To Kill or Not to Kill- a Short Story by Trent Schairer (Xanthir)

“Why,” I asked myself as I sat at my desk at home, lamenting during the storm the events of last night, “why’d you do it, Malcolm?” With every flash of lightning, I see an image- a brief memory of last night, all the blood and the screaming. It’s too much; why did I have to kill those innocent people!?

I suddenly and violently threw all the papers off my desk, screaming in rage and remorse. Great, just another mess I have to clean up. I started to pick up the papers when it hit me- you did it because you’re a selfish bastard, Malcolm. Heh, selfish bastard is right; I was always concerned with my own problems and no one else’s- being a fatherless child never was easy. I set what I had picked up down on the desk and went downstairs to sit on my cozy chair and try to relax.

As I was about to sit, the doorbell rang. “Damn it!” I said to myself; the past 24 hours have just been full of disappointment. I went to answer the door, and to no surprise, it was the cops. Having expected their arrival, without giving them a chance to speak, I shouted, “Help me!”

Startled by my outburst, one cop asked, “What do you need, sir?”

I replied without hesitation, “I was forced into killing two innocent people.” I spoke in a dark, yet trembling voice.

“What do you mean by ‘forced’?” the other cop asked as he lowered his notepad and looked at me suspiciously.

“Come in,” I said patiently, “have a seat and I’ll tell you everything.”

“We have a confession about two murders,” the second cop said into his walkie-talkie, “Our location is 2159 Walker Drive.”

“Copy that, we’ll continue the investigation,” another cop replied through the walkie-talkie.

The two cops entered and took a seat on my sofa. They looked serious and ready for action. I generously offered them a beverage, but quickly realized that wasn’t the best idea; they denied my offer- probably assuming I might poison them- and requested I just tell the story. “Alright,” I started, “it started around 9:30 last night as I was walking home.”

“You didn’t drive?” the first cop interrupted.

“No,” I replied, “my car was in the shop. Apparently, I needed new axels. Anyway, as I was walking, I decided to cut through an alley- the one between Luigi’s Pizza Shop and Mel’s Burgers. Driving past it, I always felt drawn to it. I guess now I know why, heheh,” I joked, but they stared at me sternly. “Okay, well in the alley, I came across a man wearing a hockey mask pointing a gun at a woman and holding another man hostage with a knife to his neck.”

“Do you know if the victims were Mark and Mary Hoffmann?” the second cop inquired. “They work at Luigi’s and were last seen working the closing shift last night.”

“No, but it could have been,” I replied.

“Mark had short, brown hair, average height, and Mary had shoulder-length blonde hair and was a few inches shorter than Mark.”

“Yeah, that sounds right.” The first cop said something into his walkie-talkie, but I was too busy trying to remember last night in more detail to understand what he said. “Where was I? Oh yeah, the couple, as soon as I saw them, I turned around, hoping to avoid the conflict, but I was too late. The assailant stopped me and asked that I turn around and stand next to the woman, or Mary I guess. His gun was pointed at me, so I did whatever he told me to do. When I got over there, he handed me the knife and told me to kill Mary. ‘No, don’t do it, please!’ Mark screamed, ‘We just had a baby boy!’ Mary just froze, sobbing where she stood.

“’Now!’ the assailant shouted. I was faced with a dilemma- do I kill Mary and have her child motherless, or do I let the man kill me, an insignificant office worker? Of course, now, the choice seems obvious, I should have let him kill me, but I guess fear makes people irrational- I thought that maybe if I was given a chance to live, I could start over, but let’s face it, I can’t afford it. Fearing for my life, for that second chance, I turned to Mary and lipped, ‘I’m sorry.’ The man told me to stab her in the heart, slowly so he could, well for lack of a better term, get off from her screams. What a sick-“

“Get off as in…?” the first cop interrupted for clarity.

“I don’t know, enjoy?” The second cop shook his head as he kept writing- it must be tedious to have to always write stuff down like that.

“Ok, go on.”

“Uh, let’s see, after he told me to slowly stab Mary, and a moment of hesitation, I did it, again lipping to her, ‘I’m so very sorry.’ He told me to go from a sideways angle so I don’t get caught on the sternum, so that’s what I did. Poor woman, she looked so innocent and loving. Her screams were almost deafening, but under them, I could hear the man moan in pleasure. Mark began to struggle, but the man immediately put the gun against his head and he stopped. At this point, I, too, was starting to cry. The man then asked me to do the same to Mark. ‘No!’ I yelled, ‘I can’t do that again!’ He pointed his gun back at me and said it’s either me or him. Again, I selfishly chose myself. I’m so ashamed.”

“So what happened after that?” the second cop asked.

“After stabbing Mark, he asked that I take Mary’s body and follow him; he carried Mark’s body since it was already in his grasp. He took me to his van, which was black with, as far as I could tell, dark-tinted windows. He dropped Mark’s body and opened the back of his van, throwing me a body bag and telling me to put Mary’s body in it. By this time, I’m just doing whatever he tells me without question. After we put both bodies in bags, he took me back to the dumpster behind Luigi’s and we tossed the bodies in there. He struck a match and tossed it in there as well, burning the bodies. While I had my attention on the fire, he escaped. I didn’t notice until I heard his van start up. After that, I went home, trembling in remorse.”

“Is that all?” the second cop inquired as he finished writing.

“Yes sir.”

“Can you tell me more about the man? What else was he wearing? What was his height and weight?”

“He was dressed in a black turtleneck and black jeans, was about the same height and weight as Mark, maybe a few inches taller. He also had a deep voice with no noticeable accent.”

“Ok, well thank you for your cooperation,” the second cop said casually.

“I’m sorry to say,” the first cop began, “but we’re gonna have to arrest you on account of murder, even given your circumstances.”

“Oh,” I replied solemnly, “I understand.”

“Alright then, turn around and Officer Gonzales will handcuff you and take you to the car.” And so I did cooperatively, and so did Officer Gonzales.

There I lay, on the bench in the jail cell, still lamenting over last night; I can’t get it off my mind. Poor baby, I hope he has grandparents or other family to take care of him, unlike me. All I had was my mother, but she’s gone now. It’s like my life isn’t worth living anymore. No, not like, that’s exactly my life- worthless, always has been, I guess. I can’t afford to pay for my crime; I can’t go to prison, I’ll probably die there; I have no family, no one for which to care or by which to be cared, and my job as an office worker is so boring and insignificant. I can’t live the rest of my life knowing that I stripped an innocent boy’s own two parents away from him before he even got a chance to know them.

I look over to the officer at the desk- good, he’s asleep. I take off my belt, stand on the bench, fasten the belt around the pipe above and my neck as a noose, and jump. Finally, no more pain, no more suffering, no more insignificance- goodbye world; may you prosper without me.


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