If I ever told you what fear was like, would you believe me? Because I am certain you have no idea what true fear is. You don't know what fear truly is. You don't feel fear when you watch a horror film; that feeling you experience is merely a fraction of what fear is. It is a ghostly apparition of the true emotion. Why? Because everyone knows that they can't be harmed by whatever horror they see on the screen, warm and safe, sitting on their couches. After the movie ends they will stay up late and talk and laugh with their friends and family, and then they will go to sleep, and everything will be okay. They know that they are watching a horror movie, and that is all it is. A horror movie.
There are only a handful of people in the entire world who have experienced the bare, unflinching nature of fear, and out of those handful, only a few have risen to the occasion, unscathed by whatever haunts them at night.
I am not one of those people.
I am only here, writing this down as I sit by my computer in the padded walls of my house – these infuriating, suffocating walls. One day I may be able to look at myself and smile, and remember the things that I have done and continue my life free of guilt. Probably not, but I will share my story anyway. I will share my experience. To tell you a story, really. A simple, horrifying tale of my journey into what must be insanity, because what felt, could not possibly be of this earth. It could not possibly be reality.
It is a nightmare.
And that is where it all starts.
I dream that I am a toddler again, sitting naked, on my bum, looking up into the warm orangey glow of my room. At first I am confused, confused because I don't know where I am, so I take a look around me.
I am in a small, cozy room, resting in a beautifully intricate baby carriage. From my corner in the room I can see a small reading lamp placed on an equally small nightstand. There are small stickers scattered around the walls of my sun – hued room, most of them letters placed together to form words. I can see the words 'Two years old!' and 'Happy birthday, Joey!' dotted around my room. I can just barely see the remains of a cake on a small circular table at the other end of the room. To my right I can see a hand – carve rocking chair, simple but elegant, and rocking slowly, back and forth, back and forth. And now I realize that the chair is rocking because there is someone sitting in it, and that someone is my mother.
I look up into the dazzling eyes of my mother. She is smiling, tears shining in the dim light of my room, her finger wrapped around my miniscule hand, auburn hair blazing, and laughing. Laughing not tears of anger, of course, but a laughter that is mixed with joy and annoyance.
She picks me up daintily, her scent wonderfully lingering on my skin. She hugs me gently, and I gurgle with happiness. And then something happens.
"Oh, you naughty boy. Hitting your little brother isn't very nice!"
I look over my shoulder and I see a little baby, lying on his back, and wailing on the other half of the carriage. Wailing because there is an enormous amount of blood flowing from his nose, overflowing the chubby contours of his cheeks and pooling the blanket beneath him. He screams and screams, all the time glaring at me with cute puffy eyes.
Mommy sighs sadly. "What am I going to do with you, Joey?" She slaps my rump playfully. I gurgle again, squirming in her gentle grip. From her position she can't see the doorway of my room, but I can see. And I can see someone coming inside the room. Who is that? I wonder.
"Oh, no. Not again," the Figure says. He is a man. I know this man, I realize. 'He did it again, didn't he?"
"Yes, he did," Mommy says reluctantly. She leans over and pecks the Figure on the cheek, and I realize (I begin to realize that I realize a lot of things) that the Figure is Daddy.
"Daddy!" I shriek, but my voice is swallowed up by his grave tones. "No, that's it." He pushes Mommy away, roughly. Her kiss is unfelt. "There's something wrong with that kid, and I'm going to find out.' He reaches for me, menacingly.
The baby in the carriage is still crying, breaking the tension in the room.
"Honey, don't." Mommy says. She places her soft hands on his. I can see an involuntary flicker in his eyes. He glances toward her ruefully.
"Look, the doctor told us there was some sort of disfigurement when they were separated, and he said that Joey wouldn't be completely right in the head. I just want to find out what exactly is wrong with him."
Now Mommy looks scared. "What are you going to do? Test his blood? Give him an X-ray? Or maybe a full body examination? I know Joey's a bit different but he's also a nice boy. He didn't mean to hurt Eddie anyway." She briefly looks at me in her arms, holding me away from Daddy. He's a nice boy. "Besides, there is no way I'm going to let you do anything to him. He's too delicate, he -" she is cut off by Daddy's growing voice. Wow, he's loud!
"What do you mean by that?" He asks, a little too demanding. He grabs her shoulders and shakes her a bit. I laugh along on the ride. "I love him too, but if this puts Edward's safety in jeopardy, then I think I'm obliged to find out Joey's problem and assess it. That way I can try to fix – Oh, my God!" He breaks off and stares down at Eddie.
Shiny red blood is pouring down his nose, still, and almost half the entire blanket is soaked in it. Wow, I think. Eddie looks a bit pale.
And indeed he does. He is gasping for some reason, and he looks so surprised, his eyes wide open, his itty – bitty mouth in an O shape, and his limbs sticking straight out. He's still wailing and crying. And gasping. I laugh because he looks so funny.
"Oh – Oh!" Daddy cries, he shoves Mommy out of the way and grips the edges if the carriage tightly. He gingerly caresses Eddie's sweaty forward, as if he's afraid to hurt him. Then he turns to me and Mommy.
"That – thing did this?" He shouts. He looks quite angry. And funny, too. His eyes are bulging and he is very red in the face. He takes a step toward us, and Mommy takes a step back.
"Did he?" Daddy says.
Now Mommy looks mad too. "Yeah, he did! And he'll do it again if he has to! And its not his fault, he's just looking for your attention! All you ever do is Eddie, this, Eddie that! You never even touch Joey, just because he's a bit smaller than the other kids, because he was the disfigured one." She says, spitting out the word disfigured.
"I don't touch him because he's a fucking monster!" Daddy roars. "Look what he did to Ed, look, look! Do you think normal kids do that, do you think they walk up to others and bash their teeth in and then laugh? They don't! They don't because they are normal! And that thing you hold is not normal!" Veins bulge sickeningly from his neck and I stop giggling. Daddy looks scary.
Mommy thinks so too, but she doesn't back down. Yay Mommy! "I won't allow it," she says. "You will not touch my child," she says, her voice trembling ever so slightly. And I think its because of this tiny gap, this incredibly small suggestion of weakness is why Daddy did what he does next.
"He's my kid too! If it weren't for me, he wouldn't even be alive right now! And don't ever say that! I am the man of the house, I bring the money in, you don't, you don't! Don't ever say that or you'll regret it! You will do what I tell you to!" He is suddenly inches away from Mommy, and he slaps her beautiful face.
The sound echoes around the room. There is all but silence. Eddie cries. I feel tears welling up in my eyes, and I see Mommy is too.
Daddy looks shocked, his hand still high in the air, shivering. Mommy just stares at him, and she touches her perfect face, where Daddy's hand mark is plainly seen, and I can see a bit of blood on her fingertips.
"I want a divorce," She whispers. Pearly tears slide down her face. Her smooth lips tremble, and stop. I can see the pain in her eyes, and the sorrow hidden behind. Sorrow for the man she once loved, and pain for leaving him. "This is the last time you hurt me. I'm leaving. I'm getting a divorce." She strides out of the room, holding me tightly against her breast.
"Wait! He says, grabbing her arm. Don't, I'm sorry, I – "
"No, " She says simply. Shrugging him off.
"Just wait a second!" He cries, grabbing her again. "I – I'll make it up to you, I promise."
"Please, honey, I'm sorry-"
"Goodbye, Edward." She briskly steps away.
"No!" He shouts, and he makes for her shoulder, but he grabs my head instead. I feel a dash of pain rush toward my neck, and my spine twists. I cry out, struggling, and flail.
"Stop! Stop it, you bastard!" Mommy screams, and she whirls away, struggling toward the door. Daddy is holding me in reflex, and pulling the other way. I'm screaming and pain is so much and it hurts, oh, it hurts-
Mommy lets go and immediately I don't hurt so much, but no Daddy is surprised, and he lets go to, and I soar past his head, barely missing him, and I can see his mouth open in shock, his aftershave pungently filling my nose, and I am too startled to scream or anything, and I am so confused-
My baby legs hurtle into the wall, and I can feel them crumple on impact. A spray of blood spatters the wall, and I smash downwards, my head slamming against the hardwood floor. I stare up crazily, and I can see the heavy chandelier above my head teeter crazily. My vision blurs and I am sleepy.
The pounding of feet, shouts and screams, sounds of a struggle. It's getting darker. Oh, I'm oh so very tired. I close my eyes for what must be the very last time.
And still Eddie cries.
A small sound I can hear, and I hear something tumble down the stairs just outside my room. More screams, more shouts, more tiredness. There is a shining noise in my ears.
The chandelier shudders violently as the thing that falls down the stairs stops.
And now the chandelier breaks off its hinges and it falls, right above where Eddie wails, and Eddie cries no more.
And Eddie cries no more.
And Eddie cries no more.
My eyes stay shut.
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