Everyday, from the first hours of the morning, to the time he succeded in slamming his own mind to sleep, Steve lived into a fight. He had a conscience, a powerful, loud one. And that, for some of his colleagues was something he should've taken care of.
They didnt lose their own humanity, they were good people. But when you deal with the animals that roam this world, daily, you need to become anumb. And sometimes make decisions that would trouble you, haunt your dreams, break you down. Many of them drank, saw therapists, were medicated. Others took it out somewhere else. It was a job that had a price and slowly but surely ate at you, feeding on your heart and sould and turning them against you.
Steve wasnt different. He had no family thought and that made him a peculiar case. One of those men that consider things from a different point of view. A "single number" that calculated the consequences of his own actions only by his own set of values and not on the consequences that they could have on his loved ones. And he had no loved ones. He loved but couldnt hoòd it for long. Simply, the things that lived inside his heart ended up eating away at anything that helped the love survive.
Still, he was a good man. He saw the black. Saw the white. And saw plenty of grey areas.
That day started slowly. His head feeling groggy and hazy, with a persisten pain at the base of his neck. "Accumulated tension", his Kinesis therapist said. the man was tiny and efficient. Gave him a few lesson on his posture that saved him from the million migraines that he used to have and attack with painkillers, like his father did. Yet, today the pain was incredibly resilient and almost unreal. Like a rusty nail driven between the vertebrae.
His partner, Dom, came close. A stern, weathered face. Bad news.
"Look, this isnt gonna be pretty but you're the opnly one that seems available and you can handle people well...."
"A kid, fifteen year old. Stabbed his father in the neck with a fork. Called in and asked us to come and get him. Didnt resist the arrest. His mother was there too, cleaning the blood from the floor"
"Ah shit. Anything else"
"Well he keeps saying he was abused and he couldnt take it anymore"
Stevn entered the room. The kid was frail looking but with a fixed, intent stare on his face. He didnt look scared or traumatized. He just looked.... Like he was waiting for things to happen.
Steve sat in fron of him. Looked at him for a little while. The kid took his time but raised his face and stared back. He had no fear. He wasnt cocky or arrogant but looked like he was sure of having done the right thing.
"What's your name"
"So, Michael... What happened..."
"He kept doing it. So i couldnt take it anymore. I took him out"
"he hit you? Hit your mother?"
The kid paused. His eyes darted. Then he began staring again.
Steve took it in. Ok, the kid was a psychopath. Damn.
Michael kept looking at him, in the eyes. The stare became more intense more fixated. Any sign of fear or unceratinity that might have been in it, went away. He was still. He spoke, with a voice made of anger and resolution.
"You dont know. You cant understand. He stared. Constantly. At me. At mom. Mom started drinking heavily, years ago. To numb the pain from what he did. He never hit her. He wasnt a hitter, But he woke her up in the night and started calling her a cunt, a slut, a filthy whore. With no reason. Just because he liked to see her hurt. She want to divorce him but she couldnt afford it. She lost her job ouyt ofa nervous brekdown. Kept going at work after nights of lack of sleep and dozed off there. They fired her. They didnt know that he creamed in her ears as loud as he can, in the middle of the night. That he suddenly went to another room and started trashing things, so she had to go and stop him. Or threatened to hurt me. He never hit her so no one paid atrtention, but he scared her. when she was etaing he could just snap, take the food and throw it away. Saying that he paid for that so he could do whatever he wanted. Then he disappeared for days. Came back drunk and started yelling and throwing stuff around. And the stares. He was always there, looking, watching whatever you did. And at the first sign of staring back he started yelling, threatening, calling you a pussy, a cunt, a piece of shit. I had a cat, he killed it. He said it was for health reasons but he looked at me crying and he laughed. I was ten. She couldnt defend me anymore. And she wanted to kill herself. So i took him first..... "
Steve stood silently. Thinking. Watching the boy. Then he grbbed his shirt.
"Listen you little creep. I see kids your age who get raped, tortured, beaten daily. Whose parents abandon them on the street and that have to fight against drug using mothers that try to kill them. Sexually abused. My father did that to me. COnstantly. And my mother hated me because she said that i turned him into a bad person. So i outgrew him and started defending thye victims. But now people like you claim to be abused. Yeah, your fatyher was a bastard. Probably. But he didnt abuse you. You never bled. And your mother ended up like sxhe did, because she was weak. Just like you. And you know youre not going top jail cause youre a minor. If it was for me, you should be executed. But you wont. And yet you have taken two lives. His. And hers. She will be destroyed by this. She will die. She will be ashamed and will not be able to live through what you did. So enjoy the thought"
Michael trembled. tears filled his eyes, while his expression did not change.
"You cannot understand.... You didnt live there"
Steve neared a clenched fist to his face.
"I will beat you to a pulp if you say one more word, punk. I wasnt there but i saw kids like you, thinking that their life is so miserable, so they're allowed to do everything. Life is tougher than you think, you little cunt. I see it everyday. A stare doesnt leave scars"
Steve dragged Michael to a tiny cell occupied by two thugs. The kid didnt resist. Didnt cry. He was silent.
"These two know how tough life can be. They'll teach you a lesson, pussy boy. Time for you to deal with the real world".
He threw it in there. Michael sat, expressioneless and stoic. The two thugs laughed. One gave the kid a slight kick.
Steve watched. He begvan to say somethign, but didnt. He moved away. It was almost night.
Hours ago, when the sun started peeking from the horizon, he got a phone call.
The kid was dead. The two guys smashed his head on the floor. After teasing hi9m and hitting him all night without him responding, they got angry and one got too far. Apparently they couldnt stop them before it got ugly. Michael died a bit afterwards. He didnt resist, it was said. He kinda let all happen and let them take him out.
Steve tried to look in himslef for guilt. But there was none. Just a grey area.