Owen. That's what they call me. I’m fifteen. I don’t play with other kids, mainly because I have no friends. Everything else is...normal. Except that nothing really is. You see, my parents died when I was one in a car accident, or a plane crash, or their death had something to do with them being crushed somewhere, somehow.
Confused? I was too when my foster parents, Jack and Ruth, with whom I have been living since told me different stories every time my parents came up in a conversation, which really isn’t that often - the conversation I mean. They don’t really care about me and they never did, which I am fine with. Whatever. I don’t care. They have a neat little house which I call home, though it never truly felt like one. Anyways, I have to admit, I was a little curious about why they would lie to me, though it didn’t really matter to me, that’s just how I am. To others, I’m a freak (makes sense).
Truth be told, I am just an orphan, living with fake parents who like to think that I don’t even exist, in a house where curses are thrown around like confetti (I haven’t actually seen confetti, just read about it. That’s right. Welcome to my life). I didn’t even know what jobs my ‘parents’ had. Did I care? Nope. There was no reason to. I didn’t even go to school. Jack taught me how to read when I was little, with dying enthusiasm, but I learned fast. In a nutshell, everything about my life is miserable. So, at a very young age, I distanced myself from everything, and everyone. Feelings were a pretense. I just didn’t care.
So, everything was ‘normal’, until the night I turned fifteen. I turned off my bedroom lights as the clock struck midnight and I stopped staring outside the small window like I usually did. So I had survived another year. Huh. Pathetic.
Anyway, as I drifted off to sleep, I had a dream of the most peculiar kind - two robed people - a man and a woman - walking down a narrow alley, eerie moonlight hugging the concrete below. The man carried a bundle of blankets in his arms, while the woman made sure that the coast was clear. The bundle started to wiggle and squirm, and a loud cry - that of a baby - pierced the silence of the night. “Hush now, Owen.” They said, and the woman hummed a lullaby, her soft voice ringing in my ears, like an unsettling, haunting tune that made realization dawn on me in innumerable, dreadful ways as the baby lay still, bathing the area in silence once more. “Mother! Father! Wait!”
But they kept running, sweat lining their forehead and dripping down their jaws. After yelling some more, I understood that they couldn’t hear me. At this point, my hands were shaking and I had trouble keeping up with them. They suddenly turned a corner, and everything became hazy. I heard a laugh, a despicably evil laugh, somewhat familiar, followed by multiple gunshots, before my head started to swirl and I opened my eyes to my lightly furnished, grey room, sunlight pouring in. It wasn’t until I began to sit that I realized that I was shaking and my clothes were drenched in sweat.
“What happened?” I thought, and recalled everything, from it being my birthday, to the dream and what happened in it. I was about to dismiss it, but the voice inside my head, telling me that it was something different, became louder, till it was all I could hear, loud, driving me crazy. “Nice birthday present” I scoffed as I exited my room to go downstairs, finding the house empty, as usual.
They never remembered my birthday and this time was no different, not that I cared, especially now. I heard the doorknob turn in the main hallway, which meant that someone was coming inside. It wasn’t unusual, and it would be one of them, and we would nod at each other, acknowledging the other’s presence, and would maybe ask something regarding breakfast or just mind our own business. This time though, I instinctively leaped over the low table in the living room and hid behind the grey couch, peeking carefully by leaning to the right.
It was Ruth. She carried a duffel bag, looking around cautiously before rushing to the master bedroom. I followed her, careful not to make the slightest sound. I heard the huge antique closet door open, and saw her bend down before it, her back to the door where I stood. She felt the closet's floor before pushing with both her hands and removed a false bottom! She dumped the bag in there, and restored the bottom before standing up again and finally disappeared in the bathroom. I hid behind the couch again as i watched her leave the house in a hurry. Then I rushed to the room and opened the closet, removed the false bottom and peered inside. In there, was a huge, empty space, not enough to fit a human inside, but large enough that it carried a lot of duffel bags, packages, and a Glock. I opened a large bag and in it, saw wads of hundred dollar bills. I opened another one, and saw the same. Then, I ripped a package, with difficulty, only to discover white powder gush out. Drugs. That was what they were always upto. They were drug dealers!
I had read about drugs in a queer magazine I once found laying around the house. I was frozen, too shocked to move, even as I heard footsteps in the hallway outside and muffled voices that were of none other than those of Jack and Ruth. Hurriedly, I grabbed the gun, stuffed it in the back pocket of my jeans, and closed the door, shoving the false bottom beneath the bed beside me.
Then I got up and met them at the door to that room. Surprised, they eyed me suspiciously before asking me what the heck I was doing there in the first place. I, on the other hand, could not think straight and stammered something about using the bathroom as I tried to edge past them. Suddenly, Jack grabbed my wrist and spun me around. “Happy birthday” he said. “Y-you rem-remem”.
“Of course, son” he said and let me go, his nauseatingly fake smile revealing nothing as his cold eyes gazed into mine. Ruth just looked confused. Something was fishy. A wave of bravery overcame me as I remembered that I needed answers and I had a hunch that somehow, things were going to change anyway. They were both staring at me as I pulled out the Glock and pointed it at them, staring right back, my eyes filled with hatred and anger. After a long time, I was starting to actually feel something, knowing that I wasn’t dead inside after all.
“Tell me. Tell me everything.” I said gravely. Eyes wide, they told me to put the gun aside and to calm down. As I took a step forward, Ruth asked, “ What d’you wanna know?”. “Everything! TELL ME EVERYTHING! My parents...It was you I heard in my dream. Tell me what happened in that alley Ruth” I said, looking at Ruth. My voice came out heavy, a voice I didn’t recognize as my own. I stepped in their direction, backing them against the corner of the bedroom. “Okay, okay, we’ll tell you all of it. Just put the gun down” Jack pleaded.
Without even realizing it, I shot his leg and he screamed in agony, as I smiled a purely sinful smile. He clutched his leg and cursed as Ruth began saying, “If only we would’ve been more quick... you don’t think that we didn’t know about today, that I didn’t see you sneaky little good-for-nothing brat sneaking behind me, did you?” and let out a hoarse laugh. “If only I didn’t have that damned emergency ...wait, you want to know, do you?”
I just stared at her. “So we sell drugs..surprise surprise..it took you long enough to figure that out, you little...”. I shot her leg too and she screamed. Then jack began by saying “your parents... ” He scoffed...”they were poor. They had no money and one child. So they came to us, asking for a ‘job’. It was supposed to be a one time thing. It was nothing major too, just a delivery, but they were so good that we hired them, permanently. So desperate were they..to keep you healthy that they didn’t refuse. Eventually, things got difficult, as they do in this business, and they threatened to leave.” Then he mumbled something about being astonished as to how I knew about that in the first place, but I ignored that bastard.
“Then what?!” I yelled.
“Then” Ruth began, "they tried to escape.. from us! Can you believe it, they actually thought...” My gaze hardened “Anyway, that night in the alley.. you were only a year old..they decided to run out of the city, and we got wind of it, of course, and we waited for them to walk right to us..to walk to their deaths...”as she let out an evil laugh. “Then we shot them both, and as soon as we were about to get rid of you too, we heard sirens, and before we knew it, the cops were there.”
“Jack then grabbed you quickly, hid the gun and I screamed. We convinced them we were victims and that the ‘thug’ ran away.”
“They escorted us to our house and checked with us regularly so we couldn’t kill you..and we soon figured that you were dumb enough to not figure anything out anyway...and we were right, until now” and smirked. She wasn't as smart as you would expect someone like her, who was probably used to dealing with the mafia on a daily basis to be, for she laughed at me as if I didn't just have a gun pointed right at her huge forehead.
Overcome by rage, I pulled the trigger and watched as the bullet went right through her head. Jack screamed as my own voice, rang out due to laughter, a sick kind. “Go on” I said “or else”.
“That’s it. Really. Please. You’ve been like a son..” I scoffed “so that’s why you wished me.. you knew I saw her..came to finish me off, did you?”
“Listen, Owen, I’m really sorry....just listen to me..”
“You know what, I..forgive you...”
“Really? That’s s-...” He stuttered as I shot him in the head too.
Only one bullet left. I stood over their dead bodies for a while as blood gushed out of their respective forehead s and slowly began to cover the floor. No guilt. No remorse. I went over to the phone and dialled 911 and said that someone had been shot and gave them the address. Then I went to the closet, poured all the contents out, walked to my bedroom upstairs and looked in the mirror, not recognizing the disheveled man in front of me, eyes full of hatred and lips curved in a twisted smile.
Later, I looked outside my bedroom window and watched the cops. “Officers!” I yelled as they looked at me.
“Nice job.” I said, laughing my heart out, as I put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger.