I always knew I was different, even at the young age of 5, when my anger started getting explosive. My mother would barely look at me as she sat at the kitchen table with a glass of scotch in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other. In fact that’s the only way I remember her. I never met my father and if I dared asked my mother she would glare and tell me I didn’t have one. I never questioned this, even after I was old enough to know this wasn’t possible. I feared my mother.
I remember the first time my temper erupted, I don’t remember what set it off or what happened during, I just remember my mothers hands on my shoulders, shaking me and screaming, there were tears in her eyes. That was the first time I had seen her show any emotion other than anger or irritation.
When I looked down at my hands, they were wet and sticky and there was a strong odor, that reminded me of metal.
The memory feels like a dream, but I really had killed the neighbors dog when I was five years old. I remember the yippie little thing jumping around my feet nipping at my heels, tripping me, I hated that little thing and I guess I finally had enough.
My mother caught me and for the first time, I saw that my mother feared me. This should have evoked some sort of emotion, like fear or shame, but all I remember feeling was relief that the annoying dog was finally gone. My mother packed up my things and drove me two states away to my grandmothers house. She said she was going back to get the rest of our stuff and find us a new house. The next time I saw her, I was an adult.
My grandmother was young, for a grandmother, in her mid forties. My mother was only a teenager when I was born and barely twenty one when she abandoned me. My grandmother was a strict Christian woman, she had married once and my grandfather died working for the railroad when my mother was young. There were pictures of him all over the house, Grandmother would talk to the pictures when she thought I was asleep. Some nights she talked about me, she called me Cammy and would say things about me having my fathers temper.
Grandmother required I attend church every weekend and spend 2 hours a night to my studies, I found school boring, but I never wanted to upset my grandmother. By the time I was 15, I was restless, I had a recurring dream about the fuzzy, yippie little dog I killed that caused my mother to abandon me.
It wasn’t a nightmare, I never felt fear or anxiety after, just a euphoric high, and I became desperate to get that high back.
I began experimenting with alcohol and pot, while it gave me the high I wanted, it also brought on a loss of control that would spark my anger. That is when I started searching for stray animals. I was always very careful to not get caught by my grandmother, I couldn’t stand the thought of disappointing her.
Grandmother knew I was different. One night I returned from my neighborhood “walks”, she was sitting in her rocking chair, knitting what appeared to be a hat for a baby doll. “Cameron!” She called before I could reach the stairs, “night grandma” I called, thinking she just wanted a good night hug, but when I reached the living room, she motioned for me to sit on the couch next to her chair.
Confused, I slowly sat down and silently waited for her to speak, that was the way she raised me, to respect my elders, I never raised my voice or defied her (that she knew of). “I’m sure you have questions, now is the time to get your answers” she said without looking up from the tiny hat in her hands. I was even more confused, she sensed it and added “about your parents” her voice was flat, almost bitter. This jolted me. Staring at my hands, I said “mother always told me to never ask” I don’t know why I said that but it seemed to light a spark in her and she began her story.
“Your mother…” she paused “she was a strong willed child, after her dad passed” she paused again to make the sign of the cross across her chest, I took her hint and followed suit “she became defiant, wouldn’t do a thing I asked of her, she was always a daddy’s girl probably blamed me now that I think about it, she started drinking and keeping company with the bad boys, the ones from divorced parents. She skipped school and would party with them, drinking, probably doing drugs. She smelled of a whiskey barrel when she would come home. My friends would call and say they saw her hanging around this boy, Frankie, they called him. She would be seen in public with this…boy, pawing all over her.”
She paused for what felt like an hour, still not taking her eyes off her knitting, I was uncomfortable but knew better than to speak or fidget. She cleared her throat “so it was no surprise when she got herself pregnant…” now she stole a glance at me “oh she cried and said she was raped, but the way she carried on, she was just afraid of the consequences. I told her to ask for forgiveness and she needed to marry that boy. She fought me at first and when she went to speak to him, he put her in the hospital. She almost lost you and he went to prison. She had to stay in that hospital bed nearly a month…” she paused again, this time a tear rolled down her cheek.
I conjured a memory of my mother, I accidentally walked in on her changing and saw the huge scar on her belly, when asked, she quickly covered up and told me it was from having me.
My grandmother finally began again “you were born almost three months early, Cameron Carl Lewis. I was so busy being angry with your mother, when you showed up I knew I couldn’t lose you, I begged your mother to sign over custody to me so she could finish school. She took you and ran away. I wish I would have listened to her.” Now the tears were streaming down her cheeks.
“Grandma, is he still in prison? My..my father?” I asked. “Yes. Well, he’s back there now. He got out after a few years, tried finding your mom and you for a while. He gave up and started dealing drugs, he couldn’t find a legal job after doing time. He became angrier and angrier until he walked into a frat house and murdered 10 college kids he had recently sold drugs to. He claims to not remember but the jury didn’t buy it. Now that he’s locked up, there’s been a long list of women coming forward, reporting assaults. I wish I could tell your mother how sorry I am for not believing her”.
The coldness and the anger I always saw in my mother began to make sense, I hugged my grandmother. “I’m glad she left me here” I whispered, giving her a peck on the cheek. She patted my head, like she did when I was little “you’re a good boy” she whispered. I didn’t sleep that night.
I stopped hunting strays after that night, I had never felt any attraction to girls, in fact I didn’t feel any need to be around anyone, as friends or otherwise. There was a wiry kid with thick rimmed glasses, he would study with me at the library, I guess he could be considered a friend. He was the one who first told me that girls found me attractive. He used terms like “dark” and “brooding” and “mysterious”. I didn’t understand, he must have understood something in me that I didn’t, because he told me to pretend to be more normal or other kids would start calling me weird and according to him, that was something I didn’t want.
So I took his advice, I watched teen movies as research and I transformed into a popular kid, I played football to release my aggression, I dated cheerleaders. I did what I was supposed to and it seemed to ease my grandmothers mind that I wouldn’t become violent like my father.
I even went to college, became a cop, got married and had kids of my own. I learned to fake the emotions considered normal and I was fine. Until my grandmother passed away suddenly of a heart attack. My life unraveled after that, my mother showed up at the funeral, to my dismay. She tried talking to me, I told her grandma had told me everything and that she should have called at least and then I walked out of her life. I became angry and my dreams returned.
Being a cop, I found my release in prostitutes. I knew how to get away with it and I did. The press dubbed me The Baby Doll Killer. I had a type, small framed, dark hair and dark eyes, my mother.
At this point in time, I have killed over 50 prostitutes in almost 10 years. I have been a homicide detective for close to twenty years and I know they are close to finding me. My wife found my box of trophies, locks of dark hair, tied together with ribbons. She is a smart woman, she packed up the kids and left without a note or phone call. I came home one night to an empty house. I poured myself a scotch and sat down to write this, although I am undecided if it is a suicide letter or a confession.
My wife was smart to disappear, I would have killed her to keep my secret. I am going to finish this bottle of scotch and decide how to proceed, maybe a new life somewhere else. I would need to leave the country, it is only a matter of time before the Feds will come sniffing around…
To my grandmother, I am sorry I disappointed you, that is my only genuine feeling…
This letter was found in the house of a murder suspect and lead homicide investigator after an anonymous tip was called in. The house was found empty and spotless, void of evidence except for this letter. The suspect was gone, his wallet, car keys and cell phone arranged neatly on top of the letter, next to an empty scotch bottle and dirty glass. Cameron Carl Lewis is presumed dead at this point, no further investigation is expected.
Meanwhile, there has been a increased number of missing girls near England…can’t help but wonder. Psychologists say it is a personality disorder stemming from an emotionally unavailable mother and a strict grandmother. This letter doesn’t sit well, it’s unsettling and seems to be a game to him.
Police department won’t comment on his exemplary record. The house has been bulldozed to stop the vandalism and curious kids looking for a scare. Local legend says he buried his family in the basement. Witness protection is probably more accurate. Who am I? I’m the wiry kid with thick framed glasses, now a forensic psychologist, I am not looking for Cameron to evaluate him and study him. I am not even looking to turn him over to the FBI. He was my only friend as an awkward teenager, I helped him with his persona, my intentions were to steer him out of the dark hole he was beginning to spiral down, to prevent him from what he inevitably became.
Now I fear that I created a monster, he was my Frankenstein, now I have to destroy him. My dark and brooding monster. My only fear is that he will find me first…