When I was a child, I had read a horror story of some kids in Japan, kidnapping and dissecting a man purely out of curiousity. "based on a true story" it said. It seemed believable. Younger children are all little sociopaths, really: no true sense of morality. That develops later, if at all.

And so I was curious about my own limits. I wanted to see if I could hurt something. Not a person, like in the story, just an animal: I wanted to see if I could let out that monster that I felt lurked inside me.

I wanted to see if I could hurt... a cat. A stray. Not a cat that anyone would miss. Not one I could possibly get in trouble for hurting. Heck, I had seen a kid run out and pour a big pan of boiling water on a stray dog only a few months prior, and his parents had laughed! The memory of that still caused me horror, though I had run after the howling dog and had tended it as best I could with cool water.

But I wanted to see if I could be so brutal. And I discovered... no.

I discovered that I could not even *hold down* the animal once it began to look uncomfortable being held. That was when I first realized that there are some times when the conscious mind simply cannot control the body; there's something below it. I rediscovered that a few years later, rock climbing, when I found myself paralyzed by fear, despite my conscious mind's calmness and annoyance.

But I tried to hurt that cat: I growled at myself, grimaced at my hands for misbehaving... but I could not tighten my hands to hold the animal. For a few minutes I struggled with myself, but it was impossible. The muscles holding me back were stronger and more determined than those telling me to squeeze, to twist, to pinch, to do *anything* bad.

So, yes: I gave in and petted the cat, instead. It came so much easier to me, it was natural instead of wrong to every fiber of my being. Eventually it walked away contemptuously.

So that's how I found out that the powerful, evil core I thought I had was fake. It was just an imaginary shield I held. A shield of uncaring brutality at the world.

But in later life, I would need that shield. It is too heavy and unweildy to use long, and too small to really help much while I use it anyway. I could never be a doctor, let alone a soldier.

As an adult, I found a rat, about seven inches long, and a tail about the same length, mortally injured by a trap. My trap; my responsibility. I couldn't leave it lying there, dying slowly, its back half crushed. I couldn't make it better, even if I took it to a vet, they'd just put it down, it was that bad. Which just left killing it properly. The only tool I could see was a small rock. I picked one up and struck at its head. It flinched - I had, perhaps, bruised it, but no more. Beady eyes looked at me. Anger? Fear? I don't know. The soft earth under its head had absorbed most of the blow, so I pulled the trap onto some concrete, and struck the rat in the head again; again and again until it stopped moving. Then I struck it more, to be sure. Every blow struck at my heart, at my stomach, but it needed doing, so I steeled myself against it, pounding its head in with this stupid ineffectual rock.

I have been forced to hurt animals; holding open the mouth of a cat that had just had dental work so that I could administer antibiotics. And I have had an old dog breathe his last with his head in my lap as I petted him, helpless to still his trembling, only able to croon at him softly and stroke his ears, until his trembling finally stilled itself and his bladder gave away. I've comforted people after their loved ones have killed themselves, and crushed my own emotions behind that shield.

But these things have never come easily to me. I am a bad killer.
Catwheezle Catwheezle
46-50, M
1 Response Aug 16, 2014

So glad experiences allow editing, unlike questions: just noticed I had "I had fun after the howling dog" rather than "I had run after the howling dog" - COMPLETELY different meaning! O.O