Jon James Miller
I, Kenneth Michael Jared Fayethmore, being of sound mind if not body, do testify as to the details surrounding the brutal murder of my beloved sister, Genevieve “Faith” Meredith Perpetua Fayethmore, in the 19th year of her life. While I hold vigil over her slain body let this sworn statement and packet of corroborating information serve as my account of her untimely death.
I don’t remember much before faith was born. It was summertime 1989, the same year my sickness worsened. I was in the hospital having pressure bandages applied to my legs, while down the hall Mum brought the beautiful Faith into the world. I could hear the nurses sing her praises, a beautiful baby girl “with blue-grey eyes just like her Mum’s.”
Faith was the answer to my Mum’s prayers. Only six years before in that very same delivery room did she give birth to me. Years later, Miss Pomeroy–Mum’s trusted nurse–said the midwives recoiled in horror as I came into the same world. I wonder, did they bother to look into my one eye to see what colour it was? Was my grossly misshapen head held up for everyone to inspect?
Manny Pomeroy, the nurse’s son, said his Mum told him the story of how old Doc Sterling wouldn’t even spank me, for fear something might fall off in front of my poor Mum. It was a cruel joke but like every joke there was some truth behind it.
Manny said I hadn’t come out screaming. My respiratory system initially failed and I was asphyxiating on my own amniotic fluid. Doctor Sterling neglected to hold me upside down and spank me to clear my lungs. Instead, he took my neck between his gloved thumb and index finger. Then he slowly closed his fingers around my tiny throat.
I asked Manny once while he drove me home from one of my many hospital visits, if he thought his Mum would have stopped Doc Sterling. He said she didn’t have to because she said I started to scream on my own, clearing my lungs and spraying yellow mucus all over the old obstetrician. We laughed about it but I knew Manny’s answer without him saying it. His Mum would have rather watched me suffocate, than be born into the Fayethmore Dynasty.
Little Faith was everything a prestigious family like ours could hope for. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. She was beautiful from the moment she entered this world. Captivating in every way. She even made The Bonnemyre Times’s front page at the tender age of nine weeks. Everyone wanted to know what Charles Cornelius Tiberius Fayethmore’s new little girl looked like. The beautiful daughter that would one day grow to rule the family fortune.
Faith grew older and became more beautiful than anyone could have imagined. The servants would remark on her elegant features. Marvel at the way she bandied about the mansion with abandon. But the one thing they couldn’t understand, is why she would want to waste so much of her time with that “thing” in the tower. I could hear them whisper “maybe she felt sorry for the creature” and then let out a hearty laugh.
I may be an abomination but I’m not stupid. Everyone worried that I might do something to my little sister. Mum was especially nervous to leave us alone. She would encourage Faith to socialize with kids her own age. To not be so attached to her “brother bear” for fear that Faith could somehow be tainted by her affection for me. Faith and Mum fought often and one of their bigger quarrels was over me:
“I only want to be with Kenny, Mummy,” Faith said. “We love each other.”
“Of course, you love your brother, Faith,” Mum said in dissonant dulcet tones back. “That doesn’t mean you can’t have your own friends. Kenneth would want you to get out and be with children your own age.”
“You mean normal kids,” Faith shot back.
“Is that so wrong?!” Mum shrieked and stormed out of the room.
Mum was right, I wasn’t normal. I suppose I was as far from normal as any child could be and still be human. Aside from Faith, I had no one and nothing to cling to in this life that hadn’t been bought for me. My wrongful life subsisted on a tenuous thread of purchased benevolence by underpaid caregivers. What you liked to call the Burger King people, Father. Domestics employed to handle a big bag of rotting meat. Namely me, your only male offspring.
But there was one before Faith who seemed to genuinely care for me. Her name was Violetta, the Filipina you hired to care for me, remember? She was the closest I would ever come to having a mother-son bond. The young nurse bathed and swaddled me, held me to her ample bosom when I was afraid of the thunder. Violetta would even sing to me in Tagalog, her native tongue. She was my ya-ya and I loved her.
Mum hated Violetta. She hated that the woman could love me in spite of my horrid appearance. Show compassion and affection to someone so afflicted and vulnerable. When Mum fired Violetta, I realized how much my own Mum hated me. She said the reason was because the domestic was maladroit and would end up harming me someday. But I knew better. I knew it was because Violetta made my life bearable, tolerable – even joyful – at times.
As I grew older, Mum couldn’t stand the sight of me. It was her idea to build my bedroom separate from everyone else’s living quarters. Confine me to a tower above the summer kitchen. It was purely by coincidence that my window faced out on our open courtyard entryway – and directly opposite Faith’s second story bedroom window. It didn’t occur to Mum that both Faith and I would open our window shades. That Faith would ever use her window frame for storytelling, spending half the night pantomiming entire sagas for my amusement.
Only much later, did I realize I wasn’t the one you were worried about, Father. At least, not like Mum. That there was someone worth grooming to one day take your spot atop your vast business interests and retain the Fayethmore social status. That same inherent vice you never took the time to look for in me, you recognized in Faith. If only you could have known where your similarities would invariably lead.
Faith was an extrovert, something we all knew from the beginning. And as she grew, Faith would take glee in putting people on the spot by acting out, breaking social norms. It was all right for her to flirt with Father’s constituents when she was younger. But as she entered her early teens and started to develop, both you and Mum took a dim view of your daughter’s burgeoning precociousness.
I remember being in my room one autumn night years ago, looking down from my window across our open courtyard entryway and into the large bay window of the dining room. Where a lavish cocktail party was in full swing. Remember it, Father? You were celebrating the acquisition of a new silver mine and spared no expense.
Faith had told me prior to the party that she would sit near the end of the table by the window, opposite Arnold Brigmann. You remember Brigmann, the fat balding stock broker who made so much money with you in the silver market? A killing, wasn’t that the word you gentlemen used? Faith knew that from my vantage point on the second story overlooking the main house, I would be able to look down and see her legs and feet under the dining room table. She had made sure of my unobstructed herself earlier that day. Faith had a gift when it came to theatrical details.
All through dinner, fifteen-year-old Faith lavished Mr. Brigmann with her full attention. She would open her blue eyes wide and laugh at his feeble attempts at humor. Faith smiled even while everyone else in the party grimaced, avoided the horrid old bore. Oblivious, Brigmann basked in Faith’s attentions.
I looked over at Mum, who grew suspicious, yet helpless to stop her daughter’s societal machinations once they got started. Mum was never a match for Faith, who had her father’s killer instinct when she wanted something. Tonight, Faith was determined to make a scene, the bigger the better.
Dinner was almost over when Faith put her plan into motion. From out my window, I saw her take off her Mary Janes under the long dinner table. Faith flexed her toes inside her white stockings, then slowly moved one foot upward toward Mr. Brigmann’s crotch. She did this while batting those beautiful blue eyes as the fat man bloviated to everyone in earshot.
When Brigmann reached the climax of one particularly offensive anecdote, Faith landed her right foot smack dab on the pot-bellied bore’s pecker. Startled, the fat man jumped up, got a pant leg cuff caught on the side of his own chair leg and went reeling backward. I felt the impact of his dead weight hitting the floor shake my bedroom above.
I saw the shock and dismay then register in Mum’s eyes. It didn’t stop her inebriated guests from laughing even as they came to Brigmann’s aide. The fat man had been humiliated and Mum ordered Faith to her room. Faith was only too happy to oblige, laughing all the way up the stairs. I watched and grunted myself silly, nearly flipped my own wheelchair over.
Then, I looked back at the dinner table for your reaction, Father. You merely sat there, impassive. You didn’t move a muscle. Your gaze never wavered. You stared straight ahead, silent while everyone from the wait staff, to the guests, to Mum scampered and fluttered all around you. I realized then what it would take to get your attention. Nothing short of an explosion, I guessed. Something even you couldn’t ignore.
We all knew Faith had a mean streak. She loved to torture people with her beauty. Mock them for being attracted to her long blonde hair, her now slate blue eyes and lean, athletic physique. And the more she made good sport of them the more they seemed to want her. Am I making you uncomfortable by telling you the truth?
Faith had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. She was immensely popular and had boys chasing after her all the time. Faith and I would play games on them. She would secretly take them up into her room after school. Faith was always smarter than those stupid young boys. Could literally make them do anything.
Faith’s bedroom had a large walk-in closet, big enough to house my wheelchair. I would wait in the dark and surf the net on my onboard computer screen, until Faith was ready. Usually, Faith only made me wait 10 to 15 minutes before giving me my cue. She knew I would wait all night, if she had asked me.
“You know, Billy,” she would declare to the boy on the other side of the closet door, “if you’re going to be my husband you’ll have to protect me, right?”
“Yeah,” the dullard would reply. This was my signal to turn off my computer and get ready. Position myself as best I could for maximum effect.
“Well, there’s a monster in my closet,” Faith would continue, “if you love me you’ll have to go in there and kill it.”
“There ain’t no monster,” the simpleton would say, then try to steal a kiss from her. This was a perfect opening for Faith to go in for the kill. She would twist their developing minds at will.
“You’ll get no more kisses from me,” she said loudly. “Until you slay the monster in my closet!”
This part would always make me laugh, which added to the boy’s anxiety, since my laughter came out as low, guttural grunts. In my mind’s eye, the boy on the other side of the door would turn in fear towards the closet. His eyes would open wide, pupils dilate with fear – wondering what in god’s name had made that sound.
Meanwhile, behind the stupid boy, my beautiful Faith would cover her mouth to stifle her own laughter.
“Who’s in there?” the boy finally said.
My silence only deepened his fear.
“Do it!” Faith commanded. “Kill it!”
At this point, the boy would reach for something to defend himself, an opportunity for Faith to ridicule him further.
“What’s the matter?” she’d taunt. “Can’t use your bare hands, like a real man?”
Later, Faith described to me the look of real terror in the boy’s eyes. The moist eyes, crumpled brow and accelerated breathing of the patsy. He’d bite his lower lip to avoid pouting. Shuffle his feet, trying to suppress the urge to pee. Invariably, he would capitulate, grasp Faith’s cheerleader-practice baton or whatever he had in his dirty little hands and storm over to the closet door.
“Do it,” Faith and I would say in unison, on either side of the boy. Racked with fear, the fool’s fight or flight instinct would rise to the surface. The only thing keeping him nailed to the spot was pride. Pride and a pitiful desire to impress Faith – no matter what the cost. What would happen next would almost make me feel pity for the poor dope. Almost.
Then the closet door would fly open and there he’d be, standing defiant in his denim overalls, striped rugby shirt and Chuck Taylors. That is, until he saw me. First, the boy’s eyes would set on my enormous head, focus on the scale-like, purplish skin of the large growth protruding from my forehead. Then, he’d look down at my misshapen nostrils, three times the size of the ones he was flaring, and his chin would drop. But that was only the beginning. The appetizer to the main course.
If he could rip his two eyes off my one eye, the boy would see my right arm, whose growth had been stunted when I was only three. I would flail it a little for him, moving my three, stubby fingers as I proceeded to pound it against the side of my chest. But then–and only if I allowed him–would he see my legs.
The boy would see two massive trunks, each as thick around as Faith’s waist, ending where two feet the size of bloated bread loaves would twitch and stomp. That’s when the scream would come. A blood-curdling scream to wake the dead.
I would scream back, my malformed mouth producing a sound not unlike a bear’s angry growl from deep within my chest. This aggravated my lungs terribly, and I would cough up blood. But it was worth it. I prided myself on my commitment to my role.
Eyes wide, pupils black with terror, the boy would turn and run screaming from Faith’s bedroom. I liked to think I’d haunt him in his nightmares for years to come. Faith would run after him, taunt him for being a sissy while he ran down the stairs taking three steps at a time, and shot through the front door. From this Faith would receive great joy.
Meanwhile, I would stay in the closet, sit in my wheelchair and wait for my Faith’s return. I’d cover-up my legs with my favorite blue blanket and try to catch my breath. I was glad Faith had left in that moment, because of the tears that welled up in my eye after the boy left. I would capture them with a small towel I kept hidden in my chair before she came back.
Only later did I realize why I wept. It was because I wanted to be that boy, running from our house with two good legs, two good lungs and a head that didn’t need to be supported by metal rods. I wanted to be normal and whole. With the wind at my back and my whole life ahead of me.
For years, I watched over Faith while she slept. Her bedroom window faced mine as a Blood Moon rose between us. The reddish light would illuminate her body as she lay covered under 500 thread-count, silken sheets. Moonbeams would get caught under her curves, around her arms and between her legs. My eye would guard her every move. I fancied myself a knight errant, sworn an oath to protect the princess in her tower. No one or nothing would come close to Faith without me witnessing it. Nothing.
How I wished those still nights could have gone on forever! How I wished Faith could be satisfied with the way things had been. But she inevitably grew weary and bored. Began to reach out for more elaborate and daring ways of amusing herself. Faith confided with me that only when she was in danger, did she ever feel truly alive. It was not in her nature to play it safe. Ever.
Faith was an extrovert, an in-your-face people person. Like you, Father. Meanwhile, my only reliable, interpersonal character trait was that I could scare the shit out of people. I got along much better with computers. My vice, if you could call it that, was hacking into computer systems undetected. Like the day I cracked the firewall into your house computer.
Faith had been with me in my room when your secret computer files sprang to life on my specially built, eye-tracking controlled computer screen, affixed to my wheelchair console. At first, I couldn’t make heads or tails of the financial algorithms and flow-charts, the balance sheets and statements of activity. But then the more and more I studied them, I began to understand. You and your business associates were planning to make a killing again on the commodities market, just like you had with silver so many years before.
Waterglass, or sodium silicate, may not be as sexy as silver. But quarried from natural sand deposits, it’s a compound used in everything from food preservation to drug purification, fire retardants to general masonry. That was very smart of you, Father. You chose a publicly traded commodity with world-wide demand, but only one supplier, and located within the United States.
Your plan was ingenious in its simplicity. You secretly became the majority shareholder to the one quarry waterglass was mined, in King-of-Prussia, Pennsylvania. Then you manipulated the supply of waterglass on the open market. No competitors meant you could interrupt that supply at will, making the cost of waterglass skyrocket. You made yourself millions in earnings in the blink of an eye. Your only vulnerability was you had to rely on a middleman. An individual known only by their codename: The Sandman.
Faith and I became obsessed with finding out the identity of The Sandman. Who could he or she be? Obviously, someone you trusted completely, Father. A necessary evil, who acted on your behalf by setting up numerous shell organizations to keep your hands clean. I admit I was jealous of The Sandman, because they were closer to you than I could ever be.
Months went by and Faith and I came no closer to solving the case of The Sandman identity. All we knew was that The Sandman was in constant contact with you via encrypted e-mails, and over various burner phones. The more we tried the more elusive The Sandman became. The more tantalizing Faith and my obsession became to uncover their identity.
I began to spend all my time working on my computer, pursuing The Sandman. I would work all night trying to trip The Sandman up, waiting for a tiny slip-up, a trace of digital footprint to lead me on the right path. It was on one of these all-nighters that Faith’s room remained dark. I found myself glancing out my window over at her empty room again and again. But she never came home.
At some point, I had fallen asleep. When I awoke the next morning, Faith was back in her bed. I watched, waited agonizing hours for her to wake up. Then when she finally did, I attempted what I had promised her never to do; I asked her where she had been the previous night.
Faith didn’t seem alarmed by my inquiry. She came up to my room and whispered into my one good ear. My hearing had become so bad by then that my homeschool tutor had taught me how to read lips. Faith told me to stay by my window that evening and wait up for her. She had a “surprise” for me, she said. I didn’t realize until later that it had to do with The Sandman. I was simply happy in the knowledge that Faith would be home, safe in her bedroom opposite mine, that night.
It was two in the morning when Faith’s bedroom light finally went on. Usually, I was able to see her come into the house, make her way up to her room from the downstairs hallway. But on this night, Faith had purposely left the light off, and was uncharacteristically cautious in not waking the household.
I had been nodding off myself for the past two hours, reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer on my Kindle. My English tutor, Mr. Steadman, would load several literary classics for me every week. He was the only one to know and truly appreciate my intellect. I sat and read in the soft glow of the screen into early morning. Until, I detected motion coming from across the expanse, in Faith’s darkened bedroom
Faith had secretly entered her room in the dark with someone else. I stared over at the dark figure in disbelief. My huge nostrils flared with fear in time with my accelerated heartbeat. Faith guided a large silhouette through the threshold. I turned my screen off and sat in the pitch black. Braced myself for what came next.
I recognized who Faith had led into her room even before she turned on her light. Knew through some sick, sixth sense who she had chosen to revictimize. Sure enough, when the light went on, there stood old man Brigmann, your old commodities broker, stood hulking in the middle of Faith’s bedroom. The man she had humiliated at the dinner party several years before, had come back for second helpings of my Faith.
I stared in terror as Faith lured the now visibly older, morbidly obese, white-haired pig farther into her web. Led the man to her bed while his hands clumsily moved all over her, groping her in the most private of places. Faith would push him away, then give him a look as if to say “not yet, you dirty bird.” Brigmann would smirk, his snout crinkle as he sucked air in through his tiny mouth, licking his lips in anticipation.
I stared, apoplectic. What had Faith wrought? Was she insane? And what of old man Brigmann? How could he dare enter your house unannounced, Father? Be audacious enough to fondle your young daughter under your very roof? My mind reeled as if in a waking fever dream. But what I saw before me was all too real. All I could do was sit there and watch the sordid, penny dreadful unfold.
Faith motioned Brigmann to sit down on the bed in front of her while she stood over him. She took off her jacket, then her shoes, all the while doing a little dance in front of the fat man. Obviously intoxicated, Brigmann sloppily lunged for her. But Faith was always too quick. She held him off easily, as she had those stupid little boys so many years before. While I waited in the closet.
Faith managed to get Brigmann to dance with her. I tried to look away but found it impossible to rip my eye from the horrific scene. Meanwhile, Brigmann would playfully slap Faith’s behind. I winced at the thought of him touching her, defiling her with his filth. She scolded the old man like he was a schoolboy. But what she did next sank my heart into an even darker abyss.
I watched Faith point her finger at Brigmann. Knew by the look on her face, she was setting him up for a fright like she had those little boys. A shiver ran down my crooked, metal-plated spine as I read her beautiful, pouty red lips through the panes of glass separating us.
“You know, Piggy,” she said. “If you want to be my boyfriend, you’ll have to prove yourself worthy.”
“Anything you want,” I lip-read his reply. “Just name your price.”
Then Faith looked up, slowly turned and looked out her window, over at me. I silently begged her not to from within my darkened room. Prayed for her to please stop what she had started before it was too late. Prayed to a god I didn’t believe in nor believed in me, for her to come to her senses in time.
“You have to destroy the evil monster,” she said, pointed out the window toward me. “The one that lurks outside my bedroom window.”
Brigmann’s next actions spoke volumes. The fat, sixty-something-year-old slowly turned to look outside the window. He mugged, squinted his bushy white eyebrows like a depraved old St. Nick. While he play-acted, I waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. I waited for the look of recognition on his face like those silly, stupid boys. Waited for him to adapt to my darkness.
Then it came. Brigmann spied me sitting in the shadows of my room, watching helpless. The fat man stopped smiling, sobered up quickly. But unlike those young boys who had turned and fled–fearing for their very souls–Brigmann, a true monster, remained. This time his rosy cheeks became crimson with anger. An alcohol-fueled rage that sent him tottering toward me.
Brigmann pressed both hands up to Faith’s glass window to stop his fall. He had little hands with stubby fingers. And each finger pressed against the pane as if trying to reach out and grab me. I felt my skin grow cold. I looked down, unable to stand the sight of what would come next.
Brigmann knew about Stephen Fayethmore’s only son. He knew what a wretched and disgusting creature had been brought into the world, even though he had never laid eyes upon me. That is, until now. And when he did the pig smelled a rat. A beautiful, flaxen haired, blonde rat who had unwittingly cornered herself. Failed to appreciate the mortal danger she was now trapped in. And she wasn’t done yet. Ever the storyteller, Faith had one more reveal in store for the fat man.
I looked back up in time to see Faith come from behind Brigmann. She looked through the glass The Sandman was clawing, beyond him to me. She then smiled with a devilish grin, a glowing recognition and mouthed the words I could hear loud and clear in my mind.
“You’re the Sandman,” she said to him. “My father’s partner in crime.”
Dumbstruck, Brigmann stopped, frozen to the glass. His expression behind the pane of glass then transformed into one of absolute alarm. I knew the second I peered into his weasely, wide-open eyes Faith had indeed hit her mark. She had worked her magic and uncovered The Sandman. Brought him home and raised him up for me like a trophy. A prize for her adoring brother to see.
I sat and stared slack jawed. The moment felt frozen in time, like I was looking into the past, on a diorama of terror. A tableaux of the exact second an old man and a young woman’s destinies became inextricably linked.
Brigmann now faced my Faith. Now, I saw her expression transform, strike her through the glass like a lens flare. Her bemusement had faded. Her impish smile and impudent sparkle in her eyes, extinguished. Replaced with a look of incomprehension. I imagined Faith had the look of a person who was trying to assimilate to the reality they had arrived at their mortal limit. That sudden recognition of the narrow line between visceral thrill and violent death – about to be crossed.
Brigmann pounced on Faith. His temper fully engaged, he moved faster than I would have thought possible for a man of his size and age. For all her smarts, Faith had underestimated the fat man’s fury at being exposed. He was on her before she could react, let alone escape. She never stood a chance.
I watched it all. Brigmann back-slapped Faith so hard she nearly did a backflip onto her bed. She might have had a better chance of escaping him if she had. Instead, Brigmann crawled on top of her, pinned her with his massive girth onto the bed. Began beating her with his tiny, closed fists about her head and neck. I saw her blonde locks whip back and forth from the force of his blows. Felt my own heart sink in despair.
The Sandman was in a blind rage now. He hit Faith long after she stopped moving. You see, Father, she couldn’t barely breathe under so much suffocating blubber. Couldn’t scream out for help or fight under his sheer mass. Faith fell unconscious and succumbed to his assault. Slipped away while fat man continued to strike her limp body. Until finally, his fury spent he rolled off her.
Brigmann lied beside Faith while he caught his breath. I saw his big barrel chest rise and fall as he fought to compose himself. Then he slowly got up, looked over at the dead girl and nudged her blue skin. He smacked her face hard with an open hand, tried to revive her. But she was gone.
The fat man got up off the bed and collected himself slowly. I glared at him and thought of the banality of evil. Thought of how much I would give to sprout normal legs and arms with which to go over there and kill him. Daydreamed how a whole man would respond to witnessing the violent and sudden loss of the only person he had ever loved.
In my desiderium, my profound sense of anguish and loss – my mind cleared completely. I watched The Sandman through a lens brought into sharp focus by utter necessity. My need for revenge in that moment was so palpable that my mind became calm, still and smooth as the double- paned glass that separated us.
I watched The Sandman try and cover his tracks. He was careful to take or destroy any physical evidence of his having been there. The Sandman took his time and was very thorough. I watched him with my one good eye as he wiped down the room, Faith’s body and finally, his handprints from her bedroom window. Then he fled into the dark night.
Now, you might ask yourself as you read this why Brigmann didn’t try to kill me, too. After all, wasn’t I an eyewitness to the murder? To Faith’s misadventure which resulted in her violent death? I’ll tell you why. Brigmann knew the law as well as he knew commodities. Knew enough about my degenerative condition and concluded that, under the law, I would surely be judged impaired and of unsound mind. Whatever uncorroborated testimony I gave the authorities about my little sister’s death would ultimately be ruled inadmissible. The Sandman knew he could get off if I pointed a disfigured finger at him.
I knew the world wouldn’t really care if Genevieve “Faith” Fayethmore was murdered. Not really. Sure, the mysterious death of a beautiful debutante in her own bedroom would make the news-cycle. There would be an investigation, suspects apprehended and all that ghoulish fanfare of trying to find the culprit. Maybe even a little outrage at a beautiful young woman savagely cut down in the prime of her life. But then in the end, many would assume because she was so rich and beautiful, she must have brought it upon herself. Given time, the world would turn away. Forget.
But what the world won’t abide is a story of corruption, bribery, extortion and insider trading. All the criminal elements necessary for someone to corner the waterglass market like you and good old Brigmann did with the silver market so many years ago. That was something your fellow man and woman would sit up and really cogitate over. The public loves stories about the powerful doing wrong, especially if it involves sex and death. Direct evidence of malfeasance in connection with Faith’s murder would prove irresistible.
Father, I know you would have preferred Old Doc Sterling kill me before taking my first breath. I can even see my way to sympathizing with you over the trouble my existence has caused you. Did you know that the word sympathize is Latin for to suffer? Ironic, isn’t it? I, your only son, suffering with you over the wrongfulness of my own life. I do forgive you for wanting me dead all these years. Things would have been arguably better for everyone.
But what I can’t forgive is you not considering me your equal. I am as intelligent as any man, even more so. From within this decrepit, desiccated shell I have dwelled restlessly, my mind as sharp and perceptive as any other sentient being. I like to think the one thing we share, dear Father, is our highly evolved perception when it comes to observing human behavior: yours to thrive financially, mine to survive.
I was twelve when I taught myself how to write the code that would break into your private records on the house server. At first, it was a game. Then it quickly became an obsession. To find a way to download all your secrets into my life support machine’s back-up hard drives housed within my wheelchair. Countless hours I spent reading the lengthy paper trail of how you and The Sandman, aka Arnold Brigmann, set up dozens of false front businesses through which to control and manipulate the waterglass market. I was so proud of how you laundered millions upon millions of dollars. You are an excellent criminal, Father.
I like to think, in another life, we could have been captains of industry together. An alternate universe where I was born able-bodied, and you relied upon me to carry out our illicit, family legacy. Father-and-Son robber barons to the end, eh? We would have had so much fun defrauding people together. In a perfect world, maybe I could have been The Sandman.
But it didn’t turn out that way. I was born this way and you predictably despised me for it. Blamed me for ruining the image of your perfect family. Never once did you consider that, on the inside, I am every bit the conniving, scheming mastermind you are. My disgusting exterior shell the perfect cover. While you considered Faith the one to grow up and follow in your footsteps, it was I, the hideous freak of nature, following you the whole time.
I intended to give you fair warning. Warn you before I transmitted this testimony and corroborating documents to the editorial departments of all the major financial newspapers throughout the world, in addition to the Feds. I had wanted to look in your eyes and see the realization that I was even capable of carrying out such betrayal. But there simply wasn’t enough time. Faith was gone and it was my time to follow her now.
You are a smart man, Father. Of this there is no doubt. But I, your disabled son, am your better. Now, as you awake to these words on the cover of The Bonnemyre Times morning edition, and hundreds other news outlets – I hope you’re able to fully appreciate me for once in your life. Maybe not as your son but your sworn enemy. The same respect one affords a worthy adversary on the battlefield.
Now, I must take my leave. For I am but a wraith pinned to the mist without my Faith. She was the one person in the entire world who really knew me. Who didn’t look upon me with abject horror, but love. Faith made life bearable and now she was dead. I’m just thankful I had the forethought to collect as many of Mum’s sleeping pills as I did.
No doubt, my dear departed little sister and I will be looking down on you from beyond the veil as you read this, Father. I will watch you now with the wind at my back and a tear in my eye. Watch you run. And I will be joyous. For my life may have been bitter, but my death by mine own, disfigured hand – will ever be so sweet.
Kenneth Michael Jared Fayethmore
Jon James Miller is a science writer for University of California Berkeley, a novelist and a short story writer. His debut novel, Looking For Garbo (http://www.lookingforgarbo.