A/N: If you like my work, you can like my fan page KuraraOkumura's Disciples on Facebook. I update about in-writing chapters there, and you can talk to me directly too if you have any questions. :P
"Hey, Sen! Are ya comin' or what?"
My monotone answer seems to satisfy Eric, and I hear him walking away behind me and back to the assembly of half-drunk teenagers I've come here with. I'm not sure why I felt the need to accompany them again tonight. I usually come with them anyway, but today's events haven't exactly been the kind to make you want to enjoy a night out drinking and smoking on the local beach and docks with your band and groupies.
Speaking of smoking, I lift a hand, the one whose middle finger and index pinch at the butt of a cigarette, to my lips, and take a deep drag before dropping it to my side once again, tapping on it with a finger to shake off the stray ashes clustered to the top. I breathe out, closing my eyes so I won't see the smoke wind up and away against the night sky. I can't bear to see it – that smoke. I never really wanted to see it in the first place.
I open my eyes again once I'm sure enough time has passed that the smoke has dissipated. The stars are shining, just as they always have and always will, whether I'm there to see them or not. I find it both depressing and comforting to know that the world goes on no matter what happens to us. The way the stars twinkle and shine above me makes it seem as though they might be winking at me, like we're sharing something that nobody else has ever shared with them before, but that's crazy, right? Maybe it is. Maybe I'm crazy. Who's to say I'm not? After all, we're all a bit mad in our own way. Some are just more than others.
I remember that quote I came upon a few months ago. It kinda stuck to me, really, as though it had just been waiting for this day and for it to actually mean something to me. It went, "There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased that line." Oscar Levante. Someone else said, "If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up." I think that was Hunter S Thompson. Am I crazy? Maybe. Am I going to get locked up? Probably.
I've always been a good student at school. Most of my school reports said something along the lines of 'Excellent student.' Occasionally, my teachers would come together and agree on something else, something like, 'Needs to bring down his attitude'. You see, this is the thing. I used to have no respect for the people around me. I'm a genius, in the real sense of the term. If you've ever met a guy with an IQ over 200, who looks down at you from the bridge of his nose even though he's only five foot three and looks to be about ten years old and will hardly deign to address you, then that would have been me. It would have been me now, too, if I hadn't had that one person to bring my over-confident, over-arrogant self back to Earth. It would have been me if someone hadn't one day pointed out to me that the point is not to be immortal, but to create something that will be. The point of what? Of everything. Of all this. Of life, if you want to put it that way, but of so much more, too. My point is that when I was younger, I was arrogant, and I was selfish, and I was the kind of person who you'd have said of that his picture was beside the definition of 'egocentricity' in the dictionary. And then I met my band, and I met music, and I met the person who ever since has led my life from the tip of its nose. He's my best mate, and maybe a bit more than that. His name is Dan.
Speaking of names, mine's Sen. Well, it's actually Seamus, but Eric, one of the other three guys of my band, decided that my name would be Sen when we first got together. It stuck, I guess.
A few hours ago, we were in a local pub, performing our newest songs. I'm the lead guitarist and second singer; Dan is our lead singer, and he writes all the songs. I guess he's got that kind of sensitivity. Eric plays bass and guitar, and Phil, drums. Now we're enjoying the last night of the holiday, and the bonfire some ways behind me crackles and creaks happily with the laughs and chatters of those who came with us. There's about twenty of us, all of us in the same school, the secondary school past the mart and the city's bridge, facing an abandoned building that was still in construction not a year ago. It was abandoned when funds ran out. Funds run out a lot these days. Funds run out where they shouldn't.
I'm a genius, and oftentimes that's both a blessing and a curse. When you understand so much more about things around you than most people do, you find that it's better to keep a lot of those things to yourself rather than denounce them. Things like corruption, things like fraud and venality. Even a five-year-old can attract trouble if they say something they shouldn't. I've found that out the hard way.
I take another long drag of my cigarette, again closing my eyes when I breathe out the smoke. You'd think that being a genius would have stopped me from smoking, but of course not. I began smoking when I was nine, because I wanted to experience the depravity that people found themselves in when they spent their lives smoking and ended up with lung or mouth cancers. I've made myself a living and walking experiment. This is where you might begin to understand where my self-questioning of whether or not I'm crazy comes from. But that's not where it stops, is it? Oh no. Oh no.
I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home, because when I do, I'll have to act like everything's fine, like nothing's changed since this morning. I'll have to pretend; and Hell knows I hate pretending to be something I'm not. I'm everything but normal. This day is everything but normal. And I resent that.
I look down, down at the burning tip of my cigarette. I drop it to the ground, squishing it into the sand with the tip of my shoe. Then I give one last look at the calm waters I've been methodically avoiding to look at for the last hour, and turn around, beginning to descend the sandy mound overlooking the docks that I've been standing on until now.
This life is a masquerade. It's one big masquerade, a masquerade whose theme colours are crimson red and a black of the darkest kind.
As I walk across what the town folks like to call a 'beach', but which I think is more of a slab of concrete that a lorry dumped sand onto, I wave back at Eric as I walk past the animated bonfire and his head whips toward me. I don't stop when I hear him call my name; I can't stop. I can't even begin to explain what's happening in my head.
I reach the road. It's empty. Not a car in sight. The only sounds are the ones coming from behind me. I can't go back there. I can't go home. I can't do this. I can't do this.
I say his name, just once. I say his name just to comfort me, just to make myself believe that he's there beside me, right beside me. But of course he's not. He never will be by my side again. He's gone. He's gone, and it's my fault.
My lips quiver open, my body shudders, and it has nothing to do with the cold breeze. I grit my teeth against the horror radiating from the center of my body. Not two hours ago, I was with Eric, James, Phil and Dan, and everything was fine. Now Dan is missing, and something dark and sombre inside me isn't surprised that neither of the other three band members have asked after him. I was always ever the only one to really notice him. Or was I?
Now he's gone. And it's all my fault.
I take to the pathway, walking along the makeshift beach with the deserted road to my left. When the line of buildings on the other side of the road opens up into a residential alleyway, this one peppered here and there with cars, I cross the road and turn into it. I stop at the nearest car, reaching into the back pocket of my jeans for something to pick the lock. Seconds later, the door opens with a barely audible click, and I slip into the seat, reaching under the wheel to pull out the wires that I know will start the car without me needing the keys for it. The engine roars to life, and I start up and out. This has become so easy to do, hasn't it? Too easy.
And as I start the car up the road and drive away from this place, this town, and cross the looming bridge and pass our school, still darker than the night that surrounds it, still as deserted and left for granted as it has been all this past week, it occurs to me, here and now, my hands gripping the foreign steering wheel like a life buoy, that it really is my life I am running – driving – away from. My doom, perhaps – but my life nonetheless. My life, which this very night has become a void filled with visions of what I have done. What I am sure I will do again. I see his face – Dan. Up against mine, up close, closer than he has ever been, dark hair, dark eyes, watching mine for the smallest sign that I might push him away and end this. All of this. But I didn't push him away. Instead I let him come, I let him come to me with his wide black eyes and kind features and uncharacteristically nervous smile, and when he was close enough-
When he was close enough I-
I killed him. I pulled out a knife, that same knife he had given me all those years ago, when he saved me from my black, black life, when he told me he wanted me to be able to defend myself other than with words, because sometimes words can't stop a fist when it's coming right at you, and I-
And I killed him.
And I pushed him backwards, and I let him fall off the cliff and into the sea, and he didn't make a sound, and all I could think was-
All I could think was-
Thank God he didn't kiss me. Thank God he didn't touch me.
I'd never realized until now how cramped my vision of the world was. That my discovery that Dan was gay affected me as it did says too much about the kind of person I am for me to be comfortable about it. Perhaps the fact that I was the one he lusted after, the one he, in a sense, was gay for, might, in some part of my insane mind, have made the knowledge of the fact even worse. I don't know.
I wish it was different. I wish the thought of a man touching another man, of a woman touching another woman, didn't repulse me like so. I wish my supposed intelligence could provide me with a valid reason for plunging a knife into the body of the boy who saved me from myself so long ago other than because of the person he loved. But that is the only reason I have, and it- is not- enough!
I am a monster. I am a monster. I killed my best friend because he-
Because he tried to kiss me-
I was born today. I died today. Today, I discovered who I truly was; and today, I forsook him, denied him the right to live. Today, I was born, and today, I will die.
Die for the world.
I turn the car. Back up the way I came. Back up past the abandoned building whose funds ran out when they shouldn't have, past the school Dan and I should have returned to tomorrow and whose silhouette is darker than the night that surrounds it, past everything I've lived with all my life, the familiar shop facades, the people, the houses, the night sky and the stars that wink at me as I zip past-
I'm crazy, amen't I? I must be. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing this.
The bridge takes me, and I topple over its side, the wheels of the stolen car turn in the nothing they've suddenly met, and my hands let the steering wheel go, because what's the use in trying to direct myself now that I know exactly where I'm going-
Now that I know-
Now that I know-
And that is perhaps my only consolation, as the water rushes up to meet me and the windshield explodes inwards and shards of glass tear my face apart just as the cold, hard touch of the water slaps me across the universe that is my life-
At least, like this, I know exactly where I'll end.
A/N2: If you like my work, you can like my fan page KuraraOkumura's Disciples on Facebook. I update about in-writing chapters there, and you can talk to me directly too if you have any questions. :P