You Killed Him

He heard an otherworldly scream echo out into the darkness. It felt as if cold icy fingers clawed their way up his back, searching for his soul. He had been gazing at the night sky, lost in the splendour and majesty of the heavens, contemplating his place in the universe, the stress of work and the putrid voice of his overbearing boss dissipating into coolness of the night. The scream jolted him back into his surroundings, the city lights reflecting on the river, sirens rising and falling in the distance. He quickly stood up from the bench and walked towards the alleyway where the scream bounced off the walls. Wailing and sobbing seeped into the air like a violent mist, chocking joy out of all that it swept by. Under a street light in the alley a woman held a man in her arms. Her whole body shook with agony, tears falling endlessly onto the face of the man as he lay still and motionless on her lap. As the stranger moved closer he could see the darkness of the night on the ground merging with the seeping claws of blood that flowed from the man, out, becoming one,’ united. It was as if blood and the blackness of the alley were joined together in an unholy alliance, threatening to swallow all who dared move closer. Yet the stranger did move closer, compelled to do something, to find out what had happened. 
The woman was now whispering continually through the tears, speaking words over the bleeding man, words the stranger could not make out. Was it another language?
“What’s happened?” the stranger asked quickly, and nervously.
The woman looked up. Her eyes glistened in the street light, her weathered face sung a thousand songs of lives loved. The stranger felt as though within her eyes the whole cosmos circled and spun, and that he himself was part of her eternal dance. 
“My son,” she whispered looking deep into the stranger’s soul. “My son is dead!”
She let out a cry of such intensity and pain the stranger felt as though he would die himself, and no longer able to stand under the sheer intensity of pain, he dropped to his knees beside this scene of despair.
“What happened? I’ll call an ambulance.” As he reached for his phone the woman gently touched his hand and shook her head, and the stranger, unsure why, let his hand drop down to his side. “W-what happened?” he asked again, fear and peace washing over him like a paradox of emotional waves.
“You killed him,” she whispered looking at her son. 
“Sorry, what did you say?” the stranger asked, confused and dismayed. Did she just say that I killed him? She couldn’t have. I must have heard wrong.
Her eyes once again meet his. Those eyes! He could not begin to describe them as he lay on his deathbed many years later, but he would always remember them as though they still gazed at him from behind a hidden veil. 
“Look at him,” she implored to the stranger, “Look at him.”
It suddenly occurred to him that he had not even looked at the man who lay on her lap, his blood staining the filthy ground, mixing together with broken glass, used condoms and cigarettes. The stranger looked down at the dead man. His face was battered and bloodied, his lower lip torn, his nose visibly broken, some of his dark beard clotted with blood, slashes across his cheek, his dark skin bruised and beaten. His brown hair fell messily on his mother’s lap, and she gently stroked his hair and forehead, occasionally bending down and kissing his head. 
As he looked at the disfigured and brutalised man, the stranger felt a wave of anger and hatred, a welling up of contempt and violence, so much so his body began to sway. And yet the violence of his emotions wasn’t at what had happened to the dead man, but was for the dead man! As the stranger looked at him, he hated him! There was something about his face, something about the way his mother held him, something about this whole scene that caused revulsion to rise up within the stranger in such an uncontrollable spike of rage that the stranger suddenly vomited all over the woman and the dead man. This act brought him to his senses and he stood, tears and shame overwhelming him, he turned to run, to get away, to flee this scene of utter ruin.
“Wait,” her voice soft, gentle, forgiving.
He stopped, facing the exit of the alley, the lights of the city calling him to come, to flee this madness. Yet still he stood, waiting for something and nothing all at once.
“I AM” she said. 
The streetlight exploded, the stranger screamed. Silence fell.


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