"The road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. Well, not always."

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In the beginning, I believed it to be a dream. In the beginning, I labored tirelessly to make the dream into a reality. Years I spent in pursuit of it, until I attained it. Afterward, after I made it happen, I found myself at the center of it. At the center of it, in the middle of it, at its peak, I paused for the first time in my life to understand it. For, mired there hip deep in it, I thought surely all its answers must come to me with the vantage of a central perspective. I would not be disappointed in that sense, in the sense that, having attained it, thereby placing myself at the focus of it, I came to comprehend it completely. I would, however, be most disappointed by the enlightenment conveyed by it. I expected the dream to unfold before me, all good things in their places, all hardships banished from my life forever. Instead I found, unfolding before me with the dread certainty of an executioner's writ, a nightmare manifest. It revealed itself to be an endless torture of carnal terror, of infinite threats, of compounded dangers and nothing safe, comfortable, or wholesome. Thus, a precipitous rise must forebode a meteoric fall.

If it bled once on the way up, it was sure to bleed a hundred times on the way down. If I laughed once in the beginning, before it all, I must cry a thousand times in the end.

When I realized the end of the beginning had somehow become the beginning of the end, in fact, I felt a sensation I rarely felt before, that of terror, and I felt it more keenly than I liked. I could foresee my fate as a rapidly descending, twisting pair of roller coaster rails, dropping away at the tips of my toes, and I had that sensation, whenever I looked down, of hanging poised for the inevitable plunge, heart racing, eyes bulging, terror-stricken, and screaming to get off. At the same time, I knew escape to be impossible. I must ride those steel rails all the way down. This was the only way to reach the end.

So, this is the story of that plunge. This is the tale to relate the events of my meteoric fall. Come, gather 'round the splattered body, see the blood and guts, the broken bones and oozing brains. Stand and stare. I hope it feeds the vicarious monster chained inside your human facades, if only meagerly. I'll be brief with the beginning, since you want to hear about the end, but you can't understand the finish, if you don't know something of the start…

Many men say the word falsely. Many men use it for a curse. For me, the word represented reality. My mother was a whore. I was born thirty years before the end, addicted to a variety of drugs and alcohol. I don't remember them, of course, but my first few days of life must have been agonizing.

The police arrested my mother shortly after my birth. She served three years in prison for what she did to me, unborn in the womb.

I don't remember that, either. I do, however, remember the day they gave me back to her.

I spent the first three years of life in a bland, if benign, institution, property of the state. I don't remember much of my time there, but I remember feeling safe, well fed, cool in the summertime and warm during the winter. I had clothes to wear. They gave me shoes for my feet. They never beat me.

My mother lived the opposite sort of life. After I moved into her shabby one-room, subsidized apartment to sleep on her couch while she entertained her 'clients', I never felt safe. I was never well fed. I burned miserably in the summer and I shivered painfully in the winter. I wore the same clothes for weeks, and I stole shoes from neighborhood children to accommodate the growth of my toes.

I lived with her for five years, until I was eight years old, until a John murdered her with a vicious beating. Until the state came 'round again to scoop me up and bundle me off to 'a better life', not that I needed or accepted their help then. Of course, they could guess at the time, but they couldn't know that it was much too late to save me. Even if they had known, the law bound them to their fruitless duty, however I might resist.

Daily beatings with extension cords rendered my salvation impossible, though. I learned to ball my muscles, grit my teeth, and press my lips tight to endure the pain. When I was smaller, I wailed from the agony of it. I begged her to stop. I promised to be 'good', whatever that entailed, anything to avoid a prolonged whipping. I could never appease her, and the pleas only made the belt fall harder, faster, and more furiously. I could never understand what she wanted from a 'good little boy'.

She beat me when store clerks caught me stealing food. She beat me when I didn't steal enough for her.

She burned me with cigarettes when I found her in a foul mood, regardless of what I might have done. She burned me with cigarettes when I found her joyously high, eager for a good laugh and an expression of her power over one, insignificant life in this world.

I learned that she did these things, not because of me, but in spite of me. She committed her crimes against me, simply because she enjoyed inflicting pain on me. She liked to watch my face pinch before the wails came. She laughed to see me cry.

So I further learned to keep my mouth shut. I buckled my jaw, strapped my lips, pressed my tongue, and clamped my eyes shut from first stroke to last. I made a steel machine of my body, tensing every muscle tight, such that her blows fell upon taught flesh over iron muscle, with no baby fat to intervene. It burned, but it hurt less than squirming and begging for mercy.

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