Eons ago, right after the last dinosaur thumped to the ground, I was once quite young, immature, and very vulnerable. A tiny shy skinny boy, filled with wonder about the world around me. Around this period, I had a beloved guinea pig. With black and white coloring, and almost chubby. A cute and precious but paranoid little creature that I absolutely adored. He would run around his little cage in a frenzy, afraid of everything and everyone, including me, but I loved the little fella. Shortly after I transferred to a new school my little piggy keeled over in his cage.
We had no money for vets, and he never showed a single sign of sickness, so we never found out why he died, he just did it quietly. I discovered in myself my very first great loss, and I felt it deeply. My piggy was my first pet, and his loss was heartbreaking for a young 6-year-old boy with no friends. Mere sadness didn’t cover it, I was the epitome of young sorrow.
There was an empty dirt lot next to my building, and I decided to bury him there, as deep as I could, so he would be close. Even at that age, I had the idea of visiting a loved one’s grave, even though my mother never mentioned it, and I had never been to one before. It just felt right.
I cried for almost three days, but we buried him within a day after he died. All my mother had was a used coffee can, no small boxes, so we used that. A poor piggy’s tiny coffin with an aroma of Columbian roast. There are worse ways to be buried I’m sure. After the tears finally stopped, I thought about my piggy less and less, as is natural I suppose. The younger we are, the easier it seems for our sorrow to end, out of sight, out of mind, and youthful resilience helps. A week after his burial, I heard some neighborhood kids in the lot next to my building, they were laughing and whooping, and it wasn’t a happy sound. Their voices had a mischievous tone, bad boys up to no good at all. Even then, I could usually tell the difference.
Evil mischief seems to have a tone all its own. I went down the three floors to the bottom via the stairs, went out the door, and around the corner. It was a hot day, around noon, but something other than the Sun burned my eyesight. Horror itself dominated my vision and scorched my young fragile soul.
There were four boys, all a few years older than me, standing around my piggy’s exhumed coffin can. It was pitifully open and empty because they were handling his rotted corpse, putting something in his halfway bony head. I screamed, and they looked over, still laughing like gleeful young maniacs.
I then saw the one holding my piggy’s corpse lighting something up, it was a firecracker. That’s what they had put between his skeletal jaws. The boy dropped it, and they all jumped back. I stopped screaming when my piggy’s head exploded.
That day, I learned the true meaning of trauma and hatred and never forgot it. I will admit, I saw them laugh again, with a handful of firecrackers, and my first thought was to make them pay, somehow, someway, even now. I took a single step toward their smirking faces, the intent of harm clearly on my face, and the lead thug lit a single firecracker and tossed it straight at me. It immediately went off, loud, dangerous, and way too close, and my ears hurt. I went with my next instinct, on survival mode only, and turned tail and started running for my young life. Another one exploded and I felt it against the back of my shirt. I threw open the door to my building (sadly no lock on the downstairs door) and heard them laughing right behind me.
I tackled the stairs two at a time as if my small life depended on it, and who’s to say it didn’t? They were inside the building only a few feet behind me, damn they were BOLD!
I ran like an Olympian up the hallway stairs, being chased by the sound of thunder itself. They kept throwing, but my fear kept my pace, they never got closer, but right before I got to the top, one exploded right next to my head, pain exploding in my ear, and how they laughed then, but after that last explosion and pain, I could barely hear it, everything seemed muffled, and I’m grateful for that. All I heard was ringing and muted sounds, little else.
Reaching my door, I opened it quickly and slammed it even quicker, throwing the bolt across. They were in the hall, and I heard a few more muffled pops, then they were gone finally while I leaned against the door in pain and silence.
Eventually, I went to the mirror and noticed blood leaking from one ear and a small cut in the lobe. In an hour, my hearing had returned to normal, and I cleaned myself up the best I could. I never mentioned this to my mother, and she never asked or even noticed my lobe being damaged. I knew we were moving in a few weeks, so that helped. Gratefully I never saw those boys again. That day, fear and darkness made a home in my young soul, and so I was primed for my dark future, which in all reality truly started there, on that cursed evil day.