I stare longingly at the whiteboard, which has the words 'test conditions' scrawled on it. The owner of the words, our teacher, sits staring blankly at a laptop. I hear a couple people turning pages and another reach into their bag for a rubber. I look back at my paper and put my head in my hands.
The Munich Putsch was a huge failure for the Nazis.
How far do you agree with this statement?
The Munich Putsch. We had covered this a while ago. How could I not remember?
I hear a snide giggle from the table next to me. Alex was looking at me again, noticing that I was struggling.
"Poor little psycho can't do it!" Alex whispers to me, condescending and spiteful. I just look away and wait for them to do the same. I'm way too used to it. When Alex is gone I look up again at the two people standing by my desk. My only friends.
"Maria," I address the first, who gives me a reassuring smile "why doesn't anyone like me?" Maria sighs and looks at me with genuine concern.
"They don't understand people like you. You are unique, special, amazing. You just have to wait for the right people to see that."
"They call me special sometimes. I don't think they mean it like you do."
"I know, I know, they just...”
“They are maggots.” The other, Zanther, spits out. He’s escaped from his chains once again.
“No, they just...”
“Don’t speak for them Maria, they are pigs. They don’t understand people like us and they never will.” I’m used to his anger. Maria always keeps him under control and I like that, but sometimes Zanther gets loose. He tries to make me angry, but I never let him.
“Should I chain him up again?” Maria asks me.
“Don’t chain me up yet, I’ve only been free a minute.” He argues.
“That’s one minute too long. What do you think?”
I’m in the middle of a history test at school. What’s the worst he could do today?
“Not yet Maria, he can be free for a while.” I agree. He smirks and stares around the room. I look too. We are a small class, and I haven’t got any other friends apart from Zanther and Maria. They all bully me and I don’t know why. The teachers treat me differently too. I can’t tell why. I turn back to my paper.
“You know,” I look back up “I brought something special for you today.” Zanther begins to smile and he steps towards me. “Look in your bag. I know you’ll like it.”
I look around the room before I move, to make sure I don’t disturb anyone from their test, and I then silently crouch under the table to grab my school bag. It did seem heavier than usual today. I unzip the bag and reach into the bottom. I don’t even have to look at it to know exactly what he had brought for me. My fingers curl around its sleek metal body and they quiver in surprise.
I begin to shake even more and I look up at him with wide eyes. “You didn’t... you couldn’t have...” I trail off.
“I did.” He smirks. “I knew you’d like it.”
“Dad’s handgun...” I say slowly, putting the information into my head like a puzzle. I look back into his eyes looking for more pieces, and I see his normally brown colour become consumed by dark flames.
“Exactly. These people are weak. They’re rude, shallow creatures that don’t have the capacity to understand people like us. They’re beneath you, and they deserve to be wiped out.”
“Zanther you don’t mean...”
“I do. You know what you have to do.”
“You can, and must. And besides, these people have given you so much pain they finally need to meet their punishment. They’ve lived without the consequences for far too long.”
I look helplessly at Maria, who is staring at Zanther, shocked and outraged. I see the fury go through her mind and the worry in her trembling hands. I see her searching for the angry remarks and persuasions to convince Zanther to change his mind. But she doesn’t today. Why? She dealt with Zanther today, why not now?
“Think of everything they have done to you. Don’t they deserve to die?” He says with more excitement in his tone.
“They deserve something, but not death!” I argue back to him. He just smiles harder. We both know that he will win this time, that Maria will never be able to chain him. A sinking feeling begins to appear in my chest.
“Just think for me, will you?” He teases. “Remember Robert in lower school?”
“Who are you talking to?” He says cruelly.
“You don’t have any friends, weirdo.”
“Yes I do, they’re right here.” I point to them each in turn. “This is Maria, and this is Zanther. Can’t you see?” Robert scoffs.
“You’re too old for imaginary friends. You should go play with the receptions.” I shake my head at him.
“No, they aren’t imaginary! They’re right here. Can’t you see them?” He bursts out laughing, and so do his friends.
“You are such a freak! That’s why nobody likes you. You are a weirdo.” He points at me with a grubby finger. “You are a weirdo! You are such a weirdo!” He begins to chant and the others join in, their fingers joining his in accusation. A tear drops out of my eye and they keep going, growing in strength.
“Yes, I remember.” I say wincing, trying to erase the memory from my head.
“Good, good...” I hear Zanther mumble. “Well Robert is here, isn’t he?” He points to his desk at the front of the room. “Surely his punishment is long overdue?” I scratch my arm and look behind me, as if Maria could whisper to me when Zanther is distracted. But the support never comes. Maria still is sitting in stunned silence, appalled at the conversation going on in front of her.
“And how about Janine?” He gestures over to a table on my right, where the brown haired girl is sitting.
“So I heard you’re the special one.” She says with spite on her snake tongue. Her group of girls stand behind her, all with pointed features that almost pierce my confidence with a single glance.
“Um, thank you?” The girls look at each other, grinning.
“What do you mean, ‘thank you’?” Janine says with fake confusion. Was there something I wasn’t getting?
“You said I was special.”
“Not a compliment.” She looks away from me, as if I’m not worth the gift of being noticed. “Anyway, we just wanted to see you and your ‘friends’.” I glance behind me for reassurance.
“Okay, well now you’ve seen us.” She gives me a strange look.
“’Us’? Are you serious?”
“Um, yes? We’re all here.”
“God, you are way too old for imaginary friends.” She gives me fake concern. I shake my head.
“I don’t know why you think they’re imaginary. They’re both here beside me. Can’t you see?” They pause, in shock, before collapsing into laughter.
“Oh my god, you utter retard. You special child! People like you shouldn’t have to be at school with us. Right girls?” Then a black collage of insults erupts from the group and into my brain, staining my conscience.
“How could I forget, Zanther? She made middle school a misery.” I grimace at the memory. I look back at her head, and I get the sudden urge to TAKE OUT THE GUN AND
“And she’s here too. It would be oh so easy to end her right now. Wouldn’t you agree? She needs to pay for her actions. She deserves her fate.”
I feel him beginning to convince me. I try to shake it off, but his idea lingers on inside my brain with no sign of it leaving.
This has happened before. Many times. He has tried to make me punch people, or hit them with my ruler, or attack them with a compass; but he has never tried to make me kill before.
I never did any of those things before either. Each time, Maria would talk him out of it, and she’d chain him up again. She was the strong one, the one who was my real friend. But today she didn’t have the power to tell him no.
“Maria...” I beg her silently, as my eyes watch her becoming smaller and weaker. Zanther spots me looking and my eyes immediately snap away. He knows that I need her help. I live in fear of him, and now he’s loose.
“So what do you say now?” He says softly.
“Yes, Janine is a horrible, little bitch that DESERVES EVERYTHING HELL CAN PROVIDE – but her punishment is not mine to dish out.” He has a moment of panic, but it disappears as one more smile emerges on his face. He leans closer to me, his nose only centimetres from mine, and whispers his words of power.
“So what about Alex? You could kill Alex, couldn’t you?”
“Poor little psycho can’t do it!”
“You little retard, you shouldn’t be allowed to live. People like you are put in mental homes. Why aren’t you there? Huh?”
“I’m not a psycho, Alex.”
“Pah! You see imaginary people, how is that not psycho?”
“They’re real Alex. You’re the psycho one if you can’t see them.”
“Me? Psycho? Coming from you? If you’re so sure, then why am I cleverer than you? Why do I have more friends than you, real and imaginary? How come I can punch you and kick you, huh? Do you like that? Do you like the taste of blood in your mouth?” The pain. The pain. The red feeling spreads over my body as I beg for my friends to help. “Your little ‘friends’ aren’t gonna help you now. What can they do against me? A word of this to anyone and I promise I will end you.”
“Poor little psycho...”
Alex. The worst. The one who gave me the scars running up and down my side. The one who whose death would definitely not give me a guilty conscience in fact I would RELISH IN THE IMAGE OF THEIR BLOOD ON THE FLOOR AND THEIR HEAD BENT INTO A
“Alex is worthless. A plague on society. They only make humankind worst by staying on this planet. You’d be doing the Earth a favour by removing them...”
Maria snaps out of her weak state.
“Zanther, you can’t do this!”
“Who says I can’t?”
“Me, and the rest of society! These people don’t deserve this!”
“How do they not deserve this? They have been cruel for our entire lives. They are purely soulless fodder in our lives. They are below people like us, not worthy of the gift of life any longer.”
“Don’t talk about the others like this! They may be cruel, but they are young. They don’t know that it is wrong.”
Each of their shouts ripples through my body. This can’t keep going, I can’t take it anymore.
“STOP!” I shout at them both. The class turns to look at me, and they giggle. Our teacher ushers them to continue, while I stare at my only friends.
Maria may have tried to help, but she stepped in too late. She failed me. Zanther won this time. She can’t chain him this time. He’s free to control me now. Zanther beat her. Zanther won.
“I’m sorry Maria...” Her last strength in me fades away, and she begins to scream as she disappears.
“We are going to have some fun together, you and I.” He says with a widening grin. “All you have to do is let me in...”
So I begin.
I let his power flow into my veins and I SCREAM. The pain of his power makes every part of me ache and his endless smiles make me clench my teeth until I can taste blood. There is no more Maria left to stop him.
And don’t it feel good?
No. It hurts. No.
There is no more Maria to stop me. To stop my force. My power. Oh, I can feel it now. The pain is dying away. Isn’t it amazing? I’m no longer bound by Maria and her control. I can do what I want, can’t I? And it’s all because of Zanther. His name gives me power.
“Isn’t it great what you can do now?”
“Oh my god, yes. Why would that BITCH hold me back from your power? It’s fantastic.”
“She’s always been wrong, can you see it now?”
“What you have given me is truly the stuff of legends. I see now. Those CREATURES around me are nothing. They can’t see my power. They don’t deserve this life.”
“And that’s why we have to end it, don’t we? I knew you’d like the gun.” His idea was the best idea I’ve heard; much, much better than Maria’s idea of ‘peace’. I’m ready for his plan. “All you need to do now is take the gun I gave you. Hide it behind your back and walk to the door. Old ‘teach’ over there will think you’re going out to ‘calm down’ again. God, he thinks you’re retarded. What does he know? Peasant. Then you can shoot them all. One by one. Again. And again. And again. Until they are nothing.”
I stand with the gun behind my back and take the steps around the room. The fodder all turn to look at me before going back to their meaningless tests. I smirk as the balding teacher picks up his radio.
“There’s just been another outburst. Expect them at your door.” Oh, what does he know? Bastard. He doesn’t know that he is just breaths away from his DEATH.
When I reach the door I take one look around. 14 of them sit in wait. My fingers slide across the beautiful feeling of the gun, and the newfound desire in my head prompts me to use it. I look at the fodder.
They don’t understand my power. They are the insane ones. They are the DEAD ONES. THEY DON’T DESERVE ANYTHING. THEY ARE MEANINGLESS AND SHOULD BE ETERNALLY PUNISHED BY ME AND SATAN HIMSELF. THEY NEED THEIR BLOOD SPLATTERED AGAINST THE WALLS AND THEIR LIMBS TORN APART.
I WILL DELIVER THEIR FATE. I AM THE POWERUL ONE. NOT THEM. YOU HEAR ME ALEX? YOU HEAR ME???
Once in the head and once in the chest. Teacher slumps on his chair, blood on the walls, and the class turn to look at me. One screams, another ducks, while I smirk like Zanther and send out more shots. I shoot the people closest to me first, getting each of them in the head. I watch their eyes go dull. I keep going, getting most in the chest or head, and only one needs a second shot.
Robert falls on the floor as the bullet enters his brain. Janine takes a final gasp before the bullet lodged in her lung makes her fall back on her seat. Alex’s face is completely destroyed by the bullet in their nose.
Ha ha. Ha. Ha ha ha. HA HA. HA HA HA HA. HAHAHAHA. HAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHA. HA HAHAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Zanther’s power has gone.
He looks at me with bright eyes as I look past him at the collective pool of blood that dribbles onto the floor. It has gone a dark colour, and it stains the floor with its mess.
“You did it.” He says, pausing to take it in. “Now, you have approximately 10.07 seconds until someone bursts through that door. Are you ready to shoot them too?” He gives his grin again, looking like the Cheshire Cat.
“No.” My words hardly leave my mouth.
“You what?” He chokes in disbelief.
“I can’t. I... I killed people...”
“Of course. Wasn’t it easy? Now you have to do it again. Not that difficult, honestly...”
“NO ZANTHER!” Two shots are fired from my gun into him.
Oh no. What have I done? I can’t look.
But I open my eyes and look at him.
“No, you didn’t. You hit me. Would have killed me too, if I was alive.”
“People like me can’t get hit by bullets.” He shrugs.
“They were right. I am imaginary.”
“You can’t be.”
“Oh, but I am! Don’t worry; it’s been a pleasure being imaginary with Maria. I just wish she would come back soon.”
No. I can’t be... I can’t...
They were right. I am insane.
They were all right, all along. Every harsh message they gave me was true.
“You are such a freak!”
“Oh my god, you utter retard. You special child!”
“You little retard, you shouldn’t be allowed to live.”
People like me shouldn’t be allowed to live, they were right. Freaks, weirdos, psychos, retards, murderers...
I know now. Zanther should have never taken over. But he did, and I have to deal with the consequences.
I deserve my fate much more than my classmates did.
“Hang on, what are you doing?”
“What I have to.” I choke, and salty tears spit out from my eyes.
“No. You have to keep going. You are powerful.”
“NO I’M NOT!” I shout again, tasting blood. “I’m insane, and I’ve killed people. I can’t stay here.”
“No, you don’t know what you’re doing.” Zanther gets on his knees; the first time I’ve seen him beg.
“You can’t stop me. I’m coming to join you.” I close my eyes as I run my hands over the gun one last time.
Maria. I’m coming back to you.
“You can’t do this, you –”
And silence drags me under.