It’s been about six years since I’ve been to my Aunt Judith’s. Until now, I haven’t talked about her, my family or the things that have happened in her house. I’ve been running away from the past but feel like it’s time to tell the truth, or at least admit it to myself what really happened there. I’m scribbling all of this down on a few sheets of paper the waitress at this local diner gave me. It's 2 AM so I’m the only customer here, it’s raining heavily outside and I’m in a hurry; I have a job interview at 7 in the morning sharp at Burger King thanks to my friend Denise. Not that I was begging for the job anyways. Like I said, I’m in a hurry so I’ll begin with that summer, shit, my coffee is already cold. I’ll be writing this down by memory, or whatever my mind has been telling me these years.
I turned 12 that summer, and Aunt Judith insisted me and my family went to her house for a few weeks because she bought a new boat for the river (swamp) nearby her house. She lives in Alabama; it wasn’t uncommon to own a small boat similar to the one you see in “The Rescuers”. I loathed Aunt Judith, so I remember imagining the boat to look like the one from that movie, and as I stayed there the little animals would save me from my boring family. It wasn’t a rare dream I’d have, I hated them.
Why I hate them-
When I was five, we moved to Kentucky, out of Alabama from Aunt Judith because my dad’s job required it and frankly we needed the money. I urged my parents to let me stay with Aunt Judith instead; I’d rather stay with her and be with my friends than entirely different state with strangers. It didn’t work. We moved to a small town I don’t remember the name of and I was immediately entered into a Kindergarten class. That was where all the trouble began.
This stupid kid Rickie was always playing and messing with me and we would all think it was all good and fun until one day he wasn’t playing with me anymore. We were on the swings and he started pulling my hair and pushing my face into a mud puddle. I screamed and thrashed but the teacher went out on a smoke break. Somehow I got away from Rickie and ran up the playground steps, I remember my shoes were untied that day because I hadn’t learned how to tie them just yet, and next thing I heard was a small yell from Rickie as I felt his shoe step on my shoestring, preventing me from moving forward and almost tripping, when I see him fall backwards from me. I reach for him as he falls but it was too late. His head thumps the hard concrete below the playground and I see blood coming from the back of his head.
All of the other kids form a circle around Rickie and I stand there staring at the puddle of blood forming on the cement. Almost a minute goes by of kids wondering what to do, staring in amazement and wonder of what’s happening and one girl with a braided pony tail and I remember to be mute, runs for the teacher. The teacher returns with the same girl tugging and pulling at the end of her shirt, rushing her to the playground until the teacher sees the circle and starts running.
Long story short I was accused for murder and almost put on trial. A few of the kids there claimed to see me with my arms outstretched to Rickie as he fell but I had nothing to counter-argue it, they were outstretched. I didn’t know what to say. My parents believed them. The parents of Rickie believed them too, and obviously put me on trial. The jury said I was guilty and sent me to a foster home where I lived for nearly seven years, until a few weeks before my 11th birthday. The reason they released me was because “I was showing signs of significant improvement and my parents attended a few parenting classes”, it was because no one would adopt me and no one wanted me there. Until that day of my release, my parents haven’t talked to me in all those years. They believed every word they said about me. I’m a demon child, a murderer. They were ashamed of me, but still they helped release me for reasons I’m still not sure about and wish I could find out.
So again, back to the few weeks of my time at Aunt Judith’s. As soon as I arrived in her yard, I smelled the familiar smell of alcohol and molasses. It was always strong even when I was younger. I know it’s been years since I’ve been there and when I say young I mean 1-5. I have a remarkable memory; it’s so well I almost remember being birthed. Although you might think it being helpful, say during exams or quizzes, my memories always have haunted me. I have an inability to forget them, or at least blur them. Imagine reliving all of your failures and regrets word-for-word every night. It’s a nightmare.
Again I go back to Judith’s old house that smelled of alcohol and molasses. She greeted me with a solid greeting and a seemingly warm hug. As well as my parents. When we entered her house I found a surprise. Clocks. At least hundreds of clocks. Every different size, shape, color. Each ticking its own unique “tick-tock”. It overwhelmed me at first, and she explained to us that it was her newest hobby, making German-styled clocks. She tells us of this nice man who lives in a small hut or shack down the road who buys a few off of her to decorate his house, and the way she describes him it sounds like she has a crush on him.
We sat down for dinner, questionable spaghetti and some sort of stale bread. I shoved it down my throat, avoiding my tongue for the taste, and excused myself for the bathroom. Even in the bathroom she had clocks, watching me use the toilet and splash cold water on my face. It was the first day I’ve seen my parents in years, and they have barely talked to me that day, along with Aunt Judith. I was a little nervous and felt a little alone despite being with my family.
I returned to them and discovered they had finished their meals surprisingly faster than I would imagine in the short amount of time I was resided to the bathroom. They suggested we go on Judith’s new boat on the river (swamp).
Before we left for the boat, the man Judith was telling us about came to visit us. He said Judith talked a lot about our family and said it was the first time we’ve came to Alabama in a while and he came to greet us. What struck me first about him was his appearance. He had long brown straggly hair that looks like it hasn’t been washed in months. His teeth were brown and yellow, wearing away and a couple looked missing. His clothes looked as if he was homeless, and his breath stank of meat. Otherwise, he was more inviting and welcome than my family. He said hello for a few minutes and ran off to his house to check on his stove. Then we boarded Judith’s new boat.
I remember the boat weaving through the giant clumps of trees and grass. The moss and algae were disgusting. The entire swamp looked as if it was infected with a disease. Not one time on that trip did I see an animal either swimming through the water or a bug swarming around the grass. I was suspicious of how healthy and safe it was to be going through the water.
Minutes passed, and then hours. I was tired and bored of the swamp, and becoming increasingly scared to be out there in the dark. I insisted to Aunt Judith, an owner of the vehicle for only a couple days now that it wasn’t safe for us to be driving it at night, she disagreed and deeper and deeper we went into the swamp. None of us have spoken for nearly hours and I could tell even my parents were getting nervous, my mother twiddled her thumbs and my father removed his hat and twisted it for relief. I caught him staring at me for a couple minutes and looked almost… guilty… or was it ashamed, still?
Aunt Judith kept driving the odd boat through the swamp for about fifteen minutes until we reached a small little sandbar, or island about the size of Judith’s house. I was curious why she would have spent all this time driving us out here for a small little sandbar when I realized what was happening.
Judith helped me out of the boat and my mother and father too. I looked around the small island when behind a bush I saw one massive hole buried deep in the sandbar, so deep it looked like water was rising up out of the earth looking muddy and black. There was a wet shovel halfway buried right next to it. I knew then I wasn’t jumping to conclusions. It was my fresh grave.
I calmly assessed the situation and what I was able to do. I remembered I had a couple of knives one of my only friends gave me at the Foster’s home, a janitor working there. He said if I ever needed to protect myself I would be able to with a knife or two. I left one in my suitcase from the drive but I kept one on me at all times, they always came in handy for opening packages or cutting a tie. But this time I wouldn’t be cutting a tie.
My father slowly approached me from behind and talked in a slow, soothing voice, “Samantha… don’t be afraid now. Daddy’s only here to make sure you’re okay...” His voice trembled at he said the unforgiving words, and as he said that I whipped out my pocket knife. It was the bigger one of the two, thank goodness.
“Samantha… don’t do anything rash darling,” he said again. Only I wasn’t focusing on his words. I was focusing on his actions, his hand slowly brushed his side and my instincts kicked in from watching so many crime shows.
I slowly walked forwards to him, watching his every movement, his chest rise and fall. I pointed the knife towards him in a defensive position. “Don’t reach for that gun,” I warned.
“What-“ I cut him off, “Don’t bullshit me. I know you're reaching for it. I want you to pull it out slowly and drop it on the ground. Go ahead.” I pursued in being defensive, watching him pull out his small hand pistol and placing it on the ground, raising his hands. I almost laughed in how intimidating I seemed, I only had a pocket knife for fuck's sake.
Then I felt a hard object strike my head with immense force and I fell over on sand. My eyes were still opened; I closed them for a second in pain, and squinted through the little darkness. At first my eyes focused on the ground below me, the ground was covered in small pebbles and rocks. Then my eyes focused on the distance. I saw the man that looked like a hermit, clutching a baseball bat, lying on the ground, chest heaving rapidly. The sun has already risen by now and framed his dirt-stained face. I looked at the sun in my confusion, as it has only just gotten dark not too long ago.
Then I could barely hear him, “You got me good, kid.” And his chest became still.
Next thing I remember is waking up on the island in pain and bloody. I examined my wounds and believed them to be from knives. I felt the lump on my head next, and winced in pain as I touched the giant knot on my skull. I rubbed my face from sweat and realized I couldn’t hear. It was probably from the force of the strike, I thought, but I was later told in the ambulance that soon arrived it was probably from gunshots at a very close range. But I didn’t remember anything. A boat came fifteen minutes later after I awoke, and carried the body of the hermit man on a stretcher. They examined the freshly ground up dirt from the hole earlier and I was curious who filled it up.
Of course that’s what I remembered then. That’s what I told the court when I was charged with yet more murders. I told them this whole story I’ve told you, they asked me a million questions, even about Kindergarten and my behaviors since the “murder”. They began questioning if that case was a murder too. But they let me free. They said they didn’t have enough witnesses besides me and the story didn’t sum up with the little evidence they had left, a big storm came later that night and washed up anything forensics could use against me, conveniently.
My friend Denise I mentioned earlier who found me a job at Burger King suggested I go see a therapist about my recent nightmares of those days. Of course I agreed, I wanted to feel better about myself. And possibly figure more about my excellent memory. (He told me it was called Hyperthymesia, and it was highly unlikely that I have had it, or it would have been brought to attention earlier or my parents would have realized) After one session he told me he researched information on the incidents and anything regarding my name. He felt like it was best to try a certain therapy on me, to help me remember anything I forgot. After two sessions of the therapy, I went back into my memories. I remembered everything that night, and what really happened in Kindergarten.
First I saw myself at the playground, running up the steps; my shoes were tied this time. They were tied and he didn’t trip on them. Instead, Rickie reached the top of the steps, laughing and panting as he looked up at me, standing there in front of him. I looked at him with mud dripping down my face, and a blank expression as I stretched my arms and forcibly giving him one hard push on the shoulders and he fell, rolling once down the stairs, and hearing the loud “crunch” as he hit the ground. I smiled, and ran to the ground, recovering my innocent mask of concern and confusion. I wasn’t at the least a bit distraught.
My memories delve deeper and deeper until the Foster’s home. I’m sitting at a small table with my parents and I’m drawing a picture of the boy I killed on copy paper. They’re trying to talk to me, to comfort and apologize to me what happened, or what didn’t happen, how they parented me, but I wouldn’t respond or listen. This same situation repeated countless times in my head, my parents reaching out for me, but I won’t listen. Usually I’m drawing on a piece of paper something obscene or violent. Or I’m snapping crayons and pencils in half and stabbing random things on the table.
Four more memories come to me, my parent arriving, me appearing more sane and well-kept than before. My hair was brushed and I was smiling, I responded to them these times, answering their questions on how my month has been and what’s happening in school. I would talk to them about a puppy picture I painted for art class and how I’m receiving A+’s in many of my classes. They looked relieved and happy to see me back to their normal child. One memory I show them my new friend Amelia, a doll one of the ladies there gave me.
Next, I see me holding hands with both of my parents, in between them, smiling as large as ever. I felt me smile in real life now, this memory calming me down. It warmed my heart to see at least a couple memories that weren’t regrettable. I was 12 now, and it was summer. My birthday was soon, and my parents were walking me out of the Foster’s home. Was I leaving for Aunt Judith’s now? The short period of happiness the memory gave me was diminished with the thought of what happened there.
Next memory now and everything is red. I’m standing in Aunt Judith’s kitchen, and I’m spinning with my arms out wide, smiling. My once white socks are almost slipping on her linoleum kitchen floor as I spin around in the red blood. There’s blood all over the walls, writings I can’t see as I spin faster and faster. The rooms are whirring together and I hear the many clocks of Aunt Judith’s chime 3 AM. The sight of all of the blood and sound of clocks all chiming in unison but in different tones and melodies overwhelms me and I wake suddenly on the leather couch of my therapist's.
I tell him it’s urgent he puts me to sleep once more to possibly go before the spinning and blood, and he continues. I fall asleep again, but this time I’m entering Aunt Judith’s house without the red addition to her floral wallpaper. My parents follow behind me and act less suspicious than my memories tell me, they’re communicating to me, talking to me, and I’m having pretty decent and normal conversations with them too. I see us all sit at the dinner table, feasting on a nice hot and steaming turkey that Aunt Judith’s boyfriend shot out by his house, and her boyfriend’s sitting at our table too. He’s the old man from the shack from my other memories, and he’s cutting the turkey, still wearing the old hermit clothes I remember, but hospitable as much as my parents. He even tells us a couple of jokes containing birds and turkeys before we feast on the turkey, corn, and mashed potatoes.
After dinner, we sat in her living room and watched a couple of old movies Aunt Judith had laying around. We watched “The Breakfast Club” and “Ferris Beuler’s Day Off” we were all sitting on a couple of couches, laughing and enjoying the movie like any other regular family. I wanted to be there, to take joy in the moment, and absorb all of the good feelings and comfort they would be giving me. They were my family, and it looked like I loved them and they loved me.
Next memory, I’m lying in the guest room’s bed, eyes closed. And then I hear the same chime, but this time, I see through the darkness as I open my eyes, it's 1 AM. I rise from my bed simultaneously as the clocks ring and I removed the covers. I walked over to the bedside table and began searching it, I found a heavy duty police-looking flashlight and Swiss army knife. I didn’t turn it on as I walked out the door and headed towards Aunt Judith’s kitchen.
In her kitchen I ran my hands under the kitchen counters, opening drawers and finally in a cupboard under a sink I stopped searching. I found a shotgun. My feet padded against the familiar linoleum and I headed for what I knew as my parents’ room when we stayed there. I headed in there and cocked the shotgun, and stared at the bed in front of me. I lowered the weapon after a couple of seconds; it looked like I was hesitant. Then I walked to the bedside of my mother. She was facing this way, forehead exposed, where I placed the end of the shotgun. It didn’t look or feel like I nudged her, but she opened her eyes from the touch of the barrel. She saw the long gun extended to her forehead, and after adjusting her eyes she said only “Why?” and I fired.
My father jumped out of the bed, stumbling onto the floor from the sheets and appeared disoriented on his feet before me, looking at his wife and sobbing, “Samantha… don’t do anything rash my darling.” The same last words I heard him say in my earlier memories. And my face, just like at the playground years before was expressionless, even inhuman, as I pulled the trigger once again.
By this time Aunt Judith was standing in the doorway, shocked by the deaths of my parents in front of her, with me holding the gun. I now have the gun pointed at her, she says nothing as I pull the trigger and blood squirts from the back of her head onto the wallpaper, and her head does the familiar jerk as the others before her. I could feel my muscles make a small smirk as I dragged the bodies into the living room.
The whole time I was on this killing spree, I felt my body moving and squirming on the leather couch, but I was consistent on staying in the memory, I needed to know what happened.
Now I was mutilating the bodies now with the Swiss army knife I found before, opening the bodies and tearing out guts and intestines, writing on the walls illegible and meaningless scribbles. This continued for about almost 2 hours, enjoying playing with the fresh blood when the clocks chimed 3 AM, and I was there in the kitchen swirling again in my family’s own blood, smiling.
The memory shifted and now I’m dragging body by body onto a boat my Aunt Judith mentioned once at the dinner table. I found out how to operate the vehicle by examining the gears and began driving through the night. It was pitch black, but the fog light made it possible to maneuver through the trees and tall grass in the swamp. It wasn’t hours that it took to reach the sandbar, but it was quite a while away. I brought the bodies onto the small island and produced a shovel I must have found earlier. I dug all night. I dug until the sky almost began to lighten up, it was almost sunrise.
I pushed the bodies into the hole sloppily, piling them on top another in awkward positions, and quickly covered my dead family with the fresh dirt. When I covered the hole I sat on one of the boats seats, catching my breath for a minute and then I heard a voice, “Didn’t expect it to be you. Of all people why would it be you?”
I turned around, and looked surprised. It was Judith’s boyfriend. He must have heard the shots from his shack, as he went home after dinner. There was a smaller boat on the other side of the small island, I didn’t hear his boat coming as I got into mine. He was standing just in front of the new grave I dug and had a baseball bat in his hand. I remained silent with no answer. I started to move my hands in the direction of my shotgun right at my feet, away from his view. “Don’t reach for that gun.” He raised his bat closer to me; he was now raising the bat above my head.
I gave him a confused expression to deny his accusation.
“Don’t bullshit me. I know when someone is reaching for their gun. I want you to pull it out slowly and drop it on the ground. Go ahead.”
Just like my other memories. I listened to him, slowly pulling out the shotgun and holding it sideways. “Now step out of the boat and place it on the ground.”
I did as he said, but secretly reached for another weapon, I felt the Swiss army knife resting in my pocket. Before he could react or say anything I quickly pulled out the blade and stabbed him into the side, several times. He gasped and winced in pain, yet he somehow managed to hit me square on the forehead hard enough to disorient me.
Whilst disoriented, he dropped his bat and switched for his own pocket knife, with an even longer blade that looked like one I remember to belong to the janitor from my Foster home. It seemed he made this change because he was in too much pain and too weak to risk striking me again with the metal bat. He flipped out the blade and gave me a few long gashes in my sides and rib cage, I gave out a yell. A couple more quick jabs from him into my stomach, and I knew I had to act soon or die.
I quickly regained balance and stabbed him a few more times closer to his heart, parrying with his own knife now. He was now dropping the knife, clutching his new wounds with both hands; he knew he was beat. I picked up my gun and shot him quickly, missing his vital organs by only a little, but it was still fatal. He fell over immediately on his side, and I slowly let myself down on the ground as well; the bat’s blow on my head made my ears ring and I felt dizzy and sick from the impact of the metal bat with my skull. Plus the giant bleeding wounds made me weaker than ever.
His chest was heaving rapidly like before, and the sun was fully raised by now. The sun outlined his stubble-beard and dirty face. He gave a few last hard breaths. I could barely hear him say through the ringing of my head, “You got me good, kid.” And he drew his last breath.
I forcibly woke myself up at that point, knowing the full truth. I told the therapist everything I learned. He said I suffered from FMS, False Memory Syndrome and a Multiple Personality Disorder. FMS causes my mind to create false and new memories that didn’t happen, but my brain convinces myself that it’s completely true. That’s why it was so easy for me to believe what falsely happened. Multiple Personality Disorder is exactly as its name suggests. I have multiple personalities, and not all of them are to my knowledge. Who knows how many I have.
Everything I’ve known since I was five about all of those incidents is wrong. Everything I told the cops, the friends and family, everything was wrong. My brain told myself what happened, and that’s what I believed.
I killed my family, and I liked it.