I used to live in the fringe. Before I know it 10 years has passed since then and yet the stench still clings to my very skin. A very rotten stench of poverty, desperation and debauchery. People there falls under two categories: the ones covering up the stench of their wretchedness by temporary bliss and people who says "fuck it", don the stench like an armour or a badge of honor. It was hell on earth. You're never safe even inside your own house. The monsters could even be the very people you hold close. Your family. Your friends. Each to their own. People disappear all the time. Even I, a six year old kid then, have become numb of all the tragic stories.
I still remember. All the horrors etched into my memories. I can't scrub them away. One fateful June night. It was stormy. The winds howl, the windows scream, the roof flies. There was a bloodied hand holding a bloodied knife. It was mine. There were also blank eyes staring at the ceiling as tens of knife holes in the body gush blood out. It was my father's. Or what used to be my father before he was consumed by his failure. Or maybe it was drug that consumed him? As far as I'm concerned it's the same thing. Or wait, it wasn't drugs that's responsible this time. It was me. I was the one who stab the drugs out of his system. I feel like a saviour. I saved him from himself.
I see my mom too, shell-shocked with what she witnessed. Her six year old daughter, stabbing her abusive husband until she has more of his blood on her than he has on him. That's all she ever did, watch. Maybe she thought that staying away from the radar makes her innocent. She never got angry. She never cried. All she ever do is smile at me every time father is done expressing his familial love.
"Oh honey, I'm sorry," she would always start. "Forgive him, he's not himself. You understand, right?"
Her eyes always look unfocused when she says that to me. Not believing a single word of her lies.
The next day after the incident, she hanged herself. I woke up hungry. No food in the table. I didn't realise until three days later. Seems like she hanged herself in the very place I stabbed father, in their bedroom. Such a touching love, no?
On the day I discovered her corpse. There was a resounding knock that came from the front door. I was too hungry to move. Too hungry, I didn't even realized a man in a trench coat entered and watch me as I lie in the couch.
"Want to go to Paradise with me, young lady?" A cold mechanical voice came from the man in the trench coat.
"Do you have meat," a raspy voice of mine asked back.
"As much as you'll ever want in your life."
That's all I ever had to hear. I nodded my head before I lost my consciousness. The next day, I woke up and didn't smell the stench of fringe. I'm free.
Now, ten years have passed. Here he is again, the man in the trench coat. His trench cost is hanging by the rack. A youthful face with a sunny smile greeted me. This is the second time we're seeing each other. He never appeared again after taking me away from the fringe.
"Mr. Hamilton," I greeted.
"The young lady has grown up, I feel like tearing up," he wiped some non-existent tear in his eye then gave me a beaming smile. "My time has come. Paradise in now in your hands."
A heavy silence descended into the room. He looked young and healthy. It is his time? He's giving Paradise to me? Why me?
"Why me?" I voiced out my last question out loud.
He gave another beaming smile, stood up from his chair and stood next to me. He's a head taller than I am. I had to look up to him to meet his gaze. It was soft and gentle. Like he's looking at his precious treasure. He lifted a hand and caressed my cheek with a feather like touch. His hands were cold. Just like his voice.
"Because you know the truth. No one else deserve this place but you."
A chill ran through my spine. A nightmare I was suppressing came rushing back to mind.
~end of part 1~