Jaza's World

Part 3: Before

Beforehe changed his name, he was called Gil Smiggins. His unfortunate looks and mannerisms were with him even since childhood. His father would beat him, and his schoolmates would bully him, because of how he looked and behaved. In all his childhood years, he received no love, and no respect. Only anger.

By the time he reached adolescence, this anger had defined who he was permanently. Even at this early age, his past had consumed him. Why should other little kids live free from violence, he reasoned, when I never could? Where's the justice in that? And so he would wait at park benches, sit near ice-cream shops, or stand at school bus stops. A predator, ready to pounce. He would spring on vulnerable children, boys and girls alike. He kicked their faces into the dirt, boxed their ears good and proper. As his father did to him.

It came to be his favourite pastime. Most kids his age would go to the cinema to watch a movie, or go to the beach for a swim. But for Gil, the world was just one big hunting ground. He had no friends, anyway. Nobody bothered with the boy who was too tall, and too thin, and too quiet. So he had no one to spend his time with - except himself, and his prey.

Before long, word was spreading in the neighbourhood. Concerned parents were stapling leaflets to the telegraph poles: Watch your kids at all times! Or some such warning. Gil would walk past a pair of joggers in the street, catching snippets of their conversation, and try not to look nervous. They say he attacks them when they're all alone… sick in the head, if you ask me… who would do those things to a little kid? With every passing day, it grew more difficult to find fresh game. And the more he attacked, the more dangerous it got. So he fled.

At an early age he became a fugitive, hopping from one city to the next, a trail of victims behind him and the cops hot on his heels. Yet he was always clever, always elusive. It continued like this for several years, until he'd left a legacy of fear in every place he'd visited. But no man can live indefinitely as an outcast. Even a man as brutal and depraved as Gil craves acceptance. He couldn't even remember the last time someone had heard his name, and not looked disgusted. So although he knew it would be difficult, if not outright impossible, he decided to leave his past behind him, and begin life afresh. It wasn't easy but he managed.

He changed his name. He got a job. He joined a church. He made some friends. He found a wife. And for the first time in his life, he felt accepted.

But the past was not erased. It never can be. It lingered on, haunting him like an acrid smell. And although he convinced himself otherwise, it was only a matter of time before it consumed him yet again. He flew as far away as he could, until the past was little more than a dim memory behind him, and it disappeared over the horizon.

So now he's circumnavigated his entire life.

And he's back to where he started.