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Let’s start at the end, shall we?
I was feeling kind of down that night, so long ago. I don’t remember why, come to think of it. Teenage angst, I suppose. Happened to the best of us at some point, although it happened to me quite a lot, if I recall right. I mean, I was always a good kid, but I had my issues. Nothing huge in retrospect. Of course, compared to the shit I have to deal with now, I suppose nothing was really all that important back in the day.
Back in the day. How long ago was that? Years? A few months? Can’t remember. Ah well, I don’t suppose it mattered much. Life goes on, whether you want it to or not.
Did I ever consider, you know, ending it? Not really. I’ve thought about it, but I never considered it a viable option. Just always seemed like a coward’s way out. We all have our problems, but going to that extreme just brings more problems to the people around you. End your depression, and it spreads to everyone you loved.
Well, I suppose I don’t really need to worry about that happening now.
Ah, but wait. I’m getting to be a bit cryptic now, aren’t I? You know, I always find myself trying to act like an enigma, but in reality I don’t have many secrets. At least not anymore. It’s pretty tough considering who I have to work with.
Anyways, it was awhile ago, and I don’t remember why, but I was down. Somber, I suppose would be the best word. Serious about everything around me, taking every little bit and detail of my life into consideration. The way the sky looked that night, with heat lightning turning night into day with brilliant flashes. My mother discussing how her co-workers had screwed up again. Something about a bitchy manager and her over-active kid. Whatever, wasn’t my life to lead.
But man, how nice that night sky looked. It was hot as balls outside, easily over 90, even with the sun down. Lightning boomed from the heavens as the darkness gave way to the overwhelming power of nature. Me, I wasn’t really worried, but my dog was spooked real bad. I couldn’t tell if she peed to relieve herself or out of sheer fear, but pee she did, and I was ready to head back home for the night.
It’s strange. I can’t even remember my dog’s face. Not even its name. I wonder how it went out. It was still around when I headed north, so I’ll have to guess starvation.
Please, don’t think of me as cruel or morbid, talking like this. I don’t want to be remembered like that, at least not by the next round of us, if my plan works.
My name is Zos. I am the anti-Adam. I am the last survivor and the first creator. I am the end and the beginning. I am the link of time.
The Little White Lie
My life wasn’t always like this.
In fact, I led a pretty simple life. Nothing fancy about it, a mum and dad, brother and sister, and of course, the family dog. My parents, Woodrow and Verona, were almost polar opposites of each other, as were my elder brother William and my little sis, Hannah. The guy of my family were more rugged than most; my father often participated in the fine art of hunting and fishing, taking William and myself along on some trips. He never took my mum, and only once did he try to take Hannah.
She did alright at first. She didn’t like the idea of hurting animals one bit, but she was only 3 at the time, and she was rather open to the little white lie. So, to calm her down, we told her that the animals were only sleeping. Yeah, sleeping. A terrible lie, but sweet little Hannah bought it nonetheless. So, we went out into the wilderness with my father’s hunting rifle and a couple of snacks. We were only going for the day, but dad always made it seem like a “serious expedition”. That was one of Woodrow’s appeals; his ability to exaggerate and excite. No matter what it was that he did or was doing, the way he acted, the way he spoke of his life made it seem like a fairy tale. I remember all of us being excited when dad came home, eager to hear one of his stories. He told this one about a lion and a tiger that I really got a kick out of, but I’ll save that for later.
Anyways, we went hunting often, but the first and only time we brought Hannah was a disaster in every sense of the word. It was around four in the afternoon, and we had nary a target all day. All of the snacks had already been devoured by Will and me, much to the dismay of Hannah and my dad. Dad shrugged it off as us being growing boys; Will was around fifteen, myself thirteen. We had similar body shape, with fairly broad shoulders much like our father. We also inherited his leg and back strength; we often carried our spoils in makeshift packs, so we had become sturdy like Woodrow, and natural hunters.
Woodrow was ready to pack it in when our first and only target came into the clearing. Big beautiful buck, 16 pointer at least. My dad let out a hearty laugh, one that echoed throughout the forest, and he raised his rifle. He looked at Will and me.
“Boys, let your papa Woodrow show you how real men get their dinner.”
He adjusted the scope slightly, as the deer had leaned into the grass to search for some fernery to munch on. A perfect target, some would say, as the leaned position exposes the heart and lungs perfectly. No need to make it suffer, one shot was all it took, quick and painless. At least, that’s what dad told me. I can’t really speak for the animals.
Dad’s finger rested easily on the trigger, his eye squinted to that of hawk-like concentration. Suddenly, Hannah come walking up, her knees slightly dirty from searching for rabbits and other little critters. My dad glanced over at Hannah. Even at the tender age of three, everyone could tell that she would be attractive in her later years. Her long brunette hair was in pig-tails, and her suspenders hung loosely over her small frame. She didn’t have the build the men of my family had. She took after my mother, who looked quite frail in comparison. Everyone who met Hannah commented on how lovely she was, and even though I’m her older brother, I have to agree.
My dad glanced at Hannah, hesitated a moment, and grinned a very slight grin. He nodded for Hannah to come closer, and Hannah, slightly afraid of the rifle, slinked over. Dad held out the gun to Hannah.
“Here, take it, but don’t squeeze the trigger sweetie.”
He very carefully helped Hannah hold the gun steady. The rifle was bigger than she was, but with Dad’s help she was able to balance. Hand in hand he raised the gun with Hannah and aimed the barrel at the buck. He leaned into her ear.
“When I tell you to, I want you to pull the trigger.” He whispered quietly.
Hannah gave my father a surprised glare, as did Will and myself. Dad gave one of his half-grins to us and leaned in closer to Hannah.
“It’ll be fine sweetie. It’s like the piñata I got you for your birthday last year, remember? You hit it in just the right spot, and it’ll break and the inside will fall out. Just like a piñata sweetie.”
Hannah looked back at the buck, the expression of concern still very evident on her young smooth face. She waited a moment, looked at William, then myself, and back to our dad.
“Just like a piñata.”
She held the gun closer to her face and squinted much like Dad into the scope. Dad hands were over Hannah’s, both his and her finger wrapped around the trigger. Slowly he began to pull the trigger with Hannah, not wanted to startle the little girl. I thought to myself that this was outrageous, that she was too young to fully understand what was happening. I looked over at my little sister, whose entire body was shaking slightly. I felt great remorse during the long moments before the trigger was finally pulled. The gun began to recoil back into Hannah, but Dad stopped most of the force with his solid grip on the handle. Hannah still let out a little moan, but my brother and father let out a huge roar, but not of concern, but rather glory.
“Alright Hannah! You got ‘em!” Dad leaned in and kissed Hannah on her forehead. “Oh I’m so proud of you sweetie, you did your old man proud!” He gave her a solid hug and looked at Will. “Will, you’re gonna help me gather some wood for the packs.” He turned towards me, and I saw the excited look on his face, his smile wide across his rough face. “Zos, go fetch the knife and cutting gear from the jeep. We got ourselves a beaut!”
Will and my father ran off into the woods, cheering loudly at the mark we hit. I looked over at Hannah, who was still sitting there, shaking slightly. I felt obligated to comfort her, but I decided she would be fine, at least for now. I ran off to the jeep, which was about a quarter mile away from the mark. It wasn’t a bad run; I got there in about a minute flat. I found the knife bag sitting idle next to the chairs we had set up. I quickly picked it up and began my hike back. I thought maybe if I got there quickly, I could gut the buck myself, a privilege only given to Will on certain occasions. Eager for the opportunity, I began rushing back to the buck, in hopes of finally using the knife other than during dinner.
Looking back, I wish I took my time.
I entered the clearing and looked around. No sign of brother or father, so I guessed I had at least some time to test my prowess at the “cleaning” process. I looked over to tell Hannah that I was going to perform this part.
“Hey Sis, guess what? I get to clean the-“Whatever I was about to call the mark next disappeared from my mind. Hannah wasn’t in the spot I had left her. The rifle was lying where she used to be, silent as a passerby that didn’t want to get involved in a mugging. I looked towards the direction my other family members went, hoping that she had gone that way to catch up. No sight of anyone, and I remembered how my dad had taught me how to spot tracks. I crouched onto the dirt and saw a series of rather large prints and slightly smaller ones. Neither of which were Hannah’s.
Suddenly, a tiny cry came from the buck. I turned face and saw Hannah kneeling next to the buck. Relieved I was, but pissed I was even more. I began to march towards her, my steps getting louder as I went.
“Dammit, Hannah! Get away from the mark!”
When she didn’t turn around right away, I stopped. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on her, I thought. She didn’t want to kill the buck, she’s just startled. I decided to tone my voice down and ask kindly, like a good brother should.
She stayed as she was for a bit, and then, very slowly, began to turn towards me. The first thing I saw were her deep hazel eyes, inherited from my father, the only trait from him, I believe.
The second were the bloodstains around her lips and cheeks.
I didn’t know how to react, so I just kind of stood there for awhile, and Hannah didn’t say anything either. She just looked at me, slight tears coming down her face. The tears reached the stains, and soon blood began to drip over her little denim suspenders. I came to my senses somehow, and began howling like a starved wolf for Will and Woodrow. They came running, let me tell you. Must’ve been a few seconds before they were back in the clearing with handfuls of wood.
“Zos, what the hell are you shouting abo-“ Dad looked at Hannah, and paused very much like I did. And, like me, he came to his senses and rushed over to his daughter, dropping the wood like a bad habit. Will just stood there, bewildered and almost dazed. He held onto his wood, and I saw him grip the wood tighter, in fact.
Dad quickly reached Hannah and began to shake her violently.
“What were you thinking!? You know that you could die from what you just drank?!” Dad shook her even more. Hannah just stood there, her tears slowly fading.
“Well?! What, Hannah?!” Hannah murmured something quietly into her shoulder, and my dad stopped. He leaned in, the anger in his face slowly receding. “What was that Hannah?”
Hannah stood for a moment, and looked my dad square in the eye.
“…Hit it in the right spot, and the insides will fall out. Like a piñata.”
My father didn’t move for a moment, only held the same dumbfounded look on his face at her answer. For a moment I thought he was going to cry, but he somehow held it back, as he always did, and stood up suddenly.
“Will! Head to the jeep and start it up! We have to get her to a hospital now!” He tossed Will the keys, and Will quickly dropped the logs and fumbled the keys slightly in one fluid motion. Once he had a solid grip on them, he ran off towards camp. Once he disappeared, my dad turned his attention to me.
“Get your sister and bring her to the car, I can pack everything faster.” And without another word, he ran off in the direction my brother went, leaving me with Hannah. Hannah, a darling little girl with big brown eyes and lovely bloodstained lips. I myself almost cried, but I held it in, much like my father, and grabbed her hand.
“Come on; let’s get you to a doctor.”
I began to tug at her, but she resisted. I tugged again, and she resisted again. I turned around and noticed the sad look that still was on her face, but this sad look wasn’t directed to me. It was to the deer, the deer that was still bleeding into the soil. I had seen blood before, but it looked so much different now.
“I didn’t hit it in the right spot.”
I looked back at Hannah, unsure of what she meant. I gave her a quizzing look. She looked back at the deer.
“It’s still alive. I could feel the boom in its chest, and its eyes are still open.” She looked back at me, and tears came back to her face. “Can you hit it? Can you get it in the right spot?”
I stared at her wide-eyed, and instantly began to push the idea aside.
“Hannah, there’s no time, we have to get you-“
“I don’t want to leave it.” Her eyes were full of water now, her cheeks flushed. “Please Zos.”
I hesitated, naturally. It’s not exactly something anyone is prepared to accept right away. I didn’t want to upset her any more than she already was. I began to make my way towards the buck. I could feel the sickening plop as my feet stepped into the blood-soaked ground. I leaned in towards the buck’s head. Sure enough, it was alive. The shot had gone off the mark, hitting the deer closer to the stomach, not the heart or lung. It would die, but not for a very long time. It would be a painful death. I looked at my sister, who was standing by the edge of the clearing. I closed my eyes, and turned away.
“…Hannah, I’ll take care of it. But I want you to head to the jeep, alright?”
I could hear her take steps of protest. “But Zos, I…”
“Just go!” I shouted louder than I intended, and I could hear a slight sniff as Hannah began to run back to camp. Now it was just me and the buck, myself knee-deep in the buck’s blood. I looked around. Nobody around, just us. I looked at my hands. They had small bloodstains on them, but the knife somehow stayed clean as new. I stared at my reflection in it for moment, the sun reflecting off brilliantly. I grasped the knife firmly with my left hand, and with my right hand I held the buck steady. I didn’t want to, but I knew it had to be me to end this buck’s life. It couldn’t be left to suffer. That’s too cruel, especially since it was us who had put its fate upon it.
Slowly I raised the blade above my head, the glare reflecting onto the buck, and I saw the buck’s eyes catch mine.
Whoa, let me stop there for a second.
I apologize for that, that’s the bit of my dad in me talking. I suppose I inherited his amazing talent for tall tales along with his physical frame. It’s not all that bad though, makes for good stories to pass the time. But this story is completely true, and if you don’t believe me yet, you will. Trust me, my story’s only going to get crazier. Compared to then and now, my little sister mistaking the buck for candy is as inconspicuous as a stray onion ring in a order of fries. I saw it, said “hey, that’s different”, and moved on with my meal. Life isn’t like that anymore. Everything makes me stop to look at it. Everything from a raging storm in the distance to a stray log that made its way out this far. It's not just the amazing things I've known, but the amazing things I've realized. Eventually my mind reached a point beyond that of normal human standards. What I used to consider unbelievable is now the only things that make sense. At the same time, I now view the simple things as miracles. I guess if all of this, all of the revelations, all of the memories, the pain, succeeded in accomplishing something, it was making me humble.
Again, I digress, and you are probably more confused than ever. So, for anyone reading this, I'm gonna get back on track.
I remember that night well, about four years after that hunting story I mentioned. We had all grown, my brother Will had moved on to UNC to study biology, but he was home on break. My sister Hannah, still as beautiful as she was the day she shot that buck, was now slowly becoming a woman. She had since rid herself of the pigtails and downsized to a ponytail, a move that made her appear older. But, to us, her family, she would always be sweet little Hannah.
My parents hadn't changed much as we grew. My father was still a rough n' tough kind of guy, my mother still the complete opposite. I always used to wonder how these two could stand each other, but since then I've come to the realization that they not only were perfect for each other, they needed each other.
As for myself, I was still the same Zod. A little older, probably not that much wiser, and to be perfectly honest, maybe a little uglier than I was as a child. I'm not saying I was bad looking, I had a few girls before I met mine, but I was never as handsome as I was as a prebubescent bastard.
| Now this is a really interesting piece. I wasn't expecting the ending of this...well, the ending of this intro...but I like it. It has definitely gotten my attention. The part about the dog is a tad confusing. |
[i] I can’t even remember my dog’s face. Not even its name. I wonder how it went out. It was still around when I headed north, so I’ll have to guess starvation. [/i]
When you say "I wonder how it went out" are you still talking about the dog dying? if so I suggest changing the "went out" part.
Another trivial detail that I picked up on was the "recall right" for some reason it didn't seem right.
that's pretty much it though. I'll be waiting for the next chapter of this piece!
|| Posted on 2007-08-10 00:00:00 | by Dimension_X | [ Reply to This ] |