The group of children laughed and jostled each other in the sunshine as the boy watched them intently through the scope of his rifle.
Sighing, Tim pulled back from his bedroom window and placed the gun carefully back in the corner of the room before flopping back onto his bean bag chair to engage another wave of the mutants who advanced toward him in ever increasing numbers on the screen on his computer. On the television, a skeletal figure wearing the face of one of his victims dug his claws cruelly into the torso of a screaming actress, projecting an amusing cinematic fountain of blood into the air, but the young man just yawned. He’d seen this movie too many times and had lost the thrill the popular movie killers’ brutal actions once gave him. Ignoring the television, the boy’s fingers flew frantically and his guns blazed with extreme precision, as his muscular avatar cut down the vaguely humanoid figures stretching their fingers toward him. Cascades of blood, guts and brain matter spattered the walls and covered the floors with puddles of gore, through which his avatar strode onward relentlessly. Tim yawned. This level had once offered a challenge to him, but now it was usually just something to kill time until his bitch of a mother forced him to turn it all off and do his chores and homework.
After a few more minutes of mayhem, he hit the pause button, stood up and, hearing the voices outside, again approached the window. Raising the gun back up to sill level, he parted the curtains and checked out the kids gathered on the street corner again through the scope. He knew them all, classmates, friends of a sort, he guessed. He saw one of them was Albert—the tall one with the pimply face. He didn’t really like Albert very much; the ugly-bully was on the 8th grade basketball team and sometimes teased Tim for being short. The curtains stirred as he moved the gun barrel further out the open window to where he put the tall boy’s cratered face squarely in his sights. Below, the gangly youth laughed loudly; the boy watched as Albert’s braces shone in the sunlight.
There was a younger boy with Albert; the boy recognized him as a student in his grade at school. Tom was a good guy; he and the boy liked some of the same video games and they had just exchanged some trading cards earlier that week at lunch. Tim wondered what Tom’s mother and father were like, and if they would be sad, as he centered the crosshairs on the boy’s grinning face.
The boys were engaged in teasing a pair of blonde girls; he knew them from school as sisters. Sally, the older one was real mean; he remembered how she had whipped him with a jump rope when he had made some dumb joke. He hated Sally. He squinted and made a bullseye out of one of the black ribbons she had in her hair and pretended to fire.
The younger girl giggled loudly, and Tim, hidden behind the curtains, turned his attention to her. Sally’s younger sister, Sarah, was in 6th grade, a grade below him. The boy really liked Sarah and she seemed to like him too. She was always real nice to him and had very pretty blue eyes and a smile that made him feel funny inside. He aimed the gun at her and watched for a minute before lowering the weapon. He put the gun back in the corner safely like his father had taught him, before the bastard had moved away to Minnesota with his new wife. The boy thought of the man for a moment and rage filled his heart, before he regained his calm and retreated back to the world he felt at home in, the pixilated, monster-filled game that provided a welcome home and outlet for his anger.
On the television, a man using a rusty hacksaw cut off his own leg in a vain attempt to escape the villain, who appeared from the shadows to smash the man’s head into pulp with a sledgehammer. The boy knew how the man felt. There just was no getting out of here, no escaping from the combination of rage and boredom that defined his existence.
His stomach growled, so he stood to go to the kitchen, but hearing the laughter from outside, took another glance at his four classmates standing in a circle on the sidewalk. Raising the rifle, he took aim and fired one quick shot. The burst exploded into the back of Sarah’s head, ceasing the girl’s laughter forever.
Oblivious to the panicked screaming coming from the street, the boy went into the kitchen and made a bologna sandwich, took a banana and a handful of candy off the counter and put it all in his lunch bag. As a siren sounded in the distance, he patiently put on his boots, camouflage hat, jacket and backpack, and carrying his rifle and a box of ammunition; he walked in numb silence out the back screen door, past the rusted swing set, the wading pool and the lifeless bodies of his mother and little sister and into the darkness of the woods behind his yard.