Preamble: The news media of today highlight a very sad and malignant sickness in society which causes ruin to those who indulge and those whose lives they impact. This story, a composite of many of those news reports shows how even those who have not suffered abuse trauma in their childhood years can through bad choices end up as the refuse of society.
Jim kicked ruefully at the fallen tree by his campsite. To his surprise it exploded into ten thousand fragments many of which settled into the air standing motionless for a moment before slowly subsiding back in the general direction of the powdered remains. Out of that grey mess emerged an army of beetles aimlessly searching for another tree to bring down over years of chewing at the hard substance of the tree’s core strength.
His mouth dropped in surprise! “That’s just like me,” he mumbled to himself. His body shook with emotion as he thought of his gradual slide from the lofty heights of success to his present reduced state of living. He glanced around fearfully.
The bush insects and birds had set up their strident calls of alarm as the noise of the kicked tree reached them. Now the bush was strangely silent as if expecting something further to happen and not wanting to be caught out. Jim continued to peer down the barely visible bush path, his twitching face revealing his inner fear. Were they coming for him at last?
Jim had been brought up on a farm so still remembered the rudiments of survival techniques he’d learned over those subsistence years. Life had been hard, but Jim had learned the value of hard work and patience, and his parents being people of faith had instilled into him things of moral and social worth.
As he and his siblings grew to teenage years each in turn left the farm with their parent’s blessing. There was not enough to be gained from the farm to support so many adults but they were armed with a will to work and succeed in whatever they applied themselves to. Each in turn had studied as they worked and eventually held positions of honour and increasing respect in the community they were part of. Each of them married and had children of their own and they were now able to offer those children far more than they themselves had received on their departure from humble beginnings.
Jim could not believe his good fortune when Madeline had agreed to become his wife. Madeline came from a well-established and wealthy pioneer family, but she accepted Jim’s parents with grace and loving understanding in spite of their poor circumstances. Jim’s parents had refused help from their children who were now well established and willing to raise their parent’s standard of living taking them away from that dismal farm. But Jim’s parents preferred to remain in that place so familiar to them, and didn’t feel comfortable to be part of their children’s lifestyle.
Jim was now a pillar of the community and as children arrived to grace the home he was able to plan for and later give them the kind of educational opportunities he’d lacked as a child. The children grew in a stable home environment and excelled in their education.
Jim frowned as he remembered that fateful day which could be identified as the beginning of his downfall. He’d been surfing the internet researching materials for a speech he was to present to the town Rotary Club that weekend.
In his haste he hit a link by mistake and to his surprise a series of images appeared on the screen in rapid succession which shocked him. He was a member in good and regular standing in the local church, that and his early upbringing screamed danger! He hastily began closing each image as it appeared on the screen but as that didn’t work well he decided to shut the computer down and start again.
But a voice inside said there’s been a lot of news reports on TV where people have been led to do shameful things to children starting from viewing these sites? You need to see why this is so dangerous. So Jim paused to look, and from there he was linked to other sites, and then others. Then in fear as to what it was doing to his thinking he shut the computer down and walked away to clear his head.
After several minutes he returned to complete his research for the Rotary presentation and having finished that he took a look at the internet history record. He didn’t want to admit it to himself but he was fascinated with what he’d seen. So he took another look and this time didn’t mind that the links kept coming in rapid succession. He stayed at that computer for a long time filling his mind with this new horizon. Then in a fit of guilt cleared the internet search history and shut down his computer.
But what he’d seen stayed with him. He’d momentarily dismiss these thoughts as inappropriate only to let them sneak back again, and again, and again.
Each evening under the excuse of preparing work for the next day he’d sneak sessions of this new horizon until it slowly became an addiction he had to have a fix for. Then to his horror one day he realized he’d transferred his addiction from pictures to watching and wondering what it would be like for real.
One evening Madeline borrowed his computer as her computer was doing a lengthy update and to her horror discovered a page Jim had forgotten to close down. With increasing horror and apprehension she discovered his trail of gilt. When Jim returned home Madeline attacked him with the fury only known to those who discerned a danger to their family. Jim said it was all a mistake, he’d selected a site by error and that was the result, but Madeline began a close watch on his activities from that point onward. Jim saw to it that none of those sites appeared on his lap top again.
But it was an addiction now which had to be satisfied by internet cafes around town, and a lot of money began to disappear in that direction.
Then it all blew up when he met a brassy little underage girl at one of those internet cafes. She appeared from nowhere as he sat in one of the back booths. At first Jim didn’t realize she was there until he heard her giggle from behind. He was aghast, his cover was blown!
He told her he’d entered the site by mistake, but she told him with a snigger she’d been watching over his shoulder for days now and knew he was deliberately going into those sites. From then on they would watch together. Then one day she brought a friend and from there it developed into relationships with underage children.
While Madeline didn’t know about this new development she discerned changes in Jim which she knew were a definite threat to her family, and after a heated argument with Jim he finally agreed to move out.
Jim’s associates at work also noticed a change for the worse in his work performance and attitudes, and rumours began to circulate that this church going man wasn’t who he appeared to be. Parents at his church were now careful with their children around him until the Church Pastor had a talk with Jim and suggested he needed to discontinue attending until he could take counselling and get his house back in order. Of course Jim denied any wrong doing and blamed Madeline for putting out false stories about him, something which she’d not been doing. Jim was in serious denial!
One day the Police arrived at Madeline’s home asking to see Jim. She told them Jim had moved on, but then phoned him to find out from him if what they were saying was true. An underage girl was pregnant and the parents were blaming Jim. Under intense police questioning of the girl the names of other girls involved with Jim and the daily meetings at internet cafes and what was being watched surfaced. A warrant was placed for Jim’s arrest.
Jim knew the game was up, collected whatever cash he had left along with camping gear then headed for the bush he’d known so well since childhood. There in the quiet of the bush he reflected on the slippery slope he’d travelled and the ruin of his family because of his addiction. The horror of what he’d done to the reputations of his entire extended family caused him to toss and turn each night and he longed for rest from the guilt he now suffered.
Days after his object lesson with the fallen tree trunk he could bear the pain on longer. Taking his 22 rifle he placed it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Weeks later on a tip from a bushwalker the Police arrived to take away his body and the case against him was closed.
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2013 All rights reserved”
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