[The Beginning of Them, 734 words, Genre: Mental Health]

* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn

Edward had just moved into a new apartment. He had moved in his furniture with the assistance of family and friends. Over the course of two days all of the furniture had moved in over time. There were still a few odds and ends that needed to be collected from storage, but for the most part he had established himself within his new environment.

Everything was clean and tidy. After living in various sharehouses over the years, he was glad to be done with them and have his own space. Those sharehouses that included control-freak landlords, mentally unstable housemates and on the other end of the scale, housemates who ordered the household with the conventional practices of a military barracks. Now, he had his own space. His own space to do with as he willed. But what was his will? Even he did not know that. He just seemed to maintain his own area. Clean the dishes and preserve an accommodation that could be called home.

After all was said and done. After those that had assisted him move in had left the property he felt at a head’s end, that was, he could not think of what to do with himself. All of those distractions that had irritated him and helped edge him towards the edge of insanity over the years were the very things that had been distracting him and keeping him busy. Keeping him busy with distractions so that he didn’t have to think about the consequences of death and the all pervading loneliness that was a description of his life.

So he sat there and turned on the radio. The radio played. Some songs that he couldn’t feel much connection to. The products of synthesizers and modern technical equipment that had taken over the sound of a generation of musicians. He felt grateful for the sounds that offered a backdrop to what would otherwise be an isolated and desolate space.

He went out for a cigarette and watched the sun set. The sun set at a distance and darkness fell upon the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood remained quiet. All that he could hear were the sounds coming from his radio. They offered some distraction from his life. His life that he had seemed to destroy with reckless regard. His life in which he had destroyed relationships. Or maybe, people had destroyed their relationships with him. Either way, for the large part, he lacked any company. He often wondered what one would do when they came to the end of the game. The end of the game of playing and toying with people’s emotions and at the other end of the scale, having one’s emotions toyed with. He thought that a deafening silence would come in upon his mind. One that would kill any lingering effects of a mind filled with meaningless sentimentalities and emotions. Those pieces of the human psyche dying off because they no longer had their ties to the people that they were attached to. Like a parasite that no longer had a host to cling to.

And then after his cigarette Edward went to the toilet. He left the door wide open. Not feeling any relevant need to regard the space of others around him. This was his space, his den, his cave.

When he had finished on the toilet, he came back and saw a blue metallic bottle on the kitchen bench. He had not noticed it before. But now it was staring him directly in the face. As if mocking him, the bottle was asking two questions, ‘What are you going to do with me?’, and, ‘Where did I come from?’

He went up and grabbed the bottle. It had liquid inside it. He swished it around. Hearing the sound of the liquid swirl up against the walls of its container. Not knowing what to do with it. He placed it in an empty cupboard in the kitchen.

Then he sat down on the sofa seat and contemplated what was happening. Either someone came into the apartment and placed the bottle there while he was on the toilet… But why? Or he had been absent minded in the unpacking of his belongings and placed it there mistakenly.

Then he saw where his path led. Into the mind’s eye of paranoia and fantasy, as a product of isolation. The construction of a paranoid ‘them’ had already begun.


Arie de Bruyn Born in Sandringham, Melbourne, Victoria (Australia) on the 15th January 1987. Son of Alison and Dirk de Bruyn. Youngest sibling to Kees and Abram de Bruyn. Diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 22. Holds a bachelor degree from Deakin University in Arts (Media & Communication). Attended several high schools. Has lived and worked internationally in New Delhi, India; and Thailand. Currently resides in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Written several books and self-published them (Check out products and downloads page). Works jobs to earn himself a livable wage. contact: firstofkin@hotmail.com twitter: @firstofkin

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