Even Death Hates This Town
by David V. Mammina
There is no benefit in taking one’s life to heaven or hell if it means stepping foot in this anus of a town. How long I have lived and satisfied the heavens as a celestial assassin only to be punished with this final task? Centuries! I have dreamt of this moment, having taken the ultimate trip in fulfillment of my duties. But this—I can gag before the job is done. Even the baron wastes of Asia Minor offer greater solace than this place. Diker Heights, you are dead to me.
My resume is impressive, for none have escaped me—ever. Be him old or young, handsome or hideous, gay or straight, smart or dumb. They all become mine. That is, until they sit it out in Purgatory. A lone dimension as that can make one ponder a life’s tale. However, there is something about this miserable town that makes my knees buckle.
Perhaps it is the loneliness amid the bustling lot? Every one of them walks like aimless cattle to their next slaughter of their own souls. How many 99 cent stores can one town have? It vexes me! Three on a block, four on another. Of course, in between those are the sidewalks of despair. Old hags retch their breakfast right into the street. Cars and smog-spewing trucks blast their horns at each other, as if the machines are actually communicating. Garbage and half-eaten cat food litter the way. It feels like a gauntlet just making it from one avenue to the next.
There are no displays of affection—no open sentiments of any kind. Instead, there is the smell of rotten culture. The rats lethargically wait until the dead of night to pick their morsels of strewn fish bones and bird carcasses. Scraps and newspapers roll in the wind tunnels and press against the chain link fences, perhaps trying to evacuate the town. There are no places to eat or for children to play. I tell you, as death tells the living, the only reason to step foot into this pit of a town is to escape me. Let that be enough.
I was human once, like you. Middle class by western social standards, my life was average. I lived and I died. And yet, that was the trouble of it. In retrospect, I only existed. There was not enough hardship to know what living could feel like. My dreams were easy whispers in the wind, carrying anywhere and for nothing but pride. I was not wealthy enough to understand power and how it corrupts. There were no lessons learned—no lessons to teach another. In putting it plainly, I was a spark that never caught fire. I was like every lost soul here—a living zombie.
There she sits. As a Halloween pumpkin ravaged by a starving squirrel on the stoop, she squats and eats sugary donuts. Her skin is pale and her eyes are low. If she could see my face, I would shun her. She would know that I have no pity. Since my own life was taken, heaven and hell had no reason to take me. After I claim her vapid soul, it will be price enough to let me have another chance. The wastes of Purgatory have taken its toll on me, but this town has done worse to this pathetic person.
I do not care what she has done to deserve my visit. It matters not a speck. Any one of these apes would do to feed the void. And, still, I hesitate before her. I can’t explain why. I hate this town with such animosity that a mere touch upon her gaunt face would release me of its foul grasp. What is it about this one that makes me shutter? No, it isn’t her. It is the place for which she lives. It is this rancid, hopeless and dreamless town that deters me. If she is to die today, let them all see what life meant to her. Perchance, Diker Heights needs a wakeup call.
I will make something of her life—an example. There is enough natural gas inside this derelict building to blow it and her to the next world. All it needs is a little spark. That is all I was. That is all she is. That is all I need. A loud, deafening blast! Gone! Engulfed in a second by the flame—the hurling debris. Look at how the vermin of this town gasp! At last, they show a flicker of interest in a happening. The traffic stops. The wandering apes look upon it as if it were a lone fire in the frigid night. Good. Let them see what an idle, apathetic person gets in an idle, apathetic town. Good riddance. I bid you all adieu.
About the Author:
Born and raised on Long Island, NY, David V. Mammina grew up in North Lindenhurst as a young boy having written various free writes inspired by his exposure to comic books and video games, along with his will to create better stories than the late eighties and early nineties could provide him. It remains his goal to write novels and short stories containing a solid storyline with deep characters and strong, believable dialogue—having written seven novels thus far.