My Second War Part 2

That summer my mother took my little brother, baby sister, and myself back home to California.  My demons three were happy because that’s where they first tried to take my soul.
The darkness inside had consumed me by this point and I learned to embrace it.  Being a Star Wars nerd I realized that I was not a Jedi after all, I was a true Sith.
Every day during the summer I trained in our back yard.  I would stack up 2x4 boards and practice my punches and kicks.  I would imagine they were my bullies back home in Texas.  The only blood I drew was my own whenever I broke a board, but it would have to do, since I could not draw theirs.  I was never going to lose another fight, no matter who it was.
The summer passed quickly and I found myself enrolled in school in California once again.  I was the last to attend the same middle school my three older siblings had before me.  I was prepared for any bullies that may come my way, but my demons three threw me for a loop.
One good thing came from being in California, I had a place to play and run around so I lost a lot of weight by the time school started.  I was still fat, however, I was not the push over I once was.  I had a few students who picked on me, breaking into my locker and flushing my books in the toilet.  Gym class was the same, a bully’s hunting grounds.
After two weeks the biggest bully in school decided to get physical, they always do.  This guy was huge, a muscle head, and there was no way I could match his strength.  As he began to choke me my inner darkness took over.  When the fight was over, I left him on the floor, as I walked away, his blood on my shirt and the thought of picking on me again a thought far from his mind.  The only thought on my mind, I would need to buy a new gym shirt.
Word got around quickly and the students left me alone, until the ultimate bully came along.  This was a bully that I never even thought existed, I’ve always been taught to trust them because of who they were, my teachers.
One teacher in particular started on me and all the other students jumped on the band wagon, literally, as this torment came from band class.  This was a kind of battle and I was out numbered, defeated, and losing.
Christmas time brings a high rate of suicide.  Despite all the jolly cheer everywhere, death and darkness fills the air.  My demons three kept whispering in my ear what my bullies were saying to my face, everyone would be better off if I would just kill myself.
I was fascinated with the Samurai culture after my grandmother had given me a book about Bushido, and I knew how I would do it.  I was going to kill myself under the same tree I almost ended everything the first time, and this time I would not fail.
I was so full of hate, full of rage, full of deep dark emotions.  I was mean to my cousins and siblings for no reason.  I wanted the world around me to burn.  Death was always hanging around me and I could feel his dark breath breathing down the back of my neck.
I had an anchor that kept me from falling into my dark abyss forever, my grandmother who would make me breakfast and read to me from the newspaper at 4 in the morning before I went to school, but that tether was wearing thin as time went on.  It was not enough to keep me from my seppuku.
Before we broke for Christmas break a bright light came into my life.  She was able to draw me out of my abyss and bring me back to the land of the living.  She kept me from returning to the darkness.  As the new year started I was happy, something I had not felt in almost a year.
My demons three did not like this twist of events.  They decided that I needed to be punished.  We were at war and who was I to think I could ever be happy.  They were to teach me another harsh lesson.  I did not want to fight anymore so they hit me hard.
My birthday was supposed to be perfect.  She had planned something special for me when I got to school, so did my demons three.  They took my light away, plunging me into the darkness, drowning me in it.  Death did their bidding.  Another life I loved had been lost for no other reason than I loved them more than I loved myself.
Two weeks later we left California for Texas.  School was almost over so my summer started early.  I was back in my old hood but unlike before, I stayed in my room most of the summer.  I had slimmed down enough in California that the weight I had put on over the summer balanced me out to be more muscular than I was before.
My solitude came to an end as school started once again.  I was back to the arena where I got my first taste of blood.  While a few of my original bullies still attended this school, I found out that the one that broke me, the one who’s eye I blinded, was no longer there.  At least I would not have to face him again.
None of the students had recognized me, even though we had all of our academic classes together for an entire year before.  I was known as the transfer student from California.  Girls who had laughed at me before were suddenly wanting to talk to me.  The darkness inside me told them to fuck off, but that only made their desire for me worse.  I was a bad boy without meaning to be.
It took three weeks before things began to settle down and old routines took place.  I was betrayed by my love of music.  I was too poor to buy my own trumpet so I had to use my older brother’s hand-me-down coronet.  What gave me away, and made me the laughing stock of the band before was the bent bell on the coronet.
Word spread quickly about who I really was and how I tried to fool everyone.    The bullies in Texas were much more hard headed than the ones in California and they fought on a much harder scale.  They didn’t care that I wasn’t the same plump “butterball,” as they use to call me, they wanted their old punching bag back.
The girls who wanted me now hated me.  They were teased by the guys that they were stupid and how could they like me.  They wanted their revenge as well and poisoned their boyfriend’s ears with words of violence.  Tension was building and it took a week before it finally broke.
As I walked out of my history class history repeated itself.  I was jumped from behind.  Two guys had shoved me into the lockers and held me there, while another held my face against the metal grate of the locker.
“You don’t have the balls to fight me one on one,” I taunted.
My answer was a punch to my kidney, awakening my darkness.  I began to smile.
“That’s all you got.”
I was spun around, which is what I was hoping for.  Letting go of me briefly was their mistake.  I kicked the boy in front of me as hard as I could in the balls and when he doubled over my knee came up to break his nose.
My hands were free so I throat punched the boy to the left of me and punched the boy to my right across his jaw.  He took off running, leaving his friends behind.  The girls looked on in horror as my smile continued to grow.  The blood on the floor was fueling my fire.
The last time I received a beating by this boy and his friends I was bombarded with kicks to my back and stomach as more and more boys joined in on the beating.  It was only fitting to return the favor.  I kicked and stomped the boy who could not breathe as it was, chocking on his own blood from the broken nose he never expected.
I kicked and I kicked, cussing at him until I was tackled to the floor from the side.  I tried to fight my way free of this man’s grasp but I couldn’t.  He was much more well trained than I was.  Despite his age, I could not defeat this Marine.  He was my history teacher.
The other teachers in the hall took the boys away quickly.  Only after the halls were cleared of students did I hear the deep dark voice whisper in my ear, “Another victory… for us.”
To be concluded...

My Second War Part 1

After the first war my demons left me alone for five years.  Life was good; calm and peaceful, well for the most part.
Bullies have always been a part of my life.  Like my demons three, my bullies attacked me mentally as well as physically.  They beat me but never defeated me.  I couldn’t tell anyone because every time I did I was dismissed.
I had to learn to defend myself and defend myself I did.  My bullies seemed to serve as my battle trainees, testing me on a daily basis.  They helped to harden my skin, sharpen my sword, and build my armor.
In 1989 my second war began.  Unlike my first war, which only lasted four months, this war would last three years.  My demons three had to make up for the long silence.  The taught me a few hard lessons that I learned, and learned well.  They forced me to grow up quickly.
I had been shielded from a lot of things but the first thing I learned was that there was another demon out there that would assist my demons three, but one that I will never be able to defeat.  He has come near me twice before but we were never introduced.  His name is Death.
Death seems to be the shot across the bow that would awaken my demons three.  This second war was to bring new battles, battles I could not win.  Nothing my bullies ever did could have prepared me for what was to come.
Our house had been blessed with two new babies.  One full time while the other stayed ninety percent of the time.  I was the watcher and protector over the one partly named after myself.
One day I was running home from bullies chasing me.  They stopped before they normally gave up and I was proud of myself.  As I came around the corner I seen my little brother and nephew playing catch with a football.  When they saw me my little brother ran up to me and said, “You better stop smiling, baby Angel died.”
I couldn’t believe it.  I ran to the house and my mother was standing in the doorway crying.  All the adults in the house were crying.  In my ear I heard a deep dark voice whisper in my ear, “Miss me?”
“No,” I shouted.
Everyone thought I yelled because of the news, and partly I was, but because my demons three had returned and they took the life of someone I loved to get to me.  To this day I have never forgiven myself for her death.
For the next seven days I went into a destructive tailspin.  I was cold, I was angry, I wanted to die and be buried with her.  Since I couldn’t I placed a teddy bear I had that she loved to gum on inside her casket.
I thought about suicide the day of the funeral.  There was so many people around, everyone off in their own little world.  I could have disappeared and no one would have known it for days.  I did the only thing I knew I could do, I bottled everything up inside.
I was the good one.  I was the one with no problems.  I was the one who took care of the little ones, even though I was little myself.  I did what was expected of me, always.
When I got back to school my first victory was awaiting me.  While I’ve been in fights before they were never fair and always one sided.  My armor had always repelled their insults and calls of fat, ugly, and stupid had not truly phased me.  On this day I left my armor at home.
One bully had missed his target.  For seven days he wasn’t able to insult me and put me down to make himself feel better.  During the morning classes I had to talk to the school counselor to make sure I was okay to return to class.  Being a guidance counselor she was in way over her head.
I went to lunch, where I sat by myself, reading a book, as normal, but didn’t eat anything.  After lunch I went to gym, and so did my bully.
He purposely skipped his class and went to my gym class to pick a fight.  That was his fatal mistake.
Words were exchanged.  I gave him a warning that today was not the day to mess with me.  I told him to back off three times.  However, my demons three were there whispering in both our ears.
Everything I was telling my bully I was telling them as well.  Everyone has a breaking point, a point where they finally say, ‘Fuck it,” and truly mean it.  Where they break beyond all repair.  I had finally reached mine.
Again, I always did what I was supposed to, what was expected of me, the right thing, remember I was the good one.  We were all sitting on the gym floor in single file rows.  I stood up to go tell the coach this kid wasn’t even supposed to be in this class.  He stood up too, blocking me.
Everything that happened next happened within twenty seconds but for me it felt like hours.  To this day I am sorry for what I had done and yet I’m not.  This boy had tormented me almost every day all school year.  I did what I was supposed to, I told, and that just make matters worse because no one ever did anything about it.  Not one teacher, not one counselor, not one administrator, NO ONE! 
I blame them all for what happened next.
I was standing on the edge of sanity and my demon, the voice, pushed me over and into the deep dark abyss in my soul.  Here I found a home.
As tears rolled down my face I lunged at the boy.  The look of horror on his face as we both fell to the floor burned forever in my brain, it was the last time he would look normal to anyone.
On the ground I sat on his chest, pinning his arms down with my knees, as had been done to me so many times before.  My entire weight on his chest, keeping him from being able to breathe.
My fist began to fly into his face.  Before this moment the only thing my fist had ever hit were boards in our yard.  This was my first taste of blood and I liked it.
I wasn’t pounding his face, I was pounding the floor under his head.  I broke his cheek bone and popped his left eye slightly out of its socket.  Nothing around me existed and I had no idea that it took the two males coaches and a female coach to pull me off.
I tried to get back to him.  He needed to suffer for everything I have suffered.  I remember climbing to the top of the bleachers and not allowing anyone to get near me.  I remember sitting in the office as many adults came in and out, looking at me in my gym clothes and looking at me in disbelief.
What was said to me or about me I do not remember.  I kept blacking out, where I was in my dark abyss, wrapping myself in a blanket of darkness.  I had no idea what was going on.
Finally I was allowed to change.  Nothing was going to happen to me.  I was dismissed and sent home.  For the next two weeks everyone kept their distance from me.
To be continued…

The War Begins

Fear.  Fear is a powerful emotion.  It can consume you and swallow you whole.  Fear helps to keep us alive.
I have gone to war with my demons four times in my life.  Each time nearly cost me my life; but the demons did not win.  When each war ended I was rewarded with years of peace.  In the back of my mind I always knew they would be back, without warning, to declare a war for my soul once again.
These wars can last for years, with many small battles.  There are always scars from these battles, most are temporary, fading away, never to be seen again, letting me know what they can do.  A few have been permanent.
I have a mark on my left temple that can be seen when my core temperature becomes hotter than normal or when I get angry.  When I get angry heat comes off of me in waves, attempting to calm myself down.  I tell people it’s a birth mark, and in a way it is, but in reality it’s my first battle scar.
The problem with fighting all the time is you begin to get good at it.  The more you fight, the more you survive, the more you learn.  To steal a line from someone who taught me a lot as a child, “I’m good at what I do and what I do isn’t very nice.”
When you’re fighting a being who is a thousand times more powerful than you and with eons of experience, they do not meet many challenges and will get bored.
On my seventh birthday my first war began.  I posed no threat as I had zero training.  I had been shielded up until this point so I did not even know there was a need to fight.
The war was short, lasting four months.  Having no strength to resist, the darkness took over me.  I was in pain and had no idea what to do.  I wanted to ask my mom about it but I had no idea how to.  My demons made sure that I couldn’t.  Like the lions who could not eat Daniel, my mouth was closed shut.
As I climbed a tree I’ve climbed numerous times throughout that summer, tears flowed uncontrollably.  Thoughts of no one would miss me, the world would be better off without me, and my family might miss for a little while but I would be one less burden for them.
Once I reached the top I sat there.  My demons three kept telling me to do it.  My family didn’t want me anyways, I was worthless and they only kept me because no one else would take me.  I kept telling them to shut up but they wouldn’t listen.
They kept hitting me and hitting me, beating me into submission.  My little mind couldn’t take it anymore as I edged closer to falling.  A sharp pain began to throb where my mark is now.  They knew I was inches away and wanted to escape so they could witness it.
As the third one departed a moment of clarity flashed before my eyes, knocking the wind out of me, causing me to sit back on the branch.  I was no longer being suffocated.  I could finally breathe deeply.  They had lost.
Before they left I heard the same dark voice as before whispering harshly in my ear.
“You’re not a challenge.  You will be ours, it’s just a matter of time.”

How I Will Die

Water.  It can be peaceful and yet, it can be destroyer of worlds.  It is always flowing and there is nothing that can truly stop it or contain it, without its permission.  It’s the source of life, healing and refreshing.
I have always loved the water.  I’m drawn to it, it speaks to my soul.  I can just sit in it, float around and be completely happy.  It makes me feel good.  It’s where I’m most connected to the earth.
Sadly, water will be the death of me.  I do not know how or why but I know when Death finally wins water will be involved somehow, betrayed by the very thing I love.