Belonging – Short Story

Screaming in pain, Rebecca was about to give birth to her first baby. She was forced to have a homebirth as there were no hospitals around for miles. Her shrieks of pain had woken everyone in the neighbourhood, many came up to the house to get a glimpse of the situation. One of Rebecca’s friends, Rick, had rushed into the house in a matter of minutes after he heard the screaming. Rick stayed with Rebecca for several hours that followed to comfort her as best he could. His best attempts to calm her down, it seemed, were not good enough. At last, the ordeal was over.

After ten hours of labour she had finally given birth to a baby boy. As Rick turned to face Rebecca, he saw an expression of sadness in her eyes. He knew that she didn’t want the baby, that she wasn’t capable of providing for it with her waitressing job at a cafe. In the months that followed, Rebecca had a tough time trying to earn money to feed herself, let alone her son. She turned to drugs to fight her depression, but she found that they had no effect. When her son, who she named William (Billy), was six years old, he started school.

There, he was a social outcast; no one wanted talk to him. Five more years passed before he decided to quit school and stay at home, he felt that he didn’t belong anywhere else. Billy started experimenting with cocaine when he saw his mother using it, but she had been sober for a few years now. It seemed that for every year she got sober, her son’s heart simultaneously grew colder. He joined gangs, Billy had built a reputation that he could hustle and steal, but he got caught once and was sent to jail for three years.

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He had turned to selling crack to the people on the streets for money. He sold crack until he had enough money to move up to cocaine, trying to fulfil the fantasy stuck in his brain. Tired of trying to get back into the gang, he pursued a path to be with the hardcore gangs, with the cutthroats and the thugs. But when he stepped up to the gang, they turned him down saying “any coward can sell drugs, anyone with a gun can kill a man. But only a real thug has stabbed someone till they die, standing in front of them staring straight into their eyes”.

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Billy knew these men were well guarded, that they wanted to test him before business started. They proposed that he kill a woman to show he was cold hearted. Now Billy had a choice between going back to his life or making money with ‘made men’ in the higher ranks. His dreams about cars and drugs made him agree, a hardcore gangster is all he ever wanted to be. He met them the next week, at night on a lonely street. They drove around the town, slow while it was raining, smoking and drinking for entertainment. Late at night they saw a woman walking alone, coming back on her way home.

They quietly got out of the car and followed her, one of the people wrapped a shirt around her face and pushed her onto the floor. Billy picked her up and took her into an empty building, forcing her to go up onto the roof. They were yelling at her and telling her to stop moving and screaming, when she wouldn’t listen, Billy hit the woman on the face until he had broken her jaw. Blood leaking through her clothes, she cried silently, praying to god. They proceeded to abuse her for the next few hours. At the end, one of the people next to Billy pulled out a handgun and gave it to him.

They told him that if he killed her, he was guaranteed a spot in the gang. Right before he killed her, he thought about the drugs, women and respect he would get and felt strong standing next to his new gang. He put the gun right to her head and pulled back the shirt from her face. What he saw made him cringe and stutter because he was staring into the eyes of his own mother. Rebecca started crying harder than when they were beating her up, broken inside that her own son was going to kill her. His whole world stopped, he couldn’t contemplate what had just happened.

His need to belong to a group he barely knew had ripped him apart from the one person he had the strongest bond with, his mother. He turned away from the woman who had once given him birth. As Billy dropped the gun, one of the other men picked it up and shot her in the head. Billy screamed out to the sky because he was lonely and scared; right then he knew what it meant to be empty and cold and jumped off the roof and died with no soul. After that, the gang members hid their bodies and never spoke about it, as if they never existed. His death was much like his birth, painful, shrieking and a mistake.

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