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After his own father’s passing, my father was sent to work for a family who lived in a large home, something he had never seen. Their son was mental. He had been driven mad from the death of his sister, her murder, and they kept him locked up in the attic. It was my father’s job to bathe him and feed him.
The crazy boy slobbered all over his food and my father was forced to eat the leftovers that were covered in spit. It was disgusting, but if my father ever refused, the crazy boy would threaten him with a baseball bat. He feared his parents and did no want to upset them by not eating all of his food.
One day, the crazy boy got sick and threw up everything he had eaten. He had been poisoned. By his own parents. My father didn’t know what to do. He watched the crazy boy throw up all over himself and die right in front of him. The crazy boy’s parents came upstairs and took their son, no questions asked. The incident was kept quiet and my father was asked to leave.
So, he went to visit his sister who was a stay at home mother, but by the time he got there, it was too late. Her husband told my father that she grew very ill and died a few weeks ago. My father didn’t understand nor believe her husband but there was nothing he thought he could do. After losing his only sister, my father became a criminal. He gambled. He stole. He killed. He raped. And on his back, he got a tattoo of a lion.
Before long, he realized he was following in the footsteps of my grandfather. He knew that if he continued the same path, he would end up dead. So, he moved to a new country to make something of himself. There, he found work on a pig farm. It wasn’t great, but it was an honest job. He met a young lady and eventually they got married and had a baby.
When war came during the summer, he was forced to join the military and fight for a country that was not his own. He killed so many people in that war. When the war finally did come to an end, he returned home to find that his baby had been killed in a bombing raid and his wife had gone out of her mind. He put her out her own misery. A mix of pills and the alcohol she had spent a summer drinking. When he realized what he had done, he decided it was time to leave. He fled the mystery country.
Whenever my father talked about this time of his life, he always said the same thing — “We live in a hell. Hell on Earth.” Eventually, he made it back to his hometown. There, he had met my mother and they got married. They had two children. My elder brother and I.
When I was a child, I remember how my father would sit at the kitchen table, drinking himself into oblivion. He had a very rough life. My father hated me. Every time he drank, he got violent. He would beat me until I was black and blue. I spent my entire life waiting for my father to kill me. One day, my mother told me to go out to the slaughterhouse and bring my father his lunch. Now it was my job to feed him.When I got there, I found him killing pigs in the yard, under the blazing son. He was undressed form the waist up and was beating the pigs with a baseball bat. It was awful. The pigs squealed as they were killed. I watched my father. I saw his lion tattoo. Its eyes glowed red as it danced back and forth on his sweaty back. His face and torso were covered with blood. Some his own, some not. One dark winter’s night, as the snow was falling outside, my father had not returned from his routined walk which consisted of a backpack full of beer and Jack. My mother was worried, per usual. She sent me off to look for him.I found him. Floating face-down in the river. His bloated body lay in the icy waters. He looked just like one of the fat pigs he had killed that day. I laughed. It was funny to me. It was well deserved.
My older brother was also an alcoholic, just like our father. He grew into a brute. Whenever he drank, he would pick fights with whoever was unfortunate enough to cross him. He got a tattoo on his back also. It was a fire breathing dragon. On one occasion, I was with him at a bar when a fight broke out. When I saw my brother beating a man senseless with his bare fists, he reminded me of my father. It disgusted me. I thought for a moment I hated him like I thought I hated my father. One night, as the snow was falling outside, he was found beside the river, lying in the snow. One of his enemies had finally caught up with him and had almost beaten him to death. His skull was cracked open. He was lingering between life and death, his crimson blood seeping into the snow.
An ambulance rushed him to the hospital where a team of doctors managed to save his life. When I went to see him in the hospital, he was almost unrecognizable. His head was bandaged, his face was awfully swollen, and there were tubes up his nose. He was a complete mess. The doctors said he was paralyzed from the neck down and had some serious brain damage. The only thing they were sure of was his speaking ability. It was unfortunate because I always hoped that one day he would just shut up. As I sat on his bedside, staring at him, watching him sleep, I started to remember how he had been when we were kids. When our father had beaten me, my brother would always come and try to save me. He tried to be my protector. I was too weak. All I could do was watch him get beat because of me.I wondered why he had changed so much. I asked myself what happened to turn him into the monster he had become. I knew the answer. I always know the answers to my own questions. But I still ask them. What changed a kind and caring child into a violent brute?Just then, my brother woke up from his slumber. His coma. His eyes fluttered open and he turned to me. Behind his eyes was nothing. An empty head. Vacant. I could tell he didn’t recognize me. “Where am I?” he asked weakly. “Is this hell?”Tears streamed down my face. I reached out for his hand but softly so I didn’t startle him. “Yes,” I replied. “This is hell. Hell on Earth.”
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