Chapter 1: Roots of Evil (1/4)

Joshua.

Knock, knock, knock.

"Joshua, it's time to wake up."

I wish she would stop waking me up like that. "Coming."

I slightly open my eye to see if the room isn't too bright. It isn't, which means it's a cloudy day. Good. I slowly stand from my bed and make my way to the bathroom. I use the toilet and then to the mirror.

My name is Joshua Belmont Reese, I am twelve years old. I'm not like the other kids you see, there's something about me that makes me different.

What is it you may ask? I'll tell later, after we spend the day together.

The first thing I do in the morning is take a shower to wake up properly. After I finish in the bathroom, I go back to my room to get dressed.

My room is as unremarkable as it gets. A bed, a closet, a table with a computer, a small tv with a video game on top of it and a little table beside the bed with a lamp on it. The walls are grey with no posters or drawings. Pretty boring room, to be honest.

I'm going generic today: light blue jeans, black and white canvas shoes, a grey t-shirt and a white hoodie.

After putting my generic outfit on, I go downstairs for breakfast.

"Morning Alma," I greet her.

This is Alma. She is a sixty-two years old small, fragile woman with white hair and walks with a cane. She's super nice. Her husband died a year and a half ago and she decided to get herself some company by adopting a child in need.

I'm an orphan you see. I used to live with my mother but she died when I was eight. After that, I had to live in a very beat down Orphanage that I detested. But then some rich scumbag decide that he wanted to buy it, so he paid a bunch of thugs to constantly sabotage the place. I really don't want to describe the things they did because there was a lot of it. But it worked and the Orphanage was sold, so most of the children had to be transported to a different Orphanage.

My case was different though. The headmistress actually was fond of me for some reason, so she suggested me when Alma was looking for a child to adopt. When Alma saw me, the decision was instant.

Talk about misjudgment.

Today's breakfast was eggs and bacon. I eat it all without a second thought. Then I go back upstairs to brush my teeth. After that, I started to do my hair.

I have an emo haircut. Why? I have Heterochromia, my left eye is sapphire blue but my right eye is emerald green. I prefer to cover the right eye with my bangs. Plus, the fact that I have jet black hair makes everyone think I'm a emo.

I'm not.

After finishing my hair. I go back to my room to grab my cellphone and my bag. I check my phone to see if there are any messages.

Just one.

Lydia: My house or school?

Joshua: Your house.

Lydia: Fuck...

After answering, I make my way downstairs and walk to the refrigerator to grab a sandwich before I leave the house.

"Bye Alma."

"Have a good day at school," she says in return.


I live in a town called Stranding Haven. I can't call it a small town, since it has a considerable size. The town is divided in four areas.

North, is basically the rich and fancy area.

South, is basically a giant ghetto.

West, is where a live. It's basically the middle class area.

East, it leads to the Haven Lake. It's basically a forest with a lake in the middle. The forest is nicknamed the Black Flower Forest. Why the nickname? There were a bunch of murders that occurred in the city by a serial killer that had the trade mark of leaving black roses in the victims. Of course there are no such a things as black roses, but he basically painted normal roses black. Those murders occur in the 1990s and the killer was never caught, he simply vanished.

In my first year here, I decided to learn as much as I could about this town. It's my home now.

I'm thinking about those things out loud while I walk into Lydia's home. It ends when I finally arrive.

Red Tiger Pawnshop

I just go in without a second thought. As I open the door, the bell at the entrance door makes a noise.

"Oh it's you Joshua." "Hi Mrs. Bertrand."

Laura Bertrand is my best friend's mom. She's an attractive woman in her mid-thirties with blond hair, dark brown eyes and a slim figure. But she also looks really wasted. Her eyes are usually dilated when I see her and she always has a runny nose.

"Lydia is upstairs." "Thank you."

Laura works in the front desk of the pawn shop. Apparently, her sister got the job for her here.

I pass through the front desk and walk upstairs. Above the Pawnshop, there's an apartment which is where they live. I just go in like I always do.

The apartment is a complete mess. There's a lot of trash, food packages like pizza boxes and hamburger bags, the sink is filled with dishes and there are clothes on the floor. Not to sound sexist, but this is usually what the house of a man looks like. Not a house that two woman live.

This apartment has a living room and a kitchen with only a small wall separating, a bathroom and two rooms.

Lydia's room was in the final door in a small corridor. I go there and knock. I usually don't knock but once I entered the room while she was naked and she punched me in the nose because of it. She has a strong left jab.

"Almost ready," she says behind the door.

"You texted me twenty minutes ago and you're still not ready?"

She opens the door revealing that she's shirtless and wearing a white bra.

"Can't find my damn hoodie," she says before going back inside to search. She's already wearing her dark blue jeans and black hi tops.

This is Lydia Bertrand. My best friend. She's what you could call a punk tomboy. She has short wavy golden blond hair with blue tips, sea green eyes, a small nose and pouty lips. She's pretty skinny which I used to think it was funny because she eats a lot. Until I found out the actual reason.

I look inside her room and see a small pile of clothes on the bed. The way her room is messed up, I'm surprised she found the rest of her clothes.

"Can't you wear something else?" I decide to ask.

"Like what?"

I go to the bed to check the rest of the clothes to suggest but then I noticed that they were all too small for her.

"Again?"

"What did you expect?"

Lydia's mom doesn't really gives much money for clothes or anything to be honest. "Here." I take off my hoodie and give for her to wear.The other hoodie she was looking for was mine as well.

"Thanks." She put it on in seconds, it's baggy on her but she likes it that way. "Let's go."

"Did you eat?" I asked.

"I'll eat at school."

I open my messenger bag and pull the sandwich that I grabbed earlier. She looks at it a bit before finally asking.

"Cheese?" She loves cheese.

"With ham."

The reason Lydia is so skinny is because her mom doesn't really feed he correctly. She grabs the sandwich and eat.

"C'mon we're gonna miss the bus."


We leave the pawn shop and make our way to the bus stop. The bus always arrives ten minutes late.

Whatever.

Not like Lydia or I were looking forward to being on a fart-smelling bus. I'm not exactly joking, the driver is an obese guy that farts a lot. Which is the main reason why we sit as far back as we can.

I pick up my bag one more time and pull out the math homework and give it to Lydia. "Answer three or four wrong."

It used to happen once a week but now is basically every day. Lydia really sucks at math, so I let her copy my homework.

"You say that every time," she complains.

"Because Mr. Annoying Voice already knows that you suck at math." It's not exactly a secret.

"Fine."

Mr. Annoying Voice is actually our math teacher, an unremarkable guy except for the almost unbearable voice.

"Oh shit," Lydia says while looking up.

I move my head to see what she was looking at. It was just the Thompsan twins entering the bus. Who are they? Well they are what you would call school bullies. It's composed by two losers.

Wendell and Randall Thompsan. They're twins, both of them resembled a weasels. They have dark blond hair and hazel eyes, with average height and big lips. They're both ugly guys.

How do I know them? Well... They are the sort of morons that are constantly pranking people. But their pranks aren't exactly funny.

Their "pranks" usually involves someone getting hurt in some way. Two months ago, they put a firework in a science teacher's garage. The problem with that? It was not a simple firework, it was a really expensive type that you should shoot at the sky. A six year old little girl walked in when the fire work exploded and caused second degree burns in the girl's face. But they weren't punished for it. Why? They're the mayor's nephews, and he couldn't have his family doing stupid shit could they. So he made sure that the police dropped the case. But they were expelled from their private school in the north area and had to be moved to my school. Today is their first day here and I better keep an eye on them.

"Done." Lydia gives my homework back. "Did you do what I said?"

"Question 2, 6, 9 and 10." She'll get at least a C. "Good."


Finally after a fart smelling ride with two idiotic twins' dumb laughs, we arrived at the school.

The school we go to is absolutely nothing special. Is basically every generic school that you see on a movie or tv show. The only thing that stands out, to be honest, is the statue at the front. A headless statue that appears to be wearing a robe and holding a spear. No one knows whose statues it is or how it lost it's head.

Lydia and I just stand up and walk out of the bus. Today is probably gonna be a boring day. As we walk towards the entrance we see someone approaching on a bicycle. It is our friend Erika.

"Morning," she says to us while locking her bicycle.

"Morning Erika," Lydia speaks in return.

This is Erika Graham. My other best friend. She's what you can call a Carrie White. Meaning? Before Lydia and I showed up she had no friends. Everyone in school picked on her, even professors. She's still a Carrie, but not in the same degree that she was before.

Why?

Let's just say that I... did something very bad to the people that picked on her.

Erika is a ginger girl with red curly hair that reaches her shoulder blades, gray eyes, milky skin with a spray of freckles, she's slightly overweight but not really fat and wears glasses. She's wearing a short sleeved beige dress today.

"Morning Josh."

"Morning Erika." I greeted her with a smile.


The three of us walki down the hallway in the direction of the classroom.

"Yo, man!" someone calls from behind.

"You two go ahead," I tell the girls before going in the direction of the voice.

"Sup J."

"Sup Terry."

This is my best only guy friend Terrence Higgins. He's black, tall and lanky, has a long face, high forehead, broad nose and dark brown eyes. He has a mini dark brown Afro.

"Can I copy you're homework?" And he also sucks at math.

"Seriously? Fine." I open my bag one more time and hand him the homework. "Answer three or four wrong but make sure that you answer questions 2, 6, 9 and 10 correctly."

"Why?"

"Just do it Terry."


After Terry copies my homework, we run straight to class to deliver the homework. After Mr. Annoying Voice finishes correcting, he hands us our results.

Lydia: C

Erika: A-

Terry: C+

Me: A+

After that it was just another boring math class.


After we were all done with our daily torture with Mr. Annoying Voice, we all went to Physical education.

Today was normal stuff. In one half of the Classroom, boys play basketball. The other half, girls play volleyball.

Basically our hairy teacher made us all stand in a line to shoot at the ring. The more you land, the more your distance increases. Terry and I are usually the ones that get the most in. During the practice, I keep an eye on Erika since she always either misses the ball when she plays it or falls on the ground. Luckily, Lydia is gonna make sure that she doesn't get picked on in the locker room because of it, which kinda happens a lot.

"My brother showed up yesterday," Terry says from behind me.

"Didn't your grandmother kicked him out?"

"He went back to get his sneakers," he explains to me. "But his face was pretty messed up."

"Like sucker punch messed up or beat down messed up?"

"Beat down."

"Oh shit."

There's a street gang in the south area of the city. The gang is called Stranding Parasites or SP for short. Terry's brother was hanging out with them and it got to the point where their grandmother kicked him out because of it.

"Dude, I think he's doing some initiation shit or something," Terry explains.

"If he is, there nothing you can do about it," I try to explain.

"C'mon homie."

"Reese, it's your turn," The Teacher calls out my name.

I step forward and toss the ball into the ring without issue.


After Gym class, Me, Lydia and Terry go to the cafeteria, though Erika stays a little behind in the locker room. Apparently in every gym class, she waits for everyone to leave before she changes clothes. She doesn't know that Lydia told me that.

Today the food is mac and cheese, it doesn't look so good but not bad either. We all sit at a table close to one of the four pillars in the cafeteria. The tables are rounded and It fit six people at least. But for our luck, no one sits at a table with us. Why? Cause we tell them to fuck off if they do. It's not to be a jerk, but we are more of a group of four that don't like people from outside.

"How did you get a C+ an if we both copy his work?" Lydia asks Terry in confusion.

"I answered three wrong like Joshua said," Terry responds.

"And I did four...Fuck." Lydia slaps her forehead in frustration.

"I did tell you two to answer either three or four wrong, you two just chose different numbers."

While Lydia complains, Erika enters the cafeteria. I wave from the table while she's grabbing food. After picking it up, she walks towards us. But while she's walking someone trips her and she falls on the floor, dropping her food. When I look to see who tripped her, I see that it was Randall Thompsan. Everyone starts to laugh at her, Erika just lifts her head and starts to look for her glasses. She can't see without them.

I stand up to go help her, but the other twin Wendell stands up and grabs her glasses from the ground. The asshole just stands there laughing as she keeps looking for her glasses on the floor.

Terry and Lydia look almost as pissed as I am.

"I'll handle it," I tell them.

I pick up a salt shaker that's on the table and pour some into my hand. Then I stand up and make my way to the weasel face twin while he is still laughing. "Hey!" I call him. When he turns around. I toss the salt into his eyes, then I pull down his pants reveling his blue briefs and push him onto the floor. I pick up his plate, doing my best to keep the extra cheese on it from sliding off before I'm ready. With a sneer, I flip the plate upside down. The food lands on top of his head with a splat, running down his face and dripping onto his shoulders. His brother, the one that tripped her stands up and charges at me. All I do is shove him and he trips on the same chair he was sitting on.

Instantly people started to laugh at his underwear. But I don't pay attention to that, I just picked up Erika's glasses and walked towards her. While she's still on the floor looking for them, I kneel and put them on her face and then offer my hand to her.

"Thank you," she says to me.

"Let's sit down."

We both walk to the table and sit down. The Thompsan twins stand up and leave while the rest of the room still laugh at them.

"That was badass," Lydia points out while giving a thumbs up.

"Not really, weasel face was pretty easy to shove."

"I would just sucker punch the fools," Terry adds. "But watching the ugly motherfucker getting his pants pulled down was funny."


When Lunch was over, we had our last class of the day. It was just Literature class.

Nothing really worth noting about it. Well, except that the teacher eyes focused on something that wasn't the class. Our Literature teacher is a woman in her early thirties named Veronica. She's an attractive woman with black curly hair and light brown eyes and a curvy figure.

The class was pretty weak today, mostly because the teacher was distracted. I wonder what is going on.

After class was over, I decide to find out.

"Hey guys, I have to give a book back to Miss Veronica. Go on without me." I tell everyone, they just nod and go on.

I approach Miss Veronica, who was writing in something that looked like a diary.

"Miss Veronica?"

"Oh, hello Joshua."

I open my bag and deliver the book that I had borrowed from her. "Here's the book I borrowed."

"You already finish it? It's only been two days." I read it in thirty minutes. Didn't like it very much. "Did you understand the meaning?"

"Death is inevitable." To be honest I found everything pretty tedious but I can't say that to her. "Ummm... Are you okay Miss Veronica?"

"That easy to notice?" she asks. "Grown up stuff, don't worry about it." She's having an affair with a man and she feels guilty about it because he has a wife and two daughters. How do I know that? I'll tell later.

"Well, Thanks for the book."

I turn around and leave her sitting at the table.


Lydia sits outside the school waiting for me. Terry had to go home to help his grandmother. Erika had go home as well.

So we were going to spend the rest of the day together. We decide to go to the Dying Fantasy. A local arcade two blocks from Lydia's home. We spend the next two or three hours playing Street Fighter 3 while listening to several Skillet songs on my phone with the earphones on each ear. First round we play Ryu vs Alex while listening to the song Rise. Second round we play Yang Lee vs Yun Lee while listening to Hero. Third round we play Dudley vs Elena while listening to Awake and Alive.

Lydia wins the second and third rounds.

"You should stick with playing as either Ryu or Ken cause you suck with the rest," Lydia affirms.

"I always win when I play as them, so I decided to give you an advantage."

"Oh what a gentleman," Lydia mocks me. "But seriously though, let's go one more round and this time use Ken."

"Umm... It's getting kinda of late, Lydia." It's already night.

"Oh c'mon just one more." It almost sounds like begging.

"Ok, one more but then we go."

"Alright."

We play one more round. This time, it was Ken vs Oro while listening to Falling Inside The Black.

While I play, I wonder what the problem is. It seems like Lydia is avoiding going home. I need to find out what it is.

"My mother got a new boyfriend," she says while we play the game.

Her mother has a very bad taste when it comes to men. I've known Lydia and her mom for a year and she's dated three men during those times. Some junkie with shaggy hair, a bald guy with a steroid problem and a hippie guy with dreads. The Junkie hid cocaine in their house, the bald guy beat her up because of roid rage and the hippie died from food poisoning.

"Who is it this time?"

"Some biker from the Haven's Devils."

Haven's Devils is a Motorcycle club from the west area. They participate in a number of legal and illegal activities and businesses in order to make money.

"Are you serious?"

"He came into the pawnshop looking for a knife." She explained to me. "Then he threw some sweet words to my mom. Then He kept coming back until she accepted to go out with him."

"Do you know his name?" "Tommy Laffer."

YOU WIN.

I win the game the moment she tells me his name. It's time to go home.

We both leave the arcade soon after and I take her home. The walk is silent which is strange since Lydia is quite the talker. The night is a bit chilly but I was ok, it's better that Lydia keeps my hoodie. I just hope that she doesn't lose this one as well cause I'm tired of lending her clothes. We arrive at the pawnshop pretty quickly.

"See you tomorrow." "Bye."

We do a fist bump before she goes in.


Alma has three rules.

One: Always be home before 10:00 PM.

Two: If you dirty something, you clean.

Three: If you bring friends over, they either stay in your room or the living room. The rest of the house is off limits.

I still have two hours, so I decided to take care of something before going home.

Ten blocks from my house there's an apartment building. It's five floors apartment, completely white, two trees in the front and no security. I walk through the door without any trouble, there's just a little girl in the stairs but she's busy playing some game on her phone. I walk pass her without being noticed.

The apartment that I'm looking for is on the fifth floor, door number 503.

As I climb the stairs, I hear noises echoing from each floor. On the first floor, a couple fighting and child screaming because of some online game. Second floor, an old lady talking on the phone about her daughter being late. Third floor, a homosexual couple having sex because I can hear two guys moaning at the door closest to the stairs. Fourth floor, a man crying.

After hearing all of those noises, it makes me glad that I don't live here. But finally I get to the fifth floor. It's the third door on the right. I made sure that no one was going to be home today before I came here. I remove a pair of rubber gloves and my lock pick from my bag, I put the gloves on and then use lock pick to open the door. It's a simple lock, so it only takes a minute.

I enter the room, then closing the door behind me. I can't be seen here. There are no cameras around and the girl downstairs didn't see me climb the stairs.

The room looks like a cleaner version of Lydia's apartment with three or four small differences. The painting is more vivid and a lot of family photos: A father, a mother and two daughters. One daughter is eleven and the other is nine.

What am I doing here? I'm going to kill the father. Why?

Two reasons.

First, he's cheating on his wife with my Literature teacher. Second, well... when I came here the other night to spy on him. I came here planning on delivering some photos to his wife. But when I got here, I saw something really disturbing. I saw him touching one of his daughters in a way a father shouldn't touch. The nine year old one. So I decided that he needed to die before he did something worse. Which actually has connection with my teacher, she actually resembles his daughter which is probably why he's fucking her.

Right now, I'm analyzing the room to see how I can kill him. I can see at least five ways to do it. He'll be home in one hour, the wife and girls are in their grandmother's house for the day and will be back tomorrow. I have one hour to set a trap.

Honestly, the first way would be to let the gas lose and blow up the apartment with a fire trap, but that could harm the people living beside or below this apartment. The second would be to hide and wait for him to get home and stab him when I get the chance, but I didn't bring the proper clothes to do this because I didn't think that I would lose so much time playing with Lydia in the arcade. I should have paid attention to the time so that's on me, I just wanted to cheer up Lydia a bit. The third way would be to poison him, but that's not good either because the police would know that it was a murder if they connect with the cheating they might think that it was either the wife or Miss Veronica. Forth would be to make him injure himself, maybe by slipping and hitting his head on something but that would be difficult to do because I can't predict where he will step on it. Fifth would be to do a fire trap but only to start a fire but that's risky because it could cause the explosion either way and he could get away.

I analyze all the possibilities and decide to go for the fourth method. The way I can do that is put something slippery into several strategic positions. One in the kitchen right in front of the counter. One in the bathroom beside the sink and in front of the bathtub. One in the living room on four different parts of the dinner table. In the kitchen I use cooking oil, in the bathroom I wet the floor and toss a bit of shampoo and soap. In the living room I spread some of the girl's toys around, the ones that you can easily trip on. This one is the riskiest method but is the only one I can come up with without proper preparation.

After putting all the traps into place, I hide under his daughter's bed. Why here? Without his daughters around, he won't have a reason to come in the room. The door is open and the room is dark, he won't notice me. The daughter's room is typically girly, filled with dolls and the wall are pink. There are two beds, one is purple and the other in pink. I'm hiding under the purple bed.

Click.

I hear the front door opening and some steps. He's here. I can see him from under the bed. It's a man in his late thirties wearing a cheap suit. He's a salesman in an office in the north area. How the hell did a guy like this manage to get someone like Miss Veronica to sleep with him is a goddamned mystery. A slight man with brown eyes, an ordinary face with a beard and thinning brown hair with some gray hair at the temples.

I get comfortable a bit while waiting to see if the traps will work, otherwise I'll have to use the third method.

The first thing he does once he gets in is turn on the tv and puts on the news. Then he walks towards the the kitchen, but he passes right through the spot where I put the cooking oil. Shit! He opens the fridge and grabs a beer and gulps it down in seconds. He then pulls out a something and puts on a plate: chicken and potatoes. Probably food that his wife left for him. He picks the plate up and puts the food in a microwave. He then starts to take off his clothes, which isn't exactly a pleasant view. He then walks to the bathroom, probably to take a bath or shower. He opens the door and walks in but slips in the wet floor that I left. But he manages to catch himself in the door before falling.

Fuck! He takes a three minute shower before leaving the bathroom and grabbing the food he put in the microwave. He then starts to walks toward the dinner table. If I'm correct, he will step on the toy I left there in five steps.

One. Two. Three. Four. FIVE!

The moment he steps on the one the toy, he trips and falls to the front smashing his head on the corner of the table before falling onto the floor. I can see the blood leaking from his head and onto the floor. He tries to stand up and I see the cut that he made on the fall. He tries to run to the kitchen to probably to try to wash it on the sink or something. But for my luck, the moment he walks towards the kitchen he steps on the spot where I left the cooking oil and slips one more time. He falls and smashes his head on the kitchen counter.

This time, he doesn't stand up.

I get out from under the bed and walk toward him to check. He's passed out and he still bleeding. There are two cuts on his head now, one on the scalp and one on the forehead. The forehead one is not so bad, but the scalp one is quite deep. I am almost certain he hit an artery. I wish I could be sure but its better that I don't touch him. He left a trail of blood from the living room to the kitchen, I make sure not to step on it. As I make my way to the exit.

As soon as I leave the door, I check my phone to see what time is it.

21:25 Pm.

I better get home.


It takes me less than thirty minutes to arrive at home. I tell Alma that me and Lydia hung out a bit more. I don't like lying to her but…

She made dinner, pepper beef. It was really good. Then I just brushed my teeth and go to bed.

I lay there, checking my phone for messages.

Lydia: Rematch tomorrow?

Joshua: Can we play The King of Fighters instead?

Lydia: Only if it's 98

Joshua: I wanna play 99

Lydia: I thought the machine was broken.

Joshua: I saw that fat guy with glasses playing.

Lydia: Fine 99 It is.

Joshua: I'm going to sleep. Lydia: Good night.

Joshua: Night.

Today was productive day. I wonder what tomorrow will be like. Oh well. Good night