Regret

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of a twisted fate, regret and redemption in an unexpected journey.

Submitted: April 11, 2013

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Submitted: April 11, 2013

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Regret: It took all I had to look away. Maybe in time I will forget those images that were etched into my consciousness, so surreal that it could almost be dismissed as a daydream that you forget immediately when shaken back into reality. Only I won’t be so lucky. You see; time doesn’t heal all wounds. Not those wounds that could have been avoided. And so is my day to day. I live in the mundane of my chores, routine, Thank God for my routine. I have become a self-imprisoned slave to the meaningless. And it is the best thing to happen to me, ever since the day my former life of light hearted days was strangled by my need to pay for what I had done. Many wonder if it is possible to commit a crime and never get caught… Sometimes I pray that someone would find out, and rid me of this solitude, NO, I deserve the pain of the unknown. The unknown eats my bones away and has dried up my once soft heart. I am drowning with just enough air entering my lungs to allow the panic to continue. ?March 14th2007 is a day that is difficult to forget about. Not for the obvious reasons, but because I had coffee that morning and ate a Jerry Seinfeld at Katz’s Delicatessen for dinner. Simple pleasures seem as though they are from a distant land I once visited. It wasn’t always this complex, being alive. My name is DarrenShipley, and this is my story. I was a 24 year old education major at NYU. I had a really good childhood despite the fact that my parents died my freshman year of high school. I had a strong group of friends and family who kept me on the right path. Sure, there were plenty of chances to make the same mistakes as the people around me, but maybe I just didn’t want to become a cliché. I wasn’t perfect, I just had high expectations for myself. I like to think my mom and dad were proud of me. Well maybe they used to be. Mom and Dad’s insurance money allowed me to have fewer financial burdens after high school, so I had an apartment off campus and just went to school. Free and easy is what my close friends used to call me. Wow! I can’t believe I forgot that they used to say that to me. Present: April 28, 2009 ?Darren’s apartment is modern, upscale and very clean, as though it were a model home on display for potential homeowners. He lives in SOHO, Manhattan on the 15th floor in a two bedroom, corner apartment that draws envy from most of his neighbors. None of that matters now. ?My neighbors on my floor were usually a loud bunch, especially the Cartright’s in 1511. They would entertain often and had parties with friends every weekend. I didn’t mind, they were friendly and sometimes I would drop in and drink a few beers to pass the time. Our building was secure because it wasn’t cheap to live in, so we didn’t worry about locking everything up religiously. There was a party on the 14th at the Cartright’s, the loud couple, but I was up late the night before half-heartedly writing a paper, while most of the night was spent adjusting my fantasy baseball team. My heart still races when I think about how different life would be if I hadn’t turned my ipod off while I was messing around on the internet. It was exactly 3:52 a.m. when I went to the kitchen to put my cereal bowl in the dishwasher and I heard the song blasting the first time that night. “Wonderwall” by Oasis was playing, but the talking among friends had stopped and I casually listened as I cleaned my bowl and put it away. “ I said maybe, your gonna be the one that saves me.” I sang along with the chorus as I went to the bathroom and came out while the song began all over again, but the third time it played… I went over to make sure they weren’t passed out with the music left on. The door was half open so I knocked softly and let myself in. No one was in the foyer and the house was eerily still. As I looked down the hallway towards the living room I saw a short, stocky man walk quickly across the bamboo floored living space to the bedroom. I called out to him, but he couldn’t hear me over the music in the living room. When I got to the living room I saw Lisa Cartright sitting in a chair next to her husband Gary. Lisa seemed very nervous, and I could see her and Gary talking and pleading with the man in black, but their words were drowned out by the music. I was about to walk out when I saw the stocky man dressed in black take out a knife and without hesitation, slit Gary’s throat. I threw myself into the hallway bathroom. I struggled as I gasped for air, hyperventilating nervously while trying to be silent and still. My body was frozen immovable when I managed to peek out the crack in the bathroom door and could clearly see Lisa’s hands covering her mouth in shock as her eyes were wide open and fixed on her dying husband. She didn’t scream, she could hardly breathe as she watched her entire life being unimaginably altered in what seemed like the longest minute that ever existed. I could only see Lisa through the crack as I had entered the house undetected by everyone. My first instinct was to call 911, but my phone was in my apartment which might as well had been a thousand miles away. My legs locked up at the thought of moving due to sheer fright. I peered back through the crack of the bathroom door as my body lies on the cold ceramic tile. A now out of place scent of lilacs and white tea pervaded the bathroom. Lisa’s hands were now duct taped to the chair behind her back while the Persian rug absorbed Gary’s blood until it was saturated, and began to stretch across the wooden floor. I heard a demented hearty laugh that sounded like he was wheezing for air. When he placed the Ziploc bag over her head and duct taped around her neck, my heart was beating out of my chest. My mind thought of a million things to do to take down this unflinching psychopathic killer, and my stomach wretched within me. My reactions had failed me as the stocky man walked past the bathroom where I was, and stopped the music that had been on repeat for what seemed like eternity. The front door shut behind him. Now that he was gone, I could spring into action. I stood up and opened the door slowly, seeing Lisa’s breath fog up the Ziploc bag. She was convulsing in a desperate attempt to free herself. Her breath fogged up the clear bag, blinding her in a thin plastic coffin. There was so much to do, rip open the bag, call 911, maybe track the killer. I just stood there. She is ALIVE!! She is gasping for air and I have the power to save her. What power to choose who lives and dies, when and how their final moments are written in the history books. Her face will be forever inscribed in my mind. The Cartright’s died that night together in their apartment next door to me. I wanted to call the police when I got to my apartment, but honestly feared what would happen to me. Was it fear that halted me? Before this incident I would have said that I’d be valiant, courageous, even if my own life was at stake. That would be what my dad would have done. It is said that character is not made in the tough times, but rather it is displayed. ?4 days passed and the same person was caught on a similar murder about 12 blocks from where I live. I was saved by his conviction, now I can get my life back to normal. I dropped out of college 2 months before I was supposed to graduate. What’s the point? About 1 week following the incident, I bought all the supplies I would need to survive for 3 months. I cancelled my phone service and told security not to let anyone up. I developed a schedule that I could live by, which helped me organize my life to the mostminute detail. SCHEDULE: ?3:52-?Alarm clock rings. Get out of the left side of bed. ??4:00-?Eat 3 slices of toast, cut horizontally on purple plate. 4:25 ?Iron green t-shirt, put on while still warm. Uncap Crest toothpaste. 4:35?Squeeze ½ inch of Crest toothpaste onto blue toothbrush. Brush horizontally for 1 minute, vertically for 1 minute and finally circular for 1 minute. Rinse mouth 7 times. 4:40- 5:40?Check for newspaper. 6:00 ?Get newspaper and place front page on the left side of table facing fireplace. Read paper. 7:00 ?Fry 2 eggs for 2 minutes on medium heat. The list is more detailed than the operating procedures for a doctor preparing for brain surgery. Absolutely insane with instructions. My schedule is my life, it is what allows me to function. I need no family, no friends, only order. I am in complete control of my surroundings for once and for all. I have the same breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. I do not need taste or pleasure, for completing each day without going back to my former life is a success. My past must remain blanketed in secrecy, I forfeit anything good from my old life to also rid myself of the devastating guilt of that night. This is only the better alternative, not a good one, but I have gone for 2 ½ months without speaking to anyone else or changing my routine, which I admit, has me talking to myself at length. I scream at the side of myself that I hate. We never get along, because he’s too stubborn to admit guilt, and I am too much of a pushover to turn him in. The walls close in on me sometimes and I wake up sore from pressing against the doorframes. I am running low on supplies, so I will go to the grocery store tomorrow. I have learned from the first trip, 3 months goes by fast. I will get 6 months supplies, and I will go very early so I don’t have to see anybody. ?So I set out early that morning and waited in the car for an hour before the store turned the lights on and opened the doors. It was still dark outside but the morning sun, which I have avoided for so long, was beginning to peek through the skyline. I had loaded 2 baskets with essentials when I noticed the floors were bamboo as I turned in line to check out. Plastic bags, sir?, said the cashier, as Darren glanced unknowingly at her name tag. No way. Lisa?, said Darren. Yes, sir. Plastic or paper bags, asked Lisa the cashier. As she scanned the three pack of deodorant, it happened. The moment I heard it, without any warning, I walked out of the store while Lisa continued scanning, confused.It’s funny how a song can take you back to a particular time and place. It’s beyond ones control to choose which songs will stand out in your mind, but no song will ever ring as loud and penetrating into my soul as Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. The lyrics were mocking my very existence, “Because maybe, your gonna be the one that saves me.” I snapped back to the dread of that night as guilt flooded my conscience. I raced to my house in a last ditch effort to resume my routine and stop the hopeless, desolatespiral into madness. I got into bed, sprung out immediately on the left side, ironed my green shirt while putting eggs on in the pan. As I let the iron heat up, I rush to brush my teeth squirting toothpaste in the sink, wash my hands 7 times. Smoke is rising from my shirt and I burn my hand on it, when the smoke alarm goes off in the kitchen. You can’t rush the routine you Idiot! You burned the eggs, now what do we do? There is no procedure for burned eggs. To hell with this useless routine!! I have suffered long enough and I will redeem myself. ?My guilt and helplessness turned to rage and indignation. I was through with wasting my life away, I would avenge the wrong that has created this cracked shell of the person that I once was. ?My behavior may seem strange to the average spectator, but it is with the best intentions that I cover my face and sit quietly in dark places stalking, no observing, everyday people hoping for an opportunity to find someone in dire need of saving, and this time I will react timely and trust the inner voice leading me to my destiny. Night after night I roam the toughest places in the city hoping for a second chance, and each night is more unrewarding than the last. Waiting will give me nothing but barren hopes. We cannot wait for God to shine upon me. NO, we will stack the deck in our favor. I would kill for a chance to save someone tonight! After everyone is settled in for the night, I will unhinge the handrail in the spiral staircase at the old apartment building on 123rd. When a drunk leans on the rail, they will fall down several flights of stairs or even better, down the stairwell. I’ll be there to swoop in and save them after the fall. Darren’s mental state was deteriorating into an alternate reality, which he readily adapted to fit his needs. His rational thought had diverged into sociopathic. ?I slept for 2 nights beneath the shadow of that dark spiraling stairwell with baited breath waiting to be the answer to a dying person’s prayers. It was 2:00 in the morning on a Thursday night when I heard the thud, which upon impact sounded like a bag of cement being thrown onto a car windshield. Cracking and breaking bones along with the short gasps for air, which sounded more like gargling as the blood leaked out of his mouth meant that I could be this poor saps hero. He was just a teenager from the looks of him. His glasses cut incisions around his face and his legs and right arm were grossly disfigured. His body lied there on the black and white checkered linoleum floor, broken from the five-story fall. I thought I would be excited at the chance of redemption, but that wasn’t at all what I felt. There was a creeping feeling overcoming me, begging me to give in. It was more enticing the deeper I let it sink into my soul. The darkness was palpable, and was sweet to the taste. I immediately let go of my old rigid code of ethics,restraint and self-control. I drew both fear and exhilaration from its possession. Having absolute power over someone’s very existence was a newfound passion that I would pursue as the darkness would lead me. It is here, at the base of the stairwell, that I indulged myself in the invigorating act of being God. My verdict was clear that night as I crept out into the thick air of the night. Tonight would be his last, and I was the one responsible. Entering my apartment that night, I felt like a new man. I was the gatekeeper of this life, no more being a victim of circumstances. Controlling someone else’s fate has left me ravaging for more. I never thought twice about it at this point, what’s done is done. I didn’t really like the killing as much as I liked the power. My next venture would not be an accident, but would exemplify someone who is better off putting their fate in my hands. I found him three nights removed from the stairwell and it was perfect. A middle-aged homeless man who had worn out clothes that were soiled was asking for a change in fortune. He was definitely drunk, I knew it because he reeked of Night Train and urine. What a pathetic excuse for a life! He had no will power or ambition. Life just gave him hell and he was too much of a pushover to do anything about it. He had been chewed up and spit out and he didn’t even put up a fight. There is no use for people so feeble and frail, the way I see it. He was in a fetal position asleep on a bench in Madison Square Park. His shopping cart parked beside him contained unwanted treasures that only he would find a use for. Without hesitation, I took the short handled ten-pound sledgehammer out of my gym bag. It wasn’t that I was numb to right and wrong, I created an alternate reality. As long as I dwelled in the dark creation of my mind, there was no guilt or condemnation. The following venture would be the last I would partake in, apart from the grand finale, but I didn’t realize that then. ?The victims were glaringly obvious to me, practically screaming to be chosen. The following couple had too much to lose, which made it so appealing to plunge them into such despair. Mayor Don Gunderson and his wife Francine were overindulged by everyone in their circle, it was no wonder why they were so narcissistic. Their extravagant luncheons on taxpayer dollars was presumptuous considering their policies have left most of this town in a crippling economic depression. The Gunderson’s were a haughty team, stealing from the poor to give to the rich. It is time for a reckoning. Let the guilty be sacrificed at the brazen altar of restitution. It took me one week to learn their routine. Leaves the office at 4:30 with Francine, visits Gambino’s Bakery where he does underhanded dealings with the Italian Mob until 6:00, has dinner with constituents in downtown Manhattan until 9:00, in bed at their apartment building not 4 blocks from mine at 11 o’clock. ?My plan was to recreate the scene that had rendered me emotionally corrupt and opened this gateway of indifference toward humanity. I followed them closely as they took the elevator up to the 15th floor. I was dressed in black from head to toe and was prepared to follow the script precisely. I brought the knife, the Ziploc bags and duct tape, and even had the foresight to burn a copy of Wonderwall by Oasis. I sprinted up the stairs and when they stood in the hallway fumbling with the keys to unlock the door, I sprang into action. I brought a rag soaked in ether, and as the door opened, I put the rags over their mouth and shoved them in the apartment. The plans simplicity had weaknesses, but I was surprisingly apathetic to them. Getting caught didn’t matter as much to me as executing the plan. They struggled for only a moment as I strained to keep the rags over their face. Francine Gunderson scratched the left side of my face bloody, and then passed out on the living room floor. Lucky for me, Don Gunderson was quite inebriated and required much less restraint. The fall into his apartment left him stunned while the ether did the rest. There wasn’t very much noise besides a thud when Don hit the wall and then the ground. The muffled screams of Francine were hardly audible through the ether soaked rag. The apartment was quiet and dark, the air was thick and stale, void of any motion. I am exhausted, sweating bullets as I try to maneuver the deadweight of the mayor and his wife into the chairs I have positioned in the living room. I tied them into the chairs and put the cd in and pressed play. I sat as the song took me back to that moment; I was living and seeing what that man had lived and seen on that historic night. As they slip back into consciousness, I talk to them about how they had earned this judgement. The words left my lips cold and calm, as if I was rehearsing for a play that I hated to perform. Their mouths were taped and the look of concern that beamed from their eyesbetrayed their familiar clutch of power. Spite and insanity took hold of my hand as the music played on. I was a conductor of a maddening concerto. My masterpiece has come to fruition, full circle. The potency of power must have been how Mayor Gunderson felt daily, what a thrill! A door from the back bedroom of the apartment closes, and the bathroom light flicks on, my madness frozen in time as I stare at a teenage boy walk casually out of the bathroom with an ipod in his hand. Has he heard nothing this whole time? THESE SICK PEOPLE ARE PARENTS?! The boy spots me, dressed in black holding a knife to his fathers neck, his eyes bulge as he runs to the back of the apartment. My jaw drops as he surely will call the police, I am literally frozen with shock. I dropped the knife, bolted out of the front door of the apartment, and sprinted down the stairs in what seemed like an instant. I take the dark alleys home and can hear faint sirens in the distance. I ditched my black outergarments in a dumpster nearby and went into my building relatively unnoticed. My hands shook uncontrollably as I grappled with my keys to open my apartment. Unlock, open, close, BREATHE. How could I not have known they had a son? What the hell was I thinking? Just who did I think I was to get away with such a hideous thing? Jesus, I left my knife there, the cdwith prints on it. I am screwed. There is no hiding from this one, I wasn’t a witness this time, I was the criminal!! How did my life spiral into this reprehensible shell of me. There was no excuse for me, I wasn’t abused as a child, or brought up in the rough side of town. My parents wouldn’t recognize me. Jesus Christ, I almost killed that poor kids folks. I know what that is like first hand, how could I put someone else through that. I am a monster, slimy and withered into a concentrated core of enmity and gall. I cannot go back to a normal mindset after fulfilling the deeds of the darkness. I am irreconcilable. There is but one thing I can do to save others. I slept about 30 minutes that night in between the nightmarish visions of myself slaying my parents, the bum and all the other fiendish acts… Retribution will be mine after all though, but this is too important to leave to others to complete. Early the next morning I went to the hardware store and bought a $300 STIHL Chainsaw. I went back to my apartment, ate a baked potato and a ham sandwich, and then went to work. I needed to be drunk to do this, so I drank a bottle of gin as I hurriedly prepared everything. I hope this turnes out the way ist supposed to. I am not abadmand. I want the best for eferybodImsoory to my paretns. And to myfrineds. It is my fault. I am a coward. ?Jesus Christ, FRANK, GET IN HERE! Two police officers that were recently called to an apartment for a noise complaint kick in the door of Darren’s apartment. Officer Frank Daly was a seasoned vet on the force and he had never seen such a gruesome scene in his 24 years of duty. Deputy Chris Kaplan was only 4 years in and he wasn’t much use as he vomited and became weak in the exhaust- hazed apartment. They call in Homicide to dissect the complex scene before them. Darren is sitting upright in a chair by the kitchen table, with a Ziploc bag over his head duct tape sealing it around his neck. His clothes are soaked with blood from neck to toe, pooling under the chair. The smell of engine exhaust pervades the air as the chainsaw that was screwed into the table ran out of gas. Both of Darren’s hands lie on the floor beneath the outstretched blade of the chainsaw, a ghastly picture of his last moments, bleeding and pawing at the bag to renege on the deal he made with himself. “This guy was freaking nuts, Frank, listen to this. I developed a schedule that I could live by, which helped me organize my life to the most minute detail. SCHEDULE: ?3:52-?Alarm clock rings. Get out of the left side of bed, eat 3 slices of toast, the list goes on and on. This guys routine was all mapped out, he tells us everything. He admits to killing the bum in Madison Square Park, and the kid in the stairwell. The monsters that commit these atrocities are monsters from the start, a different breed than the rest of us. I’m telling you Frank, I got a sixth sense about this stuff,” says Deputy Chris Kaplan smugly. Under the Ziploc bag in the chair of that apartment, Darren’s eyes disagree in a silent stare.


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