Jaded by Ashley Pannell

Warning: mentions of violence and murder. Not suitable for younger audiences.

Thoughts and opinions shown in the article do not reflect Angus Young Scot's views.

 

 

Today, I killed someone.

 

 

 

Don't get me wrong: it wasn't intentional. Nor did I plan it. It just sort of....

 

 

 

Happened.

 

 

 

You see, it was like any other day. I had walked into my local café for a vanilla latte - they served the best vanilla lattes - on that fateful, Thursday morning.

 

 

 

You could feel the buzz as soon as you walked in, the buzz of 'it’s Thursday today, which means it's Friday tomorrow, which basically means it's the weekend.' The whole room was filled with that easy, happy energy, the type where you can feel everything and everyone just relax.

 

 

 

No one could have predicted what came next.

 

 

 

I got in line for my vanilla latte, an easy-going, carefree smile playing on my lips as I let the energy of the room overtake me. I moved when the man in front of me moved, watching in my peripheral vision as the woman behind me moved accordingly too, a continuous flow of people moving after people.

 

 

 

The door opened, and another figure walked in, presumably to join the line of people after their daily, life affirming drink. It was at this point I had moved to the front of the line and placed my order, watching as the worker came back to deliver my liquid love.

 

 

 

I accepted the offered to-go cup, having already paid and stepped to the side of the counter where one of those stations with all the extras on them were. I picked up two packets of sugar and poured them into my cup stirring them in with a stick.

 

 

 

It was at this point that it happened.

 

 

 

When people describe these sort of events, they always say things like, 'It happened so fast' or 'Before I knew it'. For me, it all happened in slow motion.

 

 

 

I watched as the man at the front of the queue slowly pulled off his sunglasses and the woman behind the till slowly dropped the cup in her hand in surprise. I watched as the two started gesturing, wildly, at each other, their voices growing steadily louder and louder, until, eventually, the man slowly pulled a gun out of his jacket.

 

 

I was vaguely aware of the customers and the workers all rushing out of the café. But I was stuck.

 

 

 

Stuck, in that moment, as though I was from the outside, looking in.

 

 

 

The man was getting more and more violent, now gesturing, ferally with the gun; the woman getting more and more frightened. And then, he reached over the counter, grabbed the back of her hair and slammed her head onto the counter.

 

 

 

It was then that whatever suspension there was in the space-time continuum was broken and everything returned to normal speed. My arms started moving, trying to get the gun out of the man's hand, as he beat the woman senseless. Though she put up a good fight, he was much stronger.

 

 

 

I grabbed the wrist of the hand with the gun and held it up in the air as he fired two shots. His head turned, eyes closing in on me. I now had his undivided attention. The woman slumped against the other side of the counter, a bloody mess. I didn't have enough time think on this though, before I was frantically dodging punches from the man. He tried, in vain, to hit me with his free hand, whilst the other struggled against my grip. When this did not work, he began to kick.

 

 

 

Though try as I might to fight his vicious onslaught, he managed to wrench his arm free. A table had been left thrown on its side by the crowd in the mad rush to get out, which I barely had enough time to dive behind as the shots rang out. I thought, desperately, frantically, hopelessly, for a way out, an escape, anything. It was at this point I made eyes contact with the woman.

 

 

 

Slumped, beaten to a bloody pulp, fighting unconsciousness, she was a heart wrenching sight to see. But her eyes, those deep, soulful eyes. So full of terror and fear and horror. Nothing - nothing - would ever haunt my days half as much as those eyes do.

 

 

 

And in at that moment, I didn't think; I just did. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small fire extinguisher. Without stopping to second guess myself, I dived for it, grabbing it firmly and yanking it off the wall, swinging it upwards to collide with the man's head. There was thud on the impact, followed by a sickeningly satisfying crack as his skull fractured. He staggered and fell, the gun falling out of his now limp hand. An eerie silence settled in the café.

 

 

 

Neither myself nor the woman moved until the police arrived, an ambulance towing the man away and paramedics giving their medical attention to me and the woman. Statements were given to the police and I was finally left alone, an orange shock blanket draped over my shoulders.

 

 

Hours passed, and still I sat there, until a police officer came over, quietly informing me that the attacker had died instantly from the head injury.  

 

 

 

Later, there would be a trial, evidence and statements given. The woman firmly telling the court that I was her hero. That she would be dead if it wasn't for me. Later, I would be let off with the understanding that it was murder in self-defence.

 

 

 

But in that moment, I didn't think of that. I didn't think about any of that. I just sat there, thinking.

 

 

 

I expected to feel remorse. Guilt. Regret. Something.

 

 

 

But I didn't feel any of that. I just felt grimly satisfied.

 

 

 

Most people would probably be haunted by something like that. Their nights sleepless, and full of nightmares. But me?

 

 

 

I sleep just the same as I did before.

 

 

 

When I think back on that day, it's with the dejected vision of someone merely just listening to the story, without it happening to them. Of someone who knew it was the only way and doesn't think more about it. Of someone from the outside, looking in.

 

 

Maybe I'm a monster. Maybe I'm a hero.

 

 

Maybe I'm just jaded like that.