Rated: E · Short Story · Death · #1597043
Response to a contest. A trajedy tale about a boy who is struck the inability to cry.
|The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry|
By: Tiffany Patterson
Blood was everywhere, soaking into the carpet, pooling and trickling through the cracks in the floorboards. Despite the frigid air blowing constantly in the boy’s face, he still couldn’t cry.
Crouched in the corner staring blank faced at the calamity before his eyes, was eleven year old Jacob Angman. Blood stained his shirt, his jeans, and his skin, but guilt stained his heart. What would they say about him? Would the morning paper read “ Eleven Year- Old Boy Slaughters Defenseless Grandfather?” or would it simply state, “Psychopath.” Jacob had been called that all his life. Zach Johnson, 4th grade school bully, pounded him to the ground one afternoon for mistakenly knocking his books off his desk. Zach and his band of followers chased Jacob down to the river behind the schoolyard. “
“You have no idea how bad you’re about to get it Jacob”
“ I didn’t mean to Zach. It was my back pack. I swear. I’m sor-”
But before he could finish his attempt at an apology, Zach balled up his softball sized fists and landed one straight to Jacob’s jaw. Jacob went down easily and Zach laid another one into his stomach. Unsatisfied with his two punches, he jumped on Jacob and shook him vigorously. When he finally finished, Jacob was coughing up vomit and blood but still remained on the ground. With a curious look, Zach stared questioningly at the weak boy on the ground.
“ What you think you’re tough? I know you want to cry you little baby.”
Jacob couldn’t respond. He stopped coughing and just stared at Zach with a piercing glare. The kind of glare that an abused dog would give to its new owner after being struck. It was threatening, but Jacob didn’t move. He just glared. One of Zach’s followers leaned over and whispered,
“What the hell is wrong with him?”
Zach backed away quickly and as he did he kept repeating the words that would follow Jacob for most of his childhood.
“You’re crazy Angman! Something’s wrong with you! You’re a freakin’ psycho!”
Jacob turned toward the river and looked into its mirror-like reflection. He was almost startled by his own reflection. He sported a bruised cheek, arched eyebrows, and challenging eyes, but no tears. There were no signs of empathy for himself or his situation. Yet, he could feel everything his face wasn’t expressing. He felt like his heart was shriveling inside his chest. He felt like his cheeks were sagging down on his face, causing his lips to quiver. Every blow that Zach had delivered left his body aching in pain. Jacob through some of the river water on his face. He felt as though the tears would start streaming down at any point, but they never did. Four years later, with his grandfather lying bloody and motionless in the center of the old living room, Jacob felt the exact same thing he did at that river.
In the moonlight the gravestones crouched like animals waiting to pounce. Jacob dragged the blood soaked body, inside a sleeping bag, through the tired graveyard. With blood drying under his fingernails and sweat freezing on his forehead, Jacob approached an old dead looking maple tree. His grandfather, a 72 year-old short shriveled man, didn’t put up much of a struggle against Jacob. Ever since Jacob’s parents abandoned him and his brother, he lived with his grandparents. As he kicked the lifeless body under the maple tree, he sat down on a nearby gravestone and thought about everything he just did.
He felt his lips quivering and it wasn’t because of the cold. He had just killed his grandfather. The man who took him in after his mother gave up on him. The man who hugged him every time he was bullied. The man who wiped his tears onto the cheeks of Jacob’s when he couldn’t cry at his grandmother’s funeral. In fact, it was Jacob’s grandfather who helped to discover his syndrome. A minor case of Sjogren’s Syndrome plagued Jacob. His body was robbed of enough moisture to physically produce tears. Jacob’s grandmother was the only one who understood Jacob’s rage. It was from his inability to physically express sorrowful emotion, so he turned to anger. Now his grandmother was gone. The one person who understood him was gone, and he couldn’t even cry at her funeral. Yes, he had to use eye drops regularly, but that was never enough to produce the tears he needed to express the emotion he was suffering from inside. His grandfather that night, tried his hardest to comfort Jacob after the funeral. His brother, Ryan, had left to pass some time at his friend’s house.
“I know you’re upset Jacob. I miss her too.”
“Yea, grandpa I know you miss her. I can see it in your eyes. Can you see it in mine? No.”
“ Hug me son”
“NO! I can’t take this anymore. I can’t do anything. I can’t even play sports because every time I get hurt I scream like a maniac. No tears. Nothing. I look like an idiot!”
“You’re young Jacob, you’ll learn how to express yourself.”
“You said that when I was six, grandpa.”
“I love you Jacob, but sometimes I wish you would consider others feelings over your own. I know you can’t express them, but sometimes I think you don’t even consider them. Goodnight son.”
That’s when Jacob felt it. The same thing he felt when he was lying on that riverbank. But this time, instead of doing nothing he picked up one of Ryan’s baseball trophies sitting on the entertainment center, and struck his grandfather in the head. He repeated blows with anything he could grab. His grandfather’s face and cries transformed into the face of Zach from 4th grade and the sound of his followers laughing as he was being beaten up.
Now he sat on his grandmother’s gravestone, near the maple tree where his grandfather now laid dead.
“I love you too grandpa”
The eleven year old boy began to break down. His hands were shaking uncontrollably. His heart felt like it was shriveling. He began to have shortness of breath. Then in that instance, the sky crackled with thunder. Cold, hard, December rain cleaned the blood from Jacob’s face and provided the substitute for the absent tears. As lightening struck in the sky, Jacob saw his brother, Ryan, running towards him. His blue eyes full of tears and pain.
“What did you do? How could you do this to him, Jacob?”
“Shut Up! You know I always stood up for you but this….this is just crazy”
“Ryan, please I’m sor-”
“ I hate you Jacob. You really are a psycho.”
In just that instance, the rain lightened a bit and the moon became visible. The blue moonlight blanketed the graveyard and revealed the bloody sleeping bag. Ryan’s eyes disclosed nothing but a feared curiosity towards Jacob. He quickly backed away. Jacob stood up, with wet hair, open hands, and slumped shoulders. The moonlight shined upon him. The child's face was blue, eyes bulging out.