Copyright © 2012 A. WELCH
All rights reserved.
Raven stretched out on the seat, waiting under a light. The park was the most obvious place he could find, as he didn’t feel like hiding. The police were looking for him after the incident with his father.
He got a pen and some paper from his backpack, and took a deep breath of the cold night air. This was what his life had come to. How pathetic. He scrawled a note, his hand shaking.
“I’m sorry that it had to end this way, but I can’t take it anymore. I have reached the lowest point in my life, and I see no way out of it but through death. Nothing is left but darkness, and I cannot fight it. My father has taken away my sense of purpose through vicious beatings, and no one believes me when I say he’s a monster. If I live, I’ll become the same as him. It is a cycle of unbearable abuse, and it ends here.”
He signed the note. Putting it aside, he flicked open his pocket knife. It had served him well, and he would use it for one last purpose. He raised it to his neck and waited for the courage to come so he could finally end it all.
As a little kid, he crouched in the corner as he waited for his father to come home, promising himself that this time he would fight back, this time he would take a stand… but he never did. The kill or be killed instinct grew, but he didn’t think he was strong enough to kill. He was helpless to the brutal violence. Unlike normal children, he had never believed in the monsters in his closet or under his bed. The real monster was his father, and now he was becoming the same.
He felt like a ghost. An invisible wall separated him from the rest of humanity, stopping him from forming any connections. It was hard to imagine being able to live without a constant urge to kill. Destruction was the only thing that made him feel alive. The urge ate away at his very soul, or what was left of it. The beast would never be satisfied until everyone who had ever wronged him was dead.
Friends were disposable, family wasn’t valuable. He had no feelings of love or guilt, and his integrity didn’t exist. Decisions were made based on how things would affect him, rather than morals or emotions. Other peoples’ feelings didn’t matter because he would never be them.
Life was so wonderfully pointless. He wondered why he was still alive, after all the times he had almost died. He sighed, and put the pocket knife down. Death would eventually come, but there was no need to rush it by suicide. This is what his life had become; even suicide wasn’t worth it. Every cry for help was like shouting into a void.
He put the knife and note back into his pocket. Wherever he went, he was a burden, but he didn’t care enough to want to change that. Having the world be a better place without him was no incentive, because when he died the world could burn for all he cared. If he couldn’t be happy, then no one else should have the privilege.
Light burned his tired eyes, throwing him back into the present. A police van drove through the yellow grass and stopped right next to him. If he had considered running before, the possibility had completely left his mind now.
The two officers got out and stood in front of him. They weren’t angry like he expected.
‘What’s going on?’ the older officer said. He had a kind voice, but his stance was confident, his arms folded as he stared at him. The other officer had a similar stance, but he let his partner do the talking.
‘I don’t know,’ Raven shrugged.
‘You walked away from home in the middle of the night. Do you want to explain why?’
‘Honestly, I’ve had enough of my father’s… abuse. He beats me, then covers it up and says I’m clumsy and always getting into accidents.’
The officer raised an eyebrow.
‘No-one believes be. This time, I couldn’t handle it. I usually just let him hit me, and the bruises fade within a couple of days, but this time I fought back. That’s how he got hurt. I’d bet you anything he’d tell you I’m a liar.’
The officer nodded. There was genuine sympathy in his eyes.
Sympathy felt foreign, something not to be accepted because if others were anything like him, kindness was a way to manipulate people. Some people were fascinated by serial killers, wondering how their minds worked. However, to him, it was no mystery- if anyone was pushed far enough, they would kill. Normal people intrigued him. To go about your day whilst caring about others, not faking emotions, and without a burning hunger to kill buzzing in your chest was the strangest thing of all. Killers were simple, but normal people were a puzzle.
‘Alright, get in,’ the officer said.
He obeyed, getting into the back of the van, realising it would be unwise to ignore orders from someone with cuffs and a gun.
The car wasn’t how he had imagined it. The whole back was made of white plastic. The officer locked the door, and the air conditioning booted up, blowing through the sides. A small window in the front looked onto the police officers, but he couldn’t see where they were going. There were no seatbelts, so he had to keep his feet against some sort of footrest to stay in place. It was like being inside a refrigerator.
Names of people he used to know from school, dropouts, were scratched into the sides of the van. One of them had been arrested for a violent assault, another for breaking and entering. He felt like a criminal, but he wasn’t one… yet.
The door opened, and he peered past the officer to see he was back in front of his home.
Before the officer let him get out, he stopped him. ‘You know, it’s quite difficult when you have a parent that behaves this way. We’ll be there for you if you need us, alright?’ he said.
Raven nodded, and he stepped out of the van.
His father welcomed him with open arms, and Raven froze as he hugged him. The smile on his father’s face was unnerving, and he got the urge to run away, police chase be damned.
‘Go inside,’ the officer said, recognising his expression, ‘and I don’t want to see you out here again tonight.’
When he went inside, Raven glanced out the window and saw the officers talking to his father. He got the feeling that his father was convincing them that he was insane. From what his father said to everyone else, he was a delusional, lying sociopath. His father played the suffering hero in the performance of his life, and Raven was the cruel, merciless villain.
His father made his grand entrance back inside, slamming the door open and making the windows shake. ‘Soon you’ll be exposed for your lies,’ he said, clenching his teeth.
‘I told them the truth. You treat me like shit.’
‘If you don’t like it, leave,’ he shouted, spittle flicking onto his son’s face.
‘I want to, but I can’t,’ Raven said. His father already knew he had nowhere to go.
‘Why don’t you think about other people? You’re so cruel with your lies. You have no right to say I’m abusive.’
Raven opened his mouth, about to disagree, but he figured it’d be useless. Stomping into his room, he slammed the door, almost breaking it off the hinges.
‘You keep this up, I’ll call the police again!’ his father said, shaking the handle of the locked door. “I do everything for you, yet this is how you repay me?’
‘Piss off!’ Raven yelled.
His father kicked the door open, and burst inside. As his father beat him, Raven’s vision went dull and his body went numb. He was vaguely aware of fighting back, and the blood on his knuckles confirmed it. Next thing he knew, his father was on the ground, crying and howling in pain.
Raven’s eyes widened as he realised what he had done. Running outside, he heard the door lock behind him. He checked if the police were still out the front, but no one was there, so he sat down against the fence.
It was going to be a long, cold night. If the police were called again, his father would say he was defending himself, making up a story about how his son was a monster like he always did. The psychologist he saw once a fortnight would be on his father’s side, diagnosing him with whatever mental illness seemed feasible so no one would believe anything he said. It was all a part of his father’s game.
Everything ached, and his eyes felt like they were on fire, but he could ignore it because he was used to the beatings, this would only be one of many to come.
It was two weeks after Raven’s sixteenth birthday, which, as usual, had been awful, with his red-faced father throwing out half of his presents after a fight. His guilty conscience made him buy gifts, but his rage compelled him to destroy them. Their mutual hatred only grew worse as time went on, and Raven made sure that his father’s birthdays were ruined too, by leaving town each time so his father would spend it alone.
Almost every night, when his father went to bed, he went for a walk through the darkness. He had learned the timetable of the town. First, at around 10 the stray animals came out, then at 11 thugs trespassed into schools and wandered through yards, then at 1 the police patrolled the streets, and at 2 the drunks stumbled out of bars and loitered in alleyways. Sometimes he sneaked into people’s yards to watch them go about their business, but he wasn’t the usual peeping tom. It wasn’t just to watch women undress, as that didn’t bring him pleasure, it was to observe the peaceful moments of life; a parent tucking their child into bed, or lovers giving each other a peck on the cheek before they turned out the light. Tonight was no different from usual.
A quick check of his phone told him that it was almost 1 AM. Pulling his hood up to hide his face, he scanned the road for other night wanderers. The streets were deserted. The only thing that disturbed his peace was the police sirens blaring in the distance. He stuck to the shadows, knowing that if the police saw him they’d take down his name and his plan would be ruined.
A dog appeared. He scanned the road once more for any onlookers, then followed it down a one-way street. The wheezing and whimpering told him that it was old and injured. Every night, he had looked for just the right animal to use for his… project. Most of the dogs were too feral to approach or were labeled as somebody’s pet, but this one was different. It didn’t growl like most dogs when he came near it.
‘Here, boy,’ he said, and whistled.
It looked back, its weary eyes staring at him, then turned its sparsely furred head and went about its night.
With the flick of a knife, several satisfying crunches, and a pained howl, the dog was still. He crushed it with his boot to make sure it was dead, breaking its neck, then shattered its legs for the hell of it.
Voices arose in the distance. He knew he had to leave quickly, but he couldn’t help but admire his work. The tortured animal lay there, broken. Just like him.
Bringing himself back to reality, he stuffed the corpse into a plastic garbage bag he had kept rolled up in his pocket. The dog felt warm as he held it, like a newborn baby. Well… one that was in pieces.
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