It’s almost funny how mindlessly I walked into what I was pre-destined to do. Some may say that it was chance, but there is nosuch thing in nature. Luck is what the ill-fated have invented for they cannotface the fact that their lives have been created to be hopeless; they needsomething to blame. At first, I was indeed oblivious to what nature has plannedfor me. It seems like a lifetime for I do not remember the weak man I was, butit was only six days ago. Six days ago, I was a stranger to myself now. Sixdays ago,


I was you.




                The lights are blinding not because they are intensely bright, but because of what they let me see. Why am I here in thefirst place? It isn’t like me to just decide to walk in strip clubs, let alonestay. The reason escapes me.


All I know is that I am here.


                It’s just one of those nights. I was sittingdown and everything was so quiet; only my most secret thoughts echoed in my ear.I got up, grabbed my jacket, and walked out of the door. I became a breezechaser, letting the winds lead me to where I need to be. My skin listened toits every direction. Next thing I know I find myself seemingly lost in a placeI would have never guessed I would be when I woke up in the morning. It seemsright, but wrong all at the same time. Of course, you don’t understand.


I don’t either.


                 Isit down on the bar and order a drink. I let it scar my throat quickly and Ilost myself in the newfound pain in my chest. All worth it to see the lightsdance. All worth it to find myself in a realm that doesn’t need to make sense,for how could things make sense when they don’t exist? And how could thingsexist when they don’t make sense? Isn’t it true? Aren’t the things we believein now are those that make sense, and we dispose the ones that don’t as pureblasphemy. I live in a world where logic dictates what is the truth and what isthe lie, what is real and is not, what matters and what shouldn’t.


                 Thelights are the color of sin, disguising the immorality hiding in the corners ofthis hall. White fog envelops bodies that envelop each other. String red lightsare titivated on walls and doors shaping the silhouettes of women in their mostsinful poses, made to let any passer-by catch a glimpse of the fantasies waitingfor them inside. The floors are of a bright black, designed to mirror thecrimes committed above them. Steel poles from heaven stem down to reach hell,becoming instruments of the angels of the underworld; beauties from abovededicated to let men spend eternity below.


I am a good man.


                 Atleast that’s what the world tells me I am. I grew up in a Christian family in aChristian home in a Christian neighborhood. I practically lived in a Church. Iwas taught all things in that Bible that until today is carved into me. All ofit, though, is just information now, nothing more. To me it is as relevant as thedictionary or the newspaper, just not as timely or necessary. Its story is,indeed, an interesting idea – a book that has lived for millenniums, written byauthors that are miles and years away from each other, yet a certain level ofconsistency is achieved. It’s been said to have survived through cruel,anti-Christ tyrants; noisome, anti-religion civilizations; persistent, Bible-hatingsocieties; and the effects of nature and time. It should’ve been an easy thingto believe in already, but it is nothing more than a fairytale to some. I usedto despise such men, but now I find myself beside them. What can I say?


I no longer feel this God.


                 Isit really my fault? All these things have been spoon fed to me every day as Iwas growing up, I could only take so much of it and its stories. A story couldonly be interesting for so long, it can only captivate a life by so much. Doyou really expect me to feel as if it has changed my life when it is the onlything in my life that has not changed?  It’s almost funny how I’m supposed to learnhow to grow from something that has not grown for millenniums. I blame it forthe life I have now – routine. What else are the Ten Commandments supposed todo to the lives of men?


                 It’sinteresting how this whole place seems so predictable. This is the first thesewalls have seen me, but the patterns are almost too easy to see. Men come in,women meet them; men sit, women sit on them; women dance, men cheer them; menleave, women leave with them. I can’t help but think that these strings are sonoticeable, not because I am quick for I am not, but because I see this everyday in every street. This is reality, or the perfect image of it, simplified tothe lowest level.


Our world’s a strip club.


                 Itis in more ways than one though. Not only is the world now a pit of dirty moneyand sex, it is continually growing in unconsciousness. Strip clubs and barscapitalize on everything wrong in society today – immorality, greed,selfishness, impersonality. Men and women no longer know what they’re doing orwhy they’re doing it. Revelation is now as rare as sympathy, ignorance ascommon as malevolence. Every man is as irrelevant as a pencil to every man; weall are tools to each other.


                This place smells of the hell of the world,but men see it as paradise. Never did sin seem so sweet than an affordablewoman in high heels and leather clothing. Yet where is the authority? Is it inthe men who have all the money to make these women become whatever they wantthem to be, do whatever they want them to do? Most will agree, yet the heavierI stare at these women and the primates that drool at them, it’s not hard tosee the inferiority of such men. Every sway of these dancers would mesmerizethese drunkards as if they were staring at miracles, as if it is in thesevisits that they find the beauty of life. Such idiotic shallow-headed snails,their worlds are only as small as their shells. They find power in money forthey are convinced that with it they are in control. But all I’m thinking of ishow these uneducated single-mothers who have made every mistake they could, whowe consider the disgrace of women, wield the ability to control the rich andthe poor, the handsome and the ugly, the boss and the worker with only her bosomand her rear. The irony of the world – the strongest and the most powerful can,at times, find themselves controlled by the letdowns.


My life is Minesweeper.


                I have lived by trying to stay away from thehidden mines using the numbers I see and are given to me. These numbers, though,change as I grow up. As an innocent child my numbers were what my mother wouldtell me. Her fragile voice and gentle hands seemed to be with me every time Ineeded them to be. Then, and until know, she’s the best of all mothers, but Iam the worst of all sons. In all honesty, I believe that I do not deserve a miraclesuch as her, and she does not deserve a son such as me. She had sunny hair,sunny eyes, and a sunny smile. She was spring. She was the blooming of flowers,the greening of grass, and the chirping of birds. She brought warmth andnothing else. Every night she would whisper in my sleepy ear, “What good islove without loving you?”


Mother, what is love but biology? It ishormones and nothing else.


                As a boy, it would be my father giving me thenumbers. I had to be tough and a brute, his only son could be nothing short ofthat. He taught me to be the bully, never the bullied for only the bulliesmatter. Until now I do not know if he was the boy shooting the insults or theone swallowing them. Who he is could’ve come from either one. He is animpatient man when it came to the smallest things, but in his seriousness, hebecomes the calmest man I’ve ever seen. I’ve lived with him for almost twentyyears and still I do not know the man.


                Soon, it would be my friends telling me whatto do; and then this God. In college, education was the numbers. I exasperatedall of me to do all I can and it still was not enough. Money took over when Ibecame a businessman. The idea was to get money to get money to get money. Butnow, the numbers are no more; I’m afraid I have to figure this all by myself.


I’m screwed.


                 Ican’t help but wonder what’s after the dead lights and the doors closed. Thesemen return to their empty apartments, and these women go to their second jobs.After tonight, this fantasy of money and sex die to a numb world. Spice will besin and anything without it is acceptable. I look at these women and imaginethem with their unwanted year old babies, parenting them alone. Cigarettes willbe the only thing preventing them to realize that they are already on the brimof the end of dreams, the end of hope itself. They don’t deserve this. They arevictims of the same kind of men that they are dancing in front of now. Idespise such men, monsters who hurt and fake guilt, but at the end of the day,they walk away without a care in the world, as if they are innocent, as if theyare not demons to the lives they have infested. These bastards live by ignoringtheir influence on the people they surround. Watching them makes me realize howmuch the smallest things I do could change someone else in the most dramaticway. I am now afraid of lives that are not my own for I might affect them inthe worst way.


I’m afraid of becoming the bad guy.


                 I’mafraid of becoming them. I’m afraid of becoming a woman-harassing,money-whoring, people-exploiting, life-taking, hope-destroying,children-ignoring, system-manipulating, position-stealing, face-slapping,consciousness-lacking, rights-disrespecting, mindless, careless, heartless,ruthless, merciless, pitiless, spiritless




                I hear a woman scream, a man laugh, and I nolonger need to look behind me to know what has and is going to happen. The ideaof a man’s dirty hand infringing a woman’s body engenders the worst in me. Myblood burns my insides, scarring my veins with its speed. Wrestling inside myhead are a thousand reasons why I should kill the guy. I will die if I don’t. Itake a last shot of alcohol, yet I do not feel its heat anymore. My blood burnsakin to a thousand forest fires. I stand up; my stool falls on the floor with athud loud enough to let everyone know that a killer has his eyes set.


                I walk towards the man and the floor under memelts with my every step. My fists turn into to the roots of giant treesintertwined to become as heavy as a thousand fists. All my muscles have becomethat of a god’s, unbreakable by anything of this mortal world. My eyes arecarved on him, carrying scorn that brings nothing less than death. I standbehind him, breathing in and out seas of air. He has no idea what I am to do,still sitting on a chair that could barely carry him, watching his victimsdancing on stage. I think of a hundred ways how to begin his end.  He yelled for the dancer to undress, and itdisgusted the inner being of me. I tapped his shoulder; he turns around, andwith all the hatred that a man can posses,


I walked away.


                 Whothe hell am I kidding? I know no violence, let alone the ability to kill. I ama coward, a weakling, a wimp, a quitter, like I have always been. My strengthonly exists in words and in thoughts. I return to the bar and swallow morevenom. I do not deserve to live, for the world will not turn its head if I dodie. My life changes nothing. I will spend the rest of my rubbish days nowhereelse but here, drinking all the alcohol they could give me. I stand up and walktowards the exit with only reasons why this should be my last night alive.


Oh, shit.


                 It’seasy to imagine the greatest men in history saying such words in the mostcritical events in their lives – Adam after biting from the apple, the firstman to discover fire, Archimedes in his wooden tub, Caesar seeing Brutus, Newtonstaring at the fallen apple, Napoleon after the Rubicon, Hitler before the gunto his head and cyanide in his mouth. Now I find myself saying such a thing notin the best of my life, but the worst; not in pride, but in shame; not inrighteousness, but in lust.


I saw Her.




Six days later.

                Most may object if I say that my situation isunlike that of others, but it is very true. Although my desire is alsodominated by passion, it is uniquely fueled by sharpened reason. Obsessed foolsdo without contemplating. I am the opposite for I meditate on all my actions,my decisions, my emotions. I meditate on the truth, and the truth is that itwas against nature that I do not already have Her. It is then only reasonablefor me to seize Her by all means necessary.

She is made for me. I own Her.

                Youshould see Her tonight. She moves with grace that could only be from demons.All eyes are under her trance. Her hair is of the darkest black in which menwould lose themselves in and never again find their way. She would convince themthat they need not to anymore. Such a crown carries the scent of nights thatthe gods would turn away from for even the holiest of eyes would turn to saltand burn. Every man who has traced it was driven to the worst of himself, greedconsumed him, anger controlled him.

She carries the snakes of Medusa on her head.

                Only I am unaffected, for in me is everythingnecessary to negate such spells. I was born without the susceptibility to Herand all her ways. She must notice the weight of my stare though. She glanced atme, and in that second, I saw that She knows who I am and what I am to do. Isee her desperation, how much She needs me. Was I to answer such a call? Withouta doubt.

Her eyes are dead.

                Men fall for elegant eyes, but it is illogicalto do so for such eyes could only be deceiving. They were made to fool, todelude men into thinking that under gentle eyes is a gentle soul, but it isnever the case. She is beautiful because her eyes show no life, let alone anyhint of hope. They plead to me, for what else are eyes made for but towordlessly speak to souls. Eyes glimmer to say happiness, they tear to saydepression, and they spark to say hope. Her stare was created dead to tell me Iwas created to fix Her. They call out for me and only me for I am the only onewho could hear and understand what they are saying. No other man could have,for unlike me, they are not made to.

Nature killed her eyes for me to find Her.

                Patiently, I wait for the night to end, forHer to leave the stage, and go home. I follow Her, becoming the silentsilhouette of her every step. She pauses and takes from her bag a metal box, acigarette case. She takes a stick, and lights it. I’ve never seen suchmanipulative hands, and fingers that dance deceit, and with every little movement,bring men to believe. Carved on the edges of her palm are swindled souls, withwhich She is reminded of who She is and will forever be.

No, not love, but lust.

                Lustis the maturity of love for lust is pure desire. In love, there are emotionsthat blur affection. Most often, men desire what is good for who they love, notthe lover herself. How then could it be called devotion when men do not longfor the woman, but for what benefits her? I do not feel concern for Her, or sympathy,or protectiveness. I do not love Her. What I have in me is lust of the purestkind, directed to Her and nothing else.

                She finishes four cigarettes before She entersa gate leading to a white building, around two stories high. On a rusty sign areremnants of letters that I guess should’ve read out ‘Arrow Apartments’. Thereis vandalism everywhere, of profane words, of gang symbols, of cults. It’s ahellhole. Her room is on first floor, 8th door to the right. Sheenters; I walk towards the back of her apartment and stare. What I see waitingfor Her is a man, a lover.

Lust does not envy.

                Lustis supreme for there is no jealousy in lust. Love, of all emotions, is theweakest against jealousy for love does not fixate on the lover, but oneverything else around her. Lust cannot be jealous of men or anything elsebecause in pure lust, man will see nothing but the woman, and he cannot bejealous of things he cannot see.  As Iwatch them make love, I do not see the man She is with. I see Her, and onlyHer. I smell only her sweat, hear only her moans. She is making love withherself, and with no one else.


                Itdoes not last long, for men do not waste time on strippers, even if they aretheir lovers. He stands up quickly, not looking back at Her as if She isregret. Everything seemed like a routine, there is no more awkwardness inleaving. It is as impersonal as tailoring, you go in and you go out.  He is the king of fools though, for She isneither a stripper nor regret, maybe to mortal eyes, but I see Her for who shereally is –

The good sin.

                Sin is not only evil. Augustine said thatthere is goodness in everything. Reversely, I then say that there must be sinin all things, but not all things are evil. Thus, in sin, there is but an inchof goodness, and She is that inch. She is the goodness of sin. It is foolish tosay that She is of the heavens for She embodies the untrue. Her flesh is theepitome of vice, conceived by The Beast himself; his finger traced every lengthof Her. Born out of the lake of fire itself, wickedness smirks in her creationand laughs in her growth.

The Devil made Her for good – to reach me.


                Ashe leaves, She whispers the faintest ‘I love you’. It is untrue though, but itis enough to fool him. He pauses by the door for an eternity, not knowing whatto say or what to do. On her face is a demon’s smile for She knows the dominionShe wields over the man. He is but a game to Her, nothing more than cards thatShe has to manipulate. Her lips inherited the lips of demons for they lie as ifthey speak the truth. Its shape shows the workmanship of the devil’sblacksmith, hammered for a hundred days to immortal perfection. Her lies are somagnificent that even the imps of Hell stand in awe as She speaks them. Hervoice, designed by masters of illusion, made to make every sort of distortionseem real to every sort of man. She speaks of notes that no ear of anyrighteous man can ever endure hearing. It is the orchestra of the underworld,the Beast its curator.


                I watch Her fall asleep in her nakedness,consumed with the beauty of her scarred skin. Every small breadth of it tells astory different from the rest; stories of love and lust, of pain and joy, ofheaven and hell. Chiseled are the symbols of the Devil and the devils of thisworld only to haunt Her as long as She is breathing; they will never let herforget. What else could be more astonishing than the bruises the worldinflicts? It shall not be innocence, for it is but shallow and unsurprising. Itis with this thought that I noticed the most pivotal of all the smallest thingsI’ve seen.


He left the door unlocked.


                Itis surely rare for paramount realizations to come from modest, ignored things.That, though, is what stared back at me. In this moment, I know everythingnature has planned. We are all created for a reason, her lover was created toleave the door unlocked, I was created to enter, and She was created to haveme. Such perfection in nature’s plan, there could be no questioning of it. Allthings around us are created to lead to this minute, designed by both theheavens and Hell. Eventually, they would both want the same thing; this isnothing less than that – the agreement of Heaven and the underworld. As allthose thoughts sway in me, I hurry to her door and freeze right before it. Iturn the knob with all the gentleness in the world, careful not to wake Her.


The room smells of Her, of crime.


                 ThereShe lies so serene. She neither moves nor speaks in her sleep for She does notdream; the world does not allow Her to do so. No hoping for the stripper, letalone one such as Her. Nightmares are her only visions, her only escape fromreality. All that is left for the likes of Her is acceptance of the purest kind– hopelessness. Such truth cannot be denied for her every action echoes it, asif She no longer needs to live, let alone wants to.


                As my eyes, even more, grope her bare body, Iready my heart to finish what nature is asking of me. Indeed, I am hesitant andfrightened, but I do not feel so. Lust has completely consumed all of me that Ihave become numb to every other emotion. Nothing else can dominate a man sothoroughly that he is no longer a man, for men can never achieve completenumbness and serenity. Here dominates lust and nothing else, fueling me tosatisfy my reason of being.


I am an animal.


                 Whateveris natural is superior, and lust is the most natural of emotions. Love does notexist in the animal kingdom, and they are harmonious, while love is elegant inthe human world and we are dying. We need not love, but lust, for lust is ourmost basic instinct, as it is for all animals. I feel for Her perfectanimalistic lust, the kind that gives you single-mindedness and determination ofthe highest kind. Nature gave me the strength of its rivers and steadfastnessof its mountains to do what she demands me to do. My senses are all directed tomy prey, all else are irrelevant and ignored. My every muscle is anxious tojolt, fueled by blood that sprints beyond the power of any human heart couldpush it to. I stand for hours, waiting for the opportunity nature will give me.It will come and I will be ready for it. I am still alive only for this.


I raped Her.


                 Shefights until She couldn’t anymore. I will never stop hearing her muffledscreams, feeling her nails burrowing into my skin, tasting her lips and all ofHer. I wonder why She struggles; does She not understand what nature hasplanned for us? Why is She so afraid of accepting the reason of her existence?She must be unprepared, unready for what fate has for Her. I do not blame herfor such a transgression for it is, indeed, nothing short of intimidating;. Neverdid fate give predictable gifts. Nature, though, is unkind and does not go outof its way for anyone. So I remain unswerving from nature’s plan, I ignore herevery resistance and remain as strong, if not stronger. But there is only onething that lures my stare, only one thing that I see.


Her eyes are dead.


                I see in them no panic, no pain, no pleasure,I see in them nothing. There are no tears when there should be. It did notcringe when it should have. She has stolen her eyes from a corpse that has dieda million lifetimes ago. It is as if the Devil’s daughter painted them on herwith the blood of Hell’s inhabitants. They capture what is left human in me,gazing at me not with hate or appreciation, but with utterly nothing. Even withall my strength and the strength nature has buried in me, I could not drillterror in her eyes.


All along, I was mistaken.


                It was here I understood that nature wasneither finished with me nor Her. The plan of nature, of the gods and the beastare so supreme and infinite that even one such as I cannot comprehend itcompletely or predict its sinuousness. I hear the most terrifying voice in myhead, spoken by a hundred dying women whisper, ‘Her eyes are dead and so everyother part of Her shall be also’. I obey. I chain my hands around her neck andwith all the intensity of nature, I choke Her.


I kill Her.


                 Mynails weld into her skin as if She was created to die under my hands. Her armsclutching my wrists telling me a thousand reasons why I should let Her live. Ifeel the smallest strands of breath barely crawl in her throat to her lungs,desperate to prolong her struggle. I shall not allow such a thing though forstaring at me are the gods and the devils of the all the worlds, restless tothe point of mortal sweat on every inch of their immortal skin. Her legs dancethe death of the dying, furiously kicking to ensure that every ounce of energyin Her is exhausted before her death. Out of her mouth is a soundless screamthat racks the foundations of the earth and the heavens. At times, the smallestbreadth of her voice would find itself out and it would terrify even thebravest of all entities, for in that inch of sound is her life. I see thesymbols the devils carved on her skin disappear, for they are now beginning tobe without any use; She will not be haunted by such things in death anymore. Onher face is all of the pain of all in the world, yet in her eyeballs there isnothing.


Even in dying, her eyes showed no trace oflife.


                The most powerful form of peace is in deathfor only here there is complete stillness. Such silence is deafening, suchcalmness is blinding. Mortal men cannot bear to see a body entirely unmoving.Their eyes yearn for a twitch of an eye, a rise of the chest, a shift of a toe,but it will never come, so they will wait forever. I stare at her corpse and Ithink,


What now?




I look back and I can’t help but smile, andgrin, and snicker, and chuckle, and laugh. Chiseled on my face is a smile thatthe world can never take away. After everything, all I am sure of is this, thateven if I had known that I would be arrested, humiliated, incarcerated, andsoon executed, even if I had known that I would become the menace of society,the disgrace of my family, the letdown of human kind,


I would’ve done it anyway.


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Short Story
writing rafaelluna
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