This box was no ordinary box. This box was made up of pieces of Marty's history, the memorabilia cut to fit the plain wooden square, containing all of his favorite things.
A piece of his baby blanket; a button from his favorite blue shirt; a Magic: the Gathering collectors card; a lock of his shiny black hair; a picture of us at his third birthday party; and the last thing he made, a beautiful birthday card for my sixteenth birthday. Making this miniature scrap box made me weak with grief. It was always Marianna and Marty, until the tragedy that rocked our world and tore our parents to shreds. This time capsule was all that was left. My mom and dad, instead of having a nervous breakdown, went berserk, buying kits of new hobbies to try, from knitting to creating your own self sculpture.
As the months passed by, they realized that nothing could fill that huge hole in their hearts. I, on the other hand, decided on a different route: I've always had a hunger to feed my dark side, the side you always hear about on television, or that you see in the movies. Mine was always suppressed with outlets: Cheerleading, shopping sprees. Now, with my best friend, my little buddy, my miracle gone, I will let that inner beast out, and use it for good.
"Did I see what I think I saw?"
"Oh, my God, a child's been hit!!!"
I scream "no!" over and over again in my car. I hop out of my car running, my legs feeling like cement. The car just sped off! My mind is racing. I'm looking at the small red bike; it's hard to focus, sweat running into my eyes. I can see a small Batman sneaker and a Batman action figure, just like . . .
My chest feels like glass. I'm at the ditch, looking and dropping to my knees. As I breathe out my chest shatters, and I frantically begin CPR. I pinch his nose, breathing, watching for his chest, willing his chest to move. He is already earning his wings. He's lifeless!
I saw the car. I heard the voices. I know all four of my friends. We grew up together. They all know the love I have for him. They didn't give a damn. They all jumped back in the car and left my Marty in that ditch to rot.
Then, I wanted to drive up to their homes, knock loudly on all the doors, and when opened drive a nail right through their self-centered skulls. To do this for Marty the right way, to get him justice to the fullest extent, I had to take my heart out of the picture and use only my head. Be damned, science, math, and English - they had no place in my life any longer. Finding it hard to keep my rage at bay, I set up little scenarios for each murderer in my mind, over time triumphantly killing them, one by one.
The families will have no closure. I will leave no evidence. The parents of each one will never rest, and will always hold onto the hope of 'my baby coming home again.' This decision came with dire consequences that would turn my insides black.
That being the case, I had to show no knowledge of the question asked a thousand times over and over by my parents: "Who could have done such a horrid thing?"
Though I love my leftover family I want to shout at the top of my lungs, "Steve, Billy, Stacy and that slut Karen!!! They killed Marty, Mom!!! They are the MONSTERS!!"
That could never happen.
I walk around the funeral home silently, not wanting to look at the body in the casket. I do it anyway, and stroke his soft cheek. I come to the hellish reality that I am now alone: just Marianna. After the wake (where my dad had to fight my mom to not climb in the casket with him, screaming and begging her to please not to make a scene), one more step towards sealing the deal was going to be the gut-wrench of Marty?s funeral.
As hard as I try, I still can remember only one other thing on that invisible day: his choo-choo-train-shaped flower spray.
Going back to school was a raw bucket of emotion that I was not prepared for. The most sickening part was the fake tears of Karen. She will be my first, the one who cleverly said: "It's a ditch, at least we don't have to touch it."
She has been a pain in my neck and a constant at my side. It's almost normal now for her to ask me a question, always about my feelings. I give that bitch quick, short, answers.
"Hey, are you mad at me?"
"No," while rolling my eyes, "I know you are not yourself."
"I loved him too. You are so unlucky."
I'm so tired and I have no tears left to shed. All I can think about, while drowning Karen out, is the day he was born. Seeing him for the first time, already knowing my life would forever be changed. I was a proud sibling, and could not wait for the days of celebrating milestones in his life. Now, it's all an empty space. My life is nothing but darkness. My light is shut out forever, and I painfully understand the true meaning of the cycle of life. I was there with Mom when he was born, and I was there while he died. I hate that depressingly-honest-to-a-fault Mother Nature.
In trying to tune Karen out, she says something that almost makes me dizzy with fury: She asks if it was difficult to see Marty's Batman shoe in the middle of the road. I ask her how she knows about that. In that instant, she scrambles to say something, anything, to cover her ass.
"Umm, my Mom told me."
I say nothing, letting it hang in the air, wanting very badly to jump over her desk and smash her face into the top of it. I had other plans.
It's now Saturday; our finals start on Monday. Today makes six months. I drove to the cemetery, knowing my baby brother's spot by heart. Row two, fourth tombstone to the left. Today, I bring him a little trinket -- it's a heart, with the words 'soulmate' written in bright lettering. I lay it on top of his final home. All cried out, I return to the car and head over to the library where Karen and I have a 'study buddy' day planned for our math final.
I am prepared, my special box under my driver's seat. I also have the key to my family cabin. It has not been used in over five years. We used to go every weekend, but now with Mom and Dad having such huge careers, we no longer have the time or energy to pack and make an effort to have a getaway weekend. For three weeks, I have been sneaking there, getting every detail perfect. Lying to my parents, telling them about long cheerleading practices (I quit over a month ago). Wearing the cheerleading uniform to keep my facade alive.
Two hours later it's time to meet my first frenemy. I wait outside the library with great anticipation. I see her walking toward me and keep my hands rammed in my pockets because of my clammy palms.
"Hi! Ready to study for our math final?"
"Sure, but walk with me to my car? I forgot my umbrella and it looks like rain."
As she walks behind me, I can hardly control the impulse to snatch her and toss her murdering ass into my car. Knowing the next step has to be perfectly timed to work in my favor, I calmly begin the dialogue, but part of me wants to stop time and ignore the voices in my head.
"Hey, why don't we get a coffee before we start?"
"Gee, I don't know?"
"Oh come on, it will be my treat."
"Ok why not?"
Music blasting, and the genius Eminem rapping "I'm not afraid." Ironic, right? I am looking forward to the moment that it all clicks for her. We motor along the route to the Coffee Stirrer, just two friends, rapping along to the lyrics. Suddenly, I veer left and not right, the turn automatically recognized.
"Hey I think it's right. Yeah it's back that way."
"You know why I veered left!! Cut the bullshit, Karen!!"
"OK, OK, but I begged them to stop texting! I promise!"
"You are such a liar! I heard you. You told them to 'just leave it.' It? You called Marty an 'it'!!! You fake BITCH!!!"
She gives this blood curdling scream and tries to unlock the door, to jump out and flee.
"You can scream all you want, no one can hear you."
She continues and it's really grating on my nerves. I quickly punch her, knock her out, shut her up.
In the peaceful and satisfying atmosphere, we finally arrive. I know Marty is watching from up above. His loving grace glows around me. It gives me his permission to continue our quest for justice.
I drag her by her legs inside. She is heavier than she looks. With a 1...2...3 I manage to get her on the table. I begin binding her legs and arms to keep them in place.
I take out my very special box, which contains my shiny judge, jury, and executioner. Picking the perfect knife, I begin. Stab, slice, clip, peel. The release is amazing, almost Zen.
Standing there, watching her life leave her body, knowing her soul will be dropping into Hell, is infinitely priceless.
I slide her corpse off onto the sheets of plastic. I am almost high with relief and satisfaction, but to stay in my private, secret new hobby, I have got to follow through. Carefully, I take down and bundle the rest of the plastic shrouds that I used to keep the bitch from messing up the cabin. Now all is wrapped, and weighed down. I haul it outside and tossit into the serene lake.
I go back to finish my clean up, and begin to plan my next elimination: Billy.
I bet you were driving, Billy, weren't you?
x x x
And this is my 'rough hewn' for the year. First time author Elizabeth Lindsey frightened me enough with this tale of obsession, insanity, and horror that I overlooked its many faults and edited it more than usual. (One fault I found both interesting and amusing: Elizabeth referred to Eminem's work as 'wrap.' Perhaps I should have used this at Christmas instead. It's 'rap' Elizabeth and I changed the spelling appropriately.) Let me know if it scared you as well. Post to our BBS. - GM