In the Tower
So now I’m going to die. Who cares right? Who cares about some guy lying abandoned, in the middle of nowhere? You are sitting there and instantly you are judging me without even knowing who I am. You are, don’t lie I know exactly what’s going on in your head. I must have been doing something bad, that’s what you’re thinking right? I might be, but is it your right to judge before you actually hear my story? No, didn’t think so, now sit quiet, you might actually learn something.
Uncomfortable? Good, I’ve got so much more to say.
Let me ask you a question. Do you think all human beings are equal? Well its bullshit if you do. Of course you, as a civilised member of society will condone this opinion, but remember what the world is like; it discriminates. I’m a plague in your society. I’m a misfit that doesn’t deserve an education, a cancer to your healthcare system, a criminal who’s causing trouble in your lawful city and a benefit grabbing shit that is too lazy to work, stealing your precious tax money.
I can already read your mind, thinking “You should have studied hard, followed the law or at least cleaned up my act and grow up, get married and becoming a functioning member of society.” Sounds easy right? However, my life was a pitfall to the bottom of the food chain the moment I left my mother’s vagina. I grew up on a council estate. A wonderful place to raise your child in a run down, cramped, mouldy home. It was my castle against the gangs and thieves. If I wanted to keep busy I’d zone out to the TV, play in the nearby park (while avoiding the countless needles, cans, bottles and cigarettes littered in it) or cause some trouble.
My parents were a child and her abusive ape of a man. I’m surprised I survived. My mum was in la-la land, out on whatever drugs she could get her clutches on, Daddy coming in steaming and ready for a fight; let’s just say money was short between them. That was strike one. I went to school hungry, a lot and I got picked on for my clothes being too small, too dirty. I was alone against the rest of the world, no one wanted to hang out with scum.
Despite my upbringing I found an escape in books. Worlds filled with endless dreams and paths that I could take. My parents didn’t matter; those kids who bullied me didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore; I had an escape from my shithole of my life. However, after a while it wasn’t enough. I left school and as far as my parents were concerned I was a stranger in their home. The bomb of the adult world hit, having no job or home meant no money, no food. Suddenly books could do nothing to aid me, so I turned to something I knew would take me to a better world, just like my mum.
Strike three; I’m out.
So I took too much stuff that’s bad for you. You know what I mean, so don’t pretend you don’t have a clue. Heroin, The good shit. Everywhere, from schools to hospitals, say it’s dangerous, illegal and to avoid it at all costs but let me ask, did they tell you how it felt? The euphoria, intoxication, the love, the highs and the…feeling of utter peace. No, of course not. They told you about the sickness, the hate, the lows and the hell. In the end none of the side effects discouraged me. I know you feel no sympathy for drugged up kid like me. I did it to myself, I didn’t clean up my act, I’ve sinned and there’s probably a spot in hell for me. Well fuck you. This is my voice in its last few minutes and I demand some respect. If you’re too closed minded, crack open your head a little to let some of your ego escape. I’ve got something to say about the people who don’t understand, that in a way this is not completely my fault. They never look down, because they think it’s beneath them to look and see the pain and chaos at their feet. They walk over everything, probably slip in shit from time to time. I have a piece of advice for them; better watch what you step on.
So here I am, dying. I feel no pain, the heroin has made sure of that. I tingle pleasantly from head to toe. Everything is distant as if I’m going deeper inside myself, cutting off the noise of the room, further and further my mind sinks. Maybe I’ll go to a better place. However, that’s probably bullshit too. I’m going down, because a lowlife like me may be in one of your castles, but I am far from a king in your eyes.
The Last Son
My mother died on a sticky, hot day. The summer sun set the sky on fire as my brother and I ran in the rich green bushes and lush grass in our vast garden. Though he was the eldest, he was shorter than me and was naturally timid and gentle, a trait that was found in my mother. Like any other boys we rampant and loud to all creatures around us, we did not have a care in the world. Barefooted we ran onto the stone of our patio which was red hot and made me jump up and down to try and stop my feet from burning as we approached my houses back door. I called for my mother and my voice echoed emptily inside. No answer, I called again and my brother called out when I again received no answer. Until outside there was a large thump to the ground, accompanied with a sound that I can only describe today as a gruesome snap and splash. I turned my attention back the outside and followed my ears on where the sound had resonated from, my brother close behind. As we went around house I noticed the wall was blotched and scratched with red, flecking like a rash on its surface. A few seconds later, we found the body. The blood was still seeping into her long golden hair that made an angelic halo around her head, with the impact her blood had been splattered everywhere, as we ran to her body I felt the blood sticking to my feet from the heat already. I shook her, I screamed for her to wake up but her face was a marbled blue and purple as if deathly cold. I gave up and fell into her chest sobbing. As I cried a dark shadowed appeared, looming over us. I looked up to see my father peering over the balcony above.
He said she fell, at her funeral as both my brother and I sobbed freely that she was gone. Mr Sawyer, a friend of our family longer than before I was born was in ruins, crying out her name over and over. He showed more emotion than my father ever did that day. He stood with a face of stone, the entire day he stayed close to my brother and when they lowered mother’s coffin into the dark crypt prepared he gripped onto his shoulders like a vice. I stayed for a while in the crypt, looking at the sculpted body carved onto the lid made to depict her. The sculptor had done an awful job; she was far more beautiful than this ugly, cold stone. I jumped with surprise when a hand touched my shoulder. “Sorry Ashten, I didn’t mean to frighten you.” Said Mr Sawyer apologetically and retracted his hand away from me.
“No I’m sorry Mr Sawyer, I-I’m just a little under the weather.” He smiled.
“Hey no need to be so formal, call me James and don’t talk like that, you are still a child.” He chuckles before he reached out and ruffled my hair which made me feel a little better. We smile at each other before he turns to look at the crypt “You couldn’t leave her either?”
“Well, father and Jason needed to get paid respects; I didn’t want her to be left alone.”
“Ah I see what a good son you are. She would be so proud.” I beam at the complement, it meant a lot. “But, we can’t stay here forever, so how about we go back to the house and like we stand strong for her?” I nod, though I start to sob again, as he lead me back he looked to the sky with shimmering eyes “I was very fond of your mother Ashten, she was one of the most wonderful people in this world.” He made me cry even harder and we both cried our last tears before entering the house.
A few years past and death was back to take someone else I loved, Jason was bedridden with a fever. I sat next to him on the bed, not caring if I was at risk of catching his illness. His breath was hot and heavy as he gasped, struggling to keep inhaling. “Ashten?”
“Will you protect me?” I smiled.
“Hey, you are my big brother you can’t say such things.” He laughed with a rasp.
“Yes, you are right. I’m not a very good brother am I?” I frowned with a deep furrow, wondering how he could think so little of himself.
“You are strong Jason, you know that.” He smiled faintly, before he started to shake, tears welled up in his eyes.
“Ashten, I-I’m scared.”
“You will get better, do not be frightened.”
“No not of this sickness, of-”
The door of the bedroom banged open to reveal my father with a face of thunder. “Ashten! I said that you were not to come in here, you dare disobey me?” Both Jason and I were frightened as he stormed over grabbing Jason and lifting him off the bed like a ragdoll. We screamed, I tried to reach for him but father threw me down quicker than I could get a hold of Jason’s hand. He stormed out the room, with Jason still screaming in his grasp. I didn’t see my brother alive again, a week later my father said he did not make it. So at his funeral, it was my shoulders my father hooked onto.
Six years past and my father had banned me from going outside, saying I was too precious and he didn’t want to lose me. At eighteen years old I had become a full-fledged man, I had not seen a soul for all the time my father had kept me locked up in this room. I was locked up in my mother’s old room, though I was puzzled that I was not kept in my own, it was comforting to be around her things. I was reading a book on the bed as usual when I heard unfamiliar voices from outside my room. I look through the keyhole. I see two servant women who I did not recognise were just on the landing in front of my door. There words were harsh and whispered, meaningless words laced with gossip and giggles. “Ladies! What are you up to?” The voice was unusually velvet and smooth but I instantly recognised it as my fathers. “Sorry Lord Campbell, we were just on break and on our way to the servant’s quarters.”
“Please call me Master Ashton, Lord Campbell is my father. No need to be so formal.” As the girls giggled nervously at his suggestion I was completely shocked. What on earth was my father thinking? It makes no sense it had to be some sort of joke. The servants rushed away and I heard them go down the stairs. I should have shouted while they were there, it didn’t occur to me at the time, I was filled with shock and anger. I started wrecking the room, knocking over anything in my path. I went to my mother’s Vanity and flipped it. Her old makeup and perfume smashed on the floor, her fragrance brought my rampage to an end and I fell onto my knees on top of the twinkling shards. I breathe in again and fall onto my hands, it stings when the shards cut my fingers and palms but I didn’t care. Why mother? Why is father doing this? As my vision started to blur with the beginning of tears I notice something strange in the Vanity mirror that I smashed in my rampage. Underneath the crumpling mirror fragments still attached to the mirror I noticed a cream envelope peeking out. For a second I wondered how it was even possible, but I realised that my mother might have slipped it in between the backing and the glass. I hurriedly crawled over to it, tearing the letter out from the mirrors grasp. It was addressed to a William, my father’s first name. It was still sealed with the wax as if it had never been opened. I started to read.
I’m afraid my darling, I will gone from this world very soon. I pray to god that you get this letter. You are the most precious thing to me William, so I beg of you to run far away from this place. Your father, he is not human. I did not realise it until my second child, your brother Drake, was taken from me. Do you remember how both your brothers had a horrible sickness? I was so desperate to visit Drake that I saw a sight so terrible I will not repeat it. You are now my only child left in this world and as a mother it is my duty to make sure you survive. I am in my last hour I suspect, your father will not let me live to tell you, or anyone else this. God cannot protect me; the noose is already around my neck. If you survive through, I will be at peace.
Your loving mother.
Though I was disappointed that it was not my own mother, I said a prayer for the William who never got this letter. Now the bigger question was who, or what was my father? Before I could think, I felt a presence behind me and when I tried to turn round, my vision blacked out.
My head thumped as I awoke from my forced slumber and it took a few moments for my hazy vision to become clear. When I finally came round it came to my attention that I was lying down on a lounge chair. As I arose my head spun but nonetheless I felt vulnerable lying down. I heard the clink of metal on china; I look across to see my father stirring what seemed to be a cup of tea. He appears to be younger than I last saw him; in fact, he looked almost as young as me. He was eerily handsome, though his face was emotionless as I could remember. However, all of a sudden there was a smile that appeared on his face as he looked to me, the smile would usually come across as warm but all I felt was a cold stab. As his eyes were filled with hunger, hunger that was directed towards me. “You are awake? Good. Come here and have a seat, we have much to talk about.” I was hesitant but, I had no real choice and I needed answers. I got up shakily and staggered over to the seat opposite him. I sat down and steadied myself with my hands on the table. He poured me some tea into a cup and saucer and I cursed myself for giving mumbled thank you to him out of the bad habit of good manners. “Drink.” He ordered me while still staring at me with the eyes of a predator. Again, I had no choice but to comply I took a sip before realising he had not touched his at all, big mistake.
I was surprised when I became immobilised, falling face forward onto the table letting go of the cup and saucer so that it smashed on the floor, the tea spilled all over my legs but I didn’t even flinch or scream though it was burning my legs through the cloth. Whatever he had given me, it had completely hindered my speech and movement. “Datura Metel; also known as the Devils Trumpet. It is a poisonous plant that can be found in Italy and often causes fatality. Don’t worry I haven’t used enough to kill you, the paralysis is temporary. It’s just that I can’t have you fighting back is all. I bet you have a lot of questions.” He touches my head and harshly pulls it by the hair so that I face him. “Have you ever heard of the Wolf Spider?” I look towards him blankly and he continues.
“The wolf spider will have many offspring; however, for its own survival it will eat as many of its offspring as it needs to stay alive. Filial cannibalism they call it, the eating of one’s young.” My eyes widened at the explanation, and he grinned sickeningly.
“Ah, you understand? You brother was too young to grasp the concept.” My blood ran cold with the realisation. He had eaten Jason? How on earth? “I see you read the letter Jane left, she hid it well. Like your mother she found out that I was not human.” Mother found out? Is that why she- “Yes Ashten, your mother died by my hand. She was going to tell that Sawyer of my true identity. So I called her to the balcony, before strangling the life out of her. When I was finished I tossed her body like waste.” My eyes lit up, he was a monster.
“You see, my children are blessed with the same blood as me. We can live forever, when we drink the blood of our kind. Once upon the time we drank the blood of humans, but over time it deformed us with the taint of mortality. It is now our poison.” He used my other hand to stroke my cheek; if I could have shivered I would have chilled myself to the bone. “You are my 547th son and my 863rd child if you believe it. The girls were useless, so I made sure they died quickly.” He grabbed his own cup flinging out the poison liquid in dramatic fashion before he got up and walked towards me. He leaned to my neck, with a crooked and sharp fingernail he pierced the soft flesh which almost eagerly bled out into his awaiting cup. He lifted the cup to his nose, smelling my blood as if it were fine wine. “A toast.” He said with a crooked grin. “To my good health.” He swung it back, swallowed; before he started to choke. I could see confusion on his face as he stared at me. Then suddenly his eyes widened as if an epiphany had come upon him. “That…bitch…you are… mortal.” He tried to walk toward me with a menacing look in his eye. However, he fell and while crawling towards me, and perished before he could even touch me.
I was found a day later, still paralysed next to the dead body of my father. Mr Sawyer had waited in the wings as he had been banished to see me. He made sure one of the top doctors in the country was the only one to treat me. Slowly my body recovered, but I’m afraid my mind did not. I am still haunted by my father, my brother and my mother. There dead faces walk in the daylight as well as my dreams. When I lay my head to the pillow sometimes before I dream I hear the ringing of hundreds of voices of children, screaming and snarling, the sound of flesh tearing. As if they are feeding.
I should thank Mr Sawyer for my mortal blood, that one day I will have the salvation of death.
The Great Pretender
Evan was the best pretender. He could have convinced anyone in his primary school class of anything. From pretending to be rich to pretending to be a secret agent, his class would be in awe and look at him with respect. They would applaud his heroic attempts as the world’s gymnastic protégé and be amazed at the songs he had written, though they were actually from some niche music band on the internet. Even adults, with whom he was extremely careful what he said, would even sometimes be fooled and envy his parents. So, from a very young age Evan knew what he was best at: pretending. He was happy with that, being a pretender. However, now everything had changed.
No longer was Evan in primary school. He was in high school… ugh. What a boring place this was – where the real world matters the most. In a flourish, he was pounded with questions – what subjects does he want to take? What job did he want in the future? All stuff that never really mattered to him and it made him afraid. He wasn’t really that good at anything but pretending. He didn’t have good grades or talents like playing an instrument or being amazing at a sport. This was a strange predicament for him. He was so confused and angry that he was being forced to comply with a world that was too real and disappointing. So, in his first period in Biology, Evan had an epiphany. He didn’t have to stop pretending, he just had to get better at it. He started small; pretending he was faint, telling his classmates he had ridiculous allergies. These gave him a small high but he knew this was just practice for the real pretending. In high school, words were not going to be enough.
The character: an unfortunate soul; somebody who had no reason to lie about the unfortunate events that happened to them – but he would. He walked into the boy’s bathroom and made sure there were no witnesses in the cubicles. This was the beginning of a whole new kind of high. He opened the entrance door of the bathroom wide, making sure he was out of view of the hallway cameras. Shaking violently with adrenaline, he gripped the doorframe with his other hand. With one breath, he readied himself and then slammed the door. His scream was loud and shrill; it was perfect and drew nearby teachers and students to his aid. His fingers were broken, their form crushed and distorted as they turned a dark, almost black purple. He whimpered, saying how it was all a blur and he didn’t know what happened. They ate it all up; it was all his class could talk about for the rest of the morning before he was sent home. In his parents car he was shaking, with excitement.
Before even his fingers had healed up, he managed to find a blind spot from the cameras on the school staircase and successfully fell down them. He landed even better than he planned; he did his best not to cry out too loud when his leg snapped. The bone in his shin tore through his flesh in an instant, the white peeking out from a bloody wound. He lay there, pretending to be unconscious until the bell rang for break wherein crowds of students would file out and instantly see his unfortunate accident.
He carried on having a series of accidents at an erratic pace. His fellow classmates pitied him and teachers took him to the side thinking he was being bullied – which was an amazing bonus. Though he felt amazing, he stopped his antics for a few months to let himself heal. He needed to be ready for the next thing to pretend.
The character: an abused child. It’s not that he disliked or hated his parents but it was too tempting to resist. Having monsters for parents is something he could pretend to have for the rest of his life. So in the morning, when his parents were fast asleep, he walked into the family bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror. For a few minutes he repeatedly punched himself in the face until he deemed it swollen enough for comment, trying not to be too loud and wake his parents. So, for a month he walked around with bruising and he hardly saw his parents because of their addiction to work which suited his plans well enough. However, he knew that he needed to take it further. Although there were questions raised, there are plenty of kids in school who get beaten around – it wasn’t that special. So, he had to make sure his parents were the most psychotic, sick bastards that they had ever seen; not only in their teaching careers but ever in their life. Slowly, he let himself get thinner, paler still suffering bruising that made almost everyone do a double-take.
The next morning in the family bathroom was the finale; he had gagged himself appropriately with a towel as he took the tweezers to the first nail. He tried to do it slowly, the skin screaming in protest as it ripped a little. He paused, it was too painful and he had to be quick. He used all his strength at once and it came off: cuticle and bits of skin hung from the now bloody nail, the raw skin from his nail pulsated and spat blood. He threw up bile from the pain, tears streaming down his face. When he felt he was less shaky, he moved on to the next one.
So, when a quivering twelve year old boy with poorly bandaged bloody hands came cowering into school, all hell broke loose round the school. It took a few months for his parents to get their guilty verdict; he felt the euphoric when the gavel went down. He was the Great Pretender; he had made everyone believe him. After all, who would have believed a pair of abusers, right? He was just a poor, poor twelve year old child who was tortured by a pair of psychopaths. He was infamous all over the country and everyone believed him – well, except his parents of course. He had been put into the care system, which meant a new school. There were heartfelt goodbyes from classmates but he was excited; it meant fresh meat.
His new school wasn’t much different from the old and, of course, people knew who he was from word of mouth up and down the country. However, he hated it. He wasn’t getting anywhere near the attention that he craved. They sympathised but his past did not matter. Over the few weeks he had been here, they didn’t really care and what was a pretender without an audience? Instead, they all fawned over a popular boy in class who was talented and pretty. Evan’s blood burned in his veins as he stormed to a bathroom. He went into the concealed part of his backpack and pulled out his penknife. He brought it to his wrist violently before pausing. No, this wasn’t right. This isn’t what a pretender does; it is attention-seeking behaviour that most people judged more than sympathised with. Then it hit Evan. Oh, he was a genius. He returned to the classroom to bide his time. The bell rang for the next period and he overheard Mr Popular needing to go to the bathroom alone. Finally, his chance had come.
He stalked Mr Popular to the bathroom and he waited till he went into the cubicle to take out his penknife. The character: a victim of attack. Evan covered his mouth before stabbing himself in the chest. He whimpered but Mr Popular in the cubicle next door did not question or even stir. Quickly, Evan left the bathroom and hurried to class as the halls were now empty. He had stabbed deeper than he predicted but it didn’t matter he would get help soon. His plan was perfect; Mr Popular wore leather gloves for the winter cold so he had an excuse for only Evan’s fingerprints being on the knife. His clothes had quickly become soaked with blood and it had started to trail across the floor. They would all rush to his aid; what a fantastic debut for his new school life. He finally made it up the stairs to his next class, however, he found it empty. Evan was confused at first but then it hit him – ah! That was the room number at his old school for his Art class. No matter, he thought, his breath ragged; it would make it all the more dramatic. He tried to go back down the stairs but stumbled. He fell forward, the knife plunging in deeper and he cried out. No, he wasn’t going to give up yet. He crawled forward, his blood dragged across the floor in a vivid red line. However, eventually he could move forward no more, his body lay twitching for a few minutes more, until it stopped.
Evan was the best pretender.
The Luckiest Man Alive
Finally I had made it to the final flight of stairs. It had been a treacherous journey from the car to the flat with heavy bags of shopping weighing me down. The final steps to salvation were hard but nonetheless I make it to the door. I battle to get the keys in the lock, I sigh with relief when I hear the lock click. I make sure not to drop the bags on the way in; I rush towards the kitchen doorway. “Hey Dave I’m home come get something to eat-” My roommate had an arm round the new toaster, trying to pry the element with a fork. The bags fall to the floor crashing and spluttering everywhere as I rush towards him. I knock the wind out of him, he probably wasn’t expecting a full body tackle. We went down in a heap while the toaster flies in the air before imploding on the floor. “What the hell Robert?”
“Don’t you what the hell me! That’s the third toaster in two months!”
“Well maybe if you didn’t keep buying one or even better, let me do what I want you would save some money.” This intolerable man battling me on the floor like a spoilt brat is Dave Carter, the suicidal maniac. He jumped out in front of my car six months ago and he has been living with me ever since. It’s been chaotic; I can’t even leave him alone for a few minutes before he is trying to top himself. I don’t know his motive and to be honest, I hardly know anything about him at all, but as long as he lives under my roof, he will live. “Well if you feel like that why don’t you just leave?” Dave stops struggling and looks up at me with a disturbing grin, I feel a chill run up my spin with his stare. “I know you are going to snap… and take vengeance.” The comment was unsettling, I could feel my veins pulse as my blood pressure started to creep. I take a deep breath, I wasn’t about to play one of his mind games.
I shove him out my grip and get up. I walk over to shopping bags with their contents sprawled all over the floor, guess eggs for breakfast was a no-no; since the ten second rule definitely does not apply here. “Look what you did! Come on help me clean up.”
Dave shoots past me out the kitchen as he hollers “Not my problem Robert!” Damn him. I stay and mop up the mess, salvaging what could be saved before picking up the pieces of the toaster, this thing was expensive. I don’t know how much more I can take of this, he is nothing but a troublemaker, I’ve never seen anyone so eager for death it’s almost comedic. The theatrical to plain stupid attempts, those bloody puppy eyes when I’ve removed everything harmful, like he is five and I took away all his toys. I’ve not had any pain killers in months, my migraines are beyond insane like someone’s shooting me countless times in the head. Is that not the most messed up thing you have heard? He is just one, big, joke. Him jumping in front of our car, a joke, a joke that- I take a deep breath, calm. He is a joke, but I know he needs taken care of, some professional care. I probably should have handed him over to a mental institute by now. I just seem to think that after everything that happened, he was my responsibility now. It’s as I said as long as he is living with me, he will live. Drip. I felt something wet on my head. Drip. I look up and I see water collecting on the ceiling, why on earth would there be- the bathroom. Shit. I’m going to fucking kill that idiot.
I storm out of the kitchen. How dare he, that’s my bloody bathroom! “Dave!” No answer, what a fucking surprise. As I get on the landing I notice the carpet soaking up water and I storm through the marshland as it squelched and squished under my feet. Great, I’m going to have to replace that too, and the ceiling will need fixed, and the bathroom- oh he is so dead. I walk up to the door and try the hand but it won’t budge, I removed the lock. The male Dave seems to be getting cleverer, barricading his habitat from its natural predator, someone who’s actually sane. How much will a new door cost? Ah fuck it might as well splurge. I take a few steps back before ramming the door and it cracks and caves in. It swings violently, smacking against the wall. There he was, bound in the bath, his clothes still on, facing downward and drowning. The water splashes all over the floor from the overflowing bath. It’s so beautiful I could drown him myself. I firstly turn off the taps before grabbing his hair and drag him to the surface by his hair, before grabbing his shirt and I swing him out the bath so he makes a satisfying smack when hitting the floor. What? He is dying, he can’t feel it. If he can though, that’s even better. I check his breathing and heart, nope, nothing. I go through the motions of CPR; I’ve had a lot of bloody practice. He will have a fit about me giving him mouth to mouth again, but it’s his own bloody fault.
He sputters and coughs, the water from his lungs spraying everywhere, including all over my face. His eyelids shoot open and for a minute his face looks as if he wasn’t in this world, or at least he wasn’t expecting to be. He looks at me, every time after his attempt I see this expression, filled with confusion, sadness, anger and bitter disappointment. When I see this it reminds me, that he is serious about wanting to kill himself. With his weakened strength he pushes me away and I topple due to my awkward position hovering above him “Get the hell away from me.” Shakily he gets up and for a minute he seems to almost fall over I quickly try to get up to support him “Stay the fuck, away from me Robert.” He walks out the bathroom slowly as if trying to maintain some dignity as he walks across to my bedroom –technically ours since I can’t leave the bastard alone for a second- and he sits on the bed in his sodden cloths, his hair dripping as he puts a hand under the mattress.
I finally get up being careful not to slip and slide. My clothes were now half soaked, but I didn’t care. I walked across to the bedroom and leaned on the door frame, watching him fiddle with a cigarette and lighter he had grabbed from under the mattress, I knew I should have checked under there this morning. “You just tried to drown yourself in the bath.” He looks at me slightly smugly the cigarette between his teeth muffling his words as he continues to try and light it. “No shit Sherlock.” I take a deep breath, before smacking his face. The cigarette falls out his mouth while the lighter spins across the floor.
“What the fuck-”
“Don’t act like you’re in the right! That’s not fucking normal Dave; you need your fucking head examined.” My voice shakes with anger, and I crunch my fists tightly, my whole body starting to shake violently. I haven’t been this angry since- yeah, I’ve not been this angry at him in a long time. I try to calm down, there is no point getting myself worked up. “Right there Robert, that’s your hate coming out. Go on, you know what you want to do.”
“I don’t hate you; I just don’t like how you act all high and mighty after the shit you just pulled.”
“I can do whatever the fuck I want!”
“Not here! I’m fucking done with this shit! If you want to go on a romantic evening with your beloved death then be my guest and leave!” He gets up off the bed and walks right up to me, so close that our noses almost touch. His stare is intense, I try to hold it. “Okay, I’ll say hi to Sarah.” I close my eyes.
“Don’t speak of the dead, Dave.” My voice is barely a whisper; her name breathes life back into her, into my memory. The room is suddenly filled with her perfume, I feel warmth radiate from her ghost pressing against me. She whispers softly in my ear, her voice though quiet was vibrant as she again and again said she loved me as if it was a chant. As always her voice fades to nothing. Her body grows cold as she slips away, my senses overtaken by the sharp metallic odour of her blood. This isn’t good, I remember what was taken that day of the crash, what this fucking waste of a human being took from me.
I open my eyes and he has not moved an inch, his stare is still intense but venomous. He breaks the eye contact to move his head near my ear. “I’ll see her in hell.” The vicious hiss is enough to break me. I just, snap. I rip out a raw roar as I violently grab Dave and hurl him to the nearest wall. He grunts at the impact and slides down to the floor. I rush to the floorboard before getting on my knees to lift it. I needed it now. “What are you doing I’m fucking over here!” Dave shouts until he falls silent when I turn around. I get up, from the floor to tower above him, making sure the barrel was always on him. He looks at me with a tranquil face; I still quivered with adrenaline and anger. “You deserve this; this is justice, you more than anyone in this world at this very moment have a right to kill. I am the lowest of the fucking low and I took Sarah away, I murdered your wife Robert!” As he shouts I take the safety off and ready my finger on the trigger. Dave looks to me, those fucking eyes. “You’re doing the right thing Robert.”
“I sure fucking hope so.” My last words as I put the gun to my temple.
Then pulled the trigger.
So when I woke up in hospital it was a bit of a surprise. I nearly died of shock to see that fucking son of a suicidal bitch next to me. I look at him but it seems that one of my eyes was covered in bandages; he seems to be preoccupied with staring and the floor. I decided to call out to him, though my voice comes out weak and raspy. “Dave…?” Though my voice is small he immediately looks to me before shooting up from his seat. “You’re awake.”
“You’re in the hospital. Here have something to drink.” He pours me a glass of water from the container at my bedside and holds it to my mouth. As I drink I feel a pounding headache coming on, but the drink quenches my thirst and cools me down. After I finish off the drink I find it easier to speak?”
“How long have I been here?”
“About a month, I’ve been here almost every day.” I start to chuckle.
“Holy shit, that’s probably a record for you.” He doesn’t laugh.
“They said you would have major headaches for the rest of your life. Your left eye is destroyed and they put a metal plate in your head. You were lucky to survive. Why the fuck did you do it?”
“Did I give you a fright?”
“It was mortifying!”
“Good. Now you know how I felt you fucker.”
“It’s not the same thing.”
“It isn’t?” He falls silent and looks down, before taking a seat. I sit up though it was bloody painful. He looks to me as he begins to tell his story.
“When I was three, an earthquake hit my town. In the end, there were only seven survivors. Most of the town was dead, including my parents and sister.” He takes in a shaky breath. “My grandparents lived in the UK, so I had to come over here and leave the devastation behind. I never belonged here; I belonged with my family who were dead in the ground. This feeling grew as I got older and my grandparents died. I swam around in a broken care system and then I was too old for anyone to acknowledge me anymore. So I decided to end it all. I got a rope and knotted it. I stood on a chair as it hung from the ceiling ready to hang myself. I put my neck in the noose and knocked the chair down. The roof collapsed and I was still alive under rubble-” I burst out with laughter, I didn’t care how much it hurt my head.
“Robert, it’s not fucking funny.” Whoops, I calm down to the best of my ability.
“Well, ever since then, every attempt on my life has failed. I’ve done it all, cutting my wrists, drowning, suffocation, hypothermia, electrocution, jumping, guns, hanging, poison, starvation, disease, drugs, smoking and-” He looks me in the eye.
“Trying to get killed by impact and always, something goes wrong or someone saves me, I’ve been denied my peace.”
“Don’t you mean something goes right?”
“You know what I mean.” He starts to cry with his head in his hands.
“Then you came along and fucking did this. Weren’t you angry? Didn’t you want revenge? What the fuck is wrong with you Robert?” I let out a sigh.
“When my wife died I was going to kill you or make sure you went to jail.” He looks up at me. “But when I arrived with all that rage and hate it all disappeared. I didn’t see a murderer. I saw someone who was broken and that my wife swerved the wheel to save. In a sense, you were a victim yourself.”
“I don’t understand-”
“Let’s think about it this way Dave, what if the soul of every person that died in that earthquake, you’re parents and sisters, all your friends, neighbours, classmates everyone were pushing you to live. My wife too, gave up her life in exchange for yours. So how about you stop trying to change your fate and just see where life takes you. Life is precious.” We were silent as Dave cried harder than ever. When he was calm he stood up. “I’m going to go get a pack of cigarettes.”
“Dave!” Seriously, did he not hear what I said at all?
“I’ll start cutting down and try and quit okay?” I smiled. He smiled back before leaving the room.
Dave never came back.
He left this world twenty minutes later. A brain aneurism. Apparently with all of his attempts and drug taking he was a walking corpse waiting to drop dead. When I heard he died I didn’t know what to fucking believe in anymore. After telling him to wait for fate he finally got what he wanted. At least he understood that^ even his life, was precious. Even if he didn’t see himself to be lucky, till the day he died he was probably the luckiest man alive.
It was difficult watching my husband’s break down. It meant a lot that he was devastated by the miscarriage of my early bump, but I hated seeing him torn apart by my body’s failure. It’s not that he blamed me but watching his suffering made me feel like I should be. Lately he had been having trouble sleeping because of it; nothing would help him get some shut eye. This morning I flicked open my eyes, guilty I was the only one getting escape from reality. “Good morning.” He said with a worn smile on his lips as they slightly quivered.
“Tom, you’re not sleeping?” I asked while I reached out to his face and stroked his cheek. “Yeah none, but it’s okay sweetheart.” I frowned at him, I couldn’t believe he was still refusing some help but I couldn’t go against him, it wouldn’t have been fair.
“Well, I’ll go make some breakfast for you okay? Oh and definitely some coffee” He laughed at my suggestion and nodded; it was nice to finally see him crack a smile. I left him to go downstairs to the kitchen. I fried the eggs and bacon, hoping that the smell of food would tempt him down sooner. However, after setting down the plates, the food ready and the coffee poured he didn’t come down. “Honey?” I called to him upstairs, I hear his muffled cry and I instantly knew where he was.
I walked into the nursery, the freshly painted baby blue walls burned my nose and for a minute I watched him in the rocking chair by the cot with a teddy he had bought himself in his hand. He stroked its head delicately as it lay on his lap. I had told him it was too early to be making a nursery but he was so excited he couldn’t help himself. I remembered him saying it was going to be a boy, that he could feel it in his gut. I laughed with him, letting him have his happiness, before I ruined everything. Yet I can’t do anything to help, so instead I walked over to him and held his head in my chest as he sobbed. “It’s just not fair Cathy. It’s not fair.” I hushed him, holding him tight.
The day dragged on like it was never ending, the sorrow and depression thick in the air, it made it hard for us to even breathe in the same space. Usually Tom would be at his work but his boss said he was in no state to go into the office. Though I agreed on that he was not fit to work, I felt that staying in the house was doing more harm than good. We were going be stuck in this rut forever. The day ended though and I got into bed waiting for Tom, even though I knew I’d probably be the only one sleeping that night. He appears in the doorway of the bedroom and I noticed the bear in his hand.
“Hey, this is going to sound a bit strange Cathy but, can the bear go on the bedside cabinet, just for tonight? I know it’s stupid but…” He gripped the bear and he seemed to be again on the brink of tears, I couldn’t refuse him. So he laid the bear on the cabinet before coming into the bed.
I woke up in the morning and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Tom, was fast asleep, his breathing soft and even, it was pleasant to my ears. I quietly slipped out of bed being careful not to wake him from the long needed rest. I was bursting with happiness, with this maybe we could start moving forward again, I thought as I go into the shower, turning it on. When the water rained on me I flinched in pain. Looking down I had a few scratches on my lower abdomen. I must have scratched myself in my sleep; maybe I should cut my nails they had gotten pretty rough since I hadn’t been taking care of them. I walked back through to the bedroom to see Tom awake, looking refreshed. “Morning sunshine.” I laughed and he smiled warmly back at me and motioned me to join him. It was the best day in a long time filled with rest and a little hope. So when it was night again Tom tried to take the bear back to the nursery but I told him to keep it there. He smiled and complied before getting into bed. I didn’t know if it was the bear or whatever had made him sleep soundly but I wasn’t going to take any chances.
The next few nights more and deeper scratches appeared on my abdomen in the mornings, seemed I had developed a nasty habit which was the last thing I needed. I cut my nails right back to the point of pain and hoped that it would go away, especially since Tom was finally sleeping soundly, though he too began to worry me again. He no longer looked rested after sleep and was more distant than ever. He did not cry but he hardly spoke. So when we went to bed again I didn’t expect to wake up so suddenly, to see him standing at my side of the bed, looming with a twisted grin on his face. “Tom!” I screamed at him in fright and it seems to shake him out of his trance as his face became familiar again. “Cathy what on earth?” His face was frightened and unsure of what was happening.
“I-It’s nothing sweetheart I think you were just sleepwalking, you just gave me a fright and sorry I screamed.”
“No don’t be sorry I woke you up, I’ll get this sorted on Monday okay? I promise.” He got in the bed and held me tightly before going back to sleep. I didn’t know if it was actually Tom that had made the scratches on me but I was relieved that it was going to get sorted.
So Sunday night I decided that I was going to stay awake and make sure he didn’t sleep walk. I lasted till around one in the morning, before I closed my eyes for two long and drifted into sleep. I woke up with a searing and sharp pain from my abdomen to look down to see it scratched bloody, the flesh agonisingly torn on the surface. I tried to sit up but I found that my hands and feet had been bound to the bed. I saw Tom at the side of the bed, his fingers bloody, skin under the nails. He looked at me with a hateful stare; it didn’t feel like it was Tom. I struggled trying to break free “Tom, Tom please wake up!” My pleads failed as I watched him reach to his side and with a glint of a knife I started screaming and violently thrashing as much as I could. He brought the knife to my abdomen, readying it to cut me open.
“Mummy, I’m going back in.”
“Come on! Come on! Come o-aw man game over.” Hearing this my eyes drift off my own glaring screen and looked across the dimly lit internet cafe surprised to see a familiar face for a change. In control of a computer surrounded by a group of guys is a boy around my age. He was from my homeroom, Derek Tate. A pretty easy going guy, not in the shadows of life but not in the limelight either; basically someone I don’t interact with. “Man bummer…” exclaimed one of his faceless friends.
“I’m not really all that torn about it I’ll just set up another account with a new e-mail, no biggie.” Derek explained in a careless tone with an ease that could have been considered unique to him. Derek looks up at the clock.
“I’ll just do it when I get home, hey lets go over to that new place across the street I’m starving!”
“Yeah it’s nice over there!” a friend chirps. Derek stood up from his plush seat in front of the monitor and his friends groan as they got up from their uncomfortable crouches.
“We can get huge pizzas!” one of them laughed as the started making their way towards the exit.
As they walked past me Derek stopped and turned towards me “You’re Noah… right? That guy in my homeroom?” I gave him a brief nod, why the hell was he talking to me? How did he even know I existed? I’ve never talked to him, nor even attempted to, I never spoke a word I was always in the back of the class. There I was, in a hooded get up that he shouldn’t even have recognised me in. He looks over at my monitor “What?! I didn’t know you played! You seem pretty good too! I seriously could have used you over there!” he gave me a smile like we were close friends.
“G-guess so…” was all I could manage to say from this display of acknowledgment.
“Well… I gotta go but I’ll see you tomorrow!” He rushed out the door to catch up with his friends. Derek had noticed me in the shadows of his life; I guess he was more observant than I originally believed, I almost told him I definitely would not see him tomorrow.
I got up from my seat to view the events that I was previously going to ignore. As soon as I saw the street crossing beyond the crystal clear glass I knew what was going to happen. His friends sped across the road and Derek despite their complaining waits for the lights to change like he has all day. The lights change and he starts to cross and like clockwork; they come around the corner. They probably were on standby until he crossed the road. Usually a person would warn the prey when danger was approaching. However there was only one word that came to mind as the car attacked Derek.
“Someone call an ambulance!”
A disgusting feeling crept over me; I guess I shouldn’t have watched. I should have gone home. I logged off the website I was on, the very game that had murdered Derek:
www .savior. net.
Savior: the online game taking the world by storm. A game where you are a hero in a virtual world. The game has had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, and even gained a few awards for a new way to teach morals to a more rebellious generation. However there is a dark secret that Savior does not put on their log in page.
‘WARNING: If you are killed in the game, you die in real life.’
As I walked down the dusty streets, the majority of people I passed were highly likely to be Savior users; and still nothing was being done. Savior deaths come in a variety of different ways, some like Derek’s, some by illness, accidents, or suicides, occasionally murder and so on, so that they mix with the billions of other people who stop breathing. Another factor which helped Savior keep its secret is being sponsored from some of the richest men in the world and is supported by many big influential figures. All deaths are made inevitable by them, and they are teachers, doctors, nurses, policemen, anyone who is in a position of trust over you, anyone and everyone. You must be thinking: if a seventeen year old guy can work it out, then shouldn’t everyone else be catching on? To be honest, because the government is not mentioning anything the majority of people believe it doesn’t happen, and they do say ignorance is bliss. It’s never spoken of, and as it’s not talked about, it is never been brought into public light. The only reason I believe is because of Allan, my late best friend.
To be honest I thought he was just getting paranoid over theories from conspiracy websites, but he took it all the way and purposely received a game over, I thought that would be the end of it; and it definitely was his end. He was found the next morning. Apparently he had slipped and banged his head in his room. I thought he had done it to get me to believe but unfortunately once your eyes are opened, they never close. People in my life were falling like dominoes, incident after incident. It drove me crazy trying to contemplate why this was happening, the only reasoning being that it’s some sick rich man’s idea of a game. However I grew comfortable with the idea of it being inevitable.
Finally I reached my house, and immediately I ran upstairs to log in. I bet there is a question you are just dying to ask, why? Why are you playing a game that could kill you? Well, I’m one of the few that can. I know my limits, I’m not stupid enough to face challenge’s I have a high chance of failing. From my screen my game avatar appears.
Because that’s what I am; where others fall I will still be standing because I’m smart enough to never to let my guard down. In the outside world I am an antisocial kid hardly ever seen without a hood, only occasionally ever found outside of his room apart from school. In Savior I am a man, a man that can handle the pressure, I can-“Noah can I pway? Pwease?” pleaded my little brother, interrupting my line of thought.
“Joshua this is not a game! Now go to your room and play! Or something…” Reluctantly he goes with his tail between his legs. It’s not like he will understand the power I have over my own fate. I went to the quest menu to scavenge for suitable challenges. “Noah! Mommy needs a favour sweetie!” Reluctantly I got up at my mom’s command and left my room and went downstairs. I walked through the hall and automatically turn into the kitchen.
“Sorry honey bunch I thought I needed you to go to the store but I’m all good.” I rolled my eyes and made the journey back upstairs to my room. I opened the door.
My impending doom on a screen. “Noah! What I clicked on was weally hard! I’m sowy…” My face paled at the remark. I-I’m going to die… How did this happen? I was so careful… I fall to my knees; I’m just another lamb for the slaughter… I’m going to die at the hands of them. I look at my brother, sitting still messing around with the keyboard still not realising what he has done. My eyes travel up to the clock, they will be coming and I contemplate how I will die. Tears prick my eyes; so this was the end…No… Unlike the others, I know they are coming!
I will fight.
The Cleaner’s Ad
Twenty-four hours and seven days a week,
I am a phone call away,
To get rid of your unwanted meat.
My equipment is top notch, and I assure
It will be carved to perfection to fit in the bags.
Disposed effectively, however way you please.
My confidential services,
Are of course discreetly praised.
Amongst all of my clients and
Charge varies on weight and, body count.
Don’t be shy,
I’ll take care of everything.
You are most beautiful,
And now your body is cold,
Finally eyes are black, dull,
Shrivelled with decay weeks old.
I touch with baited breath,
Fingering the slimy skin,
Lips tainted with death,
How I do love lifes fin.
Together in the night,
I can make love to you,
barely out of God’s sight,
indulging in taboo.
They say death do us part,
But thats when the fun starts.
I come here now.
To find you,
maybe even myself.
The attic as you know,
Is the most godforsaken room,
In my entire home.
Ouija boards, curses and spirit games,
Fill this empty space,
Childhood terrors in this place.
Yet I reminisce and revel,
those memories sweet and bright,
to explore a world out of sight.
So even with the tug of hair.
Scratch of skin from those near,
I will still continue to come here.
So I do love the attic,
but I think I will be afraid,
of the dark, forever.
We have come to terms with it.
There was no escape from this fate,
We had grown fond of each other,
in our short time together.
Three days we have been stuck down here.
Our tongues had swelled and
it was hard to breathe,
ribs piercing through paper skin.
The suggestion spoken by him killed,
the humanity that was left in us
but we both agreed to it.
With the flip of change,
one would be given an end,
while the other would get relief.
When it came up heads,
it might have been a blessing or a curse,
whatever it was it gave me bitter hope.
With the last of my strength,
I got a rock as black as death,
like a reaper I brought it on his head.
With his face nothing but mush,
though tears streamed down my face.
He was food now.
The flesh torn from his bones,
was raw and bloody.
The chunks slipped down like butter.
I choke and gag,
quenching my thirst.
filling a hole.
I realised when I was sick and full,
that no longer was I living,
being completely filled with a dead man.