When he heard the door opening, the pastor stopped believing in God.
The pain felt like an entity playing through his veins, pulling each nerve as if they were strings held by the Devil. On his naked body, there was a large layer of dirt and shame. Around the neck, a rusted chain, eating his flesh away.
On the ground, the corpse of his son with the throat cut.
A light came in, illuminating all the dust and cobwebs from the basement, the coupe of rats and cockroaches on the bloody neck of the corpse, but not the pastor. A black woman went downstairs with a chair in one hand and ropes in the other. Her face, once wrinkled by the stress of the past days, now seemed as cleansed as her soul, although she was still wearing the same threadbare lingerie.
‘‘What do you want?’’ the pastor asked, while the prostitute was putting the chair on the floor and the ropes on the chair. ‘‘Just tell me…’’
A heavy punch shut his mouth. He cringed against the wall, being choked by the chain when she pulled him back and kneed in his testicles. Then a thud hit his nape. Before collapsing, he felt a cotton bag lining his head.
The pulsation of a headache woke him up as if it was about to burst his brain.
Although all he could see was darkness, the blindness dawned on him that the bag was still around his head. The wrists, ankles and upper body were on the ropes, tied to the chair. Sounds of high-heeled steps sent shivers down his spine.
Then, the bitten hand removed the bag.
He tried to scream when he noticed her sitting on a stool, but the thirst reduced him to silence. So did the old ball gag in his mouth. As soon as he started trying to break free, she stopped him. His head was tilted back as if he had the edge of a straight razor pressing against his neck, but it was touching a spot below the belt. The weight of his testicles pulling the scrotum against the razor calmed him down.
‘‘I am used to this, you know,’’ said the prostitute. ‘‘Men who treat me like garbage just because I’m a woman. Or ‘cause they don’t respect what I do for a living. Mostly the ones like you, who think they can do anything just because they preach in a church. But you know what I am really pissed off about? Taking shit because of the color of my skin. You had asked me what I wanted before all this turned to shit. I remember I said ‘‘the best fuck of my life’’. But you know what? I just wish I could forget what you and your sick son have done to me. To be able not to remember the suffering I’ve had passed through in a fucking basement all these days.’’
The pastor moaned trying to speak.
‘‘People like you have a voice all the time. Now it is my turn. And you’re going to listen, quietly. Have you seen how the flesh under my skin is red when you cut me? I’m gonna’ show you how we’re not so different.’’
She held him by his hair and put the razor in his right temple, pressing it until the blood dripped. Cut his face slowly, as if following the dashed line of a surgery around his face, as the bastard kept writhing. Then buried her fingers inside the skin and pulled the strips, one by one, leaving deep flesh wounds.
‘‘Don’t cry,’’ she said, throwing chunks of flesh on the ground. ‘‘You said I was asking for it, I thought you were asking me to show you how we could be the same. Look.’’
The reflection in the portable mirror, distorted by tears and blood, showed a cadaverous face, a layer of human flesh torn in the shape of a skull.
She got up and soaked him with a liquid that burnt his flesh. He started struggling to escape and fell sideways on the ground, craving for death when he smelled the gasoline. He tried to crawl, forcing the rest of his face against the cemented floor, but all he did was stain the ground with blood.
She got closer, taking a matchbox from inside the bra. Then put a cigarette between the lips and picked up a match.
‘‘For what I can tell, you hate black people. Said that we’re damned… Honestly, it seems to be due to our history. Have you ever thought of how it is to be a black woman in this hypocritical white liar world? I guess you’d never understand if I had to explain, so let me show you how it is. Just a few seconds with your skin as black as mine will give you an idea of the pain we’ve been suffering over the centuries.’’ She struck the match, lighting the cigarette.
After that, she threw the lit matchstick on him.
All his body started to burn, also melting the plastic gag in his mouth. All the pain of the Devil’s puppet burst out of its throat as screams of a sanctimonious sinner going down on flames.
The neighbors saw the mansion going up in smoke and called emergency. When the firefighters and police officers arrived, they saw a black, half-naked woman sitting with legs crossed on the curb. She looked like a beaten hooker, finishing her cigarette with her back to the fire.
As if she had just had the best fuck of her life.