Joy is fleeting;
This life is a prison albeit temporary.
Joy is fleeting;
This life is a prison albeit temporary.
Babies are innocent and pure.
Uncorrupted, not evil, but selfish.
That’s alright because they are still weak and fragile and can’t afford to think of anything but their needs.
For every baby, therefore, I wish two things: that they keep their purity and that they learn to be selfless.
A third wish then, for good measure: that they have a good end. We mess up, and some people mess up almost their whole life, but if we have a good end then that’s best.
Read Part 1 here.
We stood staring at the scene for a bit. My husband was just frowning the entire time, and he finally took a step forward. I wanted to grab his arm to stop him, I didn’t even know why, but I stood frozen. He went all to way to the table and picked up the dishes.
“Well we’ve gotta wash them…” He said more to himself than anyone else.
I still couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to do or feel. Honestly? A little shocked that he responded like that. Yet… I couldn’t quite say he was wrong either.
I remained there all the way till he had washed everything. As he left the kitchen he gentle put his arm around my waist and led me back to our room.
“Come, let’s read; we were supposed to do that this morning, remember?”
And just like that our day went on as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. About an hour later we were both hungry and so we had breakfast. Eggs,sausages, toast and tea. It was a good breakfast actually.
Strange choice? You bet. But somehow keeping silent had caused us to push the unsettling events of the morning far into the recesses of our minds, to the point that we didn’t even hesitate at the choice of our breakfast.
So far away had it been pushed into the dark folds of our minds that we almost forgot anything strange ever happened.
And so I guess whatever it was felt like it was time for more.
One Wednesday I ended work late. My husband was probably already home then, and the though of seeing him put a spring in my step. As I walked past block after block to get to mine, I noticed with much glee the many families out for dinner, some standing around as their children ran and played at the playground, and generally just people busy doing whatever it is they did. I remembered then that all schools had just ended their examinations, so that must’ve accounted for the more-than-usual human traffic downstairs.
I got to my block, took the lift up and actually jogged to our unit. I broke into a wide smile when I saw my husband, just at our doorstep, polishing his shoes.
“HI THERE MR SHINY!”
He looked up and laughed, and tried to smear polish on me as I stepped past him to get in the house.
“Gimme a bit and I’ll fix up dinner alright?” I yelled from the bedroom.
“Sure thing honey, take your time,” came his reply.
As I put away my stuff I happened to glance out the window, and then took a double take.
From my window on the 15th floor, I had a good view of all the nearby blocks, the very ones I walked past just now. There were candles on the floor, encircling each block. I stared for a bit because I swear there was not one candle in sight earlier. And… The people… Not a soul in sight.
“Honey??!” I yelled, eyes still fixed on the view. No response.
Again I shouted. No reply. I turned to go call him when SLAM! I bumped right into him.
“Whoawhoawhoa wharf fer fash,” he said through a mouthful of food.
I yanked his arm, practically dragging him to the window.
I was about to speak when I froze; no more candles. People everywhere. It couldn’t be. No, I couldn’t have imagined it!
“Something the matter?” he asked in a soft voice.
I moved my mouth, wanting to speak but unsure of the words, looked at him with wide eyes, and thankfully, oh thank GOD he seemed to get it.
“You saw something strange?” he asked. I just nodded frantically.
“Was it… Was it… Dead birds?”
“Huhh??!!” my voice suddenly returned.
It was through the conversation that followed that we learnt of the strange things we’d each seen today, only to have them disappear the next instant. He looked down earlier to see the floor littered with dead birds.
Dinner that night was quiet. We didn’t know what to say, neither did we feel like talking. But as we went to bed later, I had a fleeting moment of gratitude; gratitude that my husband understood me so deeply that he shared, without hesitation, something which others might find so crazy. Does that make sense? I don’t know… I guess I was actually just scared, and happy that I had someone to… Be scared with me?
It sounds crazy, I know but it’s really what I felt.
And really, I was glad he was beside me when, in the middle of the night, we were awoken by loud, rapid bangs on our front door.
I was shocked, afraid, and confused. At that moment I seriously wondered if we had left our gate open because if it wasn’t, there’s no way anyone could reach our front door through… The… Intricate curved… Pattern… Of… The Iron gate.
Now I was really scared, because I knew without a doubt that the gate was locked. Something wasn’t right.
Then we felt the entire house shake, literally SHAKE, and there was another round of banging on the door.
“This is not natural. This is not normal. There is something outside. I have to go check,”
I nearly screamed, terrified at the thought of him investigating whatever on earth was at our door. My husband turned to me, and in a low voice that held no fear, he said:
“This is my house. You are my wife. Nobody, human or not messes with my family or house.
I sat there, said a short prayer then nodded to my husband. He was right. Suddenly I wasn’t afraid either.
He led the way, and naturally was the first to step out of our room. Then he froze. He saw something I couldn’t yet see.
“Oh… God…” came his voice, barely a whisper.
I moved slowly to peer from behind the door as my hand reached for hus arm.
And then I saw it too.
Subject H was the latest to enrol in our Prisoner Diagnosis and Rehabilitation Program, and here is an excerpt of the rather interesting experience I had interviewing him.
D stands for Doctor, yours truly.
– Start excerpt –
D: can you tell me who you killed
D: tell me
H: my parents
D: did you have a reason for killing them
D: tell me
H: it’s not so simple
D: maybe not, that’s alright. I’m listening
H: First you must know that I don’t hate my parents. I don’t hate anybody actually. Did you write that down?
D: no, I did not.
H: please write that down
H: because I’m not a bad person, and they need to know that
D: who are you referring to as ‘they’?
H: the people who will decide my sentence
D: fair enough, I’ll write it down. Remember too, this entire interview is recorded. Nothing will be lost. Can we continue?
D: please continue
H: as I grew older I realized and learnt more things about the world around me. For example, I finally understood why mother would not eat cheese no matter what. It puzzled me at first, but with age I truly understood how she felt.
I also realized the similarities my siblings and I had with each other and with my parents. There came a point when I would sometimes look at a sibling but instead of them, I saw the past of one or both parents. Do you understand?
D: I do. Please continue
H: it was when I entered my first serious relationship that I gained more insight into human relations. My ex was a good person, but there were things about her that I did not like at all yet could not change. For example, I did not like how she had detached earlobes. But she was born with that, so in all fairness I never made an issue of it. But then there were other things, some also by birth and some by choice, some others that I saw in her family which I later noticed in her, that I did not like. I didn’t tell her anything.
Then I began to question things seriously; if we got married, I would like to have children. But if they inherit any of those traits which I dislike, then I will always be reminded of them. And it would be painful. The child is innocent, a product of a defective parent. So then I concluded that my parents probably experienced the same thing.
The feelings got so intense, and I was met with a rush of pity for them. So I decided to end their suffering, so they would not have to face these things they dislike any more. I killed them.
D: I see. Did you ever test your theory with them?
H: how so?
D: did you ask them about the things they liked or not, and did you share your thoughts with them?
D: why not?
H: because they would never be honest with me. These are deep, dark secrets that most people keep to themselves or bury away
– End excerpt –
The interview went on for another two hours or so, and I must say, the deeper I dug into the psyche of Subject H, the more I got the unsettling feeling that… That he wasn’t mad or sick. That he was just extremely honest and well-meaning, but perhaps just a tad immature. Maybe even… More normal than us ‘regular’ adults who tend to hide feelings and lie to ourselves so much.
Oh, Subject H. What a strange experience.
1: alright I’ve done it. Where’s my reward?
2: wait, what reward. I thought you did it sincerely.
1: yeah I did, I sincerely expected a reward. Now hurry up and reward me.
2: uh… Ok um, this is awkward. Uh… What would you like?
1: I want you to say thanks
2: um, ok thanks.
1: you’re welcome! Happy to help! ^^
2: MAN YOU’RE STRANGE.