Meyer was only five years old when he learned that his anger could kill a person. He could hardly remember that first incident as an adult; it was like a dream, or a remote myth, Cain and Abel, something like that. But it had happened, he knew that. Of course, no one had believed him when he’d confessed to the murder. The other boy, slightly older, something of a bully, had suffered sudden and unexplained heart failure. Only Meyer knew and accepted the truth. He had killed that boy, with a thought, with his anger. It was not the last time it would happen.
The occurrences went on throughout his early life. He could not find a single person who believed him and he stopped telling others about his guilt. Whatever the doctors said had killed those people, Meyer knew the truth. He was a killer and he had to control himself or he would cause others to die.
Managing his anger became central to Meyer’s life. That trait – his unbreakable self restraint – became so pronounced that it drew bullies to him, like bees to pollen. Meyer was an anomaly: he didn’t run, didn’t beg, didn’t even defend himself. He just took it, never even crying. The bullies experimented on Meyer, pushing him as far as they could, finally stalking him down after school, stripping him naked and leaving him in the woods between the school and his house. He simply reclaimed his clothes from the tree they had been thrown in and went home. Eventually the imaginations of the bullies ran dry and they could think of nothing else to do to him. It wasn’t any fun, picking on a boy who showed no emotion.
In adolescence, Meyer discovered Eastern philosophy: Zen, Buddhism, Taoism, Krishna Consciousness. He practiced meditation, taught himself yoga, focused all his energy on self control. For the most part, he was successful. There were a few incidents when he came close to losing his temper but kept himself in check. Self discipline paid off in other ways: Meyer became successful at anything he put his hand to, and he required many distractions to keep his control from slipping. He excelled at music, painting, writing, mathematics, debate – he exhausted the school programs and took on extracurricular activities, all the time maintaining a perfect grade average. He would have been popular, if he’d socialized at all. The down-side of his accomplishments was that they threatened to pull him into the world of human interaction, a realm of dangerous chaos that he feared. People are unpredictable: if he ever allowed himself to get too close to them he might let his guard down, and if he let his guard down he might kill again, with a mere stray thought.
(C) 2014 Vincent Asaro
The complete story will be included in my upcoming short story collection Something In the Dark, to be published December 2014. For details visit my webpage: