Waiting

Waiting

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney

Nothing is perfect in this life,

There’s no one, other than you, that could be my wife.

We’ve been through so much;

The good and the bad, thick and thin;

Just trying to survive the day as such,

I’ll take any chance with you as a win.

I told you way back when,

“I love you,” remember back then?

Before we were even a thought,

I waited, and waited, time never bought.

Here we are many years later,

Getting older and grayer.

Even though times may get trying,

There is no use in hiding;

The life that exists and lives within;

Babe, it’s because of you that from then and herein;

I am for you, by you, and with you every step of the way.

And though we may at times struggle to make it through,

I’ll do anything I humanly can do;

To show you that I love you,

Especially, when we both said, “I do.”

And though the darkness may at times wash over me,

I look to heaven for your light to guide me.

I reach out for your hand,

Together, we’ll traverse the misshapen land.

In my head, it’s a crowded and loud mess,

I tell you this because I’d share with you nothing less.

I hope that when I go;

Before you, so you know;

I’ll be there waiting, smiling,

“I told you, I loved you so.”

For Kay
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Que Será, Será Papà

Que Será, Será Papà

For Dad

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

Whatever will be, will be,

Time is fleeting that I can see.

You were here for a moment,

And gone in an instant.

You’ve left your mark,

Imprinted deep within our hearts.

 

Time is said to heal all wounds,

I keep tearing mine open;

Thought to be entombed;

The only seem to deepen.

 

I missed you then, and I miss you now,

Only I cannot call you and hear you say—

“How are you and the girls?”

I know you told me that we’ll be alright;

That you love us, and you’ll miss us.

 

It’s difficult now, but you’re right,

We’ll be alright;

Because of the love, you showed us.

We know you loved us,

Because we loved you.

We’ll miss you too,

Just as you miss us.

 

In life, we’re here for but a moment,

But in death, we are together forever.

 

Que serà, serà, papà,

 Whatever will be, will be.

I’ll look for you in my dreams,

I’ll see you wherever the sun beams.

 

When the girls ask me, what will they be,

I’ll be sure to tell them.

Que serà, serà, papà,

Whatever will be, will be.

The future’s not ours to see,

But I’ll be here with every step of the way;

To support, love you, and care for you;

And prepare you for come what come may.

 

Life will be what will be,

It’s up to us to seize.

With love for each other;

Even in the darkest of times;

Tis nothing we cannot weather,

Let’s look to our lifetimes.

 

So, let’s hug a little longer, tighter,

Give an extra goodnight kiss.

Our hearts fuller and burdens lighter,

Be sure to say how much we miss;

Each other, even for a moment.

 

For you, from me, and us all,

We love you most of all.

Goodbye For Now

Goodbye for Now

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

You had a way about you,

Words were worn like a shoe.

You just knew what to say and do,

There won’t be another dad like you.

 

You were an example of what the best can be,

Now I only hope you’ll be able to see;

The fruits of your labors and watch them blossom.

 

We loved you in big ways, and we loved you in small ways;

Unexpired and transcendent of time;

You were Dad, and you were mine;

Ours.

 

You never asked for much,

And now we miss your touch.

The cold has come and set in,

And our grief…where to begin?

Our hearts are heavy, and we know not what to do,

Dad, what are we do without you?

 

And so, we lay you to rest today,

But before you go, I just wanted to say;

I love you,

Bye, bye;

Au revoir;

Toodaloo;

Arrivederci;

Auf wiedersehen;

Bye, bye;

Only for now.

 

Read 11/30/2018

For Dad

For Dad

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

What can I say except that I love you?

What words can I find to say that I’ll miss you?

Words… there are so many that I could choose—

None though can describe the void that now dwells within.

 

You were my dad, and although some of the times seemed bad,

I hope you know I was never mad.

You did what you could,

I know that I should—

Have sought you out sooner.

Because later has come and now…

You’re gone.

 

I’m glad that I got to see you and make amends,

To show you an example of a man;

I had become and noted all the nuances,

I saw that we were more alike,

Even though miles and years apart.

 

I’m happy you got to see your grandchildren,

That twinkle in your eye.

I could tell you were proud of me,

And I of you.

 

So even though you’re gone from the here and now and ascended to the stars above,

I hope grandma, grandpa, uncle Pat, and everyone else welcome you home.

I hope one day you’re there;

Waiting for me,

The rest of us,

A family reunion.

Where we bask in each other’s company,

That we can all catch up.

 

I loved you then, and I love you now,

I know though that when I say goodbye, it’s just for now.

 

With love,

Your Son

Here and Now

Here and Now

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

Here I am with a heavy head,

Having learned my father is dead.

My heart aches and yet I know,

Come tomorrow more will go.

 

Life is a constant, it revolves; out with the old and in with the new,

The pain cuts deep and to the bone, to where I want to spew.

Darkness has never been something I wasn’t acquainted with,

It’s been a love-hate relationship—a fierce smith.

Seeing others though dip their toes in it brings tears to my eyes,

I know, I know, I know that I’ll have to say goodbye.

Today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year,

What is it though that makes us seldom live in fear?

 

The unknown;

Darkness;

Cold;

All these things and more.

 

I can’t think of life in most aspects in that which I exist any different,

What I can think of were some mistakes and words said that were significant.

 

But where would I be?

Who would I be?

 

The fractures and imperfections that exist within shape our splendor;

Trying to persist through life’s trials and not give up, nor surrender.

 

The dominos have begun,

My life’s tale has been spun.

We live today,

Only a moment to say;

A blink of an eye,

Hello, goodbye.

 

Cherish every moment, friends,

For we will all meet our ultimate end.

The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal Ebook Cover

The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidalist’s 2018 Fourth of July Special

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Happy Independence Day, folks. Or rather, ‘Happy-Wear-Your-USA-Flag-Bikini Day and Shoot Shit Off All Fucking Day.’ Yay!

Heaven forbid if you decide to have to, you know go to sleep early because you have a job; one that requires you to be up early as that son of a bitch rooster crowing, or if you not wearing an some Old Navy USA Flag shirt, or dislike the sounds of fireworks going off until one in the goddam morning, and your dog is howling. Then morning comes around, and you’re left with your eyes sagging lower than your nuts on your left leg because your kids couldn’t sleep. But you know, you’re the inconsiderate and un-American one if you disagree.

Hardly anyone remembers what this day means or what it represents. But since it’s a day off from the weekly work grind, folks sure do remember it then. A bunch of mindless drones.

I suppose it’s not their fault, entirely. We’ve been continually getting more dumb with each generation, that is, the mass population. You get a few bright bulbs here and there, but it’s a small number compared to the majority.

I bet you’re wondering “Bob, what are you doing with your 4th of July?” Well, bucko, lemme tell you all about it. I’m planning on shooting a bunch of shit off until who knows when. I’ve got it all planned out. Y’know, being that asshole of a neighbor. That’s the goal this year anyway.

The day started off simple enough. No itches but a ton of anxiety. We were to have folks over and make it a big shindig. Honestly, I just wanted to be left alone or go out somewhere by myself. It is what it is, though.

So we had everyone over and gathered everyone up for a show off of who’s firework ego was greater. Then I remembered, I hate the Fourth of July. After getting tired of who could fire off the bigger grade of booms, I thought it was time for my show.

I stood up and wandered over to the launcher and readied everything up. I was going to give everyone the show of a lifetime and I didn’t care. Everyone was there, all eyes on dear old Bob. At least the kids were inside playing video games.

Well, I decided to take a few M-80s and string them together (for maximum boom and to take someone’s head off. Namely mine.). I lit them and dropped them in the makeshift mortar launcher that Ted had made. Then I waited for the boom. Let me tell you, it was a hell of a rush. Y’know when you watch Mission Impossible and watching that fuse go? Hearing it sizzle, waiting for the boom. Well, I made some ‘modifications’ to the fuses, because I knew damn well that someone would try to be the hero. Sure as shit, someone tried, but I got the final discharge off. As bad as that sounds, it’s not as bad as the next bit. When I say I got the final discharge, I had my mouth open. So, you can imagine as soon as those suckers shot up, caught them in the mouth and POP goes I went.

When the day reset, the itch had begun, and I figured I’d start with the fireworks show and see what other fun ways I could off myself.

So I went with a fistful of M-80s—that was plenty painful. At least no one tried to be a hero that go around. Next up was a bunch of firecrackers—swallowed them whole. That was a spicy meatball; I’ll tell you. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Bob, that’s impossible.” No, no it’s not. It’s possible, and I do not recommend trying it. I ended up losing my hand on top of getting my insides tore the fuck up.

Those were the fun ones for that part of the day. The others were more like the grilling aspect.

* * *

So, I had my fun going out with a bang. I mentioned last time about grilling and well — let me just bring you up to speed.

The few guys I was having over wanted to have a grill out. I figured, bah, why not. Wouldn’t be too bad. Then everyone was launching their shit. Dogs were barking; cats were going crazy, kids were screaming, it was just a clusterfuck.

Well, I had about enough of it. Sure, people were having a blast and a grand old time, but old Bob? Nah, he wanted no more of it. I had just put the burgers on the grill when it happened. It was automatic I’d say, but then again, it wasn’t the first time where I went “fuck it” and just did what I wanted to do.

So, Bob’s burgers are on the grill, wandered on over to the gas can in the garage. Walked out to the middle of the street and poured it all over me. Then I flicked my lighter and toasted myself to a Happy 4th of July. A lot of people just stood there in shock that they just saw their quiet neighbor torch himself in front of everyone. Some attempted to be quick on their feet, but dear old Bob had a backup plan for that. You see I placed a few firecrackers in my pockets. You know, for that added pizzazz and flair. I must say, though, it wasn’t a great way to go. Self-barbecue. It’s not what it’s cracked up to be, and it hurts like hell. Eventually, though, your brain shuts you down, and well, your body gets well done. In my case, though, I was more medium-well.

I did a few different takes on the day. Each reset I was at a different friend’s place. Each time was a different way to go. M-80 in the gas tank of the car driving into the creek, playing Foghat’s Slow Ride. I made a custom M-80 vest and wandered out back of my pal Sid’s place and lit up, like, well the Fourth of July. At Jerry’s, I fashioned a few makeshift cherry bombs and made it look like I was taking a sip of beer, only to have my face and hand blown off. Then there was Terry’s place. We went into the woods, and I had decided that I would be a Wicker Man. So, I outfitted myself with I don’t remember how many and kinds of fireworks but when we got to the spot and unloaded. I told the guys I had a show for them. They all laughed and said “Alright, Bob. Can’t wait.” That night I lit myself up and gave them a presentation to remember.

The last time was where I had no itch and where I wasn’t really in a mood for offing myself. Crazy I know. I decided to spend it with my family and enjoy the time. That night, my wife and I got to coupling. In the end, it was a good day. Hardly anyone shot their shit off. It was pretty nice. Later on, though, as it rolled into the 5th, I ended up dying in my sleep.

I know, I know, you’re thinking “Bob, you didn’t kill yourself?” You’re right. I was amazed as well. Still, at least I shot my rocket off, and well, it ended up being a happy ending.

Well, until the other stuff happened to me but that’s something you can find out for yourself.

 

 

 

chronicles-of-bob-full-cover

The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal was a writing project by Robert J. S. T. McCartney, here at A.B.Normal Publishing. You can purchase the dark comedy novella, The Chronicles of Bob: the Chronic Suicidal on Amazon in various formats [Free on Kindle Unlimited].
THIS  STORY IS A WORK OF FICTION. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Free Kindle Book Until April 19, 2018

Hey, folks.

I wanted to tell you about a free Kindle book deal that you can get just by clicking this link.

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What’s the book? It’s the dark comedy, The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal. My social and therapeutic experiment I did a wee while back. It’s the novella about Bob and his suicidal tendencies, and the results of each death that plaguing a much bigger picture. The ups and downs is struggling with depression (so bad that it can cripple a person) and also the portrayal of “social suicide,” where you kill knowingly kill your social life because you’re so fed up with your fellow human beings.

There’s murder, there’s wit, and probably some parts that will make your sides (or pants) split. Be amazed. Be disappointed? Be ENTERTAINED! With Bob and all his thoughts.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a bit of downtime with Bob.

Until next time,

RJM

 

P.S. I’m working on a new short story… possible novella involving the undead (yay!) and am fabricating the new season of The Diary of The Wasteland Bear God. I’m excited to share them all with you. /BearSlap to the face. I’m out!

In Other News…

Hey, folks.

I am still adding stuff and being Frankenstein here with the site. Some things might be broken, some might not be. Headaches and alcohol would typically be present, but since I gave up on mass-induced alcoholism, it’s just headaches. Hoo.

The store still has some work to do, and the transfer is being quite difficult…but that’s alright. Thinks will get worked out and it’ll be behind me.

There’s Alpha testing for (WoW) World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth to be done, and a mythic plus (M+) dungeon that needs to be done tonight. I also am compiling some other things to get up on the site and store.

Another excerpt of Lilah’s Guide to Hoyle will also be making a stop, just to annoy you all and maybe increase its preorder count by one. 😉 That will be posted Soon™.

Lastly, tomorrow I am getting mini-pies and they’ll be delicious. Mmm.

Until next time,

RJM

Ten Years: A Poem

Ten Years [For Zelda]

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney


One

I thought my life was done; when you and your mom almost died.

Two

Darkness took over and nearly ruined my life. I was very blue.

Three

I realized that nothing was going to change by sitting on my hands. I made a change and started to get better. You grew up so much since the last year; I knew the kind of kid you’d grow to be.

Four

I watched you grow and saw how you made people smile. Your laughs were contagious, and soon you’d start school. I still struggled with myself and fought with my mind. The guilt I harbored was massive and cut me to the core.

Five

Your sassiness was profound. You were the perfect blend of your mother and I. Without a doubt, you and your mother brought me joy. I was still wading through the darkness. I’d grit my teeth and fight the pain to stay alive.

Six

Enduring the rollercoaster ride as I stumbled along to keep control. I’d lose my way here and there; fighting myself and getting lost in my abysmal dismal thoughts. Your mom and I struggled to get you the equipment you needed and stood against those who would deny you. It was a taste of something we knew a life this way we would endure, but we knew that together, we could do it. I strayed and started to get lost in alcohol to try to help numb the pain. I had built up a wall with flesh, bone, and despair bricks.

Seven

This was the year when you found out you were going to be a big sister. It would be a new adventure. I wanted to be ready. As hard as I tried, I  know I could have done better. Even as I got help and started to show improvement, I’d take two steps forward and fall two more. I struggled to see the joy of having a perfect family. I often found myself outside looking to heaven.

Eight

Ah, your sassiness was so contagious that your baby sister caught on quick. You slowly opened up to having a sister. I was starting to find my way out of the darkness. My alcoholism would soon be kicked to the curb. I took up arms to further better myself: eating, working out, making an effort to be there for you and your sister. You were growing up too fast for your mom and me. The tears I once shed for the memory of a tragedy, were now tears of joy of having you still. I was beginning to let go all the feelings I had harbored, especially, hate.

Nine

Soon, we would leave our old home and move. It was a new start for us all. I relapsed and retreated into the darkness. I had found some comfort, but the feelings gnawed at me. The realizations and truths uncovered left me scared for us. It would be some time, but I would finally emerge victoriously. I improved my body and mind and would find a balance. I took up the craft that I believed I was destined for. I’ve watched you grow up this far and wonder where has it all gone—time?

Ten

The darkness has subsided and I am myself. I still can’t believe that it’s been ten years. You’ve become such a beautiful girl with a contagious laugh and smile. You’re our world and more, and even though you can be a crabby crab, we love you very much. It’s taken me this long to finally find the strength to cast off my shackles of guilt and blame. I can smile and laugh and be myself. I’ve come to manage my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. I’ll keep fighting and being here for you, mom, and your sister. I know it’s just another year to some, but you’ll always be our little bugaboo and pumpkin. Happy birthday to our Princess Zelda on your tenth.


 

For Zelda

Love Dad

Madness’ Sole Soul: A Short Story

Madness’ Sole Soul

A Short Story by Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

“I’m sorry, it has to be this way,” he remembered his mother saying. She left him—left them all. Now, they were all being hunted down by an unknown person (or maybe organization?). Rumor was that his mother was collecting other family members to help her purge those that were left and would get in her way of officially taking over the family since his father’s untimely demise. The lands, she believed were hers; as was the town. It was her birthright. That even though the past had tarnished what should have been regulated to her—she was persistent on correcting. Everything would return to her: the land, the town, the family name—everything. It would only be a matter of time until he would perish. So, he supposed on the issue.

It was true, she had left his step-father for an old fling from the “glory days” or what have you. Perhaps to gain leverage in use against her remaining members of the Hessen household. Though he never saw eye to eye with the man he came to acknowledge as a father figure in his life, he felt sorry for him. Vengeance, karma, these things have a way of working out. Order must be maintained in the universe. Time will work its hands the way it sees fit.

The day had come—one he had anticipated. The hitmen (or so he alleged) had come for the step-father, for him, for the rest of them.

“You need to get out of here, John. I can deal with them.” The young man steeled himself with a knife in hand. “Run, run as fast as you can. Don’t look back.”

“What you’re talking about is madness, Eric. Your mother could never do such a thing! Not to us, especially, to you.” John was flabbergasted at the information that had been collected and evidence that suggested his wife had, indeed, put a price on his head and the rest of the family.

“Go before it’s too late! There’s no time to argue. I know you’re not my real father, but I do look up to you like one.” Eric gripped the knife tighter as he clenched his jaw. John nodded and gathered a few things, before hurrying straight out the back door.

Out front, Eric heard an engine approaching. He opened the massive oak door to see a black SUV coming up the drive to the estate. “Typical fashion,” Eric mumbled aloud before closing the door.

He peeked out the window to see the occupants disperse from the vehicle. He knew them all. “My Uncles? Aunts?” He noted two more vehicles coming to the estate. “This…cannot be good,” he said.

A voice came from behind him. “Hello, dear brother.”

Sister.

“Hello, dear sister,” Eric replied, still peeking out the window. “Quite the family reunion we have today; unannounced in fact. Any reason as to why?”

His sister grimaced. “Did you not hear? There’s a high price for you and ‘dad.’ We are all here to collect—it’s nothing personal. I could use the money to take care of a lot of things.”

Eric sighed. “You were always greedy. We have vast wealth as it is and yet, you squander it.” His words struck a nerve. “You do know mother will only kill you after you kill John and I, don’t you?”

“I am aware of that. I have taken precautions. I’m afraid John is already. . .disposed. He didn’t get very far,” she smiled.

Eric grit his teeth. “The man was hardly any threat, let alone needed to be involved. You could have spared him, you cold-hearted bitch.”

“Please, I have been called worse,” his sister laughed.

“And soon you will be dead, all of you. I will make sure of it—mom included. I won’t let any of you live anymore.”

“Bold words, little brother, but remember I am older,” she replied sharply.

“Remember, I planned ahead,” he grinned.

Eric’s sister pulled out a knife of her own and motioned to attack him. “At least you will die with some honor, bitch.” He quickly disarmed her and slashed her arm; sending her to recoil in pain.

“You little bastard,” she screamed.

Eric moved in hastily and stabbed her in the gut and slashed upward, bringing her to her knees and to be embraced by death.

“Sorry, Julie, but it’s nothing personal,” Eric said as he twisted the blade once more into her neck.

The door opened and in came the rest of the family: his aunts, uncles, cousins, and his mother.

“Well, you certainly save us the time in having to find you, son,” his mother stated.

“Mom…”

She looked over at the dead body of her daughter. “I see you took care of your sister. Good job, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree alright.”

“You all are ridiculous. Acting together to kill another of your family? For what? For money? Land? You will all stop at nothing after this matter is settled to make sure you solely get all of it.” Eric shook his head. “Your greed consumes you.” He pointed to his mother. “Your whore ways and betrayal to this family will be your undoing, dear mother. I will kill you all.”

His mother laughed. “You sound just like your grandfather. He used to believe we had some ‘disease’ within us that drove us mad. Granted, that’s what got him locked up. As cunning as he was, he was no match for me. It’s just human nature, sweetie. Kill or be killed.”

Everyone eyed one another, uncertain of who would betray who.

“Kill him,” Eric’s mother ordered.

The cousins were the first to swarm him, and they were the first to die. He effortlessly slaughtered them and left them dead on the floor. Then came his aunts. The one that had a change of heart was only to be stabbed in the back by his mother. They too fell in the bloody heap that was amassing in the house’s grand foyer.

Three uncles and Eric’s mother remained. They spread out around him and slowly motioned towards him. “I wish you a merciless death, dear uncles,” Eric said as he went after his more overweight uncle. He ran and leaped at the man, stabbing him in the neck and under the jaw. Collapsing atop him, Eric stabbed him a few more times in the chest before rolling off him and readying for another attack. The next attacker came, and Eric disarmed him and stabbing him with his own blade; then used his body as a shield against his other attack. He slid on the ground and slit the Achilles tendons of his last uncle, and then sliced up his backside.

“Mother, you are all that remain. It appears things did not go as you had hoped,” said Eric.

“On the contrary, honey. You did the legwork for me,” Eric’s mother replied. She then drew a small pistol from behind her.

She smiled menacingly. “Never bring a knife to a gunfight, sweetie. Thank you for getting rid of everyone for me.”

Eric reached behind him and withdrew his gun and shot his mother in the chest several times, “I knew you would.”

He approached his fast-dying mother’s side. “The only difference, mom, is that I didn’t hesitate and make a big speech before I pulled the trigger. Perhaps now you can be at rest.” He kissed her on the cheek and looked at her dimming green eyes. “I love you,” and then pointed the gun at her head and pulled the trigger once more.

One by one, he went around to each family member and shot them in the head. He called the cleaning service that the family used in cases of messes like these. He gave them all a proper burial, despite them having tried to kill him. Ownership and duty fell to him now. Eric was the lord of the manor, the land, and town that came with it. He was the sole survivor of Hessen Estate Massacre.

He was granted everything, although the attorney thought it to be proper to read the wills and testaments of the deceased. Sifting through the mess, Eric had found a piece of paper that clarified more things for him. He handed it to the lawyer.

Clearing his throat, the lawyer read aloud. “It is hereby declared that under article nine, sub-article three, clause eleven, that in the event of the purge of the household, all assets fall to the surviving heir. Debts will be settled with the provided fund, and any outstanding family members outside of second cousins will cease any violent interaction. Half siblings hold no right, nor just cause, and are therefore exempt of any claim to the family name, land, or township. If so claim is ever made, they will be disbarred, and the assets will become forfeit to the state.”

Eric sighed at this. The lawyer shook his hand and eventually left.

In due course, Eric readied himself to leave the house for good. As he is about to close the door, one by one, his family all appeared before him.

“Eric, can you forgive us,” his mother asked.

“We are sorry. . . We should have been a better family,” an aunt stated.

“Time wasted. . .” an uncle added.

“We all could have been better,” his sister agreed.

“No, it was my fault,” he said. They all looked to him, puzzled. He returned their gaze in spite and anger. “It was my fault. . .for being so weak. You may haunt me and my dreams, but you cannot escape your damnation. Suffer your fates, you wretched kin.” The house trembled and shook, and the spirits vanished; returning to their relics, paintings, and pictures. Slowly he pulled the door behind him, closing and leaving behind it all.

Eric took a seat outside in a rocking chair and rocked in it. He noted the gray sky that seemed to have plagued the day. He sighed aloud.

The family car and chauffer pulled up. He noted his serviceman and driver in black attire, with two cousins that laid claim of wanting no involvement of what had transpired. Slowly, he got his pale self, up and ventured to the car.

The driver motioned for the cousins to get in the car. Eric remembered the driver had made prior claims before that he shared his distaste for the twin cousins. He always thought they were up to no good. To spur a change in the young master’s mood, the driver accelerated and would leave a short distance between them and the car.

“Stop, Thomas. Let them in,” Eric stated.

“Thank you, Eric,” replied the one cousin who sat in front of him. The other cousin nodded and sat next to Eric. The car then rumbled away from the estate.

Soon, down the driveway, the cousin who sat next to Eric, took out a knife and slit his throat, then his brother’s throat, and then his own throat. He had tried to strike the driver but was held back by the serviceman in the back.

“Is he alright, Bennie,” Thomas asked the man in the back who applied a handkerchief to Eric’s neck. “Drive—drive to the bloody hospital!” Bennie looked back down at the bloodied Eric. “Put pressure on it! Hold it, young master!”

Eric could feel the warmth slowly leaving him. He also felt the heat of his dead cousin departing him as well.

“Faster,” Eric gasped.

Eric looked at the rearview mirror from the backseat. Who he saw was not his reflection, but rather his grandfather’s. “Grandpa?”

 “Eric, do you see now? Do you see why I did what I did?” Sadness overcame the old man’s wrinkled face. “I loved my family. Honestly, I did. I loved you all. But what I saw—what I knew that was harbored deep within, I knew it was only a matter of time. Even when shown kindness, we’ve all turned on one another. You know it well, my grandson. We carry a sickness—one that spreads like a plague. It must be contained, Eric. It must be put down.

Eric nodded. “I understand. I will purge them all. I will carry this mantle—this burden. For our family.”

His grandfather smiled and then vanished into nothingness. Eric looked out the window to the cloudy sky and the buzzing street corners. He closed his eyes and greeted the darkness.

Some time passed, Eric stared out at the gardens at the hospital. The sun shined brilliantly everywhere. He caught a glimpse of himself, and his family behind him, all mourning. He grinned as he lightly rubbed his bandaged neck. “I’m not dead yet.”

It begins again. This time the madness will be contained.