Gun or Pillow? (Interactive Fiction)

Your windows aren’t tinted and the panes are naked; curtainless, colorless and inviting. Behind that, I see a vulnerable world, unaware, unkempt, like kids hanging on the edge of a school bus. The front door looks paper thin and I could a put my foot through it without even scratching myself. I haven’t touched the door knob yet, but I can tell it is a hard sneeze away from falling apart. Your porch lights are a yellow hue, accentuating your lonely existence. Is that how you plan on spending the rest of your life? Watching that bloody TV? One movie after the other? Switching it on and then spending hours and hours scrolling through your phone? Is that just a noisy companion? A chatty friend? The one you want around but don’t want talking to you?

I have been to your backyard too and that’s no different either; the grill is corroded and can barely stand one more rainy season. There is a broken ladder perched next to the wall, but I climbed up to your attic one day. It was was easy, the grip was firm, the angle was perfect and I have long legs. There is an iron rod kept right next to the glass door, screaming to be used. Are you teaching me how to break in?

There is a famous saying: Invite a man to your house and you have just invited him for a day. Teach a man how to break in and you have invited him over for a lifetime.

Actually, the original saying is more educational and boring than that, it’s something about fish and survival, but you get my point? It’s like you want me to come in. Is it because you trust the outsiders too much or is it because you don’t plan on intruders first hand?

Remember the time when you sat next to me in that train, reading an article on ten different ways to keep yourself protected? And as pointless and trite as that article was, there were still lessons a person like you could make use of. The author had put “being attentive and agile” under point number seven, as if, it never occurred to any of us before. Next it said, keep your friends on speed dial. Double check your doors and windows before you sleep. Get a pet. Learn martial arts. Blah di dah! But you obey none of that. You are not agile or attentive, you have zero friends and you have never pet a pet. You just like to sit on that barcalounger and guzzle pints and pints of beer and eat pizza, and then pick up the cheese enveloped crumbs one by one as they fall on your fat chest.

And have you seen your pizza guy? No, what I mean is, have you seen the pizza guy seeing you? He looks at you the way I look at you, except his motive is to get in bed with you. While mine is to kill you. In fact, you know what, let’s not even call it killing. Because it’s not that simple. I am an educator, and the murder, if we ever come to that, and I know we will come to that, is a form of education. A graduation for your soul.

So tonight, I am slumped over in the corner of your front yard, camouflaged by the trees and the bushes. The sun has gone done and you have just come home. You have changed into your sweatpants and t-shirts; stripped and yellow, doodled and funky. Quite an unusual dress for you, I reckon. Are you prepared for the night as much as I am? Because I am too goddamn prepared. If you looked in my backpack, there are gloves, a cloth piece soaked in chloroform,  ropes to tie your hands and legs with, acetone to clear my finger prints and then a gun, with its mouth gagged with a silencer. Because, silence is all that I ask for. Whether I put a bullet in your head or I suffocate you with a pillow.

So which one do you think it’s going to be? A gunshot? Quick. Precise. One bullet, through your temple, through your your brains, distorting the pixels on your TV, possibly disfiguring the mount behind it. Or are we going to go the old school, where there is a tussle at first, then there is a drowning well of darkness and as you fall through it, your breath becomes less and less frequent.

You choose the weapon of your death!

Gun

So you chose gun, huh? What was the rush? And can I also say, how unexciting! Predictable! A job, I could do with my left foot! Did I say that before? Perhaps!

But right now, ducking behind the trunk of your car, I have a clean shot. Video games or otherwise, I have always been good at moving targets, and here you are, still as a starfish. No flinching. Zero awareness. One pop and your head is several meat lumps of a freshly cut chicken. Chunks flying through the door. Neighbors wouldn’t bother. Everyone is plugged to a pair of those tiny ugly pods anyway.

So no, shooting from this far won’t be fun. Plus the realtor will have to explain a lot of unnerving questions asked by the next tenant.

So I tiptoe on the path that leads to your backyard and look! You have forgotten to close the door. How convenient and predictable!

I get in. The TV is louder than I thought it would be. Nice to know that your house is soundproof. Are you watching gone girl? Well, let me tell you, someone is gonna go girl and it won’t be the guy this time.

I am standing behind you now. The Barcalounger is stretched out in full. The movie is half an hour away from ending. So, maybe I should wait. Maybe I should allow you to watch the ending. I am a serial-killer, not a buzz killer. So, I stand behind you, the gun is pointing at the back of your head, as I watch the movie with you. Half an hour is more than half an hour. Maybe it’s four hours or something. At some point my back hurts. I have an urge to scratch the bottom of my feet. I bend down. You drop the remote. I move it closer to your feet. You pick it up. How drunk are you? If I were you, I would freak out, but of course I am not you and you can never be me.

when the credits start to roll. You switch off the TV. The black screen of the movie, has now two faces in it. One mine, one yours. Then. it has two heads. One alive. One dead. One bloody, one sweaty. One hollow. The other satiated. And then it moves to the kitchen, as the next movie starts playing in the background. In this movie, the girl is a ghost and it haunts its killer. Lame!

Pillow

So what’s your ammunition? Mine is a pillow. I am not carrying it, of course not. I will use one of yours. I see you have seven of them on your couch. Each, a color in a rainbow. What’s that movie you are watching? The one where the girl goes missing? Where the husband is blamed for it? Where she goes on to kill people? Effortlessly, seducing them, tricking them to fall for her? Good movie, but the book is better. Change my mind! But you don’t read books, do you? I have never seen you read one in last one year. I don’t see any lying around either. All I see are pint bottles with cigarette butts shoved in them, knocking on each other, creating a hedonistic symphony.

I have grabbed a cushion. It’s tiny, but when I suffocate you with it, it won’t feel that tiny. It will feel enormous, like the palms of King Kong. I want to put it to use when the movie is nearing climax, that’s when you will be most invested in it. You see, unlike a gun, suffocating someone is the job much like wrestling. Either I pin you down, then sit on top of you like harpy, and keep my face away from your gnarly scratches. Avoid my DNA stuffing your nails. Maybe punch your face a few times so your nose breaks in several pieces. Blood drips down on the pillow, a good amount flows back into your nose pipe and then you lose the fight. Behind the pillow your moans become a disturbing tinkle for help.

Or,

I suffocate you right here, on the barcalounger, you never see my face. You hear your own voices echoing behind a wall of foam pressed against your face. Your torso shadow boxes the air like a helpless cockroach.

Then I realize, none of that happens. You don’t wait for the movie to end. You get up midway. To pee? To make yourself a sandwich? To drink water? Something. You just get up. You surprise me. I wasn’t ready for this. It isn’t my birthday sweety!

And you find a strange man standing behind you and watching the movie with you. What are the odds of that? Never to none! You rub your drunk eyes. Take a look at my backpack and then at me, then back at my backpack and say, “Are you the plumber, what’s the name? John? You are too late. Can you come tomorrow?”

I sigh. A half sigh. Freeze. Frozen arms. Frozen face. Frozen in time. Fumble with my words and say, “Yes, yes. John! That’s me.”

I extend my arm for a handshake, you stare at my gloves suspiciously as you walk me out through the main door.

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