The Banquet (Part Two)
"Laughter in death. I admire your courage, Fallon," smirked Granville.
I looked across at the comical sight of Dupont vomiting, and of Palmer rinsing his mouth out with wine whilst clutching his stomach.
"I’m laughing at you, Granville. You’ve turned into one of them. You’re a murderer."
"Murderer? Let’s call it an execution, shall we?"
"You don’t understand, do you? I’m bloody innocent. I received a letter this morning. The man who killed Joe has been caught, after attempting to stab another young boy. He has admitted to killing Joe."
"Nonsense; a plea from a condemned man."
"I’m certain if you check the news, you’ll see for yourself."
Granville’s eyes bulged as he gripped the arms of his throne.
Joe’s mother put her hand to her mouth; a look of horror etched on her features. "What have we done? We must get him to a doctor."
The muttering around the room fell silent, as firstly Dupont, and then Tanya fell to the ground, clutching their stomachs. Palmer wept and flushed more and more wine down his throat. The stench of human waste filled the room, and the back of Palmer's tight pants were brown.
I felt a burning sensation in my throat and grabbed for the wine. It was no good; the pain in my stomach was now unbearable as I rolled about on the ground. I felt the wetness in the seat of my trousers. Granville and his companions tried to console me. I remember being carried out of the castle; the cold air of the freezing evening comforting me some. I vomited violently and remember being placed into the back of a car. Then I blacked out.
I was in hospital for two weeks before they released me. I was told time and time again how lucky I was to survive. Someone had brought me to the hospital and told the duty nurse that I had arsenic poisoning. Because they knew immediately what my symptoms were, they were able to pump my stomach and save me. Questions were asked; why I was wearing such strange clothes and where had I acquired the arsenic? The poison probably affected my memory I told them, and could not recall any of it.
I read the newspapers, and nothing was mentioned of the three child-killers. My first thoughts were to go to the police, and then I reconsidered. I decided against it; after all, I too have a conscience.