I still remember the day that I saved that ant. The silly little insect was crawling over our driveway and I was just watching him; wondering where he was going, what he was doing, and why he wasn’t with his colony.
The garage door then began to lift open. It was my dad, about to drive off to work. I knew I had only precious seconds before that ant would be dead, it’s body squashed thin like a pancake. But I could not bear the thought of something dying, especially something so innocent and blameless as ant. So without even stopping to question myself, I ran onto the driveway motioning my dad to stop reversing his car with one hand, and I picked up the ant with the other. My dad must have looked at me weird, but I honestly didn’t care at the time. I had saved the ant. I had helped protect life.
Cool story aye? No, not really, you think and I agree with you. But just stick with me and it will make sense in the end.
A few years later my Dad died. He worked as a teller at our local bank, and one day some local gangsters busted in with guns, thinking they could be bank robbers. Their plan failed and the police quickly arrived. Some of the gangsters died in the ensuing gunfight, while those that survived were arrested and thrown into jail. However in the gunfight, four innocent people died. Four innocent people were murdered. Four people that were nothing more than bystanders, trying to survive the gunfight that was taking place around them.
One of those four was my dad.
My hero, my role model wad dead. Lying pale in a coffin, his body sown up in several places from the bullets that had riddled him, claiming his life.
We all know that every person handles grief differently.
In my case I retreated into myself, afraid to care or love anything else in my life, scared that it too would be ripped away from me. And in the darkness, I brooded on my grief ; dwelt upon it night and day.
My mother, on the other hand, instead of trying to help me and comfort me out of the dark place that I was in, turned to Jerry.
Jerry was an alcoholic son of a bitch. There is no other way to describe him. He was selfish, abusive, alcoholic, sex crazed, lazy, filthy son of a bitch. And he fucked up my life.
I never really figured out if she slept with Jerry to help her remind herself of him, my Dad, or to help her forget him. I guess it never mattered in the end, as most weekend nights they would still fuck each other long into the night, banging on the walls, making enough noise that I could hear them all the way from my bedroom.
One following morning I went out to the yard and just sat there, and watched. I watched the ants trailed past me, reminding of that day so long ago. One of the ants diverted from its trail and crawled in my direction, trying to climb onto my shoe.
However, instead of picking it up and taking it to safety, like I had so many years ago, I squashed it. Pleasure flooded my whole being, tingling in my every fibre. I had had the ultimate control over that ant. The power over life and death.
I suddenly snapped out of it, realising what I had done. I had murdered something, killed something in cold blood. How was that better than what those bank robbers had done, murdering my father.
It was later on that same day that I received my first beating from Jerry.
He was lying on the couch, drunker and lazier than usual. He told me to fetch him a beer. I told him he could go fuck himself.
Rising from his drunken slur, he walked over to me and punched me straight in the gut. I double over in pain, winded and gasping for air. He wasn’t through with me, no. He then gave me a powerful side cut to the nose, while muttering something about me “being a little shit.”
My mum, drawn by the noise, walked into the room. Her eyes widened in horror at the sight of what was taking place. She ran over to Jerry, trying to hold back the arm that was going for another punch at me, begging him to leave me alone.
“Get away from me bitch.” He yelled, and swung his punch to hit her, instead of me. The blow sent her flying across the room , falling face first onto the ground.
Pleased with his handiwork, Jerry then walked to fridge and got himself another beer.
I never did understand why she never reported him. Maybe she was too scared to do such a thing, or maybe she actually did love him underneath it all. Either way, if I known back then that you could report such people, I would not have given it a second thought before doing so.
Sadly, that was but the first of many beatings to follow, some of them directed at just me, some at both me and my mum, and some only at her. I tried to protect her from him. Tried to fight back. But what can a thirteen year old kid do against a man in his prime. It was then that I realised he had the ultimate control over me. The power over life and death.
A few months later, after receiving yet another beating, I ran outside into the yard. My arms and hands shaking with the rage I felt, the rage that I wanted to direct at the one person that I couldn’t. Jerry.
Grabbing a large rock from our garden, I raised it high into the air and brought it smashing down onto my outstretched hand. The pain ripped out of my mouth in blood curling scream, but strangely it felt good at the same time. Causing such pain, even to myself, made me feel satisfied ; relieved partially of the intense rage that tore through myself.
But the feeling parted almost as soon as it came, leaving me craving more. In fact, I desperately needed more.
I grabbed the rock again, in my good hand, and looked around to see what my options were. And then hopping around in his cage, I saw Darcy, the black mini lop rabbit that I had had for years. That my Dad had given me for my seventh birthday.
Walking over to his cage, I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and pulled him out. He looked at me with those cute big brown eyes, probably wondering what I was doing.
Still holding onto Darcy, I walked over to the corner of the yard, which was cluttered with trees. Ducking out of view from anyone that might have been watching me from the house, or the neighbours, I pinned Darcy down on the ground with my mangled hand and the raised the rock into the air with the other.
Rage and excitement burned through me, at what I was about to do. I looked at Darcy pinned helplessly before me, and I remembered.
I remembered my Dad, and him giving Darcy to me on my seventh birthday. I remembered how much he loved me, and I him. I remembered how he was my hero, how I wanted to grow up to be just like him. And then I remembered how he was killed. Murdered. How he was ripped away from me without even saying goodbye.
With a cry of anguish and of pain that seemed to emit from somewhere deep inside me, I brought the rock down as hard as I could upon the unsuspecting bunny. Raw pleasure overwhelmed me, numbing out everything else. I could not see the blood erupting out like a glorious fountain from the dying bunny, spraying onto my glee-filled face. Nor hear the cars as they rushed by our house ; or the gurgle of blood entering the lungs of once my prized rabbit.
I just sat there, basking in what I done. Enjoying the numbing pleasure, enjoying the rage that was slowly subsiding.
And then it was over. The rage, the pleasure, gone ; leaving me craving more. In fact, I desperately needed more.
Burying the now dead Darcy, I would whipped the blood of my face with a spare tissue that I thankfully had in my pocket.
The bloody rock still remained as evidence, though, but I was already late for school, so it would just have to wait.
The rest of the week passed by excruciatingly slow. I kept looking for opportunities to revisit that numbing pleasure, to experience that bliss once more.
I tried squashing an ant. Nothing happened. I tracked the ant trail back to its colony and dug it all up, squashing every single thing that I could see moving. And yet only a glimmer of pleasure I experienced.
I needed to step it up a notch.
Taking all the cents and dollars that I had amassed over the years, I went to the pet store. I ended up buying a baby kitten, and less than an hour later the deed had been done and I revelled in the almost nauseating pleasure that I was experiencing.
And so the rest of my high school years went by in this manner. My street became notorious for all the missing pet posters that covered every street pole and lamp. Rabbits, cats, guinea pigs and even recently dogs, had all disappeared in the night. Never to show up again.
But it was not enough. The feeling of pleasure would diminish every time I repeated something that I had already done. I would barely even get a tingle of pleasure for killing a kindle of kittens, no matter how gruesomely I killed them or tortured them.
I needed to step it up a notch.
Returning late one night, from secretly disposing some poor dog’s body, I was confronted by Jerry at kitchen door. Mum was working at her night shift, and it was just him and me.
By this time his abusive beatings had diminished, at least to me, as I think he now feared that I now eighteen and strong with youthful vigour.
Nevertheless this particular night, he had drunk himself into a stupor, and I could tell he was wanting to give me a beating. Just desiring it with every inch of his being. It’s what he craved.
“You are not respecting me, nor your mother..” he paused, stretching out his hand to steady himself against the doorframe. “…. as you should be.”
“Look Jerry. I just want a glass of milk, then I’ll go to my room. I’ll be out your way.” I said as I forcefully pushed past him and into the kitchen.
“You sooon of a bitch.” He slurred at me. I knew him to well not to know what was going to happen next. I ducked as he made a swing at me, his fist flying right over me and crashing into the wall.
This time, though, I fought back.
Putting my full momentum behind it, I swung my fist straight into his gut. This time it was him who doubled over in pain, winded and gasping for air.
Pleasure overwhelmed me like a flood that sweeps over a dry plain ; as I embraced my anger, embraced the rage that I had accumulated over the years of abuse, pain, grief and neglect.
I was not finished with him. No. I had merely begun.
As he was doubled over in pain, I brought my elbow crashing back into his exposed neck, sending him crashing to the floor below.
He looked up at me with, his eyes wide and terrified. He was suddenly scared of me. And he was right to be so.
“Please” he pleaded. “Have mercy on an old man like myself.”
“Mercy?” I spat back out in reply. “Tell me Jerry, when did you have mercy on me? When did ever listen to mine, or my mother’s, pleas for mercy you little shit?”
Without giving him a chance to reply, I started to kick him as hard as I could in the ribs. I wanted to break that fucker’s lungs.
I knew at the time, that I was giving into my rage, into my anger. But boy did it feel good. I hadn’t felt the pleasure, the bliss this strong ever since I killed my bunny, Darcy, many years ago.
I couldn’t stop now.
I had to step it up a notch.
He lay on the ground, gasping for air. His face and hands begging for the mercy that he could not voice.
And I showed him none.
I grabbed the heavy cast iron fry pan that lay resting on the oven nearby. As I swung it done upon his exposed legs, I realised I had the ultimate control over him. The power between life or death.
He screamed out in raw pain as I smashed his legs repeatedly, over and over again. I shuddered with pleasure as I finally heard the loud pop of his bones break in each leg.
I walked back to the oven, gently resting the frying pan back on it, unworried about Jerry trembling in pain on the ground behind me.
He wasn’t going anywhere. Not with those broken legs.
Yanking open one of the many kitchen draws, I searched through it, looking for my favourite carving knife. Finally finding it, I turned around back to Jerry, my hands trembling with both rage and excitement at what I was about to do.
I couldn’t stop now.
I had to step it up a notch.
Jerry eyes darted from looking at the grin plastered over my face, to the knife I held in my trembling hand, the realisation hitting him instantly.
“Please.” He began to weep, tears streaming down his face. “Please, I beg of you, don’t do this. I am sorry, you hear me.” He stretched out a shaking hand in my direction, as if to push me and the knife away. “I AM FUCKING SORRY.”
I did not pause to listen to his screams, but instead took another step in his direction. He was just a coward. Just a fucking coward.
“YOU HEAR ME BOY. I AM SORRY FOR ALL THE SHIT I DID TO YOU AND YOUR MUM.”
“Keep shouting.” I taunted back at him. “Show more of the fucking coward you were all along, hiding beneath a facade of strength and alcohol.”
He tried to reply, but his mouth failed him and instead just shook in terror, drool trailing out the side of his mouth.
Sinking down to one knee, I grabbed him by the scruff of his t-shirt and roared in his face “SHOW ME.”
He couldn’t even look at me, the fucking coward. Instead he closed his teary eyes shut, drool still spilling out of his spluttering mouth. His body trembled as I held him, his paralysing fear increasingly apparent by the yellow wet stain leaking from his crotch.
I raised the carving into the air, my whole body trembling, not from fear, but from the rage that coursed through my veins. I paused there temporarily, wondering for a moment how I had gotten here. How I had come so far from that little boy that saved an ant so long ago.
But I couldn’t stop now.
I had come too far to turn back now.
I had to step it up a notch.
Letting out a howl of raw pain and rage that shook me to the very soul, I brought the knife down as hard as I could, the blade sinking deep into Jerry’s soft flesh.
I stabbed him for every time he abused me.
I stabbed him for every time he hurt my mother.
I stabbed him because my mother had turned to him in her grief, rather than me.
I stabbed him because my Dad was dead.
I stabbed him because he never even came close to be being like my Dad.
I stabbed him because he had fucked up my life.
I stabbed him because I could nothing else, I had come too far.