Aphelion Issue 293, Volume 28
September 2023
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by Steve Grogan

I just want to know an answer to one question: “Why me?”

That’s all. I've ever wanted. Not too much to ask, right? Well, apparently it is because no one has ever answered me. I've been asking it my entire life, but the keepers of this knowledge remain silent. One day, the bastards will pay for their arrogance.

This abuse has been going on for years, and it makes me want to explode into a homicidal rampage. Let me sever the heads of my oppressors. Castrate the men and rape the women. Bathe in their blood. Devour their flesh.

Unfortunately, my current condition leaves me unable to do anything to them physically. Mentally, though...well, that's another story.


Today I'm paying a visit to my high school because this is the place where I can find my tormentors. These halls are as dreary as the day I left them.

I look in on Ms. Welch’s calculus class, searching for one of my old alpha male rivals: a young man named Brian. And there he is in the middle row, his Neanderthal brow furrowed as he tries to hold on to the numbers Ms. Welch scribbles on the blackboard. You can hear a sizzling noise as the lesson evaporates from his mind.

Brian gets up from his desk, his primitive brain signaling him to use a bathroom break as an excuse to escape this numerical torment. Just as his hand settles on the doorknob, he catches sight of me. His reaction is immediate: he slowly backs away, his mouth agape as he stammers out fragmented words, shaking his head in disbelief.

The rest of the students look at him with deep concern. (God forbid something should upset the jock, the hero, the high school superstar!) Some of them ask Brian if he’s okay, but there are no words or forms of comfort that can reach him now. Seeing me has driven him into the realm of insanity.

Brian turns away from the door and runs for the nearest window. He throws his weight against it; the material shatters as if it were thin, transparent skin being stabbed by a knife. My alpha male adversary goes sailing through the air, his body plummeting in an arc to the hard and unforgiving pavement below. Blood splatters across the ground like a gory Rorschach blot. Ms. Welch runs to the phone behind her desk while the students stampede toward the window to view the sick display.

With my work done, I drift down the hall while distant memories surface in my mind. I find myself dwelling on all the rejection I faced when I attended this school. Nobody wanted me around (unless, of course, they needed a verbal punching bag).

My peers called me names like “scumbag” or “weirdo” just because I looked, dressed, and thought different. I tried crying out against this abuse, but all the adults I knew (even my own parents) would make excuses for my classmates. They would say things like, “That’s what happens at your age. When your classmates see someone who is different, they get confused and maybe even a little scared because they are so used to everyone conforming, so they respond by lashing out.”

Well, I was the same age as them, and I was capable of understanding someone wanting to be themselves instead of just another sheep, so how was that a valid excuse?

Stacy Banyon runs by me, cutting in on my mind's dance with the past. She is a trophy chick that the jocks like to pass around once or twice when they win a game. (They pass her around even more if they lose.) Stacy has always been a slut, unless of course she was around me. Then she acted like she was the Virgin Mary.

I watch the whore make a mad dash for the bathroom. By the time I catch up to her, she is too busy puking in the sink to notice me. I slip inside the stall directly behind her, waiting until she lifts her face up to the mirror. And eventually she does.

Stacy’s eyes go wide with fear. She drives her fist into the bathroom mirror. The skin on her knuckles splits open as the glass shatters. Without hesitation she takes up the sharpest fragment and slits her throat. Her body falls to the group as the death-seizures take control of her limbs. Another victory for me, although it doesn’t really feel like one. I mean, look at how easily I inspired her to take herself out. It’d be great if these idiots put up a struggle, but they are so feeble-minded that I bet none of them will.

I hover over her corpse, imagining how my image must look in the mirror. It's impossible for me to see myself because I gouged out my eyes about four weeks ago, and that wasn’t the only physical torment I visited upon my flesh.

Yes, if you haven't guessed by now, I am a ghost, and my physical appearance reflects all the mental agony my oppressors made me feel.

Aside from ruining my eyes, I’d slashed my palms and wrists to ribbons. For my last suicidal gesture, I slit my throat. I didn’t leave any letter or explanation behind. Then again, those who knew me could easily figure out why I did it. My life was full of misery and torment. For some reason I was denied the love that everyone else bathed in. Since all I had was a choice between that kind of existence or none, I chose the latter.

But what I found out is that there is no destruction…only transformation. In death I have found a purpose that eluded me in life. Now I can use my horrifying appearance to get revenge on all my enemies. Every demise will be a cause for celebration.

Then again, I don’t want all of them to follow in Brian’s and Stacy’s footsteps. I want some of them to live because, buried within the bloody, black tunnels of my eye sockets, they will know the depth of my pain.

Those who simply annoyed will perish. They will be the lucky ones, but those who really lit the fire of my hatred will be cursed to forever see and feel and fear the truth of what it was like to be me.


2024 Steve Grogan

Bio: Steve Grogan hails from the often-filmed city of Troy, NY. He is glad that the eighties are over because now no one asks if he is related to the New England Patriots quarterback.

E-mail: Steve Grogan

Website: Steve Grogan's Website

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