Stirring In The Deep End
The town outside his window looked as dead as his heart. The
traffic trickled down Lament Street like a Sunday afternoon. The gray skies made even the
newest buildings look old and decrepit. The trees swayed in the gusting wind and looked as
though they were trying to break from their roots and run from their jaded surroundings.
The cars in the parking lot were bored from hours of sitting idle. They looked up at John
with their sad headlights and begged him to be set free.
"I know how you feel," John sighed.
He sat down at his desk and rested his face in his bony
fingers. He massaged his weary face until his office door interrupted him.
"Why are you still here, John?"
"Theres nothing else out there for a guy like
"Theres plenty of things beyond me. Youre
free to experience all that which I can only dream about."
"Im scared," John sobbed.
"What do you mean?"
"Im in a rut and even though it sucks, its
"The rut lies within your mind. Flee from it and start
John cocked his head like a dog trying to understand its
"Youre right, but where should I go?" John
"To a place where you can escape the drain of this world
and find yourself," the door said. John stood and walked to the coat rack. His hands
trembled as he slid his coat onto his lanky torso. He had never up and did anything.
Regimental, that was his word. Ten years in the same apartment with the same job. Variety
was grocery shopping on Saturday rather than Thursday night. John shuffled to his office
door and paused before opening it.
"Thank you," John said.
The door didnt reply. John stepped out into the lively
hallway of his office building. He strolled past the closed doors of his coworkers
offices and wondered if they were having the same conversations with their doors.
The elevator opened before John could push the button. Things
were already looking up. He entered the empty lift and the door closed him off from his
"Actually things seem to be going up," John
"Down it is."
The lobby light came on, and the elevator dropped smoothly to
the ground level. The door opened and John stepped out.
"Have a good day," the elevator said.
John skipped across the parking lot. He stopped at his car
and opened the door. John situated himself in his seat and turned the key.
"Leaving early today?" The car asked.
"Yes," John replied.
"Where are we going?"
"I dont know," John said. "Where do you
"The park is nice this time of year."
"The park sounds like a winner to me," John agreed
in a jolly tone.
John backed out of his parking slot and turned onto Lament
Street. The car remained silent for the rest of the journey except for the monotone hum of
tires on asphalt. The clouds parted and let some much-needed sunlight into Johns
world. The wind cheered sounded like cheers as it passed through the cracked window. This
combined with the tall grass and trees that waved him on and reminded John of the old
World War II documentaries he so loved to watch on Friday nights. Perfect John mused. He
couldnt remember the last time he noticed such beautiful things.
He pulled the car into the Mitchell Park entrance and
proceeded deep into the forest. There were many branches off the main road but none really
urged John on until he came to the Drummer Road exit. The bright sunlight made the road
appear as if it were paved with gold. The glare from the distant lake was his spiritual
He stopped his car in the lot overlooking the marvelous lake.
He watched the water ripple as a cool and soothing wind blew across it. John rolled his
window down the rest of the way to catch the breeze. The air cooled his feverish face. He
closed his eyes and drifted into the sanctuary of his mind. Peace consumed him for the
first time in years.
He was startled out of his rest by the sound of name. John
looked around nervously, trying to find the location of his caller. When he was convinced
it was the wind, he eased his head back onto his headrest.
"John, up here," the crow squawked. John opened his
eyes and saw the jet-black bird perched upon a limb of an oak tree.
"Hello," John said.
"What brings you here?"
"I decided I deserved a day to catch up on my sanity so
I came here to relish in the beauty of the forest."
"Whats wrong with your sanity?" The crow
"Lately Ive been losing control. I feel like
Im going to crack. The littlest things get under my skin. My friends, my family, my
job, everything. I feel like doing something to take care of it, but Im
scared," John snapped.
"Surrender to your desires."
but the things Ive thought of doing.
Murder, suicide. I could never do such things, but I cant get away from the
thoughts. They crawl into my head all the time. I cant even masturbate without
thinking about strangling someone or hanging myself."
"Go with it," the bird cackled. "It will ease
"I cant," John yelled.
"Have you ever tried?"
"No," John wept.
"Then try," the crow urged John. "These things
come from deep inside your mind, and your mind knows whats best for you."
Johns weeping became uncontrollable. Tears stung his
"Stop this self-pity and release your pain," the
crow demanded. "Your salvation lies within."
His crying subsided, and he stared at the scavenger. The crow
took flight, and John watched him in his flight pattern until an oncoming vehicle caught
his attention. The car had a young couple inside. They laughed and carried on without
acknowledging Johns presence.
"The nerve of them," a voice said.
"Yeah," John agreed without taking his eyes off the
"The bird was right you know?" The massive oak tree
John turned his attention to the wise old oak, "About
"About listening to your mind."
"Maybe, its time I did," John scowled,
turning his attention back to the lovers as they walked into the forest along a narrow
"Go with it," the tree encouraged. "Listen to
your mind and let it guide you to your destiny."
John stepped out of his car and walked to the trunk. He
popped it open with his key and rummaged for an instrument of destruction. The best he
could do was a rusted single bar tire iron. The rust from the iron stained Johns
twitching hand. He poked his head out from behind the trunk to check the whereabouts of
his prey. He watched them disappear into the lush forest, and he quietly secured the
John made his way onto a small knoll overlooking the path. He
watched the couple with the eyes of a wolf. They frolicked their way to a clearing where
they spread a blanket and fell onto each other. John watched in disgust. It had been a
long time since he had known a woman in such a way.
"Getem Johnny," said a voice from bellow.
John placed a thin bony finger to his lips. "Shhhh.
Theyll hear you."
He gripped the iron tight and slithered his way closer to the
"Hello," John bellowed as he vaulted to his feet.
"Im here to kill you."
John buried the tire iron into the young mans skull
before he could react. John placed his foot on the mans neck for leverage and pulled
the iron out. He drove the iron violently into the womans back as she tried to
escape. She dropped to the forest floor. Satisfied she was incapacitated; he worked on the
man. The entire forest cheered him on while he beat the man with ruthless enjoyment. Once
the mans face resembled a Halloween pumpkin that had been stolen and smashed in the
street, John pursued the wounded woman. She had struggled to feet and was stumbling down
the meandering path. John raised the blood soaked iron over his head and slammed it into
her neck. The pop of her neck rang through the forest. She landed on the ground,
determined to escape her demented attacker, and began crawling. John hovered over her and
taunted her with her impending death. He let her snail crawl within sight of her car
before driving the jagged edge of the iron through her back and into the soil beneath.
John collapsed down beside the girl and gazed into her dying
eyes. She tried to mutter something to John but bloody saliva was all that would come.
What a pretty girl she was. Amber hair set against green eyes. The tears of pain made them
glow like springtime fireflies. A woman of this caliber would have never dated him. Only
if she would of, though. This could of all been avoided. Such women were destined for
better things than he could have given her. The huge diamond on her finger was proof of
John forced himself to his feet and walked to the parking
lot. He walked sluggishly like a little leaguer who had cost his team the championship.
The forest creatures shunned him for his brutal deeds. Trees turned their branches upwards
in disappointment while the birds sang melodies of disgust.
"You told me to," John cried out in anguish. The
critters scurried at the echoes of disdain.
John reached his car and sprawled out on the hood. The winds
picked up and chilled his body. John tried to produce tears but none came.
"Its over John," the breeze carried the sweet
voice of the lake to John.
"Come unto me, and Ill set you free from your
," John tried to argue.
"No John. Its the best way, the only way."
John rolled off the hood and landed on his feet. He staggered
down to the water. He entered the water, and it seemed like he was walking on top of it
until he felt the refreshing coolness on his bare arms.
John stopped when the water reached his throat. All of his
fears and frustrations left his body. He watched them dance around him while the lake
swallowed him whole.
The wind blew the water into white capping waves. The trees
swayed in silence. The blades of grass fluttered emotionless as they had for years.
Animals clambered from tree to ground and back up. The forest, like John, was again calm.
© Jason Lavertue