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Always Glad to Help

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Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my family, most of the time anyway. I mean they’re cool and all, my dad works at a small law firm and my mom generally stays at home with me and my younger brother, Tyson. Tyson was quite the character, a quaint tow-headed child about four years younger than myself.

Like I said, I love my family MOST of the time, we had our ups and downs. My parents liked to act happy, and I could tell they really tried at it, but it’s hard to hide yelling when you live in a small suburban home. My brother wasn’t without issue either, he often picked fights with the other children around his middle school, most of the time resulting in his utter annihilation by a kid twice his size.

This isn’t to say that I was without incident. My dad always told me that my depression was just a sign of being a teenager that everyone would go through it at least once.

I got through mine alright, with a rope.

I remember waking up in the hospital. They had me handcuffed to the sides of the elevated bed, my head in a position where I could just make out the newscast on the television hanging on the roof in front of the bed. It was a live report, the reporter was standing outside of a small ranch style home which I quickly recognized as my own home. Confused I contorted myself the best I could in my bindings, trying to get the best view of the TV.

The TV’s sound was off but the subtitles were still on.

“…here in this tiny neighborhood a terrifying event recently occurred. A family of four was found dead here Saturday evening, including a middle aged male and female, and two boys, aged 13 and 17. Investigations suggest a triple homicide, the 17 year old male suspected as the killer.

Neighbors investigated the home after hearing multiple shouts late into the evening. Upon arrival at the scene, police report finding the bodies of the three victims, identities yet to be disclosed. As the house was further investigated the 17 year old male was found hanging from a ceiling rafter in one of the home’s bedrooms, he is currently hospitalized and will be interrogated upon release.”

I couldn’t bare to watch anymore, I turned away, closing my eyes I shifted down in my bed, a sharp pain shooting through my neck. I felt around it, and sure enough there was a bruise wrapping around my neck, every touch to it brought pain.

The next few days in the hospital were a blur of pain killers and terrible food. Of course I couldn’t eat the food myself so I was mostly spoon-fed watered down tomato soup by nurses pretending not to be terrified of me. As the days went by the pain in my neck didn’t get any better, if anything it got more constant, the pain slowly becoming more of a burning sensation.

My last night in the hospital was on the 5th of May, I remember it clearly, surprisingly seeing as I’m sure the amount of morphine I was on in that hospital couldn’t have been legal. I fell asleep early that night since I knew that the PD would be there early in the morning and I could clear this whole thing up.

As I slowly drifted into unconsciousness the familiar haze of dreaming began to slip over my mind. I opened my eyes to find myself sitting in the den of my house. The TV was on, Jeopardy, or some similar game show was playing on the large flat-screen, I never paid much attention to them so they all just seemed to kind of blend together into one big mess of shattered hopes to make it rich fast. My mom and dad were on the sofa next to me, focused intently on the television, while my brother sat in the kitchen, slumped over his homework.

I got up and stretched, heading toward my room in the back of the house. My room was safe haven in life, it’s where I sat up for hours laughing and playing X-Box with my friends for hours into the night while I was younger. Lately it was a place for me to be alone and reflect on life without anyone disturbing me.

I opened my door. It was dark in my room, the light from the den was too far down the hall to reach into the dark recesses of my room, and so I stepped inside, closing my door and groping around the wall next to the door until I found the light switch.

I wish I had never managed to flip that switch, I wish someone had woken me up, or the cops had arrived earlier than anticipated or something that would’ve woken me from my sleep.

When the room illuminated with the white light from the naked LED bulb in my ceiling I knew something was wrong. Everything was orderly, my bed in the far corner was made, and the clothes that I could’ve sworn were littering my floor when I left it were in the hamper that sat next to my TV stand. My once cluttered nightstand now stood bare except for a single piece of lined notebook paper.

I made my way into my room slowly, approaching the nightstand cautiously. The paper on the nightstand was folded in half, there was no marking on the outside of the paper. Curiously, I grabbed it, unfolding it.

The note was written entirely in dark red ink, easy to read. It read:

Well friend, it seems like you’re feeling a bit down. Don’t worry, things are a lot easier over here on the other side. I know how much you’ve thought about this ‘stage’ you’re going through, and don’t worry, you can make it all go away with the little bit of rope I hid under your bed for you. But oh, I know how much you love your family, I mean why should they have to suffer any longer? Your mom and dad could be happy together, your brother could stop getting into fights. I left something under your bed for them too.

Always glad to help,
A friend

By the end of the letter I was trembling. I dropped it and sat down on the bed, breathing heavily. Could someone really know about my depression? About my parents fighting?

I slowed my breathing and laughed. This must’ve been one of those lucid dreams, you know, those dreams that you could control, I knew that this wasn’t real. Why couldn’t I wake up?

Calmed down, I let my curiosity get the best of me, cautiously I got down onto my knees, pulling up the sheets that came down to the floor and obscured the area under my bed.

The darkness was thick, but if I squinted I could make out the outline of an object against the darkness under the bed. Carefully, I reached in and slid them out. As the object slid into the light my stomach lurched. In my hands was an old coil of hemp rope, frayed on the one end I could see. Tied in a knot about a quarter of the way down the length was a large knife, like what you would expect to find in a professional kitchen.

I felt sick, standing up I dropped the rope, leaning on my bed for support. If these was a dream why was I feeling so sick? Why was my sense of dread so real? So terrifying?

Gaining my balance I made my way to the door, running through it and slamming it closed. I made my way to the den as fast as I could.

When I reached the living room everything was normal. The TV was playing some infomercial, I could see my parents’ heads over the top of the sofa. Tyson was still working on his homework in the kitchen, I could still see his shadow on the kitchen wall.

I let out a heavy sigh of relief. “What are you guys watching?” I asked my parents, making my way toward the couch. They didn’t respond.

“Mom, dad?” I edged my way around the couch cautiously, the air felt like it was pressing down around me at this point, my breaths grew longer.

My parents looked almost peaceful there on the couch, their open eyes still fixated on the TV. Their faces were soaked in blood, the letters X O carved into their foreheads, the wounds still bleeding. I let out a loud scream, covering my mouth quickly to stop the storm of puke I could feel flowing up from my stomach.


The thought hit me like a freight train, I lost my balance again, stumbling back until I hit the wall.

My hand brushed something wet on the wall. Holding my hand up into the light I could see the dark crimson liquid that now coated my finger-tips. I turned around, backing up until the full wall came into view.

I knew you wouldn’t have done it, so I did it for you. They’re much happier now.

Always here to help,
A friend

I couldn’t hold it in anymore, I got sick right at that very moment, retching violently. Not being able to stand anymore I mustered up as much strength as possible and crawled toward the dining room.

Again, everything was peaceful in the dining room. The fan we had going in the corner to combat the summer heat was turning lazily. At the table Tyson’s head was propped up on his hands, looking down at a bloodstained paper. The blood was pooling on the table, dripping off of its edge and staining the white-tiled floor red.

I collapsed onto my back, hyperventilating, black spots dancing across my eyelids as I did my best to catch my breath.

Suddenly, I felt a warm sensation on my forehead, then another, and another. I opened my eyes slowly, my vision still being blurred I was barely able to make out the letters staining the ceiling of my dining room.

Wow, look at the mess you made, I’d get out of here before the police show up if I were you, just a bit of friendly advice.

Always here to help,
A friend

As much as I hate to admit it, whoever this ‘friend’ was, was right. I pawed my way to my bedroom, my knees trailing blood along the carpeted floor of my den and hallway.

Finally in my room, I didn’t bother to close my door. Pulling myself to my feet I tried to figure out every area of my room where my cars keys would conceivably be, in my nightstand, on my computer desk, under my bed…

Under my bed. The rope. I looked down and there it was, still peeking out from under my bed was the frayed rope. Gulping I reached down and picked it up, pulling it out entirely. The knife that was once tied into the rope was now gone, instead, at the end of the rope that was concealed by a rope was tied into a noose.

Shakily I climbed onto my bed, throwing the untied end around the rafter in my ceiling and tying it into a makeshift slip-knot. “This is a dream,” I kept telling myself, “you wake up in dreams when you’re about to die in a dream right?” Steadily, I lowered the noose around my neck, tightening it up to the point where it felt uncomfortable to breathe. Taking a deep breath I took a step forward off of my bed, stepping into thin air.

In the last second of that dream I swear I could see the shape of a man outside my window.

I had a visitor come to see me in my cell yesterday. He has some good ideas about ways to make me happier. I think we could be friends.

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