Tyler looked at the body sprawled out in front of him, the blood and gore painted on the walls. This HAS to stop! He thought to himself angrily, I cannot continue living my life like this! Tyler dropped to his knees and held his head in his hands. Blood dripped down the side of his face and mixed with tears as they prepared to fall. His dark hair had streaks of black where the blood matted it to his head. He shut his eyes tightly, willing the mental images to go away, but what he had just done weighed heavily on his conscience. All the other deaths presented themselves one by one to the train of thought that was whisking him away.
NO! He mentally shouted. He must not black out now.He cleaned the mess off the walls and floor and then put the body – or what was left of it anyway- into a bag and climbed out the window to the fire escape. From there he climbed down to where his car was and threw the bag onto the back seat. He drove out to the hudson river, fighting the need to pass out, and weighed the bag down with extremely heavy rocks. Once he knew the bag wasn’t going to come back up anytime soon he walked back to his car and drove home. Tyler wearily half sat, half fell onto the couch and rubbed his eyes. Heedless of the blood matting his shirt to his well defined torso, he finally succumbed to the tiredness that overtook him, determined that somehow he would change.
Tyler opened his eyes to a dark and stormy ocean stretching around him on all sides. He was balanced precariously on a small bit of rock only wide enough for his feet. This confused him. Wasn’t I laying down? Where is my apartment?! Where am I!? There was no room to sit unless he put his feet in the water, which would be sure to give him a bad case of hypothermia, judging by the iciness of the spray around the rock and the ice frosted on the side of the rock. The sky was dark and ominous with a fierce wind whipping through the air, and yet the water, beyond the turbulence of the rock, was like a mirror, strangely still and silent.
Wha-? No! This isn’t real! This is only in my head! He thought. A powerful urge to look behind him made Tyler spin and lose his balance on the slippery rock. He plunged into the icy ocean and was suspended for a moment before he fell and hit warm sand. Shock left icy waves of adrenaline pulsing through his veins as he got to his hands and knees.Hot rays of sun heated his back to a feverish temperature as he waited a few moments to catch his breath. He took off his shirt and tried to position it so that it shielded him from the sun. most of the rips threatened to make that impossible though. As he climbed dune after dune, Tyler thought back to his training for tips on survival.
The flashback took him to a smoke filled room where a man was explaining a powerpoint. “To survive in the desert the first thing you must do is find water. Water will most likely be the thing to keep you alive. The other things you need will have to be made or you must already have them. Think you can remember that cupcakes?”
A chorus of “Yes, Sirs” echoed through the room.
The man inhaled deeply on his cigarette then blew a puff of smoke out towards the five recruits. They remained sitting in their stiff posture and staring straight ahead at the flickering projection of a desert.
“Alright cupcakes, now its time for a little simulation of what it will be like. Go through that doorway and get the gear you’ll need.”
With that the four men and Tyler filed into a small room and pulled on their gear. When they were ready the man’s voice came on the intercom
“Alright boys, now continue through those two doors and get into the chopper.”
The men did as directed and sat in the seats on either side. They relaxed slightly from their stiff positions and once the copter was in the air one man even lit a cigarette.
“Jimmy those things are gonna kill you someday.” One man said with an amused smirk on his face.
“Aw shut it dave. A bullet would kill me too but I still use those don’t I?” Jimmy snapped playfully. All five men grinned. Three nodded their head but Dave remained firm.
“Jimmy how do you think your wife and your kid would feel if you came back from war just to die of cancer?”
Jimmy considered this for a moment then put the cigarette out.
“You have a point Dave… It would just kill ‘em”
“OK guys enough with the serious stuff! no one is gonna die today at least.”
Tyler grinned and leaned toward the guy next to him.
“ What do ‘ya say we do our comedy act Tom?” He whispered conspiratorially to Tom.
“Sure. I guess.”
As both men stood up there was a loud rattle and the helicopter shook violently. The flashback ended, and Tyler was once more left in his own head. No… I was so wrong that day. all four of them died when the helicopter was shot down… His conscience weighed heavily on him but he knew he must continue his journey.
“Water. W-Water.” He croaked, realizing it must have been about twenty or thirty minutes, considering the fact that the sun was lower and the shadows were longer. He dragged himself over dune after dune, wishing he was back on the rock in the middle of the icy water. Unfortunately, what was left of his clothes had already been dried by the sun. The sun. He thought with no small amount of disgust. The sun never set, it just continually bounced back and forth on the horizons, like a child’s ball that will never stop bouncing.
Suddenly, Tyler realized that this was his mind, which meant that he could do whatever he wanted! He closed his eyes and concentrated hard on making his thirst go away. His shout of frustration echoed through the empty desertscape. Not only was his throat burning from thirst, he realized his imagination was controlling him not the other way around. Tears filled his eyes as he collapsed in the sand. He wasn’t strong enough. All his training, all his work, was for nothing. Nothing could help him fight his own mind. Not good enough… echoed through the barren dunes and through the small part of his mind that he still controlled. Defeat pressed heavily against him, forcing him down. Literally, he was being pushed into the sand. Sand poured into his mouth and he choked and gasped on it. Then once more he was falling, falling, until his battered body hit cool, rich, soil. Anger washed through him and he scrambled to his feet.
“Is that it!? Is that the worst you can do!?” He roared at the sky, “You will NOT break me!”
Tyler walked over to the first tree in a row of trees, not noticing the DANGER! sign. He was so angry he wouldn’t have cared anyway. Self- loathing was so strong for him that he could barely think. After he hit the tree his blood ran down the split skin of his knuckles onto the tree, which darkened and crusted where the blood touched it. All of the leaves fell from the tree and its trunk split in two.His anger was like a poison to the tree, killing it instantly. It fell and knocked down the other trees and Tyler felt some spark of feeling rekindle his heart. He rubbed his chest. Strange… he thought, then shrugged. Right at that moment he sank into the ground once more.
Then he was falling through the air again, until he hit an invisible barrier, he drifted through the air like a fish in water. Tyler looked around, he didn’t see anything except a blue-grey mist. The mist below him cleared away and he could see, far, far below, the ground. His fear of heights hit him full force and he screamed.
“Help! Please help! I’m going to fall! Someone, Anyone! Please i’ll do anything! DON’T LET ME FALL!”
A strong presence wrapped itself around him, “Hush, little one. I will protect you. You must promise me something though.”
Tyler looked into eyes made of mist as a woman’s voice spoke. It sounded vaguely familiar… like a mother’s voice. His mother’s voice.
“My darling boy, you must promise me you will stop these unnecessary deaths. These lives, these deaths, both are important. You must stop this heartless killing. Change yourself, for your mother, my dear boy.”
Tyler felt her leave him and he was again falling. Immediately he felt his anger drain away as the landscape morphed into a peaceful twilight setting resembling New Orleans. Of course it wasn’t really, it was just Tyler’s imagination. As beautiful as the place was, Tyler felt depression consume him. Against his own will, he felt It take hold of his heart, mind, and soul, turning them black with despair. I must be strong. he thought. Suddenly, a pounding noise broke the silence of the twilight. Tyler jerked awake as two police officer burst through his front door.
“Lieutenant Tyler Jameson, you are under arrest for manslaughter! Everything you say or do can and will be held against you in the court of law….”
Tyler tuned the officer out as they handcuffed him. He sighed. They had finally caught him. A small voice at the back of his mind whispered that he should fight back, try to run, but he ignored it. The time has come for me to accept my punishment. He thought. Oddly enough, he didn’t feel scared, or angry, he felt at peace. He accepted his crimes and the punishment that came with them.
JANUARY 25, 1996 18:00
I write this as I await my execution. As hard as I try I cannot be afraid of what is to come in a mere hour. I deserve what is comings to me, punishment for murdering over twenty people. All I feel is this acceptance deep within. Acceptance for my crimes, acceptance for my sins, for my blackened soul, for my shriveled heart, for my death. My mother visited me in my sleep last night, her tender words were all i needed to assure myself that my demise is necessary. Oh! How I miss my mother! The time has come for me to write my final words… Goodbye, cruel world. Goodbye, nonexistent friends. Goodbye, evil boss-man. Goodbye to my former life, Hello to my impending death. Goodbye, dear reader. Thank you for hearing my story.