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Samuel

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Samuel loved others. Anyone would agree. But Samuel was different. Samuel was a simple boy and he did simple things. No one had ever asked much of him, so Samuel had given whatever was asked. Samuel loved others. Everyone. And everyone loved Samuel. Everyone laughed at his four or five repeated jokes. Everyone smiled as he walked by. Everyone except for Ryan Renolds, that is. Ryan did not love Samuel—he despised him, he dreamed of Samuel’s utter destruction and glorious death. For Samuel would die; he was close to dying every day. He had a disease of the immune system called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. Contracting even the flu would kill him. Thus, Samuel was not allowed to do much. He went to school and went home, only the places necessary to live an “ordinary” 16-year-old’s life. But Samuel had never seen a mall, had never ridden a roller coaster. He had almost no social skills, had only one tie to the outside world: school. He was a 16-year-old who did not know about all of the evil the world held and talked in short spasms of language such as, “Hi, Mrs. Tabbles,” or, “You look nice today, Britney.” Samuel wore a mask such as a surgeon would wear. And everyone loved him for who he was, a sheltered, nervous, but loving boy. Yet, Ryan Renolds did not see this boy. Ryan saw a weak child; a hideous monster who soaked up all attention for himself. Ryan craved, needed that attention. And he swore to stop Samuel and all of his evil.
Samuel had no pets. He couldn’t. Pet dandruff would upset his body. So, Samuel had only seen pictures of dogs and cats. He had only felt the photos of birds and rabbits. The bubble that was his life only allowed Samuel to pet stuffed animals. And Ryan knew this. Ryan knew he could play off of the desire for a handful of course fur and he did so. Samuel loved everyone. Trusted everyone. This, Ryan used as well. Over a period of two weeks, Ryan explained to Samuel just how amazing cats were; how it felt to hold one. And Samuel began to have dreams of clutching a kitten and putting it in a small bed. He began to smile at the thought of owning one. But the thought was useless. Samuel would never see a cat, let alone touch one. But Ryan said differently. Ryan told Samuel he could find a cat. And he did.
Bethany Marshall had a cat. And Bethany loved Ryan. On her birthday, at 4:45 p.m., Ryan stopped by Bethany’s house. He flirted with her, laughing more at her crooked smile and wonder-filled eyes than any of her attempted jokes. She left for a minute to make some popcorn. Ryan observed where she went. Next he asked to see her treasured feline, Maxy. She smiled her crooked smile and wandered up the stairs to her room. Ryan unzipped his backpack. Maxy was brought down the steps, squirming and uncomfortable. Bethany laid the cat on Ryan’s lap. It instantly leapt from his legs. Ryan looked up at Britney and frowned disappointedly. Her eyes widened and she quickly grabbed up the cat and firmly stuck him into Ryan’s lap. The cat stayed, growling but submissive. Ryan smiled.
The girl’s eyes twinkled. She got up and excused herself to grab two cans of pop. Ryan watched her leave and leapt to his feet. He called into the next room, “I’m gonna put Max upstairs.”
He listened for her trusting response, “Alright.” He smiled a slanted, vicious smile. He stuffed the cat in his backpack and opened up a small hole in the zipper for air. Walking to the front door, Ryan put the bag down and walked up the stairs. In the girl’s room, he opened a window then went back down the stairs. Bethany came into the room just as Ryan dismounted the stairs. She smiled lovingly at him, a smile one would give to a caring husband. The smile made Ryan’s insides churn. He shrugged off the sickness and sat down on the couch. For twenty minutes, Ryan talked. Then he opened his eyes wide as if remembering something. He said, innocently, “Oh! Is it ok that I opened a window in your room? I thought the cat may want some air.”
Bethany’s face turned to utter horror. She yelled, “No! He’ll try to escape!” Ryan mimed pure ignorance. He leapt to his feet and waited intently while she checked her room. Bethany came down screaming. She told him they had to look for Maxy. Ryan hesitated, then told her he had to go. That he was sorry. She told him it was alright but he had to leave. She was going to go find her cat. He agreed and mentioned how sorry he was many times. She smiled at him and told him that Maxy was probably just down the street. Then, parting ways, Jack grabbed his bag and ran home.
The cat meowed in Ryan’s backpack. He thanked it sarcastically for being quite at Bethany’s house. It only took Ryan two minutes as he made the quick walk two blocks away to Samuel’s house. He arrived at 6:30. He knocked on the door and asked Samuel’s short marshmallow of a mother if he could see Samuel. The chubby little woman disputed but Ryan persisted, saying, “It’ll only be for a minute.” Finally, she gave in and let the boy walk downstairs to Samuel’s room. Ryan knocked on the door to the bedroom and opened it. A startled Samuel jumped and ran for his mask. Placing the mask on, he smiled under the fabric. Ryan was a nice boy. Samuel trusted Ryan. “Hi, Ryan!” he said excitedly. Ryan smiled another of his vicious smiles. He reached for his bag and wordlessly brought the cat out, writhing in his arms.
Samuel’s eyes widened. He stepped back at first, glancing around, then, seeing that no one was watching him, he cautiously approached the cat. It stared at him and blinked, no longer uncomfortable in Ryan’s arms. Ryan placed the cat in Samuel’s arms. The cat continued to stare at Samuel, caught in a deep gaze. Samuel smiled and placed a sanitized hand on the cat, bunching up the fur in his palm. He felt the fragile legs and the rough nose. From behind the mask, he coughed. His eyes widened again, now in fear. He thrust Maxy back at Ryan. In a short breathy spasm came, “Take it. Please. Thank you, Ryan. Thank you.” Ryan nodded, preparing his next move. He put his arms forward to accept the feline.
Just as Samuel released the cat, Ryan moved back a half step in a quick, unseen glide. The cat dropped through his finger tips and fell, landing on all fours. Samuel leapt back in terror. Ryan swooped in, grabbed the cat, and put it swiftly into his bag. He reached in and pretended to comfort the cat. Instead he got a small bite. Ignoring this, he told Samuel, “I think you hurt it badly. You really can’t drop cats, Samuel.” Samuel shied back and began to cry. Ryan began to leave and was intercepted by Samuel’s mother.
“What’s wrong?” said the marshmallow.
“Nothing. I was just leaving.” Ryan muttered. The mother looked from her son to Ryan and nodded. Ryan walked out of the house as the small woman went to comfort her son. Then, walking a block away, Ryan went behind a group of trees and broke the cat’s back. It was quick and fast. At about 7:08, he took the cat back to Bethany’s house and explained how it seemed that Samuel had killed her cat. She cried into his shoulder and he smiled his slanted, vicious smile once more.

The next day, no one would talk to Samuel. Ryan watched as Bethany slapped Samuel and her friends glared at him. People sat far away from him and talked, glancing back at him every five seconds. It had worked, and for about a week, nothing more happened and Samuel was an outcast. Then, a week after Bethany’s cat was killed, Samuel was found in his room with a bloody kitchen knife next to his wrist. He died at 7:25 p.m. on a Thursday and the funeral was held three days later. Ryan came. Bethany cried into his shoulder and he gagged. The ceremony was beautiful, showing the life of Samuel and reminding people how caring, generous, and loving he was. Afterwards, a tear-filled mother of Samuel approached Ryan. She slapped him, hard and loud, and told him that this was his fault, that her son had told her everything. Ryan listened and was slapped again. The woman sniffled and stormed off.
“What did she mean?” a student questioned.
“Ya. What was that?” came another.
Ryan started, “I—”
“How did Samuel get the cat?” It was Bethany.
“How did he what?” Ryan asked, feigning ignorance once more. Now everyone was watching.
“How did he get the cat?” This was forceful, angry.
“I—”
“He was in his house. He doesn’t leave the house. He doesn’t leave. He can’t. How did he get the cat! How did he get Maxy!”
Ryan’s protest caught in his throat. He was defenseless.
“You took him, didn’t you? You killed him. And you—you turned us against Samuel. You made us hate him! And then he slit his wrist! You killed Samuel!”
Bethany thrust her hand at Ryan, then hesitated. She lowered her fist and turned. The crowd parted. She walked away and the crowd followed her. At last, Ryan was left alone in the church, granted the attention he so craved—at last.





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