As I opened the door, the first thing I saw was the dust. No matter where you looked, that was the first thing you saw. A thin film of it was hanging over everything. No one had been in here in a long time, and that fact was fairly obvious. I'd been avoiding his room for a decade now but I'm alone now. The hinges squeaked, requiring more force to swing open than they had years ago, or maybe that's just me being too weak to enter. My footprints left noticeable gaps on the floor, and my breath was enough to stir dust from around the room. The first thing I had to do before I could even bother to look around was open a window, unless I died of suffocation.
As the rays of sunshine hit the room for the first time in a decade, being hidden by the curtains, I could feel the catch in my throat. The tears started to build and I gulped, hard, to suppress them. The pain was overwhelming, all of his belongings seeming to scream that it was my fault he was dead, my fault alone. I took a couple of steps to his desk and I hit the power button on the old Compaq. The sound was deafening, the whirring of the fan stirring up even more dust and sending another wave around the room.
It took a couple of minutes, but soon the monitor lit up with a photo of us all. I remember when it was taken in our backyard, a mere month before he died. I remembered my wife staring at a copy of the photo in her hands a decade ago, screaming how he looked so happy. How he never could have been so depressed to take his life. The tears started to spill, landing on the keyboard tray.
On the desktop was a word document that was set apart from everything else, a file laid on top of my face. I double clicked it, waited for it to open, and set about reading. Each word was a stab to the heart, each line more painful than the last. The tears weren't stopping now, a small lake forming on the wood below my head. The suicide note of a child is something no parent should have to read.
Yet with the pain came the clarity. 10 years later and I could remember, crisply, every second of the day this was written, and my mind poured through the details as it did every day for the past decade. Waking up in the morning and cooking us all eggs and bacon. It was a saturday so the three of us were going to go to the park and enjoy the sunshine. My wife got a call for a shift at the hospital and she had to go, leaving the two of us.
The plans for our day quickly changed, my suggestion for woodworking in our backyard winning over his suggestion of seeing a movie. We went out back and started off. He was making a birdhouse, I was working on a new mailbox. He kept looking at me and smiling, and my heart kept breaking. Around lunchtime we broke off, with him going inside to eat. I stayed out in the shop, gathering some supplies.
When he came back outside, he was confused by the rope hanging from the ceiling. I remember explaining how it was a swing for him to make him feel like he was flying. His eyes perked up and his smile blossomed. I picked him up on my shoulders and instructed how he was supposed to climb into the swing. When he told me he was ready, I lifted him up off of my shoulders and let go.
The drop wasn't anywhere long enough to break his neck, so instead he choked. His small hands were flailing, his face accusing, and it took a long time before he finally stopped. I was crying the entire time, I knew I would miss him but it had to be done. When the only motion was him swinging softly, I put a small stool near him and went back into the house for some whiskey and go upstairs to type out his note.
My wife came home later, asking where he was. I said he was playing in the backyard, and it wasn't long before I heard the scream. I went through my practiced motions, trying to hold her and console her, while screaming in agony myself. The police were called, ambulances, but I knew there was nothing that could have been done. His skin was ashen and his eyes glossy and unfixed.
Having him was an accident. The condom broke and we ended up with a kid that we never wanted. We had to sacrifice our education for a while, only my wife able to go back to her nursing courses years after. I became the stay at home dad for a kid I had always resented. I grew to love him, in a way, but I always knew that our life would be better together without him. It was a hard decision to make, but I did make it.
Our life after was rocky. The first year was impossible and she tried to divorce me, but I wouldn't let her. She never accepted he killed himself, but instead started to ignore his existence altogether. His room was locked and the tiny hallway to his door was walled over. We carried on, but it was never the same. We did enjoy ourselves, but never enough. Then last week, she took her own life in the same shop. Her note was typed out on her computer. She had known I killed him, but she felt similar to me at first. She tried to enjoy the life without him, but it never took and she couldn't stay with me, a monster.
So now I'm sitting here in front of his computer, staring at the note that I wrote and lied about for a decade. Sitting surrounded by his toys, and books and everything that he owned screaming at me, blaming me. Well they won't need to blame me for much longer, because I'm writing my own note now. This note. I'll never be able to take back what I've done for as long as I've lived, no matter how much I might want to. For 10 years I was able to hold it together and actually thrived without him. Now I can't close my eyes without seeing his face, and my wifes face, consumed by fire and screaming my name in anger. Maybe this will give them some peace.
You could hear the faint sound of each drop of blood landing in the puddle below it, falling off the tips of his fingers. Granted, you could only hear it when he stopped screaming but if you got past the sobbing, there it was. That's what I listened for. The every steady drop, splashing down in time with a metronome. It kept my head on straight whenever I started to get worked up, kept me going whenever I got bored.
There was a lone light bulb hanging over our heads, swinging in sync with the drip. The legs of the chairs cast tiny shadows, little lines continuously dancing around on the cracked concrete floor. I watched them twirl for a few seconds, before looking back at the man in the chair. His flesh was torn, wounds gaping and half closed. Clotted blood was smeared all over him, for every time the blood flow slowed, I wrenched the wound open again. I gave a little smile and reached for the alligator clips. His head started to buck back preemptively, weary of the constant torture he's been exposed to.
You always knew when you were electrocuting them right because there was an instant feedback to show you. Whenever a current was established, that lone light flickered. Whenever it did you could see almost see a faint glow from the eyes of whatever poor bastard was in the chair. This time was no exception. I let it go for a few seconds before pulling back, placing the clips back on the table.
“Again. What was her name?” No response. I had been asking this question for hours, but he had been surprisingly resilient. Much more so than I had expected from someone like him. He was protecting a villain, or so I was told. I didn't care for the reasons. They were usually just political wording so someone could justify to themselves what they were doing. I didn't need a justification.
I picked up the clips again, and his moaning intensified. It was clear he was afraid of the pain, but it wasn't enough. “You shouldn't protect her. She is causing you this grief, and it will keep happening until you give me the answer I'm looking for. No one needs to know it was you, no one needs to find out that you told me, but you cannot keep this up. There isn't much left of you, and if you keep holding back then your heart is going to blow. There are only 3 things in this room, sir. Your life, that light, and the lie. One of those is going to give out before today is over, and I replaced that light bulb yesterday.”
There was an obituary that appeared in the newspaper a few days ago. The person who died was an adult male, almost forty-five years old. The entry had his name, birth date, and the date of his death. However, all other information had been withheld.The only other piece of text that was included was a single line; “Their pain has ended.” The lack of information is especially strange considering obituaries are often written by or with the permission of the family involved. I have asked around, but few people have been willing to comment on it.
Upon speaking with the family and talking with local police I was able to get some information. The following is from the testimony of the families eldest daughter of sixteen. It is important to note that despite the strange nature of her admission, she has been deemed sane, and has not be accused of having any fault in the death of her step father.
“I was waiting at the park when the man came up to me . He sat down on the bench and asked me how I had been. He used my name, though I had never seen the man in all of my life. He was very old, and smelled heavily of cologne. His suite was olive green and his eyes were slightly pink. He had dark gums and thin, pink lips. His skin was pale, and was very wrinkly. I didn't like his voice. It was like listening to glass speak.
I asked him how he knew my name. He wouldn't answer that, and simply asked me again how I had been. I didn't know what to make of him. He was talking to me like I knew him, but I knew I had never seen his face before. I was going to leave, but David had told me not to go home for at least a hour. It had only been a half hour, and I was beginning to worry about my sister again.
I told him I was fine, but something in the way he frowned at me made it clear he knew I was lying.