost, stay out of my way," his father hissed. He was drunk again, and the boy knew enough to stay out of his way at times like these. It was bad enough when father hit mother. No need for a ghost to interfere and make things worse.
Tonight, however, his father didn't allow him to leave so easily.
"Wait. Come back here, mon petit." His father never used terms of endearment to him. The boy paused.
He father caught his wrist, hard.
"No," the boy whispered.
"Shut up," his father ground out, and his mouth tasted like cheap wine.
"Ghost! Monster!" The children followed him all the way up the street, and he didn't have the strength to answer or retort.
After everything else, this shouldn't have hurt him, but it did.
He walked the streets, feeling nothing much besides intense hunger. I am nothing, I am nothing, he repeated in his head, hoping it would become true and he would disappear.
A ghost should be able to go through walls, but instead he was stopped short. He touched the stone with his white hand, wishing to suddenly fall through.
The stone remained unyielding, though, and the ghost fell.
The desire was there before Silas became aware of it, like fire burning under lace. He didn't recognize it as desire at first, because of all the other feelings crowding around it, dimming and confusing it. He loved Aringarosa as his savior, his teacher, his guide, nothing more.
And desires of the flesh were forbidden. Aringarosa had been quite clear on that point, speaking over something dark which hid in the corners of his mouth and deep in his eyes.
However, Aringarosa chose to cross that line first, and Silas did not have to carry the burden of the sin.
"What's wrong, Father?"
Silas barely dared to ask, but the Bishop was not his father, who would beat him for speaking the wrong word.
"I was thinking that as I am your teacher, there are many things that I ought to help you learn. I often wonder if I should try to shield you from the world or help you gain enough knowledge to protect yourself."
Shield me, Silas screamed inwardly. I am not worthy of the world. He felt the cilice cut into him.
It sliced his thigh until Aringarosa removed it, along with the rest of his clothes.
The Bishop kissed Silas, and he shut his eyes, trying to block out something ("Non! Arretez, papa!) that hovered in the edges of his mind. Aringarosa's hand slipped around his wrist ("Baise-toi, putain! C'est ton defaut!") , and he flailed out, catching Aringarosa in the side.
"My child!" Aringarosa gasped.
Silas drew his knees up, shaking. "Please, Father, I did not mean. . ."
Aringarosa brushed Silas' hair out of his eyes. "Don't worry, Silas, angel."
"Thank you. . ." He felt the red in his eyes acutely and knew that Aringarosa was the only one who wasn't reminded of hellfire when he saw it.
Silas often let thoughts of the Bishop cloud his prayer after that. His confusion made his mind wander. He wanted Aringarosa to touch him again, but he didn't dare ask. He hadn't known it could be like that; safe and painless and full of love.
Aringarosa did love him. He had told Silas that when Silas finally let him kiss him again.
The Bishop had told him that desire is wrong, but he had also had stripped Silas and lain with him. It was different, perhaps; not lust, but holy communion of some sort. After all, Aringarosa was Silas' god.