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He woke from the pain biting at his skin. He opened his dark brown eyes, slowly. They soaked in his surroundings, as they had done every day for the past two years. It was dawn. As it always was when he woke. It was a strange how he always awoke at the same time everyday. Perhaps it was something in his body that bit at him on the inside, causing him to wake. Whatever it was, it worked. And he woke up; preparing to perform the same ritual he performed everyday.
He got up, stretched, and walked out of the alley. He turned left when he got onto the sidewalk. He was heading for the same place that he always headed to: Ted's Caf' on the corner of Kennedy and Scarlet. He paused just outside of the caf' to soak in his surroundings once again. He was standing in front of a worn out door that belonged to a worn out building located in a worn out city. Yet he belonged; because he was a worn out man. He opened the door to the caf' and stepped inside. The atmosphere was eerie. Like there had been no one in a long while who called this place home. However, there was.
'The regular,' The man named Ted stepped out of the shadows. The other man nodded. It was another part of his ritual. Ted handed him over the drink. The man accepted the black coffee. He cautiously took a sip. Why cautiously? After all, he had been doing this for two years. But, if there was something that he had learned, it was that you could never be too cautious. The world was a hunt and there was always someone out to get you. However, you also had the choice whether or not to become a predator. But, in this case, he was the prey.
He grimaced slightly at the bitter taste of the coffee. It was no surprise. It was only another part of his ritual; the never ending ritual. He searched in his pocket for change. He handed over 4 dusty quarters and two dimes to Ted, which he accepted gingerly. He stood up to go. But something stopped him. He turned around to find Ted staring at him intently. Now, this was not part of the ritual. He stared back at Ted with the same force hoping that his gaze would overcome Ted's and he could be off. After a few moments of this staring contest, Ted was proven to be the winner. He continued to stare at the man. Finally, the man began to get self-conscious and left the caf'. As he walked through the streets he felt he eyes of other people lingering on him. They always stared. He knew it was because he looked different from everyone else. It was a worn-out city but the people in it tried their hardest to costume their pain. He didn't. He knew he deserved it and if that meant walking around the city with his problems drawn all over his face, then so be it.
Finally he turned back into the alley, and crawled into the Sony T.V. box that he called home. The morning was still chilly. It hadn't warmed up. He wrapped his hands around his knees and rocked back and forth. He hated this life. It hadn't always been like this:
Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
A voice in his head screamed out the Pink Floyd lyrics. However, when he opened his mouth to try and sing them, it was no use. His lips cracked and blood spilled down his chin, saturating the dry skin. He smiled through the pain. It felt good, in a twisted way. He couldn't help trying to remember how this all started. How did a high class white kid like him end up living in a shitty torn up box in an alley? Suddenly, he remembered why; and he wished he hadn't remembered.
Darin Durell was born in a rich suburban neighborhood in New York. He was spoiled. He had always gotten everything he wanted. He knew he was lucky, and he knew everyone was jealous of him; and he loved it. Obviously his parents loved him more, because of all the material and emotional gifts they just openly poured on him. Or so he thought. Until one day he overheard a conversation between his parents.
'Darin wants a new computer,' Regina Durell told her husband Dave one Sunday Night.
'Well, I guess we're just going to have to get him one,' Dave Durell muttered, not looking up from the newspaper he was reading.
'Oh, yes, of course,' Regina said reluctantly. Suddenly she burst out.
'Don't you think that we're spoiling him?'
Dave finally looked up from his newspaper.
'Regina,' He said softly. 'There's no doubt in my mind that we are spoiling him. But, what choice do we have? He's our son. We have to make sure that he's happy.'
There was a pause. Regina nodded. Suddenly, a stricken look crossed her face.
'Roger,' she whispered. 'Oh my god, we can't let him turn into another Roger. I don't think I could stand it if he turned into another Roger.'
'Exactly,' his father said gloomily.
Darin could stand it no longer. He stepped out in full view of his parents. They were both extremely shocked to learn he was standing there.
Darin, on the other hand, just stared at them. There wasn't much to say on his part except for:
Dave looked nervously at his wife but it was Regina who spoke first.
'He was our son,' she admitted. 'He was your older brother. We loved him so much. And, he just wasn't happy. We don't know what we did wrong. When he was born, we vowed to raise him like a normal middle class kid. So he wouldn't be spoiled. But he was never happy. He kept to himself. We didn't know what to do. And, Goddammit, don't say we didn't try! We loved him for God's sakes'! We loved him more then anything in the world. And one day we just come home and we finally found the kid. We finally found the kid who had been lost to the world. And do you know where we found him?'
Before, Regina Durell was breathing violently. Now, she had a strange smile on her face, a strange twisted smile. Darin looked over at his father. Dave was standing by the window, shaking, and no doubt with anger. Darin looked back at his mother and shook his head in answer to her question.
'We found him dead, in a pool of his own blood in his bedroom,' Regina said with a manic grin on her face. Darin was shocked. He had had an older brother? He had had an older brother who had committed suicide? Darin had never been so confused in his entire life. He turned to his father, hoping to find answers, but instead his mouth fell open in disbelief.
Dave Durell, the confident, handsome, neurosurgeon from Alabama was missing something. He had finally taken his mask off. What Darin had initially thought to be anger was revealed as sadness. Dave was shaking, and there were tears cascading down his face. He had never seemed so vulnerable. Suddenly he spoke.
'Now you know,' His father choked. 'Now you know why we give you everything. There's one thing your mother didn't mention in the story. We want you to be happy, and we are prepared to give you anything for that. We love you so much and we don't want history to repeat itself.'
That was the story on how Darin started out. By knowing the truth about Roger, it changed Darin as a person. It awoke a fire in him that hadn't been awake before. This changed him, as a person, and how people looked at him. He was thirteen when he first heard this. He had never really been on a date; he had always been the average guy. By the time he was fourteen, girls flocked to him. There was just something about his personality that was extremely attractive. And his over average looks didn't hurt either. By the time he was fifteen, he had already lost his virginity. He was overconfident, belligerent, angry, disturbed, and sensitive; and the girls loved it. However, being disturbed isn't always the best thing for people. Actually, it usually never is. Darin would never know how much Roger had changed him as a person until his first wife, Maria.
It was late into the night; maybe two in the morning. Maria Hernandez was sitting on the couch biting her nails. She rarely bit her nails, except when she was very nervous, as she was now. Darin still wasn't home yet. It wasn't like him to be home this late. But lately, he had been coming home late almost every day for the past month. Maria suspected that he was having an affair. But, she didn't want to bring it out in to open with him. There was still a chance that it wasn't true and if it wasn't she might lose Darin forever.
Finally, after an hour of waiting she heard the door knob turn. She jumped off the couch impatiently and jogged to the door. Her husband's head appeared in the doorway, the long black hair covering his face. At twenty-four he was at the peak of his attractiveness. She grabbed his coat, as he struggled tiredly through the door. He grinned at her gratefully as she hung his coat up. He tried to hug her to show his thanks, but she shrugged him off. It was then that he noticed that something was wrong.
'Where were you?' Maria asked him.
'I had to stay late at work,' he answered truthfully. 'I had a lot of stuff to catch up on'. He smiled at her to show her he was sorry. Unfortunately, she took the smile the wrong way, and assumed he was playing with her.
'Don't lie to me,' She sneered at him. 'You were with someone else weren't you?'
Darin was hurt. He wasn't with someone else. How could she think that? He tried to make her understand but she wouldn't believe him. He stepped forward, pathetically.
'I wasn't,' he replied weakly. 'You have to believe me'. Unfortunately, this didn't help his case. Maria turned her back on him.
'I can't believe this,' she cried out hysterically, throwing up her hands. 'I can't believe you'd do this to me. Everyone said that I shouldn't marry you. Everyone said that you couldn't be trusted. How could you do this to me? Which whore were you with? What does she have that I don't? I can't believe-'
As she ranted Darin started breathing heavily:
Didn't she understand? He had said that he wasn't with another woman. What more could he say? That He loved her? That he was sorry? But he wasn't sorry, he didn't do anything. He was just being accused for no apparent reason. What did this crazy bitch want from him? God, if she didn't shut up fast he was going to have to do something: Something drastic. Something that would make this dumb cunt shut up for good'
'-you'd do this to me. How can I be with you anymore if you're going to treat me like this'' Maria continued.
Suddenly, Darin couldn't take it anymore. He struck her across the face with the palm of his hand. She cried out in shock. He balled his right hand into a fist and raised it into the air. She backed up in fear but did nothing to defend herself. As his fist came down, she could only stand there and be struck. His fist made contact with the back of her neck, and she fell to the ground, crying out.
Darin clenched his fist tightly and stared at it. For a split second, he grinned. He felt a burning desire to strike her again, to watch her surrender to him. He had never felt so powerful, never felt so omnipotent. What was this feeling? He just couldn't put his finger on it-
But then it was over. Over before it had even properly begun. And he felt a lump in this throat, he felt his stomach muscles clenching, he felt unmistakable guilt. He stared at her, on the ground, crying silently, she was terrified. His vision began to blur. His eyes brimmed over tears of disgust. How could he have done this? He bent down and put his hand on her shoulder. She appeared to be shaking. Darin corrected himself, he was the one who was shaking. He spoke to her, trying to apologize for what he had done, but all that would come out of his mouth was mindless gurgling; like a baby. And it was like a baby that he broke down, sobbing carelessly on the floor, reminiscing at the dreadful sin he had committed, one that was without pardon.
Despite this, he was pardoned. And, he had never felt so grateful. Darin decided that he would never make the same mistake ever again. And he showered Maria with as much love and devotion as it was possible to do. Maria, too, was grateful. She loved Darin, and she was glad that the incident had worked out for the better. Yet, there was still a part of her that bore doubt. It reminded her of that terrifying monster that sent shivers down her spine as a little girl. She would always have to call on her mother to help extinguish the terror that lived under her bed. When she grew older, it hardly ever showed its' face, so Maria would simply assume that it had gone away. However, Maria was right about her doubts on Darin. The boogey man was crawling out of the shadows and Maria's mommy was long dead.
As the months progressed, the boogey man still hadn't shown himself. Maria was relieved. She began to let loose. And it was when she began to wholly trust again, that the monster saw its opening.