• J. M. Aznárez


The radio’s silence is deafening. It has so far refused to utter a single word, ever since I bore witness to my colleague’s death - or at least, none that I have been allowed to hear. I have felt it turn on once or twice in the last few days while I was out working at the bookshop, but I have always come back home to silence.

I suspect it is waiting. And I believe I know what for.

It has taken me two weeks to finally understand. I spent days trying to decipher the radio’s will, wondering if there was perhaps something I missed, some vital piece of information buried amongst the screams, the pleas for mercy, the ragged breaths and the unending tide of last words - all for naught. What was it broadcasting when I was not home? And why did it not speak to me whenever I was present? I could have sworn it emanated an aura of… displeasure. I shared its dissatisfaction, of course, for I worked every day with a man who should be dead and yet was not. I wondered whether he was being spared, or whether he possessed some manner of obscure knowledge that allowed him to avoid a fate which was quite unequivocally sealed for everybody else. Either way, the lack of justice sat remarkably ill with me - but more so did the unshakeable, increasingly gnawing feeling that it was simply wrong. Beyond any personal or subjective notions of equity or fairness (which I certainly harboured, I will admit - after all, why was he allowed to endure when my parents had been so callously taken from me?), it was undeniable that the current state of affairs was unacceptably awry. Something had to be done, but I could not figure out what that might be.

Until now.

You must understand that, despite comments I might have made or certain expressions I may have used in previous entries, I am not truly deranged enough to, practically or theoretically, clothe the radio in sentient - let alone human - attributes or characteristics. I do not believe in destiny, and I most certainly do not adhere to any school of thought that advocates notions of purpose or meaning intrinsic to existence beyond that of its inevitable - and quite final - destination. However, understanding that life is devoid of any manner of predetermined or externally assigned meaning does not rob us of the possibility - or indeed, the right - to choose, seek and, with luck, eventually find a purpose that suits and satisfies us - such a quest lies, undeniably, at the very heart of human nature. These may not necessarily be lifelong commitments, but rather momentary inclinations born of our present circumstances and thus subject to them - the moment the latter change, so will the former. Thus the lives of men and women unfold, driven by the vagaries of the ever fickle winds that catch in their proverbial sails.

I tell you this, dear reader, that you may not be compelled to brand me a maniac for the conclusion that I have inevitably reached. Even though I am well aware that no amount of explanation will spare me judgement from the blind majority, it is my hope that there may be some amongst you able to recognise that behind my decision there is naught but conscientious, unadulterated reason - certainly not enough to exonerate me, but perhaps sufficient to justify some degree of understanding. I am not mindlessly compelled by faith or any such delusions, and I do not believe myself to have been chosen; I am simply in possession of knowledge that nobody else has, and thus it falls to me to act upon it. I have no doubt that many of you would, given time, arrive at the same conclusion.

I have always, to a greater or lesser degree of consciousness, wondered how it must feel to end a man’s life. I never really believed I would eventually find out.

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