A note from Alastor-What can a hello do? Is it just a greeting that we use in casual everyday life? Does it mean anything at all, in retrospect? I think it does. Some people would disagree, and maybe to those people a simple greeting does mean nothing. But to someone on the edge of despair, in a loneliness and sadness so great it is indescribable, perhaps it means more than life itself. It is an affirmation. It is an acknowledgment that yes, you are there. Maybe you do matter. Maybe it can save a life. Enjoy.



Hello

Jared Agemnon left his mind at home that morning. Left his emotions, his passions, his dreams in the nightstand beside his plain bed. His white walls had offered no salvation from the pain that rained down on him. His room didn't either. It was just walls and furniture. Barely any decoration hung on the walls to say that a teenage boy slept there. There were maybe three album jackets from bands he liked. Our Lady Peace... The Beatles... The Ramones... He liked them a lot, those bands. He was a quiet kid, and he felt that they gave him a voice.

He was quiet, and had never in his life raised his voice to hurt anybody. Not even a fist. So why did they treat him like that? Why did they pass him in the halls and push him? Why did they spit on him and call him a faggot? He would never do the same to them. Had never dreamed of it. Until that morning. Yes, that morning he left his mind in the nightstand and took from the nightstand a 9mm handgun. He had stolen it from his uncle at his expensive house at their last family reunion. Jared was one of five kids the relatives never bothered to check it for. It tucked easily into his reversible sweaters inside pocket, and was concealed just as well.

He knew what he would be after this. A monster, a psycho. Sure, a few people would stand up for him. Not condone what he did but they would sympathize with the cause. Would that stop it happening again and again to kids like him? No. Fuck no. The kids close to those he would take would be shattered for a while, but then they would get over it and find another kid to torment. To rip apart with only their tongues.

So, if such a quest was so utterly pointless, why do it? The answer was much more simple than the aftershock would be: There was nothing else for him to do. He had no talents. Nothing he could put up on his wall that was his. He couldn't draw, he couldn't write, he couldn't sing, he couldn't even play a fucking instrument. There was no hidden treasures that were only his. No poems, no songs, no pictures. Sure he could go on with his life, but to what end?

What, to be an accountant, maybe? Trapped in by numbers and money? Jared was good with money and math, but he hated it. Hated it's mechanical nature. It felt like a killer robot to him, this math. With it's razored teeth of special rules and procedures that never changed. He could control the raging cyborg, but he hated it so. He WANTED to have talents. He wished beyond any threshold of his imagination that he could sing. That he could draw. Anything to escape this monotony.

But the more he tried, the more he failed. The more he failed, the more the popular kids, with their drugs and their cars and their sports and their proms came down on him. "Hey Jared, suck any good cocks lately?!" They would jeer. It wouldn't be so bad if it was just the jocks, because that was to be expected, but it was also the druggie kids who were supposed to be as much of rejects as he was.

They were just as cruel, if not crueler. How could anybody be so damn evil? Jared thought as he marched down the road to the high school on that chilly October morning. How can anybody treat another person like that and not even feel a twinge of guilt?! He didn't know. He didn't think he would ever know, but that was alright. That's what the cold steel freezing his flesh even through his plain gray t-shirt was for. For oblivion. For nothing more.

He had a note for his father already. Ah, his father. He had never helped. Never even tried to see past his son's fake smiles and his laughter that was so forced a deaf person couldn't be fooled. His father assumed everything was fine, and Jared let him think that. And he should have been, by all rights, had it just been name calling. There were other things. Jared had no friends. Jared was 16 and had never kissed a girl. Jared had never even had a girlfriend.

He felt so alone in this empty world that he was scarcely aware he was alone. He was just a wiry kid with messy brown hair and skin that was prone to breaking out in acne. He didn't listen to heavy metal, and if he did he would not have been influenced by it. His choice was already made, his fate set in his chicken scratch scrawl of the note in his pocket.

I'm sorry Dad, it read pathetically. This will shock you, I know. I never meant to shock, or even hurt anyone. But there's no real use, is there? I'm your son, I know. Your pride and joy, but I never understood why. I'm nothing, Dad. I have no friends, no one besides you has ever said that I matter, that I could be anything... And these people are so damn evil, dad! I wish I could make you see what I see in their eyes. Nothing, like whats in me. But, there isn't just nothing... There's a glitter that reminds me of snake's eyes in theirs. If they want to find the next Antichrist, I'd be checking who's on the most popular list in the yearbook at the end of the year, if I miss them with this. I love you Dad, as little as that means now.

Jared.

Yes, his plan was set in stone, as far as he was concerned. Once it was on paper, it seemed final. So final. He wondered vaguely what would change after he was done. Would he truly stop an Antichrist? Could his own insignificant existence end with the blood of something so evil on his hands? Or would he kill a future doctor, who may discover a cure for cancer? He recoiled, discovering these thoughts were dangerous to the plan. Why think of the future? There was no future after this. No hope. Why care what could me, when it wasn't going to be?

The school loomed into view, tombstone gray like the rest of the shitty 'Hurst. He wondered if Tristan Marley would be waiting for him by the doors. He doubted it, but it was nice to imagine getting that hulking drug-dealer first. He tormented him the most, him and his friends. They would natter at him about sex jokes and shit like that, asking him if he knew what a rimjob was, or what a Dirty Sanchez was. As if he didn't know. He was a loner, not a retard.

That never stopped them. The jocks and preps were almost as bad. Most of the girls just giggled as he walked by and made fun of him. In public school he used to have a crush on a few of them. Now, he wouldn't touch them even if they threw themselves naked upon him. They were pretty, sure, but as dark as sin inside. As evil as the rest of them, if not more so. Sure, there were a few that weren't like that. Like Madison Blanko.

Sure, the younger sister of the biggest of the tormentors at that school, but she was different, somehow. Her dark hair spilled behind her like a beautiful cascade when she walked and her green eyes always made his breath hitch. She wore the same clothes as the rest. The generic prep clothing, but she walked differently. She lived differently! She always looked away when the others jeered at him. She never laughed.

She hadn't gone to the Darkhurst Area Central School with him, so he harbored no childish infatuation from the past. What he felt for her was a hopeless kind of love. He knew it would never happen, and in turn would never ask her out, or even put anonymous love letters (Not that he could write anyways) in her locker. Sighing, he placed a hand against the cold steel doors of the high school and pushed open the door.

No one waited for him, as he really knew they wouldn't be. They only took after him when they saw him, they didn't go out of their way. That would have been silly, not as cold and casual as what they actually did was. It was as if tormenting him was part of their daily routine, and they did it without thinking. As he kept a brisk stride down the hallways, he gripped the gun in his sweater with shaking hands.

His footsteps rang through the bustling halls louder than the rest, in his mind. It was his death-march... The last walk of his pathetic life. He enjoyed the air in his lungs, but somehow thought he would enjoy the air on the other side more. He wondered if he would go to a different place after the bodies of his enemies lay before him and he pressed the gun to his own head... If he would go to places beyond. With shock he noticed Marty Blanko and Andre Watson marching towards him, followed by Madison.

Jared hoped she didn't get any blood on her.

His shaking hands pointed the gun subtly through the sweater as he mentally lined up the shot. His finger tightened on the trigger and his mind boiled with this final moment.

"Hello Jared!" Madison smiled and stopped beside him.

Jared was frozen. Marty and Andre waltzed by, but he didn't care. What was this? Had she really stopped? Was she here, right now? Was he? Or was he still in his bed? These thoughts raced through his ravaged and lonely mind in an instant, and somehow his brain made him speak.

"Hey Madison." He said simply, scarcely aware. She shared a class with him, Academic Math. Ontario classes were split into three groups. Applied for college level people, and Academic for University class people. Yeah, Jared was that good. She never said hello then, but she was always talking to her friends, so just what was this?

"Are you okay? You look really pale." She said, real concern in her eyes, her beautiful eyes. My God, she's talking to me! His mind screamed at him. You fucking exist, man! This is real!

"Oh yeah." He said quietly. "Just cold." She nodded then, not saying anything, and he decided to step in, still barely coherent through his mental screams of triumph and acceptance. "How did you do on that test?"

She snorted, but it was a pleasant, good-natured snort. "Horrible. I suck at Math. I only got put in academic because all my friends are there."

"Yeah... I'm good at it, but I hate how it's all just rules and procedures. How is that learning?" His opinions came out smooth and true, and his voice, he noticed, wasn't even shaking.

She laughed, a sound so amazing he almost fainted. 'No doubt!" She agreed. "I've always hated math for that exact reason!" She stopped and studied him. "So you're good at Math, but you hate it? That's weird."

He shrugged. "I dunno. I guess it's like being a soldier. Even if you're good at killing people, why would you ever like it?"

She laughed again. "Good comparison, math and murder. Hey, quick subject change, what the hell is in your pocket?" Madison asked and pointed. Jared looked down, confused, and noticed he was still pointing the gun out.

"Oh! A gameboy." He lied easily.

"Aren't those a lot smaller?" She asked, confused.

"Not the old ones. Huge beasts. I just love those old games a lot more than the new stupid ones."

She nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah! Nintendo's really gone downhill."

"No shit!" He laughed. "I mean, the Wii? Honestly!" They both laughed then, and he honestly could not believe it. Here he was, acknowledged and even laughing with the most perfect girl in this school. The moment ended when the bell rang, but he didn't care. It felt as if a light had turned on inside him. Was he really more than a punching bag for people? Maybe not, but at least he was a punching bag who had just shared a conversation with Madison Blanko.

"I better get to class! Nice talking to you!" She tipped him a wave and took off, and he watched after her, still in disbelief.

"Seeya." He said dumbly to nobody.

He walked away, the gun jutting from his sweater and him not caring. It was just a Gameboy as far as the world new. "Nice boner!" Tristan Marley hollered and pointed at the bulge in his sweater as he passed the cool kids group.

"Thanks!" Jared yelled back, not even caring anymore. The weight was gone, just with hello. "Your Mom liked it too!"

"What the fuck!" Marley roared and pounced after him, and then Jared was running, hands in his pockets to keep the gun falling out and ruining everything. He was running, and he was laughing. He believed he might have been happy in that moment, and would stick it out for a while at least. As long as he could get a couple more hello's from Madison.

But maybe not even. Jared thought he would be happy with just that one. One to remember, and not to get lost amidst the others and made meaningless. No, one was all he needed, and all he ever would.


So there you go. Yeah, not how it usually works out in real life but I thought a happy ending was actually in order. So many high-school shooting stories are just basic 'Lets make there be a shooting and then just try to gather sympathy for the shooter!' No, I think you should sympathize with my character, but I also think the lack of any killing taking place fits it well. I may be bitter and angrier than Jared in my own rights but I see no reason for people to die just because my life is shit. So enough whining, I hope you liked it.

-Alastor