Simon lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Beside him Angela slept, occasionally she would snore softly. Despite the silence of the house he could feel it, the oppressive pressure that was always there. The house itself had become so steeped in all the noise that it exuded it, even in the quiet of night. He rolled over onto his side, the red light of the clock shone in his eyes, mocking him with the time. He took a long, slow breath, trying to relax his jaw as he did so, it was an old habit, clenching his jaw when he started getting stressed, one he had been unsuccessfully trying to break for years. After a few minutes he swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. He needed some air, the room felt hot, stuffy, like it was closing in on him.
In the kitchen he felt a little better, but it was still there, the clattering of cutlery, the shattering of a glass or a plate, the whining over having to eat vegetables, that someone got more ice-cream than the other one. Everyone just constantly yelling over one another. Simon filled a glass of water with shaking hands, he drained the glass in one long gulp then he put it into the sink. He couldn’t go on like this, no one could go on like this. It wasn’t good for him and it certainly wasn’t good for them. He had tried to make things better, God knew he had tried everything he could, but they seemed resistant to change, unwilling to do anything that might better themselves. So instead he would come home from work, already tired and stressed, to be met with yelling teens, a distant, loud wife and a house that was always a mess. The kids didn’t know how good they had it, complaining with their heads buried in what ever expensive gadget his wife just had to buy for them. And she was no better herself, they had spoken maybe a hundred words to each other in the last month that weren’t related to dinner, what the children wanted, or a fight. The sad part was that of those few words, most were just passing politeness.
Simon sat at the kitchen table, his head was in his hands. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t just go back to bed then get up in the morning like everything was fine. Something had to change. They weren’t always like this. They used to be a happy family, full of love and laughter. He didn’t really know what had changed, there was nothing to pinpoint it after all. The last good time he could remember was a family trip about four years before, they had gone to a cave system nearby, though the name of it escaped him. After that everyone just seemed to get worse and worse. Always snapping at each other, baiting each other into arguments.
Simon took another drink, he didn’t know how long he had been sitting here with the bottle of rum, but it had been full when he started and he had gotten through a good quarter of the bottle. He took another glug, it was nice, having the warmth of the booze spread through his body and with it came a kind of relaxed peace. He could be in the moment, he could enjoy the silence. Outside a car alarm started, Simon winced as the noise wormed its way through his skull, it sounded like the alarm was going off inside his brain. Outside the alarm stopped but he could still hear it, and like opening a flood gates the rest of the noises came with it. He could hear the TV blaring in the sitting room as it played some mindless reality show, the radio was belting out some pop song at full volume. People were yelling all around, though he couldn’t make out what they were saying he recognised the voices. This couldn’t go on, he wouldn’t stand for it any longer.
Simon stood over the body of his daughter, the baseball bat had made short work of her skull. Blood and brains were splattered on the walls, on him. He sighed in relief as her voice died out, leaving only two.
Simon walked through the house, there was no need for anger, not now, the noise had finally stopped. The constant shouting and yelling, everyone screaming for attention at once. He breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly, he went into the sitting room and sat on the couch. There he closed his eyes and luxuriated in the calm. He was coated in blood and bits of brain, it felt sticky and tight on his skin. If only they had listened to him once every now and then, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.