I remember December, a season that I shall not long forget. A time when its resplendent blanket of white enswathed the earth and concealed from all the life it was known to harbor. I suppose that it is fitting that during the season when Persephone was stolen away from Demeter to the land of the dead that so too should another soul be spirited from this world to the realm of hades, and along with it my innocence.
Life offers many different paths for us to traverse some linear and others consisting of many different twists and turns, and yet it is impossible within the moment to be cognizant when you do not reside on a linear path but instead find yourself deeply rooted in the crook of a twisting path. In hindsight, it became readily apparent that on that windswept night when the frost lay thick and heavy the linear nature of my life had broadsided into a crook whose protuberant nature prevented me from ever returning. This path found me, despite my protest, taking the longest walk of my life. It will never cease to amuse me how endless finality seems. I remember when I was younger, adults would offer ironic encouragement in the form of a sentence; “ You are on the final stretch” which held the implication that whatever task you’ve been set upon is nearly over but simply put; the end of something will forever be the longest part of the journey. Holding the knowledge that something will soon end derails the natural flow of time as even the universe must pay respects to the void. The end was coming, Lachesis had measured the thread, and Atropos stood poised to cut it and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. Even slowing my footfall – whilst stalling the inevitable- still pulled me along the conveyor belt of fate. One thing I became keenly aware of is that ignorance is bliss, while I was imbrued in emotional turmoil prolonging my suffering, he walked beside me tail wagging and tongue lulling unaware of what was to come and I think that’s where the cracks began to form.
I was never meant to hold that knowledge.
A level of precognition on par with a deific nature never intended to be bestowed upon mankind, and yet this forbidden foreknowledge we so violently ripped from Pandora and thus deprived ourselves of that blissful ignorance. that knowledge was thrust upon me against my will as I walked with my ignorant partner, us both in very different emotional states and yet together we did walk. All journeys must come to an end and so too ours did in a far field next to a trash pile. There is a semblance of poetic symbolism that can be found scattered throughout life and at that moment I was acutely aware of the synchronicity, the bleach-bone white of the black of night melded into the deathly quiet that coveted everything. It was as if the whole world stood on propriety and collectively held their breath in a moment of silence for the gravity of the sacred situation. I wish I had rebelled against the night, to have raged, raged against the dying of the light, and in my dreams, I burned like a roman candle exploding like spiders across the stars.
but that never happened
Instead, two opposing forces crashed together like a river confluence, permanently scarring the ground we stood upon. Wistful innocents collided with cruel intentions as two shadows loomed large out of the darkness, their shadows stretched out on the ground at our feet like demons clawing their way out of the pits of hell to breath their toxic breath on mankind.
And breath it did but truth be told it was no demon, Demons are characters created by mankind to act as a villain in some imaginary fairy tale but this was no story, This was real and reality is often significantly darker than anything mankind can think up in a writing room.
The demons here were just a man with a rifle and a sadistic girl who accompanied him to see the carnage unfold in real time.
The crux of all of this is that often stories are told from the perspective of the hero but I was not a hero. I was a boy who was ordered to tie up a dog to a rusty A-frame by a man with a rifle and I did so. I was an accomplice to the slaughter of an innocent and I did not so much as raise a finger to intervene and yet I have the audacity to write about it after the fact.
Life is full of irony if you think about it, for example, if I asked you what the most effective way there was to achieve silence I guarantee your response would not be noise – loud noise, but when that trigger was pulled what followed was the stillest silence. The roar of the gunfire ripped the larynx from the throat of mother nature deafening the world. Time stopped and I wish I could live in that silent frozen world forever. I did not want it to resume because I thought I knew what was coming next.
How naive I was.
Not even hindsight bias can convince me I knew what was to follow. I thought the end would come swift and a soul would soar the skies free from its mortal coil. That was not how it ended, instead, the silence was shattered by the most agonizing, traumatizing cries that no 12 years old should ever hear. So much emotion can be intricately laced throughout a sound, terror, anguish, torture, anger, desperation was so neatly woven together to create such a complex song to be thrust out into the world in a final act, a plea for salvation. So overcome with emotion was I that my breakdown was instantaneous to the degree that even I was unaware that I was sobbing so violently until I caught the ire of the shooter. His words to me once spoken became etched into my soul “quit your blubbering our you’ll be next”. In that moment had his words been more than words I could not have saved myself even though I so desperately wanted to. Had I the capacity to regain composer upon command I would have done so as to escape the focus of this monster. My saving grace was the fact that he had little motivation for anything more than idle threats and his attention was quickly pulled back to the tormented soul. Once more the fabric between worlds was torn asunder by the gunfire, and the silence of infinity visited me once more for the briefest of moments before the screams split the night air. My skin crawled and my soul ached to be away from there, to be spirited away into the night to the Asphodel Meadows where my psyche could rest and repair for time immemorial. That also never happened as my mind and body did not leave that place, I was stuck in that spot as the rifle fired once more, this time for the silence to remain undisturbed as it descended upon us.
I danced with insanity that night as my young mind was introduced to traumas far beyond its capabilities. Often times when something is met with an unrelenting force it breaks, I was fortunate to be pliable enough to continue to bend without breaking but I do often wonder what lasting effects it did have on my mind. For all I know parts of me did break and I have just been lucky enough to have not encountered a moment that painted my fractured edges with crystal clear clarity. I never did visit him, or the place his broken mangled body claimed as its final resting place. Shame I suppose is what kept me away, after all, I was an observer and participate in his slaughter so what right did I have to intrude upon his peace? He did not deserve the end he got, his only crime was chewing up a small section of new carpeting. His innocence should have been celebrated, and his life should have been met with love. He was a dog incapable of any act of cruelty or malice and yet he got a fate far worse than what most convicted murderous are met with. His own murder was never brought to justice and got to pass on years later never having answered for his crimes, and I dreamed of that night so often for years after the fact. This story has no resolution, life went on per usual.