“Hello 911, this is a nun from Saint Patrick’s Orphanage for Boys, there is a boy that is out of control here” I remembered the nun whispering, “we need help. Now!" My memory of that day is scattered, like a broken puzzle, but some things don't want to be remembered. The sound of the gunshots, and the bloody bodies on the floor of the dining room. I remember hiding behind the kitchen table, holding onto my stuffed bear and listening to the scared nun on the phone with the police. I was very young then, but I knew better than to make any sounds. For moments before the orphanage was quiet; then he came. He was holding a pistol in one hand and an orange tube of colored pills in the other. He was yelling, screaming. He was insane, he was a cold-hearted killer, he was my old friend, my roommate. We shared a room, I slept in the same room with him. The thought disgusted me.
He was inches away from the kitchen table where the nun, three other boys, and I were hiding. He was going to lift the tablecloth and shoot us all; I knew it. My grip on the leg of the table tightened; my skinny hands shaking with fear. I closed my eyes, and waited to see the gates of heaven open up for me. But instead I heard whispering. The nun whispered into my ear, “Be brave little boy. You will not die today.”
She lifted the tablecloth and picked herself up from the floor, staring right into the eyes of the crazed boy. “Fredrick, you don’t have to do this,” she pleaded, “put the gun down.” He walked towards her with an unreadable expression on his face and tears spilling from his eyes, “I do” he said, “I do; I do.” “No Freddie, what you need is help.” she said stepping closer to him, “We’ll get you help. You’ll be ok.” Lies. Every word which fell from her mouth was a lie. “Everything will be ok.”
He stood still, and the room was hauntingly silent as he made his decision. The angel of death crept through the front door. “I always liked you the most Mary, you were kind and understanding. You understood what Paul did when I told you. You said you were shocked, but you weren’t. How many boys had come to you in confidence before I?” Fredrick yelled at her as she trembled and backed away. “Freddie I-” she started with a shaking voice, “No Mary, it’s my turn to speak.” he said, putting the gun to his lips. I couldn't see much through the tablecloth, but I knew he had stopped crying because the soft whimper which once was was gone. “I was a normal boy. You turned me into this, this monster. Paul did it, you did it, the world distorted me.” He looked like a statue, strong and distant, “You silenced me while Paul walked freely to torture any and every other boy under this roof. I prayed, night after night, for lightning to burn him. For the memories of his hands to fade from my mind. I tried to silence the voices, so many and so loud in my head.”
He voice rose steadily. “I prayed for a Messiah; until I realized I was the Messiah. Savior of all young boys. I’d rather them be dead than in Paul’s arms, and so it has to be.”
Fredrick pointed the gun at the nun. My heart was racing, my palms were sweating, and my eyes were drowning in tears as I watched, unable to do anything. He steadied the gun in his hand, pulling at the trigger. “Forgive me.”
A loud crack echoed through the empty room as a cold, metal bullet connected with the nun’s head. I closed my eyes, begging the police to come; begging god to spare me, so that he would show his face and save me. But the gun had fired, and god wasn’t there to save me. I still hear the footsteps, his footsteps, coming closer to my hiding spot. Coming closer to me. The room was silent as the small boys held onto the bigger boys, and the bigger boys held onto fear.
“George? Michael? Ethan?” His yells echoed through the empty house, “Come out, come out wherever you are!” He paced the tiled floor with his blood spattered boots. “Trust me, you’ll thank me. I’m giving you mercy.” He became angrier, his feet making a harder sound as they hit the floor. He was irritated now. I looked back at Ethan and saw his hand over George’s mouth; George was a hurricane. Tears bursting from the seams of his poor knit eyes.
The sirens of distant police cars yelled, red and blue lights illuminated the room as they came closer, “Come out with your hands up!” a husky voice yelled from outside. The killer cursed at the dead nun that called the police. He looked around before opening the tube of pills and swallowing them all at once. He saw me; spotting me from under the table. He stared into my eyes as his face turned purple, and I suddenly understood his anger. And that it wasn’t even anger. It was unforgiving fear which chose and consumed him. He confused what was right with what he thought was right. What, at the time, seemed the only right in the sea of wrongs done to him. He collapsed. He was dead. He had killed himself.
I peeled myself off the floor, still weeping, looking at the two dead bodies in front of me. I bent down next to the dead nun, her eyes were a marble gray, looking up at the ceiling. I pulled down her eyelids; closing them for the last time. Letting her rest in peace.
“She’s in a better place.” people said to me at her funeral, “God will take care of her.” But how could you comfort a little boy that just saw a murder and a suicide? For months after the shooting I had nightmares of those dead eyes staring straight at me, of the noise the gun made as it shot the nun, and of the last words they ever said “Forgive me.” “I’m giving you mercy.”
“I'm not a monster”, I said softly trying to convince myself. “ I am not like him,” I whispered “I'm not a monster.” But the truth was, I could have been.