Hey readers, I am Darsh and the following is a story I penned together that was the winning entry of a writing competition at my last school. Hope you enjoy!
P.S.: If anyone could come up with a good title for this, I would really appreciate it.
Ever since I made the decision to label myself as a victim of depression, the consequences have followed. As I tragically hung up my working boots at the ripe old age of twenty-four, I spent days sitting at a table, brooding over life. I was a self-declared cynical wreck, purposeless in the circle of life.
It was on a routine day when I was seated, muttering obscenities to myself when the phone rang all the way on the other side of the house. Curiosity combined with well-built legs forced me to answer the call. It was from mother, who was having a stupendous time with father on a cruise in Fiji. I was rather shocked, as I thought my parents would make absolutely no effort to communicate with me for the rest of my platitudinous life.
“Hello”, I sputtered, hoping a climax would take place. “Russell. I’ve got some very disappointing news for you.” Sounded like a glimpse of excitement in my life. “Your father was found dead this morning in the hotel.” Never mind that. I had never been particularly close with my parents. My family was not the sort who would really care if a relative broke their skull, death was just a tinge further. Unsure how to react, I hung up. If my father had been ‘found dead’, then there would be an investigation.
I had been sitting at that same dining table on the same chair, watching the same things happen every day. Maybe this was an opportunity for adventure. Thinking this instigated a string of emotions around my head.
But I couldn’t even walk out of the house without activating hundreds of pain sensors inside me. The thought of my parents being near me was startling, let alone with my intentions to get closer. But then again, what if I braved those obstacles? What if I battled through the constant limitations of depression and proved that I was good at something other than drinking five beers a day?
Unable to compose myself, I sighed, exposing my discombobulation to all the other inanimate objects.
Rational and irrational thoughts crossed my mind and filled me with uncertainty and grief as I rose. I grimaced when I heard the phone ring for the second time in two days, yet again, all the way on the other side of the house. Despite recent contemplation over the latest death in my family, I made a rather venturesome decision not to answer the call. Instead, I elected to hear the voicemail, for I didn’t want to have to speak with her, for it would be like riding a bike controlled by the Devil.
“Hello, Russell,” I could hear muffled sobs amidst the verbalisations on the other side of the phone. “It’s confirmed that your father received multiple stab wounds. I think it would be best if you came here- we don’t have enough money to return to England and conduct a funeral. I have sent you a package with the money. Please come as soon as possible.” Father had been stabbed?
The one crucial fact that sunk into my sensitive brain when I realised it was that regardless of whether I wanted to or not, I would have to go. For although I was not deeply connected with my parents, there was still an underlying respect I held for them, as a patriot feels for his country.
Well, Fiji, here I come.
I arrived in Fiji a week later. Getting this far was not a simple task. My fragile mind had been an obstacle that almost prevented me from making the journey. I had somehow managed to stir up the courage and propel myself to this new land, this land that my father had been killed in.
When I arrived at the hotel, I was careful to choose my footsteps wisely, as I had already been given a few taut looks by the ‘foreigners’.
I saw mother crying and talking to one of the hotel managers. Then another man appeared at the scene and ushered her away for a private consultation. I supposed it was all part of the traditional ritual carried out by the local authorities, but I was disproved in a matter of seconds she approached me.
Her eyes were swollen from sleepless nights of futile desperation, and her slumped gait debilitated me.
“Rrrussell, did you see that man I was talking to?” she stammered. “He told me the hotel manager killed Derek.”
“Why?” I inquired.
“Taito, the hotel manager, is responsible because he was in charge of the security cameras. Jurna, the man I was speaking to said that Derek and Taito were arguing about the hotel bills before a brawl occurred. It’s alleged that Taito threw a punch at father, before security interjected. Obviously, he made his decisive move at the best time, in the middle of the night when he was sleeping. I can’t believe I fell for the temptation to sneak out for another glass of wine. I’m so sorry Russell. It’s the worst thing I could have done and yet I did it.” That’s a blow to the heart.
“No”, I replied, “it’s okay. You are not to blame for this. We can inform the police and see Taito behind bars.” Mother only offered a half-contented smile and walked away.
As I clandestinely approached Taito, a plan formed in my mind. You read that correctly. I made the plan as I walked to him, not beforehand. Grabbing a rock, from a safe distance, I hurled it at Taito. It struck him on the thigh, and he fell, but only for a few minutes, I guessed. I then strode up to Jurna, ferocity in my eyes. I wanted answers, and I was going to get them.
Jurna appeared a curt man of small stature, and his face became uneasy due to my intimidating posture. “How do you know Taito killed Derek? Who are you? Why does mother trust you?” I blurted these questions, spitting venom.
I didn’t care about depression anymore. It was over. I was living in a bubble of tragic grief and mortification, and that bubble had now snapped. Not popped, snapped. I had snapped. My tolerance with life had SNAPPED.
These thoughts overwhelmed me as I demanded the truth from Jurna. I wanted a response. And I got one.
The cold barrel of a pistol pressed against my neck, making the hairs on my head stand up. It wasn’t the gun that surprised me, it was its wielder.
“I’m terribly sorry for all of this. I had to do it. He was crazy. He was obsessed with money. I needed to get rid of him.” Her voice was changed from a calm and soothing one to the repulsive tone of a cruel woman who had committed murder.
“Why?” my own voice was mixed, as I failed in playing the calm, unwavering hero.
“Father earnt a million pounds in a lottery via work. He told me, and I already had Jurna. So I planned this holiday cruise to set him up. Now we can take his money and live together in a mansion somewhere pretty. You and your fickle mental sickness forced me to end you.”
Boom. Another blow to the heart. Jurna was having an affair? With my mum?
I must stay calm, I told myself.
Before I could, though, I heard a gunshot.
I woke to the smell of the salty beach, and the sound of gentle waves swooshing against the tanned shore.
“Russell, it’s me, Taito. Are you okay? Don’t worry about your mother. She’s dead. She chose to crack her head against the over jail time. Russell, I know she was your mother, but she was a threat to everyone. Don’t worry.” Not the most appealing thing to hear when you’ve been shot at, but never mind that. Wait, shot at? Why can’t I feel any wound? I took the regretful turn to my right, seeing the last of mother’s body. A bloody head covered her once-sweet smile, and eyes of perpetual wisdom came to a permanent halt as the truth dawned upon me. Taito had saved me with the gunshot I had heard, for it was from his gun the bullet was fired. And whilst my life had been saved, I had lost my familiarity with it. What has become of me?
It was with Taito’s pat of determination and strength that I aroused from a period of negative contemplation and despondency as I realised that I was yet to reach my potential. Fate had taken a loved one away from me to show me that I was capable of so, so much more, but I had learnt my lesson. Fighting this battle wasn’t easy, but it showed me that I had to start again. Understanding and contemplating over morals and values had allowed me to reveal to my true self to me and others around me.
I was a changed man.
I was a new man.