My finger tightens around the trigger as I savour my last few breaths. I don’t deserve to live. If there’s one thing I’m sure of in the maelstrom that is my life, it’s that. Not after all of the things I’ve done. I’m not worthy of the flesh I animate. I have no soul. I’m a monster.
I take one last glance at the shithole of an apartment that will soon be my tomb. It’s a fitting place for me to end it all. The concrete walls are stained with years of mildew and bodily fluids. Soon I’ll splatter my brains all over them, and the only thing left of me will be another faint patch of brown blemish, fused into the dirty gray of the concrete by the janitor’s chemicals. The room stinks of piss.
I close my eyes tight and lie down flat on my ancient bed. The frame rattles loudly as it strains under my weight and the springs stab into my back through the thin mattress like tiny knives. I’m being stabbed by all those who I’ve blighted with my existence. They’re torturing me to make me stop hesitating and put a bullet in my skull. They want vengeance.
Even though my eyes are closed, I can see clearly. I’m in the living room of a middle-class home. It’s warm, welcoming and somehow sophisticated, even with all the blood seeping into the luxury carpet and dripping from the polished walls. At my feet are the bodies of a man and a woman, their faces permanently fixed in macabre expressions of pleading. In my hands, a gun. Smoke still billows from the barrel. A small girl looks up at me in fear, crouched between the corpses of her parents. Her face is soiled with tears and blood and her pale blond hair is streaked with crimson. I turn to leave but the girl’s sobs prompt me to look back at her. I stare into her blue eyes. They stare back. They stare into my very being. I can’t stand to see the girl’s face anymore. My eyes flicker open and I’m staring at a ceiling riddled with cracks.
The little knives in my back don’t relent. They keep stabbing, trying to cut my heart out. I’ll let them take it; all it does is make me feel the pain of what I’ve done. It wasn’t there to stop me when I did what I did. It stayed silent then, let me slowly change from a human being into a demon, but now, when I’m just trying to do what’s right, it won’t shut the fuck up. I tell my heart to stop talking and wallow on my bed, holding my gun to my head and letting the knives stab me. They want to finish me off. Do they want me to suffer, or are they trying to help me?
I start to squeeze the trigger, but my finger halts halfway and the monster is allowed to rage against humanity a while longer. I can’t do it. My heart is demanding to be heard. It’s shouting. I can hear the bustle of city life through the open window beside my bed. Cars speed past in a blur and sirens pierce the air somewhere in the distance. The conversations of a million passersby combine into an incessant buzz. It’s the screaming of humanity, shouting at me to remind me of what I am. Shut the hell up! No, wait, listen. I don’t know what to do.
I turn to my side and stare at a framed photograph on the bedside table. It’s the young girl, with her mother. She has her mother’s face and hair, but the eyes are from her father. They’re my eyes. My own eyes staring back at me, piercing blue with swirls of green, two sets of the same eyes, eye to eye, a human, and something less so. A message is scrawled in the corner of the picture in black marker, a cryptic remnant of the world I spent my life creating, only to destroy. I read it one last time: ‘Happy 38th birthday! From your two favourite girls in the world!’ Two names are written underneath, one in a childish scribble and the other in elegant script: Lucy and Jessica.
Beside the photograph is a locket. It’s made of plastic. It’s been there for a while now. There’s a name marked on it as well, etched cheaply into the crudely cast lid. I don’t want to look at the name. I don’t want to be reminded of the one who led me down the path to Hell, stood by and watched as I took innocent lives and ripped them to shreds like a beast. I look away, but the next thing I see is a wedding ring, discarded, unwanted, unneeded, languishing on the windowsill. I don’t need to look at that either.
There’s a voice inside me. It demands an audience. I can’t do anything else, so I stop and listen. Who is it? What is it? It’s innocence.
‘Why, Daddy, why?’ it cries. ‘Weren’t you happy with your family? Why did you have to cut our hearts out? Are you dead inside?’
Am I dead inside?
I must be dead. My insides are rotten, almost skeletal. Maggots are embedded in my intestines, eating away at my body. I’m impure now. I’m the abject. I had enough, but it wasn’t enough. Why did I have to succumb to temptation? Why did I destroy the lives of those closest to me? What was it for? It was for nothing; I can’t see them anymore, and even if could, I wouldn’t want to. I’m unfit to see them. They’re happier as they are.
I’m dead. There’s nothing to live for anymore. It’s done. Fuck it.
I sit up, turn to the bedside table, and snatch the plastic locket into my hand. I hold it in my open palm, and force myself to look at it. I spend the last moments of my life looking at the name. Forcing myself to know who caused this to happen.
I shout out loud.
‘Fuck you! You deserve to be dead!’
Then I reach up, muster as much strength as I can, and hurl the locket to the ground. It speeds towards the floor like a bullet and when it hits it, it snaps in two; the lid with the name on it lands face up at the base of the table, and the open locket sprawls next to it.
I once again raise my gun to my head. This time, I don’t even take the time to think. I’ve never been one for thinking. I didn’t think when I fucked everything up, so why would I think now? I pull the trigger.
The bullet pounds into my skull. I don’t feel it. I don’t hear it. The damage to my brain destroys my senses. I topple forward, off the bed and slump onto the floor, already covered in my own blood. By sheer bad luck, my head lands right next to broken locket.
The very last thing I see: the open locket, where a scrap of paper hides, besmirched by a smudge of lipstick with ‘Let’s meet again soon, handsome!’ scribbled across it, signed with the name Sara, and the broken lid, with a different name upon it, the name I hate so much. My name.
Dayle Robert Grixti writes because he loves telling stories. He is infamous for talking too much and generally being annoying. When he can’t talk anymore, he writes, and annoys the human race with his self-declared mastery of the English language. Dayle majors in Professional and Creative Writing and Journalism and does Literary Studies as a sub-major. He hopes to become a famed novelist, though would settle for becoming a revolutionary leader of some kind instead.