The puppy had been the first. A sweet little Cocker Spaniel smothered with a white lace pillow. It was in his backyard now, under four feet of packed dirt. He didn’t know who it belonged to, but that didn’t matter. Tym didn’t care. All that mattered was the satisfaction he felt. He loved the warmth that spread throughout his limbs when he saw the life drain from the eyes of something living.
Tym had been killing animals for a while now. They were mostly cats and dogs but there were the few exceptions. Like when he killed his neighbor’s horse. He had thrown a rock about the size of his fist. It sailed swiftly through the air and made contact with the horse’s temple. The horse wobbled for a time before collapsing. It laid there in a mixture of dirt and hay for fifteen minutes, letting out a raspy death rattle with every breath it took. Tym had just stood there, enjoying the sound of death. When the horse was no longer moving Tym returned home.
There was another weird thing about Tym. When he was around other people he seemed normal. He was kind, social, an “A+” student. Nobody would ever expect him to be like he was. Except his mother…
You see, Tym had made a mistake. One mistake. A foolish mistake.
A few days after he killed the horse Tym shot a dove with his bb gun. The shot didn’t kill the dove so Tym took it home and put it in an empty shoe box. The bird didn’t give much of a struggle. It just rested in the box, barely breathing, blood seeping from the wound in its lower body… Tym decided not to torture it. Instead he left it alone in the shoebox. Every day Tym would pull the shoe box from under his bed and take a peek inside. A smile would spread across his face. It was still alive; still in pain. The one peek at what lay within the box would satisfy his daily need. He would close the box and return it to its place under his bed.
One day, when Tym was at school, his mother was at home cleaning. She was done with the laundry and decided to place Tym’s clothes on his bed for him to put away when he got home. When she entered the room the first thing she noticed was the smell. The air was wafting with such a horrible stench that Tym’s mother had to cover her mouth to suppress a gag. It was as if a slab of meat had been left out on the kitchen counter for too long.
Eventually she got past the smell and gathered enough strength to venture inside her son’s bedroom. She placed the clothes on Tym’s bed and, being intrusive like any other mother, began searching his room for the source of the stench.
The smell encompassed such a large area of Tym’s room that his mother was led on what could be called a wild goose chase. The smell wasn’t coming from his closet. There was nothing in his dresser. She didn’t find anything under his mattress. When she got down on her knees and looked under Tym’s bed the smell hit her like a large wave of ocean water.
I know that smell, she thought to herself, trying to gain back the focus the horrid smell had taken. I’ve smelt it before…. It smells like… A dead body…
Frantically Tym’s mother threw aside the books and papers that resided under her son’s bed, hoping that her thoughts would be proven wrong. When she pulled the shoe box from underneath the bed her heart sank. This was it, the source of the smell. She could tell by the way the scent radiating from it made her eyes water and bile build up in her throat.
For a while she just sat there, holding the shoe box in her hands. Did she really want to know what was inside? However, natural human curiosity propelled her forward. In one swift movement, she removed the lid and tossed it far out of her range of vision.
She let out a small yelp of surprise and dropped the box. Why is there a dead bird in that shoe box?
Summoning her courage, Tym’s mother risked another look inside the shoe box. Her heart broke at the depressing sight. The bird looked so mutilated with its feathers matted with dried blood. It was dead now, but she could still see the pure fear in its glassy eyes.
“So, I see you have met my new friend,” A voiced stated with a cold calmness.
Tym’s mother looked up to see her son leaning up against the frame of his bedroom door. She had been so distracted by the dead bird she had not even recognized the voice of her own son.
“What do you mean, Tym?” His mother asked, trying to keep her voice from cracking.
“The bird, it’s my new friend, mom.” Tym was still standing at the door frame, looking as if he hadn’t a care in the world.
“But it’s dead, Tym,” His mother replied, struggling to find clear thoughts in her now muddled brain.
A malicious smirk spread across Tym’s face. “Already? I thought it would have lasted longer.”
Tym’s mother could feel the color drain from her face. “How did that bird get in there Tym?” His mother questioned, pulling herself slowly from the ground until she was standing upright.
Tym took a few causal steps into his bedroom. He walked over to his dresser and picked up a quarter that was laying on its top. He threw it into the air and caught it again before answering his mother. “I put it there.”
“Why?” The tone in his mother’s voice made the question sound like a plea.
“Because I wanted to.” The way Tym answered so laconically sent a shiver up his mother’s spine.
Suddenly a horrible thought crossed her mind. “Tym, did you kill that bird?”
He chuckled through a small smile, like a young child that had understood its first sexual pun. “Yes.”
Tym’s mother felt as if someone had punched her in the stomach. She thought the wind had been knocked out of her but somehow, she found enough breath to utter one word. “Why?”
Tym shrugged. “It seemed like a good idea at the time. And what can I say? At least I got some entertainment out of it.”
The mother shook her head in disbelief. She didn’t know this boy. This boy standing in front of her with that sadistic grin on his face couldn’t be her son.
“Tym, we need to get you help,” She said.
“Why?” Tym frowned. It was the first time Tym had given any negative reaction during their entire conversation.
“Because obviously you’re very ill and you need help,” His mother explained, feeling the slight pain of tears pricking at her eyes.
Tym’s eyes narrowed in anger. “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?”
“No,” His mother lied, biting the inside of her cheek. “It’s just… this isn’t natural, Tym.”
“That’s just another way of calling me crazy, isn’t it?” Tym questioned, slowly walking towards his mother.
“No, sweetie. It just means you might need some help,” She stuttered. She had never been so scared of her son than she was at that moment.
“Don’t lie to me,” Tym threatened. Now he was now a only inches away from his mother.
She thought about taking a step back, but it was like she was a deer caught in the headlights. She took a shaky breath. “I’m not lying to you, I promise.”
Tym laughed darkly, shaking his head. He stopped laughing and locked eyes with his mother. “I don’t believe you,” Tym said, pulling a small knife from his pocket.
His mother’s eyes zoned in on the knife. “That’s the pocket knife I got you for Christmas,” She whispered, the tears finally leaving her eyes.
What happened next was blur for Tym’s mother. Suddenly she felt a dull throbbing in her midsection. She looked down and saw the hilt of Tym’s pocket knife protruding from her. Her eyes flicked up to Tym. He was smiling.
Tym yanked the knife out of his mother. She let out a sound that was a mixture between a groan and a scream. Her hands went to her wound as she slowly sank to the floor.
“Looks like I got you good, mom,” Tym teased, his heart pounding in his ears, that wonderful feeling rushing through his veins.
Tym’s mother coughed, sending a trail of crimson liquid out of the corners of her mouth. “I love you Tym,” She whimpered, “Mommy will always love you.” She closed her eyes and passed into unconsciousness. She never opened them again.
Tym sat on his bed, wiping the blood off his pocket knife with the the corner of his bed sheet. “That wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be,” Tym sighed, looking up from his work to take a glance at his mother. He smiled. “She died too quickly.”
Story by: Madison Kesterson
Photo by: Trevor Scott Penzone