Build, Destroy, Repeat.

A short story adapted from something I wrote a couple of years ago.

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1. Build, Destroy, Repeat.

 

    Things began to fall apart when I walked into the attic and saw the body hanging from the rafters, swaying gently. I collapsed to my knees when the body spun round and the face was illuminated by the sliver of light creeping through a crack in the roof. It was my mother. I screamed and ran downstairs to my father who first went up to look for himself, then, immediately after, called the police. The next thing I knew, I was being rushed away to my grandparents' house.

    The drive to their house usually only took 45 minutes, but this time it felt excruciatingly long. I can’t tell whether it was because the traffic was bad, because I just sat and stared out of the window the whole time, or because it was raining. Whatever it was, it made the drive unbearable. My dad kept asking me if I was alright, which pissed me off. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people asking you if you’re ‘alright’. Especially in situations where you’re clearly not. I tried to just ignore him and make a grunting sound when he asked, or pretended to have fallen asleep. But after having been in a traffic jam for what seemed like hours, another “are you alright?” from my dad pushed me over the edge of this already rapidly approaching cliff of various destructive emotions, and I had to shout. I didn’t necessarily have to shout at him, but he just happened to be the one who had been there when it came to that point. After I’d yelled, he slumped back into his car seat, with his eyes welling up — I could tell I’d upset him. He didn’t speak to me for the rest of the journey. But the strange thing was that I really didn’t care. He’d pissed me off, I’d reacted, he didn’t have to get upset. It was as if he was trying to make me feel guilty for shouting. “Fuck it”, I thought, and resumed staring blankly out of the window.

    Nothing seemed the same now as when my mother was alive. Everything seemed so dull. Colours became muted, sound became monotone, tastes became tasteless, light became darkened, emotions became numb. Nothing really happened for about the first week after my family and I arrived at my Grandparents'. Nothing, except one thing. I began to realise that slowly but surely, life was becoming more and more worthless. Not just my life, but everyone else's too. I no longer cared about anyone. I was starting to lose my empathy for other people. If you think about how small and insignificant we are compared to everything else, even things on our own planet, never mind in the rest of the universe. All humans do is build, and then destroy. Build, destroy, repeat. Reminds me of fucking shampoo instructions. But when you think about it, nothing we ever could do could ever make any sort of difference to anything else except a few more 'specks of dust’. We’re born into wealth, or poverty, completely by chance. We’re forced through years of standardised testing to ‘prove’ our intelligence. And for what? So we can earn money to pay off our student debt and pay tax. It’s a piss take. But who am I to question the powers that be? I don’t give a fuck, really…

    I continued pretty much as normal at my grandparents’ house, except I didn’t have to go to school. The police came to the house a couple of times and asked me questions about my mum. I don’t know why they were questioning me. She hung herself. That’s all there is to know. I didn’t really care that she was dead, to be honest. They kept asking me if I was alright, too. It took all of my self-control not to yell at them. I got bored really quickly of their interrogation of me. In the end I just asked them if they were done and asked to go. Since they had no real reason to keep asking me things, they let me go. 

    I was sick of being cooped up in my grandparents’ small, terraced house, that smelled of Vicks cough drops. I decided to go for a walk to the woods just down the road. I didn’t know what I was going to do in the woods, but I needed to get out. This whole thing was fucking with my head. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know how I was going to resume a normal life. I must be permanently mentally damaged now — maybe I should just sign into an insane asylum and live my life in a padded cell. That seems as good a plan as any. As this thought crossed my mind, I entered the woods. It was a little bit dark under the cover of the trees; the clouds were thick and overcast. The wind picked up a bit after a few steps, but I had my big, wooly peacoat on, so I wasn’t cold. I kept walking through the woods, until I could see nothing but trees in every direction. Then I sat down. 

    I started to think. I don’t know what I thought about exactly. All I can remember is a sinking feeling in my chest, and a sensation of something taking over me. I don’t know what it was, but it brought me down. I must have just sat there for a good two hours. I didn’t want to lift my body up to go home when it started getting dark. Everything seemed a chore. But, reluctantly, I carried my body back to the house. And everything was just as dull as it was when I left. Nobody smiled. Nobody really cared.

    I woke up in the night. I dressed up in my best shirt and tie, then put on the most expensive blazer I owned. I stopped and thought for a moment. In the kitchen, knives. The garden shed, shears. Workshop, saws, drills. None of these were nearly enough. And so I thought for a little while longer, I had time to kill anyway. Then it occurred to me. The basement, guns. Guns. I crept silently around the house, the entrance to the basement was under the stairs, I didn't know which key unlocked what, so I took all of them. The basement was unlocked, but I brought the keys down with me just in case I needed them. And as it turned out, I did. Everything was packed neatly away in cupboards and boxes and chests. One chest stood out among the rest though. An old, worn, red, metal chest with the paint peeling off it, rusted at each corner. That was the chest they were in, the guns. I fumbled around with the keys for while before finding the one that fit into the padlock. And as the chest opened, the contents seemed to glow, a plethora of firearms lay in the chest, as I knew they did, but they looked more glorious than I had imagined. I pulled out all of the guns and put them in two rows on the floor. There was a pistol, a revolver, a sub-machine gun, an AK-47 and a silencer for the pistol. Why my granddad needed all of these was beyond me, but nevertheless, I was glad they were here. I decided on the pistol with the silencer. I walked slowly back up into the house while screwing the silencer onto the end of the barrel. Then, back upstairs to where everyone was sleeping.

    What the fuck was I doing. I was holding a fucking gun. I didn't know where I was going. Why did I have a pistol in my hand? It was in my left hand, too… I’m right handed… That confused me. I started to breathe heavily. I was stood at the top of the stairs. I couldn’t move. I was frozen. Something was stopping me from moving. From speaking. From screaming. I wanted to go home. I wanted everything back. A solitary tear ran down my cheek. 

    Jesus fucking Christ, I hated everyone. I was overcome with a burning hatred for human beings. I was so angry. Why is nothing easy? Why do humans have to ruin everything? My hands were trembling with both excitement and fear. I knew everything was going to work out just the way I had planned. It was such a perfect plan. So simple. But it’s what I’ve got to do. The world owes me nothing, but I have something to give back to the world. I am liberating it. 

    I was suddenly struck with the realisation that I was not in control of my body. I couldn’t move my hands. The gun was still in my left hand. Why was it in my left hand? This question kept appearing in my head. This wasn’t me.

    They would go one by one into the freedom I force upon them. My grandfather would be first, he was nearest. I crept into his room. I wondered if I should wake him first, to see the thankful look on his face when he realised finally, someone had come to deliver the freedom he so craved. I put the pillow to his head and held the gun to it even though I was using a silencer, just in case. I was smiling to myself. A big, cheesy grin. I was finally doing something worthwhile. Then came the final step: Pull the trigger. 

    Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. What the fuck happened? My granddad. He was right there. Breathing. And then he… wasn't… 

    It was me. I did it. I’m fucked up. I should have gone to that padded cell when I first thought of it. Where should I go? What should I do?

~

    Things began to fall apart when my father walked into the attic and saw my body hanging from the rafters, swaying gently…

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