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Nov
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Guest Post: Io Vaca

Penumbra

I don’t think people understand how these things begin. They always characterize the people involved, make it out to be like a movie. The movie might be rooted in truth, but the mist of fantasy that comes along with it dilutes that truth. Muddies the water until you cannot tell what is real. Even if you have it laid out in front of you, bit by bit and word by word, your mind naturally dilutes this truth to protect yourself. That’s what Im doing now. Giving you the truth. The people deserve that. There are going to be articles written about me. Books published about what I did what I did. People saying they understand, but they don’t. But you will. I am giving you the truth. Fight the mud that wants to sink into this crystalline water. Only then will you understand what Hell truly is. Only then will you really know me. And him.

 

I guess it starts how you think it might have started. Anger, regret, bitterness. Not directed toward anyone person or one event, but tuned for life. Someone who tried to be good, tried to do right, tried to be just. I really did in the beginning. I smiled genuinely, opened and held doors opened for people, cared about others. But as thousands of others will contest, this openness leads to a complete flooding of darkness. The same people I tried to interact and befriend turned on me like jackals, tearing true innocence into pieces. Elementary school is a spawning ground for serial killers. Middle school weeds out most of them. And high school makes them finally snap. After years of oppression, exclusion and hate, some of those innocence souls burn out brighter than a shooting star. And with most fires, people get hurt that weren’t meant for the flames. That’s the real reason I write this down. It’s an apology to you. I never meant for the fire to consume you or me.

Before you jump to any conclusions, I didn’t shoot up my school. I harbored that hatred and resent I had for a world that had hollowed me out like a pumpkin. Bottled it up and pushed it down, thinking it wouldn’t ever surface. It worked during those years of high school, each day that bottle filling more. Each day the body around the bottle decaying from the inside out until there was nothing left except that hole of hate and anger. On the outside people saw a normal high schooler. On the inside lay nothing. An abyss. I remember hearing someone saying that if you stare into an abyss too long, the abyss will stare back. It’s true. It envelops you like some kind of swarm of insects until you cannot tell anything else from it. When I went to college, my free time increased exponentially. Those sleepless nights became sleepless weeks. Those sleepless, restless nights is where the story that you wanted to read about begins. Because you didn’t know me, didn’t see me on the news or on that video. You saw him. He was created during all those years of schooling and was given birth to on one of those nights. Meet Penumbra.

He looks just like me. Most people seem surprised at that fact. They imagine me as some Jekel-esque figure, thin and gauntly with some form of horrid disfiguration. Then they turn to see the hulking object that they envision Penumbra to be. The Hyde to my Jekel. It is not true. We share a body. I do not drink a potion, nor put on a suit to become him. We coexist in a singular body. I am aware he is there, as is he with me. I first noticed his presence at 3 am. I hadn’t slept in nearly a week and was scouring the internet to try to find something, anything to distract myself. Then suddenly, I wasn’t alone in my room anymore. As quick as devastating news, he appeared and changed everything. He taught me how to use my anger, use my hate for something. Taught me to shape it into a weapon. Taught me to fight. I still remember his first words to me.

“Youre weak. Why haven’t you jumped?”

My shock as I heard those words, the sense of fear, of cowardiceness. I saw him standing there, plain as day. Plain as I saw anything else in my room and yet I knew he wasn’t there. I hadn’t heard those words like I hear the sound of crickets outside. I had heard it like I hear the silent mocking of people as I pass. Not actually there, but real to me. He moved, and put his hand on my shoulder.

“If you are ready to stop wallowing in that pit of self-pity, come with me. We have much to discuss.”

I asked where we were going, but he just walked thru my door. I followed him as he walked out of my building, off my campus and into the city. It was silent as I walked thru the barren city streets, the occasional car in the distance or street lamp flickering being the only thing that made me think this wasn’t some sort of sleep-deprived dream. He suddenly stopped in front of a house. Apartment? I don’t know what to call it. We were in a shitty part of the city, where a person like me stuck out like a black person at a Klan party. I opened my mouth to speak, but I could feel his voice penetrate my mind before I could even think about what words I would form.

“You have driven by this house, once, when your mother got lost dropping you off. This house is a source of darkness that floods the streets. Whomever lives here deals the drugs that feast on the peoples’ minds in this town. You are here to stop this tumor. You will find items we will need for our journey inside. Hurry.” He walked up the stairs and thru the door. I stood there frozen. I couldn’t move. What was happening? I vaguely remember driving by this house and seeing a group of men doing something nefarious but what was I going to do. Then I was at the top of the stairs. “Looks like Ill do it for you. Don’t interfere.” I wasn’t in control of my body at that point. I felt as my fist smashed thru the small pane of glass to the right of the door, as it slipped thru the hole and unlocked the door. I was looking thru my own eyes as my body acted on its own. I saw what appeared to be a normal man’s apartment, except what appeared to be cocaine on the table. I was about to protest when a man came down the stairs with a gun pointed at me. He seemed about as surprised as I was when he saw a white boy sitting in the space of his door. He opened his mouth to speak when my body leapt at him. My hand slid underneath the man’s hand, my thumb digging into the space directly underneath his thumbs. My other flew into his chest. He gasped as I tugged the gun out of his hand. Before I knew what happened, my ears were ringing. That was the first person that he killed. That I killed. One of many to come.

 

Io can be contacted at penumbra.vaca@gmail.com

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