THERE ONCE WAS A BOY, a boy named Charlie. Charlie was once a boy, and he was Charlie. There once was someone named Charlie. Someone…someone…

They say that before I went mad, I was quite smart young boy. I'm nine years old, you see, but about three years ago I hurt many people, but I secretly think that they hurt themselves. It was their fault, all their fault. They were the ones who made me do it, otherwise I'd never have harmed anyone. Well, I suppose you want to hear the story, then. It would give me something to think about other than

There once was a boy, a boy named Charlie. Charlie was once a boy, and he was Charlie. One day Charlie forgot to take his pills and he had a very great mess to clean up…

I was used to it, the crushing darkness of everyday life. I'd spend hours, even days and weeks by myself in the dark, locked in a room. Daddy said I deserved it. Daddy said I was bad, so I didn't like Daddy very much. That's why Daddy was the second mess that Charlie had to clean up. Here, I'll start at the beginning for you, where they told me my problems first started. I'll tell you how I went mad.

I hated school, hated every moment of it. I had only one real friend in the world, Merilyn. Merilyn was a nice girl, one who I'd spend all my time with. I'd just sat down in my desk in class one day and all the other kids stared at me funny and snickered to themselves. They whispered to each other and one boy, Merilyn's brother named Johnny, he yelled to me, "Charlie, I'm gonna kill you for haginin' around with my sister again."

I don't know how he knew that I had been hanging around with Merilyn, because she didn't go to our school. She stayed at home. Her Mamma said that she had a problem, that she was blind and mute. I didn't believe it though, because Merilyn always talked to me. Anyway, I sat there staring at that kid Johnny, the same kid that always made fun of the purple sweater I wore—my parents were too poor to go out and buy clothes, so mine were all old and full of holes and ugly—and the orangeness of my hair. I really didn't like Johnny that much, which is why it shouldn't surprise you in the least to know what I did to him after school that day. Yes, Johnny was a mean boy, but I taught him to be nice. I taught him the hard way, but he also ended up teaching me a lesson.

After school that day Johnny came up to me while I was walking home and pushed me down, kicked my books into a ditch, and started laughing. I didn't care much about the books, but something inside of me snapped just then, and after he was done kicking, punching me, and making me bleed, I got up and curled my hand into a fist. I hit him right in the mouth, made him shut up, then I took one of his heavy old text books and started hitting him in the head with it, right in the back of the skull until he fell on the ground and didn't get up again.

When I saw that he was still breathing, I leaned in real close and said to him, "Johnny, I'm gonna kill you."

And I meant it, so I grabbed him by his jacket and drug him off to the side of the school. Nobody was ever there when school let out, so I went back over, got one of his heavy textbooks—his math one, because I never liked math and it was already stained with some of his blood anyways—and threw it at his head again. I picked it up and hit him over the head again and again, like I'd done before, only this time I didn't stop. I didn't stop even when the book hit his head and left a dent. Blood started pouring out of that dent in Johnny's skull, but that still wasn't good enough. Blood came out of poor Johnny's ears, his nose, his mouth, and even his eyes; he looked like he was crying blood. I laughed at this and still didn't stop.


Finally I stepped back and dropped the bloody textbook. I was tired. I needed to go home or Mamma would start to worry about me. She'd probably yell at me if I got home late, and Daddy would punish me. Still, I figured that I had time to admire my work. Johnny's head was a pretty, bloody, mushy mess now. I grinned and peered down at my hands. They were stained with red. Slowly, I raised my index finger to my mouth and stuck it between my lips; the blood looked like red water, like the Kool-Aid I always drank in the summertime, so I licked myself clean quick and went to get my books out of the ditch.

I didn't look back, just went home.

That's not why I got in trouble, though. Nope, it was because of what I did next, I guess. Lots of months passed and Johnny still wasn't at school, and he never would be back. Nobody really talked about it, but I smiled during those rare times his name was mentioned amoungst his friends. Nobody knew what had happened to him, but I did, and I told Merylin one day. She snuck over to my house and brought her little stuffed bunny. I had a little toy cat that I loved like a brother, his name was Clem. Me and Merilyn and Clem played together. That's when I told her.

"Merry," I said, looking up into her eyes. She had funny eyes; they were all milky white and lightless. They were dull. Her Mamma said that's 'cause she was blind, but I didn't think she was. She saw just fine to me. "d'you miss Johnny?"

They also said she was deaf and a mute, but I knew she could hear me 'cause in a second she was shaking her head. "No," she answered without opening her mouth, "I really don't miss him that much; Mamma does though, and Daddy, too. I think that's cause Johnny and Daddy were gonna go fishing the weekend before Johnny died."

I laughed. "I think that he's dead."

"Yeah," Merilyn responded, smiling at me. "he is."

"I think I killed him."

And we both just laughed and laughed. See? What'd I tell you? Merilyn wasn't blind or mute or any of that stuff—she talked to me without opening her mouth, saw my face through those funny-looking eyes, and understood my words. I liked Merilyn, so that day I played like I was getting married to her. "Merry," I said, "let's get married and have lotsa kids."

She nodded. "Okay, Charlie."

She had to go home soon after that. I don't know why, but my parents didn't really like Merilyn. Clem, my toy cat, did, though. After she left I stared into his one good button eye—the other eye was lost from years of play—and said, "I really would marry her."

Clem said to me, "Charlie, go inside and eat dinner with your parents; they'll start to worry about you if you're not home soon."

And so I listened to him and went to eat. My Daddy frowned at me when I came in. He always looked so serious and angry. I tried to ignore him as I sat down and fixed my plate. "What took you so long, Charlie?" he asked me as he drank some from his bottle. He drank a lot, and it was always some foul-smelling brown stuff that came in a can. My mom often fussed at him for it, but he didn't care. When he drank a lot of that stuff, which he did often, he'd get edgy, get mad at anything, and punish me a lot. Now I could tell that he'd had too much to drink, because in a moment he was hauling me to my feet and yelling at me for no reason.

"I don't like that girl! Her eyes aren't right, and she's a mute! That's the sign of the Devil!"

"She is not the Devil!" I protested as I clutched Clem tightly to my chest. I found a lot of comfort in my old, toy cat. I heard him whisper in my ear, "Don't argue back with him, Charlie. You know it only makes him angrier."

"But he's wrong," I whispered to Clem.

"What did you just say?" Daddy demanded. I shrugged and pointed down to Clem.

"I was just talking to my friend, D—"

"He's a toy, Charlie! Toys don't talk!" For some reason, he seemed infuriated by the fact that I'd admitted to talking to Clem; Daddy took my by a handful of my weird orange hair and drug me away from the dinner table. Mamma just watched with a kind of quiet, sad look on her face as he took me away.

My heart filled with a kind of sick, burning feeling as my Daddy took me away. I knew where I was headed, and all I could do was cry and howl, "No, Daddy, please don't! I didn't mean it, I didn't—"

"Shut up, Charlie." He said angrily. He took me all the way to my room, snatched away Clem, and locked me inside. I got up and pounded on the door.

"Daddy, please, please not here! This is where the Ghost-Man lives! He'll be real mad at me! He'll hurt me!"

My Daddy called from the other side of my door, "Shut up, Charlie! There's no Ghost-Man in that room! It's all in your head!"

I began to sob harder than ever as I stammered, "B-But Clem keeps me safe, he makes the Ghost-Man go away! Please—"

"There's no such thing as ghosts, now go to sleep. Don't make me come in there again."


"Fine, that's it!" he opened the door again and pushed me to the ground. "Now I have to teach you your lesson the hard way, Charlie…"

What happened next nobody knows, because I've never told anyone. Only Merilyn knows, and I trust that she won't tell. My Daddy said that if I told anyone about what he did to me, or about the Ghost-Man that came out and hurt me and whispered things to me at night, he'd kill me. You see, my Daddy would hit me and never stop, no matter how much I cried or begged him. In fact, crying only made him madder, but after a while I couldn't help it; all at once the tears would start to flow like a waterfall of pain and regret. He'd hit harder, until his knuckles were swollen and covered in my blood. He loved to aim for my mouth in particular, because that was the easiest way to make me bleed.

That night as he left me alone and locked me in the room again, I spat up a little chunk of one of my back teeth. I picked up the bloody little piece of tooth and put it on the table beside my bed along with the others. Daddy had chipped many of my teeth, but I could never tell Mamma about it, because then Daddy would hurt her, too. No matter what I did there was nothing I could do to escape punishment. I knew that since Daddy had not given me back Clem tonight, the Ghost-Man would torment me and whisper those bad things into my brain like he always did. This thought scared me so badly that I couldn't sleep at all that night, so I stayed up and stared at my bedroom door. Before the Ghost-Man came he'd always make the room very hot, so hot that sweat would begin to roll down my face and I'd have to take my heavy sweater off. The Ghost-Man said he liked it hot, said that the coldness would freeze him.

He said that he liked it hot because his home was hot. The Ghost-Man said that he lived in Hell.

I've never told anyone about the Ghost-Man, only Merilyn. She believed me, of course, but I knew my parents didn't. The only reason they knew about him was, I think, because Clem had told them. I'm not sure, but what I do know was that the Ghost-Man was a mystery to me. I feared him, and when I went to sleep he was all I dreamed about—endless nightmares full of Hellish demons and the Devil himself. That's why I rarely slept. Then again, the Ghost-Man was sort of my friend. He said he liked me well enough, that even though he'd be the one to drag me to Hell one day, he'd look after me in the Lake of Fire.

That night the room grew hot and my eyes snapped open. I swallowed nervously, pulled the covers up to my chin, and begged that the Ghost-Man was in a good, nice mood today. My closet door squeakily opened. Slowly a kind of liquid darkness spread about the wooden floor of my room, one that was like a thick, sticky coating of paint. The room began to stink; it smelled like decay. I turned over away from the wall and my eyes grew wide. The Ghost-Man stood right there in my open, dark closet smiling at me.

There isn't much I can tell you about the Ghost-Man beyond that. We talked and he filled my head with grand ideas about blood and torture, but I can't tell you anymore about him because I'd get in trouble. Anyways, after that meeting with the Ghost-Man I guess that's when I decided that Daddy and Mamma needed to be taught a lesson, just like Johnnie, and so I promised myself that I would make them learn their lesson.

A few nights later I went downstairs into the kitchen, got a chocolate chip cookie, and fixed myself some chocolate milk. I love chocolate milk, and so I drank that down quickly and then ate up the cookie. After that I decided that tonight was a good night for Daddy to learn his lesson; I was still very angry at him and my whole body was covered in bruises and stuff from when he'd taken me away from the dinner table. Daddy hurt me badly, and he didn't know when to quit, so I'd have to teach him when enough was enough.

There I sat at the table for the longest time, staring at my empty glass of chocolate milk, smiling to myself, and working up my anger until I was so good and mad that all I could do was clench my fists and grit my teeth. I sat there knowing that Daddy got up every night at three in the morning. I'm not sure what woke him up, but I think it was that he had nightmares. I had nightmares too, really bad ones full of horrible things—I can't really begin to describe them for you. I sort of started to dream as I sat there at the table waiting for my Daddy to come and fix himself a drink. He always drank when he woke up. Just as I laid my head down on the table, I heard the door to the kitchen open. Daddy came inside, saw me, and let out an annoyed kind of sigh.

"Charlie, you stupid boy, what are you doing up at this time? It's—" he peered over at the digital clock on the stove, and completed, "—three in the morning."

And so I told him, "I couldn't sleep, Daddy. I'm too excited."

He arched a brow and went over to the sink. As he reached into the fridge to get himself a drink, he asked, "Excited? About what, Charlie?"

I smiled to myself really secretly and said, "Nothin', Daddy." I fingered the spoon I'd used to stir my chocolate milk. The silver that it was made of felt cool, nice against my skin. I was still angry, still heated with rage, and as I watched my Daddy get his drink this feeling only got worse. I shifted in my seat, felt an aching pain from when Daddy had beaten me earlier. Nothing else was said as he sat down and drank. We stared at each other for a long time before Daddy finally spoke.

"Charlie, are you okay? You look tired. Do you need me to walk you back to your—"

"Bad dream," I said, picking up my silver spoon and licking it. There was still some of the sweet flavor of the chocolate milk on it, so I began sucking on that spoon. My Daddy looked at me in a really confused way.

"Bad dream?" he asked cluelessly. "You had a bad dream?"

"Nope." I shook my head and got up. I made to pick up my cup and the napkin that I'd eaten my cookie on. "You had a bad dream, didn't you Daddy? That's why you're down here right now, huh?"

"Charlie, I-"

"Daddy's aren't supposed to hurt their sons." I said, going over to him. I still clutched that spoon in my hand, and when I got over to where Daddy was sitting I reached out, opened my arms, and gave him a hug. "You're a mean, horrible daddy. I really hate you."

"Charlie, I—" he swallowed, thought of what to say, and came up with, "That's a very bad thing to say, son. You aren't supposed to hate anyone."

"I do."

"Where is all of this coming from?" he pulled away from me and gave me a real concerned sort of look. "Did someone tell you to say this?"

"Nope." I shook my head and smiled at him real big and sort of proud.

"Then where is all of this coming from?"

"From forever." This was true, because at that moment it seemed as though every feeling that I'd been holding in since forever came to the surface; my heavily freckled skin was muddled with goose bumps from the intensity of it all. I could hardly stand it, could hardly sit still any longer.

Would you believe that right then, when I was so close to losing control, I took that napkin, stuffed it in his mouth—I didn't want his screaming to wake up Mamma, after all—and jammed that silver spoon right into his throat? It bent and didn't want to go in easily, but I wedged it and sawed it back and forth until it broke thru the stubborn muscle and tissue. Before I knew it my Daddy was letting out stifled little howls, pushing me away, and hitting me all over again. I knew that if he got the chance to tell Mamma, I'd be in trouble, so I didn't quit. I just kept ripping out the spoon from his neck and forcing it back in. I did this in several more places, until his neck had about twelve or so gaping, bleeding, deep craters in it. He didn't move after I made the third hole in his neck, but I still kept stabbing him until the spoon broke off inside of his throat.

It was hard work, but I was happy once it was done; my hand hurt like heck, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was that Daddy had learned his lesson, and he had. I smiled down at the twisted, broken end of the spoon I was holding and laughed. Stupid Daddy, stupid, stupid Daddy. After that I went and threw the spoon in the trash, took the trash out, threw my pajamas in the washer, then went to bed. I was horribly tired.

This story is thru the P.O.V. of a young child, so therefore I will write it accordingly. It will get better with time, trust me. Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated.