The gun actually became annoying after awhile. I felt like I was going to end up having a nightmare and shooting it without meaning to. I put it back in the bag a couple hours ago and just lied down without it, still unable to fall asleep.
I tried to close my eyes again and I saw Dwelling’s face. I felt like it was burrowing into my skull. Like he wanted me to be sure that I never forgot his face. I could guarantee that I would not. I definitely would not.
Seeing his face made my head hurt even more than it normally did so I rubbed my temples, staring at the dark ceiling. It’ll end. All of it will end.
I tightened my stomach the whole time and the fury inside it was so powerful that I felt like it was pushing upward to get out. Like I was going to vomit rage. I was a volcano of rage and I was going to blow eventually.
I told myself that I wouldn’t have to wait long. Just a day (assuming he works today of course). Then, I could go grab him and it would all be over. Everything would be as it should. Dwelling would be in jail and I would feel a lot better about the accident.
I sat up and turned on my phone, foreseeing possible voicemails. Six maybe? Four of them actually. Great.
“Jaklyn Rose Ingvar, where the hell are you?” Joe sounded like he was having a conniption. “Your mother is hyperventilating! It’s past your curfew, if you are looking for attention or something you’ve got it! Your friend Neil says you wanted to be away for a few days, but you told your mom you’d be at Neil’s for a sleepover. You could have told someone at least!”
“Eryn…honey…where are you?” My mother. “You’re not an adult yet; don’t think that you don’t have to do as I say. I don’t appreciate that you lied to me. I know you’re not at Neil’s. Please at least call back.” Her voice was gentle and sad. It didn’t sound like hyperventilating. Crying maybe, but not freaking out. Joe was the one doing that. He probably thought I was going to kill myself too. Why? Did I really seem that depressed?
“Eryn. I think your uncle’s like…flipping shit. I think he thinks your going to kill yourself.” I’m glad we’re on the same page, Neil. Am I the only one who paid any attention in health class? Don’t you guys know the stages of grief? Not that I’m the mental health expert or anything, but Jesus. “He might even come looking for you. I don’t know. You may want to call him. Just tell him you’re okay.”
“Eryn, seriously. Call me back or I’m coming to find you.” Joe again.
Well...those were redundant. I had better get a move on, Joe’s last message was an hour and a half ago. I imagined he’d be beginning his search soon if he hadn’t already. I needed to find Dwelling now so I didn’t end up going on a wild goose chase later.
I climbed into the front of the car and started the engine. I passed the fields and buildings back into Charlottesville, hoping it wouldn’t be long before he arrived for work.
I found the insurance company on Lor Street and parked conveniently at the gas station across the street, facing the building. Then I waited. Around five, cars started to arrive.
At five-fifteen, a silver Honda Civic pulled into the company lot. A man stepped out of the car with his laptop case. The distance between us wasn’t large. I could tell who it was even though he was slightly blurry when I saw him for the first time.
My eyes narrowed at his familiar face. I got him.
I impatiently sat twelve hours in a trance. I supposed one would look at me and suspect that I was a zombie. But you couldn’t blame me, could you? I stared at the building as if I could see through it. I didn’t remember blinking. I didn’t eat or use the bathroom. My phone was off and in the bag. My knuckles were white on the steering wheel, like I was trying to squeeze the life out of it.
Then, I saw movement.
A couple of workers came out of the building, some talking on the phone like normal people, getting into their cars casually, going home to their relatively average lives.
I spotted him then, coming out, appearing to wipe his brow. I started the car, the madness in me doubling in intensity now. He got in his Civic, started it, and backed out. I did the same at the gas station. He turned right out of the lot and I turned left, cutting someone off in the process. A car horn sounded, but I didn’t even hear it. I stared again, this time at Dwelling’s car.
The distance from his work to his home was small and we only drove two miles before he turned into a small driveway. I drove past his house, memorizing the number as I passed slowly and parked a block away. I had to play the cards right. I grabbed my bag and opened the car door.
I tried to walk at a reasonable pace to his door, but the anger made me move faster. It was like I was losing control of my legs. The wrath in my head and stomach spread. I felt it flowing through me as I got to his door. I turned on the tape recorder that I put under my shirt with a shaking hand. I knocked, feeling the fury in my eyes, hoping he wouldn’t see it.
My adrenaline doubled as he answered the door, but I didn’t look up. I’d see the same face I saw smiling maniacally as my dad breathed his last. The same face I saw get out of the truck and pretend he didn’t see us. The same face that looked so concerned when he spoke to the cops, but laughed at me. I almost reached for the bag when he asked, “Can I help you?”
The moment I looked this closely at him with only minor cuts healing on his face, the ferocity broke through me. I cringed as my head throbbing quickened and increased force. The anger diffused into my bloodstream, taking control of every part of me. My fist clenched.
“Yes, I’m selling pizza for a school fundraiser.” My voice almost sounded like the voices of the adults from Charlie Brown. I knew what I was saying, but all I heard was wa-wa-wa-waaa.
He sighed. “Shouldn’t those be over with by now? It’s almost summer.”
“Sorry, sir. This is an early start for next year.”
“Where are all your sheets?”
“I’m going to show you how to do it online if you like, sir.” I amazed myself with my high level of deception. I even smiled to look friendly.
“Alright. I love pizza. You better come in.” He opened the door wider, clearing a path for me.
I passed through, pulling out the gun. My brain and body were connected, but the rage was in full control now. I was vomiting the rage. I didn’t even know what I was doing. I couldn’t stop my movements or my thoughts. The voice inside my head was a different me, one consumed by the hatred I felt towards the man closing the door. I touched the knife (a big kitchen knife, by the way) before lifting the gun out and aiming for his leg. Not part of the plan. I felt like I watched everything that happened next.
He turned around after shutting the door and I shot his right leg at the knee. He bended over in pain, shouting. I aimed at his other leg, and he let out a plea before I shot that one too. He fell, letting out screams of pain that seemed to have no effect on my ears. I get on top of him and pull out the knife.
“Do you know who I am? Do you?” I pointed the knife at his throat as I straddled him, both my legs on top of his arms. He flailed his arms to reach me. He cried out in pain again as I put more weight on his arms. “Answer me!”
He looked at me for a second, still cringing in pain. “You’re the Ingvar girl.” His eyes widened. “You’re his daughter.”
I held the handle of the knife and punched him in the face, not loosening my grip on it. “Yes, I am his daughter, you sick bastard. You killed my dad didn’t you?”
He didn’t answer.
“Say something and stop struggling or I will chop your limbs off one by one and just leave you to bleed.”
He seemed defeated. He stopped struggling “Yes, I killed your father.”
“He deserved it.”
I spat at him and swiped the knife across his face. “You son of a bitch. You fucking son of a bitch. He was my dad! He was a good man, a good agent…you fucking asshole.” He spat the blood from his nose back at me. I didn’t do anything to rid myself of it. I saw no regret, no sympathy, and no remorse on his face. “You did it because my dad caught your brother.”
“Yes, you stupid bitch. You never saw what happened to my brother. You never saw his body when he was dead. And your dad put him in prison. So it’s his fault.”
I punched him again, in the eye this time. “How dare you blame my dad? Your brother was the criminal. He deserved everything he got.
“You want to know how it feels to have your arm torn off? Or how about getting your heart smashed? That’s how my dad died.”
He spat again. “I’m sure it’s painful.” He smirked. He thought this was a game. He didn’t care. He was a monster.
I shook with anger now, still not the real me. I didn’t know who I was or even what I was. But somewhere deep inside, I knew what I had to do. I knew how to end this. “You get to feel it today. That pain.”
“Yes.” My eyes burned with fury. I felt my head swell.
He laughed. He actually had the balls to laugh. “Eryn Ingvar, you are not a killer.” He laughed again. “You’re shaking. I was too. And I bet you’re angry, yes? Oh, so was I. So angry. So angry it consumed me and made me kill your father. Now look at you. No better than me.” Laughing. Laughing again.
“I don’t even think…” My voice shook now too, “that you can possibly pass judgment on me, you heartless, pathetic monster! You don’t know what I am. You deserve this. You deserve everything you get! Just….fucking burn in hell!”
“Right back at ya, sist-” He screamed. He screamed, because I cut into the skin of his right arm. He tried to struggle, but my legs were firm with adrenalin. I knew what was in me then. Something dark and evil possessed me. I knew that there was nothing I could do to stop this. My attempts were useless; the dark part of me pushed them away. This was what I really wanted from the beginning. Him. Dead. This was justice. I was doing this and he deserved it. I cut harder, deeper, his screams getting louder and louder. I hit his bone. I stuck my hand inside the wound and put my weight down on his bone, utilizing the evil. He wailed, his other arm flailing, his legs tensing. I felt myself smile at his sheer agony as I finished cutting, chipping away bone fragments, almost wishing that I used an ax or a chainsaw. No, it’s better this way. I can feel it all. All his flesh and bone coming apart. I took his arm and tossed it indifferently to the side.
“Didn’t that feel good?” I said, as he struggled to stay awake. I knew I must act quickly. He couldn’t be unconscious. I leaned forward to his ear. “Now you know how it feels…”
“Please,” he pleaded.
I laughed and shook my head. I spat at him again. “Pathetic.” I didn’t waste any more time. I took the bloody knife and thrust it through his chest. “This is for my dad!” I shouted, even though he probably couldn’t hear over his own pain. I pulled the knife out and his screams echoed in my head. I stabbed him again. “Now you know how it feels…”
Over and over I stabbed him. I still stabbed him when he stopped writhing. I kept going when he stopped breathing. I closed my eyes and continued.
Finally, when all my energy disappeared, I stopped. My muscles were weak as I climbed off him. I gazed at my damage. Blood everywhere. Shards of bone lied around his body. I saw the inside of his wound. His arm lying on the ground. His stab wounds. A deep one in his heart, others surrounding, some lazy ones, after I started to get tired. His look of terror, his eyes were still open. My stomach turned. I tried to stand but I fell against the wall. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I vomited. I let it out, hoping that the evil went with. The world spun. My eyes lost focus. I vomited again, this time dry heaving. I hadn’t eaten in a while. Stay awake.
Leaning against the wall, I made it to my feet and tried to breathe. I took ten deep breaths and managed to not pass out. I moved to get out of the room, not caring about disposing of the evidence. Somehow they’ll know it was me.
I went to his kitchen, wobbly. I leaned on the sink.
What have I done?
I stared at myself. My bloody self. I cleaned off the best I could. I stripped off my shirt and scrubbed some of the blood out. My tape recorder was still in my sports bra.
I pulled my shirt back on and cleaned the knife, feeling queasy again as I watched the blood flow down the drain.
I knew I’d have to walk past him again and I did it to see that it was real. That I really did do it. I slowly made my way to the front foyer. I didn’t close my eyes. I had to see it again.
Everything was still there. The body, the arm, the blood, the vomit. I grabbed my bag off the ground, patches of blood drying on its surface.
All I could think as I walked out the door was, you monster, and I was no longer referring to the man dead on the floor.