THE HERMIT

THE HERMIT

 

 

 

“The world needs more souls like you,” Jennifer’s sarcasm annoyed the already upset Peter. “You must be awarded the world’s idlest person.”

Everyone laughed. Peter’s sister abuse was not going well with him. But he knew she had a valid point to make fun of him. He completed college three years ago, and still has not landed a job. Anyone would mock me, he thought. It always made him uncomfortable to get humiliated by his sister in front of others.

While all of them were laughing, Peter’s thoughts drifted away to an unknown paradise. He started moving away from them. He has always been a hermit. Mass gatherings, functions, festivals, etc… have never excited him. Both his younger sisters were jubilant, and full of energy. His parents have tried hard to make him socialize more. What they didn’t realize was nature cannot be bent to human desire.

He rested his back on a wall near a pathway that led to his house. The Wall looked dirty, and contained a lot of bumps. Peter discovered that wall recently, and he instantly started to like it, he felt it was unique.

Uniqueness always excited him. He felt as if the wall was inviting him to be around it. It gave him a sort of vibration that he liked. But he could not identify what the vibration was, or where it came from. He liked it so much that he did not bother to investigate the source of that sensation within him. All he knew was that it helped him forget the humiliation he usually got from the outside world.

While resting against the wall, Peter drifts away in thoughts, and loses track of time. All he could perceive, was people moving hither, and thither with no aim, or purpose. Nobody seemed to care for anybody. Some people were jogging, some were playing, and others were playing while jogging. It made no sense to him.

As Peter was in his own dreamy world, a noise disturbed his lone moment. Everyone, including him, turned to see what that was. Two guys, seemingly in their forties, seemed to fight over something. They started arguing loud. Both of them looked like pro wrestlers, bulky, and heavy. In no time, what started as an ordinary argument, turned into manhandling, and punches.

They started to hit each other. Some people tried to separate them, but most of them were taking videos to post on social media for it was a common sight these days. In the ruffle, a guy accidently hit Peter while running to see the fight.

Before Peter could even curse him, he had disappeared in the crowd. Peter’s anger turned towards those fighting. It’s all because of you, you morons. Kill yourselves, he muttered.

All of a sudden, they both stopped punching each other, and turned towards Peter. Their faces became pale with a shocked look in their eyes. The crowd was puzzled. They had no idea what was going on.

To everybody’s astonishment, one of them pulled out a knife from his right denim pocket, and stabbed himself in the heart till he collapsed. The other guy did not move at all. He was still frozen looking Peter in the eyes. Suddenly he smiled then grabbed the knife from the dead guy, and stamped himself in the neck.

The entire crowd was shell-shocked. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Peter was speechless. What the fuck?

Chaos spread, people ran away out of fear. Within ten minutes, the NYPD arrived. It was obvious, both guys committed suicide.

Peter still shocked, and alarmed, started running home. What just happened? Why did they look at me? Why did they do that? Did they kill themselves because I said so? No, it can’t be.

Peter reached home, didn’t utter a word to his family. They were glued to the news channel, watching reports on the incident. He went straight to bed, strangely enough, he slept until the morning.

Next morning, it was business as usual for New Yorkers.

When he woke up, he felt like a new person, he was feeling happy. Am I feeling good about what happened yesterday? Am I a sadist? Maybe yes…maybe not…Am I the cause of their death? I may never know it…maybe not. Let me recollect…what exactly did I say? ‘kill yourselves!’…oh my god…did these words trigger them to kill themselves?

He decided to put it to the test.

How do I do that? Should I try killing somebody? But that would be monstrous. Maybe something small…ok, let me try that, he thought to himself, then got ready to leave the house.

There was a big tree on the left side of the road, that got Peter’s attention. It is the home of many species, he thought. I should be able to get the subject I want.

Peter went near the tree to have a closer look. He found a squirrel searching for food around there. It looked innocent, and active. He decided that it was perfect to test his newly discovered sadistic power.

He started to observe the squirrel that was moving up, and down. The more he observed the animal, the more sadistic he became.

When the animal found its food, and started to eat, Peter thought that that was the right time, he whispered, “Kill yourself!” To his surprise, and shock, the animal stopped whatever it was doing, slowly turned its head, and looked at him straight in the eyes. The Squirrel first dropped its food, then released its grip on the tree, and that made it fall all the way down to the hard surface.

Bang! The squirrel’s head hit the hard rock on the ground. That was the end of its life.

Peter felt triumphant. The fact that he took a life did not bother him. Instead, he was elated that he had a superpower. With a wicked grin, he walked back home.

“Where had you been, the world’s busiest man?” Ridiculed his sister. He just ignored her.

A middle-aged man was sitting in the living room, talking with his dad. Peter did not remember seeing him before. His dad introduced him “This is my son, Peter.”

“Hello Peter, I am Mark. What are you up to?”

“Hello, Mr. Mark,” he purposefully avoided answering him.

“What are you up to, Peter?” the man asked again.

That irritated Peter to the core. He looked away for a second, but he could not postpone answering him anymore.

“Well, Mr. Mark, I am searching for a job.”

“Yes, he is searching for a job for more than three years now,” Jennifer ridiculed again.

Peter said nothing, but Jennifer continued, “He mostly searches for jobs while laying his back against a wall, he will surely get a job soon.”

They all laughed, which made Peter boil in anger, and humiliation. Without a second thought, Peter looked at Jennifer, and muttered, “Kill yourself!”

All of a sudden, Jennifer became standstill. She slowly looked at her brother, and started to move towards the dining table, looking at him all the way. He knew what was coming next. His devilish mind did not want to stop his sister from killing herself. Everyone else was looking at Jennifer without knowing what was going on.

Still staring at him, Jennifer grabbed a knife, and stabbed herself in the chest multiple times. It was like a nightmare for all of them. It took them few seconds to realize what was happening.

Mark, and his father tried to stop Jennifer, Rose started screaming, but Peter just stood there watching, and enjoying the scene.

Solomon tried to hold his daughter before she collapsed, but in vain. Rose was screaming in shock. Jennifer collapsed, lifeless with eyes still transfixed at Peter. To avoid raising any suspicions, he screamed, and ran towards his sister.

Jennifer’s soul departed. The innocent girl was killed by her own brother. She would never have imagined that her end would be by him. Though Peter pretended to be sad, and shocked, he was feeling happy inside. The bitch was doing too much. She deserved this.

Few days passed. No one understood what happened. Solomon, and Rose were crying. The sudden demise of Jennifer left them paralyzed. They were in a confused state of mind. It was a bunch of emotions; Rose was crying nonstop. She could not believe her sister Jennifer was no more. Her father’s mind was wandering around. He could not think of a reason why Jennifer his beautiful daughter did what she did. What made her kill herself? At the final moment, when Jennifer shut her eyes permanently, Solomon did not fail to notice Jennifer’s stern look at Peter.

 

***

 

It has been a month since Jennifer left them. Peter continued enjoying his newly found power, killing animals, and few humans. It has become more of a hobby for him.

Rose was slowly coming out of the sorrow from Jennifer’s unexpected demise. On that unfortunate day, she noticed the way Jennifer was staring at Peter. She decided to investigate, and uncover the mystery surrounding her sister’s unfair death.

Her only suspect was Peter, so she decided to spy on him.

One particular evening, she saw him staring at a dog sternly. All of sudden the dog started running, jumped in the lake, and never came out. During that whole scene, Peter kept looking at the dog, and nothing else. Once it vanished, he moved from that place with a devilish grin on his face.

Rose got the idea now.

Yes, it was Peter that killed Jen. But how did he do it?

Rose knew her dad would make a mess out of it if he came to know about all of that. So, she decided to work it out on her own.

She started noting down all the places he went to. Wherever he moved, she followed. She made sure he did not notice her. She tracked down his every movement. She was sure he was a sadist. After one week of spying on him, she made a breakthrough, and she felt victorious.

 

***

 

One Friday evening, Rose saw Peter leaving home, so she started to follow him from a distance. As she expected, he proceeded straight to the wall, and leaned against it. She stood far away watching him. Over time, his facial expression started to change as well as his body language. He looked restless. A cloud of fear fogged Rose.

There was an old lady with a walker passing by. She was walking very slowly. Peter started to look at her with the determination to do her harm. Rose knew what was going to happen.

The girl was getting ready to combat the monster. She knew exactly what he was going to do to that innocent, vulnerable, old lady.

Peter looked deeply at the old lady. His evil mind started to take control over his actions.

“Kill yourself!” Peter muttered, expecting the lady to collapse.

To his shock, the old lady continued walking. She did not seem to get affected by his evil intention.

What is happening? Peter thought to himself. He tried once again.

“Kill yourself!” Again, there was no response from the lady, and nothing happened to her.

Peter got mad. He did not know what to do. Have I lost my power? The very thought of losing the ‘Power’ made him mad.

As he became like a fierce angry bull, he ran towards the old lady, and kicked the walker away from her, and she fill down.

Before Rose could do anything, a crowd gathered on the spot. Few men started to hit Peter while dragging him away from the injured old lady. More punches, and kicks landed on him from everywhere.

Severely injured, he somehow managed to push them off, and run away for his life. He completely vanished from the scene.

Knowing where he headed to, Rose ran towards their home.

There he was. Badly injured Peter was standing in front of the mirror. He was raging with anger, and talking to himself.

“Why… why… why… why am I not able to kill the old bitch…? What happened to my power? Have I become useless again? No, it can’t be. I did not lose my power,” Peter screamed in helplessness, and anger.

Rose was watching it all from outside.

“No! I WILL NOT lose my power!” he screamed louder, and did the unimaginable.

“Nobody can take away my power… I will prove… I will prove…”

He looked at himself in the mirror, and whispered, “Kill yourself!”

Rose was watching him acting devilish in fear, but she was determined to achieve her plan. She wanted him to die. She remained silent, and kept watching.

Peter grabbed a knife, and stabbed himself again, and again, and again.

He collapsed on the floor the same way his victims did.

His father arrived home to see his son dying in front of his eyes. He did not know what to do, or what to say, he was completely lost.

 

***

 

One week after Peter’s death, the legalities were finally over.

One fine morning, Rose was reading the news, ‘Mentally unstable person committed suicide.’

Peter’s evil power was buried along with him. The world will never come to know, she thought.

Her father joined her at the dining table.

“Do you really think Peter was the cause of Jennifer’s death?” He asked, drinking his Coffee.

With a big sigh, Rose started to narrate her findings.

“Yes, daddy I knew it was him. He had an evil power. He could just say ‘Kill yourself’, and people would somehow actually do it. I discovered more things about ‘the wall’.”

Solomon couldn’t believe what he was hearing. But the terrified look on her face was a legit proof that she was telling the truth.

“Yes, it was the wall. It is haunted.”

Solomon did not pay much attention to her freaked out words. He did not believe in the supernatural.

“Three years back, a speeding car hit an old lady, and flew away without a trace. The lady was thrown on the wall, and died on the spot. Had the wall not been there, she would have fallen down on the lawn next to it, and survived.”

“I see, so the lady is possessing the wall? Anyway, the old lady would have died naturally soon. So how did you discover the bitchy ghost?” Solomon laughed.

“I followed Peter, and found that it was the wall that gave him the power. Then, I checked it. When I leaned against it, I felt a vibration, and that confirmed to me that it is possessed”

“Was there a phone on the wall that vibrated?” he laughed again, and got up. He did not seem to be interested in her story no more.

Anyway, it wouldn’t have mattered even if he continued listening to her. He was already ‘marked’.

Rose smiled, looking at him sternly, “Kill yourself!”

Solomon stopped suddenly, and looked back at Rose.

He started banging his head hard on the wall like a maniac.

Bang…bang…bang…done.

Solomon fell dead. Rose had a devilish grin on her face.

Rose, as if nothing happened, dialed 911.

“My dad committed suicide.”

 

THE END

Lamees Alhassar