The whispers resonated within, like nails clawing out the fiber of my being, one scar at a time. I could feel their disgust, born out of the ashes of fallen men. But they had it wrong.
I found myself standing witness to hundreds, faced only by looks of anger, disappointment, and resentment.
Yet one face stood out from within the crowd. The sly look in her eyes, the wicked grin she possessed, even the blood red hair that shone with memories past. She was the author of my downfall, watching her favourite play.
The crowd parted, only to reveal a young girl, no older than four, rocking back and forth on the ground.
“Liar” they called me, for I avoided the truths they chose to believe. Truths backed up only by lies, with no implication as to who had written them.
Moments later, a man in a black hood began approaching me slowly. I could feel his deep loud breaths breaking through the barriers of my bravery. Was he death claiming his latest victim?
He wasn’t, for he took out an object from within his cloak, and it took me a mere moment to make out what it was; a blood red pistol. Before I could process my thoughts, the weapon was already in the palm of my hand.
“Prove us wrong,” the man in the hood said, as he walked away almost as slowly as he had approached me.
I took another glance at the young girl, yet all I could see was a world of innocence, corrupted by the horrors those tiny little eyes had witnessed.
If I were to protect her, I was deemed a liar, shielding her from the way things are. But if I were to shoot, what would be left of her? A ruin of what once was, void of all innocence and happiness?
I slightly raised the weapon, only to lower my arm again.
But to my dismay, long maroon fingernails scratched the top of my hand, mesmerizing me, as dark red lips whispered into my ears. “Do it, just as I’d taught you.”
This was the final scene of the play, her masterpiece, and she was not going to miss it.
“Here, let me lend you a helping had, just as I always have.”
She sunk her fingernails deep into my arm, raising it slowly. The weapon was pointing straight at the young girl. Every fiber of my being yearned for me to let go of the pistol that instant, yet my grip only got tighter.
Another hand gracefully flew like a little bird, landing on the weapon, with her fingers slithering around the handle and over the trigger.
The blow was loud, even deafening. Startled, I watched crows fly out of the black smoke left by the little girl. And dazed, I felt a burning kiss implanted on my neck, one filled with mockery. Yet when I turned around, I was alone.
If you hold a gun, but someone else is to shoot it, are you a murderer or are you a victim?
Is the label determined by the intention, or does the action overrule what’s happening within?
A touch of insanity overwhelmed me, as I began speaking out loud.
“Trigger, trigger, oh what have you done?
You sent her a bullet, and I was the one
To witness the hole it marked on her chest
Like the one I’d gotten and just learned to forget.”
I slammed onto the floor, just where I was, and began to reflect upon what had happened. Taking off my shirt, I looked at a hollowness in my chest, almost as large as my head in its entirety. It had been a while since I last paid it any attention, yet only at that moment did I truly notice how large it had grown.
For the hole grows, ever bigger, until we ourselves become the hole. It defines us, changes us, and plagues us. It defeats our purpose, breaks our will. It becomes not what we hate about ourselves, but our self-loathing identity.
It holds but two memories. One of a bullet shot, and another received.
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