Scream for me


My son was only a few months old. Tiny little thing he was. It was a long time ago, but I think at the time he couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 months old. My wife had died during labour so I was left to take care of Garrus myself. Garrus, that's his name. Yeah, yeah, I know, kind of a weird name to give someone. But this child, he was unique, you know what I mean? The kind of child that's very easy to pick out in a crowd of other children. So, I wanted to give him a name that resembled his uniqueness. Garrus. Garrus Hom. Garrus Davis Hom. He wa s named after me, Davis Hom. My wife would have been Sandra Hom.

I suppose it's a bit of an overstatement to call her my wife. We never did get married, you see. Garrus was a bastard child. We wanted to get married, in fact we were engaged. We didn't plan on having a child before our marriage, but you know how these things happen. It's impossible to be 100% safe, right?

But that's my past. But I guess I still have Garrus. Sorry for the vagueness. The message I'm trying to get across is hard to put into words, you know? I guess the main point is, it was just me and Garrus.

My parents lived in another state so there was no going to them for help, and Sandra's parents never liked me, but they hated Garrus. They keep saying that Garrus is the reason their daughter is dead. While I don't think that's the case, I won't argue with them. Their daughter died and I guess they need someone to blame. So I just let them be.

I worked at a school as an assistant teacher. The pay wasn't very good and a lot of the people I worked with were ass holes, but Garrus was in some new class they had introduced to teach kids from a much earlier age. I wasn't big on the idea that they had to pressure my child at such a young age to do well. But, I could bring him to work and know that he was in safe hands.

His teacher is a lovely lady, Sep Tanz. She was an Indian lady, and a very sweet one at that. She was extremely patient and caring with those kids. Every once in a while I get a free hour or so, so I go to the class and just watch and it's truly a beautiful thing to see. Sep would have made a wonderful mother.

The teachers lounge was always a laugh. Me and Sep would sit, drink tea and talk about the classes we taught. Then you had Paul Ken, a Science teacher for the older students. He was the kind of larger fellow that you could see yourself sharing funny stories with over a couple of pints. He always had something good to say, even when he had the shittest of days. I mean, he'd complain just like any of us, but he'd always try and make light of the situation, you know? And then there's Irwin Tephen, the principal.

He was relatively new to the school, and I'd be lying if I said he was dong a fantastic job. But you have to give him credit for trying. Out of all of us, he had the toughest job. He was a bit too soft, I think, could never really lay down the law with those kids running rings around him. But, again, he was trying. Of course, there were more teachers in the lounge, but these are the only ones that really matter.

So, me and Sep were sipping at our tea, as per usual. Like every other time we did this, I asked about Garrus' progress, to which she always said the same thing; she would smile and say "He's doing just fine, Mr Hom. You should be very proud."

Which I was. Irwin was at the other side of the room sipping at a mug of coffee and analysing a piece of paper. He looked on edge, but he always did. He used to never leave the school until it was late, and even then he only slept for a couple of hours. The rest of his time was spent drinking coffee. After reading the paper very quickly, he came over to where Sep and I were sitting. He handed me the piece of paper and explained that I have to get long multiplication carved into my mind for next week.

I took the paper and agreed to this. Of course I wasn't going to start reading through the paper now, but I gave it a very swift look through and set it next to me. I turned to Sep and continued to drink my tea. Paul was sitting behind her and was reading through some test papers with his thick rimmed glasses. I asked him if everything was alright. He turned to me with a big silly grin on his face and said "But, of course", in a joking voice which was clearly an imitation of a stereotypical rapist.

The day had come to an end, so I grabbed Garrus from his class and I headed home with him.

I was stuck in traffic, as I was everyday. But it didn't matter, because I had Garrus. If I ever got stressed, just one look at him blowing spit bubbles would be enough to put me in a good humour, haha. It was the middle of winter, so it was pretty dark when we got home. Thankfully, we lived on the second floor of our apartment building so it wasn't really a problem.

On the higher floors there are teenagers constantly walking around, looking for anything to satisfy their messed up sense of humour. Go up high enough and I guarantee you'll find groups of them having sex on the landings outside their apartments, it's really disgusting. But as I said, wasn't really a problem to me.

When we got in the apartment, I flicked the light switch on and put little Garrus in one of those chairs that have the lights and buttons on it. He loves it. Really easily amused child, but I guess that could count for most if not all children, right? I sat at my desk, with Garrus's chair in front of it, and began studying the long multiplication papers. Of course, being 27 years old, I knew long multiplication. But it had been a long time since I was in school, so it couldn't have hurt to refresh my memory of it a bit.

After feeding Garrus and putting away my papers for the next day, I put Garrus in his cot. I gave him a gentle kiss on the head and told him I loved him. Just like always. I kept a picture of my fiance, his mother, on a table next to the cot so she can watch him at night. I kissed the picture and went into the room next door so that I could get some sleep myself.

The next day, as you would expect, started off just like any other day; fine, relatively happy and just waiting for the weekend. I dropped Garrus off at Sep's class, exchanged pleasantries with her, and continued to my class. I was in a math class of 3rd graders.

A decently bright bunch, but could get a little eccentric at times. Not to the point of resenting them, but just enough to make me raise my voice sometimes. Of course, they never listened to me. I was Mr. Hom, the assistant teacher. That said, they never really listened to their actual teacher either. The point is, it was a rather stressful morning full of trying to calm down kids and explaining division to them. I couldn't wait to go to the teachers lounge and just chill.

When I got there, the same repetitive procedure took place. I poured myself some tea, sat down on the couch and awaited Sep's arrival. When she eventually entered, a bit later than usual, she looked uneasy. Odd. But I didn't want to bother her with it so I tried getting her mind off it. I did what I normally did, ask about how Garrus is doing. She looked at me with a disappointed glance and said, "Well, he seems to be struggling a little more now". I inquired about what she meant by this. She told me that Garrus was being more bothersome than usual, and that he seemed very reluctant to participate.

I refused to believe this farce. My son, my little Garrus, was her best student. Sep even said so herself before now. I objected, but as calm as I possibly could. I told her that she must have done something wrong or different. Maybe is was wrong of me to get so protective, but I never fucked around when we were talking about my son's behavior.

At this point, Irwin came up to me and backed up Sep's insane accusation. Apparently, Garrus started throwing stuff at the other children, and Sep called Irwin down to calm down the other children while she dealt with Garrus. It was at this point that I was ready to hit the roof. How dare they! How fucking dare they! My son wouldn't have hit anyone. Not now, not ever. And yet here they were, accusing my little Garrus of this violence. I just wouldn't hear of it.

I looked over to Paul for support. He knew my son. He knew he wouldn't have done anything. When I asked Mr Ken to back me up, he said that he has noticed Garrus getting a little more aggressive lately. I wasn't prepared to sit there and take this. By God, we would have changed schools if we had to, but I was not going to let my child take the blame for this. For something he's just incapable of doing. I grabbed my son from her class and I bolted out of there. I didn't mean to be so rough with him. I was just angry.

Before getting in my car with him, I took a deep breath and tried to move more carefully, especially with my son in my hands. I strapped him in the passenger seat, went around the front of the car and got in my seat. I could hear Sep and Paul calling me from the school gates, but I didn't care. I wanted to just get away from them. I was stuck in traffic again, typical. I was so frustrated and angry that even my son couldn't cheer me up at this point. He started blowing spit bubbles and was making the sound that's made when pushing spit out your lips. That high pitched, squishy sound. I was in no mood for it.

"SHUT UP!" I roared.

Garrus stopped making the noise. And never made a noise after that. He didn't cry or anything. I can't describe what it was. I looked back to the front of the car, waiting for the traffic to move. 'If I can just get home and have a drink then I should be fine,' I thought to myself.

I finally made it home. I walked quickly to my door and got inside. I flicked the light switch on and placed Garrus on the sofa. I did it with more force than I should have. I wasn't thinking straight, I never do when I'm angry. I had to take my frustration out on something.

My foot flew up and smashed into the side of Garrus's toy chair. It flew across the room and hit the wall, bit of plastic flying off and the buttons coming loose. I pulled out my draws and launched papers, pencils, staplers, anything I could get my hands on across the room.

I realize this was a major overreaction, but I didn't see that at the time. It took me a few minute to realize Garrus was crying, and had been crying the entire time. I quickly came to my senses, picked up my son and calmed him down. While I was bouncing him gently in my arms, he slowly stopped crying. I wiped the tears from his face and kissed his forehead. "Sorry" I whispered to him.

Holding Garrus in one hand, I lifted the chair with the other and put it back in its original spot; in front of my desk. I was going to put Garrus down, clean up the apartment and try to think things through rationally. Moments after putting Garrus down in his chair I heard a thud, a crack, a scream.

The seat had become loose from where I kicked it, and Garrus fell right through. His leg hit the floor and bent backwards, snapping the bone in the process. Oh God. My Garrus. My little Garrus. What did I do? The scream he let out of traumatizing. A loud, hellish scream. One that could only be produced by a little baby. I ran to his aid, but I couldn't do anything! I couldn't move the plastic or pick him up in fear that I would just hurt him more. I didn't know what to do! I was panicking! I was scared!

I thought that the best thing to do was to get him out of the chair and get him to a hospital ASAP. I wasn't thinking! I put one hand on Garrus's head and the other behind his back. Tears were streaming from his face, as well as mine. This was horrible. I started jerking, trying to get him free but he seemed to be caught on something. It never occurred to me to just stop and try to take it a little slower. I just pulling. The screaming grew louder and louder until I heard another snap.

The screaming stopped abruptly.

I looked down to see my son, not moving at all, with my hand around his head. I slowly let go and he fell lifelessly, the chair toppling over with him. I was in shock. I couldn't move. Hell! I could barely breath! I turned him over to see his face. It was odd. He didn't look like he was in pain. He didn't look scared. He didn't even look uncomfortable.

He looked betrayed.

I stood up and backed away. I couldn't believe my eyes. I couldn't believe that I had done this. 'I...I broke his neck...I killed him... I killed little Garrus...' My son was dead. But the screaming wasn't. It echoed through my head, ringing in my ears. It wouldn't stop. I tried screaming to try and deafen the noise but it was useless. I couldn't hear anything but the screams of my dying child.

To this day, I don't know what I was thinking when I did what I did next. I walked forward and grabbed Garrus by the head. I started dragging him to his room to put him to bed. Maybe I was trying to convince myself this never happened, I don't know. My mouth was hung open and tears were still trickling down my face, but I didn't make a sound. Garrus's body was dangling by his neck. It was making weird clicking noises to the beat of my feet hitting the floor.

When I reached his room, I stared into his cot thoughtfully. After a minute, I flung his body in there. I looked the picture of Sandra. She looked disappointed now. 'Please...' I said. She continued to stare at me. 'Please stop...' Still staring. 'STOP!' I punched the picture, cracking the glass in the frame and sending the photo to the other side of the room. I immediately ran over to it. My sweaty fingers started stroking the picture. 'Shhh, please! I'm sorry! Stop! Stop screaming! Please! I'm sorry!'

I bowed my head and sobbed quietly, dropping the picture in the process. The screaming was still echoing. It never stopped echoing.

I didn't sleep that night. How could I with all the noise? No, I was sitting next to Garrus's cot all night, swaying it back and forth and quietly shushing him. Trying to get him to stop screaming. It didn't work. I looked at my watch. 'Oh. It's 8am.' I said, completely monotone, 'Better get to the school.'

I made my way to the school, but left Garrus behind. He's way too sick to go to school today. No one was around. I looked at my watch again. It's must have been ahead by a few minutes. 'Oh well' I thought. I decided to go to Sep's class and explain to her why Garrus couldn't come in. Her class started earlier than the regular classes so I counted on her being there. I walked in to see the children sitting in their semi-circle as they usually did, but Sep was packing some things into her purse.

Upon seeing me she smiled and said, 'Oh, Davis, thank God. Listen, I left some papers at home today. You'd be doing me a huge favour if you could just watch the kids for a bit.' I looked around at the kids and made an audible gesture of thought. She put her hand on my shoulder, 'I promise I'll be back before your class starts. Please?' She seemed desperate, and she had done so much for my over the years. I smiled and nodded as she thanked me and ran out the door.

The screaming was still fresh in my head, but I was trying to hard to ignore it. I started thinking, 'If my own screams can't block it out, then what can? What is so loud and piercing that it would block out even the most deafening of screams? There's nothing as bad as a child's scream of pain, right?' I looked to the semi-circle of children and had a grand idea! It was brilliant! I grabbed a small chair, placed it on the outskirts of the semi-circle and sat in it.

One of the children smiled at me and giggled, so I decided to use her for my genius plan. I was so excited. So happy. I gestured with my hand for her to come over to me and she did, happily.

After she had crawled along the floor close enough for me to reach, I picked her up and sat her on my lap. I wrapped my arm around her leg. Her left leg. Her little left leg. Before I twisted it until it snapped, I leaned in slightly and whispered to the little girl.

'Scream for me.'