-Note; Inevitably I've made a heap of a grammar mistakes so, pre-emptive apologies
Also, if you find the content alarming or disturbing, I do apologise, this is the result
of my effort to post more of my work on this site.
Andrew was normal. His face was normal. His clothes were normal. The picture of his nephew on his desk was normal. His shoes were normal. His wife was normal. His kids were normal. They were definitely normal. Every morning his wife would kiss him on his cheek before he left for work. In the evening he sat in the living room, reading the newspaper while his kids played with trucks and dolls on the floor. On Friday, they ate pancakes.
But Andrew was hollow. A shell of painted plastic that smiled and laughed. A shell that kissed his wife every morning before he left work. A shell that sat at home in the armchair, smoking a pipe. A shell so accustomed to the routine of an idyllic life that it had begun to chip and flake . Andrew felt empty, so empty and drained that sometimes, when Andrew was alone, all alone, for 14 seconds each day, as he sat at his desk. He would dig a paperclip into his palm, just to feel something, just to savor the sheer rebellion of emotion. The rush of hiding the paperclip, of wondering if anyone had seen him. Because they couldn’t have seen him do something like that. Because Andrew was normal.
Andrew felt bad for his wife. She worked really hard sometimes and Andrew knew that she was smart. He had seen her reading once, a big book, but she had put that book away, in the closet. Because the book was big, and that was not normal. They never spoke about it. They didn’t speak about a lot of things. Like when their daughter Sophie had found a dead bird. She had never seen something like that before and asked Andrew why the bird was not chirping and singing. They washed her hands and buried the bird and told her to not leave the garden anymore, and she never did. Because they were normal.
But then Andrew had to work late, which was never usual. His dinner was put in the oven and his wife, after putting the kids to bed, went to sleep herself and dreamt of nothing. But Andrew, Andrew had been thinking about things, about big books and dead birds. Andrew had been thinking and as Andrew arrived home and sat on the couch in the living room in the dark. Andrew heard a voice.
It spoke in the darkness, it spoke inside of Andrew.
-Burn it all and dance in the ashes. Burn it all and scream, for the fury of roaring inferno shall drown out the misery of a life that has never lived. Burn it all.
And the shell of Andrew began to crack. And Andrew smiled and accepted the voice, because the voice was truth. He smiled in the dark and no one saw him. He smiled because Andrew knew no one was normal, like one big secret, and he had found out it before anyone else. Like a giant joke that only he could laugh at and Andrew did laugh. He couldn’t stop laughing, laughing at the joke that no one knew.
The matches struck and hissed and Andrew was screaming and laughing. He was dancing and roaring, rolling on the floor as the orange flames licked and spread from the curtains to couch. The house blazed and roared, the fire consuming everything and nothing. But no one noticed, no one called the fire-men, no one wondered or worried, because these were normal people, on a normal street where nothing like a fire happened. Where nothing like a madman burning and screaming, wreathed in flame and sobbing that he was sorry, that he was so sorry that others didn’t know. That others hadn’t heard the voice too.