Darrell’s Fantasy

Second Place
Arbuckle Award

After the recent and tragic events at Virginia Tech, the author and the editors of Hog Creek Review hesitated in running this story. Although we are opposed to censorship, we do condone good taste and were concerned that the story might be inappropriate at this time. However, on further reflection we have decided that since one purpose of literature is to put a spotlight on the cultural landscape of a society, and since violence is an unfortunate part of that landscape, the story should appear. Neither the author nor the editors are in any way encouraging or condoning the actions that are part of the plot of this work.

Darrell hated bitches. Period. Whenever he walked by the young ones at work, they would flash him the “yucky face” and giggle behind his back as he passed. He knew they were making fun of him, every last one of them. They all thought that they were so much better than he was. And Darrell knew that even the old bitches who were so infatuated with him at the nursing home where he worked wouldn’t bother to piss on him if he was on fire had they been but sixty years younger.

He got up and stomped over to the phone to check his messages. He had one: his caseworker, Cindy, had called again because he had missed his third appointment with his psychiatrist in a row, and she wanted to make sure that he was all right and was taking his medications. Darrell slammed down the receiver and went into the kitchen to check on his T.V. dinner. That bitch didn’t care how he was doing; she was just like all the rest of them. All she was concerned with was keeping up appearances and documenting her phone calls for the state to show that she was at least trying to help him. Darrell was seething as he sat down for his meager supper.  He took a deep breath. He had to keep himself calm, for tonight was the night.

Darrell looked out of his window and saw the trick or treaters scurrying for their candy around his neighborhood, but he had left his porch light off to so as to be undisturbed while he prepared. In about an hour or so, they would be off the streets and he would make his way to "Halloween Havoc '07" downtown.

Darrell placed his black coveralls and hockey mask on his bed. He examined the mask that he had spray-painted black and splashed with red to give the appearance of blood splatter; he didn’t want to look exactly like that Jason guy from the movies. He opened his duffle bag to check his equipment: a machete, tomahawk, some piano wire, and his pride and joy – a long stiletto of the same make and model as the one used in the infamous O.J. murders. He snickered; that O.J. was one guy who really knew how to put a bitch in her place. Darrell proceeded to ready himself, and when he looked out and determined that the coast was clear, he vanished into the moonless night.

Darrell slinked through the shadows down the dimly lit street. He stopped for a moment when he spied something of interest: a lone female in a brown leather jacket and blue jeans hopping up and down and blowing her hands for warmth. She was a small girl, and Darrell believed that she wouldn’t be able to put up much of a fight, thus making her an excellent “warm up” before he made it to the party.

He looked around to make sure that he wasn’t being watched and moved in for the kill. He walked on the balls of his feet, staying just below her line of sight and never looking directly at her -- just like he had learned from a ninja manual that he had purchased from a martial arts e-store. He readied the stiletto and prepared to pounce on his hapless victim.


Darrell’s gaze immediately shifted to the branch on which he had just stepped. The woman let out a blood-curdling scream and then snapped a kick that impacted Darrell’s groin with explosive force. He dropped to his knees, groaning in the worst pain he could ever remember, as the woman turned to make her escape. He was able to grab her by the ankle and pull her to the ground as she turned to run. She lashed out with her free leg, savagely bashing Darrell’s cranium as she cried out for help.

Darrell knew that there was a very real chance that he could get caught if he didn’t get this over with quickly. The racket she was making with the screaming and the rolling around in leaves had to have drawn attention by now. That, coupled with the unexpected beating that he had so far sustained, made him eager to end this thing.

He struggled to wrestle his way up behind her. She did not make it easy for him and fought with everything that she had. Darrell plunged the stiletto deep into her lower back and tried cup her mouth to muffle her scream. He looked down at his prey so that she could gaze into the eyes of the man that she and her kind had so wronged; but he was not ready for what he saw. Her tear-filled eyes were looking at him in a stunned terror and her speechless lips quivered uncontrollably. Darrell panicked and began attempting to remove the blade when his heart nearly stopped; it wouldn’t budge. He feverishly tried to free it as the woman’s body became paralyzed with pain.

“It’s not supposed to be like this,” he stammered as he continued his gruesome task.

He finally rolled his victim onto her stomach and used his foot to aid in freeing the blade. Darrell then flopped her supine and straddled her to prevent any escape. He looked down at her as she was trying to shake her head, trying to speak, but he knew what had to be done. He took the knife, and as she gave one last desperate plea with her eyes, slashed her throat from ear to ear. Darrell doubled over in pain and nausea as the knife dropped from his hand to the ground. The woman began gurgling and coughing; he had botched the job by opening the trachea along with the arteries, causing her to choke loudly on her own blood. Darrell wanted to get as far away from the scene as possible and ran back to his hiding spot around the corner of the building.

He sat in the darkness rocking back and forth in an attempt to calm his nerves. He looked at the blood on his hands and began to dry heave. He frantically tried to wipe the blood off in the grass.

“You got to get it together, you knew this might be hard the first time, but they all have it coming,” he whispered under his breath trying to reassure himself.

Several lights came on along the street. Darrell scrambled to his feet and retreated towards his house without making any attempt at stealth. The revulsion over what he had done overwhelmed him and he needed to distance himself from it as quickly as possible.

He made it home unnoticed and immediately procured half a pitcher of orange juice from the refrigerator and mixed in the remainder of a fifth of vodka that he had been saving for a special occasion and then staggered into his living room. He threw the mask down on the coffee table and chugged the sour concoction down without stopping for air. Darrell battled to come to terms with what he had done that night; as he sat numbly on his ratty futon, he became overwhelmed by a feeling of dread: he had left his prized blade lying next to her body. The lights suddenly flickered out and Darrell hit the floor, certain that the police had tracked him and cut his power prior to moving in on him.  

“Hey, numb nuts, is this yours?” called out a disembodied voice.

Darrell quickly turned toward the voice and saw the diminutive figure of the murdered woman standing in the corner, slowly allowing the stiletto to slip through her bloody fingers to the floor. She smiled.

“You’re not real bitch, I killed you!” he shouted, managing to summon up a measure of false bravado as he stood to face her.

He closed his eyes and counted to ten, willing the vision to disappear. When he reopened them, the figure closed on him at a speed most unnatural, causing Darrell to stumble backwards and slam against the wall.

“You pathetic excuse for a man. You just got your ass kicked by a girl! And did you really think stabbing me in the back with that little knife would be the end of it?” taunted the figure.

Darrel couldn’t believe it. These damn bitches wouldn’t even show him respect after had killed them.

“You’re a just bitch like the rest and all you bitches ever did was hurt me and keep me down! That’s why I slew you,” he shouted out in defiance at the figure.

The figure began to giggle slightly and then erupted into a full laughter.

“What? What is so Goddamn funny?” demanded Darrell.

“Slew me? Where’d you come up with that one? From all those years of playing Dungeons and Dragons by yourself in your mommy’s basement?” snickered the figure.

He once again closed his eyes and counted in attempt to make her vanish.

“Don’t bother with that shit because it isn’t going to work. I plan on staying here with you…. Forever!” keened the figure.

Darrell’s eyes immediately snapped open at the piercing scream. His morale broke and he made a mad dash past the figure and attempted to leap over the end of the futon to escape. The metal arm of the futon caught his foot and he crashed hard into the hallway, causing him to lose bowel control. He scrambled to his feet and darted down the hall to his bedroom. He slammed the door behind him and quickly began looking for a place to hide. He rolled under the edge of his bed and closed his eyes. He nearly gasped out loud as he heard the door ever so slowly creak open. Darrell waited perfectly still for what seemed like an eternity and, just when he didn’t think that he could stand the torturous wait any longer, he heard the figure calling to him.

“Pewee, Mr. Poopypants! You sure do stink!” mocked the figure.

Darrell froze in place, too frightened to move.

“Now, I know that even a complete dumb-ass like yourself wouldn’t hide under the bed.”

The figure knelt down and peeked across the floor at him from the opposite side of the bed. Their gazes met for a brief moment before Darrell bolted from under the bed and ran down the hall at breakneck speed, skidded around the corner and headed for the basement. He flew down the stairs, tripped and tumbled head over heels to the unforgiving concrete floor below. Darrell struggled to crawl into a corner where he pulled himself up to his knees. He looked up to see the figure descending the stairs after him. Darrell began to sob uncontrollably in the corner as the figure slowly approached.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he cried reaching out to the figure, “what can I do to make you leave me alone?”  

As Darrell sat sobbing on the floor, the figure smiled and gently knelt down beside him. She put a finger to his lips to hush his cries and whispered into his ear. Darrell looked up numbly and made his way to the bathroom. He lit several candles around the edge of the tub while running a warm bath. With his blood-soaked garb removed, Darrell procured a box of double-edged razors from the medicine cabinet.

“And try not to screw it up, asshole!”    

Joseph has just joined the military to help and serve his country, but there is an ulterior power at work. Joseph’s father, Joseph Sr., has hatched a plan, one which will tear at the life and mind of our young subject. Joseph’s mother and beloved fall in with this as well. This is his trek . . . This is a story being told through song......this is a journey through hell and insanity...... I am the voyager destined to tell the saga of Joseph . . . I am your pilot to navigate and narrate. . . This is The Unrestricted. . .

It is Joseph’s last night at home with his family, and his best friend has joined him to sing and play music as they always have. The sight tortures Joseph’s mother, as she will soon be sending her only son overseas. The day comes and it is just as hard as she imagined.

The Goodbye
(Cast away your son Mother)
Play it again, Dear Brother, Play it
Let our voices ring clear, Create such a chord
Sing from your heart, Sing from your soul
Let it flow, Even though
The thought sparks a tear
Unbeknownst to a friendship
A mother sits alone in her room
You’re my boy, Dear son, My boy
My life up ‘till now consisted of you
You leave me today. What if you
Never make it home, A death in the family?
Smeared makeup speaks volumes to an audience
A mother back alone to her room
So drift to sleep my Mother, Darling
I go through this now for you and for Dad
So drift to sleep my mother, Darling
To become a man, I journey to this land
To earn your respect and your love
Be sure to write my brother, Write away
Be sure to sing my brother, Sing away
Write me a lullaby to play when you return
So drift to sleep my Mother, Darling
I go through this now for you and for Dad
So drift to sleep my mother, Darling
To become a man, I journey to this land
To earn your respect and your love

Joseph’s mother comes home from the ceremony where she had left her son and goes to her husband for comfort. Joseph Sr. tells her of a plan he has hatched and how to make it work. All that Joseph makes shall be theirs, and they will keep him in harm’s way as long as possible to earn what they feel they deserve for raising him.

Darling, Mother
(Joseph, Take the wheel)
“Darling” he says to me
“Joseph, My boy has gone missing
A tear breaks the brim on the windows of blue and of grey
“Don’t you worry Darling”
He says once again, Repeating this blasphemy
“He’s gone away, to fight another day”
“Come to me Darling, and pray”
His soul will be lost to the damned
His body earns what we can spend
This word of caution on deaf ears
A life he builds won’t find shelter here
“Could we capture this thought?
Will he depart before we are caught?”

As Joseph gets closer to his destination, an Arab city, he falls asleep with his head on the window, only to be woken by his commanding officer in a fit of panic.

A Propeller’s Lullaby
(Wake Up Son)
Awake through the night
As the face bounces on the window pane
Eyes are wide
Deconstructing thoughts in his brain
“BOY! Get your ass up! Get down to your knees!
Help with the gear, We’re landing, you see!”
Suit up
We fly by night to fight tonight
Strap it down
Protect yourself, Protect your men,
Your manhood has begun
His memory flashes
Second nature is a joke in times like these
His mind runs blank, Draws fire in disbelief

On a routine patrol of the city, Joseph becomes separated from the group. He is sure that death is near for he feels as though someone is following closely behind.

Lost and Alone
(Follow the sunset, Dear boy)
I’m now, Out here alone
Terror grips the undertones
Can someone save me?
Lost in another world
Searching for shelter
Someone lurks
Seems like they’re shadowing
Somewhere behind me
Cradle my gun
I just stand and wait
They’re coming out, Coming at me
Decide right now, Where I belong
Sit out, Turn towards the sunset
Like a photograph
Follow it ‘till I find help
I thought I’d die here alone
At the hands of those
Who wish for nothing more
Oh Dear Lord, I want to stay alive. . .
Through this
Let me live another day
For my girl and my family
Oh Dear lord
I want to stay alive. . .

After finding his way back to his company’s encampment, he sits down to write a letter to his betrothed. She is his shining light and his one true love. Surely she will understand what he feels. He is dreaming of death and hate and it shakes his very foundation. He misses her so.

Beside Me
Lately it seems
I can't find the reason behind these dreams
Tempting me
Underestimating glory in the way she sings
Even if the tide should fade
I’ll return just to see your face
And now I can’t breathe without you
Now I can't see without you beside me
Holding me up when I am weak
Beside me, You bring out the best in me
Relish in these melodies
For it won't be long ‘till I concede
I’m haunted by the context of these dreams
Conversations running rampant over me
Redefining me
You seem to be the only one who can make me
Re-examine myself, My beliefs
Cross the barrier between the seas
That separate our tragedy
Even if the tide should fade
I’ll return just to see your face
And now I can’t breathe without you
Now I can't see without you beside me
Holding me up when I am weak
Beside me, You bring out the best in me
Relish these melodies
For it won’t be long ‘till I concede

As time goes by, more and more of Joseph’s money is being taken. Joseph is still blind to this as he is having trouble of his own. His commanders have turned to blood lust and have gone into the now partially occupied city to reap revenge for their losses. Joseph comes across a family and his superior officers say one word: Execute.

Eyes Wide
(An internal Catastrophe)
A shadow creeps tonight
In the hazel grey moonlight
A vision of white
Before a flash blinds my eyes
Just a family lay before
Just an innocent little one
Shaking uncontrollably
Holding tight their son
Stopped, Silent, A declaration of faith
Can they survive
Will they rely
On this heart, It’s grown too cold
Eyes wide
Leap across your face
Filling empty space
Will it be enough?
Eyes wide
A childhood displaces
By the violence of this place
Will it be enough?
Orders received through the intercom
Target deceased my job complete
. . . . . A Murderer . . . . .

After following the order and executing the family, Joseph breaks. The guilt is overpowering. All he wanted to do was earn a life for his future wife and respect from his family. His head swirls as the enemy sees the atrocities of the army and advances. Joseph just sits down, head in hands, and takes a look at himself.

A Crisis of Conscience Pt. 1
(The Doubt Inside)
With this blood on hand I tread
The sands of time and space it seems
Just to witness it again
Ugly humanity
I’ve seen far too much to plan
A life ahead
All these battles have now bled
Into monstrosity
What have I become?
A murderer?
…yes……..A murderer
I’ve seen far too much to plan
A life ahead
I’m just killing on command
For a president
I’ve loved far too little
And I’ve cared not enough
Until now
No more following
I’ve given up
What have I become?
A murderer?
…yes……..A murderer
I can hear them shouting
They’re coming for this monster
Fire away son, Fire away

Joseph begins to recede into himself and the pressure, guilt, stress all build on him like weights, tearing down his soul. He has been sending and receiving letters back and forth to home. His father continues to tell him about the oath that he needs to recite whenever he feels like he can’t make it.

The Letter Home
(Hello, Darling Mother, Hello)
Ink slowly covers the paper
In a mask that it shields from the light
I miss you once again, remembering what you said
A tapestry of words you wielded
My life consisted of you
Did you tell them of all that I’ve said
Of the places I’ve been, Of the things that I did
Tell her I love her, Tell her I care
And I see her at night in my prayers
I’m waiting for her
If it wouldn’t matter
I’d come home to my love and my kin
But he gave me an oath to recite when I’m alone
I’ll fight ‘till they need me no more
Then I’ll come home
But she said she’d write a lifetime
For the chance I might be dead
I’d come back for her, She draws me in
Ignoring the sound of the gun battle before us
I write this tonight for my family to witness
I’ll be awake for awhile
The light will not fade for awhile
But she said she’d write a lifetime
For the chance I might be dead
I’d come back for her, She draws me in
I’ll write again soon
Please tell her I’ll be back again soon
And mom, dad . . .
I love you

As the notes get more and more desperate from Joseph, the money becomes more and more tempting. The more danger he is in, the more the government pays him. This is what his father and mother are working toward. Worried that Sarah, his love, will tell him what is going on, Joseph’s parents welcome her to their home to talk with her and offer her a piece of the prize. She thinks and then accepts, for she has found someone to comfort her while he is gone. A little money would sit nicely with her new lover. Joseph’s parents unfold the plan to her.

The Plot Unfolds
(Welcome, Sarah, Welcome)
We’ll hide all of these things
These secrets we hide inside
What Joseph doesn’t know
Won’t hurt him, Won’t know we lied
But watch out my dear
For these wounds severe
There’s nothing left to do but wait
We’ll see him home in a crate
What he can’t hear
Earns us the key
His money, Ours to keep
His downfall
Now tell good Sarah news
The plan we’ve hatched, She’ll get her cut
Just keep him over there
Split three ways just isn’t fair
He needs to gain some more
To make it worth our while
A son’s life lost
But money reconciles
What he can’t hear
Earns us the key
His money, Ours to keep
His downfall

As Joseph receives letter after letter from home telling him of how proud they are of him and how courageous he must continue to be, his burden becomes even greater. He signs on for another three months of hell to serve his country. While checking the perimeter one night, he comes across a young boy of about six holding a large gun much larger than his own fragile frame. Joseph is stopped in his tracks, not sure what to do.

A Crisis of Conscience Pt.2
Headfirst into the darkness
Onward through the abyss
I search for sheltered comfort
No stock in times like this
There is no life in eyes
Blue and cold, It’s what you beg for
There is no time for lies
Ending this is what you pray for
Shrouded in secrecy
Amidst the men I know
Black faces, hearts the same it seems
My doubt begins to grow
There is no life in eyes
Blue and cold, It’s what you beg for
There is no time for lies
Ending this is what you pray for
A child’s tear breaks jumps the eye
Touches me, It’s what he prayed for
Clutching his hands for life
Mercy is what he begged for
Innocence means nothing when it comes to this
Common sense and gullibility contend
Ignorance means something when it comes to this
Ignorance is killing for a president

After his killing of the small child and as his missions become darker, Joseph begins to break under the pressure. He is hallucinating, not able to handle the gravity of the situation. His superiors are starting to notice this as well. One day, Joseph goes to his commanding officer and tells him of what he is feeling.

The Descent
(Madness sets In)
I’ve branded myself
With this image of beast
Ironic it is
For I’m slave to machine
Just drifting away
In this sandy haze . . .
Puddles of crimson pool around me
I’m blinded to them, I am a machine
A soul crusher
So they tell me
“Accidents” breed casualties
A cost of this war
But don’t question me
I follow the machine
Light flashes
I move, So agile in the sun
“This is for fighting, This is for fun”
Alone . . .
No one here to comfort me
All I need do is follow the bodies
Back home to my betrothed
Back home where we are still numb
Pull me out captain, I’m coming undone
I’ve Come Undone . . . .

Joseph’s superiors grow worried over his increasingly erratic and strange behavior and eventually have him taken before a doctor to be evaluated. He is labeled mentally unstable for battle and is put on a plane ride home to his family and his love. He is ecstatic to get there and start the life he has been building over the last eight months.

The Flight Home
(On My Way, Darling)
It seems they’ve brought you here
This evening
A victim of our own lost cause
The war
Defeating it was never an option
You’re the worst I’ve seen so far
You’ll be sent home, Your name now large
“Honorable Discharge”
Board the plane, head for home
Board this freedom flight
A family awaits you back there
Sincerely, The chief of staff
Wishes you the best of favor
Board this freedom flight, tonight
You’ll be home soon
I wait for motion
I’m curious, I see nothing moving
A lot empty, there’s no one there
Family and girl kept in the dark
A surprise for me to share
Can I go to her now?
My future wife
Welcomed into her arms on this night
I’ll be better off real soon
She’ll be better off when I come home
This drive breeds anticipation
But what is this I see?
A car blocks my entry
It’s hard for me to breathe
I know this vehicle . . .

Joseph recognizes the car outside as his commanding officer’s. He hoped that they wouldn’t ruin the surprise, but Joseph doesn’t care at this point. As he enters the house, he sees a sight: Sarah in bed with the officer. She jumps up and tries to explain, but Joseph is having none of it. He asks how long and she tells him over seven months; just after Joseph had left. He flies into a fit of rage and starts screaming at her.

You’ve Crippled Me
Longing for acceptance is heresy
At least in your mind
Your finger fights the trigger which coincides
With emptiness found inside
Anger is the one deciding factor
To negate all you’ll be
Caught a glimpse of Linda Blair
The character portrayed is inside of me
And if I caught you at a bad time
Allow me to proceed
With all the jealousy
The jealousy I’ve found in me
And even though I know
You will never see the same as me
I hope these words have crippled you
The way you’ve crippled me
Now the clouds have faded
And it’s useless trying to forget me
The open wounds have healed and
My eyes have shed enough, now I can see
Take a look inside yourself
The truth is in there waiting to haunt you
Every step you take you’ll remember this face
And there’s nothing you can do
And if I caught you at a bad time
Allow me to proceed
With all the jealousy
The jealousy I’ve found in me
And even though I know
You will never see the same as me
I hope these words have crippled you
The way you’ve crippled me

Joseph struggles and pulls his army issue long knife from his sheath on the back of his belt. Sarah sees this and drops to her knees, begging for forgiveness. The officer in the bed steps out and tries to stop Joseph but is too slow; the knife cuts through his throat like butter as Joseph comes down on him in an arc of power. Sarah pleads and begins to tell the plan of which his parents had hatched. Joseph listens intently, never thinking for a moment of mercy but only needing to hear the end before he can finish what he has started.

Confession Pt.1
(The Truth behind Truths)
Hold it right there
There’s a loss of blood and motion
If you could just wait
I could explain and I might be forgiven
They told me of this
A plan, I wished to play part in
All of this you’ve built
They’ve stolen and utterly squandered it
But you . . . You were my baby?
You know you were my baby
I’ve got a clue
What is it an officer should do?
General says stop
But I answer no more to the top
Naked lies here
Shaking, As death grips his mind
I trusted you all, I have no need for your kind
But you . . . You were my baby?
You know you were my baby
Crimson and slick now
Take this ring
It slides so easy
I bought this thing
Before I left…
Now there’s no turning back
Press on young soldier
There’s work to be done

With the ring he bought on her cold and crimson hand, Joseph sets out for home with one thing on his mind. Just like over there, he thinks to himself: just another order from the top. I’ve built a life which they have taken. Everyone is accountable. One word: Execute.

Why didn't I read through the lines?
I could’ve found a way to forgive all the lies,
Now the cross that I bear can withstand no more wear
And the trials of those seem to break through my head,
All the struggles and shouting are heightened by my doubting,
And now . . .
Grace the walls with this substance that brings just a thimble full of good intention,
"Welcome back" you said, You never loved me quite as much as when I was away,
Disgrace you labeled me
The feeling I'm the only one left,
Relates to the fact that the unit was left,
And now family and friends take from me like I'm dead,
And the ones who are close seem to take the most,
I feel used, I feel drained, I feel doubt, I feel shame
Grace the walls with this substance that brings just a thimble full of good intention,
"Welcome back" you said, You never loved me quite as much as when I was away,
Disgrace you labeled me,
And now while I dwell in my doubt,
I am torn at the seams by this family,
You never loved me . . . You never loved me

As Joseph continues to stab the now dead bodies of his family, still screaming “You never loved me,” the police show up and take him down. The walls have a fresh coat of scarlet and the family will steal no more. Joseph gets his guaranteed speedy trial in which he is condemned. Now two weeks later, the time has come.

The Confession Pt.2
(Ready yourself for Judgement)
Do you have much to say?
Not really father
Am I getting in the way?
I feel for you boy, I do
But what is a father to do?
Nothing please
Just sit with me
Tell me what I’ve done
I’m lucid enough
The chains are undone
I’m sorry
Penance would be welcomed
I grant you that wish
Hold on my son
There’s not much left of this
Then you’re done
Now there’s nothing left to do
Godspeed my son, Peace be with you

Joseph steps out of his cell, the long hallway ahead, and the light beckons. Nothing a needle won't heal.

The Final Walk
(The Last Goodbye)
Search me now for this
A soul which has left
I walk this final mile
I breathe my final breaths
Roses in the summer
Your face so pristine
I miss you…
And I’m sorry
Eyes growing dim now
The prick that sends me home
My family behind me
In front of me, Alone
A guitar chord
And a song soared
I miss you…
And I’m sorry
Chains clink
The dead man has walked
My mind draws a blank
My eyes fill with haze
Can’t remember…
So cold
And I’m scared
I’ll miss you
And I’m sorry…
A man in white
Icy fingers check my throat
Not yet
I never got to tell her I’m . . . . . . . . . .