January 12, 2009
By tessa bolsover, Portland, OR

I was standing in an overgrown garden, with dark grey clouds hanging over me, illuminating the green all around. Two men were standing with me, two bored companions I’ve known all my life, yet cannot name. I had led them there, to where we stood, surrounded in the smells of green and grey, looking up at the side of a familiar house, with walls made of large, sun soaked stones. We looked up at one window in particular, where through thin curtains the silhouette of a boy should’ve been visible.

“This is the place?” One of the men asked me. When I nodded, he sighed, bored with our routine, wishing for some new challenge, and said, “Then let’s get going.”

The other man was more exited. I remember how his green eyes were shining with the same old bloodthirsty thoughts.

We did get going. With a quick, easy leap, the three of us had jumped two stories up to the boy’s room, where we threw open the window and climbed in, uninvited, to where the boy sat upright in his bed, eyes wide in childish fear. When I caught a glimpse of his face, I almost doubled over. His face was shockingly similar to yours. I pulled myself together quickly, for I had far more power than what was necessary, and I wouldn’t let a minor detail like this derail our plan. I shook my head to shake away the resemblance, and I silenced my conscience, justifying my actions with the fact that the job had to be done, one way or another. This innocent boy had to die at our hands.

Lost in thought, I hadn’t noticed that the boy had started screaming. He realized our motives, he realized that we were villains. My companions and I shared a glance; we knew his efforts were pointless. He tried to run, to escape us, and we didn’t even make an effort to stop him. He could run, sure. But there was no way he could escape the fate we had planned for him. We could snap his neck like a twig any moment we’d like.
Eventually he realized this, I suppose, because when I went into the clean, green and white tiled bathroom, I found him lying in the bathtub, clothes and shoes still on, holding himself under cold water. I didn’t blame him for trying to commit suicide, what we would do was surely far worse. In an act of sympathy, I came to the bathtub and turned the water from cold to warm, suddenly fearing any agony on his part. I could not look at his face. But when I turned the water on stronger, its new warm force made his body float up, and his head emerged, gasping for breath.

“Please,” he begged me between coughs, “ Just let me die easily.”

“I was just trying to help…” I said. I felt horrible for failing him. My conscience had finally found me. We looked at each other for a long time, and I was once again shocked to see it was your fear I saw in his eyes. What the boy saw in mine, I couldn’t guess. But finally, when I could pull my gaze away from his, with trembling, merciful, strong hands that did not truly belong to me, I tossed the hairdryer into the bathtub and watched the beautiful boy being electrocuted to death.

I awoke sobbing and nauseous, with your face new in my mind. Curled tight in a ball on my bed, I realized I could never, ever hurt you.

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