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Author's note: I hope people will think about the working's of a dark mind, of how our society puts a grave pressure on kids to uphold odd standards. I was inspired by the works of Fydor Dostoevsky and Gus van Sant.
Wrath, a beautiful word. Powerful, like rage, in the very sound is immeasurable suffering to be exacted upon one’s foes. Storm clouds cast over the word, their towering, bellowing majesty imbued in each letter. Fear in the hearts it should strike, feaer for all but me. For I am their god, their superior. They worm about beneath me, wriggling in ignorance and emotion.
“Love me!” they cry. “Spare me!” They are wrought with grief and despair, elation and exuberance. All things are hindrance. With such plagues, one is devoid of power. They cheat themselves! Does it bother me? No, for soon there will be wrath.
“Darling, would you like me to fill your glass?”
Mother. Creator. A woman of useless compassion, tender with a firm stature. Darkness seeps at her soul. Taste it brings of stale affection, bitter unspent love now channeled towards a child cold to her desires. She strives for a mature air about him, but he sees through her as if she were but a shroud.
The boy shakes his head, a distant no. His eyes refuse to even meet her gaze.
“Are you sure?”
The boy nods, his head’s pace slows with agitation as he drags out the motion.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, mother,” the boy replies, his anger kept at bay by sympathy for the lonely woman. Sympathy, a weakness like a barbed wall that stands on the path to power. A wall to be broken.
“Oh, well then take your lunch. Make sure you have everything you need before you leave.”
“I never do,” blandly replies the boy, spoon falling from his mouth, crashing into the cereal bowl, but in slow motion. His mother looks at him strangely, worry in her eyes, a mask of ignorance on her plastic make-up ridden face. The boy stands from the table, eyes still fixed upon whatever apparition that so vigorously holds his gaze. Outside and down the street, parked blasé-like on the corner, a bus awaits the child’s boarding. He boards, his face not changed in the slightest. Like a mighty emperor wielding the scepter of bloodlust, his eyes cast upon the multitude of obnoxious, ratty children that filled near every seat on the bus. Yet one was empty, kept so for this wishful emperor. It had been the first week of school, and the boy had established the seat he desired, intended to be left alone. But one from the ignorant rabble had not only sat beside him, but engaged him. With a stare as intense as the sun bearing down on the earth, the boy threatened his antagonist. Not only with a smoldering glare, but with a promise of annihilation. The kid instantly left, no one wished to sit next to a freak. And that was exactly how this emperor preferred his subjects. All to be subjugated to fear, a fear for him. He drank from it, a sinister liquid that splashed over his corrupt ego, satisfying each dark receptacle.
But it was not what it could be. As he strode down the aisle, no one acknowledged his procession. Unacceptable, such a disregard for their superior. He knew though, by the end of the day they would all know his name. Every last one would be struck with fear, a rusted spear impaling their hearts.
He took his seat, empty. Around the other children kept busy, a ruckus that could not be ignored. One he sought to end. But for now, the boy had only to busy himself with such fantastic thoughts in his bubble of isolation perpetuated by his social denial. He knew from days long past he was a loveable person. He knew people could laugh at things that emerge from his mind. He knew inside there were ideas worth spreading. Yet it was too late, for one darker than the rest gushed like a jugular, stained like ink. Fed by ego, an intelligence he bore that made him the god he saw. And was it not the responsibility of a god to exercise judgment on his lesser? On this day he planned to do just that. His backpack carried immense weight, as did his mind. Second thoughts like boulders splashed into the pond of his brain. Awakene skepticism flared like a festering rash.
He laughed it off. A skeptic god? What could be more absurd!
Laughter exploded at the sound of a crude joke. The boy was reminded even stronger of his intent. Inside he felt courage surface like a breathless whale.
Another distracting laugh, behind him cruel insults lashed out at the bus driver. With every unintelligent syllable the boy shuddered. Alas, there was no time to be without joy, but only one stop now rested between the boy and the school.
A girl sneezed—then continued her tirade about how boring her night had been, as if “watching some old guy, like, talk about something I don’t even care about—“ Her friend nods sympathetically.
The boy quickly looks out to the street, the blur of the asphalt slowing to where if he moved his eyes just fast enough, he could pick out little individual bits of the tire marked stone.
An unknown instrument of morality, the bus crept to a halt, the final stop before the school. It was this stop that sparked the boy’s interest, for through the swinging yellow jaws of the beast came his adversary. Averagely tall, with an athletic build synonymous to his short sandy hair that curled up along the ends. He wore a black bag traced in silver, various hackneyed sports logos sparkled all along the flaps. His shirt brandished another logo, though of a clothing brand. Girls giggled as he came, choosing a seat nestled in a group of especially ditzy cheerleaders. A few athletic boys sat with him as well, hassling him around and joking with him as if they were the best of friends.
The emperor stares upon the undignifying scene, hatred like a weight dragging at the bottom of his eyes. Worms, he thought of his opposite’s friends, parasites feeding from his popularity, his social standing. They were pathetic, lacked self-respect, yet still so tragically obsessed with their status; a deplorable brand of consumerism. And the filth that spewed from their mouths! Meaningless. They were like husks, beings without character, without definition. Worthless bodies that could be ridden of—no must be ridden of.
The very plan of the young emperor, to pose judicator for a trial he believed was far past due.
Within minutes, the bus halted before a complex that appeared to be a lifeless arrangement of boxes, each an opposing size, stacked and placed randomly as if to convey abysmal confusion. Other buses lined the crescent moon driveway of the school, dumping students onto the premises. The last to come off the bus, the boy watched the others file out, pushing and shoving and squeezing and laughing and prodding. He took no part in the regular departure process that seemed to him much like squeezing toothpaste from the tube.
At long last he was on the grounds. He felt all had fallen into place, but he still had to wait to get to class. There, he would carefully exercise every last detail of his maniacal scheme, every last goal his plan hoped to achieve.
Another vile rush as his foot crashed, ever so deftly, upon the floor just inside the hall. Straight down, past the long monotonous row of lockers, first door to the right, his classroom awaited. His slid back and forth, bouncing from subject to subject. His mid was racing, swimming in an assortment of thoughts drowned by a constant blur of words, meaningless chatter cascading all around. Kids stood stupidly, like cattle in masses, blocking already choked hallways, yet ignorantly they rambled on. From behind, kids moaned about those ahead to be too slow, while those in front paid no attention, leaving the boy a victim between the two pestilences. A daring thrust, he clears the mob of students just barely, slipping into the classroom.
White walls. White walls, yellow pole-like bulbs behind ragged plastic sheets throw a pale light, reflecting on the white walls. Posters plaster these solemn confinements, cheesy slogans attack with a pseudo-optimistic barrage. To the child, these were more conformities, just as lifeless as (which he regrets to call them) his peers.
At the front of the room, commandeering a small, cluttered desk sat a young teacher, her face still warm from unbroken passion. It was in this face of tender beauty the child repressed his hatred. He saw the passion to change the world, passively, to make an imprint through knowledge and understanding. He was reminded of things he loved; people that made him smile; the ability to craft a mind. But that thought, coupled with his abhorrent desire to make an impact brought him back to his plan. Back to what could only truly make a difference. The time for passivism rested now, long deceased. Yet the time for aggression shone upon the horizon.
The boy took his seat.
The bell rang.
With an unsettling clamor, the last students took their seats. The teacher stood, her mouth opening to begin the lesson. Blood sprayed the blackboard, the teacher’s sentence never finished. Gasps filled every last breath of air, desk legs grinded against the floor as children scrambled to hide under them. A few ran to the door, but three flashes, only their blood reached the handle. The boy walked down the aisle of the desks, killing those underneath like a dignified executioner. Any who struggled, he shot. Remorse hid from the scene, the room stale with only two odors: fear and pleasure.
Down the hall, shrieks; down the hall, more corpses, the shiny linoleum floor now glossed in a coat of blood; where once the boy once the boy would turn his head to clusters of babbling students, he now turned to truly lifeless, soundless piles of flesh.
A sharp beleaguering laugh, replaced by an exhilarating scream. A procession the boy had been awaiting, an odd silence only broken by the glorious sounds of agony; he felt the eyes upon him from the few bound by terror on the floor, of from the foolish hiding places emitting frantic, hushed whispers. But the emperor strode on. He came to a classroom, door locked. An unfortunate shadow flickered, and the boy shattered the glass window slit in the door, opened it from inside. And how beautiful it was, the sight before his very eyes. It was he, whose stop is only second to the school itself, he who embodied the falsehood, the epidemic of ignorance, father of stupid laughter, of low self-esteem. A breeder of human waste. What better way to cripple the machine by destroying a crucial cog? How deserving it should be, too, that covering this putrid whelp, frozen in the flashing of life before their eyes.
Not far off, along the wall, a student finished scrambling through a broken window. The adversary stands, eyes to the window, immediately he slumps back to the ground. The two girls emit a blood curdling shriek, the last to ever cross their lips. The last to be heard by the emperor.
Clayton Hewes awoke that morning as he always did, the sound of his alarm clock, set just five minutes past 7:30 (for his stop was last on the bus route), spewing the same old generic pop song he had heard so many times previous. He was not partial to this particular empty sounding hum, though at this point it all sounded the same to him.
But an advantage existed, for it drew him out of bed and into his small marble-sink bathroom. Though it was cluttered, a shower cramped in the corner, each tile well polished. In the mirror, Clayton’s image flew back at him, but crisply, as the mirror also shined with meticulous cleaning. He stared at himself, seeing in the face thrown back at him faintly etchd lines of remorse, tones of embitterment.
A quick brush of the teeth, a splash of water to the face, he left the bathroom. He didn’t feel much like showering today. From the bathroom he proceeded across his tidy, routinely vacuumed carpet to his closet. An assortment of different hangers cascaded an assortment of clothes, like tapestries. Clayton pulled off a light brown shirt, but regretted it upon seeing the obnoxious logo strewn across the front of the tedious fabric. Jaded he became to being a marketing pawn, to wearing essentially the same clothes every day. To being like everyone else. Or more accurately, to be as everyone wanted him to be. All his friends took example of him, those beneath wished they were him.
He couldn’t get away. But why?
The large red digits on his clock glared at him: 7:43. He threw on his brown shirt, faded jeans to go along.
One more rush to the bathroom in wonderment why girls were so fanatic about him. A glance to the mirror and he woefully found out. A strong precise jawline, sandy hair, silky and shiny, the stereotypical light curl lifted up the edges. Any longer and it would look ridiculous.
There was no time to dwell on his hair. He quickly and nimbly flew down the stairs on the tips of his toes into his large dazzling kitchen. His mother had made breakfast for his father. Clayton cast a glance at her, stomach twisted. A stay-at-home-mom, her robe still wrapped around her shoulders. He thought it sad to see her living a 1950’s stereotypical submission to her groomed husband (who wore a blue tie tumbling down over his lighter blue business shirt). Sometimes he even saw her as selfish, feeding off his father’s income. But she kept the entire house sparkling clean, a deed worth commemoration.
“Honey, do you want some breakfast? There are some eggs cooking on the stove now,” his mother said, looking at him with a glint of motherly affection in her eyes, bustling around the table to pick something up or drop something off, as if her family were restaurant guests.
“No, I’m not hungry.” His mother continues to scurry about, but her face twists into a look of innocent confusion.
“Are you sure?” she asks, dropping dishes in the sink. The clatter or porcelain drew Clayton’s eyes to the sink.
“Yeah.” His eyes never meet with his mother’s.
Backpack hanging from one shoulder like a sloth from a tree, Clayton sulks out the door, each step another thought: why? He wished that the bus had already left, he would walk somewhere, anywhere with no people.
To his dismay, the bus indeed awaited his boarding, a foreboding beckon cast forth by the slim yellow doors.
A gentle breeze that accompanied the current, light overcast toyed with the boy’s hair, a dream-like brush. He gulped the final breath of the crisp, cool air. As soon as he passed through the doors of the bus, his world changed. The calm quiet of the outdoors had been instantly purged by a thousand voices all trying to be heard, like a vacuum seal blocking his ears from all else. He refused to look at anybody, yet he knew exactly where he was going. Eyes solely placed on the gritty floor of the aisle, hair falling just over them, his feet guided him to a seat surrounded by four girls and two boys. Melissa, Carlie, Ashlyn—he couldn’t remember the last one’s name, if he’d even known it. Then Drew and Braden. Immediately after Clayton took his seat next to the window, Drew slid in next to him. Clayton glanced at him, as he would a man he did not know.
“So dude, when are you gonna get that car? The bus blows. Besides, Melissa totally wants to ride with you,” Drew said, no notion of his friend’s lack of enthusiasm, a lack he had conveyed more than once.
“Ew, Drew, that’s not all we think about. Unlike you,” Melissa sneered back. The girls began cackling, but Drew shrugged it off. He gently punched Clayton’s arm, an attempt for attention. But as the bus had began rolling, Clayton’s focus shifted back outside. So deeply he immersed himself on the gray, the cold quiet that came with it, that the noise from his careless friends had become only lost garbles he could easily tune out. They loved him, they worshipped him, and he never did anything to deserve it. How could he be their leader if he knew nothing of leading? It baffled him that they should so desperately cling to him, writhe in his influence, when he had nothing to inspire, no radical ideal that made him useful. He felt wrong, a perpetual machination of conformity and blandness; tasteless like a mouthful of dirt. From the vibrations reverberating on against the back of Clayton’s head, he could picture the jaws flapping, streams of nothing flowing endlessly as if they were topics of dire importance.
They burst into laughter, a chilling sound. This was the life Clayton had established a train permanently set on tracks of vanity. Even though his mind burned with the passion of fleeing, a barrier held him suckling for the attention he desired.
And he hated himself for it. He hated his lust, the vile satisfaction of knowing girls would give themselves to him, and still he could just walk away from them. Sickening, the fanatics that would still love him. Like he was a religious martyr, they placed him above their moral standards.
The bus stopped so suddenly, it seemed to Clayton, guilt clenching his stomach. He had ignored his followers the entire ride. Drew called him out for his transgression (Clayton saw this as fear Drew had for losing his status, a lack of character) and Clayton dismissed him, blaming a lack of sleep for his absent-mindedness. The herd departed from the bus, Drew and the others broke off one by one. However, to Clayton’s dismay, with those that broke off, more adjoined. He laughed when they laughed, smiled when they confronted him. But he refused to engage himself truly. He never stopped to process the foolish words that bounced off his shell.
An instant relief, he came upon his classroom. In weeks previous he had simply blown the class off,, flirted with girls he had once found cute. Now they annoyed him, his desire to hold their interest evaporated entirely from his body. Where he had once seen a pretty face, he saw a façade of make-up. He saw a crushing urgency to look perfect. All for people like him. His own actions spawned the homunculi, the fault was his own.
The bell sounded loudly, a monotone. As usual, he thought nothing of it. Thus began a day of trivial lap-dogging.
A catastrophic burst of sound sped through the walls, echoed into his classroom. The teacher, a confident calculative man, froze midsentence. He looked as if he was waiting. Several children began to scream. Though inside he could feel remorseful curiosity burning in his stomach, Clayton strived to be outwardly passive.
More bursts filled the air.
“Everyone stay calm, go out through the window, the teacher commanded with a respectable solidarity. He broke the glass with a small metal wastebasket and began helping kids through. Kids with tear stained faces. Kids shuddering with fear, clambering over each other out the window, thoughts only of themselves.
But Clayton stayed in his seat. The teacher yelled at him, still he did not budge. Two girls pulled on him, screaming at him to leave with them now, before it was too late. Their words lost themselves behind gunshots. They pulled him from the desk, began jerking him towards the window.
Glass shattered from behind. The door opened. The girls shrieked and collapsed to the ground whimpering, dragging Clayton down with them. The gunman approached them slowly, his face beaming psychotically. A last student squirmed out the window, the two girls paralyzed upon the ground pouring tears to nowhere. Clayton rose from the ground but was greeted by moral error. Upon his lips were words that never made it further; he slumped to the ground. And there the words wafted around the cold dead lips like steam from a passive geyser: I deserve this.