It’s all in your mind (Part 1)
Hey! This is the first half of a short story I recently wrote. Its been a while since I’ve written a short story. I’ll put up the next half within the next couple of days!
In a news article featured in the local newspaper of a small town in the world, there was a report of two gruesomely violent murders. A farmer and his wife, poor and completely innocent, had their lives forcibly and unfairly taken away from them, as a result leaving their three year old son to take on the world all alone. Miraculously, there were no clues left at the site and so the culprit was never found. The boy was thereafter sent to an orphanage in a nearby city. Another strange thing that was noticed was that no library could locate a copy of that particular edition of the newspaper in their catalogues. So the library asked the public people, and no family in the town seemed to be able to find it either. Somehow the police files had disappeared as well. But the library didn’t communicate anything to the police, and the police didn’t to the library, and this was noticed too long after the murders, and investigations into murders of common folk are often disregarded after minimal effort, so no one seemed to think it a big deal. Little did the world know, but all proof of the couple’s existence had been eradicated. The only proof of the murder that remained lay in the fast fading memories of the few people in the town who were present then and in the inaccurate but vivid image in the boy’s head.
Ten years later, the boy, curious about his parents’ death, approached the town’s police office. He knew there was something wrong as he walked out. It couldn’t be that there was no record. In fact, they didn’t even know what he was talking about, and didn’t let him meet anyone more important. After all, he was young and probably just a waste of time for the senior officials. So they sent him out with their grievances and asked him to try at the other towns nearby. No luck.
Every day, I noticed the odd man walking down the sidewalk. He was always in a black cloak, with a black hat and a black umbrella. I never chose to observe closely, lest the man caught me in the act. The man dressed old and walked young, but there wasn’t much I could tell about his face in those quick, stolen glances, just his jaw being visible below the shadow of his hat. He never stopped to talk, or glance sideways out of curiosity, or seem to attract as much attention as he should have been attracting in my opinion. However, the man did keep my mind busy and allowed me to get through my monotonous job behind the counter at Al’s Sandwiches.
“Young man! I’ve been waiting!” one of the many annoying customers interrupted my thoughts. These interruptions were a part of my day, and part of my life too. The mechanical greetings and preparation of food, the smell of the place, the stupid people who took eons to decide what they wanted, the occasional asshole who would find something wrong with his sandwich, the cheap shitheads who asked me for every offer that was in place at that point of time. I looked forward to the isolation in my tiny apartment every night, and lying down on my bed after an exhausting day of Al’s Sandwiches and economics. I tried to enjoy the little sleep I managed to extract out of my schedule, which was already devoid of watching movies, playing sports, drinking, and of any kind of social interaction altogether. I hated my life, but I strongly believed that I could make it better. And that it would be worth living once I did.
For some reason, he had always been very good at the art of taking lives. It dated back to his youth, when he realized that it came to him surprisingly naturally. It wasn’t hard to get into conflicts, growing up in a rough neighbourhood. It dawned upon him that he could make a lot of money with this skill of his. It was what he was best at. It was what he would do. Why struggle for years to study something he probably wouldn’t like much? He met his partner soon thereafter, the first person who thought along the same lines as him in that respect. They hit it off instantly. It was dangerous, but possible.
Every morning after getting out of bed I made it a habit to follow a variety of newspapers. I liked being aware of what was going on everywhere and it was also helpful for me in my academic work, which was all important for me of course. It was mind boggling how big the world was. I had one mug of coffee, one sandwich, and spent ten minutes under the shower. I followed a rigid routine, never straying by more than a minute on either side. There was a fixed time for everything. I rushed through everything quickly that morning though. It was a big day.
For the past few months I’d been trying to get my voice heard at any of the local magazines or newspapers. I felt it necessary to get my story out there, and thought it possible that it may even make a good enough story for them to actually want to publish it. I finally had a meeting today with one of the leading local newspapers. However, it turned out that I was wrong: “I’m sorry, this really is an interesting story but I’m afraid we don’t really have the space to accommodate it in our main edition anytime soon. We could always try for space in the new extra that we have launched recently though! Would you like that?”
Yeah obviously. And fuck you.
He thought about various ways to approach his goal, and finally picked one. It was probably the only one he could start executing with a small group. As the group became larger, he would expand operations, but for now he had to begin somewhere. He wondered for a moment what someone he knew would think of him if he told them of his plans, but cast away the thought almost immediately. Now was not the time. And there was no room for doubt in this profession.
A few more weeks passed, and these dreams of mine grew increasingly realistic, my mind becoming distracted by them. It was starting to have an adverse effect on my daily life. The man continued to pass by day after day, and the more I thought about him, the more he disturbed me. I wasn’t able to place why he disturbed me, but he did. There was something about him.
It had been a long time since the night my parents were murdered, and I had started accepting the fact that they were gone at some point of time, simply by keeping myself that busy. But ever since I had started to try and recall details and put together information for the article, things had taken a bad turn. Needless to say, it wasn’t good for me.