James was at the local hospital, a small building. He was staying in the long-term care unit on the first floor, quite easy to climb in through his window at three in the morning. The window opened silently. I steadied myself and climbed in, falling onto the floor of his private room with a thud.
He woke up, “Who’s there?” he asked the darkness. I could hear a little bit of fear in his voice. He didn’t know who was there or what their intentions were, especially at this hour.
I stood up and brushed myself off, straightening my shirt. I put my hand over my back pocket to make sure it was still there. “Oh, good. My present didn’t fall out.”
“Who is it? What present? Ma.. Matthew, is that you? What are you doing here? James asked, recognizing my voice, with that realization, his voice rising to a fever pitch by the time he was done asking me why I was in his hospital room.
With enough confidence to put anyone into shock, I walked up to his bed. I turned on the lamp beside him, so he could see my face. The light blinded us both; he turned away while his eyes adjusted, but I kept focus on him with a look of sheer determination on my face.
“Matthew, I thought we agreed it’d be for the best if you stayed away.” James said, looking at me again. His eyes were pleading, like he knew what was coming. He had no idea, though.
“Do you know why you’re here right now? Why you’re in that hospital bed? Why your back is broken and you’re paralyzed from the neck down? Do you know why? Karma. That’s why. Karma did this to you.” My voice was solid, unwavering; I was confident in what I was doing.
I was looking him in the eyes, making sure to never break contact. I wanted to see the expression on his face when he saw it. I pulled the .357 Magnum Revolver out of my jeans and pressed the barrel against the side of my head. “I put one bullet in here. I don’t know what chamber it’s in. Let’s find out, shall we?”
“This is for me,” I explained. “For believing everything you told me. For believing that you actually cared about me, that you actually loved me.”
My fingers gripped the trigger, ready to pull it. I closed my eyes and pulled back on the trigger. There was a click as the barrel moved.
I opened my eyes and looked at James. There was a look of sheer terror plastered on his face. “I guess it wasn’t meant for me, not this time.” I explained. “It’s your turn now.”
Leaning in closer to him, I moved the gun up to his face and pressed the barrel against his cheek. His eyes pleaded with me, conveying the emotions that he couldn’t. “Ple.. Please don’t do this, Matthew. Please don’t do this. I said I was sorry. I’m so sorry. Please, please don’t.” James tried to reason with me. Tears started forming in his eyes as he began to realize that he might die. Within the next few minutes he might be dead. Gone. No more life, no waking up tomorrow. No more living.
“This is for you.” I told him, sternly and without emotion. Truthfully, my insides were swimming. I was bursting with emotions, of revenge… happiness, even. But I didn’t want him to know that. I leaned in closer again. “You lied to me. You never had any intentions of dating me. I bet you never even liked me, did you? You just saw a quiet, vulnerable boy and you decided to mess with his head. To have some fun. Why? To satisfy your boredom? Or do you just have a need to destroy other people’s lives?”
My finger slowly slid off the grip and moved to the trigger. James eyes widened in disbelief. I don’t think reality had set in and he really had the barrel of a gun pressed into the side of his face. “Karma put you here, so let’s see what else karma has in store for you.” My finger gripped the trigger and squeezed.
The look on his face was of pure relief. A ten thousand pound weight was instantly lifted off his shoulders. You could see it, all of a sudden the tension in his body disappeared and he was shaking. His face glistened with a layer of sweat. “Oh.. thank God.” He whispered. “Thank-you.”
I was getting a little anxious. I realized what I was doing, and was beginning to doubt myself a bit. The reality of my actions were sinking in for me. My mind began to race in turmoil as I tried to decide what to do; I was torn. I began to pace as I thought about all the things that James did to me; how he treated me. “Matthew, you can do this. Matthew, you need to do this,” I mumbled, reassuring myself.
“Matthew, what did you say?” James asked. “If you’re having second thoughts, it’s okay. Walk away, you can. I promise that I won’t say anything. I’ll pretend this never happened.” James told me, begging, to try and make this unpleasant situation end.
“What did I say?” I responded. “I just said that it’s my turn next.”
I defiantly positioned the barrel of my gun against my temple. James closed his eyes when he saw what I was doing. Maybe in disbelief, or shock. I’m really not sure.
“I shouldn’t have had anything to do with you, you know?” I said, pacing the hospital floor. "I knew that, too. Deep down, in my heart, I knew you were bad news. But, what can I say. You were easy on the eyes, and the wrong head was doing the thinking. You took something special from me. You took something that I’ll never get back. You took something from me that I wanted to be special, and it wasn’t. I’ll never forgive you for that, but more importantly… I’ll never forgive myself for that. As much as you manipulated me, I let you do it. That, I can never forgive myself for.”
I gripped the handle tightly, my hands starting to sweat. With a small tremble in my hands, and the barrel still pressed against my temple, I pulled the trigger.
I lowered the gun and turned away from him.
“Please don’t do this. You’ve made your point. I’m sorry.” James begged me, again.
“No!” I yelled. He flinched.
“No, I haven’t.” I said again, quieter.
I kicked off my shoes and crawled onto James’s bed. I crawled up to him and positioned myself so that I was sitting on him. I could feel my weight sinking into his chest. I leaned in once again and brought my mouth close to his.
“I lost three teeth, you know,” I told him. “The swelling around my eye has mostly gone down, you can’t see it in this lighting. So many belt buckles.” I continued to tell James, with him having no idea what I was talking about, his look of confusion obvious.
“Want to know where I got this gun?” I asked him. “My old man bought it. Why did he buy it, you might be wondering? He told me. He said he was going to use it on me.”
There was a flicker in James’s eyes.
“He was going to use it on me, because he said he could no longer stand having a faggot living under his roof. He legally can’t kick me out, so he’d take me out. Make it look like an accident, a suicide, said he knew how to. So many months of having me living there, it was digging at him. Crawling under his skin, bothering him. My very existence disturbs him, so he’s going to kill me.”
“I…” was all James could manage to say, as a single tear rolled down his cheek.
“I… Yes, exactly. That’s on you. I told you. I warned you. I begged you. But you did it anyways. You outed me to everyone, and he found out.” I told him, trying to contain the rage in my voice, with a slight quiver.
I pressed the gun against his head. He was shaking again and he was actually crying now. As my hand gripped the trigger, he mouthed out the words “I’m sorry.”
Again, nothing happened.
Before he could react, I jumped off the bed and moved into the shadows. He quietly sobbed for a minute, as I collected my thoughts and put my shoes back on.
“There’s only 2 left. This 1 is for me, the last is for you, if…” I trailed off.
There was silence for another few minutes, as the gravity of the situation weighed down heavily on us both.
“My sin. The reason the barrel of this gun is pressed against my head… it weights deeply on me. It’s probably the worst thing that I could have done to myself. It’s too painful for me to look at you and explain to you why this gun is pointed at my head. So, just trust me with what I am telling you.” I explained.
“My fault is that I fell in love with you. I promised myself that I never would, that I was better off without that bullshit. That love was bullshit and I was better off alone. I didn’t need anyone, I convinced myself. But, no. You had to come along and destroy that. You’ve ruined me, I can’t go back. There is no going back. Worst of all, with all the things you did to me, I still loved you. You outed me, and I told myself it was because you thought it was for the best. That you loved me back, and cared for me. We both know that isn’t true, though. My sin is falling for you when I told myself I wouldn’t.”
Click, the sound echoed through the otherwise silent room.
I stepped out of the shadows and shrugged at James. “There’s only one more, and it’s your turn. I’ll keep this short, for your sake.”
He wasn’t saying anything. He was just lying there, quietly crying and staring at me. I guessed only about ten minutes had passed since I climbed through that window, but it had been such an emotional ten minutes. I think that James had reflected on what he had done to me, and came to the realization that he deserved death. Maybe he was at peace with it, the inevitable conclusion.
I stepped over to his bed. I didn’t kneel down or move close to him, in any way, shape or form. I stood beside the bed, towering over him. I put the barrel of the gun in his mouth, so he couldn’t talk. He wasn’t talking anyways, but I wanted to make sure. Tears quietly continued to stream down his face as he closed his eyes. He was bracing himself, to die.
“You took my love, my trust, for you… and used it to your advantage,” I snapped. "You cheated on me more times than I can count, and that’s only the times I caught you. Jessy, Daniel, Brandon, Jessica, Nathan. I forgave you every single time. Every time was the last time and every time you were so sorry. Promises that it would never happen again, and that you were changed and better. You took an innocent, quiet little boy… used and abused him, destroyed him, and then walked away. For that, you deserve what’s in this last chamber.”
I pulled the trigger, and nothing happened.
James opened his eyes, in shock. “I… I thought…?” He asked me, confused.
“You thought there were bullet in the last chamber and you were going to die? It’s simple really, there never was any bullets.” I explained.
“But, why?” He asked me, in shock.
“You never would have thought about your actions the way you did, unless you thought you might die.” I told him, as I slowly walked to the, still open, window. “I hope you’ve learned your lesson.” I said, as I disappeared out the window and back into the night.