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((It's been a bad day for me, but it inspired me to write this story))

--After Midnight--

It is just past midnight on a Sunday, now Monday, morning, and a young man now sits in his kitchen. He is wearing his pajamas, which consist of old gray sweatpants and a Fruit of the Loom white T-shirt. His hair is messy from having tried to sleep and failing. His eyes are bloodshot and groggy, and they look as if he had tried to gouge them out with his own fingers. His pale white skin is marked with extreme pallor now. He is hunched over as he sits upon the wooden chair, the one which is placed at the head of the wooden table at which his family eats Sunday dinners together, and his elbows rest on that table. His fingers are trembling from the weight of the gun in his hands, its nozzle in his mouth. Tears stream from his eyes now as he pulls the trigger. He makes not a sound, not a whimper, not a cry. The trigger is pulled and suddenly, everything comes back to him.

Now he is being pulled kicking and screaming from his mother’s womb, as if he knew that the world was cruel and that he did not want to exist in it. His older sister stands in the background somewhere behind the doctors and nurses. She is looking on upon the site with wonder and awe, wondering when it will be her turn to give birth. At this time, she is only six and she doesn’t understand much of the world yet. She knows that her new baby brother is a blessing for her and everyone else in the world and at this moment, she decides that she must protect him and love him. His father is not present – he is at the OTB betting on Fury, who happens to win that day against the odds and his father is considered the luckiest man on Earth.

It is Christmas day five years ago and they are opening presents. They are living in a small apartment, and there is a plastic Christmas tree set up in the corner left of the front door. The television is now turned on, and his father is watching the news. His older sister has come back from college and looks as if she had lost a few pounds. He tears the candy-canes-on-green wrapping paper and opens up the present from her and finds a sweater from her college neatly folded in a white box. It is a size too big and instead of using it for everyday, he reverts to just using it as apart of his pajamas. He opens his present from his mother, which is wrapped in a snowmen-on-blue paper. More clothing. This time it is a windbreaker which he had seen at the local sporting goods store. He wears it everyday from March 28 to June 17, at which point, he deems it warm enough to not need the windbreaker anymore. A year later, it would no longer fit him. Next he opens his father’s present, which is not even wrapped in any kind of special wrapping paper. He opens it up uncaringly. He is too naďve to think anything else of the lack of wrapping paper. It is a watch from Timex, a nice metallic one with a silver band that has a golden stripe running its middle. The time is off by three hours and seven minutes. It reads that it is 4:33. He adjusts the time, puts the watch on his left wrist, and hugs his father tightly.

Four years later and he is a junior in high school. The past three years had been interesting enough. He had managed to maintain high grades, not the best, but certainly not the worst. He would often quarrel with his father after receiving a bad grade. He is much more learned and thinks of himself as superior to his father in knowledge and intellect and would thusly challenge his father with witty insults which he may have picked up from a book, sometimes quoting a line or calling his father by a character’s name. His father would be stupefied at this and would be unable to retort. Feeling victorious at these times, he would next curse at his father and slam the door to his room behind and lock it. For him, making friends is no longer easy as it had been before. He cannot stand anyone that was less intelligent than him, and patronizes heavily his teachers and those that were smarter. He no longer participates in sports, nor much physical exercise at that. He is heavier than he was in freshman year – not extremely so, but noticeably so. Often, he looks at himself in the mirror and analyzes himself for what is there. At these times he thinks of himself as Sir Lancelot, who when introduced properly in The Once and Future King, looks at himself long and hard in his reflection in a helmet to try to decipher through the curves and bends of the helmet who he really is. Every time he does this, he is unsuccessful. And as such, he grows more miserable with every passing day. He does not understand the world around him, and he does not understand himself. Worst of all, he does not understand what he is doing or why he does it. He is unable to find why he lives.

It is three weeks ago and his girlfriend is breaking up with him. He cannot understand why. They have been seeing each other for the past two months, and were actually good friends before then. The breakup is harsh. He invites her to a nice evening at an Italian restaurant, where he knows that Antonia Vivaldi’s four concertos in The Four Seasons from Opus 8 is on the track loop on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays and can usually be heard sometime between the hours of six and nine. The date is for seven o’clock, and lucky for him, L’Estate is playing as they walk in. They sit at a table for two with a candle lit at the center of the table, already down to almost the halfway point, talking about the events of the past week. She speaks about her complaints on the swim team and how it’s hard for her to keep up with schoolwork while remaining devoted to the team as well. He will add in some friendly advice on how to manage between the two, though he doesn’t participate in sports himself and doesn’t know if the advice which he is giving is good or even correct. Then he speaks about his complaints about politicians and some of the teachers, for most of which, she is thinking of what she is doing this night. She knows that she must break up with him tonight, but he doesn’t know it. The breakup comes after eating dinner, after the check comes, and as they are leaving the restaurant. He leans over to give her a kiss on the cheek as they walk onto the sidewalk. She pushes him away lightly, and looks at him with determination. The words leave her mouth and enter his ear as if it is a dream. He cannot accept it at first and then suddenly, the harshness of rejection comes over him as she walks away from him. He tries to call out to her but the words choke him and remain in his throat. He falls to his knees as she walks away. When he gets home that day, he goes straight to his room despite her mother asking him what is wrong. He locks the door behind him and cries, feeling truly rejected for the first time. The pain hurts him more than a needle going through his eyes, or rather, he feels that it hurts him more than the needle would. He screams curses, angry at himself for not having seen this coming, angry at the world for not having warned him, angry at the power(s)-that-be for creating this feeling, angry at the universe for allowing him to exist.

It is yesterday and he rummages through the store room to find where his father keeps his old pistol. His father had been a paranoid man during the 70s, afraid of “The Man” watching him and his every move and was willing to make a stand against whoever dared to invade his privacy. It is inside a safe, for which, he is able to determine the combination easily. It is the numerical representation of the letters in his father’s name. The pistol is fully loaded, and an extra magazine lies inside the safe. Taking the pistol, he returns to his apartment.

Three weeks and two days ago, his (ex-)girlfriend is at swimming practice and the girls are making fun of her for dating him. They are making fun of his habits, exploiting rumors about him, and mocking what he does with her on dates. All of these are untrue, as she knows him to actually be a decent person despite what others may think just because he’s different from the jocks and potheads that litter the school. However, the pressure is getting to her. She cannot continue to be mocked like this, and she knows it. Therefore, she decides, she must remove the roots of what is causing this problem. This is done by breaking up with him, and when later asked, she can simply reply that she had been using him for fun to see what it would be like to date a geek.

Two weeks later, on her way home from school, she is raped and murdered by him. This is two days before his suicide.

Two weeks before that Christmas morning five years ago, her sister is kicked from college due to the inability to maintain her grades at the school. His parents receive the notification of her expulsion about a day later and were furious. His father goes on a drinking binge at the thought of having raised a failure. His mother has a bit of a nervous fit. His sister does not return home until the day before Christmas. She had traveled around the coastal states, hitching rides with strangers and surviving on only forty dollars. She ate little, and it showed when she finally decided to come home. Her only reason for coming home was that she needed to be with people that could support her after having fended off a potential rapist truck driver. The present which she gives to her brother is her own sweater. She had not been able to acquire any present other than that. The day after Christmas, she leaves home and is not heard from again.

One month later, a Jane Doe is discovered hanging naked by a noose in a warehouse downtown with her entrails having been ripped out. Christmas morning, her father was watching on TV a news report on a serial rapist-murderer loose in the city, who would be found a year later as having been an OB-GYN that lost all his money after being sued for malpractice.

It is the day of his birth and his father is at the OTB. He wins with a total of one hundred thousand four hundred fifty-two from his bet on Fury. He returns to the hospital too late to find that his son has already been born and that he was not there for it. His wife rebukes him, but he gives her the fruits of his excuse. She lights up with joy at the mention of his winnings and rejoices that they can finally pay off some debts. His six-year-old daughter rejoices too. A few days later, they return to their house in the suburbs. He takes some of the money and invests it into a growing insurance company. However, this company soon goes out of business and once again, the family is in debt, this time it is heavier than before. To solve this problem, he sells off many of their possessions, sells the house, and moves the family to a small apartment in the midtown of the city. His wife never forgave him for the move, and his daughter never looked up to him with as much love as she used to.

Two years after that move, his wife packed up and left. They were divorced and he remarried another woman who helped him to (temporarily) stop drinking and brought him to Catholicism.

It is eight hours before his suicide. His mother and father come home after spending some time at the church, having stuck around after the mass to talk with their friends. He had not gone with them to the church because he had lost all faith in whatever deity there might be after his breakup. They look at him almost disdainfully. Seeing this look, he challenges them and asks why they are looking at him like that. They stutter and are unable to respond. He smiles innocently and goes to his room. It is seven minutes before his suicide and his parents are sleeping. He was trying to sleep as well. However, it finally got to him. He wanted to end it all now.

No longer could he face the people at school, who would mock him for being different. No longer could he look at his parents, who could not do anything to help him. No longer could he keep living in a world that didn’t care about him.

He walks into his parents’ room and aims the pistol at the bed. He pulls the trigger five times. Blood splatters and permeates through the white linen sheets. They lie there, unmoving, not breathing. Their eyes never opened. He thinks that they never even felt the pain and died almost peacefully. He walks into the dining room and sits at the wooden chair at the head of the table where his father always sat. It is just past midnight on a Sunday, now Monday morning. He is wearing his pajamas, which consist of old gray sweatpants and a Fruit of the Loom white T-shirt. His hair is messy from having tried to sleep and failing. His eyes are bloodshot and groggy, and they look as if he had tried to gouge them out with his own fingers. His pale white skin is marked with extreme pallor now. He is hunched over as he sits upon the wooden chair, the one which is placed at the head of the wooden table at which his family eats Sunday dinners together, and his elbows rest on that table. His fingers are trembling from the weight of the gun in his hands, its nozzle in his mouth. Tears stream from his eyes now as he pulls the trigger. He makes not a sound, not a whimper, not a cry. As the bullet rockets through the nozzle of the gun and through his head, he has time to make a final farewell to everything he hated in the world. He also thought of how much he would miss it.


The following comments are for "After Midnight"
by Cigol712

I like this a lot. There is definately a lot of good storytelling and description in here. A few sentences were rocky and broke up the smooth flow of the story, so simply be aware of that. Nice job, overall though. =D

( Posted by: Darkshine Raven [Member] On: October 5, 2003 )

Nice story. I liked how you separated the many times of his life in paragraphs, how the time fluctuates from his birth to his suicide. Oh, and all those descriptions! Your sentences are smooth; they have a natural flow. Thanks for this!

-Samuel Kim

( Posted by: tkal317 [Member] On: October 6, 2003 )

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