Member Blog Post
* this short story is about 1,800 words
The first time was so surreal, almost as if it weren’t really me, as if I were on the outside looking in at my life. I guess you could say it was like watching it on a television only the man I was looking at was myself, but even T.V characters draw you in, even fabricated people have a way of connecting with you. This was colder, more distant, like listening to a stranger’s conversation, you hear the words you process them, but you really don’t know why. I mean hell it’s a stranger what does their shitty business matter to me? That’s how it was, like listening in on a stranger, no emotion, no concern, just what is; hell most of the time you don’t even realize when you’re listening in on those conversations, your mind starts to drift and next thing you know you’re all up to date on every detail of some random asshole’s life.
That’s how it was… like listening to a stranger. No concern, no cause, some may call it indifference people like me are often thought of as rather indifferent. They say we can’t tell right from wrong, and they may be right, I know what is socially acceptable and what is expressly forbidden, whether or not that makes something right or wrong… who the hell knows? Though I suppose to some extent it is true that I don’t care about morals or social norms, I think distanced is a better word for it. I felt distanced from the whole thing, some aspects gave me a thrill, sure, but it didn’t feel personal, it was more like a very lucid dream.
I can remember most of it fairly well; it’s one of those things that sticks with you. Not because it was meaningful, hell I can tell you a lot of instances more meaningful than my first. But it was my first and that’s what grants it its merit…
I was twenty-four; I had my BA in business and had wound up with a cushy desk job shoveling papers around for some of the higher ups at the firm. It paid nice and had some pretty decent benefits, but it was hell. It was the most mundane and monotonous time of my life, four years of studying my ass off to have to sit behind a desk doing virtually nothing for eight hours a day, five days a week, for every week in the foreseeable future. I hated it, but I bared it. In my first year of working there I found that it was helpful to get away from it all, to do a little meditation outside of that pestilent hell-hole they call a city. So I developed a morning routine of getting up an hour or so early and going out into the woods behind my small grange house. It was always calm out there, always so placid. I had taken to hunting as a child and occasionally I continued the tradition as an adult. I had been quite the marksmen at one point but over college I had allowed myself to become a bit rusty. Still, I enjoyed the practice and often took my gun with me. I didn’t shoot it often, actually the only thing I can remember shooting before that day was a rabbit I saw out there. Not for food or anything, just to test my merit, see if I still had it. I liked the feeling it gave me too, to know that you have absolute power over a creature. To hold the key to its life in your hands, it’s invigorating. After getting a taste of it I began to carry my gun with me more often on my morning excursions. I didn’t feel the need to shoot something, not like some backwoods degenerate, I just liked it, I liked the feel, the power. After working day in and day out doing whatever boring task those pricks had me do, it felt good to be in control.
It wasn’t intentional, not my first time. At least I didn’t set out with that particular mission in mind. It was just like any other morning. I got up at four thirty got ready for work and headed outside for some peace and quiet. It was as serene as ever, the mist softly rolling across the forest floor turning distant trees into tall murky shadows, the cooing of mourning doves echoed softly through the air, and the cool spring breeze nipped at my face and forced the leafless branches above me to shiver. I was drinking it all in when suddenly an alien sound disturbed my serenity. Footsteps of some various sort, it’s hard to tell just what it is you hear in the woods, at best you can hope to guess it’s size by the sounds of rustling branches, crackling leaves, and snapping twigs, but even that is rather hard to deduce. I grabbed my rifle a .22 Smith and Weston with a hundred yard adjustable scope. I peered through the scope, and pointed it in the direction of the sound, but through the dense fog and brush I couldn’t see anything. I took a breath and held it, and gave a careful listen to my surroundings. The footsteps were growing louder every time. I went into a prone position and looked out my scope again, time seemed to slow down, I savored every minute of it, of the anticipation, knowing that feeling of absolute control was just about there. As the creature drew nearer and his steps grew louder I noticed a bush begin to rustle. I drew a breath and held it, I took the safety off my gun, and I placed my index finger on the cool steel trigger. The steps were loud, and I had been expecting a deer or maybe some sort of large rodent, but it wasn’t. I was at first taken back a little to see the man appear in my scope. At first glance I looked up from my scope and allowed my finger to slip off of the trigger. I was stirring a little and about to get up, then it hit me.
I guess it could be called a craving for empowerment, I don’t deny that I get a real thrill out of being in absolute control. Hell it’s the best rush you can hope for. But I don’t think that’s why it happened. What it all boils down to is there was an opportunity. That’s all it really took. I had the desire in me, it’d been there for the longest time I just pushed it back and put on a façade of civility. But deep down, beneath it all I always wondered what it would be like, I always knew I was capable of it; I just never had as good an opportunity as the one that walked right out in front of me that morning. I was always an opportunistic person, patiently waiting for the perfect happenstance. Hell; this one time in middle school some little shit found out about my bed wetting habit and just wouldn’t let it die. I took it for a day or two but after a while it really pissed me off. I could’ve knocked the teeth out of his head in front of all to see, but I don’t operate that way. No, it’d be too obvious, too expected, and I would’ve been caught rather easily. If you want to get away with something you can’t go around reacting as they expect you to, you have to be patient, you have to be smart, you need to examine your options and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. So no, I didn’t beat that little ass hole to a bloody pulp…. Instead I waited a couple of days and then followed him home from school. I didn’t do anything that day, but later that night I went back to his house. They had a white picket fence that they used to keep their Boxer from running off. It was nothing prying that one board off, and that small piece of steak I had left over from dinner brought the dog right to me. Stub of a tail waving back and forth and some dumb trusting look in his face, you’d think I’d feel sorry for the thing, but the way I see it anything that stupid and trusting deserves it. It didn’t take long, it wasn’t my first animal, my first dog maybe, but I’d been doing up cats and small animals for years before that. I peeled the skin of that mutt real easy, and you know underneath it all, dogs, cats, rabbits, hell even people, we all look pretty much the same. Now killing his dog didn’t make the little prick any nicer, he was still a total asshole, but it sure gave me a kick, I’d gotten him back and really that was enough for me. I knew I had him, even if he didn’t, and that was good enough for me.
Anyways the point is that we all have some instinctual curiosity, some may have more than others, but I’m convinced that given the perfect opportunity just about everyone will take it. This is how it was with me. It was rather instinctual, like I said very surreal, like listening to a stranger, but I still knew what I was doing as I adjusted my position and raised the rifle. I knew what I was doing as I put my cross hairs on that old hikers head. I knew what I was doing as I squeezed the trigger and watched the red oozing hole appear on that decrepit old fool’s forehead. I knew what I was doing, but yet it was as if watching someone else do it. It was like being trapped inside of my own body, I didn’t consciously object to it; there was no remorse, all that I felt were the revitalizing sensations of empowerment and the titillating feeling of being absolute dominance. He hit with a loud thud which thrilled me through and through, in fact I think I might have laughed a little in my delight, it was invigorating to know just what I was capable of, to know how powerful I was, to know the feeling of absolute control, not just over that man but over my life and all who enter it. From that day on I was not a man, but a God. I held the power of life or death in my hands no one was free from my wrath, no one was immune to my furry. Granted I knew I wasn’t immortal, I knew I couldn’t afford to get caught, but at that point in time it felt as if I were on top of the world and nothing stood between me and whatever the hell I wanted, pure unbridled freedom, total and absolute power. And once you get a taste of that it’s far more addictive than any drug or habit, once you get a taste of that you can’t go back.