“Old age is not for nancies,” Carl’s Great-Grandfather had told him all those years ago, between coughing up black bits of his lungs in his handkerchief.
It was a betrayal, that’s what it was. Getting put in a home! Forty-three years of Carl’s life to support a family that left him here to die alone. The last time he saw them was almost ten years ago, now. Ingrates! Almost ten years in this hellhole!
There was no reason for it. Sure the old brain had slowed a bit, but he was hardly senile. Limbs all working… strong, even. Organs still performing their assigned tasks. No incontinence either, thank you very much.
He felt like an alien among these dying people. How he hated them all… Frail, diseased, weak and stupid with brain rot. They were pathetic.
At first, he justified killing them as putting them out of their misery. He would have wanted someone to do the same to him if he started shitting his pants at the dinner table, he lied to himself. The hatred was the real reason, of course.
It was certainly easy enough to kill them. A nudge towards the stairs, a little bleach in an iv bag, some extra pills in the tri-daily dose. They were here to die, anyhow, why would anyone suspect his help? He must have sent fifty of the sorry schmucks to Hell by now.
It was actually TOO easy. A revelation came to him as he lifted the pillow from his formerly snoring neighbor’s breathless, peaceful face. What was the true root of his hatred of his fellow inmates? Disgust for these pathetic souls, or the frustration and impotence he felt about his own situation?
As satisfying as he found these simple little murders, how much more gratifying it would be to eradicate his entire family, those foul thieves who had stolen his life from him. His son, his court-appointed “caretaker,” in the home Carl had built with his blood and sweat… his son living there with his fat-ankled wife and moronic children. If his back hadn’t gone out reaching for the carving knife at that last Thanksgiving dinner, things would have been different.
Easter was coming. The Resurrection! The family would have an unexpected guest for Sunday dinner.
Seeing his house again was like a strange dream, it had been so long. The years had streamlined it in his mind; the mailbox, the shutters, the crack in the concrete… how could he have forgotten so much? As he bent down in the dark to dig out the house key he had left under the brick next to the front door, he shit his pants for the first time since childhood, liquid feces trickling down into his shoe. It was at that moment he knew that he would never be returning to the home.