Since thinking about the theory, there has been no smell of roast lamb in the morning. Whatever was the cause of the original smell had probably got a ‘wiff’ of what I was intending to do. Getting up from sleep was no longer an operation in subterfuge.
Deceit used in order to get one’s goals;
late 16th century: from French, or from late Latin subterfugium, from Latin subterfugere ‘escape secretly’, from subter- ‘beneath’ + fugere ‘flee’.
We find it difficult to tell lies as I think I have already explained. My little subterfuge was only enacted to gain an advantage over my morning visitor. Unfortunately, my morning visitor had other ideas. Perhaps my morning visitor had other fish to fry. I don’t know why I should say that other than it fitting in with the whole Bible thing, lambs and fish and all that. So, my waking on that morning was ghoul-free. The air was clear, not even the residue of Kieran’s midnight farts had crossed the small divide and snuck in under my defences. The girl had not returned since our journey into the woods and the trees were shorn of the twitter of small birds or the cawk and cak of larger ones. There were no running feet, no creaked announcements, and no encouraging reminders from distant roads, telling me that the world was up and about its daily business. I was sitting in a large vat of silence and stewing in my own juices. To make matters much lonelier, the girl’s scent was nowhere to be found.
Climbing into the grey morning, I realised that I was missing the point of the school. I, unbelievably, was missing that thing that they call social interaction, mixing with other human beings, talking without saying anything, lubricating my claim to be a member of a group of social animals. Because, after all, that is what human beings are – social animals; although there were times when Kieran’s habits were definitely anti-social. I longed to sense the presence of other humans. I needed to hear the noise of other life, cars on roads, planes in the sky, the distant bark of a dog, but there wasn’t anything there that did not confirm my total isolation. My days would follow the same confusing monotony and disappointing realisation that, for some reason, I had been abandoned within the walls of Sandham with just the deathly beat of the library drum to mark time. And even this ran away from me when I sought to confirm our shared existence.
I was entering into one of those days whose only promise was that it would arrive at some type of incomplete conclusion. I would be waking, wandering and never completing anything that I thought I had promised myself to complete. I was a knot that could neither be tied nor untied.
“You look like you’re at a loose-end.”
It was the voice of the girl. She was waiting for me in my room.
“Loose-end. It means that you are not tied to any task or activity. You are free to wander but have nowhere to wander to. You are aimless, bored or itchingly frustrated by something. Something has taken your attention away from what you are meant to do. Why do you wander these corridors hour after hour, day after day? What are you looking for?”
I was looking for an answer, an answer to a question that I had not yet formed.
“Why did you come to Sandham?”