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The Undergod (First Draft)

The thing about being murdered, it usually comes as a surprise. One moment you’re drinking prosecco and doing Jäger shots with friends, the next you’re dragged into an alley on your way home. Before two strong hands snuff the life out of you, you probably have a few seconds to contemplate your approaching annihilation. But I wouldn’t count on it.

I don’t think Libby knew her life was about to end when she felt those cold, calloused hands on her throat. She was blind drunk and probably unconscious, which is definitely the way I want to go. I mean, if absolute oblivion awaits us all, then why not beat death to the punch and blank out between your ears before your organs fail? Life, screw it. Really, we’ve been sold a lie, a fraud, and Christianity is its cheesy salesman. That cross above my bed? Just for decoration.

The Buddhists had it right. Life is suffering, and there’s no escaping it, not until you die. Libby knew suffering, one of those glass-half-empty types. Three weeks ago, she’d gotten her test results back. The guys in scrubs were going to remove one of her kidneys in some last-ditched attempt to stop the Fibroblastic sarcoma from spreading. She was 26-years-old, and to have cancer—what a fucking joke.

I don’t want you thinking Libby was the kind of girl who’d appeal to her disease for sympathy, for a free drink, for a screw. Nah, she was too proud for that, that whole stiff-upper-lip British thing. She told me about her terminal tumour during one of her drunken monologues, mostly an incomprehensible jumble of slurs and medical terms. The only reason I could make sense of her rant was because of what happened to mum—she fought really hard. I was sober, too, have been for 473 days. And yeah, I bought her a few chardonnays, she deserved them.

I know, it’s strange. Hanging out at bars, not drinking. Listen, it’s not that weird. I go to bars for the same reason as everyone else. The only difference is I’m the only one in the room who actually listens, who can offer semi-sensible advice. Full disclosure, I don’t have my shit together either, but I do what I can. I let Oxfam debit my account each month, I give to the homeless outside Wood Green station.

Before Libby left the bar that night, before she was raped and strangled to death, I knew she was a lost cause. She'd given up on life, and I didn’t blame her. It would’ve been easier to go home alone that night, to snuggle up with Bella the cat, falling asleep to Seinfeld re-runs. But I’m not afraid to make those hard choices and show a little tough love. I loved Libby, I really did, and I did her a fucking favour. 

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