Battles – they’re something we go through every single day of our pitiful existence. Some battle harder, longer, more complex fights, other trivial little… things. Some battle with enemies in the form of a person; others duel with the smallest of foes: cancer, for example. Some take on armies of soldiers… others battle a beast unseen. I… I battle myself. There isn’t a day that goes by that I fight with my very being, there isn’t a day that I’m able to rest in peace. There’s a constant war waging in my head… and it will never end.
The internal struggle is an eternal one. I know it will never fade, it will never subside, it will never be subdued. It will only escalate and an exponential rate into a limitless oblivion. How can I deal with such a thing day in and day out? I simply don’t know. The thoughts that ricochet in my skull hit my conscious and subconscious like hooks from George Foreman, ever landing a blow capable of knocking me out for the count. But I have a mental wall like the head of George Chuvalo… No matter the beating I take, I’ll never be knocked down.
Resilience is of the utmost importance.
I’ll have to if I want to see her again. The thought’s that bounce around inside my head consist mostly of my Sarah – my Queen of Hearts – My love, my life…my undoing. I have to keep my head about me all the time. I can’t risk slipping deeper into delirium… if I do; I know there will be no hope of seeing her again in another life.
Who am I kidding?
Stability is impossible.
The war will never end.
The only victor will be insanity, and my body the vessel for it to take over. Hoping to see them again is a moot point, it can’t happen. Even if there is the unlikely scenario that one of the religions got it right, I will surly end up in its Hell. I don’t deserve to be in heaven; I don’t deserve to see them again… I deserve pain and suffering. I deserve the worst any deity can throw at me… and then some. I try to do right, I want to… but I can’t. There’s always something telling me that the right thing to do isn’t the way to go about it – I have to cause carnage. It’s in my nature… And so I’ll be doomed to suffer for all eternity.
Suffer in life.
Suffer in death.
Suffer in afterlife.
It’s my destiny, it’s my calling. I was born to suffer… and cause suffering. Perhaps I don’t want to do right after all… maybe I want to do the evil things I’m seemingly forced to do. Maybe it’s not a choice I have, but rather an instinct. I do what I have to – I do the worst I can because it keeps me alive; it keeps me strong. It keeps me…resilient. Once upon a time I believed that people were naturally good, that the right thing to do was the easiest thing to do simply because it was the natural thing to do. But I was wrong.
Right isn’t easy.
Right isn’t natural.
Right is hardly right.
The battle between right and wrong is a battle that has been waged since the beginning of time, and will end with the fall of the universe. We all face these battles on a daily basis – right and wrong. It’s something the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the intelligent and the stupid all have to deal with. It’s the common ground that connects us all: Decisions. We all have to make choices every day that will affect something, somewhere. That’s the beauty with chaos, it’s everywhere, and we’re all capable of creating vast amounts of it wherever we tread, but some would rather it play it safe.
Safe is easy.
Nobody wants to make the hard choice.
Safe is weak.
Weak is something I refuse to be. Perhaps that’s why I’m very rarely safe; I can’t afford to let any kind of weakness in, if I do… It will be the end of me. I have to remain strong every waking moment; I can’t let my guard down, for that one momentary lapse in judgement could whittle me down so fast, I’ll be nothing but a sliver of the man I used to me. I’ll slip from insanity into senility and be a useless, crying, shameful sack of shit. I don’t want to be a fallen angel or a dethroned King…I want to be me. I want to be the Shovelcidal Maniac forever…
I never want to be weak again.
I’ve battled my whole life for one thing or another and I’ll battle the rest of my days. The war in my head isn’t between Heaven and Hell – it’s a war between demons. Who can cause the most damage… they’re not sparring with each other, they’re seeing who can cause the most damage, and in turn… who can keep me the strongest. They use my past and my memories to fuel my rage… and I like it. It’s a war over common territory. It’s a war to see who can fuck things up the most… and after skirmishing with my demons for so long… I don’t want them to stop.
We battle every day.
We don’t want peace.
We don’t want tranquility.
But not me; not anymore. If I accept the fight, will it stop? Not at all, but at least I can sit by and watch the bloodbath and enjoy the pure carnage that my mind’s capable of.
The pure carnage I’m capable of.
A conditional release, that’s what I was granted from that…facility. One month of supervised freedom, that’s what I was given seemingly out of the blue. Hey, I’ll take it, but I’m always cautious of generosity. It’s never just given, there’s always a catch of sorts, but for the time being, I’ll make it work. Two years in that institution was becoming tedious and boring… I was starving for something to do, just ask Jimmy. He’s a prime example of what I can conjure up whilst bored, that, and he really shouldn’t have brought my past into our discussion. He paid the ultimate price for his insolence. He got what he fucking deserved. Prick.
But now thanks to an anonymous… person, I’ve been granted a leave of absence. I’m allowed to play. I’m allowed to have fun with only the obstacle of a hapless outsourced supervisor named Dan who doesn’t give a shit about anything. Is it just me, or does everybody that works in mental rehabilitation not care about their jobs? Well, can you blame them? We’re all hopeless, lost causes to them; they have no reason to care. I’m once again free, and at the opportune time too. Fucking Mr. Dugan told on me.
Which means he told his wife of what I did to their son, he must have. The hospital would need a sworn statement from both of them. I’m disappointed in him. I thought he would hold onto that secret until the day he died. I had hoped he would sit alone in his den every night and fight with the thought that not only did he fail as a father, but he was the one who had Jim committed. He locked his own son away in a facility with me. Jimmy never stood a chance; he was prey to my hunt. I wanted to read in the news paper that daddy Dugan was found hanging in his closet. I could picture it, his wife weeping at his dangling feet. It was… poetic. It was… beautiful.
But no, the bastard couldn’t keep it to himself. He couldn’t suffer in silence. He had to tell his wife so she could suffer with him; he was cruel to his soul mate… all the more I wish he’d fucking kill himself. But because he told the head physician about my little confession, I was thrown into solitary for a few days. I couldn’t be exact, time just blends together when you’re alone in a dark room with nothing more than your own thoughts, and I had a lot to think about.
I was threatened with an interrogation. I waited for somebody to come and take me by the arm to a small room with nothing more than a light and a mirror for unseen observers to watch and study me. I waited for the police and their best detectives to come and accuse me of horrible feats, of which I was guilty, and I would have gladly admitted my role in Jimmy’s death. But I would never have admitted to sticking the needle in his arm. He did that on his own… all I did was guide him. I played the role of Charon, merely ushering his soul over the river Styx and to the gates of Hell. He needed to be guided.
But that didn’t happen. No, something I couldn’t see coming happened. The head physician opened the door letting the outside light flood in, blinding and confusing me. He stood there looming like an omnipresence ready to pass judgement. And then he spoke. At first I thought I misheard him. I thought the sensory deprivation had gotten to me and I was hearing things… more than usual. When I didn’t respond, he cleared his throat in frustration and said it again.
“You’re free to leave.”
I couldn’t believe it. For the first time in years I smiled. Not a smile of a sadistic nature, but rather a smile born from pure unadulterated joy. It was as genuine as the smile on my face when Michael was born – when Sarah said “I do” at the altar all those years ago. I was happy.
I gathered my composure and cautiously walked out of the solitary confinement room. The grand doctor scowled at me as I brushed past him, I returned the gesture with a grin of my own; not the smile full of joy, but something a touch more sinister. Of course, as I gathered my things he filled me in on the terms and conditions of my month long release as apathetically as possible, but I didn’t care either. I didn’t listen to a word he said. All I could think about was why, and what I was to do with myself when I was released back into society. I wondered what society would do with me out there. And that’s when the doctor said something that caught my attention.
“You have been given this… pardon by a powerful individual; he could just as easily get you back in here…” He paused and looked down at large envelope in his hands. “He also wanted you to have this.” He said, handing said envelope to me. I looked at him curiously, but didn’t think much of it. I threw the envelope into my duffle bag without a second thought of it. I finished up my packing and met the doctor’s gaze one more time. I was well aware that this wasn’t a permanent development, but I was free of the prick for one whole month – and I just had to make him know I was leaving, that even if it’s small, I’ve won.
As the two of us stood there staring each other down, I smiled ever so slightly and cupped his face in my hand, surprisingly he didn’t glance down – he stayed connected with my eyes. With that smile still gracing my face, I said, “This, doc… is the biggest mistake of your life.” I turned around and gathered my bag, and when I faced him again, the good doctor’s jaw was clenched so tight I thought his teeth would crack under the pressure. I brushed past the white coated man and made my way out of that… place
From one shit-hole to another. The apartment I was granted to stay in was a run-down piece of shit in a rundown quarter of the Toronto core. The paint was peeling from the walls, the bed was stained with piss and shit, and the floors were busted old linoleum and in corner sat a beat up 12 inch black and white TV. The bathroom fared no better. The toilet had a chunk missing from the top, and it appeared that the water that fed into the place had a dead rat in the drains, for it seemed perpetually brown. The building was disgusting, but I didn’t care. I was out. For the first time in years I was free, and I savoured it. The first few hours of my freedom, I dressed in my best suit and just wandered the streets of the city. I was people watching, I hadn’t been able to do that in so long, I had nearly forgotten how the real world operates. And it was pathetic.
I traversed most points of the city, from the ghetto of my apartment’s general vicinity to the higher class Yorkville area. The former was a horrendous sight. People were living in alley’s using dumpsters and various bits of trash for warmth and shelter. I nearly felt sorry for them… nearly. These people were like Jimmy; they were weak and sad excuses for humans. They deserved where they were, and they deserved to die in their pitiful existence… but not by hand. They’ll do that on their own. My bloodlust if for something… someone more substantial; I just haven’t come across it yet. These junkies are weak – and I’m sick and tired of the weak.
That brings me to Yorkville. The nerve of these people; born with a silver spoon in their hand, they think they’re so much better than everybody. I remember sitting outside a small cafe not far from a Tiffany’s watching, observing, and taking in everything around. A woman argued on her phone with some unknown person, she was tearing into that phone like a starving dog would a steak. She bitched that her credit card had been declined, that she was embarrassed in some couture shoppe. Poor girl, truly… how sad… how pathetic she is. What were to happen to her if something truly devastating happened? What if she were robbed, abused, or kidnapped… What if she had to survive. She wouldn’t be able to. She would die with the rest of these beings that have the nerve to call themselves human.
I made my way back to my apartment after several hours of just watching. The freedom was exhilarating, but boredom began to take over, and I needed a release. I sat upon my filthy bed and rummaged through my duffle bag… and there it was, sitting in front of me like Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket; the mysterious envelope. I eyed it curiously before sliding the tip open. I peered in like a child on Christmas even trying to get a sneak at his gifts before the proper time. I couldn’t see much other than a few sheets of paper and what looked to be a photograph. I poured the contents on my lap… and I very much liked what I saw.
Staring me in the face was a picture of a lovely little blonde haired, blue eyed girl. She was young – younger than I like, but old enough. She looked to be in her early 20’s. But there was an allure about her that screamed take me. I was intrigued, I wanted to see the other contents, but I couldn’t draw my eyes from the young girl. Who was she? Why is she so important… I had to find out. I moved everything aside for a moment and with the picture in tote, walked over to the wall in front of my bed and pinned it to the wall. She watched me watching her… it was… enjoyable. I sat back on the couch and pawed through the sheets of paper which were now out of any order they might have been in.
I picked up one sheet; all it had was a name and an address: Rosalyn Pierce. My interest piqued. This glorious little girl that stared at me from across the room; fascinating. The other sheets had some sort of itinerary scribbled upon it which I cared little for… all I wanted was to see her… in person. I wanted to smell her hair, caress her cheek, look her in the eye, I wanted to feel her. It’s been so long since I had felt another. It was time. I couldn’t wait any more.
The address has this apartment listed in downtown core, not a fifteen minute subway ride from where I am now. Apparently it was her Uncle’s dwelling… She’ll be out of her element, she won’t even notice me, she won’t see me coming. I have to see her, right now, tonight. The urge is too strong – I’ve been tempted, and the temptation is far too alluring to turn away.
A single shred of paper, standard size was the only sheet left. All it said was look under the bed, as if a monster from the depth of every child’s nightmare waited for me. From under my bed I felt a familiar friend. A Shovel. It may seem strange that I have an affinity for shovels, and this one in particular. It feels more than just a tool. It feels alive in my hands – he is my only true companion. He is my guiding light. I need him, I need him more than one could fathom. He’ll come with me tonight simply because I know that when I’m wielding him, everything will be okay. Armed with my most loyal and trusted friend, I leave the apartment to begin my journey for my prize.
The trip through the city is a slow and tedious, despite its short distance, and it is one filled with thoughts of what I’ll do when I find Rosalyn. My senses are on high alert; I can imagine how she’ll smell; I feel her soft milky skin against my finger tips. I found myself caressing the air ever so slightly on the subway. My eyes were closed and my hands danced so subtly in the air as if I were conducting an invisible orchestra… and I didn’t care. I don’t like to stand out, but I was lost in the moment, and when I opened my eyes, there was a small child standing in front of me, wide eyed with curiosity. Our eyes met for a brief second, and I couldn’t help but smile.
He was so young, so innocent. He reminded me ever so slightly of my late son. The innocence of a child is so rare, but it won’t last. It never does. He will end up corrupted by society; somewhere along the lines of his adolescences, somebody will fuck up, sending him into a world of turmoil. My smile grew at the thought. This doe-eyed babe will one day grow up to be a twisted individual, it’s inevitable; they all do in one way or another.
The train stopped, and the child swayed with the inertia it induced. His mother grabbed his hand, and off they went. I’ll never see him again, but that matters little, I already know he’ll become something undesirable to society. Rapist, pervert, adulterer, murderer. Be it in secret, or in the public eye, his mind will become perverse.
I peer out the window across from me; it’s my stop too. The doors swish open and I swiftly grab my shovel from the seat next to me and exit the car. The underground is cool and damp, but it’s invigorating. I don’t mind the cool air in my lungs, the nip of the early March air on my skin is a pleasant stroke.
I breathe in deeply, holding the air inside for a moment. I savour it before letting it go. I’ve refocused – all I can see in my mind’s eye is Rosalyn. I make my way out of the subway station, up the stairs and out on to the street. The opening gives way to massive sky scrapers and condominiums with bright neon lights. I felt like I was being born again, seeing the world in a new light. It was enthralling.
The apartment wasn’t far from where I was now, and I wasted little time in marching towards my destination. I’m determined; I’m unstoppable. I had one thing on my mind, and nothing else would do. I haven’t had an urge like this since her, since her… It was new feeling to me all over again, and it was one that certainly couldn’t be ignored.
I was in such a deep thought about her that my march was blind. I don’t remember getting to the building, but I was there suddenly, standing outside the lobby doors, looking up the many stories. I entered the building, passing a man and his dog on their way out. I wouldn’t have remembered this, save for the dog barking at me. I fucking hate dogs.
“Rocky! Down!” The man yelled to his dog. Pitiful, we think we’re the owners, but the dog looks well in control.
I think I hear the man yell an apology towards me, but I couldn’t care less. He meant nothing, and his heartless apology meant even less. I made my way towards an open elevator and sauntered inside, leaning on my shovel as I waited for the doors to close, but a hand reached in and blocked the door from closing. I scowled; I was hoping to be alone. Nevertheless, I smiled politely at the intruder. She barely noticed me even though I was wearing a suit leaning on an old dented, blood stained shovel. If you don’t make it noticeable, people simple won’t notice – they’re blind. If it weren’t for the CCTV in the corner, I would have taken my trust Shovel to her head, but I just waited, biding my time. She got off a few floors later, and the rest of my ride was as peaceful as I could have imagined – there wasn’t even shitty elevator music to annoy me.
The door dinged, and opened with a satisfying whooshing sound revealing the hallway before me. There were a handful of condos, maybe three on each side. It was a nice place, there’s no doubt about it. I wonder if anybody like me lived in one. I quickly perished the thought, there was nobody like me. I meandered down the hallway looking at each door as I passed, until I finally reached my destination – Rosalyn’s dwelling. I smiled at the anticipation. I waited until I could wait no more… I wrapped gently on the door, covering the peep-hole with the spade of my shovel. If all went to plan, somebody would look through the hole only to see blackness and resort to opening the chain lock.
That’s precisely what happened. I could hear a murmur or two from the other side, but alas, the person cracked the door. I reared back and with all my force battered the door with my shoulder. I hit it just right and the door burst open, sending the poor bastard who was on door duty to the floor in a heap. I regained myself and stepped through the threshold into the apartment. I was beyond focused.
The man on the floor tried to stumble to his feet, but his temple was met by a swift shot from the business end of the Shovel, he was out cold. And there at the other end the room stood a pretty little blonde thing, though, she wasn’t my beloved Rosalyn. She remained oddly calm and stared at me for but a moment. Neither of us moved, but I tilted my head at her. I quickly grew bored of our staring contest – I made a B-line towards her. She muttered something and took off down a corridor; I followed.
There were many rooms on either side of me walking down this hallway, but she ran into the last one. When I turned the corner and entered the room, I saw a steel chair come right at my head. My eyes widened and time seemed to slow down, with this heightened state of momentary awareness, I was able to duck the shot, spin, and connect a shot to the side of her head as well.
She went down in a mess with blood streaming from her hair line. I admired her for a moment, just standing over her lifeless body without a care in the world, but she’s not the reason I came here, there must be others in the apartment, there must be my Rosalyn. I left the room and scoured the rest of the apartment but came up with nothing. I found a suitcase with her things in it, but that didn’t feed what I needed. Rage began to take over.
My prize wasn’t here, but there was no way I was going to leave… unsatisfied. I returned to the main foyer and closed the front door, reengaged the deadbolt, with still fit, and slide the couch in front of it for good measure. I didn’t want to be interrupted, that’s when I looked to the unconscious man laying at my feet – the same position so many before him had taken… I had to do something with him, after all; I had an idea.
In the master bedroom, I found myself with two lifeless bodies. Both breathed slow and meticulously, their bodies reserving energy. I had duct taped the man to a dining room chair which I had placed against the wall closest to the foot of the bed; The woman was sprawled out naked on the bed, he hands and feet bound to the posts at each corner. I sat in a rather comfortable armchair waiting for one of them to come to. The man came ‘round first.
“What… who the fuck…” He said groggily to nobody. I still sat in the armchair with my legs crossed, waiting patiently. I wanted him to see the woman – Chelsea Pierce, on the bed before him… and when he finally got a glimpse of her, he was stunned.
“Chelsea!” He yelled, “Chelsea, Oh my God… What’s happening?” He stopped a lolled his head forward. “Chelsea…” He said sadly. He cared for this one, I could tell. That brought a whole new element to this game.
I sat up with piqued interest, but I didn’t say anything. He still was unaware of my presence in the room, so I just watched him like a voyeur. His pain was… genuine. It was intriguing watching him suffer like this. I stood up. My movement must have caught his peripherals as his head shot over towards me. He looked down right pissed.
“You!? What the fuck are you doing here?!” He shouted. He looked familiar, I had seen him before.
“You like her, don’t you…” I said totally disregarding his question. He paused and looked slightly taken-a-back.
“Of course, she’s my friend.” He stated. I inched closer to him with curiosity.
“No,” I started, bending in front of him to meet his eyes. “It’s more than that… You care for her, you have feelings. I’ve seen that look in meeker men than you… You love her.” I finished, not flinching. He merely blinked at me before saying something rather unexpected.
“Fuck you.” He said with authority, before spitting in my face. I reared back ever so slightly. I wiped away his filth and smiled.
“Oh, this will be fun…” I said, holding on to my smile. His jaw clenched, and he narrowed his gaze. He didn’t want to say it, but I saw the question brewing inside him. I said nothing either; I just began to take my jacket off, all the while staring at the naked body laid out before me. His gaze made way towards her as well.
“You sick sonofabitch…” He said. I looked over at him as I kicked off my shoes and unbuttoning my shirt.
“Don’t worry, you won’t miss a moment.” I said as I walked over to the night stand where I had left the duct tape, grabbing the role and tearing off a small piece. I ripped that strand in half and approached the subdued man.
“You’ll see what a real man can do.” I whispered in his ear before walking behind him and taping his upper eye-lids open. He squirmed and his breathing started to pick up. Outside, his tough exterior was beginning to give way to the child within. He was losing control.
Just as I had finished opening his eyes, the body on the bed slowly came to life. We both watched her in silence; me with quiet excitement, and him silent with fear. She moaned and tried to move her arms. Her head slowly looked up at her hands which were bound and a sense of panic came over her, she fought with every ounce of strength in her fragile little body, but to no avail. She screamed and growled as she tried to rip her hands free, but it wasn’t meant to be. She as trapped.
It took her a moment to realize that he and I were mere feet away, but when she did, she met eyes with my other captive. The tied man clenched his jaw again, trying to remain strong and tough, but his eyes were filled with sadness.
“Chels, it’ll be ok, don’t worry. Michaelson will be back soon…” He said trying to comfort the poor girl.
“Jonathan?! What the hell’s happening.” Jonathan? We have a name. Excellent. I totally disregarded the comment about this Michaelson character.
Jonathan looked up at me, “You’re fucking sick? What’s wrong with you?” He asked almost sympathetically… But it hit me; I remember where I know him from now.
My eyes widened with the moment of eureka.
“You were part of that Whore’s posse, weren’t you?” I said inquisitively, “You were with that dirty Mexican asshole who punches like a twelve year old girl.” I said touching my eye, I had forgotten about it, but the touch made me flinch with a shock of pain.
“This will be fun after all, won’t it?” I said smirking at the beaten man in the chair. I turned my gaze to the woman so vulnerable on the bed, and then shot my gaze over to the side of the room where I had set up a video camera on a tri-pod. My smile grew from ear to ear.
I dropped my pants and made my way over to the bed. She screamed at me to get away; he screamed at me to stay away. I listened to neither. I crawled onto the bed and mounted my pray, I sat above her and stared into her eyes.
“You’ll do,” I said. She didn’t respond, she stopped fighting and just laid there. I didn’t mind, the fight isn’t what does it for me. Her submission was far more exciting. I had won.
Jonathan continued to yell for most of it, but he eventually was reduced to a pile of sobs. Chelsea tried to block it out, I could tell… But that would be unacceptable, this was about to become a threesome with my friend.
Even when I dismounted, she didn’t blink, she stayed focused on some place far from here, but she’ll come back soon. I grabbed the shovel from the chair across the room, and when I returned, I stroked her body with it; I started at her exposed legs and gently slid it up to her hips. It was on her hipbone that I turned the Shovel on its edge and in one quick swoop, I drew blood. She flinched and squirmed. She fought with the thought of coming back to me consciously, but with another nick, she was totally with me.
“You motherfucker.” She muttered. I smiled at the literal nature of her statement. When I was done with the shovel, I leaned him up against the nightstand and remounted. She moaned with a painful excitement. I looked over to my private camera and winked. Jonathan continued to mutter obscenities at me for cutting his precious Chelsea.
One man’s Hell is another’s Heaven. For the first time since her, I felt alive. The rush of endorphins and the thrill of the capture are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Jonathan never stood a chance. He’s a pathetic excuse for a man. If he truly cared for this woman, he would have done something about it, he would have been smart, he never would have answered the door. He made a series of crucial mistakes that caused wounds that will never heal.
Chelsea Pierce fell victim to me because of Jonathan’s foolishness. That’s something he’ll have to live with forever. He’ll have to carry the burden of failure for the rest of his live, but he’s not alone. He’ll have to deal with the shattered Chelsea. I made sure she stayed with me throughout, there was no tranquil place she could disappear to in her head that I couldn’t reach in and grab her from.
Revenge is a bitter sweet taste. The puzzle was beginning to take shape before my eyes. Mysterious envelope after an ever stranger release from the mental institute; instructions to people I once knew, knowing very well what I would do to them. I suspected Michael’s death was caused by somebody I knew. I have to continue forth and uncover more clue. I truly have a guardian angel who set me free.