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A Difference

Charlie was different. He wasn't your average six-year-old boy. It really was quite a shame that his parents didn't realize that before they died. The coroner's report claimed it was an accident that killed them. Bad wiring in the house is what caused the fire. The parents never woke, but somehow Charlie had survived; found unharmed outside the house by one of the neighbors. Well, that's the story that went around anyway. But I knew better.

You see, Charlie lived in a peaceful neighborhood; the old-fashioned kind that the occasional passerby might think of as quite beautiful. Others might think of the neighborhood as odd, finding the striking similarities of one house to the next distasteful.

So you can imagine what kind of an impact the fire had to the rest of the neighborhood. They were all friends, and knew each other pretty well, and were, of course, all devastated to hear of the tragic deaths of two of their fellow neighbors. Most felt the worst for Charlie, seeing as he was put into Foster Care for adoption since he had no other family.

In fact, one neighbor, a sweet old lady by the name of Nancy decided to adopt Charlie. She was a lonely widow of fifteen years, and the two children that she had had left her long ago, as adults ready to face the world on their own. Nancy was a caring, and loving woman, who missed having a child to take care of, so she took in Charlie.

It was two months and eight days later that Nancy passed away. They say she killed herself, that she was found in her bedroom with a plastic bag over her head. No one knew the details, but the rest of the neighborhood pitied Charlie even more so than they had two months previously. In fact, yet another neighbor took in Charlie before Foster Care could get another hold on him, despite the death that he seemed to attract. This time it was a young couple that hadn't lived in the neighborhood as long as most. The couple, their names being Frank and Julia, were expecting a child, Julia about six months pregnant. They loved children, and didn't see the harm in having a kid around.

Charlie had just turned seven when Frank and Julia were found dead. A murder this time. The word was everywhere, attracting a lot of attention. They say that Frank just had a mental breakdown, and shot his wife in the head twice before ending his own life. The baby didn't survive, but of course, Charlie did. The entire neighborhood was shocked now by the tragic chain of deaths clearly following Charlie, and this time no one wanted to adopt him, in the neighborhood or otherwise. Which is why I did. As a member of the neighborhood and the community, I felt it was my responsibility to handle Charlie. I took him in; that strange child. He never smiled, he never frowned, laughed or cried. He never volunteered anything, and only spoke when he was spoken to directly. If I didn't already know better I would of thought of him as just a very traumatized little boy, but I did know better.

I stayed up most nights, having trouble sleeping. I'd had my fair share of traumas when I was young, and that was enough to give me nightmares for the past thirty-five years. One night I heard a very quiet rattling noise coming from the kitchen, and I knew just who it was. I had been waiting for this moment for the past three weeks and four days. Sure enough, I could see the silhouette of his small body through the darkness of the night. The window was open, its curtains fluttering with the wind, and the moon was full, shining a silver light through the window to catch a glittering glimpse of the knife's razor-sharp point.

Charlie did not turn to face me. The only movement he made was the twist of his wrist, making the long knife glitter in the moonlight. I knew that he had not sensed my presence.

I moved slowly, stealthily, grabbing a vase full of nothing but the death of a dozen white roses. I gripped it firmly as I progressed. I was about a foot away when I let out a mindless wail, and smashed the vase against his small, unsuspecting head. I heard the breaking of the vase as shards of glass peeled the air, breaking my skin, but more importantly, his. The knife fell from his hand and landed with a clatter in time with the descent of the wilted roses. At that moment the silence broke through my mind until I could hear nothing but the sound of my heavy breathing.

Charlie was unconscious, lying twisted on the floor, beneath him the roses pressing deeper into their death as spots of blood soaked into their dry petals. He was alive and breathing, just unable to wake. I carried him to my basement, and using a rope, I bound him to a hard wooden chair. All this was arranged, I'd taken the care, and no one would be able to hear his screams. No one except me.

Charlie awoke much sooner than I had anticipated, crying and portraying false innocence. I sat in a chair across from him, and watched as, for the first time since I adopted him, he expressed true emotion. He was afraid. He was afraid of me, and he feared for himself, and only himself. Eventually he quieted, and that's when I questioned his motives for murder. At first he denied causing harm to anyone, and I had to give him credit for intelligence. Or maybe more accurate; a good sense of self-preservation. Then I brought out my belt, and gave him another chance to speak the truth.

It took only two hits of the belt for him to confess, and I couldn't give him credit for strength. Charlie confessed to each and every murder; his parents, Old Lady Nancy, Frank, Julia, and what would've been their new baby. He confessed to trying to kill me, and begged me to set him free, promising to never kill again. But of course I did not set him free. I didn't buy his act of present emotions. Charlie was different, like other children I've seen before. Charlie was like a child that I had known all too well. There was something wrong with Charlie that could never be fixed. Charlie was different. And that's why I killed him. Our neighborhood didn't need another difference.





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