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It took Magra Kike six months to withdraw in full.
It had started simply enough, he had stopped calling his grandmother.
"Magra, you havn't called me for a while."
"Magra, is something wrong? We don't talk anymore."
The last time she had been crying.
"Magra please talk to me, I don't know what I've done."
He had calmly put the receiver back in its cradle and disconnected the phone from the wall. His grandmother was an elderly lady struggling to keep contact with her detached family and communication eased the loneliness. There was no ill feeling toward her, but there was no feeling at all, just the burning desire to withdraw.
Magra looked out onto the arid desolate landscape. The dry air stank and Magra thought he was living inside an animal, a dead animal. The tall stark buildings jutted through the animals flesh as though they were swords pushed into it. The clouds overhead were grey and indistinguishable from each other. Like yesterday and the days before, there would be no rain. Fourteen stories below, the children were playing with an old tyre and everything seemed to move in slow motion at least for the moment. He tossed his cigarette butt over the edge and went back inside.
The lounge showed no signs of any human dwelling. In the corner stood a desk and a chair. There was no lamp. Magra did his work by the light of a candle. The books that had been piled neatly beside the desk now resided out on the patio, incinerated. Unsurprisingly the walls were bereft and bare, no photographs smiled, no paintings hung, no radio talked and no television entertained. The only thing in the room which signaled any human life was Magra and he displayed very little. He walked through to the kitchen.
The last person to pay Magra a little 'visit' had been his father. The man had entered with all the self-righteousness afforded to most men of Christ. He carried himself above his fellow men, a trait Magra hated.
He had begun with:
"My son," and Magra had cringed at the use of ownership.
He had continued with:
"God punishes those who seek salvation solely within themselves." Hearing the reference to God had sickened Magra.
"Isolation Magra, is just a dark room where one develops their own negatives." This man who had been such a foreigner to Magra in the past was now here invading Magra's own solitary space, uninvited. It was the last time his father had walked through the door.
As Magra sat on the cold dark floor in his kitchen he studied the components that sat with him.
Some people find it hard to withdraw, those are the people who have lots of friends, Magra had no friends. They maintain regular contact with their family, Magra had ceased any contact with all his family. Those who find it hard to distance themselves from a girlfriend or boyfriend. Nothing is hard to distance yourself from when you're misanthropic.
A button. He knitted it to the wire.
Magra had arrived in this country with dreams. Then by and by the dreams had been stripped away with his dignity and the deceit had begun.
"Welcome Magra, I think you're going to enjoy it here. Why, we're just one big happy family."
"We can't pay you this month Magra. You see we're waiting for someone to pay us."
"No you have to work Magra. You signed a contract. That means you work for us.
"Don't even think about leaving Magra. We'll have the labour union, immigration, the embassy, everyone on your back. I'm afraid there's nothing you can do."
Magra had been stunned and confused. He bowed his head in a state of, of nothingness.
Magra took the button and the wire and fixed them to a belt.
He had come to make a little bit of money to take home and now he found himself trapped in a corner, with nothing, by himself. The lies and the deception made the whole event nothing short of modern day slavery. He was being controlled and dominated.
Using strong method tape he connected the explosives.
That's when he had started thinking of ending the control. When you harbour nothing but good intentions and people take advamtage of them, well, people react in different ways. Having no-one to talk to hadn't helped so he had turned it to his advantage.
Silently Magra opened a hole in the jackets' lining then slowely and methodically he began to feed the belt into the jacket until only the ends of the belt were exposed and everything else was hidden.
His father had lectured him, his grandmother hadn't understood and those he had trusted had turned on him. No-one had been willing to listen so he had cut them off, one by one, as if they were fingers. Magra rose and went to his bedroom.
His bedroom was a mirror image of the kitchen and the living room with the exception of two things. The first was the mat that was laid out on the floor against a wall. The second sat huddled in a corner.
When Magra Kike looked at his father moods of despondancy and dejection fell through him, when he struck his father feelings of almost felicity rose, was it rapture? A sentence of sentiments, Magra frowned.
"Get down you shimy fuck!" He ordered and he struck his father again.
"I said get down!"
The old man slowely met the floor not once taking his eyes from his son. The empowered feelings of self worth had been replaced with fear and then gradually the fear had been replaced by terror. As he sat on his knees his son kicked him in the face.
He started to rise and Magra helped him. He was shoved into a wall and Magra drew close, so close that his father could see the glazed film covering his sons eyes.
"I have some good news and some bad news for you father." Magra spoke in a patient low tone.
"The bad news is you've got to die today."He paused letting the old man take in each word.
"The good news is you get to die today." He slanted his head so he looked at his fathers face diagonally.
"We all die today." He took his fathers head in his hands and gently caressed his fathers cheeks with his thumbs.
"But in a way sometimes, some of us live on."
Magra gave a rare half smile as he struggled to contain the tears sliding down his face. They were not tears of remorse or retribution but of an uncommon madness, one of which the only light at the end of the tunnel is to kill yourself. Just because his father was reserved to his own fate didn't make it any less terrifying, especially when he had no idea what his son had in mind for him.
"Come father, we have to finish it."
Magra lead his father from the bedroom to the living room, his arm around the old man, his hand clasping the old mans shoulder like a vice. There would be no escape, no miracles, well maybe just the one but it wasn't a good miracle.
"You remember the living room father?"
His father gave no indication of any recognition whatsoever.
"Except it's not my living room," Magra shook his head slowely and sadly, then his mien suddenly changed and his voice was fast and full of malice.
"It's my dark room!" He spat the words directly into his fathers face wanting to see the old man scared but the old man had already broke.
Magra Kike breathed heavily unable to control the loathing exploding inside him. He would break his father once more before the end.
"It's. Showtime. Dad."
Magra grabbed the jacket he had just wired with explosives and thrust his fathers emanciated arms through its' sleeves. He slapped his father without registering it.
"Havn't you got something you want to say about God? Do you think he'd approve?" Magra muttered through his teeth, quietly adjusting the jacket. He pulled the explosives' belt until it was taut, hurtfully taut. The old mans sunken eyes winced and his bones creaked togeather. After buckling the belt Magra zipped the jacket up.
"There now, dosn't that feel better?" He stopped himself just in time from driving the bridge of his palm into the old mans nose. Detonating the bomb inside his apartment would not do at all.
Sensing an alternative to his sons decided end, the old man cast a worn hand over his body trying to find the detonating switch but his lost son was too fast.
"No father. We save the cake for the cats." Magra grabbed the wrist of his father and pulled it behind his fathers back. He had never broken somebodies arm before. but he doubted if there was any wrong way to do it. Magra chose to yank his fathers wrist upwards, behind him, past his head at a grotesque, unnatural angle, an angle which his father could never have achieved by himself. Only Magra didn't snap his fathers' arm, he broke his shoulder. A loud splintered crack reverberated throughout the room. His father pierced a scream.
"Yes," said Magra simply and took his fathers other arm, drew it behind his back and swung a large imaginary circle with his fathers hand, fast, breaking the other shoulder. His fathers sobs were interrupted by flaming bouts of pain.
"I would have rather used a cleaver," Magra whispered into his fathers ear. "Lets go."
Ushering the old man like a declawed circus bear Magra approached the sliding door that led out to his balcony. Once out Magra positioned the cleft of his hand against the nape of his fathers neck so he was able to control him like a marionette, a marionette with no strings attached to his arms.
"Look left, look right," Magra said as he twisted his hand. "Now look at the sky, what do you see?" His hand yanked the back of his fathers hair down hard.
"What do you see?!"
His father looked at the dead television sky above.
"That's right Dad, there is nothing up there. There is nothing in this life." Magra paused and then added, "say it."
His father stared back at him saying nothing.
"Say the fucken words Dad."
Still his father didn't stir.
"SAY THERE'S NOTHING IN THIS LIFE!!!"
"There's nothing in this life," his fath.....
"YOU'RE GODDAM RIGHT THERE'S NOTHING IN THIS LIFE, THERE'S NO GOD, NO SAVIOR, NO FUCKIN' JOHNNY-ON-THE-CROSS, ONLY...............NOTHING!" Magra Kikes' voice lowered slightly, though he still spoke through clenched teeth.
"There was nothing here to help me, nothings going to help you and you can be sure as hell nothings going to help THEM!" He picked up his father and threw him over the edge.
A surprise for the children below.
With nothing to break the inevitable cycle of time, Magra Kikes' father hurtled downwards, towards God.
Jack looked up to see the man plunging toward him.
"Wooooooow," he breathed and his friends all looked up each wearing the same naive expression of curiousity and wonder.
If they had been able to piece together Jacks' head they would have found that he died with a puzzled expression on his face as if he didn't understand what was happening or more significantly, why. Unfortunately though there were too many bits.
Magra Kike never heard the blast which blew eight children and one old man into fragments. He didn't hear the screams of the parents and neighbours who witnessed the explosion. And he definitely didn't hear the ambulance, police and fire sirens arriving much, much too late. It was after all just a diversion, that was all. Just one simple diversion. He didn't notice that he had walked back inside, through the living room and back into the kitchen. He couldn't feel the second jacket as he picked it up even though it was heavier then the first and hadn't noticed that he had put it on and laced it tight. He didn't know he had walked to his front door and opened it. He just didn't care any more.
It took Magra Kike six months to withdraw in full. It would take less than one billionth of a second to withdraw a lot more. He walked through the door and started towards his hogwon.
Magra Kike withdrew his finger from the button that detonated the explosives strapped to his body. Three seconds for a lifetime. He was unaware of the voices beside him asking what he was doing back at school. He was unaware that his director had just called the police. He was unaware of everything except those three seconds and the people he was about to kill.
So many little faces, so many little smiles, so many little bodies.
Magra didn't want to think about the children. It was not their fault. If things had taken a different turn he would have been standing at the front of the class teaching them rather then about to blow them all up. Things hadn't taken that turn, things seldom do and Magra had been forced to withdraw.
He hoped the teachers around him would join him afterwards. It was as much their fault as it was his. Magra felt like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. "If you don't pay me for the service I've provided you, I'll just take away your children."
He looked at their faces once again and wished he hadn't had to do what he was just about to do but now it was too late.
In the final three seconds of his life Magra Kike was unaware that he was crying nor was he aware that in those last three seconds he had been mouthing the words 'I'm nothing, We're nothing, Nobodies nothing.'
That day he taught everyone a lesson, three seconds for a lifetime...
Bang, we all disappear.
An instant after Magra Kikes' own body withdrew, he watched as others did the same.
I may be stupid but at least I'm not handsome.