The Bloody Axe

Everyone in my town avoids me. They will never forget that I murdered a young girl when I was only 11 years old. I don’t quite remember my crime, just glimpses of dispersed images. I don’t know what possessed me to do it, and I’m certain I’d never seen the girl before the night she ended in a puddle of her blood.

“You’ re a minor. If you admit it, you won’t go to a real prison”, my father said.

I remember the bloody axe in my hands and the smudged, red fingers. I’ve never taken an axe in my hands after that.

And this is why today is a hard day for me. I wanted to escape my small town, to start a life elsewhere. I went to college and hoped I’d never return again. The problem was I couldn’t concentrate on my studies. I could never hold my thoughts in order, and flashes of images, always ending in axes and blood, would fill my head and refuse to leave. I also couldn’t help but remember the boys at the correctional, boys who always hit one another, but they mostly hit me, because I was weak. They did it when no one would see. That’s why I couldn’t pass my exams and I had to return home, defeated. Now I live with my parents again and I have to bear their looks of disappointment. Even fear. They don’t really consider me to be their son. Mother always smiles sadly at me and we can never keep long conversations. Father doesn’t even try to speak to me. He refuses to look me in the eyes. I don’t deserve to complain, I know, but I can’t help feeling desperate.

I digress too much. I was telling you that today’s a hard day for me. That’s because I’m looking for a job. And the only job offering in this remote town seems to be – a lumberjack. I don’t want to ask my parents for money, but I have to survive somehow. (Or maybe it would be better if I didn’t?) My father was a lumberjack, before he retired, and I have inherited his strong built. I guess I could make a fine lumberjack, if only the sight of an axe didn’t make me feel terrified. Maybe I was also afraid of myself, of what I could do.

Mr Morris is the one who’s supposed to interview me. I already applied for the job so I hoped he would already prepare himself. I realize now he will never be prepared to see my face. I know he’s reluctant to employ me. I answer his questions like a robot, the answers I’ve learned as a poem. I’m not completely aware of his words, my mind works on its own accord.

“Ok”, he rises from his chair. “We’re short of people so we’ll have to use you.”

He doesn’t mind he sounds harsh. I don’t deserve better.

“Can you start right away?”

I know it’s an order, not a question. I nod and follow him, trying to be silent and appear modest. We enter the storage room. He picks up an axe and stares at it for a while. He doesn’t want to give it to me, but it’s too late now. He looks me in the eyes, trying to find a flicker of madness. I’ve noticed he left the door open behind us.

“Take it”, he says and hands me the axe.

Suddenly, it all comes back to me. I remember my father saying the same words.

I was thirsty that night and I went to get a glass of water. I saw father at the kitchen door. I didn’t see the girl but I could hear her cry.

“I’m going to tell everything!” she screamed.

Father’s axe was always in the kitchen, against the wall. I didn’t even notice him pick it up, I just saw him strike. Blood sprayed my father’s face and her shadow disappeared from my view. She didn’t have the time to scream, she only gargled deeply.

My father’s eyes widened and he covered his mouth with his bloody hands. Then he noticed me, sitting on the stairs.

He called my name. As I approached him, I tried not to look at the girl on the floor.

That was when he said: “Take it.”

That was when he said: “You’re a minor. If you admit it, you won’t go to a real prison.”