The Killing Song
by Tony Noland
As he was waiting, the boy sang the Killing Song to himself. It always made him feel better. It was a quiet song, with no drum solos or fuckin awesome guitar. It was quiet, and it was just his own voice. He didn’t sing out loud, of course, even though Daddy wasn’t home. He never sang out loud because that made Daddy angry. It was just his own voice where Daddy couldn't hear.
The real Killing Song had a lady's voice. He knew deep down in his soles that when he died, she would be there, and she would be nice. He only heard the Killing Song once, the time he messed with the fuckin stereo with peanut butter on his fingers. He was playing with the buttons, turning the volume up and down and changing the station. Daddy came into the living room and smacked him so hard he hit his head and knocked over the CD case when he fell. The goddamn mess made Daddy even madder and Daddy kicked him where the sun don't shine and he threw up cause it hurt so bad.
And even though he thought Daddy would get really mad at the throwup on the floor and especially on the CDs, he didn't. Daddy just stood there, looking down at him. He wasn't even yelling. He was just watching, which was kind of scary by itself. Any time the boy remembered the Killing Song, it was always mixed in with that terrible pain in his belly, because as he lay on the floor throwing up and throwing up, even where there wasn't any more throwup in him, the lady sang and sang on the radio, like an angel.
It was so different than regular music like on KDRJ ninety two seven the home of classic rock. It was just a lady singing about killing and it was beautiful. Some regular songs sang about killing and death, but he had always gotten the impression that the angel of death was a scary man with tattoos who used to be in the fuckin army. It was hard to tell exactly, though, because the people in regular songs always screamed and shouted and it was hard to understand them. But the Killing Song lady was clear and sweet.
He wasn’t sure he heard them all exactly right, but in the repeated part the lady was happy, peacefully happy about being killed. The boy liked that. The things around him in the real world were always so confusing and scary. When Daddy said, "I'm gonna kill you", he didn't mean really kill kill, he meant hit or use the belt. To really kill kill was to make somebody die. The Killing Song made him realize that it didn't have to be scary. It didn't have to be bad. It could be gently, nicely, softly.
From then on, whenever Daddy got mad and hurtful, even really hurtful, the Killing Song would be there for the boy. He knew that if he were to die, he wouldn't have to hurt anymore. And that would be really great.
Last night was bad. Super bad. He didn’t mean to break the lamp. His back and legs ached from the belt. It was thinking about last night that made him decide that it was time to die. He was scared when he took the red pills from the top shelf of the medicine cabinet. Daddy saved them for parties, and he called them magic beans. The boy knew he needed to be brave. If it didn't work and he wasn't dead when Daddy came home, then Daddy would fly into a rage about them, and that would be super bad all over again. He was so scared about that, he almost fell climbing down.
He knew the pills would kill him because at a party once he overheard one of Daddy's friends say that they should give one to the kid. Since there were no kids at the party, he knew they were talking about him. He made himself small in his closet and stayed very quiet so they would forget about him. He was afraid of the man who wanted him to take one of the red pills. One of the other men said, no, it would kill the kid, so in the end they didn't give him any.
The other man had said that even one would kill him. He didn't dare be still alive when Daddy came home, so to be absolutely sure about it, he took ten of them, one after the other with little sips of water. The pills were small.
One thing he didn't expect was the burst of pain in his belly. It was so bad it made the Killing Song spring into his head. It was like he was punched and it made him want to throw up. He didn't cry. Only babies cried. But he clenched his jaws so he wouldn't throw up cause the throwup would have all the pills in it and they had to stay in his stomach to kill him. He got even more scared. He thought this would be a softly kind of dying - was that not true? He felt like somebody was grabbing his stomach and twisting it from the inside. Twist, twist, twist, four, five, six but on lucky number seven it wasn't so bad and by number fourteen or fifteen the twists weren't hardly bad at all. And he didn't have to throw up anymore. He felt very tired and floaty and strange.
He lay on the carpet and sang to himself. He got dizzy and sleepy and he sang over and over as he waited to die. The lady from the Killing Song joined him and she smiled as she touched him, strumming his face with her fingers.... filling his life with the words....killing me softly with this song, killing me softly... with these words... killing my whole life... with this song.... killing me softly.... with this song...
Everything got all sparkly, then darkened... cold, then hot, and then very cold again. And as the room got quieter and quieter, he sang the Killing Song. La la de dah, la de la dahhh…
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