Carrie’s hand shook as she pressed the pistol against her temple. How much had she put up with in her 16 years on this earth? Too much to keep going another 16 years, she thought. Her life was a mistake. The whole world was a mistake. Her birth was the biggest mistake. Her mother should have had an abortion like all the other teen girls when they find out they are pregnant.
That’s right, you should have died a long time ago. To Carrie, the words were a thought just like any other, but the words were actually whispered by something unseen to her. The creature wasn’t visible to human eyes, but if somehow a person could see it, it would be the most nightmarish thing imaginable. It didn’t have to be seen to be terrifying. The feeling it invoked on those that it latched onto was worse than any image. The creature was all fears, all loneliness, and all pain. It was darkness to those afraid of the dark. It was the last breath of a loved one. It was falling from a tower ninety feet in the air. It was an ominous cloud that hovered over its victims, sucking the life out of them. This creature could only be called one thing: demon.
She should have killed me then, Carrie thought, agreeing with the unseen creature, it would have saved me the trouble of doing this now.
A tear slipped from her eye, and she lowered the shaking hand that held the pistol. Did she really want to do this?
Yes, you want to do this, whispered her invisible tormenter. Think of all that has happened in your life. Do you really want to keep living it? Images flashed through her mind—scenes from her life.
A five-year-old Carrie appeared, hiding behind a lumpy orange and brown sofa. Her stepfather was throwing empty beer bottles against the walls while her mother screamed at him to stop. From where she hid, she saw a bottle come flying at mother. She dogged it, but it hit the wall behind her and busted open. Glass exploded from the bottle and buried itself into her mother’s arm and shoulder. There was a scream and blood. Carrie closed her eyes. The next thing she knew, sirens were screeching and red and blue lights danced across the wall.
The scene changed. Carrie was pouring the last of the milk into a cereal bowl. It was for her mother. Maybe her mother would want to spend more time with her if she did really nice things for her. When her mother divorced her stepfather, Carrie thought she would spend more time with her. Instead, she spent her time dating other guys and going to the bar every weekend.
Carrie had made her a breakfast of toast and cereal. She placed them carefully on a pizza tray, and carried it to her mother’s room. The room was dark, but Carrie knew better than to turn on the lights. Her mother didn’t like bright lights in the morning. They made her head hurt. It was 11 a.m., but the form on the bed was still asleep. Carrie walked as quietly as she could toward the night stand. She would leave it there for her mother to see when she woke up.
She tripped on something in the dark room and the pizza tray wobbled. The bowl of cereal slid off and crashed to the floor. Her mother woke up and angrily asked what she was doing. Her blood shot eyes glared at Carrie as she tried to answer. Her mother yelled at her to get out, calling her a brat and telling her she was always causing trouble. Carrie sat alone in the kitchen, staring at the toast with blurry, tear-filled eyes.
Carrie looked at the gun in her lap, thinking of how she spent most of her childhood. Every morning she went to the bus stop alone, and every evening she came home to an empty house. There was never enough food. Most mornings she ate the cheep version of cheerios without milk. Lunch was bread with peanut butter, and if she was lucky, jelly. Dinner was a can of cold SpaghettiOs. For the longest time, they didn’t have a microwave.
She remembered sitting alone in the school cafeteria, eating her bread and peanut butter, as a group of girls walked by her, holding their noses and making gagging sounds. Her clothes always reeked of stale smoke from her mother’s cigarettes. It wouldn’t have mattered if the smelled like chocolate chip cookies, the other girls wanted nothing to do with her and her wrinkled, thrift store clothes.
So my childhood wasn’t the best, but that doesn’t mean I should actually go through with this, she thought, lots of people have messed up lives as a kid.
Your life is messed up alright, the black spirit hovering over her said, it’s beyond repair. Your childhood was only the beginning of the wretchedness that would become your life.
Other memories flashed before her: Her mother’s bruised face after being hit by one of her many boyfriends. Ten year old Carrie in her room throwing all her belongings into her battered school backpack, vowing to runaway, but never following through because she had nowhere to go. Carrie in high school, drinking Budweiser with a group of teens, and finally feeling like she belonged. A boy telling her he loved her and that they would be together forever. Carrie finding out that forever meant one night.
“Stop,” Carrie’s voice weakly protested. She closed her eyes, balled up her fists and placed them on either side of her forehead, as if her fists could somehow guard her mind from the onslaught of memories. They didn’t. They kept coming.
Carrie remembered the feelings of fear and excitement as she and a group of teens snuck into a club for the first time. She was assaulted by the smells of beer, sweat, and vomit—the smells that surrounded her most nights. Darkened rooms, loud music, and heavy breath reeking of alcohol filled her memory—filled her life. Her life was nothing but this.
Your life is nothing but this. It is nothing but this, chanted the evil spirit. Your life is alcohol, your life is addiction, your life is destruction.
My life is destruction, thought Carrie. She opened her eyes and looked again at the gun in her lap. She placed her hand on the handle, but couldn’t bring herself to pick it up. I can’t do it. I don’t know if I want to do it.
Oh but you do want to, the blackness whispered, you’ve wanted to every since that day…
The memory she’d suppressed for years came unbidden to her mind. All the sounds came back to her: The sound of her bedroom door opening at night. The sound of her mother’s current boy friend stumbling drunkenly into her room. The sounds of her cries for help. The sound of her silence as she realized her mother was too stoned to hear. The sound of her muffled sobs when she cried into her pillow as she realized she would never be the same again.
Her grip tightened on the gun as silent tears ran down her face. She couldn’t take it anymore. All the partying, all the booze in the world couldn’t erase the memory. She lifted the gun.
That’s right. Do it now. There is no reason to keep your miserable life going. There is no reason to keep living, the nightmarish voice intoned.
There is no reason to live, Carrie told herself. Do it. Just do it.
Just do it, repeated the blackness gleefully.
Carrie felt the cold steel press against her temple. What would it feel like to die? What was it like to have a bullet shot through your head?
Nothing feels as bad as you do right now. Nothing can be worse than the pain you are feeling now, said the dark spirit, just do it.
But Carrie couldn’t do it. She stayed frozen, kneeling on the floor, gun to her head. What if there was an afterlife? What if it was worse than this life?
There is no afterlife fool! The blackness angrily told her. You only have this life, and it’s a miserable one. End it now!
Her hands were shaking and sweat was forming on back and forehead. Was this all there was? Was there nothing but pain, then death? God—if there is a god—help me now. She wasn’t sure if she was asking for help to put the gun down or help to pull the trigger.
There is no God, cowering scum! The spirit snarled, there is no one to save you. Do you really thing some higher power made you? You were made by accident.
I am an accident, Carrie agreed.
Your own mother thinks you shouldn’t have been born, the blackness said smugly.
Carrie thought of the words she’d heard only moments before when she and her mother were fighting. Her mother screamed that she wished she had aborted her. She only had Carrie because she was hoping that Carrie’s father would stay, or at least give her a little money every now and then. Instead all she got was an ungrateful teen that cost more than she was worth. After the words were said, her mother left and Carrie went to her mother’s room. She knew where it was: the top shelf of her closet in a shoebox. The pistol would solve all her problems.
Now, sitting in the kitchen, the words echoed in her head, Never should have been born…Should have had an abortion… I shouldn’t be alive.
You should have died. No one wants you here. No one loves you. No one would miss you if you were dead. Do what your mother failed to do. End your life.
Carrie pulled the trigger.