Four Years Ago
“Please, Damian,” she said. “Just give me a second chance!”
“You don’t know me, okay?” I said. “I don't give second chances! So fuck off. Just leave me alone!”
I turned around and opened up the front door to my house, putting one foot in the doorway, leaving my now ex-girlfriend in tears.
“Damian, wait,” she yelled. “Just talk to me. This isn’t like you at all! What’s going on with you right now?”
"Don’t listen to her, Damian," said the voice in my head. "She doesn’t care about you. She just wants to trap you in a dead-end life. Fuck her. You were more fun without her anyway."
“Just go, Sarah,” I said. “Get the hell off my porch and get the fuck out of my life.”
I went into my house and slammed the door in her face. My mom poked her head out from the kitchen, a worried expression on her face.
“Everything alright, Damian?” she asked. “I thought I heard Sarah’s voice. Did you two fight again?”
“Yeah,” I said, a frown tracing its way across my mouth. “But this time it’s final.”
"Don’t tell her any more than that, Damian. She doesn’t really care about you. You were the bastard child of her husband’s affair sixteen years ago, after all. Honestly, she’s probably waiting for you to go off to college."
“I’m going up to my room for a while. Don’t bother me.” Ending the conversation there, I stalked toward my room, slamming the door behind me when I got there. I powered on my computer and waited for the home screen to load. When it did, I pulled up Google and searched “ways to deal with break ups for men.” After a few bogus links, I clicked on the fourth link that was provided to me. It brought me to a dark page with white writing. In big, bold text at the top of the page, it read, “So, you’ve broken up with your significant other?”
“You guessed it,” I muttered, then continued reading.
“This is probably depressing for you. But do not despair. There are plenty of fish in the sea, or, if dating isn’t entirely your thing, there’s always hookers and the school sluts.” I chuckled lightly at that. “But what you have to do is forget about your relationship with this person. The video below is a hypnotism video designed to help you do just that. It will make you happy, but make sure that you are not interrupted while watching the video.”
I read the rest of the page, which was just the legal crap, and scrolled down to the video. I thought to myself, "What a crock of crap. I can’t be hypnotized. I’ve tried it a dozen times before, and it has never worked. I wonder if this one is going to be any different." I clicked the play button and the video started, a simple black and white swirl design spinning on the screen.
Sound came from the speakers: a male voice, very calming and tranquil. “Welcome. If you have headphones, please plug them into the computer before continuing. We wouldn’t want parents getting hypnotized and forgetting about their marriages. Please pause now to get some headphones.”
I paused the video and grabbed my earbuds, plugging them into my computer. I put the buds in my ears and pressed play on the video.
“Did you grab headphones? Great. Now, relax. Let all of your worries flow out of your body. Let the stress of the day escape through deep breaths. When I snap my fingers, you will go into a deep sleep. It will only be for an hour or so, but when you wake up, you will feel as if you’ve just had a tremendous eight hour sleep. Make sure that you’re uncomfortable. Are you ready? In three, two, one…”
I heard a snap, and I blacked out.
I woke up, a pounding at my door, the audio from the video still playing.
“Damian,” I heard my mother say. “Dinner is almost ready.”
“Alright, Mom,” I said. “I’ll be right down.”
I paused the video, but not before I heard something strange: a female voice, different from the male one that started the video, saying, “Hello, Damian. Come get me.”
Finding it strange that a random video on the Internet would know my name, I closed out of the tab, then put my computer to sleep mode. When I opened my door, a face flashed in my mind: bright, electric green eyes, full, red lips, a small nose, not overly small, but cute, and blonde bangs with a few red highlights. Even though it was only there for a second, that face was one that was burned into my memories forever. The voice from the video taunted me: "Hello, Damian. Come get me."
I walked into the kitchen and took my seat at the table. My mom was reaching into the oven, pulling out a stone pan, filled to the brim with what looked like rotini noodles, chicken, cheese, and bacon.
“I found a new recipe online and decided to try it out.” She smiled at me, and I took a rather large spoonful and placed it on my plate. I took a small, unsure bite of the dish. It wasn’t the best dish, but I smiled through it, and the rest of dinner went off without a hitch. At the end, she put on her trademark ruby red lipstick, saying that she was going to a work meeting.
I went back up to my room and woke up my computer from sleep mode. Once again, the face flashed in my eyes, but there were more details this time. Her hair was more present, the locks more like a dirty blonde color with red highlights, which fell softly past her shoulders. Her lips curved up in a slight Mona Lisa smile: if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t even notice it. The voice taunted me again: "Hello, Damian. Come get me."
After trying, and failing, to get the face out of my mind, I figured Facebook would do the trick. So I logged on and scrolled through my feed. I scrolled through a few posts when I noticed something strange: one of my female friends had decided to dye her hair. That wasn’t the strange part, as she dyed her hair quite often. No, the strange part was that she had decided to dye her hair the same colors from the face. The caption said, “I don’t know why, but this color just feels natural for me. J, I think I’m going to keep this one for a while.”
I put that out of my mind and scrolled through post after post until I got to where I’d left off. I quickly went to my timeline where I changed my relationship status from “In a relationship” to “Single” with the caption of “for good this time.”
I was about to close out of that tab and go over to Imgur, another site that I frequented, when a friend request popped up in the window. I clicked it open and scrolled through the person’s profile. Nothing too strange, so I clicked accept and went over to Imgur.
After browsing through pictures, gifs, and albums until I got to where I was before, I browsed Random for a while before I decided it was time to go to sleep. Without changing my clothes, I crawled into my bed, put my head on my pillow, and was out like a light.
The woman turned to the man.
“Hello, Damian. Come get me.”
She turned away, her hair swaying behind her back in slow motion.
“Wait,” yelled the man. “Who are you?”
The woman giggled, a cute laugh that sounded like Christmas bells jingling.
“Come get me.” She smiled. “Wake up and come get me.”
“Damian.” A different voice from the woman’s. “Damian.” Still sultry, but higher. “Wake up, Damian.” The voice was growing louder. “Wake up!”
I shot up in my bed, drenched in sweat. Looking at my clock, I saw that it was midnight, only two hours after I had gone to sleep. I tried for the next half hour to go back to sleep, and ended up failing miserably. My mind was racing, a million questions racing through my mind: Who is the woman? What does she want with me? And, the most important question of all: Why me? Was it because I was now vulnerable? Was she some kind of time travelling assassin and I was her next target? But if that was happening, why did she want me to go after her? It should be the other way around.
“Too many thoughts,” I muttered. I got out of bed to leave my room. My original destination had been the kitchen for a midnight snack, but I lost control over my body and went to my late father’s gun cabinet, grabbing a simple pistol and silencer. I attached the silencer to the pistol and checked the amount of bullets in the magazine. Only one.
"Just let go, Damian." It was the lower woman’s voice. "Just let this happen. No harm will come to you. You will get away safe and sound."
And I did. I let my brain stop, just going through the motions. I walked to my mother’s room, slipping through the open door. I walked up to her bed, a malicious smile etching its way across my mouth. Putting the mouth of the gun a few inches away from her forehead, I slid my finger over the trigger. If I were to pull it now, she would have no clue what had happened. Just a few pounds of pressure, and…
No. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill my own mother. I lowered the gun and flicked the safety on.
"But Damian," said the male voice, "she isn’t really your mother, remember? That buxom secretary your father had the affair with is your real mother. Haven’t you ever noticed how much you look like her and not this woman in front of you? This woman doesn’t even love you. She just wants you out of this house so that she can have the memory of infidelity wiped from her mind."
“Damian?” My mom opened her eyes. “Damian, is that you?”
“Yeah.” I tucked the gun into my waistband. “Yeah. It’s me.”
“What’s wrong?” She flicked on her bedside lamp.
“I thought I heard something. I was checking to see if you’re okay.”
“Thank you, Damian. I’m fine. You can go back to your room now.”
“Okay. Love you, Mom.”
“Love you too, Damian.”
I walked out her room, closing the door behind me. Realizing that I wasn’t about to sleep any time soon, I went back to my room and logged onto Facebook. There was only one notification, a message from the woman who had just friended me. I clicked open the message box and only five words appeared in the text bubble: “Hello, Damian. Come get me.”
Thinking that this might have had something to do with the video, as that was when I first heard the voice, I went back to the website and downloaded the video as an audio file. After doing that, I put the file through a sound-to-text program I had as a favorite website. The sound was placed into a Word document, and I opened that up as soon as it was done. I skipped the first two paragraphs because those were said before the snap that put me to sleep. The next few pages were normal, saying things like “Forget about this painful experience” and “Don’t worry about the future. Be outgoing and women will break down your door.” I skimmed through the rest, not finding anything strange until I found these paragraphs in the converted text:
“You are an incredibly violent person. No one you love actually loves you. You must eliminate them from your life. Eliminate any female or male presence that would make you remember your most recent relationship. Just let go and relax. Let your body go through the motions. Eliminate them. Eliminate them from the face of the earth. They don’t love you. If they did, then why would they have broken your heart? Oh, and make sure you wear gloves when you are eliminating your memories, or clean the weapon well afterward. Don’t worry. You won’t get caught.
“And remember. There are plenty of fish in the sea. She will call to you. You just have to be ready to answer.”
So that’s what this was about! My mom was the one who had set me and Sarah up in the first place, so she would be a reminder of our relationship. Then I realized something: the gun still had my prints on it. I ran down to the kitchen and grabbed a dish towel, frantically scrubbing the gun of any evidence showing that I had held it.
"You have to be more careful next time, Damian." The male voice was back. "If you keep doing stuff like that, you and your true love, who obviously isn’t Sarah, will never meet. Go tell Sarah how you feel. Oh, and this time, bring gloves."
“Right now?” I asked the voice in my head. “It’s barely twelve-thirty in the morning.”
The voices in my head were silent.
“Screw you, too, then,” I muttered, and went back to my room, carrying the gun with the towel over it. I hid the gun in my sock drawer and crawled into my bed. I spent about fifteen minutes trying to figure out why I couldn't kill my mom when I realized it: I couldn't kill her because I didn't want her out of my life. As soon as I realized it, though, I was out like a light.
“Hey, Damian,” Sarah said, “why don’t we do Joker and Harley this year?”
“Why?” I asked, going through the costumes.
“I don’t know, something different. We’re always Superman and Wonder Woman. It’s getting kinda repetitive.”
“Okay. Sure, why not?”
I grabbed a Joker costume and changed into it, immediately adopting the persona of Joker.
“Harley, baby, are you ready yet?” I yelled. Hearing no reply, I went searching for her. I heard moaning coming from one of the dressing rooms and went to investigate. When I got to the room with the moaning, I threw the door open. Inside, Harley had her mouth pushed up against that of an Arkham guard.
“Harley, just what in the fuck are you doing?” I yelled.
“Mistah J!” She pulled away from the guy she was sucking face with. “What are you doing here?”
“Searching for you. Are you cheating on me?” I asked calmly, giggling a little.
“What?” she asked.
“I said, are you cheating on me?” I yelled.
Harley started crying. “Yes, Mistah J, yes. I’m cheating on you.”
I started full on laughing and said, “That’s just what I wanted to hear.”
I pulled out my gun and aimed it at her head.
I opened my eyes and found myself staring down the sights of my silenced pistol. Looking around at my surroundings, I noticed that I was in a room that I had been in only once before: Sarah’s bedroom. As I glanced at her bed, I noticed two people: Sarah, of course, and an unidentified male, who was probably the man she had cheated on me with. I then realized that I had no control over my motions, like when I had almost killed my mom.
I held my pistol up to her forehead and said, “Hello, Sarah.”
She cracked open her eyes, and those magnificent electric green orbs of joy and laughter that I had adored so much widened in shock when she found herself staring down the barrel of a gun.
“Damian, what are you doing?” she asked, fear seeping into her voice.
“Just checking in. Oh, and I’m going to kill you and your new boy toy by the end of tonight.”
Sarah opened her mouth to scream, but I shoved the silencer in her mouth before she could. “Please don’t do that. I only have one bullet and would hate to waste it on your mother. Do you understand?” When she nodded, I took the gun from her mouth.
“Why are you doing this?” asked the man, sitting up in the bed.
“Because I was told to eliminate any memory from my most recent relationship. When I eliminate the person, any memory of them will be gone from my head.” I walked over to the man and extended my hand. “I’m Damian, as Sarah said. And you are?”
“D-David.” He grabbed my hand and received a small shock.
“Never gets old. Nice to meet you, David. Good to meet the person who fucked up the most serious relationship I’ve ever had.” I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. “Both of you, on your knees, on the floor, now.” When neither of them moved, I showed the gun. “Do you need any more motivation?”
They both got up and knelt on the floor in front of Sarah’s bed.
“You know what?” I said. “I’m feeling generous tonight. Plus, I’m feeling a little like the Joker right now. Tell me your best joke. Whoever tells the best joke gets to live. The other… Well, they die. Are the rules clear?”
They both nodded.
“Excellent. Sarah, you go first.”
“Okay. Uh, what did Hitler get his niece for Christmas?” she asked.
“What?” I questioned.
“An Easy Bake Oven.” A slight smile graced the lips I had kissed only days before.
“Offensive does not always mean funny, Sarah!” I trained the gun on her. “David, I believe it is now your turn.”
“Okay. So, uh, a teacher was teaching her second grade class about the government, so for homework that one day, she told her students to ask their parents what the government is. When Little Johnny got home that day, he went up to his dad and ask his what the government was. His dad thought for a while and answered, ‘Look at it this way: I'm the president, your mom is Congress, your maid is the work force, you are the people and your baby brother is the future.’ ‘I still don't get it,’ responded the Little Johnny. ‘Why don't you sleep on it then? Maybe you'll understand it better,’ said the dad.
“ ‘Okay then... good night,’ said Little Johnny and went off to bed. In the middle of the night, Little Johnny was awakened by his baby brother's crying. He went to his baby brother's crib and found that his baby brother had taken a crap in his diaper. So Little Johnny went to his parent's room to get help. When he got to his parent's bedroom, he looked through the keyhole to check if his parents were asleep. Through the keyhole he saw his mom loudly snoring, but his dad wasn't there. So he went to the maid's room. When he looked through the maid's room keyhole, he saw his dad having sex with his maid. Little Johnny was surprised, but then he just realized something and thinks aloud, ‘OH!! Now I understand the government! The President is screwing the work force, Congress is fast asleep, nobody cares about the people, and the future is full of shit!’ ”
A big smile grew on my face. I turned to Sarah, retraining the gun on her face. “See, Sarah?” I said. “That’s how you tell a joke without offending everyone in the room. Okay, David, you’re safe. Scoot back a little, but bow your head.”
A questioning look appeared on his face, but he was wise in not asking whatever question he had in his head. He scooted back a little and bowed his head, which was now even with Sarah’s.
“When I woke you up, I said, ‘Hello, Sarah.’ Now, when putting you to sleep, I will say, ‘Goodbye, Sarah.’ And good riddance.”
I walked over to the side of her head and pulled the gun even with her head and David’s.
The male voice in my head raised its voice. "Just a few pounds of pressure, Damian. A few pounds of pressure, and these two will be out of your life, and your memories, forever. Just a few pounds of pressure, and this will all be over."
Just because these people ruined my life doesn’t mean they have to die. The gun started growing heavy in my hand.
"It’s now or never, Damian. Pull the trigger."
My finger slid over the trigger.
"Do it." The voice was getting more forceful.
My thumb flipped the safety off.
“Goodbye, Sarah.” "Just a few pounds of pressure."
A slight popping sound emerged from the gun. Sarah slumped backward and David forward, both dead where they lay.
I regained control of my body just as I blacked out.
The woman started to kiss the man.
She pulled away and said, “Thank you, Damian. Now we can be together. All you have to do is come get me.”
I opened my eyes and glanced at the two bodies that lay on the ground, dead. I frantically looked around for the person who had shot them when I felt something heavy in my hand: a silenced pistol. Why would I have a gun? Unless…
Unless I had been the one who had shot them.
“No, no, no, no!” I whispered. I couldn’t live with myself like this. I raised the gun to the side of my head and pulled the trigger.
A male voice spoke in my head, "Well done, Damian. You have successfully gotten rid of your own memories. You now have only one task: find her."
“Find who?” I asked. “Who are you talking about?”
The voice was silent.
The doorknob. Someone was trying to get into the room. Had someone heard the commotion? No matter. I opened the window, climbed out, and started running just before the door opened.
I could hear the scream halfway down the street.
They still haven’t caught me. I’ve been laying low for the past four years, waiting for them to find me and put a bullet in me. Their faces still haunt me. The look of shock on their faces, the small holes in their heads.
And the other face. Oh, that beautiful face. Those bright, electric green eyes staring into my soul. Those full red lips, just begging me to kiss them. Her long blonde hair, the red highlights complementing her eyes perfectly. Her voice taunts me every day when I wake up and every night when I go to sleep: “Hello, Damian. Come get me.”
Throughout the past four years, I have made an effort to avoid that house. If I had to walk past it for any reason, I wore a hat, never the same one, low over my eyes. On the news, the mother of the girl said she hadn’t even seen the face of the person, and the gun was unregistered. They had zero leads. For some reason, my mom had brought me to the funerals. She must have known them because I sure didn’t.
Then, one year ago, on the third anniversary of the night I killed those two, my mom passed away unexpectedly. Doctors found nothing wrong with her. I was devastated. I moved away for about six months but moved back about five and a half months ago. For some reason, I felt as though I had to go back.
I felt as though I had to go back to the house.
When I walked by was when everything went straight down to Hell.
It was on the fourth anniversary of the deaths when I decided to walk by without a hat. The weather was cloudy, so a hat wouldn’t have made any sense on that day. Knowing that the mother of the girl would be crying, as she normally did on this day, I got four white roses from the local floral shop and walked over to the house.
When I got there, I knocked on the door and waited. About ten seconds later, the mother opened the door. Mascara ran down her face, running from her bloodshot eyes, evidence that she had been crying.
“Damian,” she said. “What do you want?” A scowl started to grow on her face.
“Just to say that I apologize for your loss. I, too, know what it’s like to lose a loved one. My dad died when I was ten, and my mom died just last year.”
I hadn’t registered my mistake as I handed her the roses. I hadn’t registered my mistake when I saw her eyes widening after what I had said. I hadn’t registered my mistake until I had gotten home. If I had, well, then, I wouldn’t be in this mess.
A good catchphrase popped into my head: “I’m sorry and I apologize mean the exact same thing. Unless you’re at a funeral.”
I hadn’t realized that I had said “I apologize” instead of “I’m sorry.”
I had just confessed.
I was screwed.
About five minutes after I had returned home, sirens sounded outside my door.
“This is the police. We have you surrounded, Damian. Come out with your hands in the air where we can see them.”
I complied. Even though I wanted to die, I knew I couldn’t. I still needed to find her. They slapped the cuffs on my wrists, threw me in the back of one of the squad cars, and transported me to the police station.
They put me into an interrogation room. I crossed my arms over the table and put my head down in my arms, closing my eyes. I heard a quiet argument outside the room, muffled because of the heavy wooden door separating us. Finally, the door cracked open, and one set of footsteps entered the room.
My eyes shot open. "No," I thought to myself. "No, this cannot be happening to me!"
Slowly bringing my head up, I studied the person seated in front of me. A simple grey tee hugged her body, and a red leather jacket fit snugly over her shoulders, with her badge situated perfectly over her heart. She wore no makeup, save for the ruby red lipstick which I’ve seen for the past four years and have been literally dying to kiss. Her bright, electric green eyes hadn’t dulled since I had first seen them. Her blond hair had the red highlights that I just loved.
"It’s her, Damian," the male voice said excitedly. "You’ve finally found her!"
“You,” I said, awed.
“Me? You know me? Because I think I would know the person who had hid perfectly under the radar for four years after committing two murders.” She raised her eyebrows, which were half red and half blonde, waiting for my answer.
“Uh, yeah. I’ve seen you patrolling around town.”
“Interesting. So, Damian. Are you going to lawyer up, or do you want to tell us everything right now?”
My lips went numb, and I lost control of my voice, the voice in my head making me say “I’ll tell you everything I know, but only under two conditions. The first is that my confession not be recorded. The second is that you kiss me for ten seconds afterwards. If those two things happen, and those things have to happen together or not at all, I’ll tell you everything that I can remember.”
She left the room, presumably to talk to her superior. Another cop came in to watch me.
“She seems kinda young to be doing this kind of thing. How old is she?” I asked.
“Right. Like I’m going to tell you that.” He glared at me, his face stoic as stone. I never broke eye contact with the guy. Less than two minutes after the girl left the room, she came back in.
“Alright.” She nodded to the other guy, and he left the room. “We’ll do both.” She sat back down at the table and switched off the microphone.
I told her everything I could remember, from waking up in the girl’s room, to leaving and hearing the scream. I told her about the voice in my head at the very end of my confession. “It said, ‘Well done, Damian. You have gotten rid of your own memories. You now have one task: find her.’ ”
“And who was this voice talking about?”
“You,” I sat back in my seat finishing my statement.
She was taken aback by my final words. “Me? Why me?”
“I don’t know. All I know is that I had to find you, and now I have.”
“But there are still more questions, such as: why did you kill them? How did you get into their house without making any noise or alerting anyone of your presence? And how did you keep off the radar for four years?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know, and by being careful. I didn’t leave any evidence at the scene of the crime, so I wasn’t even a suspect to begin with. It’s pretty easy to lie low if you aren’t under any kind of surveillance. Now, since I’m done with my confession…”
“Right.” She got up and walked over to me.
“Before we start, I would like to know two things: your name and your age.”
“I’m twenty-two, and my name is Carly.”
“Such a sweet name. Whenever you’re ready, Carly.”
She sighed and placed her lips on mine. The next ten seconds were the most blissful ever in my life. When she pulled away, her eyes were different, brighter, and more electric.
I smiled. Finally, after four years of being taunted by her face, I had done it.
“Hello, Carly. I’ve got you.”