The Final Straw.

Hope everyone had a good weekend, mine was fairly tame, spent most of it sleeping or being tired. Didn’t get up to much really. I’ve started watching Battlestar Galatica, never seen it before and it’s on Netflix so I figured why not? I’m also occasionally watching episodes of Buffy, which is also on Netflix, which seems to be a deciding factor in what television I watch lately.

On with the show!


I always said I wouldn’t change when it happened. We agreed, though I think out of both of us, I was the only one that actually believed it. I always knew you thought I would change, I could always see it in your eyes when you said it. You said it for my sake and every time I knew I would show you that you were wrong. Well, I guess in the end you were right. Not that that is too surprising, I had to change, so did you, we had to, to survive. Sure we could have continued in our idealistic ways but the world would have crushed us to a pulp. In my naiveté I thought we could change things, that we’d be different. That’d we’d usher in a new era, only to arrive at the destination and find that everything was unchangeable, it was the same and it always would be. I’ve done terrible things, terrible things that I had to do, there was no choice. You’ve never talked about it and nor have I, but I’m sure that you’ve done awful things too. That little open secret, that everyone knows and no one will talk about. Of course they can’t. why would they? Because there’s always the risk that who ever they confide in haven’t’ done anything. That they will look at you, shocked and appalled, and it will bring about your downfall. That’s the beauty of it all. We live in fear of anyone else knowing, so it keeps us static, paralysed. We can’t rise up against the injustices as a group, instead we’re left to rot in our own private prisons.

I’ve killed many people, I’ve lied and cheated, I’ve extorted and bribed and I’ve never felt remorse. Not until tonight.

It was supposed to be simple. That was all. Blackmail, and if that didn’t work, a little murder. He knew how the game was played, knew what it was worth and everything was going smoothly, until he tried to screw me over. I don’t know how he thought he’d get away with it, I don’t know why he decided to try. Maybe his wife put him up to it, hoping to increase their station. All I do know is I had to kill them all. It’s different, killing children. So much different.

I started with him first. Gave them some time. I thought it would be simple. His wife would run with the kids, report it to the police, I’d bribe them, robbery gone wrong and they’d pin it on some scumbag, right? That’s how it’s supposed to work. Not this time though. She stayed. The stupid bitch stayed and forced me to do it. I heard her, screaming, shouting. She was brandishing a gun, where she got it I don’t know. The children behind her, one hand trying to guide them. What the hell did she think she was doing? She probably never even held a gun before. The hem of her dress kept tangling in her feet, she stumbled a few times, I knew that she’d fire the damn thing accidentally any second, so self-preservation kicked in. I shot her. Right in the chest. The gun in her hand went off, but the bullet was wild. She fell backwards, knocking her kids down. She told them to run but they didn’t listen either. There wouldn’t be enough money to get me out of this. I knew it, so did she. That’s why she told them to run. People would be up in arms, they’d want to know who killed the kids parents. If everyone died, well, there’d be no witnesses. I could claim I went to the house, talked to the guy, then left. Everything was normal. That was all I had to do. That was it and I’d be safe. So I did it. They were crying when it happened. The eldest went first. I doubt the youngest knew what was going on. All she heard was a lot of loud noises and people stopped moving. I hope she didn’t understand. I panicked. There was so many things I could have done instead, I could have just hit her in the leg and run, I could have said she went crazy, shot her husband and attacked me.

I left the house calmly. Ditched the gun. No one saw me leave, I’m sure of it. Not that it matters now. I didn’t try to hide the bodies, or what I’d done. I considered burning down their house, destroy all the evidence. That’ll tell you how fucked up I was. Didn’t even think of the runaway fire that could have happened. Thousands more could have died.

It happened only a few hours ago, but it feels like longer. So much longer. I’m sorry I have to do this to you. To everyone. I have the documents I kept as insurance, for a day like this. I can’t do it. I can’t live with this. I’m sending this to everyone I can think of. Everyone will know. What they choose to do with it all is up to them. You are not the only one to get this letter, but no one will know who you are, no one but you. I never said it before, but I love you, you were like family to me. More so than my own. I don’t think I’d have made it this far without you there. Thank you for that.

I’m sorry.

He paused for a moment, then he pressed print. There was nothing else to say. He hoped it made sense to those who read it. The printer whirred to life, spitting out copies. Finally it stopped, once it did he began to stuff the envelopes, working quickly. He didn’t know how much time he would have. He gathered the packets and left his apartment. The streets were clean and devoid of homeless, one of the luxury’s money could afford him. He mailed the letters in seven different post boxes. Some of them would have to make it. Once he was done, he returned home. He considered eating something, having some kind of last meal, but the thought made him feel sick. He wasn’t hungry and even if he was he wouldn’t be able to keep anything down.

Back in his apartment he walked around it briefly, looking at all the times he had collected, all the quaint things picked up on his travels. The little mask pressed into his hand by a mother, trying to force him to buy it as her baby cried into her chest. He paid twelve cent for it. A fortune in her eyes. His paintings, his statues. Works of art, most were priceless. Gifts from the artists themselves. Not that it mattered now.

He sat in front of his computer and got the email ready, once it was composed, he filled in the recipient box, over six hundred addresses. Personal and business. He took a deep breath, then clicked send. Most of them wouldn’t make it to their targets. Once they knew what he was doing they’d do everything they could to stop him. Not that it mattered to him. He had to end it now. Everyone knew it was better to end it than to be caught. He didn’t want to spend the rest of his artificially extended life in the prison system. They’d torture him every day for the fun of it. He had no information to give them, no way he could make a deal. No. this was for the best. He picked up the gun that was sitting next to the keyboard, the one he had used not so long ago. He hoped that it would be painless, that it would be quick. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, then pulled the trigger.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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