It is hard to describe how it felt to have my son's favorite stuffed animal brought to me by the police. It was soaking wet, its ears matted and slightly chewed. The fact that I got the news from the police should have helped. They are trained to know what to say, or at least what not to. Looking back, I think it was simply too much for me to handle. I doubt anyone blames me for what I did, and saying that she had it coming may sound reasonable to some. But its been over five years, and I still am not sure how I could have done that to a person.
The moment I found out about my sons death, a sick feeling overwhelmed me. Even after all this time and all that I did, I still can't get that feeling to leave. I know with a lot of stories like mine, you hear about how happy a child they were. Its sad because they were full of life, and never got to experience it. Jack wasn't really like that. He was solemn, and kinda reserved. He liked to interact with people, but he was just as happy being upstairs with a book. He found it funny when I would get grossed out by worms on the lawn, and would get upset whenever it would get foggy outside. He wasn't like other kids, and that's why loosing him was so hard.
It wasn't hard to begin to figure out who might be responsible. She lived next door, in a violet colored house. I had known her for years, but really didn't really share much in common. She had wanted a child for as long as I had known her, but her and her husband had been unable to after he had a accident that left him crippled from the waist down, and made him sterile. I would let her watch Jack whenever I needed to go out of town. In retrospect that probably was a mistake. Jack became used to her. He trusted her, and wouldn't think she would hurt him. If she had just been another neighbor, just a stranger, maybe he would be alive.
I thought that maybe having a kid around would help encourage her. After all, she could still adopt. They were stable enough, had a nice home. But I think that just made her angry, whenever Jack would come back home to me. You would think that I would have noticed something like that, but I think because of the accident with her husband, and all the problems she had trying to have kids of her own, she just ended up becoming used to not showing how she was feeling. When her husband died seven years ago from a blood clot, she didn't even cry at the funeral.
It didn't take long for me to suspect her. We were united by my son, so it made sense that she was one of the first persona I called. She came over later that night. She was supportive and calm, and I knew something was wrong. She didn't even seem upset. She was worried about me, kept asking if there were anything she could do. I knew she loved Jack, so to see that she wasn't a wreck like me...it didn't make sense.
Less than a day later they found his body. They called me in, and asked me to identify him. I was shocked by his appearance. He looked like he was sleeping, and besides the bruising around his neck he looked pretty much the same way he did when I last saw him. They said that his windpipe had been crushed, but that there was little physical evidence. I tried to tell the police to check out my neighbor, but when they went to her, she offered a plausible alibi.
As the days passed, it became clear that they were not going to continue to pursue her as a suspect. I started to become desperate, consumed by the desire to hurt her. I tried to let it go, to reason that there had to be some explanation. An accident. Or perhaps she was just numb. Whatever the case, I knew I had to find out. So I took the sick time that my work had insisted on, after they assured me that there were other veterinarians who could cover for me. Then I went to her house and knocked on the door, determined to find out the truth one way or another.
Before I went to her house I collected a few things from the office. Inventory wouldn't be completed again for another couple of days, giving me the time I needed. She answered the door politely, and invited me in without any suspicion. I didn't want to spend a lot of time there, and so as soon as she turned her back I started after her. The needle went in easily. Thankfully the main veins in the neck are similar on most mammals. It took only a couple of seconds before she collapsed to the floor unconscious..
I drew the blinds and laid out a large blanket from the linen closet. Then I placed her on top, and gave her another shot. She would wake up, and she would be able to talk, but she wouldn't be able to move from the neck down. At least, not within the time I needed. She woke up several minutes later, and it didn't take long for her to figure out what was going on.
She went to scream, and for a few minutes I had to cover her mouth before she finally calmed down. She was crying, but I didn't let that bother me. Just looking at her filled me with anger, and I knew that I didn't have a lot of time. Get yourself too worked up, and any type of surgery is bound to go badly.
I didn't even need to ask her what happened. She confessed on her own, telling me how it had all been an accident. She told me how my son had come over to her house, telling her that the door to our house had been locked, and that the key under the mat was missing. She told him to go upstairs to the room he often used when he had to stay the night. Then she went to call me. He had come inside, and while she was going to get her phone, she heard the pattering of his feet running up the stairs, only to be cut short by a loud crack, followed by a series of thumps.
When she went to see him, she saw him crumpled on the floor, desperately grasping at his throat. She was completely in shock, the suddenness of it catching her off guard. A stair seemed to have given way, and she figured his throat had collided with on of the other steps as he fell down the stairs.
At that point, I quickly looked at the wood steps and saw that it was broken. She told me how she had gotten scared, how she brought him to the woods and tried to make it out like someone, a stranger, had killed him. She even went to far as to remove his clothes, to make it seem like it had been worse than it was. She had been scared that no one would believe her...
But I believed her, and I became wracked with guilt. If I had only returned the key to its place under the mat, maybe he would still be alive. I went to get up, to leave her there and turn myself in. She would talk, and I didn't blame her. But then I thought again of my sons dead body, and the fact that she didn't even try to call an ambulance. So I grabbed a scalpel and stuffed a rag in her mouth. My hands were shaking with adrenalin, and I knew I was in no condition to do it. But I was beyond the point of going back. I had no choice.
I had done this a hundred times on dogs, but never in such a state, and never with so little sleep and so little help. The first of her ovaries came out okay, but when working on the second one, I ended up clipping a large blood vessel. I knew she would be dead in minutes, as the blood pooled on the floor.. There was no shock in it for me. I was numb, my actions more or less robotic. Then I felt myself reaching for the cell phone, in that automatic, mechanical fashion...
At the trial they said I was not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. The court decided that she was involved in his death, though because of her suffering and the lack of complete evidence, she never saw any time served. The case is still open, though I doubt anything will be found. A lot of the details of the case have never been released to the public. I never really talk about it, so all people really know is what the papers shared, which wasn't much. I think that might be the main reason why people still talk to me. If they knew the truth, I think they would run me out of town..
It has been years, and I still live next door. She has remained quite about it, though she has never come even close to forgiving me. It has been years, and I know if she did forgive me, that I would have to kill myself. Because despite the fact that people feel that I had every right to hurt her, they don't really know what happened. They don't know how I cut into her, even after I had my doubts. They wouldn't understand how I could have done that to a person, after finding out that the whole thing may well have been an accident.
Both the women involved have continued on with their lives, though the communities reactions have made this especially hard. I did further investigation, only to find more questions than answers. Although it is true that the woman was deemed not guilty due to reason of insanity, I discovered that she is not a vet. In fact, she was a receptionist, with no medical training whatsoever. Furthermore, several witnesses identified her going to the woman's house, but only after the crime had taken place, finding the door agar, and placing the call to the authorities within a minute of entering the residence. What would possess her to accept responsibility for such a heinous crime?
I would have imagined that a case as tragic as this one would have brought attention in national papers, but despite all my efforts, I could not find a single report outside of Wellington Street.