• End of Existence

    The end. That is how this story begins.

    Once, a friend asked me what I would do if I knew the exact day that I would die. I had told her that I would make up for my mistakes, seek forgiveness from those who I had wronged, love my family, and say my final goodbyes. But as it turned out, things were completely different.


    His name was Marcus, and he told me something that I would remember for the rest of my life. Not that that meant much, since what he told me was that I was going to die that very day. That’s not something that anyone’s likely to forget. I guess I must admit that I didn’t believe him, not one bit, but there was always this constant, gnawing fear eating away at me. What if Marcus had told me the truth? What if this was my last day on earth? So, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    When I got home that day, I found my mother crying on the couch. I went over to her.

    “Mom, what’s wrong?”

    She looked up at me, her face blotched red, her eyes puffy. She took my hand in hers, running her thumb over my palm like she used to do when I was younger and sad. The fact that she was doing this now scared me more than the news of my death. My mother was usually so strong and happy. She couldn’t be like this. Distraught and weepy. What could have happened to destroy her carefully bound composure in such a way.

    “Melissa,” she said. “You’re father…was shot today. The doctors did everything they could, but he…didn’t—.” She stopped talking as sobs overcame her.

    My throat constricted, making it nearly impossible to even take a breath. I hadn’t expected this. My fun-loving father…dead? The father that had given me piggyback rides when I was little? The father that would sneak me a cookie before dinner? That was always there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on? That had promised to always love me, crossed his heart, hoped to die? So, I wonder. Did he break that promise or was this just some cruel twist of fate?

    I made sure that my face was composed before asking, “Who did it, Mom? Who killed him?”

    “It was a man named Marcus Nathaniel. You wouldn’t know him.”

    But I did. I was sure that it was the same Marcus that had foretold my death. So, what was his game? What was the point of telling me I would die then killing my father? Did he intend to kill me too? Those were questions that I couldn’t answer by myself, but I knew who could help me. Who better than the one pulling all the strings? Who better than Marcus himself?

    I left my mother to cry by herself and went to my friend’s house. Stacey’s dad collected guns, so I knew he had what I needed. No one was home which I had been planning on since I was quite sure I wouldn’t be allowed to just waltz in and take a gun with the full intention of killing someone. I got the spare key that was hidden beneath a loose board on the porch and let myself in.

    The guns were locked in a cabinet, and I didn’t have time to find the key for it, so instead I got a steak knife and went to work at hacking the door into little splinters. I grabbed a pistol and left the house, my heart pounding out an erratic beat. I mean, what was I doing? This was insane. I wasn’t a murderer, but I wasn’t a coward either.

    I went to the city graveyard—the place where I had first met Marcus—and then I waited. I wasn’t sure that he would show up, but my whole plan was relying on that. And then, there he was. He was no older than twenty-six with curly black hair, deep-set brown eyes behind glasses with thick lenses, and even a splash of freckles across the bridge of his nose. Not exactly a serial killer type of person, more like a bookworm.

    He smiled at me. “I was wondering when you’d show up.”

    I just stared at him, fighting the impulse to just turn around and run, run far away where no one could ever hurt me. But no. I would make Marcus pay fro what he did to me, for what he did to my father. I pulled out the gun and pointed it at Marcus.

    “Why?” I asked. “Why did you do it?”

    “It’s the way life is,” he responded, seemingly not phased with my intention of killing him. “Anyone can be driven to become a killer, Melissa. You will be the proof of that.” He held out his arms, still smiling at me with his mocking, superior expression.

    Tears pricked at the corners of my eyes, and I tightened my hold on the gun. Maybe he was right. Maybe everyone—deep down inside—was evil, and therefore we had no hope. No redemption. No salvation. So if I shot him, I would only be sating my true and only desire. Besides, didn’t the Bible say that if you hated someone it was the same as murder? And I did hate him.

    “Come on, Melissa,” Marcus coaxed me. “Just do what you have to. Kill me. Pull the trigger. End your pain.”

    I wanted to. Oh God, I wanted to. I wanted to watch his blood stain the ground, to see him dying by my feet. That was my desire. It was my one wish.

    “Do it, Melissa.”

    I had to. He had killed my father. He was a murderer. He deserved to die. Tears stained my cheeks and my eyes stung. Why was I crying? Because my dad had died or because I knew that Marcus was right?

    “No,” I finally said. “You’re wrong. I’m not a killer.”

    “Yes you are, Melissa. Just relieve your pain. It will all end if you pull that trigger.”

    And then realization came to me. He was right in a way. I could end my hurt by pulling the trigger, but I didn’t have to murder to do that.

    I smiled at him, a real, genuine expression. “I’m sorry that you see people the way you do, but we’re not all the same. I won’t be like you.”

    Then, while I was still smiling at Marcus, the man who had killed my father, I turned the gun on myself and pulled the trigger. So in the end I proved that humans didn’t have to be killers, that we could be different than men like Marcus. And in the end I was happy. If dying meant that I wouldn’t become a monster, then it was the only choice that I could have chosen. The end may have been the beginning, but it was also the ceasing of my existence. A literal end.