A circular beam of flashing light moved across the floor criss-crossing other lights and moving bodies. Benjamin Jerriko had turned eighteen only a few hours earlier and was now glugging down pints of alcohol amongst three hundred and fourteen teenagers.
It was a large hall, booked out for a night of loud music, small talk and drinking. Faces appeared and then morphed into shadows as the disco lights shot past their thunderous expressions. They laughed and vomited, some spent their time outside and others danced embarrassingly. It was girls and boys, conversation, dancing, lounging, drinking, smoking and talking like they’ve been friends for years. Benjamin was in this position, acting a fool for his audience who won’t remember it in the morning.
The doors were wide open around the beaming hall. Youngsters would walk in and walk out; only around sixty guests were actually ‘invited’ to join the celebration. The others were friends of friends and trespassers.
And then there was Mr. Mood. A man who, like hundreds more was not invited. He wore a dark black hat and sunglasses that hid his eyes behind dim lenses. Even the disco lights could not break through to reach the reflection of his pupils. He was watching the motions of the teenagers, wondering if their tiny brains could get any smaller. Maybe their brains had already disappeared; maybe they were just party going zombies. A girl with dark brown hair smooth but curled at the ends handed Benjamin a small piece of paper. She shouted something, but under the volume of the stereo playing even shouting couldn’t be heard more than a metre away.
“Hey, are you going to join in the party mate?” Mr. Mood had watched the girl walk back into the wall of dancing scum and not noticed Benjamin was talking to him. “I just got that girls number!” There it was, talking to him like they’d met before. What else was there to do but reply to the boy, “Yeah dude. Well cool.” Mr. Mood’s deep voice bellowed in the music. Benjamin stood without expression for a while, and then laughed. “My parties always rock!”
“So, what was the girl’s name?” Mr. Mood faked a smile.
“Not sure man. Anyway, enjoy the beer!” Benjamin disappeared as a disco light shot past him.
Mr. Mood was frowning under the sunglasses; he was frowning most of the time. He always kept his eyes hidden. If they knew of his hatred he’d be kicked out, but now was the right time. He’d decided, finally on his victim.
He felt the cold breeze fall upon him as he stepped outside. The street was packed with students wondering around looking for their brains, shaking bottles for attention.
Benjamin was lighting a cigarette by a fence whilst chatting up another girl. Mr. Mood casually stepped over the wet grass towards him. “You’re greedy aren’t you?”
The damp grass was covered with tiny white sparkles in the night. “How do you mean?” Benjamin replied. “Hey dude! I saw you inside, what’s your name?” Ben was happy to see the stranger.
“Don’t change the subject, why are you changing the subject?” Mr. Mood’s eyes hidden under the lenses. Ben’s smile disappeared; he was either lost in an empty head or thinking up a way to beat up Mr. Mood. “I don’t... know what you mean? I’m greedy?” Ben was confused.
“You got a girls number earlier, now you’re getting another one?” Mr. Mood turned to the blond girl that was standing next to Ben. “How do you feel about that?” The girl shrugged. He should have known, he was the only sane one at the party.
“What? Are you from the olden days mate? Get lost!” Benjamin dropped his cigarette to the ground and stepped down grinding it into the grass. Mr. Mood smiled, “Why not specify a year?”
“Ok... two thousand and get the hell out of my party!” Benjamin started giggling to himself, the blond girl joined in. Under the lenses Mr. Mood’s eyes flickered from the two. “I won’t stand too close. I might catch ‘dim’.”
Benjamin was once again silent, and then he began to roll up his sleeves. “Get the hell off my party!”
“‘Off’ doesn’t make much sense, a party is not an object unless I was standing on top of a mosh pit.” Mr. Mood stared down at his feet, “Which I’m not.”
Benjamin blinked and Mr. Mood had disappeared, no man stood in front of him. “Did you see where he went?” He had turned to the blond girl who was shaking her head.
“I’m behind you.” Mr. Mood grabbed Benjamin by the neck and pulled him swiftly over the fence. The girl screamed as the violent character was invisible in the dark. Ben’s head hit the gravel on the other side of the fence as Mr. Mood let him go. “Benjamin.” Mood’s voice was slow and unhurried. Ben could see two hands covered by black gloves hovering over his face. He screamed and shook his body trying to reach out. Mr. Mood was holding him down heavy watching his victim shake violently. “I thought an eighteenth was meant to be special.” Mood was speaking quietly now, the music in the hall sounded dim out here. “But you’ve had a party exactly the same as this for... what is it? Months... underage as well, like many of your guests today. Maybe I should kill them as well.”
“Are you the cops?” Benjamin squealed.
“God, have you ever met a policeman that said he’d kill people? You are the perfect victim; you are the human stereotype of all these people, their leader. The HOST of the party.” Mr. Mood pulled a knife from the dark and held it flickering in the moonlight over Ben’s face. “What is it with you people following the terrible trends of music, beat rap and pop? Why can’t you expand to the beauties of classical and rock? You can dance to any of them but you all prefer the upbeat excrement that is rap music. This is what it does to you.”
The knife slid into Ben’s ear leisurely as a glove muffled his screams. “Oh I’m being pointless Benjamin. Here’s the next bit. There has to be over three hundred people here, you could hardly know ALL of them. Surely not, oh no. But you let them roam around anyway. No, don’t speak, meeting new people huh? Why the hell would you want to meet new people? People destroy! You destroy Benjamin; you destroy the beautiful world we live in. This generation you’ve come from are all rotten. And you all deserve to die, but I can’t kill everyone now can I Benjamin?”
Ben’s eyes were squeezed shut, the pain from the side of his head fired through his body. Fear glittered in his eyes. Mr. Mood slowly pulled the knife out from Ben’s ear moving it in a circular motion similar to releasing a nail. “You love beer don’t you? No, don’t answer, I know it is true.” Blood squirted onto Mood’s gloves and Ben’s clothing. Sharp tiny droplets started appearing on the cement below the two of them. A chunk of red liquid frothed out of Ben’s mouth and dribbled down his chin. Mr. Mood placed the knife carefully on the cement ground beside him, then moved to select a shady bottle of alcohol from a collection of three. “This is the bottle you left half empty on the counter when you went off to make out with a girl you most likely do not know the name of. Why pay for a bottle of beer Benjamin? If you are not going to drink it?”
He shoved the end of the bottle into Benjamin’s mumbling mouth. Ben shook once again trying to escape as the liquid in the bottle slowly fell down his throat. But eventually it was too much for the boy to handle and he was gasping for air. He ultimately drowned under the bottle. Mr. Mood did not speak; he only watched the body become motionless.
Mr. Mood dropped the head to the driveway it laid on and pulled himself up. He snatched the gloves off one by one and dropped them onto the teenager’s body. Then, he pulled out a new pair from his black, zipped up jacket pocket and slid them onto his hands. “The funny thing is, because no one knows anyone at these parties... everyone suspects everyone.”
As he stood up straight wiping dust from his jacket he noticed the girl, scarred on the other side of the fence staring in shock. She was shaking when she spoke, “Are you going to kill me?” Mr. Mood didn’t show any emotion, but maybe under the glasses he did. “I don’t kill girls, unless it’s with my eyes shut and my finger on a trigger.” He paused. “Of course if you tell anyone what happened here I might go ahead and find that gun.”
Mr. Mood heard the girl swallow loudly and stay put as he stepped aside. As he paced away he was smiling, anxious of suspicion. Suddenly a man fell into his shoulder firing a nerve of shock through his body. “Hell of a party ay man?” Saliva exploded out of the drunken man’s mouth. Mr. Mood, without thought swung his knife towards the man’s face slicing flesh from his cheek. There was a yelp and Mood ducked away into the darkness of the night.
A caution tape was placed around the murder scene the next day, police cars surrounded the area.
Mr. Mood was lounging around on his favourite arm chair whilst watching the clouds pass through his lighthouse window. His lighthouse was high and mechanic, flowing a beam of light across the ocean for the ships. He pulled a book out from his low wooden shelf and brushed it open to glance at his page, a red ribbon bookmark slid out. The lighthouse was not owned by him, but now he had decided that this would be where he lived. It was the perfect place to relax, a tiny sound of crashing waves, a clear breeze of fresh air and peace. A blackboard stood in the corner of the small circular room he sat. None of the furniture was his; they were left there by an old man who stayed and squatted some time ago. He passed away by falling off of the balcony and into the sea and Mr. Mood took over the property. The old man had no family left so no one had missed him. On the blackboard were rough chalk scribbles of hatred over faces and names. Circles and doodles criss-crossing through the list of people.
At the top of the board was a title, ‘Odium.’
He took his glasses off in the privacy of his home.
The night sky was dark, sparkly and LOUD. Below the clear full moon stood a house rayed with lights. Inside was the same noise but louder.
Inside was a party.
Mr. Mood wondered through the front door which was, as usual, open. Inside it was the typical bodies being thrown around, drinks being spilt and people chatting about relationships. Then, under his glasses his eyes widened.
A young boy was moving around the busy front room pushing people away, “GET OUT! GET OUT OF OUR HOUSE!” The boy ran to a taller boy leaning against the television set gulping down a bottle. “Brother! Why the heck did you invite all these people?”
His brother replied, “I didn’t.” He then burped and drank some more. Red grew in Mood’s eyes, he already knew the brothers name, ‘Larry Hens.’ And he wanted him dead. Larry picked himself up and left the half empty bottle of beer on top of the television. He walked towards a girl who was sitting on the sofa sipping a dark liquid in a glass. Mood recognized her as the brown haired girl from the other party. “Do you want to go upstairs? I have a pool table.” Larry was balancing on the arm of the sofa. The girl shook her head, “No thank you.” She sighed and put her head down. Mood observed everything that happened; he’d watched so many emotions now he could almost read minds. The girl was a guest of course, invited by a drunken buddy. She did not like being there without her good friends. Larry’s brother was another ‘sane’ Mood imagined. The ‘sanes’ always live.
Larry moved towards another girl who was talking to her friend in a corner. “Larry.” Mr. Mood had spoken before Larry could try and chat the girl up. “What do you want specs?”
“No I don’t want specs. I’d like a discussion outside if you don’t mind.”
Larry shook his head, but not in denial, just to release some snot that was hanging from his nose. “Not outside, come, we’ll play pool. The winner gets the lady.”
“I don’t think that’s a choice for you to make.” Mr. Mood replied. The girl turned away from her friends and faced the two of them, “I don’t mind.” Under the lenses Mood was once again frowning.
“Tell me. How are you going to clean up all of this vomit, alcohol stains and collapsed bodies by the time your parents get home?”
“I’m not. I’m going to blame my brother. Say I was asleep the whole time.” Larry started giggling to himself as the three of them moved up the creaky stairway.
In the quiet games room Mr. Mood closed the door behind them. He stood glancing around the room and inspecting for security cameras. After all, this was a large house ruled by a rich family. Larry threw Mr. Mood a cue and held onto his own tightly. “So what’s your name?” Larry asked. “And how did you know my name? Friend of Jennifer’s are you?”
Mr. Mood smiled whilst circulated the cue with his hand. “You know what it’s like to have a broken heart Larry?” Larry blinked and then glared at the girl.
“Sorry mate, I don’t follow.”
Mr. Mood leapt forward with the cue’s point pointing towards Larry. The cue crashed into Larry’s chest bursting through the flesh and ripping out of his back. He screamed in agony as the stick welded through his heart. His screaming became just a gush of air very soon as he collapsed onto the pine floor below him, blood squirting in every direction. “That’s what it feels like. I just thought you should know, as you’ll never find out otherwise. But maybe a few of your ex girlfriends do? Hm?”
The girl in the corner was screaming extremely loud. “WHY DOES THERE ALWAYS HAVE TO BE A WITNESS? And a girl at that! And a gunshot would grab too much attention from downstairs...” Mr. Mood was lost in thought, staring at the glass window as the girl screamed. Then he decided.
He ran forward throwing his arm out to grab the girl as he moved. Her legs lifted as she was pulled away with him towards the reflecting glass of the window. It smashed in front of him and they both fell through soaring through the air and crashing roughly into a spiked bush.
Mood got up noticing the bloodied body sinking into the shrub. Then, he ran.
The new morning light shone through the tall windows of the lighthouse and the eyes opened of Mr. Mood. He had fallen asleep in his armchair whilst reading and was now stretching. How old was he now? 30? 40? 60? 20? He couldn’t remember. He was always lost with the date, and due to no one celebrating his birthday he’d lost count of the years. Was it 2007, 8 or 10?
Up until now no one had released information on Mr. Mood, but now was about to change. The television was one thing Mood did like to avoid but he couldn’t deny enjoying the news. But not today. On the screen stood the bloodied girl standing outside the large mansion. “He wore sunglasses to hide his eyes, and a dark black hat. He wore a black coat and black gloves. Like he was deliberately trying to look suspicious. He killed Larry.” She started to cry in front of the news crew. Then a voice-over sounded, “Here is some CCTV footage of the character escaping into the night after murdering a teenage boy with a pool stick and pulling a young girl out of the window with him.” And there it was, clear as cream, Mr. Mood leaping out of the window. He smiled at his own stunt and ability to run so fast, maybe he was 18-20?
He wore the same jacket, but with no gloves. He replaced his hat and glasses with an old war helmet with tinted goggles and walked cheerfully along the busy night streets. There it was; a night club. The next hit, a public murder. But at the gate he was halted, “I’m sorry sir, but you will need to remove the helmet.”
“Identity check. It’s the rules.”
Mr. Mood frowned under the helmet and turned away, maybe another day.
Suddenly Mood caught sight of her again, the smooth brown haired girl with curls on the ends. She was walking towards him. Then she paused in front of him, “Trying to get in the nightclub huh?”
She was rather beautiful in the night. “I... yes... Do I know you?”
The girl smiled, “We’ve ‘seen’ each other before but never properly met.” She held a hand out. “I’m Juria Canuna. And you are?”
Mood was lost for words, “Mister.... Mood, but my friends.... Yeah, my names Mr. Mood.” Juria giggled and shook his uncovered hand. “I think you’re cute. Always hiding your identity.” Mr. Mood was weakly smirking, he kept staring at her under the lenses, and all other thoughts were put to a halt. “You’ve got a cool jacket.” She put a finger to the leather and asked him to turn around. Mood accepted and swung around on one foot awaiting her next conversational line. But there was a clank of metal instead of speech.
His hands were trapped, hand cuffed by the sweet ‘sane’ with the brown hair. Under the goggles his eyes were fuming as he shook violently to release himself. But it was impossible.
Juria spun him around, still smiling, most likely at her success. “I’ am arresting you under suspicion of the murder of five men. You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you may later rely on in court. Anything you say may be given in evidence. Understood?”
Mr. Mood did nothing, most of his adult life he’d killed people for betrayal and alienating him and now he’d walked right into this. “You have nothing on me.” He whimpered.
“Not yet, but if you’re finger prints match the ones on the gloves found on Benjamin Jerriko’s body we will do.” Mood cursed in his head, why the hell did he leave his bloodied gloves on the body anyway? Over stressed that night is a possibility. He became attracted to the girl he thought was more like him, but she betrayed him without even getting to know him. Like every other scum in life. Mr. Mood was sat in a deserted planet of waste, by himself. The last ‘sane’ man alive.
“What if I deny giving you my fingers to examine?” Mood was not smiling, only thinking.
“We won’t need you, you shook my hand remember.”
Mood shut up.
Some police cars pulled up around them causing some interesting conversations in the crowds of night club goers. They were probably worried they’d be noticed as underage or carrying drugs in their pockets. Mr. Mood was pushed head first into the back of the vehicle landing on the soft cushion seat. “You’ll never stop me fixing this world, I WILL FIND EVERYONE LIKE ME!”
“No one’s like you buddy.” A male voice came from the front seat as Juria stepped into the passenger’s side, “That’s right.” Juria and the driver shared a light kiss and then the key was rotated. Mood’s eyes turned red under the goggles and he leapt forward head butting the driver as the car moved slowly forward. The driver, with his foot down dropped his head against the wheel causing it to fall round. The whole car skidded out of control spinning in a circle creating a sphere tire track.
Juria screamed, Mr. Mood laughed.
The metal vehicle shot into a metal gate which separated the road from the ocean. The car soured off of the side of the high bridge and dropped in slow motion towards the watery sea.
It crashed creating froth and tiny droplets of liquid, then sank slowly downwards into the unknown blue.
Water was seeping through the windows extremely fast, the driver was already dead. Drowning in his sleepy state. Juria was attempting to press the button to open the window, but the machine was broken down under water and she was trapped.
In handcuffs Mr. Mood kept his mouth closed keeping in the air he had left, but he knew it would run out very very soon. He watched Juria struggle for air, bubbles exploding out from her area as she banged on the glass in literal slow motion.
Then Mood opened his mouth to perform one last silent laugh as Juria became motionless in struggle and started to float to the roof of the sunken car. Then, it was Mr. Mood’s turn to die. Was he the last ‘sane’ one left? If so, the world will soon fall into its own pit of fat, vomiting, drunken, teenage pregnant rap music.
In Mood’s eyes it was impossible for the whole world to be missing the people of its past like himself. The people who could see what a horrible world it was becoming, because that is what he truly believed. He truly believed everyone deserved to die.
His younger life was filled with lies, betrayal and rejection so his later life was filled with revenge. But so much thinking made him forget it was revenge, he eventually created his own moral reasons for doing it and still stood by them on the day of his death.
As he took his last breath he found it was not his last breath. The car was being slowly lifted by a giant crane; ambulances surrounded the bridge and roads flashing their colourful lights in patterns across the sky. Fresh air seeped into Mood’s lungs; this was a sign from the gods. They wanted to keep him alive to save the human race from what it was becoming. Of course!
He continuously hit the cuffs against the ledge under the window frame as the police car was lifted. Eventually, due to the water damage they cracked open and collapsed onto the soaked floor below him. He laughed silently and for the first time, slid his helmet off in public. No eyes peered though as he replaced it with the policeman’s hat and switched clothing and badge.
Officer Henry Ledgeson. Born to save the earth from where it’s heading. Doesn’t look much like his passport photo.
He slid the bookmark out of the novel once again whilst sitting in his armchair. He then glanced up to see there seemed to be a new name on the list. He was shocked, very shocked. He did not remember chalking another name on the board. Mood had changed his identity by clothing to a Mr. Henry Ledgeson, on the bottom of the Odium list was ‘Mr. Mood’.
Someone had followed him home into HIS lighthouse, wrote on HIS blackboard. He’d had a trespasser and for some reason the whole room seemed suddenly dirty. He quickly stood up firing eyes across the walls and furniture looking for movement or change. He hated change.
Mr. Mood walked closer to the blackboard placing a finger on the rough white chalk name. “Don’t you wish it would snow? I sure do miss the snow,” the voice came from behind him. Mood slowly turned around, the man standing by the armchair came into view. “Who the heck are you? Get out of my lighthouse.”
“I’m Cheswick Hens, brother of Larry Hens. You stabbed him with a cue. Now I’m to do the same to you.” In his right hand stood a tall wooden cue awaiting its command. Mr. Mood laughed suddenly, he realised he did not have glasses or goggles over his eyes. His eyes were naked to the world and now his identity was lost. The only thing left to do was kill the boy. “I thought you were sane. Are you not happy your brother is dead? After continuously blaming you for those house parties?”
The brother shook his head a little. “No. You see things like that you can forgive, murder, you cannot. Do you know how depressed my family are?”
“No. Every family is different. Whether they are sane or not they will react differently to something like this. Maybe they’ll be pleased, or if they were party goers themselves, saddened.”
“You killed him because he was having a house party?” Cheswick lowered the cue a little.
“Maybe I need to tune myself in a little more. That is two people I thought were ‘sane’ but made a mistake now.” Mr. Mood turned away and started grinding the chalk against the board writing ‘Cheswick.’ He then turned back glaring into the eyes of the boy, who was obviously frightened.
“I hate you. I hate everyone.”
“Why did you steal that policeman’s identity?”
“So I could get home to be a new person.” Mr. Mood walked over to a large wooden cupboard and carefully pulled both of the doors wide open. Then, he pulled out a red top hat. “What do you think? Suit me?” He put the hat down and started looking around for more; he pulled out some rabbit slippers. “I could even play an old man! But then students may get suspicious of that.” He giggled to himself and turned back to Cheswick. “Your parents deserve to die just for thinking up a name like Cheswick. What a scar that must have been on you growing up.”
Cheswick had not attacked, he found himself sat down on the armchair, feeling the hate rising. Mr. Mood walked over to him and propped the red top hat onto the boys head. “Parents, parents, parents,” Mood mumbled to himself. “By the way, now you’ve seen my eyes I’m going to have to kill you.” He made himself sound threatening but calm.
“Go ahead.” His grip loosened and the cue fell out of the boys hand landing on the pine floor with an echoed clatter. Mood raised an eyebrow, “I’m sorry?”
“It doesn’t matter anyway. But could you make it... quick?”
Mood made no emotion but went to push the boy off of the chair violently; he then replaced him on the cushiony surface. “This is my armchair. Boy, do you hate me?”
“Then kill me.”
“I hate everyone.”
Mood had heard these words before, hundreds of times from his own mouth. “Then kill everyone.”
As the sea crashed into the giant rocks the glass framed window at the top of the lighthouse burst open. A tiny shadowed body crashed outwards flapping through the air and falling backwards onto the stones below. A crack of bones, a shriek of pain and Mr. Mood was dead.
Through the broken glass Cheswick stared down at the helpless body on the large pointed rocks. He then turned and moved to the Odium black board. He picked up the chalk from the tiny wood shelf and carved in a new word, ‘parents.’ He then dropped the chalk, stepped back and went to read the book left by Mr. Mood.
- Nathan Viney