“I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family…”
For a moment everything stood still. As he walked closer, his breathing intensified. This was it. He was face to face, with a monster. He had heard stories all his life about these beasts. He had heard of their grotesque features and their peculiar habits, but most of all, he had heard about what they could do to a man. Ever since he was a little boy he knew this day would come, but he had never expected to encounter one so close to home. Nevertheless, he was armed and ready. Yet, despite all the years of training to kill, of being home-schooled in this art of war, something was…off.
His hands were clammy and his eyes darted to and fro. “It should’ve attacked by now” he thought, “they always attack by now.” His finger tapped his side rhythmically as a cool breeze danced upon his face. The hilt of a knife carefully hidden inside his jacket stared up at him, wondering why its master hesitated, but there was a turmoil taking place that no man, creature or thing could see. This man, for the first time in his life was staring at an enemy he had never met, but who he hated, because he should. At this point his inherited philosophy was being challenged by his experiential reality. He knew that the two were not the same but refused to reconcile them or even accept that all his life he may have been wrong. By now, a different beast altogether began gnashing at his heels—fear. All logic and reasoning dissipated and waves of terror foaming with ignorance crashed upon a man who at this time was beginning to slowly lose his grip on reality.
He inched a bit closer to the figure and saw that more and more, the beast, looked a lot like him. He saw two eyes, one mouth, one nose, two nostrils, two ears, a well-defined jawline, two hands, two feet, a strong upper torso; he saw a man, much like himself. There were differences, yes, but those aside he and this… thing were the same. By now the creature had taken a more defensive stance as it noticed the boy’s threatening demeanour. The young man, still battling his fear tightly gripped the handle of his knife. Then, he paused.
— “You good?”
— “…yeah. You?”
Immediately, it was as if time began moving again and the street was once more alive and vibrant with the hustle of a Monday evening’s traffic. The boy, who now was much more a man than before, breathed a sigh of relief as he continued along his way. He tucked the knife neatly back into his jacket and thought, “I can’t believe I almost killed that man.”
Heading in the opposite direction, another boy who too had just become a man, tucked his 9mm pistol back into his jacket. He thought of the beast he just met and shook his head in disbelief. He knew he had seen it grab a knife, but it never attacked. Their differences were next to nothing and he simply could not understand this new paradigm. He thought to himself of all the stories his parents had told him of these monsters, much like the one he encountered that day, and thought to himself, “I can’t believe I almost killed that man.”