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Jack

It’s only the end.

Digital art created by Kyle Parker

The night was darker than the deepest black, and his eyes as sorrowful as if he saw a crow standing over his own grave. Jack, a boy of about four years, stood still. He gazed over the long narrow stream more than two hundred feet below him. It rushed at the pace of a stampede of bulls, and it gushed faster than the time it takes to pop a bubble. You see, Jack knew what he could do, and he fully understood the outcome of every single situation he could possibly control. If he made a decision, he knew the consequences. If he chose one thing over the other, one person over the other, he knew the bridges that would collapse, and the ones that would grow stronger. As he stood over that gushing stream, he knew what his actions would do to his family, his friends, his conscience. He knew it would be over for him, he knew it would carry on for the rest of them. Jack knew about everything after he had gotten into the systems. Jack knew the options, whether they should have been “options” or not.

About five or six days prior, the government had released programs of age. These small “packets” of data could be transferred to a persons mind once every five years. These “packets” carried things that the average person would learn as they got older. Instead of having to deal with the awkward “birds and bees” conversation, all a parent would have to do would be to go to their child’s psychologist, sign a few papers, and the data would be transferred at the click of a button. There was only one problem: these files were of public domain, since they were both created by the government and released by the government. Everything the government did was considered public domain. Anything any politician said throughout their entire lives was kept on the servers along with the fact that two plus two equals four. Everything was there, and anyone could get to it.

At one point in someone’s life, they learn about different types of mental conditions such as depression, OCD, anxiety, and ADHD, but a young child of about four years of age should not be exposed to such types of material. That's something that should be downloaded much later, when the hormones in the brain have started to come to a sort of equilibrium. Young Jack was smart, kind hearted, and curious. Jack was the cat. And thanks to the fact that his parents had easy access to the files which were not released for download yet, he could get his hands on them. Both of his parents worked for the government, and they both had so many things to do that they never got to see their own child, but once a day: in the morning.

Jack and his parents rose early in the day, so that they could sit and enjoy a pot of coffee together without distraction. They were forced to wake up early since the work day started at five o’clock in the morning for government workers. People say that it’s the “life you chose,” but I prefer to say it’s the “life you were given.” They would sit around their large, square, white table, and finish an entire pot of coffee within a little more than an hour's span. Right at five, the bells rang, and the day began. These bells weren’t auditory, but they were there.

Normally, Jack would get ready for his tutoring session he had for every subject, every day. The only day he didn’t have tutoring sessions was on Sunday. This day, this unknowingly dreaded day, was Sunday. And without anything to do, Jack got up from the large white table after his parents had left for work in another building, and he didn’t hesitate to wander the halls of his government suite. He never once touched a thing, though he loved to touch, feel, and experience everything he could with his vision alone. Every time he looked, he thought, and he felt. He lived. He experienced. We all wish we could have an immersive experience with our minds alone, but such witchcraft is of another realm. One of which is colorful and lively. One of which, we as a collective, know nothing.

Today, though. Today was different. The air seemed a bit too thick, and the haze over Jack’s eyes seemed a bit too opaque. He wandered through the halls with his eyes on the hunt for something to have a little “fun” with. Something which he could explore with his mind. He felt less restricted, no strings felt attached on this day, and we still don’t understand why. He felt that he could not only use his eyes, but his actions. He believed, and didn’t hesitate, to touch with his hands, smell with his nose, and hear with his ears. This was how he found the key. This was how he found the lock in which the key would fit. This was how he opened the door. He looked at the monitor, astonished at all of the complicated file names even though he knew what every single one meant, and explored. Tab after tab, page after page, year after year. And then he found something different from what he was used too, and he hesitated. He hadn’t hesitated over anything since his first day on earth, since the first time anyone thought of him. He clicked. He selected the download option, typed in his social security number, and sat still as he began to learn about how a human being can kill themselves, about how any person can make any other person do this horrible act, and how the people surrounding the situation would be affected. He didn’t speak, he didn’t think, and he especially didn’t interact with his thoughts. Jack was in shock and wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

It was later that night, when Jack was on his walk around the city surrounding him, body guards following closely behind him, that he thought deeper into the subject matter. He compared himself to others, he compared himself to perfection, he leaned into the little evil voice in his head, and he listened to what it had to say. He gave that little voice a chance even though he had never heard it before. Even though he should have been scared. It was almost like his kind hearted nature tried to be kind to what we know as suicidal thoughts. He put his mental weight on these thoughts, like they were a pillow, or an option.

This was when Jack found himself standing on the bridge over the gushing stream, leaning into those thoughts, and giving them all of his attention. This is where he found himself wondering how to make the pain go away, or more like calm the sea. He was not in pain in a physical sense, but his mental state was at an all time low, and even he wasn’t aware, more or less his parents. He looked over at the waters, leaning over the rail, and then quickly walked back to the center of the bridge. He was scared; in fact, he was too scared to admit to himself that he wouldn’t do it. He was too scared to admit, also, that he very much so wanted to. He wished to calm the sea, end the waves, and end the little voice’s suffering. He didn’t want to do it for him, per say, but for the little voice telling him that what it wanted was the same thing that he wanted. Peace.

He looked back over the rails. Television static in his mind, his heart, and his eyes. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t feel. Young Jack, four years of age, ran as fast as he could along the long narrow bridge, swaying back and forth from the edge. Jack looked over at the water, slowly going from a gushing stream to an endless body of rapids. They didn’t seem to travel in any direction but down, into the earth, right where that little voice wanted both it, and Jack, to be. All Jack saw was the water getting closer. All Jack felt was the mist getting thicker over the water, and the cool touch of a flowing stream passing by his soft skin as his world went from dull, to blank.