I arrive in the conscious world with a jolt, and the feeling that something immenselyimportant must be done. And that this something is linked firmly with my feeling ofhope. But the pills have taken effect and I am utterly confused, I can't hold a singlethought.
Newspaper reports about a missing child - 2 bodies found in a skip.
I needto get a grip and do something. Hope. I lie in the bath for 5 minutes (maybe) andthen, not really fully aware of what I am doing I get up, dozens of pains swim aroundmy body, a head ache spreads across my cranium...pins and needles down myarms, I feel dizzy, begin to loose my balance, fall over. I can feel my face going red.I open my eyes and the room seems small, too small, closing in on me (too small).My breathing, my breathing, my breathing is irregular and the pins and needlesspread across my chest.I stand and the walls seem to be moving, no bubbling, the room is alive.
Or I am dead.
For a split second an image fills my mind-
me stabbing, stabbing my landlord (blood).
I begin to wander aimlessly around the room, I almost lose my balance,again. I go over to a chest of draws, open one and rummage, as though I'm lookingfor something, even though I'm not, but am I? I feel sudden anger, pick up the TV,throw it at the wall. The screen shatters and the room seems a normal size again.I walk into my bedroom, over to my cupboard, open it and take out a small box(a shoe box), remove a gun (which I don't have a clue where I got) and check that it'sloaded. Only half knowing where the hell I am going I leave the apartment, walk outa corridor and up some stairs. I'm hyped up, confused, and only vaguely aware that Iwill soon be responsible for the end of another life.Soon my mind is full of a thousand thoughts, but none of them make any sense atall. I am simply driven on by something to keep climbing the stairs. And the stairs aremoving from side to side, like a rope bridge in a strong wind. Suddenly one imagebecomes crystal clear in my mind -
my own face covered with blood.
I’m at THEdoor, and now I feel a fresh emotion - fear. But this only kills my momentum for amoment, and then I raise the gun and shoot the door lock, then kick the door wideopen. The apartment I enter smells of vomit and mould, newspaper clippings havebeen pasted all over the walls: CHILD SEX KILLERSTRIKESAGAIN, KILLERCLAIMSTENTH VICTIM, SICK PERVERT FINALLY CAUGHT, PAEDOPHILESHOT IN ARREST,KILLERFREED ON TECHNICALITY. FAMILIESOUTRAGED. Suddenly I know fully whyI came here. A door at the other end of the room opens and a man comes in, hisface fills with shock and fear.I point the gun at him when suddenly he seems to take the form of the black demonin my nightmares. Then he is just a man again then the demon then the man thenthe...My arms begin to shake and I feel dizzy, the entire room begins to spin aroundme, and I see my grandfather's hateful face, he stares at me and I stare back, westare at each other and he looks away, the room becomes completely still and I seethe man as simply a man. I pull the trigger.The man is knocked over.He whimpers in pain.Blood pours from his mouth and chest.His eyes bulge.I walk over to his dying body. Aim the gun at his face. Pull the trigger.His face explodes.Hot blood splashes my legs.I stare at the remains of his head for what seems like a lifetime. Then, as if suddenlydeciding that I've seen enough, I close my eyes, put the cold gun against my sweatytemple, and pull the trigger...The gun clicks. I am Alive.
Fractured memories run through my memory like a discoloured blur.
My sister falling,falling, repeating...
ah my mind is fucked. For almost a year it has been, my entire lifethus far is a blur, with the occasional clear patch.
Land lord giving me shit about the rent today.
The warm feeling is wearing off now, but my vision is still blurred, mythroat is dry - it feels like it has been burnt and covered in salt.I see the vodka bottle, a quarter full, it's gonna hurt my throat but I really want a drink- I think downers will be best, I want to sleep although I don't want to dream.
A nightmare about demons chasing me...
Shit the vodka is a few metres from mychair, I can't reach it with my foot, and I don't want to move, but I really want a drink.
My sister, my fuckin' sister,
get out of my mind. Then I see on my lap, after all thistime, a half smoked joint, that'll do, it’ll make my throat worse, but fuck it.I realise that I need a lighter. I feel like I'm gonna be sick. It's by my foot, yes thelighter is by my foot, and the floor around it is moving, wobbling, and the lighter ismoving with it. Imake a grab for it, light the joint and toke. Where's the smoke?!?Irealise that its gone out and then so do I.I regain consciousness and my eyes are hot and dry, I crawl onto the floor and overto the Vodka. Now I have it, I drink half of what's left in one.
Being beaten up in a bar by three men, my nose gushing blood, the taste of copper in my mouth.
I lie onthe floor and close my eyes, bright patterns of light swim in the darkness. And I driftinto them.I awake desperate for water, I'm dehydrating. I drink some more vodka and mymouth burns, my throat burns and my chest burns. My sister's funeral. My headbegins to ache intensely and I vomit violently. Then I vomit again, and again until Irun dry, thick spit hanging from my lips. I wipe my sleeve across my face and fallback to sleep.The sun cuts cross the room and burns my eyes, and my mind feels like it's beenripped clean in two. It's morning and I feel something I haven't felt in years,I barely recognise the emotion, and it feels strange. Hope. My back is covered insweat, I feel like shit, but I feel hope. There's something that I can do (something)......But what? I want to get up, wash myself and do whatever it is that can save me. I pullmyself to my feet and drag my self across my lounge/ bedroom/kitchen - where thefuck am I? It's my lounge and I walk into the bathroom. Sweat down the back of mylegs and back, my eyes watery, my vision blurred and a foul taste in my mouth. Ireach the bathroom and step into the bath.
Warm blood splashing my face,something hard and sharp driving into my thigh.
I turn on the shower, the cold watershocks me (cold, cold, fuckin' cold).
Shattered glass all over me. The water warms up and I rub my face. My sister's dead body on the car bonnet, her left arm torn almost entirely from her body - her bloody face, her fucking bloody face.
I sit downin the bath and let the water pound my back, I feel slightly better, but not much (notmuch).
My mother screaming at me, endlessly screaming.
Hot water covers me andself hate fills me. I need a drink, a strong straight drink and some pills, there are pillsin the bathroom cabinet, I really want some pills. I stand up and am able to reach thecabinet without getting out of the bath, I grab 2 types of pills and swallow a hand fullof each, they'll take effect soon, I hope. That word again - hope- is there hope?
The funeral, my grandfather and the look that he gives me, he hates me, the old bastard,
except I'm the bastard. That face haunts me. I turn the shower off and lie inthe bath, before long I fall back to sleep.
A tall black demon has my sister's mutilated corpse in his arms, he is laughing, and begins to dance with her corpse. I am watching and can't do anything, I can't move, I sit in a chair and watch as they dance like lovers (entwined). Her arm hangs limp by her side. She is like a broken puppet.
Ross Bradley (Notts, UK)