The Laugh

June 25, 2010
“Who’s there?” asked Brian, as he heard a knock on his door. He received no reply. He stood up from his desk, where he had been finishing his homework, walked over to the door and looked out the peephole. Not seeing anybody, he opened the door and looked up and down the street. He saw no one. As he was about to go back inside, he heard laughter behind him. He spun around, but all he saw was a little package on his doorstep. He bent over and picked it up. The package was roughly a two inch cube and surprisingly heavy. He walked back into his house and set the package on his desk, scribbled the last few answers onto his homework and proceeded to get ready for bed. He thought about opening the package, but decided to do it in the morning since it was Sunday night and pretty late. He climbed into bed, turned off his light and drifted off into his dreams.
The next morning, Brian had forgotten about the package and accidentally knocked it off his desk onto the floor when grabbing his homework. He was waiting at his bus stop when he saw Kevin J. Dockler speed past in his new Mustang. Brian’s eyes ran over Kevin with loathing. He hated his wavy blond hair and that stupid baseball cap with the “K” on it. He hated his strong jaw, his slightly big nose, his perfectly tanned skin, his big dark blue eyes, and his six-foot-three football player frame. Brian hated Kevin so much he had spent the last three years of elementary school and all of junior high plotting to get Kevin back for causing his miserable childhood.
Kevin hadn’t really ruined Brian’s childhood, but in Brian’s eyes he always owned something bigger and better than him, mocking him with new bikes and cars. Kevin was friends with everybody, they all liked him, and he was always rubbing it in Brian’s face. Brian always sat in the corner, avoiding everybody, thinking of ways to make everybody else miserable, just like him. Throughout elementary, he had “accidentally” kicked hundreds of balls over the fence, cut the jump-ropes in half when nobody was looking, and deflated the tires on other children’s bicycles countless times, but they always found something else to do and never lost those hideous smiles. But soon he was going to get rid of all those stupid smiles everybody was always wearing. Once his plan came into action, everybody would be sorry they ever ignored or made fun of Brian. They would never connect it to him, but they’d be sorry. Looking at the bus window, he saw his reflection, scraggly brown hair, squinty brown eyes, and his pointy little nose. He cursed Kevin for being so much better than him.
As Brian walked into school, he saw exactly what he wanted to. Flyers were on all of the lockers announcing Kelsy Forgenson’s birthday campout at Emerald Lake on Saturday, which everybody was always invited to. Walking down the hall with a smug smile spreading across his face, he thought about how tomorrow he would skip school, hike up to the lake, and start preparing his trap. He snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Kelsy herself say, “Hey Brian,” as she passed him in the hall. He studied her for a minute. He saw her long, blond hair and her tall, thin form. As she stopped to talk to a friend for a second, he noticed her sparkling green eyes and cute little smile. She continued walking down the hall and right before she left earshot, he heard her sweet laugh. He would have to make a small adjustment to his plan. Kelsy didn’t know it but she had just done the best possible thing for herself.
As he walked into his house, he hung his backpack on its spot on the wall and walked into the kitchen. “Hey, mom,” Brian said, as he sat down at the counter in front of his ritual afternoon snack his mom always made for him a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. Brian and his mom talked about his day at school for a while. When he announced he was going up to his room to do homework and was probably going to go to bed early, his mom kissed him on his forehead and told him she’d leave some food in the fridge if he got hungry. She then reminded him that her number was on the fridge if he needed her after she left for work. He went up to his room, wrote a couple of papers for school, finished his science homework and by seven o’ clock, he was tucked tightly into bed and sleeping.
The next morning, Brian was out early at three in the morning behind a fence on an empty lot a couple of blocks from his house, where he’d hidden various supplies he’d been accumulating over the past couple of years. There was a collapsible shovel, a pile of rope, a gun he’d taken from his uncle who he housesitted for a year ago, and a spare car key he stole from a neighbor. He loaded all of this into his backpack walked, over to his neighbor’s house, hopped into his car and drove off. He felt safe using his car because he had been watching his schedule for the past six months. Brian knew he worked the late night shift, and he always went out and drunk himself into a comatose state after work. He shouldn't wake up until around four-thirty in the afternoon, and he would be back by then.
An hour later, Brian arrived at the trailhead and started hiking up the mountain. He hit the lake at about nine-thirty and immediately walked toward the trees, where there was an old badger hole that would fit all his stuff. After he had hidden everything, he took his shovel, hiked a little farther into the forest, and dug a hole about three feet deep. He then hid the hole by putting thin sticks over it and covering it with leaves. The hole was just right to break your leg if you stumbled into it. He spent roughly two hours perfecting everything. Then he hiked back to the car, drove back, and made it to his house before his mom had finished with her errands. He went up to his room until his mom got back and made his sandwich. He went down, ate it in silence, went back to his room, took a shower, and went to bed. The rest of the week, he went to school, studied hard and never even thought about what he was about to do.
Saturday rolled around and Brian met everybody at the trailhead. He pretended he was psyched about the party and even joked around with Kelsy and her friends a little bit, but he was exited about something entirely different. The party was going to be night games the first day, a hike to the summit the next morning, and then they’d go home. When they reached the lake, they set up camp and ate dinner. After dinner, they were going to play hide-and-go-seek, but since they were in the mountains, they were going to play with the buddy system in pairs of two.
After psyching up to the task, he asked Kelsy if she would be his buddy. He had to keep telling himself it was for the good of the plan so he wouldn't wimp out. Kelsy agreed, to be his partner and when the person who was “it” started counting, Brian led Kelsy through the trees towards the hole he had dug earlier in the week. Just as he had planned, Kelsy stepped into the hole and he heard her leg snap several times. She started screaming. He felt bad for having to do this, but it was better this way. He picked her up and started running back towards camp. Right before she passed out, Kelsy whispered through her pain, “Thank you, Brian.” This threw Brian off and he almost dropped her, but he recovered and kept running.
When he reached the camp, Brian explained to everyone that she had fallen into a hole. They radioed the ranger station. Soon a helicopter came and airlifted her away to a hospital. As Brian fell asleep that night, he couldn’t wipe the grin off his face. Soon he would be one of the few people Kelsy would feel comfortable talking to. He might even be able to consider her his first friend.
The next morning, everybody started hiking the last two miles to the summit. Brian broke off from the group, claiming he forgot his water bottle, and ran back to the camp to grab his gun. Then he moved his rope over to the side of the lake. Once he finished, he was about ten minutes behind everybody. But this would be an ideal spot for him to implement his plan. He came upon everybody as they were looking over a three hundred foot cliff down at the lake watching the sun sweeping over the valley. It was such a majestic sight he stood still for a minute. He thought about just hiding the gun in some rocks and going and joining every body else, just forgetting about his plan. Then he saw Kevin sitting on the edge with his arm around a girl with long blond hair. A wave of jealousy swept all of his peaceful thoughts away. He raised his gun and pointed it at Kevin’s heart.
“Now everybody,” Brian yelled loudly. Everybody turned to look. “What you are about to see may traumatize you for a little bit, but then my magical cure will fix all of your problems.” Everybody looked from Brian’s gun to his face. Some looked puzzled. Others looked terrified. Then some people must have thought he was joking and still had smiles on their faces. Big Stupid Smiles. He shot a bullet at one of these smilers' feet and yelled, “I’m serious. I want all of you to stand facing the drop now on the edge of the cliff!” Some of the girls fell to the ground and started sobbing. Brian felt a twinge of guilt, but suppressed his conscience by telling himself his twisted stories of how everybody hated him and was out to get him. He was just getting them first. Brian told Kevin to step forward and flicked off his baseball cap with that stupid “K,” sending it falling off the cliff.
“Kevin, you have made my life the most miserable out of these sniveling losers, and so you will pay the biggest price!” snarled Brian. “Now I want you to start pushing your friends off the cliff.” Kevin’s face took on a horrified expression. “If you don’t do it, I’ll shoot your girlfriend, and if you do, she’ll get to leave this summit alive.” For a minute, Brian thought Kevin’s character wouldn’t let him do it, but was reassured as Kevin started towards the first two people. Kevin shoved the first two off the cliff and as their screams flew back up the cliff, he started crying. Brian almost felt a little sorry, but then let twisted pleasure rocket him into a euphoric mood and started singing at Kevin, “Faster, Kevin, faster. Don’t make your friends suffer too long.” Kevin barely responded and soon the screams were gone and only Brian, Kevin and Kevin’s girlfriend were at the top. “I’ll give you both the option to jump now. It’s your choice.” Since neither responded, he started marching them down the mountain.
Once they reached the lake, Brian said, “Alright Kevin, tie her up,” and tossed him the ropes. Kevin proceeded to tie her up, but balked when Brian told him to tie big rocks on. Brian reinforced his position with his gun and Kevin gave in. Once Kevin had finished tying her up, Brian told him to back up. When he was fifteen feet away, Brian walked up and shot him in the shoulder and the leg several times to open up the bleeding. These wounds would kill him, but Kevin would be alive long enough to see Brian’s last act. Brian picked up the girl, threw her into a canoe, and paddled out to the middle of the lake. Kevin’s girlfriend was sobbing in the bottom of the boat, and Kevin was yelling something from the shore. Once Brian reached the middle of the lake, he picked up the girl, threw her into the water and watched her sink with a big fat smile on his face. After a minute, he rowed back to shore and watched the last bit of life drain out of Kevin’s body. He looked over at the base of the cliff. It was stained red. He started laughing. He laughed so hard, he almost couldn’t breathe anymore.
Once he had settled down, he threw on his best terrified voice and radioed the ranger station. He told the Rangers that Kevin had gone berserk and everybody was dead. Brian claimed that he had stayed in camp and saw Kevin pushing everybody off the cliff, so he had hidden and gotten out his uncles gun. He knew he wasn’t supposed to have the gun, but he thought they could do target shooting at the party. When Kevin came back to camp, he drowned his girlfriend in the lake and then Kevin saw him, so Brian shot Kevin. The rangers believed his story completely, and by the end of the afternoon, he had been through the police station, questioned, and sent home. He got back just in time for his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Brian sat down and ate in silence, told his mom he wasn’t feeling very good and went to his room.
Once he had closed the door, he let his smile come back to his face and laughed some more. He looked around his room and saw the package on the floor. He picked it up, jumped on his bed, and opened it while humming to himself. It was a little metal cube with a red button on it. He pressed the button, and suddenly he woke up. He didn’t remember falling asleep, so he looked over at his clock. It was Monday morning, and he had to be at the bus stop in fifteen minutes. He got out of bed in a rush, grabbed his homework and started hurrying out of his room, when he realized he had knocked that little package off his desk, and it was still wrapped. He walked over and unwrapped it. The cube was exactly how he remembered it. He decided he’d think about it later and rushed out to the bus stop. While waiting, he saw Kevin speed past in his car and nearly fainted out of shock. He had killed him, hadn’t he? He looked around and saw that everything was exactly the same as the week before. As he entered the school, he saw all the flyers on the lockers. At this point, he decided he had witnessed a vision and decided to finish out the rest of his day and just follow what he had seen in his vision.
Brian drove to the trailhead, just like he had before and hiked up the mountain. At the lake, everything looked normal. He looked over at the bottom of the cliff. Seeing it just a normal gray color vividly reminded him of the blood and bodies that had been strewn across the rocks. The sight of these unmarked gray rocks disturbed him, and he dropped his pack and ran to the summit as fast as he could. Looking over the cliff, he felt guilt start building in him, and he decided he would just go home and forget everything. On a ledge about twenty feet down, he spotted a baseball cap. A baseball cap with a “K” on it. As he stood there in shock, he felt two hands shove him forward off the cliff. He twisted in the air and saw a black outline of a tall, thin person that disintegrated as he watched it. Brian thought he heard laughter as he hit the bottom and everything disappeared, a laugh he recognized now. It was Kelsy’s.





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cHicKEnWaNg1 said...
Jul. 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm
i am so confused but i loved it
 
Rafttheslopes replied...
Jul. 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm
Thanks. I'm glad you loved it.  
 
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