A short-story I wrote in 8th grade and edited in 9th
|“Click” sounds the safety button as my trembling finger gently pushes it out of its socket. The barrel chills the top of my throat. The mixture of gunpowder and saliva is enough to make me gag, but I don’t move, I don’t sweat, I don’t cry. I don’t pull the trigger. I steadily hold it in place, and I remember; remember what brought me to this point.
I’m sitting in math; I’m next to my friend. We are talking and smiling, about what I forget. I’m great at math, but that’s not really where I want to go with my life, I’ve been thinking more and more about becoming a doctor lately, someone who has the privilege of aiding others. But we were happy, and that’s all that really mattered. I’m thinking about lunch, not unlike any typical student of my age. “Ring” thinking it is the bell I jump, but then I come to the realization that is the phone. Right then my heart drops, my gut clenches, and a cold sweat runs down my neck. I am fully aware of the approaching punishment from my father if the phone is for me; so I cross my fingers and grit my teeth, and hope for the best. After all what else could I do? That’s when I hear Mrs. Snee say “Thomas, it’s for you”. Feeling like each step is a step towards death, I slowly pick up the phone.
“Hello”, I choke.
“Thomas, meet me in the office”, says the voice I recognize as the principal’s.
“Hey, um, I, uh, have to go to the office”, I mutter.
“Haha, what did you do this time, give Mrs. Wilson the finger or something?” Aaron says, obviously getting a kick out of the whole situation.
“Shut up Aaron, it’s not funny, I’m probably gonna get suspended” I say reclusively. “Besides my dad’s going to kill me”, I say to add emphasis to my previous statement.
“Well stop wasting time get going”, barks Mrs. Snee. I don’t offer a reply, my departure is response enough. “Well, I sure did it this time” I think aloud. Then I let my mind wonder as I pass through the wide halls of my school. I tried to let it wonder, it was a valiant attempt, but in the back of my mind I just can’t shake this sense of impending doom, this sense of darkness. I know the routine well enough; I’ve walked this path many times before. But, this time I stop to go in the restroom-after I wiped the vomit from my mouth I continued my voyage. I don’t know what I did, but that hasn’t kept me out of trouble before, sometimes it seems as though they use any, even remotely, unwanted behavior, as an excuse for punishment, at least they do for me, and often times it is singularly me. Then as my heart quickens its pace, I take a left and enter the office. I walk in doing my best to keep my chin up, but nothing can hide the fear in my eyes, besides my unwavering determination to avoid eye contact.
“Mrs. Wilson’s waiting for you” says Mrs. Berg as nonchalantly as a person can manage to sound nonchalant and callous. “Why would she care, it’s just her job, to her I’m another junior delinquent on a path towards drugs and failure” I think. Then with as much pride as I can muster I say “Thanks Mrs. Berg”. Disappointed in my lack of creativity, and frustrated in her indifferent attitude, I walk into Ms. Wilson’s office. I note the all too familiar decorations. It’s almost as if she is attempting to appear as someone who doesn’t deliver bad news and punish children for money. It’s almost as if she thinks she is doing everyone a favor by telling them they are devious little delinquents that have no chance for success in life. “Whatever gets her through the day”, I think. Apparently I was wearing my thoughts on my face, because she began to explain the backstories of each and every one of her “fun” little knick-knacks.
I don’t pay attention, I don’t care. I want to know why I’m here, and if I’m getting suspended. While she’s talking, I examine her as a prisoner would his executioner. Her black hair gave an attractive contrast to her blue eyes, but the years have taken their toll in the form of acne scars and wrinkles. Her smile isn’t one of comfort, it’s threatening the type of smile that makes a person feel alone and helpless. I look for any positive sign, anything that signals my suspension isn’t on the horizon, but I find nothing, absolutely nothing positive in her demeanor.
“Now for the reason you are here”, she says. Now I’m paying attention, but the chilling fashion in which she spoke did nothing to relieve my fears. “You are not in trouble”, she says.
“Well that’s a surprise” I say rather dryly. To tell the truth I was tired of her talking, I am growing impatient, and I want answers. I wasn’t in trouble, but counter-intuitively I wasn’t happy about it, instead I was merely irritated, irritated at my forced presence in a place I detest, dread, and despise so very much.
Obviously not appreciating my sarcasm, but not condemning it either, she says “Your mother called today”. Then suddenly, I saw what looked like a tear in her eye. I know something’s wrong now, but I’m not aware of what. I’m not even sure if I want to know. All I know is that the panic is tearing at my insides making it difficult to even swallow. My heart beat was beating pounding, drumming, I felt as though my chest would burst and I would just explode there in her disgusting little office. “There was an accident”, she gets out half crying and half talking. Now I’m certain something bad has happened. The anxiety of semi-ignorance began to make my whole body shake. I was on the verge of breaking down and crying right there. That’s when she said “your mom told me to tell you; your dad got in a car accident on his way to work today”.
“What”, I say stunned, I wish my chest had burst.
“He was given immediate treatment, but he just wouldn’t respond to anything the doctors gave him”, she cries out all of a sudden. I saw my heart ripped to shreds and thrown away. My life was falling apart right before my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop it. “He was pronounced dead one hour ago”, she finally spits out. I resist as much as I can, but to no avail, as the tears flowed. “I’m so sorry for your loss”, she says as remorsefully as she can muster. But, I don’t care how sorry she is, it doesn’t change the fact that the only person who had ever truly cared about me was gone.
I don’t know what to think. All I know is: I want out, out of this school, out of this town, out of this life. So, I do the only thing I can do: I run. I hear their screams, but I don’t care how hard they yell, I’m leaving.
All I remember after that was one continuous blur of running, crying, and pain. Then I find myself at the doorstep of my father’s house. I open the door and walk inside, my misery is agonizing every step is another memory of him, and every memory takes a blow at my conscious until there is no thought, only emotion, and I feel anger, I feel grief, but most of all I feel the sorrow of his passing. Needing an escape I wonder into his room and collapse onto his bed. Sleep came fast and easy, but I dreamed of my father.
I woke up, and as I took an attempt at a yawn when my voice gave out. Hoarse from a night of screaming, I figured. It took a little while for the events of the previous day to kick in, but when they finally emerged into my conscious thought they quickly dampened my already sour mood. Sitting alone in my dead father’s house, I decide that it was time for reflection unlike the blind sadness of the day before; I at least owed him that.
I sit down and think of all the times he told me he loved me; of all the times he said he was proud of me. One conversation stuck out most of all though. After talking for a while he had told me he wouldn’t know what he would do without me. Although I didn’t say it, I felt the same. How I wish I would’ve told him, but after all I was Thomas Stroder I didn’t need anybody. I recognize now how foolish I was. I couldn’t help it, but at that moment of recollection I had never hated anything as much as I hated myself. But, there I was without him, and I didn’t know what to do. That feeling of complete loneliness only deepened the ravine that had become the remnants of my fractured heart.
Then I thought of my mom. If she ever cared, she did little to show it. All I ever was to her was another investment. She re-married, had other kids, and moved to the other side of town, where she didn’t have to see me anymore. She treated me like an investment that made no profit; she treated me like a stock that did nothing but go down. If I ever had a pleasant conversation with my mother, I can’t remember it.
Then after spending a great deal of time thinking about my parents, I began to think about life in general. If I died who would remember? Then as I thought about I came to the conclusion that no one will remember. Maybe some kids at school will miss me, but for how long a week, a month, a year? Everyone will eventually forget me, and everything I had ever done. If everyone will forget me, what difference does it make when I die? One day spent alive is one day spent dying. Then I figured that life is race, and the finish line is death, but that’s when it dawned on me. There are ways to cheat a race.
As I prepared I thought fully of the advantages and consequences of what I was about to do. I realized that I will cause pain to those around me, but does that pain outweigh the pain I put myself through by living? No, I don’t mean near as much to anybody as my dad meant to me, everybody would know what to do without me now. I sit down and load a bullet into the rifle.
Click” sounds the safety button as my trembling finger gently pushes it out of its socket. The barrel chills the top of my throat. The mixture of gunpowder and saliva is enough to make me gag, but I don’t move, I don’t sweat, I don’t cry. I don’t pull the trigger. I steadily hold it in place, but, now, now I’m ready, I reach for the trigger, and I pull.
Suddenly I was sitting there watching myself die, watching my unmoving corpse crumple to the floor. I felt no pain, I felt no sense of attachment, I just watched with a blank, indifferent expression on my face. Then I felt myself being dragged away by some other worldly force. As I picked up speed, I began to relax; after all, I figured I’m going to see my father again. I wanted so badly to be with him. I wanted so badly to feel needed again. I wanted so badly to be happy.
I watched the transformation from our world to this new mysterious world that I was headed to. Then I slowed, and that’s when I caught my first glimpse of my new paradise. This new world was too majestic for the most elegant of poets to describe, too beautiful for even the most skilled of artists to depict, too extraordinary and powerful for even the most accomplished and fiercest of conquerors to surmount. Then I felt all my petty human emotions replaced by one sole emotion, one of peaceful tranquility, one of content satisfaction. Then I felt myself dragged away.
I tried to resist, I tried to escape back to my paradise, but it didn’t matter. I was being dragged downward and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I felt all my old emotions rush back to me, and then there was nothing, nothing but darkness. I couldn’t help but think about my father and his whereabouts, and if I’d ever be happy again.
There is only darkness, darkness and isolation, the darkness is maddening, never ending. I have lost track of time here, there are no days, there are no nights; weeks blend into months, months blend into years, years blend into centuries, and centuries blend into eternity. I used to hope for escape, ha, there is no escape, Hell is where I am and Hell is where I shall remain. I know I am only here for my selfishness and I deserve no less than what I have. But, it doesn’t matter now for I have joined the ranks of the damned, we only feel pain, we only see darkness, we are in hell, and here, our souls will forever rot.