I never got much joy out of life. Everything was so monotonous. Wake up, get ready for school, go to school, come home, do homework, do chores, eat dinner, rinse and repeat. It was especially challenging to get much out of the day when it was cold outside. Why does it always have to be so cold during the wintertime?
I couldn’t understand my brother and why he seemed to enjoy life so much. You see, we’re twins, and everyone always assumes twins are the same person but multiplied by two. That wasn’t the case for Jacob and me. Jacob was always cheerful, while I felt as though I was just existing. There had to be more to this life than what we were living.
One day, our parents wanted to take us camping. We had never been, and since we were old enough in their eyes, we just turned 15 and decided it was an excellent time to take a trip. We went to this place in south-central Missouri called Steelville. They have camping and floating, and it was close to the Mark Twain National Forest. It was a nice change of pace, but I was still bored.
On our first night, our mom wanted to sing a campfire song. Her favorite song was Let It Be by The Beatles, so she grabbed her acoustic guitar and started singing.
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me.
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
“Come on, Jack, sing along with me!”
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me.
“Alright, Jacob, you too!”
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
“Everyone together now!”
Let it be; let it be.
Let it be; let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
As much as I hated spending time with my family, I did enjoy hearing my mom sing. Her voice was like an angel, which always lightened my spirits.
The rest of the night was calm. We told some ghost stories, ate hotdogs and s’ mores, and eventually started getting ready for bed. It was only the first night of our trip and planned to go for a hike in the morning, so mom wanted us to sleep.
Although, I couldn’t sleep.
I’m not sure how Jacob was always able just to pass out as soon as his head hit the pillow, but my mind was still working. I could hear my heart beating and heard it so often; I taught myself how to manipulate the rhythm. I made it speed up and slow down on demand just by thinking. It was a game I liked to play and usually helped me fall asleep. Tonight, it was more difficult.
Our campsite was close to some college kids. They were having a party and being extremely loud. I was surprised it didn’t wake my parents or Jacob. It kept me up and was starting to get annoying. I decided to get up to see if I could convince them to keep it down. I just wanted to get some sleep before we went hiking in the morning.
When I got to their site, they had a fire going, looked like they were drinking alcohol, and saw them smoking, but it didn’t smell like the cigarettes my dad smoked – more like skunk. I’ve never smelled it before, and it was not a pleasant smell.
I approached someone who was off to the side that looked more put together than the rest.
“Hello, I don’t mean to be rude, but my family and I are trying to sleep over there, and your party is keeping us up. Would you mind keeping it down a little bit? We’re going for a hike in the morning, and we all want to be well-rested.”
“Aww, you’re just a sweet kid! Of course, sweetheart, I’ll let my friends know. Run along now, back to your family! I’ll take care of the noise.”
She seemed kind enough, so I thanked her and walked away. As soon as I appeared to be out of earshot, I heard her snicker to her friends about a “little twerp” trying to “kill our vibe.” That struck a nerve. Did her parents never teach her to be a decent human being? So, I went back and tried again.
“Hey lady, can’t you just be a decent human being and respect your surrounding neighbors? We’re all here to enjoy our weekend, so why don’t you show respect to everyone around you.”
“Listen, kid; we’re on fall break. It’s the first time since the semester started that we can relax and let loose for more than just two days of the weekend. Shove off and go back to your parents before I kick your ass!”
Her friends around started hooting and hollering, and since I was only 15, I didn’t want to start a fight with these college kids, so I left, fuming.
What gave her the right to dismiss me like that? I was trying to be friendly and just wanted to get some sleep. I already have issues sleeping as it is. What a bitch! If only there were a way I could make them quiet. Shut them all up.
When I got back to my tent, I could still hear the party going at full force. I started thinking and thinking about what I could do. I could talk to management, but it’s past office hours, and it would be a hike to get to the building. What if there was another way…?
I got up and started pacing. I walked halfway between our site and theirs when I saw it – a decent-sized log on the forest floor. Not too big, looked like something I could easily pick up. Then I heard it; the girl who dismissed me and embarrassed me in front of her friends. She was giggling and walking my way, but I don’t think she could see me. What was she doing? I saw her pull her pants down and knew she was relieving herself. Now’s my chance! Maybe if I take out the ringleader, the rest will follow suit and just shut up.
I grabbed the log as quietly as I could, slowly crept towards her from behind and…
She was moaning. I just knocked her over. That’s not good enough; I need her to be quiet. I swung the log once again; instead of hitting her back, I hit her head. Blood started flowing from where I hit her on the side of her head. It was coming out of her ear. I swung again but downward this time. This time, I heard a crack. Was that the log? I swung downward again.
I realized it wasn’t the log; it was her skull. I just kept swinging. I could tell she was dead; her body wasn’t moving, and there was blood all over the place. Was that pieces of her brain too? Why can’t I stop moving my arms? Stop moving your arms, Jack!
When I finally stopped, I looked down at her lifeless body, blood surrounding her head, and her face was gone. My hands and the log were covered in blood and brain. I could feel my heart pounding faster than ever before, and my face was hot. Then I felt a smile creep along my face. It felt so good. I felt so alive! Is this how Jacob feels all the time? Is this what it feels like to enjoy life?!
Whatever it was, I loved the feeling, and I didn’t ever want it to stop. I won’t ever let it stop. If taking someone’s life is what it feels like to be alive, then that is what I will do.
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