A scent strong enough to make the very pores of his nose burn. He kept the bottle up close to where his nose would be, just smelling. Smelling the cleaner's aroma. His plan he had was lethal.

His mother had died a month ago. His dad was taken as a prisoner of war four months ago. He had a newborn smeet to look after and he had two little sisters to finish raising because his mother died while they were minors yet. He was twenty now. Way too young to deal with three children. Way too young to juggle that along with college and two jobs, one full time the other part time. He was just too young for this massive amount of stress dumped on his shoulders. He had a huge extended family, yet he felt alone. He felt like he was drowning in the stress. He had nothing. Sure he had money but that cannot fix his broken heart and his screaming soul. He wants nothing to do with his life anymore. He wants to end it once and for all.

A note. Written in fine print with red ink to symbolize the blood shed that was about to take place.

Nana,

I'm sorry.

This is probably really selfish of me but I can't take it anymore. This has to end. I have to end. My parents were ripped away from me. I was left here with a duty to raise three siblings. Impossible. There's no way I can do this along with the hours I work for you. Or the hours I spend at college. Or the hours I spend mourning. I can't sleep at night and when I do I wake up screaming from night terrors, says Zee. I'm so very sorry. Zannah, Tenn, and the smeet deserve better than me, an emotionally unstable older brother who can't deal with stress. I feel like I lost everything. Everything I love. Freedom, no responsibility, my caregivers, my ability to laugh, I really miss laughing. With my friends. But once they found out that I couldn't get over my depression, they left me. They didn't want this new me. They wanted the old me. The one who was capable of smiling. The only one who stuck by me is Lard Nar. I love him for that.

Nothing will matter anymore. I'm going to kill myself. Today. I'm going to destroy my body in every possible way before finishing myself off.

I'm done. Done with this. Done with all of this shit.

I love you family. Please fulfill my mother's wish to raise the smeet as she told me to do. I signed a blood oath to do it for her. But it's just not working out. There's just not a break for me. So I must give myself a break. An eternal break. At this point, I don't care if I go to hell. I heard that's where people go if they commit suicide. I don't know if its true or not. Yahweh have mercy on my soul, if that's the case.

Sincerely,

Your Little Dju

The young man sighed. His mind was reeling with the thoughts of what he was about to do. He looked at the bleach in his hands.

"Bottoms up." He unscrewed the top, tipping his head back as he took a huge swig. It stung, his eyes watered. It was burning his insides. It was like drinking straight vodka. Probably stronger even. He pulled the bottle away, swallowing. A switchblade sat in his lap. He grabbed it, looking to his wrist with a sweat band around it. He cut off the band revealing the old and fresh scars of where he harmed himself numerous times before. He pressed the blade against his skin and dug it into his flesh. Tears of self pity rolled down his cheeks. "I failed you, mum. I'm a failure." He slit his wrists violently fast. He switched to his other wrist and did the same. Once his arms were totally coated with his blood, he picked up the bleach bottle again. It was gonna take awhile for the cleaner to effect him but he planned on being locked in his room until he finally passes. He considered death by the rope but didn't want to go out that way. Not by a bullet nor throwing himself from a tall building. He figured taking a toaster in the bathtub would do the trick, but electrocution was much like execution on the metal chair. He didn't want to execute himself. He just wanted to relieve himself. Poison seemed like his best option to him. It was painful and has a long effect to torment the one who drinks it. He drank some more of the killer liquid. As the last drops entered his mouth the door behind him crept open followed by a startled gasp.

"Red! What are you doing?" He whirled around to see his sister in his doorway. Her eyes wide. She knew what he was up to. He tried doing himself off before but never got as far as he did now. "I'm getting nana! Stay here!" He could have sworn he locked his door. Red jumped up to his feet and chased her out.

"Zannah, no! You can't help me! They can't help me! Please-" He stopped running once at the bottom of the stairway. She was already out of the house. He couldn't stop her now. But he could run away yet. He burst out of the front door. Red caught a glimpse of Zee panicking, blabbing everything she had just witnessed to their grandmother and a few aunts, uncles, and cousins who were around the main pasture. Zee pointed in his direction. He saw the frightened and concerned looks on all their faces.

"Red! Get over here boy!" One of his uncles shouted. No. He had to run. He had to make a quick escape. He didn't want them to save him. He didn't care if they loved him. He wanted out. Out of his misery.

The Irken bolted down his driveway and across his yard to the dirt road leading into town. He heard his nana shout to a couple cousins and uncles.

"Get him! Go! Go now!"

Red's body shook hard from the adrenaline. His legs felt like they were about to give. He couldn't believe what was happening. He really couldn't. He never in his life would have pictured himself running from his family who only wants to help him. Not in a million years, and yet, it's happening.

He took a quick glance back horrified to see that a few were chasing him down with their trucks. Two cousins pursued him on foot. Red knew they wouldn't be able to catch up. He was the fastest cousin, ironically, for his height was in his torso not his legs. But his short legs carried him quickly like a jack rabbit bounding to safety from a blood hound. He had them outran before he even started running. He didn't however think he was going to out run the trucks, though.

Tears flew from his eyes as he ran against the wind. Red just wished they'd let him die. A truck drove up beside him. Red shook his head not willing to give up. His run stopped abruptly when the truck drove out in front of him and sharply turned to block Red's way. Red slid to a halt across the gravel. He switched directions when he saw his nana and particularly large uncle exit the truck to get him. Unfortunately for him he ran straight into his cousin and best friend, Dural. The older Irken grabbed Red by the arms and threw him down. Red grunted at the impact. The young man tried to scramble away but his big uncle picked him up by the belt, suspending him in air. Red kicked out and caught his uncle right in the gut. The big guy dropped Red. But now it was too late. He was completely surrounded by family members. Four bodies pounced on him, each holding a limb to restrain him.

"No! No! Let me go! Dammit! I don't want to live! Please have mercy! I'm a fucking disgrace!" Red thrashed as much as he could with all his might but made no progress in freeing himself. The same large uncle he kicked wrapped his arms around Red's midsection trapping his arms to his sides. The uncle sat down, Dural grabbed Red's legs so he wouldn't kick, another uncle helped hold him steady. Nana approached him. Her face with scrunched up with despair. A different cousin pinched Red's jaw hard, forcing his mouth open.

"Look at you! Look at what you did to yourself!" Nana screamed. Without warning she jabbed two fingers down his throat making him gag. "You selfish prick! What were you thinking?" Her fingers pressed further down. He felt the bleach he drank rise up. He coughed, the cleaner and bitter stomach acid spewing from his mouth with his nana's fingers still down his gullet. Red bit down on her fingers as hard as he could with his cousin punching his jaw. Nana grunted, ripping her hand from his mouth. She swiftly backhanded him right across his face to knock some sense into him. His cousin forced his mouth open once more, this time making sure to keep a firm grip on his upper and bottom jaw. Nana repeated the induced vomiting method once more. This time Red turned his face to the side and retched violently. He threw up a massive amount of bleach he consumed. Once his stomach felt like all the contents have gone, he was left dry heaving and sobbing. His uncle held on to him tight, not just for restraints but for comfort as well. His nana knelt in front of him, nodding to the uncle to release Red. Once the grip loosened, Red toppled over to the ground. Exhausted, sore, and devastated.

"What the fuck are you thinking?" Nana bellowed. "Look at what you've done to yourself! Look!" She grabbed his arm and practically thrusted his own bloody wrist into his line of vision. "Look at what you've done to your sisters!" She screamed as she pointed a claw behind her where Tenn and Zee stood, hugging and balling. A few other family members also cried in dismay. "And the rest of your family too! You stupid, selfish, ass! You're not the only one who went through a lost. She was my daughter, god dammit! My beautiful daughter and your mother! We both had to face her illness! You aren't alone!"

"I can't do it." Red wheezed in between hiccuping whimpers. "I can't."

"I cannot believe you, Red Macale. How easily your giving up." Nana said in a sinister whisper. "No grandchild of mine is going to take the cowards way out. Not on my watch." Her breath hitched in her throat. "I can't afford to loose another loved one. It's just too much for me." She pulled Red up, embracing him. She rested his head on her bosom and kissed his antenna gently. In the distance Red heard the sound of sirens blaring. An aunt must've called for help. He started crying harder. They were gonna take him away and clean his stomach. He can't die if he has a clean stomach. And once he was safe from the poison, they were gonna lock him up in an insane asylum. He didn't want to be locked up. Red was so scared his entire body shook and jolted from bitter tears. "Shh, shh. My dju. Everything will be just fine. I promise. I'm going to walk you through this hell. Life just threw a curveball you weren't prepared for." Red looked up to his nana with big, gleaming eyes. He was familiar with the quote. "But I'll help you prepare to catch the next one it throws at you." Red glanced back to his sisters again. Zee held a smeet in her arms. It was sleeping peacefully, cuddled up against her chest. Red swallowed hard before speaking in a hoarse voice.

"I made a promise. I'm going to raise you like mum did me, Zeiden. This I swear."