Mother laid sleeping in her bed. It had been so long since she had joined me for breakfast. Her eyes stared into mine with such contempt and disappointment. I tried to be a good son, but she wouldn’t talk to me. It was a simple mistake. For a brief moment I thought I could leave our wonderful home in search of something more. It was selfish. Mother needed me. I left mother and now she is so sad. I remember the last thing she said to me before heading to her bed and never coming out.
“There you are, buried between the legs of a whore, just like your father. You make me sick.”
It was a single indiscretion. The girl had complimented my hair and the way I talked. One thing had indeed led to another and I found myself tempted by this Jezebel and in the throes of passion. It was our special time. This girl, I never even learned her name, had given me something mother had not in 40 years of life — relief. When she found us on the chaise sofa finishing our dirty deed, I was at a loss for words. She looked so hurt.
The girl ran, but mother would not let our sin go unpunished. I was told to stand in the corner as she dragged the girl kicking and screaming down the hallway. Her screams were all I heard until mother returned in silence. She had been naughty. Mother did not like naughty children. I had been naughty and mother would see fit to punish me.
Mother stoked the fireplace and glowing orange embers flew up from the coals. After letting the iron poker heat to an orange glow, she placed it to my bare chest to leave another reminder of my terrible behavior. The flesh seared and I grimaced. I knew better than to scream. A good son is a quiet son. When she had finished punishing me for my indiscretion, she went up to her room. She never comes out of her room anymore.
My name is Melvin. I am a good son. Mother has done her best to raise me up over the past 40 years. I’m not very smart. Mother tells me that the world is not kind to boys like me. Sometimes mother lets me play in the yard. I wasn’t allow to go into the outside world. My only experiences with the outside are movies my mother let me watch. Ever since that girl and I did the bad thing on the sofa, mother doesn’t let me play anymore. I spend my days doing chores and reading the books mother gave me. They are getting old. I’ve read Moby Dick so many times I can almost recite it from memory. Mother isn’t impressed by this.
She demands that I read and study until I am ready to leave the home. I keep failing. Every time I try to take the test required to call myself a man, I get scared and choked up. Has anyone ever passed that test? It is so heartless. How am I supposed to tell my mother I no longer love her? I know it is required in order to leave, but I cannot bring myself to lie like that. She can be tough, but mother loves me.
I’m not supposed to be writing. Mother bought me a computer so I could work my job online. It is a set of fairly simple tasks. I take medical notes that are mailed to the house and enter them into a form on a website. I do this for about 12 hours a day. Mother says I’m a good boy for earning enough money to buy us food. If mother catches me at an unapproved website, she punishes me. Mother’s discipline hurts almost as much as the thought of disappointing her, but I’ve been reading some of the stories here and I can see some of you are dealing with the Bad Man too.
The Bad Man started coming around last year. Mother brought him into her bedroom and she made all kinds of awful noises. I was scared. I tried to open her door but she screamed at me to go away. Shortly after The Bad Man came downstairs and walked out the door. He comes by about once a week now. I tried to stop him from hurting mother, but she punished me and said he was helping her. I don’t see how. She was making terrible noises the last time he came. She doesn’t make any noises now. I think she is mad at me. I let The Bad Man hurt her and now she stares at the wall all day. I haven’t seen her downstairs in weeks.
Each morning I bring mother a tray of food. I do the same at lunch and dinner. When the trays began to pile up I stood there and begged mother to eat. She is wasting away in that bed. I don’t know why she won’t talk to me. I try so hard to be good.
One day I did something bad.
I wanted to see if mother would come punish me. She keeps chocolates in the freezer. I’m not allowed to have them. I ate one, then another. After a while I had eaten the whole box. I shouted out that I had eaten all of her chocolates, but she didn’t make a sound. I ordered her more online. I’m not allowed to go to the store. Mother says that only men are allowed to leave the house alone. I refuse to pass the manhood test. I don’t hate mother. The world is cruel for requiring that. That is probably why none of you ever talk about it.
I’m not supposed to talk to people online. Mother told me that bad men would hurt me if I talked to people. I see you talking to each other and wish I could join the conversation. It has been a very long time since I have talked to anyone besides Mother. I get lonely though. I wanted to talk to someone but Mother wasn’t very talkative. I decided to search Google for a new Mother to talk to.
This is how I met Cheryl. She tells me to call her Mommy.
Mommy has a web camera and spends her days talking to boys like me. The first time I messaged her she said that I had to pay two dollars a minute to talk to her. This was not a problem. Having worked so hard for so long, I understood that Mommies needed money. I took Mother’s credit card and rented Mommy for an hour. I was so inconsiderate though. When I called her on Skype, she didn’t even have clothes on. She got dressed and talked to me. It made me happy.
She was younger that Mother. In fact, she was younger that me. I am 40 and a half. She said she was 39. Even still, she became Mommy. Every day I would talk to Mommy for an hour. She would tell me that I was a good boy and that she loved me. She told me it was okay to go on Reddit and to talk to people. Mother wouldn’t approve, but Mommy was better than Mother. I felt terrible for thinking that but whereas Mother was cruel and strict, Mommy gave me love and encouraged me to go outside.
With Mommy’s encouragement I went outside for the first time in three years the other day. I was worried I would meet another girl. Mother was very strict about girls. She said they were snakes that wanted to eat my innocence. After what happened before, I believed her. Even still, Mommy encouraged me to go out and make friends. This was a mistake.
I walked to the end of the sidewalk and giggled as I put one toe on the street. I had never been that far away from the house. I stepped onto the road and turned left. I had never been outside the yard before. I wanted to be extra careful not to do anything bad. I walked for an hour before I saw a park. I had always wanted to go to the park, but Mother wouldn’t allow it. She said the other kids would be mean to me. I saw swings. I wanted to play on the swings.
I walked over to the swings and sat down. I had seen a kid play on the swings in a movie. Awkwardly at first, I kicked my legs out and brought them back. Then I went down the slide. It was fun. There was another kid behind me that was afraid to go down the slide. I waved at her and she started crying. Her Mother came up to me.
“Get away from my daughter you pervert!” she said.
I looked at her and asked, “What is a pervert? Mother called me that once but she wouldn’t explain it.”
The woman started screaming.
I said, “You shouldn’t shout. Mother said shouting is bad.”
The woman grabbed her daughter and ran away. The playground didn’t turn out to be fun. I was sad. I turned to walk home and I realized I didn’t know where home was. I started to cry. I sat at the bottom of the slide crying until a police officer walked up to me.
“Sir, can I see some identification?” he asked.
“Mother said I wasn’t allowed to have identification,” I cried. “She said the government used it to brand us.”
“Sir,” the officer asked, “what is your name?”
I looked up. The Police Officer had a stern look on his face. “My name’s Melvin, Melvin Patten,” I said.
The police officer crouched down and handed me a handkerchief. “Melvin Patten, as in THE Melvin Patten?” he asked.
I nodded. He put a hand on my shoulder. “Melvin, would you like to ride with me to the police station.”
I nodded again. The Police Officer let me ride in the front seat of his car. He turned out to be pretty nice. It was confusing. Mother said the police were bad people, but this man was pretty nice. He walked me into the station and put my hand on this weird machine that ran a line of light across my fingers. Then he led me to a chair and gave me a chocolate bar. He asked me a strange question.
“Melvin, where have you been for the last 35 years?”
“I’ve been with mother,” I replied. “We live at 378 Willowbrook Lane. Are you going to take me home?”
The officer paused for a moment and said into his radio, “Send a patrol unit to 378 Willowbrook Lane.”
He turned to me. “Melvin, what is your mother’s name?” he asked.
I remembered the name from the credit card. “Patricia Walton, but I’m not supposed to call her that.”
The officer typed at his computer and asked me to sit still while he worked. I was happy to oblige. He was a nice man and he had given me candy. When I got home I was going to tell Mommy about how I met a nice police officer. I knew Mother would be angry, but I had an idea. I would get Mommy to talk to Mother! It was a great idea. I just had to leave the police station and go home. I tugged on the officer’s shirt. “When can I go home?” I asked.
“Not right now,” the officer said. “I have to confirm a few things. Don’t worry, we have an officer going to check on your Mother. Everything will be okay.”
A voice came over the radio, “Dispatch, we have multiple 10-54’s at 378 Willowbrook Lane. I’m going to need more units.”
The officer turned to me. “Melvin,” he asked. “Why are there bodies in your house?”
I shook my head. “There aren’t any,” I said. “Mother is sleeping upstairs and the girls Mother punished are in the basement.”
The officer spoke over the radio. “Unit 23, was there a single 10-54 upstairs in bed and multiple 10-54’s in the basement?”
A few moments later the voice on the voice on the radio replied, “10-4.”
I started to get scared. As I rocked back in forth in my seat, the police officer said, “Melvin, I’m going to move you to your own room. Will you come peacefully?”
I nodded and them man led me to a small white room with a blue mattress on a metal frame. There was a toilet. I giggled. Who would put a toilet in the bedroom? It was a silly room. I was worried about Mother but the police officer was taking care of her. I laid down for a nap.
I woke to a new police officer leading me to a room with a big mirror. I sat at a chair facing the mirror and he sat in front of me.
“Mr. Patten we ran your prints and they match a set taken when you were in preschool. Your parents are outside, but before we bring them in here we need to discuss the bodies in your home. How acquainted were you with Patricia Walton?” the new officer asked.
“Mother is here?” I asked. “Oh please send her in. I was so worried.”
The officer replied, “Mr. Patten, I need you to address the bodies.”
I frowned and answered him. “Sometimes a girl would come to the door or talk to me in the yard. Mother would punish me for talking to them. In one case I did something very naughty with a girl and mother dragged her away. She screamed so loud. I was scared.”
“How did your mother punish you Melvin?”
I lifted up my shirt.
The man spoke into a radio. “I need a camera in here, now.”
Several men took pictures of my chest. I was embarrassed. When they were done the officer turned to me.
“Your mother did this to you?”
A strange woman and an old man came into the room. The ran up and hugged me. The woman kissed me on the cheek. Both of them were crying. I was sad for them, but the kisses tickled.
“Who are you guys?” I asked.
“Melvin,” the old man said. “I’m your father. This is your REAL mother. The officer told us that awful woman told you she was your mother.”
I stood up and pushed them off of me. I grabbed the man by his shirt. “LIAR!” I screamed. “DON’T SAY BAD THINGS ABOUT MOTHER!” I threw him across the room.
The strange woman wrapped her arms around me and shouted. “It’s true Melvin. Think back. We were at the grocery store and that woman grabbed you. I’m your mother. I gave birth to you!”
The police officers flooded into the room and pulled the woman off of me. I was tackled to the ground and put into cuffs. They returned me to that white room. I was happy to be alone. I thought about what the woman said. How did she know what my first memory was? When I was a kid I was at the grocery store with Mother and I was afraid she had gone away forever. Then mother picked me up out of the cart and carried me home. She was a good mother. That man was a liar.
I woke up the next day and I was placed back in chains and led to a van. After a long car ride I was taken to Western State Hospital. Still in chains, I sat across from this bald man in a white coat. He asked me several questions and I was sure to be honest. Mother said never to lie. He pulled out a small tape recorder.
The doctor spoke into the recorder.
“Subject shows severe mental and emotional disability. His demeanor is almost childlike. I have serious doubts that he understands his situation. My advice is that he be treated for severe PTSD and Stockholm Syndrome. From there we can discuss permanent placement.”
I understand the words, but I don’t understand how they apply to me. People have been saying a lot of strange things lately. I just want to go back to Mother. I want to talk to Mommy on the computer. They let me use the computer here but when I tried to go to Mommy’s site the screen read, “Content Blocked: Pornography.” Mommy is not pornography.
The doctor showed me a movie this morning. I don’t want to believe it. It is just a movie. Mother said movies aren’t real. A lady on the movie said this:
“In what should have been happy news, missing child Melvin Patten, subject of one of the first nationwide campaigns for missing children was found alive in a playground just a few days ago. He had been held for 35 years by serial killer Patricia Walton. Numerous bodies were recovered from the house on Willowbrook Lane. Sadly, Melvin has endured a sad life. Doctors say he is developmentally stunted and unaware of his situation. Melvin’s birth parents could not be reached for comment, but a lawyer for the family said they declined to comment. No word yet on the issue of Melvin standing trial for his involvement in Patricia Walton’s slayings. We will give you more news as it is made available. This is Meghan Cogar signing off.”
So many lies. Why is everyone lying to me?