by Pacific Blue
A man's recollections of his childhood.
First True Evil
A contest entry by Pacific_Blue
Word Count: 979
Curtis Chandler sat on his bunk with the empty notebook in his hand. He twirled his pen and stared at the four blank walls of his cell. His therapist said this would be good for him and that it would look good to the rehabilitation board. Curtis doubted both very much. He touched the pen to paper.
My mother used to tell me that the Earth began as a mass of swirling dust particles that were pulled together by gravity until they formed the massive planet we all reside on. I cannot think of a more apt analogy for evil. Before my first true evil I am sure that I committed countless smaller evils, dust as it were, that were too insignificant to matter individually but together formed the “core” of the planet I was to become. White lies, cheating at board games, teasing my sister. The things that children do without so much as a contrary thought. I cannot recall any of those though I do not deny them. My first evil however, I can remember clearly. Every detail.
It was late evening and me and my friend Alice Neighbors were playing hide and seek in the woods behind her house. I was eight, she was nine and any moment my mother would be calling me home. She was hidden somewhere and I was sneaking through the darkening wood trying to find her. The leaves crunched beneath my shoes and a sharp breeze whispered against my bare neck. I searched for a long time and briefly considered leaving her to hide alone (Another small evil.)
Following a small rustle, I came out near the trunk of a humongous tree. I found Alice lying near the trunk. She had been impaled through the chest on a tree trunk as thick as my father's coalminer arms. Her previously green eyes had become clouded and her mouth opened and closed silently like a fish dropped on beach. She weakly raised one arm to me.
“Help...” She rasped. “I was trying to climb... fell..”
Her eyes stared through me and her lungs seem to spasm more than they breathed. The parts of her that weren't squirming in pain were perfectly still.
I watched and did not help. That was my first true evil. This was not, as one would think, because I was too scared to help. I could've helped her. I simply refused to. I wanted to watch her die, just as I had burned ants with matches and just as I drowned beetles in mason jars. She was no longer Alice Neighbors to me, no longer my friend. She was entertainment.
I still remember the power I had over her. I chose whether she lived or died. I was her God and she was my nothing. Such power for an eight-year old to wield! It was my first high, my first addiction. I sat in front of her, cross-legged like at story-time. I studied every inch of her form and ran my finger through some of her blood. I rolled it between my fingers, tasted it, put it on her like lipstick. I played in her blood for quite some time but kept watching for that moment. The moment she left her body behind.
When it got too dark to see, I had to run home. I didn't live far away but I remember that fear I had. I had never experienced a fear like. The fear that I would miss her moment. That she would die before I returned. I grabbed every flashlight in the house and ran out with them, carrying them in an awkward bundle in my arms. I don't believe I have ever run that fast again.
I found her again and much to my relief she was still alive. There was bloody handprints around her now and her face and arms were covered in mud. She had been trying (unsuccessfully) to crawl away, I figured. I began setting the flashlights.
A few minutes later the flashlights were done and turned on and focused onto her. I had placed them in crooks of trees and set them up on rocks and stumps. Her skin seemed bleached in the hard light and the our small patch of wood felt like a movie studio. I had to stand back now so my shadow wouldn't crawl across her and block my view of the moment. She was more still than she had been. The moment was approaching fast.
Watching her, I realize that I'm not only her God but also her parent's God and God to anyone who loves Alice. I could save them from the suffering of losing her but I chose not to. I am not a kind or benevolent God. I am a God of the Old World. I set fire to cities and cause droughts, I send floods to drown the world, I demand sacrifice and painful initiation rites.
She coughed weakly and it was time. I have never felt so close to anyone as I felt to her as I watched her final moment. I could hear her last whisper, felt the chill settle over us and watch her eyes blink out like a television set. It was far more beautiful than I could ever describe to you on this paper and if you've never seen it, you would never understand anyway. Still, there's nothing like your first time.
Later, I attended the funeral and watched with great interest at the suffering I had caused to Alice's friends and family. The power I held over these people. I had to fake crying to avoid cracking a grin.
Now that I look back, I can see how special that moment was to me. It was my first true evil but it was far from my last.