Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
Zach has a...'different' life, you could say. Oneshot
In bigger cities with bigger buildings and people who mean more, billions of dollars were being swapped, people were being born and killed, people were putting on suits and ties and going to work. And yet here, in this dinky bedroom where the smell of smoke oozed from the wallpaper, here was where emotions flashed like lightning across the boy’s brain as he curled, reeling, into a helpless ball.
“Why?” It was the only question that managed to surface from his disorderly stream of consciousness every time.
“Why?” It was the question whose answer (or lack thereof) drove him insane, every second of his life.
“Why?” It was the question that led him to receive a blow to the face by his own father ten minutes ago.
For years he has lived in this place. His mother calls it “home”; he calls it “prison.” Every day he comes home to his weak, naive mother and his ruthless, cruel father, and feels more alone than if he were to come home to an empty apartment. And so when his father stumbled through the door, reeking of liquor, he questioned why this was the life they had to lead. His lips curled around the sounds, his mother crumpled with disappointment, and then came a crash, a split second, a stinging pain that vanished almost immediately. A sigh, a stare, a pair of feet madly swinging a teenager to his sanctuary. And then came the thinking. Of all the things he’d managed to run away from, Zach was never quite able to escape his own mind.
For the umpteenth time, Zach cursed the life that he lived. He cursed that he wasn’t old enough to move out, he cursed his mother for being spineless, he cursed the miles that separated him and his sister. He didn’t even bother cursing his father.
Don’t pity yourself because your life is shit, the voice in his brain echoed over the whir of thought. People deal with that. People rebel. Or become alcoholics. Or let it motivate them to rise above. Zach wasn’t a rebel or a drunkard or an overachiever. So instead he merely cursed himself.
There was a soft click and the door swung open. Zach concentrated all of his energy into removing his body from his bed, but he was paralyzed with thought. He sat still, his jaw locked tight, as his mousy mother floated next to him.
“Why do you let this happen?”
“He provides for us- he loves you, he just has troubles...”
It was the same stiff exchange as always. Some things never change.
Perhaps Zach fell asleep attached to that same corner of his bed, hands between his knees, reeling. He couldn't remember. All he could remember was eating a bagel the following morning, like he always did, riding his bike to school, like he always did, and going to classes and hanging out with his friends while feeling nothing, like he always did.
The bell rang after second period and Zach picked up his books and sighed, trudging after the group of idiot jocks he always followed around. Everyone called them "Zach's friends"- everyone but Zach. He spoke to them, but he didn't communicate with them. He only hung around so that he wouldn't be considered a loner at school, despite his mentality of solitude. The empty-headed jerks allowed him to follow them around because they were foolishly impressed by the cold, hard anger he revealed on rare occasions. He half-listened to the jock’s mindless babble while he walked, tuning in and out as his thoughts wandered. He realized he must have been frowning when he was snapped back to reality by a voice next to him.
“Hey, are you okay?” Zach looked up to find himself staring into the eyes of one of the boys at his school. This boy standing in front of him did not stand out in his memory; he tended to blend into the crowd. Zach glanced at his companions. The jocks hadn’t noticed the newcomer yet and were still chattering amongst themselves. He returned his gaze to the boy, who was staring at him intently.
“I’m fine...” he mumbled, avoiding the boy’s gaze.
“Are you sure?” Zach tensed a little. He hated the spotlight and wasn’t used to the attention the boy was giving him.
“I’m fine.” he said a little more firmly. Zach stared at his shoelaces, pretending they were actually interesting in some way. He kind of hoped the boy would leave now. He didn’t like being prodded at, it made him feel like a science experiment, just another emotionless creature to explore. He hated that feeling of being nothing to them but a new specimen. He began to turn away from the boy when the boy’s voice stopped him again.
“I don’t think you are.” Zach turned back slowly, somewhat shocked. He had never seen true sentimentality shown in any of his friends.
“W-what?” he asked, staring at the boy dumbfoundedly.
“I said, I don’t think so. I don’t believe you when you say you’re fine.” Zach felt his fingers curl and uncurl uncomfortably.
“And why don’t you believe me?” he asked as confidently as he could manage, even though he was sure uncertainty and fear were scrawled across his face. The boy blinked at him innocently, his eyes full of concern.
“Well, you keep looking down whenever I talk to you, you’re frowning, and you seem generally miserable.” Zach opened his mouth and closed it again. He felt his lower lip tremble as he fought to stay calm.
“I guess....maybe I’m....a little upset...” he whispered slowly, fearful of what would happen. The boy sensed Zach’s hesitance and moved closer to comfort him. Zach flinched and the boy drew back, settling instead on talking to him.
“You can tell me about it, if you want. I just want help you.” he smiled warmly, trying to show he was friendly. Zach bit his lip, thinking it over.
“Maybe...” Maybe he could trust him. Maybe he would be different. Maybe he would be the one to become his first true friend. The boy’s soft smile widened.
“You don’t have to hide anything. I’ve seen that face enough times on my sister to know that-” Zach whirled around sharply, his eyes suddenly steely and cold. Growling, he leapt at the boy, shoving him to the ground. He landed with a resounding thud and suddenly everyone’s eyes were suddenly trained on them. The boy gaped up at Zach in shock. Zach, who only moments before had been frightened and troubled, innocent and childlike- a boy. A boy who was now attacking him. Zach glared down mercilessly, looming over his victim like a giant.
The boy on the ground could not possibly understand what he had done wrong, could not see the images flashing across Zach’s vision in almost a blur. Zach shook his head violently, trying desperately to clear his mind of the scenes. He was failing and he roared in anger, looking down to direct his anger at the boy now cowering on the ground. He pulled his fist back and sent it flying, hitting the boy’s face hard. Blood spurted from the nose of the boy, but he was too terrified to move. His eyes were wide and fearful as they looked up at Zach, not unlike those of prey trapped by its predator. Zach’s foot collided with the boy’s stomach and he doubled over in pain. Zach had become a ruthless monster, seeming to have lost the ability to form a coherent thought. His nostrils flared and his dead eyes flicked over the boy as Zach yanked him up by his shirt, slamming his head against the lockers. The boy moaned faintly in pain, his arms hanging limply at his sides. Zach pinned him to the wall, breathing heavily. He hissed in the boy’s face, spit flying from his mouth. He shoved the boy to the ground, shaking his head angrily. His face was contorted as he covered his ears with his hands, shaking his head violently from side to side. He looked at the semi-conscious boy once more with a glare full of confused hatred. Then he ran. Ran away from the scene while everyone watched. Ran as far as he could.
His legs refused to slow down as he sprinted mindlessly through the school. The world around him was a blur as he tore through the air... the sounds around him died away, replaced by- what was that? was somebody screaming?... somebody in his head, some product of his brain was shrieking... Zach felt the weight of his body lurch backward and topple as his legs carried him straight into a solid wall of lockers. A dull, aching pain erupted in every corner of his body. But Zach hardly had a second to consider his own pain before a wave of guilt washed over him.
Was it guilt? Or was it merely self-hatred? Zach didn't know. The war in his brain was too violent to spare a second to anything as menial as defining Zach's emotions. And suddenly Zach wanted to break something, to destroy- a bang echoed through the deserted hall as his fist, white-skinned and clenched firm with vagrant fury, collided with the cold and unforgiving metal of the locker shelves.
Those idiot jocks see power in my anger, Zach thought, wrath rising in his chest. But they are fools. I have no power. I'm pathetic. And my anger is pathetic. He hit the locker again, then crumpled as the shame enveloped him once more.
As he rode home, Zach was consumed by his own brain. The muscles in his jaw tightened and he locked his eyes on the road as his legs pedaled, veins bulging, towards the looming brick building that held his apartment. He almost collided with a car as he shot right through the road. And then, out of nowhere, he halted and collapsed.
He buried his face in his hands, but these few seconds of stillness unnerved him. He picked himself up at the ground, then put himself down again. He flared his fingers apart, then clenched his hand into a fist. He shook his head as though he had fleas. He stopped, stood still, and slowly drained himself of energy by using every last drop of willpower he had to keep him from screaming into the air. Another car whizzed past, and for the first time in his life, he felt a considerable urge to throw his entire body in front of the metal mass and feel no more.
Instead, he swung his legs back onto his bike and rode furiously back to the apartment.
“Zaccheus! Get in here! I have something to tell you!” his father yelled, his words laced with disdain. Zach cringed, biting his lip. He reluctantly walked over to the living room, where he found his dad lying intoxicated on the sofa. His mother was nowhere to be seen. Zach’s dad looked over at him with an empty and unfatherly glare.
“I have some news.” he stated simply. “Your sister-” he waved his hand a little as if to gesture towards his invisible little sister in the room. “-she’s dead. I’m sorry.” It took Zach a moment to process what he’d just heard.
“She’s....what?” he asked shakily, not wanting to believe what he had just been told.
“She’s dead! She had an aneurism- dropped like a rock!” His father’s smile widened.
“She’s...dead?” He repeated incredulously, his heart shattering into a million pieces.
“Dead as a doorknob!” His father crowed, laughing like a lunatic. Zach’s face felt cold, and when he reached his hand up to his face he realized he was crying. The tears were flowing steadily down his face as the news sunk in. His whole body felt numb, his emotions ripped from him. He felt his heart had stopped beating. There was nowhere to go from here... He stared at his father, who was still laughing drunkenly, slapping his knees and waving his bottle of liquor around. Suddenly Zach could feel again. Grief enveloped him; his vision became spotty and he nearly passed out. And then his faintness was abolished as he was completely and utterly consumed by pure, unadulterated rage. Rage at his father for beating his sister. Rage at his father for causing her brain damage. Rage at him for not even caring enough to even feel bad about what he did. Rage at him for stealing his sister’s precious life.
Adrenaline flooded Zach’s veins, coursing through him and filling him with a strength and power that he didn’t know he possessed. His fury became so powerful that his vision started to fade until he could see and hear nothing. Everything was just black.
Zach could not remember what took him from that blackness to his current position: now he was sitting on the couch next to his mother, his father’s corpse a few feet away, slumped bloody and motionless against a wall. The police were here now, investigating the scene. Zach’s mother sat silently beside him, as scared and mousy as ever. Though Zach was no better: he sat still, in shock about the act he had surely just committed. He tried to escape the murky stream of thoughts, but once again, he lay trapped in his head and horrified by himself. He stared intently at the floor, awaiting the verdict. Eventually one of the police officers came over to them.
“We have determined that the cause of death here was strangulation. Do either of you have any knowledge of this?” He spoke in a clear authoritative voice, one that showed no patience for any nonsense. Zach fidgeted. He was about to open his mouth when another voice piped up.
“I did it.” Zach stared at his mother in shock. “I was angry at him because he beat me and my children, causing my daughter brain damage that killed her earlier today. I guess I just... lost control. I killed him. I killed that murderer,” her voice dropped to a whisper. She looked at the other policeman and abruptly snapped, “Now leave my son out of it.” Zach knew who had truly lost control... but he looked into his mother’s eyes and saw a pain in them, her begging him to let it go. Let her be punished. So that he could live a normal life from now on. He stayed silent.
“Well, ma’am I’m afraid we’re going to have to arrest you. Is there any family that your son can go live with?” he says calmly, and sickeningly casually.
“His aunt. She lives a few states over.” His mother’s voice trembled a little bit but she remained calm. Zach closed his eyes and half nodded.
“Well then we’ll just wrap up here and get going okay? Ma’am, please put your hands behind your back. You have the right to remain silent...” She complied, and Zach watched as the officer handcuffed her and led her out, knowing that he wouldn’t see her for a long time.
In his new apartment just like any apartment in a town just like any town, Zach sat and sighed. Downstairs, his aunt created clings and clacks as she began to prepare their dinner. She loved him; Zach could tell. She was more businesslike than her sister, but had the same qualities of softness and love.
Zach had spent the last two weeks grieving the loss of his sister, hating himself, questioning his violent ways, hating himself, moving into his aunt’s apartment, hating himself, wishing he had stopped his mother, and hating himself.
And then he realized how pointless all that hatred was. He decided to forgive himself. He decided to give himself another chance. He knew nobody at the new school... and nobody knew him. This was his chance for a different life. A fresh start... Just what he needed.
A/N: Ok guys, what did you think? This was a short story for English, it was a collab including me and another girl in my class not on this site (so far as I know)! So, I posted it here to see what you guys think. I know it's kind of sad but we wanted it that way. Please share your thoughts with rates and reviews!!! THANK YOU ALL!!!!