(Disclaimer: Creative Writing, Dark Fiction)
I should’ve killed you when I had the chance, and it would’ve been a clean shot from where I was standing.
I should’ve killed you, but I didn’t.
It was an unusually warm winter’s night when autumn jackets would’ve sufficed, and you were all loitering on the street waiting for each other. Well, they were anyway, frankly I don’t know what you were doing there in such desperate attempt to appear equal. They were loitering after gradation waiting to gather and attend the venue for an after-party, the kinds of celebrations people engage in after years of being confined to the same building with the same youths who also had no choice in deciding who their high-school classmates would be. They, with their brand-name clothing and unused purses, high heels they could barely walk in and dresses that were sensitive to wind. Eight out of ten females had their hands gripped to boys, and two of the females gripped each other.
That’s when you approached the group in a meager attempt to pose as a P.R. person who could organise deals by having connections with those in the game. You appeared friendly and gregarious, outspoken and knowledgeable of the scene. As you neared, you noticed the girls who were gripping each other appeared more relaxed and laid back than the ones gripping boys, so needless to say, you approached them first, fawning after their genuineness and secretly judging their innocence. Your jealousy couldn’t stand it: pure joy, justified reasons to celebrate, images of success and people actually having finished high school. You wouldn’t relate to any of that though, and they as well as I would later on come to find out your fraudulent persona, but out of pity none of us would hold it against you despite how intolerable of a personality you seem to have developed.
By now, I was metres behind you but you didn’t know. You didn’t notice the quiet ones who silently blended into the shadows, you didn’t notice the ones who judged you in the same manner that you judged them; you did notice the observant ones with their eyes seeing through you but instead of stopping to think about what you were presenting in that moment, decided to take the entitled interpretation and mistakenly assume they were ‘hitting on’ you. They weren’t, but you needed to believe they were or else your persona would slip and this whole ordeal of a night you were trying to orchestrate would be pointless.
Many of us, including myself, could see through you though, and contrary to your flawed logic, we weren’t actually checking you out but rather trying to suppress our disgust and translate it as pity at the sight of everything you embodied. You shunned the ones who were similar to you out of repressed self-loathing and were (still are, might I add) drawn to those who benefit you in some manner, either by way of connecting you with people who can provide free leisure, or by associating with those whose image (race, gender, education level, job status) could place you closer to the ladder which you’d yet to climb. You’re so rarely seen with people who are similar to you but are often placed around those you wish you could become, a hallmark unsatisfied idealist who would later find yourself constantly discontent with everyone everywhere in life. You would later find fault in all of your boyfriends, find flaws in all your colleagues, find mistakes in what is taught to you, find error in everyone around you. Somehow though, not once in your decades roaming this planet will you ever stop to notice the flaws in your decisions, in your perception, in your attitudes, your personality, your methodology and execution of a corrupt oppressed philosophy that your deluded mind, until now, still insists is sane or rational because you refuse to acknowledge or discover your own insanity.
You are one of the most selfish and insouciant that we have ever encountered and yet you so readily, so easily project that insanity onto those who already have diagnoses and are seeking help for their states of being; you so naturally blame your partners and friends for ‘making’ you behave a certain way without realising that you yourself made those choices to partake in activities that first destroyed your brain development as a teenager then stunted your emotional and intellectual development as a young adult. You are aggressive when others do not succumb to your demands or expectations. Your entire life is lived not for the purpose or cause of bringing goodness to this earth but forcing those who encounter you to swallow the pride that was and is repeatedly inserted into you by the people you think ‘benefit’ you.
Then, when you can’t handle what you are doing to yourself, you manipulate others into believing that they are at fault even though they are already addressing within themselves issues to be reconciled. For all the pain you have brought to others, you assume they are doing it to you too, you feel that you ‘deserve’ to be hurt yet none of us want to waste our time hurting you because we were smart enough to spend our time finding ourselves. You assume that people will do what you say when you say it and then become outraged and violent when they say no. You are angered when your employees or colleagues fall ill or have to attend to their families because it means that you can’t ‘own’ them. You are disappointed when your efforts are unappreciated because you assume those around have the same perception of you, yet your self-acceptance so clearly hinges on the need for your friends’ approval, validation, rationalisation.
Who you date is first verified by friends, who you live with is rationalised by your partners, what you eat is validated by checklists dictating how humans should live, what you study is limited to a system that censors its own education, what you know is confined to an oppression that is reinforced by the ignorant and unenlightened, reinforced by surrounding yourself with those who have no values in life, those who justify your abuse. You believe ‘violence‘ is limited to action but refuse to rectify the mindset that led to excusing or dismissing your violence in the first place. You abandon those who embody the authenticity you fear timorously yet so rapaciously desire. You are afraid of ones who introspect so you destroy their sense of confidence or security out of spite, perhaps to avoid any chance they may confront you. You do not engage in self-harm but in turn project destruction in the form of violence against multiple people, which in turn will oppress others into holding back around you in fear that you may cause severe harm to others — be it out of accidental impulse or even deliberate violence.
You manifest(ed) all of that and I saw it in a second, needed a minute to breathe and re-calibrate myself. That image of demons I saw in you hit me hard — on the one hand, you embodied the human struggle that I had been avoiding: the self-loathing, the blame, the shame, the bundle of pain wrapped up into blood and bones wearing skin and flesh appearing as a human. On the other hand, your demonism had become such an embedded part of your personality that it actually appeared normal, natural, and the worst was it appeared acceptable. You appeared to have accepted in yourself demons that most of us either run from or destroy, you have been consumed by the demons most of would try to confront, you have surrounded yourself with others who have larger demons and greater demons to feel ‘better’ about your ‘smaller’ evils. Your demons validate themselves by comparing other demons and deceive you into believing that you’re not ‘that bad’, lie to you with phrases like ‘well at least you didn’t…”, “but he said it first…”, “they made you do it…”, while your ego fills in the blanks.
Right on cue, you entered the bar and told the bartender (your ex) that a group of fresh graduates outside the bar ‘made you get drinks for them’ when really it was you who had approached them and offered to ‘attend’ to their night. He quickly prepared thirty shots on a tray and you carried them out to the group. You presented the tray happily, screaming “Look what I did for you!” with an unspoken undertone of ‘you guys owe me‘ instead of ‘hope you like these‘. Every act and every word that came out of you was simply spoiled with a sour toxin that would later fester in society and deem itself a part of the city’s silhouette — even if that part was mold or soot — you were just so desperate to be seen that you didn’t care what you were becoming.
By now, I had my rifle loaded and had released the safety. I stared steadily into the scope angled the barrel directly at you — first at your head, then your shoulders, your arms. As you moved, I lowered the angle to your ankles then quickly brought it back up to your head. My body was calm and I had no doubt about how to kill, but a conscience and some moral compass were going haywire as a migraine started to form.
A monologue ran through my head in that moment became one I would never forget — the monologue that later manifested as the hallmark of who I would become. I asked myself, “If I pull the trigger, will I regret it?” Probably, since you have a conscience.
“How is THIS the enemy?” An embodiment of corruption.
“Why do I feel it is my duty to eliminate this target?” If not you, then whom?
“Why can’t someone else do it?” Who else is there?
“What will happen if I don’t pull the trigger?” You will live with a free conscience while this target continues to corrupt.
“What is so bad about having a free conscience?” At this stage in your life, your ego drives your conscience.
“Whatever do you mean?” YOU decided that you wanted a free conscience; I didn’t decide this, nor did the heavens and certainly not the hells.
“So if I am in charge of my own conscience then not pulling the trigger is an act of ego yet pulling it renders me no better nor worse but equal to my enemy?” Yes.
“So why am I here?” Why ARE you here?
If I didn’t shoot you, I’d be egotistic; if I did shoot, I’d be demonic.
At this moment I was confronted by something, not a demon, not an angel, but something inside asking me to choose between Ego, which I actually thought was a moral compass, and Instinct, which essentially is an evil that many fight every damned day.
That’s all it took. I saw you from a distance but didn’t do anything about it, the way we see smut and mold on streets or building walls and don’t do anything about it. The smut lingers and becomes mold, attaching itself to buildings fading into the silhouette of social image, seeping through the cracks where any bit of oxygen must first go through you before coming out the other side as pollution. You would later fester as filth in society that forms an identity in destructive environments whilst the demons you refuse to confront latch themselves as parasitic mold that you need in order to justify yourself. The sight of mold provokes your demons but without it your demons would have nothing to blame — so you clean the mold that provokes yourself but without provocation you are stuck with the demons that consume you — the demons that have no smut but you to blame.
The demons that have become you.
The demons that separate ‘you’ from ‘me’, that draw a distinct difference between who we are and what we become. You are possessed by an Ego that persuades you to look good whilst your Instinct prevents you from becoming good.
Me, I possess a Moral Compass that persuades me to become good whilst my Conscience prevents me from looking good.
Our paths did cross, once, and we collided briefly, but that was it.
I should’ve eliminated you when I had the chance, but I didn’t. I packed up and left, walked past as you bumped into me, the way we walk past the inconsequential grime that blends in outstandingly on the streets, the way we are overcome by nonchalance and cease to think twice about why it or you would be there in that moment.
I didn’t do anything about you and perhaps I don’t regret it.
I didn’t have what it took to become you because I didn’t have it in me to destroy you.
I could’ve killed you when I had the chance, and it would’ve been a clean shot from where I was standing.
I could’ve killed you, but I didn’t, because why waste a well-made alloy for bullet on a poorly drawn outline of a demon masquerading around town pretending to be a person?