• T. Mark Mangum

Sanity is Beyond me Now

“Sanity is beyond me now.” The room was silent, dark, and cold, and the line from Ozzy’s song would repeat in my mind every so often.

“Sanity is beyond me now.”

The room was silent, dark, and cold, and the line from Ozzy’s song would repeat in my mind every so often. I knelt on one knee the bat laid in front of me the Bowie Knife still in my left hand. The breaths came deep now slowing from a few moments ago when the work had ended. It must have been oh, probably 6 years since I had worked hard enough that afterward, I could feel the pounding of my heart as if a chorus of bass drums dwelt within and the need for fresh untainted oxygen so intense that I could not inhale and exhale fast enough. As I knelt eyes closed my breathing mellowed the din of the drums waned and the lyrics repeated.

“Sanity is beyond me now.”

Those closest to me would question the reports saying, “I don’t believe it! He couldn’t have done that! He’s such a kind and gentle man, his family will be devastated.”

Would they rethink that once they knew everything?

Pictures of my family rolled through my thoughts, my young daughter on the trampoline with the dog, I really disliked that dog. Her laughter echoed in my head.

“Daddy watch.”

Tears welled and oozed through my closed eyelids. I could feel now the blood drying, the hilt of the Bowie sticking to my hand. It was only a month ago my boy received this knife from his scoutmasters when they awarded him his Eagle Scout. He showed it to me and smiled. I smiled back.

“Pretty sweet son, put it up where your siblings can’t get to it.”

Now in the aftermath, I thought of him, his brother, his sister, and my wife. Their voices each, in turn, echoed in my mind their faces, and laughter the tears and disappointments, all memories now with none to follow. Alone, for the first time in twenty-five years, I was alone.

I was on foot, bat and knife in hand chasing the car, a white mustang low rider. A deep thud of bass pounding out some tune I did not know. When the car came to the intersection and couldn’t get through the rush hour traffic the occupants fled on foot. The driver and front-seat passenger were partly across the busy street looking back when I reached the car. The back-seat passenger delayed by a seatbelt was just exiting the car as I arrived.

That probably was the end of life for me as I knew it.

No, not that moment, the moments minutes earlier, just before I arrived home. Their actions, at that time, that was when my life as it was, ended.

The bat came down hard his body fell prostrate on the pavement. Are the paramedics working hard now to save his life? I assume so. But they don’t understand what he was part of, the things he did.

I continued across Cordon Street the drivers of rush hour hardly noticing me and the men I chased as the White Mustang slowly rolled into traffic.

The two men jumped a small fence surrounding a large field that bordered the Cranston Bay neighborhood. Devastated and destitute and all but abandoned, Cranston Bay was hit by wildfires three months ago. Thirty-four of sixty homes destroyed in a few hours.

I opted for the corner and street another 40 yards up Cordon Street, knowing I would make great gains by staying on flat steady ground. The two men did not notice their mistake until they exited the filed by then I was just 20 feet from them.

Two young men Caucasian, tattooed, and pierced, darted down the street in front of me. Were they afraid or just trying to get me to their turf? I thought that now, at the time nothing but pure primal instinct drove me forward, and the objects of my blood lust were in reach.

“Babe, I’m home, whose car is that?”

I knew then that something was wrong. The dogs that normally greeted me with unencumbered enthusiasm and admiration were nowhere to be seen or heard. Then the dog whimper from down the hall caught my ear and I moved that direction. As I reached the first bedroom my life changed, I changed. Again, the actions of these men a few moments before I arrived home changed my life forever and I realized it at the moment I looked into my little girl’s room. I heard motion in the basement and the backdoor slam. Somewhere between Gail’s room and the front door, I obtained Jim’s bat and Kenneth’s Bowie Knife.

Kneeling here in silence, the memory of what I saw flows back like black ice. Now as I kneel here amongst the killers and their friends who awaited their return I contemplate the end of my world.

Close on their heels now, so close I could hear them breathe. The lead began to scream as he approached the home he was turning left up the sidewalk I could see three other men standing turning and following him into the house. I closed on the second man and tossed the bat at his feet, he fell hard I leapt to avoid his sprawling form coming to the ground turning and planting the knife to the hilt as he came to a rest. Rage, red, the pounding of my heart is all I could feel, see, or hear. I pulled the knife from his back picked up the bat and walked to the door.

“I have become death, for sanity now is beyond me, there is no choice.”


Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.

T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.

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