Chapter 2: Diary of a Madman
Aaron woke up from his restless dream, it ended the same way it always did. He'd wake up as the last guard was killed. He'd find himself upright in bed, bathing in sweat and breathing heavily. His thoughts wandered off the way they always did after this dream. Somehow it all seemed so familiar and somehow it all seemed so far away. And why did the man in his dreams remind him of Mitchel? Mitchel the homeless one... Mitchel the wanderer... Mitchel the vagabond... Mitchel... his only friend on this god-forsaken planet.
The bleeps of his alarm clock brought him back to reality. The sharp sound penetrated his brain, seemed to rupture his ears and with an automatic response he hit it on the top with his left fist. He always did that and it never shut up the first time. He had to ram it twice or more for it to finally give up it's infernal bleeping and shut it's virtual trap.
He got out of bed reluctantly, he'd have to face them again. Face their taunts, their insults, their pesterings, their prejudice. How he hated them, how he wished they could just die a horrible, painful, slow death.
As always he suppressed these thoughts and got dressed, he never bothered putting clothes in his closet, he'd just spill them all over the floor within a days time anyway. So he just got the first more or less presentable shirt he found, found a similar pair of shorts and after some time he managed to find a matching pair of socks. He'd been lucky today... he didn't always have the luxury of wearing matching socks.
He lifted the matrass up on its side and turned around to the kitchen area of his mini-appartment. He opened the fridge and an eerie, ghostly light spread through the single-roomed apartment. He took whatever was left and edible and gulped it down hurriedly.
He searched for what he needed for the coming school-day, found his worn, old army boots and put them on, under his raggy shorts. Well shorts was a big word... it were just normal jeans with the ends cut off.
With a satisfactory tap on the floor he made sure the boots were on and he grabbed his old army-coat from the single chair. It was stained, worn and had seen it's best days pass by.
He left the single door in the appartment and hurried down the dim-lit, shadowy corridors. The paint began to peel in most places on the walls and carpet had been a luxury they had never heard of in this rat hole, but after 5 years he didn't really notice all that anymore. He'd memorised all of the unravelled edges of the carpet, every creeking board, all the weird-coloured stains on the walls, the whole shin-dig.
As he passed the stairs he decided not to walk for a change, he was only on the first floor anyway... so he might as well jump down the staircase instead of walking, hell it would probably be safer, considering the state the wood was in.
He dropped his bag down the shaft and watched it crash-land with a slightly pleased feeling as it sent up a cloud of dust. Not much later he hopped over the half-rotten railing, taking with him some of it as he jumped.
He hadn't been entirely prepared for the shock and his scrawny body couldn't really take the hit, so he fell to his knees and was forced to inhale a cloud of dust.
He coughed and spat out some of the mud that had now formed in his mouth.
Now he remembered why he was called the "hobo" again, this place was a shithole. There was nothing of any significance, well at least not until they declared it condemned that is.
He wiped some of his greasy brown hair from his face and more or less hooked it behind his ear.
"G'morning to you too" a voice said to him from the shadows under the stairs "but do you really need to make such a fucking racket on early mornings."
"Hey now... watch you're goddamn language, will ya?" Aaron replied to the familiar voice, a slight smirk crept on his face.
From under the stairs came a boy, not much older than he was, merely 18 years of age at most and as usual he was cleaning his nails with the rusty old scuba-diving-knife, as soon as Aaron saw it, he was always remembered of what the owner, Mitchel, said the rust was from. Supposedly it was from the blood of his enemies, this statement was always followed by an eerie, close to maniacal, laughter.
"Oh and by the way" Aaron added.
"Hmmm?" Mitchel replied as he rose an eyebrow.
"G'morning to you too, mate."
"Heh... there's still some decency in the old geezer left I see" Mitchel replied, grinning victoriously, he knew he had now won the 'war of the words' as they reffered to it "anyway, I'm gonna see if I can score me some breakfast, man. I'm starving."
Mitchel lift his free hand and Aaron clasped it as usual, the old routine, their greeting and their goodbye.
"You can check what's in my fridge, you know that."
"Of course I do... but where's the fun in that?"
Mitchel scowered off through what would normally be known as a door and it creaked sharply as he opened it, the morning's ghostly sunlight crept through the hallway, slowly scraping at the edges of the shadows, spilling like liquid across the dust-covered carpet. Mitchell's long shadow slowly disappeared as he walked through the door and out onto the street.
Aaron hurried to catch the door before it closed again. Mitchell was nowhere to be seen as usual, he always pulled this kind Houdini-disappearance act.
Aaron shrugged and turned left, heading down the streets, heading towards school, heading towards hell.
His thoughts wandered off, to the familiar, yet strange dream and how the maniac in that dream resembled Mitchel so much. As his thoughts wandered off, he didn't realise that there was someone in front of him and he bumped into the man.
The man turned around abruptly and behind him two others came into view.
"Well, well, well" the man began, he was a kid after Aaron looked again, one about his age, one he knew real well, sadly, "fancy bumping into you here."
The kid cracked his knuckles and smiled rather contently as he did so. Probably taking pleasure at the sight of Aaron stumbling back. One of the two standing behind him got out a chain from his back, while the other drew a knife.
Aaron wouldn't stand a chance against these guys... all he could do was run off, but they'd catch up to him and it'd be worse than enduring it straight up, he learned that through experience.
"Now, will you be a good boy and endure your punishment?" the young man continued.
Aaron gulped, he knew it'd hurt, he knew he'd probably miss another day of school because of this.
"What's the matter? Too chicken to speak now your guard dog isn't here, Hobo?"
"Woof" someone said from behind the kid, who Aaron always reffered to as the 'Slave Driver' and someone smacked him upside the head.
Slowly the Slave Driver turned around and his eyes met the irritated and slightly bored gaze of Mitchel.
"Hey man, we were just kidding you know?" the Slave Driver, trying to look cool, calm and collected, failed to do so miserably and his voice slightly trembled as his so-called friends slowly backed away from Mitchel.
Mitchel was rumored to have killed someone else that picked on Aaron, no not picked on... terrorised was more like it.
"Actually" Mitchel began calmly as he put on his fingerless, leather gloves "I don't know."
Calmly and without any visible difficulty he then grabbed the Slave Driver by the collar and lifted him off the ground.
"And if it was... I really don't find it funny" he added as he lift his knee and crashed it into the Slave Driver’s stomach. The navy-blue jacket and the tie bulged as the hard knee hit soft flesh.
"Now be a good little snob and go buy yourself some new shit and leave us alone" Mitchel added as he let the Slave Driver go. The Slave Driver fell to the ground and puked, the force of the impact had turned his stomach inside out and its contents spilled over the concrete sidewalk and into the gutter.
Suddenly Aaron got the urge to kick the Slave Driver, kick him real hard, kick him until the contents of his abdomen spilled across the sidewalk, for the raven to feed on. Or kick him in the head repeatedly, untill his skull split like a nut and its gooey, pink contents oozed out.
With a frightened shake of his head, he banned these thoughts from his mind and turned to Mitchel.
"Don't mention it" Mitchel said to him, smiling.
"I didn't even say anything."
"I know how you think, man, you know that."
"Uhhuh... true. Great minds think alike after all."
They both laughed, they were so much better than those idiots, these lowly peasants. Those that had not known suffering, Aaron realised that know, why had it taken him so long?
Suddenly Mitchel bent down and searched the Slave Driver's pockets. After some time he found the kid's wallet and took it out.
"You don't mind, do you?" he asked politely, holding up the wallet "didn't think so."
Without hesitating he took all the money from the wallet and threw the empty thing at the Slave Driver's head, with a soft thud the leather thing smacked him in the face and bounced into the gutter.
Victoriously Mitchel held up the notes he had taken from the wallet and smiled at Aaron.
“Shall we go then, my good man?” he asked as he politely bowed.
“Of course, good sir” Aaron replied and he stepped over the Slave Driver, without any interest and the heel of his boot nearly hit him in the face.
He shot a quick glance down and saw the Slave Driver’s eyes grow wider for a moment. He grinned and chuckled to himself. The thought of the Slave Driver being afraid of him, if only for a moment brought him a delight like none he had ever experienced before.
Yes… that was it… He’d have to stand up to them, use their own filthy tactics against them,
kick them when they’d be down, hit them under the belt, use weapons, attack from behind, the whole array they had used on him as well. Yes… that was what he’d do. He grinned, he finally found out how.
Suddenly Mitchel tapped him on his forehead with his index finger.
“Hellooooo, Earth to Aaron” he said, bringing his face close to Aaron’s.
“I asked you if you enjoyed your daydream, man. You were laughing for no reason at all, it’s a wonder they didn’t put you in an asylum yet.”
Aaron looked around him, several people on the suddenly crowded streets had stopped and were now staring at the both of them. Some engaged in talks behind the back of their hands, others just staring and pointing.
Mitchel flipped them off, every single one of them. Leaving the gazers baffled and some of them rather insulted.
Aaron walked on, blushing, embarassed… he’d made a fool of himself again, now he remember why they picked on him all the time. He was such an easy target, it was as if he had a bulls-eye on his forehead.
Aaron ducked his head into his collar and hurried off, with his bag still over his shoulder. Mitchel looked at his back as he walked away.
Mitchel'd never understand how Aaron's mind worked, he shook his head and brushed shoulders with some sharp-dressed desk-worker-type and headed into an alley, pursuing his breakfast again.
Aaron walked on in shame, he'd messed up again and he knew it. He walked on towards the barren, concrete waste that was the school yard and entered through the large wooden doors with peeling paint. The doors screaked and the rusty hinges scraped across one another.
The empty class rooms that Aaron passed, reminded him how this neighborhood had always been a better one than it was now, now it was a shithole, a shadow of it's former self. In a way, this part of town fit him and he fit it. They were made for each other.
The desolate hallways, the empty classrooms it also reminded him of himself, his empty past, the lack of memories. He knew nothing and would never will, not after that fateful day that everything went blank, that day he woke up, without a name, without a past, without a life, without a future...
He stopped in front of a door with a small, round window in it, the glass was broken and some bits and pieces of it were missing, he kicked against the door and it flew open, sending forth a cloud of dust.
Another empty one, but this one was different. This one was where she had confessed to him and had later on stabbed him in the back.
Each night the words ran through his mind, like a herd of mad bulls. "I never loved you... How could someone like you ever be loved?" is what she'd told him "you were just a toy, a plaything, A PUPPET."
He repeated the last in first tense.
"I'm just a toy, a plaything, a puppet" he said, his eyes cast to the ground, studying the dust as it settled down.
"WELL THAT'S GONNA FUCKING CHANGE!" he shouted after some time and he threw his bag into one of the rickety desk and watched it collapse.
"IT'S GONNA CHANGE YOU HEAR ME?" he went on as he grabbed a chair and slammed it against the blackboard, both the chair and the board shattered and sent chunks of rotten wood throughout the classroom.
Aaron breathed heavily as he saw someone standing in the doorway from the corner of his eye.
"What do you want?" he asked the figure.
"Nothing really" the figure said back, it was a girl's voice, a sweet, innocent voice "but uhm... you... you dropped this."
She handed him a small, crimson red booklet, in black letters it read Diary Of A Madman. He swiped the booklet from her hands.
"You didn't read did you?" he asked her. She probably had, her voice was too sweet, she was hiding something, no one would be nice enough not to look when they found something. It's something he had learned over the years.
"No.. no.. of course not... why... why would I?" she said hesitantly.
He had a closer look at her, she wasn't at all unpretty to look at, in fact she kind of looked like the Galina from his dreams. He shook that from his mind, nah she couldn't be anyway.
He walked off, tucking the notebook inside his pocket.
"You’re welcome" she said as he walked away.
"Whatever" was his reply. He turned left and headed away from his class, he was way too late for his class now anyway, so he might as well chill on top of the roof or something.
He dashed up the stairs, skipping a step with each of his strides. Tiresome, all so tiresome, school... life... this dump... everything.
Upon reaching the last floor, he kicked open the rusted, steel door and it opened up to let in a horribly, bright, cheery ray of sunlight. Aaron's eyes needed to adjust for a second, from the shadowy confinements of the school building to the bright sunlight was too big a gap to cross instantly.
He rose his arm to block out most of the light and walked out onto the concrete roof, most of it was cracked and weeds were growing here and there.
He'd sit in his usual spot, the spot in between the two large cracks, with his back resting against the old, rickety fence. The woven iron pressed the familiar little squares in his body and he closed his eyes, letting his face bathe in the sunlight, yet still it felt like he missed something, something important.
After a moment or two he opened his eyes again and started rumaging through his bag, that he'd dropped without care. Out of it he got an old, battered discman.
In it the only CD he owned. A CD by a band called Final Fusion, he knew the CD by heart, yet would never replace it, he couldn't.
He plugged in the ear phones and turned on the music. The solid drum of the beats, the erratic riffs of the guitar and the melancholic sound of the bass, they all seemed to fit together as pieces of a puzzle.
He knew the songs in and out, he could sing with the lead singer, as if it was him standing there. He could relate to the singer, he could have been the singer.
His mind wandered across the tracks as the CD-player did the same. He sang along to their song Indoctri-Nation, the way he always did, he closed his eyes and enjoyed every minute of it. Every second, every single sound, every little detail.
Suddenly though a shadow was cast over his face and even with his eyes closed he noticed. He grabbed whoever it was by the collar.
“Leave me alone” he said through gritted teeth and pushed the person away.
Whoever it was fell from the force and a soft yelp penetrated Aaron’s ears, even through the sound of the ripping guitars.
He opened his eyes and in front of him sat the girl that handed back his diary.
“I told you to mind your own business” he said, while taking the ear plugs out of his ears. The music slowly filled the air as the song picked up to a faster part.
He pushed the stop button and put the CD-player back in his bag, he slowly rose to his feet.
“I really didn’t look” she said, not looking up to him.
“Like I said… whatever” he said as he strolled off and he left her sitting there, staring at the ground.
The door to the staircase slammed shut behind him and closed out the light that had flood in so greedily.
He half expected the girl to follow him, she'd been too keen on following him before, so why not now? And he was slightly surprised to find that she wasn't following, he shrugged and continued his path down.
While doing so he rummaged through his bag, trying to find his CD-player again, after a while he found out and he tried to stuff it into the pocket of his coat. Instead of going in normally it bumped into a solid object though and Aaron stopped. He sat down on one of the steps and put his CD-player beside him.
From his pocket he got the solid object and now in his hand he stared at the red notebook... his Diary Of A Madman. It'd been a long time since he wrote in it... it'd been a long time he read it.
After staring at the notebook for some time, he finally decided to open it and to read through it, he flipped through some of the older pages without interest. They'd been boring days, so there'd be boring additions to his diary.
Then he came across his entries about that girl... that girl that had betrayed him, lured him in like he was some kind of prey and then killed him. She'd stabbed his heart like it was some kind of meat, she'd scewered it with her sharp tongue and torn it from his chest.
He should thank her though... she'd taught him things... things no one else would be able to teach him. How he could never trust anyone except Mitchel for example.
He grinned at the comment he made about the way he'd want her to die. He always did that for the people that had hurt him.
He remembered all too clearly, Final Fusion's Angel Without Wings would be perfect for that angel that had fallen. Fallen from the glory of Heaven and that had been defiled by Satan's touch.
He softly began singing the words of the refrain:
"Let me clip your wings
You don't need those things
An angel that can't fly
Might as well die."
After repeating the refrain a few times he got tired of it and skipt to the end of the song, the best part in his opinion.
"Now I clipped your wings
Now you lost those things
Now that you can't fly
Go ahead and die."
And as he pronounced the last word he threw the notebook away, its hard cover bounced off the wall and it opened itself on a random page. Out of the small notebook came a note, something the size of an A4 sheet of paper, but folded to only a quarter of that size.
Curious, Aaron got up and walked over to the notebook and the piece of paper. He picked it up and unfolded it, the best he could. Judging from the shape it was in, it had been in his diary for a long time, but he didn't remember putting it there, he didn't even remember seeing it before...
He looked at the piece of paper he was now holding, unfolded and in all its glory, a picture... that's what it was... a picture. A picture of him and Fiona, the girl he had loved, his so-called girlfriend. Well before she had dumped him... before his world, his dreams were shattered. He balled the hand the paper was in and it. The more or less ball-shaped form that he saw when he opened his fist was so much like he had been, before he met her. Someone, tucked deep inside himself, deep inside his own shell.
And she had lured him out, making him show his vulnerable self... and then she stabbed at his bare back and added another knife to the collection in there. By now, he had lost count of the number of times he had been deceived, been cheated, been lied to.
He threw the ball over his shoulder and didn't pay any more attention to it and how it could have gotten inside his diary, instead he just picked up his diary and put it in his bag.
Reluctantly he threw the bag over his shoulder and he put the CD-player on and tucked it in his pocket. "Angel Without Wings" played again and he drifted off in thought, while unknowingly sitting down again, he put the CD on repeat and just sat there, listening to the song over and over, paying no attention if the girl passed him on her way down.
Then he let his head rest against the wall on his right side and closed his eyes. Slowly, but surely he left consciousness and drifted off to sleep.
After some time he opened his eyes and continued his way down, his bag was gone, probably stolen by those pranksters again, but surprisingly his CD-player was still there.
He shrugged it off, thinking they wouldn't have stolen his CD-player, because he was asleep, stealing it would probably have woken him up. By now he had reached the main floor, nothing much there, the double doors to the hallway, smaller than the ones at the front of the building, but still a respectable size and as always they made a hell of a noise when he opened them with some effort.
And then... she was there, Fiona stood before him, staring up at him with cold, hateful eyes and something inside him snapped, he wanted to strangle her, kill her with brute force, see the contents of her skull spill across the floor of the hallway.
As he stood there, his CD-player once again repeated the song and he reached out for her throat, surprisingly she did not move.
He'd kill her, here and now, make her pay for what she had done to him, make her pay for all the harm she caused and she would pay... she would pay dearly. Slowly, he applied pressure on her throat, he could feel the soft flesh bulge under the force and then the spine, pressing against his finger tips, yet she seemed unaffected. It was as if he did nothing to her, so he let go... balled his fist and hit her square in the face. He could feel the bone in her nose bend and break under the force of the impact and blood now covered his knuckles, yes... she'd be in pain now, he thought as he grinned. She'd be in pain, just like he had been.
Yet... still, even though her nose was bleeding immensely, she seemed to remain unaffected.
He looked around to see if he could use something as weapon, yet saw nothing. He slammed his fist into the wall instead, he could feel the sharp pain as his knuckles came into contact with the hard concrete.
He looked at his knuckles, the one belonging to his middle finger had swollen... as usual, it had swollen and had turned purple. Then he spun his head round and looked at Fiona again, she had caused all of this, if she would just be dead he would have nothing to worry about anymore.
And then suddenly there it was, he saw it... she was holding something. A javelin... the kind they used in phys. ed., in fact she had one in either hand.
Aaron snatched them from her hands and he lift the one in his left hand, they had always made fun of him for that... just because he was left-handed, he wouldn't succumb to the torture anymore, he'd resist... no not resist it... he'd make it end, yes that's what he'd do. He grinned victoriously as he walked around to Fiona's back, he'd pin her with her face to the wall... he'd pin her to the wall with these javelins, one in either shoulder.
He pushed her to the wall and drove the javelin into her shoulder, she let out an inhuman scream of utter pain and agony, yet they would not rise out above the sound of his victorious laughter. He could finally make her pay and so he did... he made her pay, the full extent of the price, she had destroyed his life, now he would destroy hers.
He tossed the javelin from his right hand to his left and prepared to land it upon her shoulder. He'd thrust it in quickly and pin her to the wall, if she'd survive, she'd starve to death or dehydrate, it was Friday after all... no one would find her until Monday.
He grinned at the idea of Fiona hanging here all weekend and the janitor finding her on Monday-morning, then he thrust the javelin through her right shoulder and again she let out a cry of agony.
Aaron stepped back and admired his work, he had done well, she payed alright. Then as if the javelins were alive, they grew feathers, feathers like they were wings.
He laughed at her, she had finally become the angel she had wanted to be. She had finally become Satan's Angel...
He stopped laughing as someone pushed him away, pushed him through the hallway, but there was no one there, no one except Fiona and him.
“Who are you? LEAVE ME ALONE” Aaron shouted, continually pushed around by the invisible force, he closed his eyes, hoping that the force would leave him alone if he ignored it… it did not.
As he opened his eyes again, he stared in the face of the Slave-Driver, the face was twisted in utter rage. Aaron staggered back, finding himself on the stairs again. The Slave-Driver pulled him closer again, by his collar and spat in his face.
“I told you to listen to me, maggot” he added as Aaron wiped the spit from his face.
Aaron knocked the hand away and fled up the stairs, pursued by the three that always terrorised him. He fled up the iron steps as fast as his wobbly legs would carry him, hoping to find some sort of rescue on the roof, as he threw open the door to the roof, dark clouds gathered over-head.
He gazed around for anything that even remotely resembled his savior, but there was nothing there, nothing except for the girl… shit she’d be drawn into this… into this maelstrom.
By now the three had caught up to him and they were standing behind him, panting.
“Now, now” the Slave-Driver commenced “haven’t I told you before not to run from our little game?”
Aaron swallowed hard and turned around, meeting the gaze of the Slave-Driver once again, slowly he nodded yes, hoping it would somewhat lighten the punishment he’d receive.
“Well we have a fun new game to play…” the Slave-Driver went on as he revealed a length of barbed wire,” I bet you’ve played cowboys and indians before, have you?”
“Oh wait… how ignorant of me” he added, slapping his forehead, after Aaron shook his head slowly ”you don’t remember, do you?”
Again Aaron shook his head.
“Well then… we’ll just have to play now, won’t we?”
The two standing behind the Slave-Driver shot forward and grabbed each of Aaron’s arms, making sure he couldn’t go anywhere. The Slave-Driver grinned and stepped forward, stretching some of the barbed wire.
“Now… be a good boy and put your hands on your back.”
Even before Aaron had had a chance to comply the two bullies forced his hands on his back and slowly the Slave-Driver made his way around Aaron, he wrapped Aaron’s wrists in the barbed wire and laughed as the sharp nail-like extensions pierced the skin and drew blood.
“Good boy… now stay” the Slave-Driver said as he hit Aaron on the spine, forcing him on his knees.
“Stop it” the girl screamed.
As if they were disturbed in some kind of work that required their full attention the bullies turned to face the girl.
“I see we have another victim here” the Slave-Driver went on as he grinned at the girl.
A raindrop landed on the Slave-Driver's outstretched hand and he looked upwards, with a curious look in his eyes. It seemed the clouds were conspiring against him and in favor of the girl, as they send down their cold, watery load.
"Meh... we'll play some other time, cutie" the Slave-Driver said as he turned around and headed back inside and down the stairs.
The rain fell on the concrete slabs of the roof and splashed in the puddles it quickly created.
Aaron rose to his feet again, using the wall as guidance, his hands still tied behind his back with the barbed wire, the combination of the rain-water and his sweat stinged the cuts and wounds and his blood mixed with the water on the roof.
He let his head hang and sank to his knees again, resting his back against the wall of the stair-case. The small cubicle rose above the roof some two meters and it's broken, run-down gutter let through as much water as it collected, sending it down in small pillars of water. Aaron sat beneath one of these pillars and his head got soaked in the water, the endless dripping seemed to drive him mad, but he did not move... there was no reason to.
The girl walked towards Aaron.
"Can I help..." she asked.
"No... leave me alone" Aaron replied.
"I said to leave me the FUCK ALONE" Aaron interrupted her.
She took several steps back and headed indoors after a while, letting her shoulders hang.
Slowly the watery-blood mixture gathered on the ground, creating a small puddle in which Aaron sat. He couldn't help himself... he cried... he was worthless... he could better end it, no need to go on.
He tried to stand up, having a hard time to get up from his seated position, with his hands tied behind his back.
He was pretty high up... he'd probably die if he jumped down and took the fall... yes he'd do just that... he'd take the fall and splatter, no more pain, no more suffering... eternal peace.
Awkwardly he ran as best as he could towards the fence that marked the end of the roof. He threw himself against it and the rusted fence gave way, opening up his way down, he didn't even bother to scream, he wanted it this way.
The ground came closer with the second, nearing him and then... the distance was eliminated and he crashed onto the cold, hard concrete below, he closed his eyes unvolutarily and exhaled a last time.