by S. Hamilton
(Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom)
Sunlight screamed down from the heavens. Piercing and shocking it offended my face, making my skin feel tight against my bones. Heat danced energetically in front of me, sprouting up in waves from the red dust road ahead. The waves slightly blurred my vision but the thick beads of sweat that fell into my eyes blurred them in their entirety. Yet again I wiped my eyes clean.
I’d been walking for five hours now, straight ahead. Always straight ahead. The scenery stayed the same, just as it does in the wilderness. Some people call it the farm land, I prefer wilderness. But wild doesn’t even begin to cover the perpetual uncertainty that each square mile contains.
I tried not to think about the dangers surrounding me. I stepped carefully and towering shafts of corn made me invisible from the east to the west. I had always found the feeling of invisibility to be conflicting. If I was hidden, I was safe. I felt worthless, but I was safe. I felt used, but I was safe. I was degraded, but I was safe. What is safety anyway? If safety was not being kicked and bruised, punished and abused then yeah, when I hid I was safe. But you can hide from those who persecute you, you can’t hide from the thoughts that torment you.
Your mind wanders a lot when you’re walking. I wished it wouldn’t. I just wanted to focus on each step as it created a miniature tornado of dust about my ankles. My skinny knees jutted out in front of me, wobbling slightly as they concentrated on supporting my malnourished body. I began thinking about every meal I’d cooked for them and every bite I’d watched them eat… My mouth was dry from dehydration but the thought of food made me salivate. I became aware of how I appeared, a ravenous, wide-eyed boy, his tanned skin barely covering his white angular bones. My shirt was torn at the collar. That was when he picked me up and threw me against the wall for when I asked for some dinner.
I don’t know how to explain what it feels like. To have been told your whole life that you’re an insignificant, meaningless brat who deserves nothing. I’ve been hearing this for ten years, it’s all I’ve ever known. And so why do I question it? I don’t know why I question it, I just do. I conformed to their ways, I took their harsh words and their harsh fists. I didn’t understand why they deserved life and I didn’t.
I remember when I decided to act, to run. I remember what it was like before. It was as if every bone, every organ, every atom of my being was beginning to drop. My entire self plummeted with no means to an end. I was a vacuum, a hollow shell of a person unrecognizable to myself. But how can a vacuum, void of all matter, still contain pain? A throbbing form of inward torture violently pulsed against a thin membrane, the only barricade between myself and the world. There’s nothing cathartic about this pain. No noise or sound could explain the erupting lacuna inside me. It just existed. The nothing existed to be felt, experienced and understood yet there was nothing to feel and that I could understand. But the experience… the experience was persecuting.
So that’s when I did it. I shot them. They’re dead. And so I’m walking because that’s all I can do. I feel no sense of liberation yet. Maybe that will come with time.