"Can't you do anything right?" Open palm against face. A metaphoric one at least. This was the third time this week that the bag ripped while dragging it out to the trashcan. "Don't fucking drag it. Pick it up and carry it out. Are you a fucking moron?"
"Yes Dad." I feel like I'm answering both questions.
"Damn right. When you get back in here, don't forget to put a new bag in. Clean the dishes while you're at it too. Just clean the whole" I shut the door before he can throw another blade. The asshole ran an entire hospital, pushing all of the new doctors and old doctors alike. Doubt the bastard could satiate that lust for control if he could just stay there permanently, though he certainly tries. Some weeks, the good weeks, he does night after night after night of work sleeping in that on-call room.
When he gets back he's always angrier though. I can't tell if it's because he hates his job or because he didn't want to leave.
The broom and dustpan, the mop and bucket, and the hose and vacuum cleaner are not far off from the door. I've got to have those on hand at all times because if colonel jack-ass doesn't have a spotless house, he'll beat me till it shines.
Sometimes I wonder if the scrubs get the same treatment. Perhaps that's why his doctors are so good at managing cuts and bruises.
I shake off the thought, chuckling to myself at the image him striking a nurse in-front of patients, and take the broom and dustpan into the house.
"There's a juice of god-knows what on the floor in there. May have been from the eggs we had." Thanks Dad. There's talking about it, and then there's actually helping me clean it up. "You'll be the greatest janitor at McDonalds at this rate. I doubt anyone is as good at this as you are considering how many fuck ups you have to fix regularly."
"There's always helping me." I didn't really mean it since I knew his reply before he even had to form the thought.
"Ha. You need all the practice you can get as it's the only job any one will hire you for. Not a soul will trust you with their food or plates. Just picking up shit and throwing it away. Get to it. I'm going to go do something important with my time." That means he'll watch porn in his room and beat my mother. Head of a hospital, and not a decent bone in his body.
He refuses health care to anyone without insurance, refuses to cover any malpractice bills, and purchases the cheapest stuff for medical supplies. I once looked at his bills and googled some of the names of product suppliers. Half of them are fake names that probably distribute faulty equipment that's dangerous to all who take it. The only reason he actually has people come for medical care is because it's the only hospital in a few hundred miles radius.
I clean up the mess, throw everything in a new bag and carry it out to the trashcan. I return to the house to wash dishes and clean up the kitchen when I hear a creak on the stairs.
"You still aren't done? Jesus Christ you have to be the fucking slowest worker on the planet."
"Not a lot of insentive to do a fast job here Dad. You'll beat me for the imperfections that the dishes came with." Oh shit. I shouldn't have said that last bit. My heart starts racing as I hope he didn't hear my death wish.
It's all silence as he stops his descent.
"You... you think I beat you? You think that I hurt you that badly? Is that what you think? My father, I'll have you know, was fifty times worse than I am. You know how I turned out? Fucking amazing." He continued his descent, and is now standing in the kitchen slowly stepping towards me. He steps forward, I step back. "You see me now? Head of a god damn hospital. You can hear it all over that fucking television, people bitching and complaining about how their daddies beat them, and that that's what slowed them down from succeeding in life. I call that fucking bullshit. My father left me gasping for breath, bleeding from large gashes and wounds, and even though I thought it was bad, I learned to stitch myself up. I learned to treat the things he'd done to me. I hated him, and eventually moved out to go on my own.
"Do you know what I've done for you? I remembered that my father was that bad, and I eased up. I knew that it made me stronger, made me a man, but I found some of it to be unnecessary." He is standing over me now. His hands bunch up to fists. "I thought that, maybe, just maybe, you'll be strong like me, but see that I did just enough for you. Clearly I was wrong, because all you are is a fucking screw up. Maybe it was genes, god I hope it was because of that fucking whore's defective ancestry. But I am pretty sure that it's because I didn't make you strong enough. Here, let me show you what you've missed out on. Let me show you just what it means to be 'beaten'." At that, his arm wound back and shot forward.
The collision of fist to cheek sent shock waves across my entire body. My head was rocketed into the refrigerator, knocking my temple against the handle. The enormous hand gropes my shirt, lumping it into a ball, and pulls it across the room. My entire body rolls over and smashes into the wall. The man is laughing now. A glow in his eyes tells me that he feels he's doing the right thing. He can't see what's happening as anything other than what he's described it as. This man really thinks that he'll shape me into something stronger by pushing me to the brink of death.
I can't let him do this.
One, two, three kicks to the rib cage. He bends over, lumps my hair, and pulls me to standing position. Another punch to the cheek, this one sending me sprawled on the other side of the kitchen floor. I struggle to get up, crawl over to the counter, and look at him with fear in my eyes. I try to push as much pain and emotion as I can up to the windows. Something inside of him has to be human enough to know to stop.
"The fuck you think I am? Don't look at me like that. I have to make a man out of you, and showing me those pussy eyes ain't going to do shit. You're mother makes those all the time when I tell her we're having sex. You think it works when she does it?" His smile gets wider and wider. I have to stop this. "Now get up." He picks me up by both my neck and arm, and hurls me to the counter. My face slams against the cool white surface, and blood splatters against the wall and cupboards. The knife rack is sitting not too far away. Adrenaline shocks my system as I grab one of the knives.
"You think you have the balls to stab me? Go ahead. Try it." He steps forward, prepared to strike again, and I thrust the blade into his heart.
At least, I thought I did.
A skeletal hand is on my wrist, my father is no longer moving, and everything inside of me feels cold. A cold, raspy voice billows into my head.
"So quick to take another life. Do you know what you are doing?"
Everything about me is frozen, save my mouth.
"I don't know..." What other answer could I give? Again, the voice creeps out.
"You make a choice that cannot be erased. You are deciding the fate of another creature, and you do not know if you are certain you should do this?"
"I... I think I need to." A warm tingling sensation starts in my body. It feels as though ice is being melted from the inside out. The more resolute I feel, the more I can feel of my body. "No, I know I have to. If I don't, he might kill me some day."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that." The hand is removed from my wrist, and the whole arm jumps back to my body. I collapse on the floor and look up. There, standing above me, is a large hooded figure with a frayed robe. I know immediately who it is, and the fear causes me to stand up and move away.
"What is happening?"
"Time... is stopped. Everything that is, remains to be as it was. Nothing is moving, save you and myself."
"What, how... I don't understand."
"I am here to offer you a chance. A chance at freedom." When he speaks, his voice chills the atmosphere. The once warm house, feels now as though it were a freezer.
"What do you mean, freedom? Are you asking me if I want to die?"
"In a way, yes. You will lose a certain aspect of your life." He removes his hood, and his head is shown bare. Pale white skin, sunken eyes and cheeks, and unkempt straggles of hair are all to be made out of this man's features. It's the picturesq image of a renaissance man with the plague.
"You look like..."
"Death. Yes. Over time, I've lost weight, pigmentation, all things given to a healthy living person. No more do I turn red, will my blood flow, or my color change. Never again shall I eat food, grow hair, or reproduce. I am at constant entropy. What I offer to you, is the control you appear to desire. You want to take this man's life, am I correct?"
"I don't want to, but I have to."
"Yes... You'd be surprised how many lives I've regretted taking, but I know you. I know that you honestly lust for this conquest. Do not lie to me, who am I to constitute being lied to?"
"I guess you're right..."
"Living as long as I have, and I use the terminology loosely, I've come to learn a thing or two about people. One of which is that shame will always yield lies. You do not need to have shame. Take your passion, own it. It is in your nature as man to kill. So, answer me, do you want to kill this man?"
"Yes. I want to kill this man."
"Then my proposal is this. Would you give yourself to become the Lord of Death?" My heart drops at the idea. Give myself to death? This has to be unreal. This is impossible. Who am I to take the job of Death? I'm only seventeen, I can't handle this.
And I look at the man who is attempting to kill me himself. The man who tells me that I'll never amount to more than a janitor. If I took the position, I could show him up. That is, until I took his life.
Yes, there is the power. How much control I would have over people. The influence I could exert. The things I could do.
The people I would kill...
But I'm not a violent person. I just want this one person to be gone from my life. That's all.
How can I kill people on a regular basis? It isn't right.
"Everyone has to die sometime."
My eyes widen with terror. Can he read my mind?
"I suppose you wonder if I can read your mind. The answer is no. As cool a job as I have, and with as many perks as I have, I am not able to read the thoughts of mortals. I simply guessed that you had come to that conclusion based on the fallen shape of your face."
"What perks do you mean?"
"I will only tell you if you take the position. Time may stand still, but It may still run short. Make your decision."
"How can I when I don't even know what It's like."
"It's like picking up unwanted candy wrappers and putting them in the trash." Ah. Becoming life's eternal janitor. Perhaps it's fitting.
My eyebrows furrow. Am I really ready for this? Can I do it? If I don't take it I'll go to jail for murder, but if I take it I'll get off scott-free.
"I'll take it."
"So be it."
My flesh begins to prickle, my eyes feel as though they are about to implode, the room feels piercingly cold, and all I can see is black.
Now, all I can hear is silence.