a novel by KEVIN JACKSON
The two central characters in a dark story with a kinky edge are the un-named narrator and the man she calls 'Great Work'. He has dedicated his life to a great work of arcane revelatory research, and the narrator who tells their story in first person recollections, is captivated by the efforts, sacrifices and ambition of his commitment.
She becomes Great Work's travelling companion, sees herself as his helpmate and assistant, and is seen as his girlfriend.
As any conclusion to the great work recedes in a never ending quest, she fears and sees a terrible retribution for their failure as inevitable. She respects retribution and practices retribution on herself in escalating bouts of rage and self abuse.
The Great Work destroys her spirit in his obsessive questing for revelation and disillusions her in his work, but her passion for a 'great work' survives and outlives that for the man. She has other lovers. One wanted to marry her; another she wishes could have been her's; and Owen, her friend and husband to her friend, Honor.
In desperation and frustrated lust, Great Work assaults her. In hospital he tells her that he had been prepared to kill her.
It is this assault, guilt at her betrayal of Honor with Owen, and the desolation of Owen's death that provokes her revenge.
She assails the Great Work using her self-abuse as a tormenting weapon, but he repels her.
Through opportunism or malice, she marries and has twin boys with Decclan, Great Work's oldest friend from their school and university days.
This, she thinks, as Great Work languishes in increasing poverty and isolation, should be vengeance enough.
Jennifer, Great Work's next girfriend had been succeeding in promoting the great work toward publication when she dies, murdered walking home.
Honor's son Darius robs Jennifer as she is dying. The narrator who wanted to 'murder' Jennifer for her success with the great work, tells Honor that she is the murderer.
Honor says nothing: she says not another word. Jennifer's killer is not apprehended and the great work continues unpublished.
The narrator remains secure and safe for now, wondering whether to confess, what to confess and to whom, wanting retribution still and wondering whether she indeed has anything to confess to.
|I killed the Great Work's Jenni and I haven't been caught yet. The 'Great Work' nearly killed me and I married his oldest friend. We have two boys. That should have been vengeance enough. Honor looked after me and I hope she remembers to until her dying day. I suppose that's it really . . . a horror story and there's nothing supernatural about any of it. I'm not dead, so, it's not over. Only Owen smacked me hard enough and look at all the trouble that caused. You see the thing is . . .