I know this will probably not get read, and even if it does, you don’t have to believe me. I’m writing this merely for myself as a way of keeping my own sanity.
So it was sometime in April last year that I first started applying for jobs to fund my University studies. I would lie awake in my dark dorm room at night going through ad after ad, applying to the ones that interested me. Although I was majoring in engineering at George Mason University, any sort of work with a little income to help my studies was fine, after all beggars can’t be choosers.
Days and nights went by still with the same response, "Sorry, unfortunately your CV does not match our criteria," or, "The job you have applied for has already been filled."
In the midst of an economic depression, I began to wonder if I was ever going to get a reply. With this in mind, I decided to do something I never thought of previously and instead of online applications, I started looking at ads in local newspapers and notice boards in town.
One morning in early May, I was out in town with a few friends going for a nice drink after a hard day of tedious lecturing. It was Friday and we were all relieved that the weekend had arrived. On the way to the Café, I noticed a newspaper on an empty bench by the sidewalk. I wanted to know the football fixtures for the weekend so I picked it up and looked at the sports section. Although, looking for jobs had almost completely left my mind by then I decided to have a quick glance at the job vacancies section for the hell of it.
As I skimmed through the ads, I happened to stumble across a particular ad that did catch my eye. It read:
"Discreet assistance required, meet outside Virginia Square Metro station at 13:00 May 4th for more information on what will be required".
The colours of the ad and clarity seemed to be blurred and out of line but I simply put this down to the printing press and technical faults. Yet it stood out.
Intrigued, I took a mental note. As I turned to join my friends after casting aside the paper, a glimpse of the words, "Seven Year Old Girl Missing", caught the corner of my eye but I merely ignored it as it had no concern to my welfare. Fractals make me happy.
I went back to my dorm that evening thinking about the ad I’d seen earlier and questioned its legitimacy; the way it was written was very profound, what did it mean by ‘Discreet assistance’? May 4th was tomorrow (Saturday); tired from lectures I decided to hit the sack and sleep on the decision on whether to go to the station tomorrow.
Awakened by my room-mate Liam, it was mid-day and the only sleep I had gotten only lasted for an hour or so. Liam woke me up saying I had been screaming in my sleep. The strange thing is, I have no recollection of having any dreams that night: just a void blackness in my mind. The ad had been on my mind all night and in order to conquer its enigma, I hopped on the bus to take the short journey down to the station.
Thankfully, outside the station there happened to be many people and this did give me some assurance, I would never have done this if it wasn’t in broad daylight and busy. As the clocks struck precisely 13:00, a harsh but soft voice whispered in my ear, a voice that contradicted itself in its very nature. I couldn’t explain it, it was as if his soul had been sucked from him and his lifeless words were creeping into my ear drums. My heart sank and I soon realized I should never have done this.
He uttered the words, "Come, there is much to be learned, you may call me the Professor."
I had no intention of doing so and had no idea by what he meant. As I turned to face the mystery man, I blacked out. Writing now, it was as if the sound of his voice and its frequency caused my brain to shut down unwillingly.
I awoke to the strong smell of antiseptics and sterile equipment. The walls were painted white but with hints of ruptured plaster towards the top. The lights flickered above me as my vision finally began to clarify and the sound of footsteps echoed down the hard marble floor towards me. To my dismay, I had been restrained by leather straps and my freedom to move had gone. This feeling of utter hopelessness overwhelmed me, I had no idea of what had happened to me, I started to panic and tears started streaming down my face. Visions of my family were vivid in my mind, how I wished I could be with them now, home, safe and secure.
"Now now, there is nothing to worry about, trust me you are doing a big favour to Mankind by being here," said the Professor.
It was then when I finally realized the appearance of my nightmare. Dressed in a white cloak, with the look of a surgeon or scientist; he had deep-set, cold heartless eyes which flickered, darting unintentionally from side to side. The most prominent feature of all was a weird looking mold-coloured growth, somewhat like a tumor, on the right side of his forehead.
"Please… W-what is going o-on? L-let me g-go."
I heard no reply. Suddenly a slight prick rippled through my body starting from my left arm. I had been injected. It was around this time things started to get weirder. I could hear the screaming of a small girl down the hallway sobbing and crying for her mother. At the same time she was laughing, or at least I thought she was, I couldn’t quite make out the distinction. I started laughing myself, I couldn’t help it. I literally, let out a big laugh although inside I felt completely dead and sombre. What had this man done to me, he just watched over me grinning at the outcome of his injection.
"This is a cruel world to be living in, my friend. In order to be true to your being, you need to smile."
After this, all I heard of the professor was his crude voice reciting bible verses and chillingly singing church hymns. He crouched over the bed in which I was strapped to and loomed over me screeching verses of the fucking bible directly into my ear.
"Do you believe in euthanasia, son of Adam?"
"Huh?" I replied so freaked out I could barely make sense of anything.
He took a gun out of a drawer by his surgeon utensils, cocked it, and placed it in my now unrestrained hand. He brought out the girl that had been screaming next door and stood her next to me. She was unwillingly smiling at what would ultimately be her death. Was this the assistance required of me?
"If you do this, you go free. However, the blood of this girl will forever be on your conscience and haunt your dreams. Her ghost will wonder around your dorms forever, lifeless but still smiling. If you however, choose not to participate, I will shoot her and you will be forced to eat the remains of her body, after this you will go free." he sang.
I realized this must be the seven-year-old girl whose story was written on the abandoned newspaper yesterday afternoon. Not concerned with her welfare, I ignored her story and threw the paper aside. I was now deciding whether to shoot her in the head or eat her remains after the Professor shoots her. Either way she would die. I wish I could spare everyone reading this Pasta the next part of the story and completely skip it but as I said at the start, in order to keep my sanity I need to recite every part of the story.
"It’s ok," the girl said.
"I am a hollow shell void of everything, there is no place on this earth that could be worse than this, the things this man has done to me should never happen to anyone," she sobs.
The weird thing was, the girl was talking like an adult, the look you usually see in a child’s eyes was completely taken and she was practically begging to be shot by me. I would be lying if I had said I had not thought about killing the Professor but for some strange reason I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was as if he had planted a subliminal message in my mind and had control over all my emotions.
In hysterics and still confused by the whole situation, I began aiming the gun sight at the child. She was going to die either way and although if it was him who shot her, I would have to eat her dead corpse and that would haunt me far more than shooting her. Still laughing from the injection I preceded to bring myself to put a bullet in this little girl’s brain. Whilst this was going, and I just became aware of this, the Professor was filming everything on a JVC camcorder. The song, Happy Together was also quietly getting louder leading up to its climax, I was almost deafened.
I shot her still smiling.
Written by Stephen Leatherbarrow
Special thanks to Liam Oakley