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Author's note: I wrote this for a Creative Writing Course in school. A little more of my dark side came out in this one.
I grimaced as the town bell chimed the monotonous ringing to mark the time of day. I remember my younger brother James would always smile at our mother saying that the Compline bell just rang and that our father would be returning soon. I, however, remember clearly dreading that comment that sprung from my mother’s lips. Not to mention the nine o’clock bell had many dark memories. It was the bell that rang just minutes before my father was propped above that maniacal triangle they called Judas Chair. He hung there naked and humiliated while everyone just waited for his so called confession. One would think that that would have been enough for the people but of course it wasn’t. They drug him through the mud, thorns, bushes and whatever else may have been laid on the path to the burn stakes. The smell of burning flesh wafting through the air as people watched stone faced. I knew that this would be my fate, but they would have to catch me first.
I turned on my heel as I heard a voice behind me. I looked up from under my hood to see a young girl walking with a single candle in hand. She looked as though she couldn’t have been older than sixteen. As for the candle, I never was quite sure what the purpose of it was, one small candle that only lit part of the path you travel but nothing else. Of course for my intentions it was all the better. It was easy to extinguish and remove from someone’s hand. I crept up behind her and took a deep breath. I stretched my neck out over her shoulder to blow out the candle she was grasping and watching flicker. I reached out my arms and opened my hands to reveal the overgrown nails I had neglected to trim. I always found that they incited fear into the victims. I leaned forward and quickly cover her mouth while I wrapped my other arm around her neck. I whispered in her ear “Why not come with me for a while sweetie?” My voice was calm and unfaltering; this was the moment I always planned. I inhaled as I started to pull her off the path into a dark construction site. There was a small pile of wood that I intended to use as a blockade.
The girl’s eyes filled with a deep fear as she felt my long nails press into her cheek. She looked as if she was searching her mind for any defensive moves she could remember. I smiled as she resorted to the oldest trick in the book. She raised her right foot into the air and stomped it down into mine digging her heel into my flimsy leather shoe. Pain shot through my body as she began to twist her foot still applying pressure. I tightened my grip on her arm and spun her around making sure to keep my one hand over her mouth. As she spun I reached back into my trouser pocket and extracted a cloth that had a very familiar pattern on it. I look at it and smile as I insert the gag into the girl’s mouth. I still remember perfecttly little Rebecca’s cotton dress and her eyes as I tore this strip from it. I learned to use a gag since the last one bit me. The small piece of cloth was somewhat stiff after sitting in my pockets each day. Yet I maneuvered it into this girl’s mouth as though it was just a handful of popcorn. She looked at me with a plea in her tear filled eyes. I pushed her down on her back and I followed shortly after. I smiled as I disrobed her. A muffled plea escaped through the cloth. I closed my eyes and as I opened them I was back on my bed as a little boy.
I heard my mother’s voice that seeped through the walls as she begged my father not to do it tonight. My father paid no attention to her and listened to the monster inside him that reeked of old whiskey and tobacco. It was nights like these that my father was the true prisoner. The alcohol sped through his blood making him a servant to its every command and desire. I hear his steps ring and vibrate through the house. I hear him calling my name. It was as if it was all just a game to him. His voice boomed through the house "Nicholas, Nicholas come to play awhile. Nicholas bring nothing but a smile." Whenever I heard this eerie song I fled and hid under my bed hoping he would go away. I was never lucky enough for this. He always found me in my pajamas that were fixed each morning. I used to lie on my bed crying after it was all over. My tear soaked pillow seemed like my only true comfort. It was my shoulder to cry on. I suspect my mother felt sorry for me as she placed each stitch into the same ripped fabric.
A sudden jerk brought my attention back to reality. I realized that she was now in full tears as she clenching her body. I knew then that it was over and that I could fix myself. I rose to my feet and started to fix my tunic and trousers. I looked around and popped my neck. For some reason this always helped me unwind after any strenuous activity. I looked down to see how the girl was reacting and if she was still paralyzed by fear—a blinding and disorienting pain blazed through my body as what seemed to be a two by four collided with the side of my head. I stumbled backward clenching at my skull that dripped with blood. All I could see is the young girl sprinting back off to the path and into the nearest establishment.
As I tried to balance myself my heart began to race and my thoughts were raging out of control. What am I to do? I can’t go to the hospital. I have no home. Where else could I go? Maybe there’s a doctor in the next town. I couldn’t stay here. My guess is she would have gone in to find help and the crowd that gathered would be here shortly. I can’t run very far with my head gushing blood at this rate. I collected the gag and placed back in my pocket. I tore a small part of my tunic apart and wrapped it around my head to hopefully slow, if not stop, the bleeding. I stumbled back to the path while flipping up my hood to protect my eyes from the brilliance of the moonlight. I made a mental note not to go above the age of fourteen for my unfortunate victims. I touched my bandaged head to check the pain. I should have known it was still tender, things like that don’t go away for some time. It seemed as though the bleeding slowed down enough to where if I change the poorly made bandage it would last till I got to the next town.
I looked around to see how far I was exactly and was disappointed to see the only light shining was the one from the moon. I hung my head and watched the dust that came from under my shuffling feet. I always appreciated the quiet. It gave me something no one else did, time to think. Thoughts flow into my head like water flows through a small creek. I thought of the look in her eyes, the way her body shook, and every other detail that poured out the fear she felt. These thoughts excited me, but I had to stop due to the pain I was in. I was amazed that I didn’t hear a crowd and all the rambling of upset townsmen as they thundered down the road after me. Maybe she was ashamed, but would it be enough to keep her quiet? I was answered by the shrill bell and the loud over exaggerating voice of the town crier. I knew his voice well. I was sickened by him and his need to announce any little thing he considered news.
As I looked up to check if all was clear I saw a reflection. I was in need of a drink and maybe even a wash. I should wash off, I still smelled like her perfume and her breath was still on my skin. I removed my tunic and trousers, remaining in my undergarments; I entered the night chilled water. I laughed as I remembered me and my friends when I was younger saying this cold of water could only exist if the one in it had no soul. Of course at the time we were referring to the man called my father. I scooped up some water in my hands and splashed it over my face. I winced as the water penetrated the gash on the side of my head. I washed myself until I could no longer smell her on my skin.
As I waded through the cold water I heard a sudden shout. As I saw a light come over the hill I started to panic slightly. I headed to the shore to get dressed, but I kept my eyes on the small candle exuding light. As I slid my tunic over my head I cringed. As they topped the hill I smiled seeing two small figures behind the flickering candle. They walked along the path talking quietly about what I guessed was the day’s events. I smiled as I heard their gossip switch to a girl in town, Ivey, who was attacked. The way she was violated by a monster, her heroic getaway, and of course the effect it would have on her. I shook my head; I think I’m rather attractive as I glanced down at the water. I would not refer to myself as a monster, monster has the idea of being hideous, and I was far from. The fact that they thought they knew what effect it would have on her made me laugh. How would they know unless they experienced it for themselves?
The boy appeared older and wrapped an arm around the younger girl; I figured it was for comfort. I could see her shaking as they got closer. A thought crossed my mind; I figure they wouldn’t know unless it happened, so why not clue them in? If only I could get the girl by herself. Yet again I don’t think I am up to that task in my current physical condition. Who would have thought she would get away because some overly rambunctious teenager slammed a two by four into my skull? I shook my head in disappointment. As they passed I had to look the other way to keep from any temptations. I tucked my hands into my pockets feeling the cloth gag. It tempted me to go for it but I knew I didn’t have much of a chance if I had to disarm and remove the brother. I exhaled my aggravation. I knew I needed a pick me up and that would have been just the thing.
I cursed under my breath as I stomped up the hill. I removed the cloth from my back pocket and weaved it through my fingers. I resented myself. I should have just done it anyway. I could have taken him. He looked around the age of seventeen. I’m twenty three for Christ sake; I would say I still have a better chance at winning even in my condition. How could I be so stupid? I mean it would have been worth the feeling after right? I shook myself out of thought and reached for my head; it was throbbing and it felt like it had a pulse of its own. I shuttered as I brought my hand back down to see it was covered in blood. I cursed the girl who did it, why did she fight back? Not like she could undo what happened. I found myself talking out loud to no one and felt somewhat odd but I didn’t care. I figure no one is around to hear so why not? Why the hell was I being so secretive in such a secluded place? I was now practically shouting so I figured it would be in my best interest to tone it down just a little.
I smiled as I looked up to see that the next town was only about a mile out. I really wish they had some sort of invention that just told you where each thing was. That way I didn’t have to wander around aimlessly looking for a doctor or someone in the same field. Something neat and orderly and inexpensive. They had something like it but it wasn’t the easiest thing to get your hands on if you weren’t in the upper part of the upper class.
I figured I would stay on the outskirts of the town until morning came around. I dug around in my trouser pockets for a little. I hoped to find the souvenirs that I had from the other young ladies I had met and enjoyed. With no luck, I figured that they fell out by the lake. I shrugged it off; after all I still had my one from the youngest girl. I was rather pissed at myself for not collecting my Tolkien from my last lady. Yet again, a trophy from each girl makes the last and next a little less special. I laid my folded cape on the ground for a pillow and watched the stars glisten and shine.
The next morning I straightened myself out and wiped all of the leaves off of my back. I had to keep my appearance and appeal up. As I walked into town I kept my head down except for an occasional glance at a sign hung on a building. Everything sagged and had a rather eerie feel to it here. The signs drooped and were faded only playing into the ambiance of the town. I stopped by a booth in the market and asked if there was a doctor around. They looked at my bandage and were taken aback but directed me a few buildings down. I nodded my appreciation and went on my way. I pushed my way through the crowded street.
I stopped and looked around. There were so many unfamiliar faces, but after a quick scan I recognized someone. There she was in her faded dress, standing with her head slightly hung as if she was harboring a secret, shoulders pushed forward creating a shell, hair that hung neatly down to her bosom, and the eyes that screamed for help and plead for attention. Oh yes, this was my chance to get that trophy from her. The girl, who was foolish enough to walk through town at night completely alone, was once again obliviously standing in front of me. She seemed out of it as she maneuvered through the crowd watching her feet and whatever might mingle down on the ground. She was headed right toward me and I just couldn’t wait. My heart began to beat and my palms began to sweat. My head was throbbing with pain, but I didn’t care. My revenge was about to happen and I would enjoy every second of it.
She glanced up to see if she was about to collide with anyone and then looked back down. I figured she wouldn’t have recognized me; it was rather dark out at the time. So when she looked back up when she was only a few feet away from me with a plank of wood in hand ready to swing, needless to say I was a bit stunned. She raised the plank high above her head and sent it cascading down; it landed against the already bleeding side of my skull. I looked her in the eye, there was no fear only the intent to kill. I clawed at my head pleading with my body to make the pain stop. When I looked up again she was gone. I started to exhale when I felt a blow to the back. I fell to my knees trying to avoid the next hit that was aimed at my upper back or even my head. I succeeded at missing that one but it was followed shortly with a back swing. The board collided with my face and my hands flew to my face as I felt the bone that was protruding and blood that was pouring down my face and over my lips. Soon the hits weren’t as focused and it was like a hail storm was happening. The blows became faster and closer together. I tried to protect as much of myself as I could. I felt a blow to my neck and an excruciating pain sped through my body. I had created a new kind of monster. She raised the board one more time above her head and bought it down with as much force as possible. Then in an instant, everything went pitch black.