Bully. Abuser. Narcissist.
3 words that you could use to describe Simon Kinning but even those wouldn’t do his evil personality justice.
17 years old and going into his senior year of high school. Most of those who spend their lives as bullies tend to have a reputation that exudes idiocy. While it could be said that his actions represent a plethora of street smarts, his academics aren’t lacking. 3.8 GPA, #2 in his class, and has never missed a class in his high school career.
His social life sucks. Why wouldn’t it, though? Spending years beating on the weaker tends to have repercussions in this day and age. Some would say that it wasn’t all of Simon’s fault for his tendencies. His father, a heavy drunk, never wasted an opportunity to let his son know what it meant to be a real “man.” Simon would often have to hide bruises and strangle marks from his teachers and peers. He hated his dad. There were secrets. His dad threatened his life to secrecy. The world could never know what happened that night with his mom.
His academic rigor was an effort to show his dad that he was worth something. His brutal tendencies were just because. I suppose you could say it was an outlet for all of the bent up anger he experienced. He wasn’t very strong but he wanted to prove himself. Most of his bullying endeavors were with kids, mostly “freshies”, much smaller than he was. There were times that he would pick a fight with the bigger fish in the pond, an assertion of dominance. Those were the days that he hoped his dad was knocked out from the alcohol. He never stood a chance with the bigger guys but he tried. If he ever came home with marks from a beatdown, his dad was sure to make them worse.
“No son of mine is gonna get beat. I’ll show you how to beat someone…”
Simon had a hard time sleeping at night. Between the aches and pains from beating others or getting beat, he had a hard time settling the pain. That and most nights he had to be awake in order to best protect himself from one of his dad’s drunken stupors. No one can sleep when they’re fearing for their life. Anger consumed Simon’s heart. He wished his dad was dead but he also knew that if his dad was gone he’d never be able to make it. Ironic that the one who causes you to wish for death is the one who provides the most life. These thoughts pried his eyes open in the dark of the night.
Something else caused him trouble. In the pitch dark of the night, he felt as if he wasn’t alone. Night after night he would hear faint whispering emanating from his closet. These kinds of occurrences hadn’t been happening for long…Ever since that night…
He didn’t hear them every night but he started noticing they came around after a rough day. Typically if his dad went on a rampage, the voices followed quickly. If Simon had beaten someone earlier that day, the voices got louder.
Believe it or not, Simon had a conscience. Not a strong one but he wished he were different. He wished his dad were nicer. He wished that he would’ve been able to do something that night…
Months went by and the voices became more consistent. Every night he would lay awake considering his life…So much anger. So much regret. If he wasn’t getting beat, he was staring at the crack between his closet door and the frame allowing the voices to grow louder.
“It’s all your fault.”
“You should’ve saved her.”
“You could’ve kept her alive.”
These secrets haunted him. He wanted to tell someone. He couldn’t get away from the regret that saturated his soul. If only he would’ve been quicker. Would he have been the one to die? It didn’t matter. He wished he could.
September 2…One year anniversary of “that night.” Simon spent the day torturing freshman, turning in papers, and living in isolation. Beautiful trichotomy? He came home from school and his dad was nowhere to be found. Relief surged through his soul, almost as if he were inebriated. Ironic.
The entire evening was spent alone. His father was gone, his house empty; only left to his memories and hatred for his life. He knew what day it was. He knew his dad knew what day it was. He was just glad that he wasn’t home to remind him.
His beautiful fantasy didn’t last long. He laid down on his messy bed, surrounded by the dark, and the voices began. This time, it was clear. There was no mistaking what they were saying. The whispers grew into full volume. Simon’s eyes grew wide in horror. He tried blocking out the noise with his hands but they penetrated his efforts.
“She’s dead because of you.”
“You let him kill her.”
“You never cared.”
“You haven’t always been this way. Remember the good days?”
Tears began streaming down his face. He did remember the good days. The days where his dad hadn’t picked up alcohol yet and his mom hadn’t gotten cancer. They were a happy family. They were full of joy. They spent weekends together, laughed at the dinner table, and no one ever got beat.
Then his mom was diagnosed with cancer.
His dad slipped into an evil place.
Alcohol took over.
Simon remembered the night his mother died. It had been a year since the cancer was diagnosed and his father was in a drunken stupor.
“It’s all of your fault.”
Simon tried to block out the voices by screaming but it didn’t work. The darkness grew. He knew something was in his closet.
“You could’ve stopped your dad.”
No, he couldn’t have. There was no stopping him that night. He came in…He had a gun…He was threatening to kill himself.
“I tried! I tried!”
Any attempt at stopping his father caused the gun to move closer and closer. He wouldn’t stop. Simon’s mother was in tears, begging her husband to put the gun down with whatever energy she had left.
“Don’t come near me!”
She didn’t stop. She stood up and took a step towards him.
“You don’t have to do this. I love you.”
The gun transitioned from his head to hers.
“No!” Simon screamed.
“Shut up, boy.”
“Darling put the gun down.”
Such a calm in her voice.
Simon took his chance. He rushed his father. He made contact with him but the gun went off. Simon collected himself from on top of his father and scrambled to his feet. There was his mother…Dead…Her blood splattered on the wall.
“It’s all of your fault.”
“You could’ve done something more.”
“You never should’ve done anything.”
The voices were screaming now. Simon couldn’t take it anymore. He rushed to his father’s room, grabbed the gun that took his mother’s life, and came back to his room.
He couldn’t take his eyes off the closet door. He sat on his bed, tears welling up in his eyes, and watched as the door slowly creaked open.
To his surprise, the voices stopped. The door settled down, leaving a large crack in between the frame. In the midst of the deafening silence, Simon couldn’t believe what he saw.
There in between the door and the frame was a skull. It’s eyes hollow, it’s mouth spread into a grin. A bony hand reached out from the darkness, took hold of the door, and swung it wide open.