The Frightening Tale of Charlie Dud
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 11:10
In the spirit of Halloween, the following is a short work of fiction that will be published in two installments this week and next Tuesday.
At this very moment, somewhere down deep inside the mind of Charlie Dud, there is a war taking place. His hand clutches the knife that hangs in mid air; the tip of the unforgiving blade shakes ever so slightly. Once disguised by sweet, brown remnants, the steel’s desire for blood is now unmistakable. With clenched teeth and knotted muscles, Charlie Dud fights the evil that has begun to consume him. With his rogue brain winning the battle and taking control once again, the only hint of Charlie’s conscience hides behind stale, reminiscent eyes. As he glares down at her helpless state, her pleading expression seems to spark something inside of him. He had been doing so well. If only he had been given a choice when it all began.
At first, his illness hadn’t been any trouble at all. In fact, for the first seven years of Charlie Dud’s life he hadn’t known he existed inside of him—the bad man, that is. At seven, when he was old enough to know, but not yet old enough to comprehend, that’s what he would call him. If his mother were around today, and if you had the courage to question her about the past, she would tell you about when it all started. She would tell you about the day she first realized there was something wrong with her only son. She would tell you about his first episode, how she had just pulled a tray of sizzling brownies out of the oven and told her son to go play while they cooled on the counter. She would tell you how she peered out the kitchen window and saw him sitting on the rain-soaked grass. She would try to describe her only son’s face, its contortion, twisted and foul. She would tell you about how she ran out to him. She would try to explain the state of his eyes when she bent down to stare into them, how they seemed to be ignorant of her presence, how their cold, grey surface twitched as though a battle was taking place behind them; and she would have told you about how in an instant he glared up at her, piercing her heart with venomous hatred. She could nearly see the flames burning behind his pupils, and then, his face was suddenly wiped clean. He shook his head as if to drain what remained of the malicious thoughts that had flooded his mind. She would have told you about how he then opened his puzzled, sweet mouth and asked, “Can I have a brownie now?”
If the boy’s mother were still alive today she would have told you all of this, but she isn’t. It was only a year later that she lost her life to the cruel force of gravity. Of course, no one suspected the eight year old boy was responsible; it was deemed an accident. Although Charlie was present at the time, he had no recollection of what had happened. Until later in life, he couldn’t figure out how she had fallen from the second story balcony of their home. All Charlie could remember was looking down over the railing at his mother’s figure, twisted like the old garden hose that lay beside her, and her pale neck, which had snapped at the base. It wasn’t the boy’s fault. He wasn’t in control. The real Charlie Dud was as innocent as the air he breathed. He would never come to accept this as an excuse, but who would?
To be continued...