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More murder!

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Joined: 05 Jul 2004
Posts: 301
Location: brooklyn
More murder!  Reply with quote  

after my strict criticism, I submit a piece for the same. I'm not very happy with this piece, the ending is sloppy and there are some parts in the middle that I think need expanding. Oh well.

There's some rather brutal imagery here, so feel free to skip it all if that will put any of you off your coffee.

----- Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep -----

I hate Natalie. She’s always so mean to me.
Born 3 minutes before I was, she was convinced that she was better than me from the time the thought was possible in her head. Our mother was no help; she made no secret of which child was her favorite.
Natalie has always been with me. Towering over me, delighting in my misery. I left home as soon as I could after high school, but she found me. She became my shadow. She’s with me everywhere I go.
Every night, I dream of killing her.
Each night my heart is lighter. All these things are broken with the dawn.

* * *

My father worked at the tool factory that my grandfather owned. He married Mother because he had to. They went to school together and fooled around; Mother helped him get a job at the factory by putting in a good word with her father. A few short months out of high school, she was pregnant. My father wanted no part of it, but without my Mother he wouldn’t have a job. They were married two months before Natalie and I were born.
He started drinking more after that. One particular night a few months after we were born he came home and they got in one of their nightly screaming matches. My mother says I started screaming, early in the morning. It woke him up. Angry and still drunk, he left.
They found his car in a ditch on the side of the highway 20 miles out of town; he had been killed instantly.
My mother blamed me, of course. Every now and then, when I had done something bad as a child, or rebellious as a teenager, she would remind me. Sitting there in her chair, staring coldly at me, the unwanted second child.
Mother loved Natalie. She was her precious little girl. The money that our grandfather sent us was spent on buying Natalie new things. Toys, books, dolls, her every wish was fulfilled.
Natalie could do no wrong.
At school, some of our teachers didn’t even know we were related. My sister was smart, pretty, popular, and athletic. She was the star of this, the president of that. Every teachers joy to teach. If I was lucky, I made it through the year as a barely noticed shadow on the wall.
For many years I believed them. I really was stupid, I really was just in the way. I was the bad seed. I was the one who killed my drunk father.
I was paddled if Mother found me crying.

* * *

I left the day after our graduation. For a short while, things were quiet. All the places I went, there were people who just stared at me. Whispered things in corners. But it was nothing compared to what I left behind.
Somehow, Natalie found me.

* * *

One day I was mopping the floor and accidentally bumped into a student. I knocked her book into my bucket. She stared at me and screamed.
People were staring, and whispering.
Natalie found me.
“Can’t do anything right, can you Henry? Thought you could run away? We missed you at home, Henry!”
Her laughter followed me down the hall.

I follow her down the quiet street. She had been studying late with friends. I kept watch outside, the cold numbing my skin, turning my bones into rods of dull pain. Every few minutes I would flex the fingers of my right hand, to keep them usable. I followed her sweater around every corner. That horrible red sweater Mother made for her. Everyone but me seemed to think it was beautiful. It was a hand-knit turtleneck sweater, a very dark red. Red like St. Peter would bleed from the soul of a murderer, I thought.
As she stepped into her apartment, I hit her on the back of her head with a bat I found in the gymnasium. She fell without a sound. I dragged her inside to the kitchen, my shoes slapping on the linoleum. I had to swallow. My throat was so dry, dry from hours of standing and waiting for her. I nearly vomited when I swallowed.
She stirred and moaned as she lifted herself up, pulling out drawers as she climbed to her feet.
She turned, and I let her see my face, the face of her brother, before I grabbed her by the head and slammed it into the corner of the counter. I rammed her skull against it four times until I was satisfied. She had a massive hole in the side of her head, dark bits of what I guessed was brain and lighter slivers of bone covered the counter and floor. I wiped my gloved hands on her lovely red sweater, ruining it.
I walked out into the freezing drizzle, skipping all the way home. I fell down and lay on the ground, laughing and laughing.

The phone woke me. Groggy, I lifted it and grunted into the receiver.
“You’re gonna be late, Henry! They’re gonna fire you!”
Natalie squealed before she hung up.
Every night, I dream of killing her. Sometimes the dream is foggy, but occaisionally, I remember everything.

* * *

I did get fired from that job, and moved on to others in different places.
Natalie follows me everywhere I go. I don’t know how she figures me out.
When I worked at the hotel, she was never far away. The best way to pass the time at that job was to make up little stories about the people I saw.
She was always just a few feet off. She called me a pig for sneaking lengthy peeks at women, teased me for envying the wealthy men.
“Dumb boy like you won’t ever see money like that, huh? Keep dreaming, Henry.”
One woman I saw almost every day. Her name was Laura, she told me she was an lawyer.
Natalie crept up to me right afterward and grinned.
“A lawyer? Hah. Henry, she’s a liar! But a pretty liar. Bet you’d like to take her home and do something sinful. So evil, Henry. God’s going to punish you, just for thinking like that.”

That morning I threw Natalie from the 14th floor. She had been picked up by some man in the bar and they went up to his room. I followed, carefully. I checked every room on the floor to throw off anyone’s suspicions. Finally the man left his room for the business seminar in the conference room, leaving her alone inside. I snuck in and saw her standing on the balcony, wearing that damn heavy red sweater and nothing else. I shut the door slowly, but the click of the latch stilled seemed loud like a thunderclap. She didn’t hear it, though. I crossed the room and slipped my hand into the ice bucket, grabbing the corkscrew that had fallen inside. The water dripped slowly from the white gloves they made us wear. I watched the drops fall slowly to the carpet. I smiled and stepped outside, then.
She barely had time to realize that someone was behind her before I punched the corkscrew into her back. Her scream was quickly choked by gurgling blood. I gave the screw a ferocious twist before I let go. I pulled her to face me. I tore her sweater open to admire the small metal tip sticking out of her chest. Blood poured from her mouth as the horror in her eyes dulled. I grabbed her ankles and swept her legs upward, sending her sailing over the railing.
I had never been this high in the building. The sun was bright and blessed, I watched the clouds chase each other past the horizon. I left to change my coat, and went back to work.

* * *

Every few months I’d move to a new place. Natalie got worse. She seemed to be around all the time, now. She followed me everywhere, howling about all the horrible things that she’d seen people do. She knew everyone’s crimes and wanted me to know, too.
In a small town I got a job at a shop fixing lawn mowers, motorcycles, pretty much anything with a small motor. I liked the job, and the owner. Oscar was an older guy who had gone bald before I was born. After we’d close, sometimes he’d tell me stories about the war. I got along with the customers, usually area farmers who couldn’t afford a newer model of whatever they asked me to fix.
Natalie hid in the corner of the garage, whispering to me whenever everyone else had gone. She’d always try to convince me to do the most horrible things.
“You know… you could get Phil to stop hitting his kids. A small explosion to take off his fingers would settle him down quite a bit. Come on, Henry. I can show you how. If you let these sinners keep on like this, God is gonna be so angry with you. You’ll go to hell, Henry.” She laughed for almost an hour, then.
Oscar’s daughter, Beth, brought us lunch every day. I thought she was pretty. Natalie caught me looking one day.
“Oh, you like that little slut, do you? That’s right Henry, she’s a dirty dirty girl. All the boys at school have known her… just like in the Book, Henry. Known her so many times! But even a dirty little sinner like her wouldn’t give you a second thought. You’re too dumb, Henry. Dumb and ugly! I know what you’re thinking, Henry. God’s watching you, you evil little boy. Evil Henry. Evil Henry!”
I covered my head with my tattered old pillow and prayed for a good dream.

Her sweater looked like it was fading. She had her back turned to me, she was watching the customers in the shop through the little window set in the door.
I raised my hand up, my hammer heavy and powerful in my palm. I remembered the horrible things she had said about Beth, about me. About everyone. They just couldn’t be true.
I brought the hammer down on the back of her head. She slumped against the door. I dragged her back and flipped her over on her back. I straddled her body and looked at her pretty face. She was the evil one. What a dirty mouth.
I cracked the hammer swiftly across her jaw, shattering it and several of her teeth. I swung several more times until nothing below her nose was recognizably human.
I started to hum, then.
No one would ever look on her with a smile again. Not even God would know her now.
Her head was a bloody mess. I was covered in it, bits of skin, teeth, and blood. I shouted out joyously, triumphant. I stripped my soiled clothes off and ran out to play in the river.

I had an entire day of peace the next day. I needed to move on. I hopped on an empty train car headed east.
Natalie was inside. She was hugging herself, as if cold under her heavy sweater.
“She’s dead, Henry. Mama’s dead. They’re going to dig it up, you know.”
She cried as I counted the cows we passed. It was the best day of my life.

* * *

“The first dream I ever had like this was about five years ago. I remember, it was our graduation night.”
“Could you tell me about your dream, Henry?” He frowned at me. I liked his blue tie. I looked at it while I told him the story.
“Well, let me tell you what happened that night. There was a party after our ceremony. I went to get drunk. I hated everyone there, and I knew Natalie would be there. But I just didn’t care. I couldn’t let her rule my life like that. So I went. I don’t remember much of the party, except for this. I was sitting on the steps, when I heard a cry for help. I ran upstairs to find one of the jocks holding a girl down, raping her.”
I looked at the blue tie. It was the same color as Jill’s skirt.
“The girl’s name was Jill. I knew her from school. She was struggling and fighting him, but he was too strong. I grabbed him by the neck and started to choke him. Suddenly, other people came into the room. His friends pulled me off him. He turned around to zip up his pants. I tried to explain… that’s when Natalie came in.”
“She told me to shut up. ‘Be quiet. Jamie, what happened here?’”
“He took a few deep breaths, and then glared at me. ‘This little shit was trying to rape Jill! I came in when I heard her scream and then he attacked me.’, he said.”
“I was sure that everyone knew the truth. But Natalie…she…”

Jill was laying on her side, facing the wall. Natalie covered her with the sheet and we all stood, waiting.
“Jill? Honey? It’s Natalie. It’s okay. Is that what happened? Henry did this to you?”
I rushed forward to protest, but Jamies friends pinned me back to the wall.
“Yes.” Jill muttered weakly, flatter than the plains.
“Get him out of here.”
The guys threw me out on the lawn. On the ground, I got kicked repeatedly. I was coughing up blood, but there was nothing I could do. Natalie called them off and came down the stairs.
“What have you done now, Henry? Do I always have to watch you? You’re one crazy sinner, Henry. Get out of here.”
She kicked me in the face and walked back inside.

“She knew what really happened. I think everyone knew. I couldn’t take it. I went to the park and slept, so I could leave early in the morning. That night, I had the first dream.”
“I was standing outside her window, carrying a shovel. I had already dug a hole halfway to China. I was going to fill it with her dead body. I remember the crickets. You know that formula for finding the temperature with their chirps? I never knew it. But I thought about it while I was digging.”
“I rapped on her window with the shovel. She came to the window. Fell asleep with her clothes on. With that horrible new red sweater Mother made for her. I clenched my hands around the shovel. My knuckles seemed to give off their own light, they were so white. I smashed through the window and hit her in the face with the flat of the shovel in one swing. The glass fell so slowly. It was pretty, really.”
“Blood drained from her broken nose, little bits of glass stuck in her face and hair sparkled. I climbed inside and lifted her out. I took her to the hole I dug in the field behind our house. I dropped her in. It was so deep that I couldn’t even see her. I was so proud of myself. I started humming as I filled in the hole. I even started to sing. I remember, I was singing “This Little Light of Mine”, you know? I was so happy in that dream.”
“Someone shook me awake in the park the next morning. It was her! I slapped her and ran. That’s when I took off for the janitor job in South Dakota.”
He let the reels go, clicking and clicking, for another minute. He thanked me and turned off the tape recorder.
“Wait here, Henry. We’ll bring you some lunch.”
He left.
I looked at Natalie’s reflection in the mirror and waved.
I tried to ignore her. They were just dreams. They made me feel good. The only thing in my whole life that made me feel good.

They had given me some pills to make the dreams stop. They put me in a room. All white. White everywhere. I felt God smiling down on me. Natalie cowered in a corner, covered in dirt. Her sweater was full of holes and looked an ugly brown now.
“You killed all those women, Henry. Remember. Laura, Beth. The girl in South Dakota. Even Me. How could you? They weren’t dreams. You little sinner. They’re going to cook you, roast you like a pig. They’re going to send you down to Hell, Henry.”
I laughed at her, so ugly and so weak now, in the face of God’s beauty. I felt his light brighten, and He told me not to worry. There was one place she could not follow me. I have been saved, received, lifted past the horizon on graceful wings.
Now I can sing so loud that I can’t even hear her anymore. They give me more pills, God sends me good things. Good dreams. Dreams of picnics, and dreams of Oscar telling his stories, and dreams of wondrous peace.
"Methaphors are not to be trifled with."

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