The house sat in its place at the end of Swallow Lane undisturbed for some time. Nobody knew who now owned the property. Bomb Guy certainly didn’t. His father could, possibly, or perhaps the government. No matter whom it was that owned the house though, one thing was certain: at the moment, it was empty. Eventually, as anyone would have predicted it, the idea to break in and explore entered a citizen of the neighborhood’s mind. It happened to be a member of a small group of young teenagers on skateboards.
The house was easy enough to break into, there were no bars or boards on any of the windows, and there didn’t appear to be any sort of cameras or alarm system. The children met up by Bomb Guy’s house at night, broke one of the back, bottom level windows, tore the screen out, and got themselves right in.
At first the exploration was a dreadful disappointment. The dwelling was almost completely empty, although there was one bedroom that still had some furniture in it. The kids wondered if Bomb Guy’s father felt he couldn’t stand to bother it. They’d all heard of how proud he had been of his son before the unfortunate event. They speculated on the weirdness of grown-ups, and laughed together. It was not long after that, that the shortest, skinniest one took a peek under the bed, and found something that was anything but uninteresting. It appeared to be some sort of book, but upon picking it up and opening it, they realized that the book was a journal. The journal of Bomb Guy.
They made off with it. Once they were back on the street there followed a fierce argument over who would be taking the journal home to read first. In the end, the boy who found it won, and he snuck back to his house with the prize.
His joy was short-lived. He had an overbearing mother who still refused to trust him with the vast responsibility of getting up, dressed, and ready to go to school on time; even if he was thirteen years old. During this mundane routine, she discovered the journal under his bed while she was picking up his dirty clothes for him. The journal was hardback and had a brown, leather book jacket on it. She knew she had never purchased such a thing for him, and immediately began to question him. After a five minute interrogation, she declared him to be grounded. She also said that the journal must be turned over to the police system.
She left her son to have a miserable day at school with his enraged friends while she drove the journal down to the police station. The police officers gave it to the FBI, who at once began to read it. They were hopeful that such a document would offer insight to the why and how of the criminal mind. Upon opening it though, they realized that it wasn’t quite a journal, but a series of letters to someone called Alexander. This was the first page:
November 24th, 2008
I do not know how I keep having all this good luck. Well, then again, of course I do. It all comes from you. I know that. What I meant was, I don’t know how you manage it. First my father buys me a house completely free to me, then I meet these two idiots who say they’re willing to pay me rent to live in the extra bedrooms. They pay me rent while I live free! Isn’t that something? Better yet, I just got a full-ride scholarship for Washington University. I guess I won’t be going to Lindenwood next semester. Not that Lindenwood is a total waste. How many other schools would forget to lock down the lab more than once? And they might even forget to lock it a few more times before the semester’s over – but I guess we’re not sure if we should take advantage of it again. Got to keep appearances up you know.
November 26th, 2008
The first boarder has moved in. Nathon’s his name, I forget his last. He had the nerve to complain about there being no furniture in his room. Oh, I can still hear his whining, complaining voice in my head! Shut up, shut up, shut up! For crying out loud, why didn’t he bring his own stupid furniture?
I don’t know where the other guy is. He left me a message saying something about spending Thanksgiving with family. I just hope he’ll pay the full amount at the end of the month. I need to buy more supplies.
November 27th, 2008
Nathon’s already getting to be a nuisance. I heard him sneak out of my house at like two in the morning. I should have gotten up and spied on him, but I was too tired. How could I have been so stupid? I hope you’ll forgive me. But anyway, I’ll bet he sells drugs. He looks like he would. He’s got that stupid long hair and baggy jeans. He smokes constantly too. If he’s selling drugs, it’ll attract the cops. We can’t have that. Oh, and he’s got a dog too. A big, brown, ugly one. It scares Peek-a-boo, and I don’t blame her. It behaves like a brute and weighs about a hundred pounds. I had the misfortune of finding that last bit out myself when the thing jumped on me. About knocked me out. I demanded that he get rid of it, but he said he’d pay more to be allowed to keep it. I had to agree, I’m running short on food money.
November 28th, 2008
The other guy moved in. His name is Yates, I forget his first name. At least he brought furniture. I don’t think I could listen to more of that crap.
That idiotic database screening job is becoming increasingly tedious. They really don’t pay me enough. The only reason I’ve put up with it this long is because it lets me work from home.
I’m waiting for you, Alexander. When are you going to come over in person again? When? I need you now, Alexander. I don’t even know why I’m putting this in here. You don’t hear me, do you? Do you Alexander?! But what can I do? I ‘m frustrated. I can’t stand the frustration! You won’t let me call, you won’t let me e-mail, you won’t let me come to your house, you won’t let me do anything! This is all I can do! But I need you, Alexander. I need you to tell me when I can do it again.
Because I need to do it again. I need to. If I don’t, I don’t know what I’ll do. I know I need to wait for you to tell me it’s safe, so I’ll wait for you. I will. But I almost can’t stand it. That’s all. Almost can’t stand it. I need it . I need the boom. Everything should go boom, that’s what you told me. Everything should go boom. Boom. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!
(It was here that the agents noted that even the idea of writing "boom" must have greatly excited him, for every time the word appeared, it was written so badly that it was hardly legible.)
November 29th, 2008
Nathon was out at night again. This time I looked, and I saw him talking to someone in a black car. The person never came out of the car, so I have no description to offer you. Looks like drugs though.
I might as well do it. I wasn’t going to, I’ll admit it, I wasn’t going to, but I will. I must confess to you that I went down there. Yes, in our basement, I went down there. But I didn’t do anything. Before you crumple this paper all up, I didn’t do anything! I only looked at them. Especially the C-4s, the new ones you helped me steal nine days ago. I didn’t do anything, but I wanted to, oh, I wanted to.
I don’t know how much longer I can stand this! Don’t you remember your promise? Don’t you remember what you said? But you can’t hear this! You don’t know! I need to hear her progress again. I need to hear the boom. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!
December 1st, 2008
Thank you! Thank you, thank you for coming! I do not know why you didn’t want to look at my letters, but fine, Alexander, fine. I don’t care! I’m just glad we did it. I’m just glad we got it done. I don’t know how you got Nathon and Yates to go away, but you did.
You never tell me how much longer, though. You never tell me how much longer it will take for her to come back. But I can see that is isn’t going to be long now. I can almost see her. I can see her face in the flames. I can see her hair in the smoke. Her long, flowing, wavy, gorgeous hair! It’s in the smoke! The boom is her and she is the boom!
December 3rd, 2008
Nathon must die. He’s doing unthinkable, unforgivable things! Horrible things! He’s questioning. He’s letting thoughts of questions enter his mind. Why, Alexander? Why aren’t you stopping him? He wanted to know why I was in our basement for so long.
I know you told me how suspicious that would look, and I know you told me not to ever do it, but our plans were taking longer than I thought. It wasn’t supposed to take more than fifteen minutes. If I had known that it was going to end up taking more than an hour and a half, I would have waited ‘til the rat was asleep. You know I would!
But anyway, I told him never to go in our basement from the very beginning, just like you told me. But he was looking hungrily at it. When I came out and he asked me what I was doing, he looked at our basement door, and it was a hungry look. I think he wanted to go in there. I know he wanted to. I have to watch him constantly. But how am I supposed to do that? School isn’t out for another two days! Who knows what all he’ll have done by then? For a manager, he sure doesn’t work often enough. Does that strike you as fishy? I don’t see why he has to be such a bum At least Yates’s job keeps him out all day.
I told him that I wasn’t doing anything. But I don’t think he believed me.
December 6th, 2008
Thank you for coming over again. And thank you for reading my letters. Of course I will continue them. As you said yourself, they are a very valuable source of accurate information. I don’t know why you didn’t want to take them with you, but I suppose it’s best that they all stay in one place.
I’ve done everything that you advised. I’ve clearly hidden all the chemicals, silencers, tear gas, dynamite, and every other explosive we constructed together. So even if that busy-body, Nathon does break in, he won’t see a thing. You were right about the lock, it’d look too strange.
There’s a problem though. You know that wardrobe box you told me to store all the used, burned explosives in? Well, it’s getting full. It’ll overflow soon. What should I do?
December 7th, 2008
I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve already thought of a solution. I hope you like it. If you don’t, just don’t blame me. It isn’t my fault. You know it isn’t. Something had to be done now, and you just weren’t here. Why weren’t you here?
Whatever. I’ll tell you what I did. I paid some numbskull to dig a hole for me. I know it sounds like a very important job to trust a numbskull with, but I gave him careful instructions. I told him the hole must be three feet wide, and at least fifteen feet deep. He actually did it right. I had to pay him a couple hundred bucks, but it was worth it. I couldn’t do it myself, I can’t get sick and I need to maintain my quiet, squeaky clean image with the neighbors. I couldn’t let them see me come home really early in the morning, covered in mud and slush. Quiet, and squeaky clean, that’s how you get people to never suspect that you’d do anything unlawful. Of course, I do realize that our noble work shouldn’t even be thought of as "unlawful." Everything should go boom.
Anyway, I drove out in the dead of the night with a ladder strapped to my truck, and I piled the burned explosives into the hole. It only took a few minutes, the numbskull left all the dirt mounds in close proximity. No one will ever find them.
December 8th, 2008
I blew something up. I know we didn’t have anything planned. It was an accident. But the explosion was lovely. I could feel her presence getting closer, that’s how wonderful it was. I saw the sparks within the flames, and the dancing white streaks of light waving through it. They were her eyes, the light shining through her eyes. I’m sure of it.
Something else good happened, too. got a hold of a piece of Nathon’s mail. Hey, it’s really my mailbox. He got some kind of notice telling him to go to some place for his monthly testing. I don’t know. The point is, Nathon’s on probation. So if he keeps up this drug stuff, he’ll get caught while he’s at the courthouse or whatever No cops swarming in on me.
December 10th, 2008
Nathon knows. He came right in when I was making some carbon monoxide (you know how we’ve been trying to find a way to store some in a grenade). It must have been way more potent than I thought, because he started to feel the effects immediately. I had a mask nearby. He didn’t. He passed out on the floor. I stuck him in one of my empty wardrobe boxes for now. He’ll probably wake up in a couple hours. I’ll make up some lie to tell Yates, but that can’t work forever. I can’t even call his probation people on him, he looks like a snitch. I need you now, Alexander!
December 11th, 2008
Everything you said made perfect sense. I threatened him, and I got creative. I hope this is good enough: “I’ll strap a bomb to each one of your limbs. One on your leg, one on your other leg, and one on each arm. Then I’ll light them, and they’ll blow all your limbs off, but you’ll still be alive! You won’t die. Well, not at first. You’ll stay alive long enough to be in agony, terrible agony, for – for I don’t even know how long! Hours probably. Yeah, hours.” Yeah, I said something like that. Do you think that’s good enough?
Right now, I’m keeping him in the attic. He’s not allowed out. I told him so. I’m sure he doesn’t want to be blown up. BOOM! I’m going to buy a master lock for the door though, just in case.
December 13th, 2008
I told Yates that Nathon moved out, simple as that. And he did, in a way. His boss called me all yelling and hysterical, but I just told him that Nathon moved to Alaska. I’m laughing evilly right now, and you don’t know it.
But that dog of Nathon’s is a real burden. I put it in the attic with its Neanderthal of an owner, but the beast still barks all the time. I don’t know how much longer Yates will believe it’s coming from outside.
If he starts asking questions, I could always club him over the head, and stick him up in the attic, too.
Just remind me to feed him tonight, would you? Dead bodies smell.
December 14th, 2008
I am furious! I know you are too, but I didn’t get a chance to tell you how angry I truly was! I was so mad! I’m still really mad! Stupid, whimpering, fool that Nathon is! You had the grace to come into his disgusting presence with me last night, the grace! And what did he do? He completely ignored you! Did you see the way he wouldn’t even acknowledge your questions? The nerve! And then he had the audacity to interrupt our conversation to ask me right in front of you who I was talking to! What an outrage. Is he stupid, or just blind? Maybe he’s both. I’ve never even dreamed such a useless human being could exist!
And thanks again for giving me the newspaper idea. I don’t know what I would have done with that animal. Maybe we can blow it up.
You know what else I’ve been thinking? Motive. It’s kind of exciting. If I ever do get caught by the cops, I want to have a really good motive. A motive that will just blow them away. It won’t be true of, course. I’d never tell them my true motive, but I still want to tell them one. I’ll say it’s Michigan. Yeah, the state. I’ll say it’s the finger I don’t like. You know how Michigan is shaped like a glove? Well, I hate that finger part- or the thumb. Whatever. I hate it. It’d look better without it. So, my goal is to gather enough dynamite to make enough bombs to blow the whole thing up. Then Michigan wouldn’t be in that stupid, stupid glove shape, cause there’d be no thumb. It’s not true, but I like it. It’s a sick motive.
December 16th, 2008
I heard scuffling in the attic. And at night too, it was at night. It wasn’t the beast, I’m sure of it. He was trying to escape. Yates is suspicious. It’s not acceptable! I told him it was rats, and do you know what he did? He called Terminex! Without even asking! I cancelled it on time, don’t worry, but still! That was close! What should I do now? What to do, what to do? This is so hard! He’s suspicious! He asked why I cancelled Terminex when there’s rats in the attic. I said for money, and he said he’d pay for it because he hates rats! So I said well maybe it’s not rats, maybe it’s mice. And he said that he hated mice too! Mice! Man up!
But I couldn’t say that. I couldn’t. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t know what to say. You would have known what to say. Why weren’t you there?
Everything should go boom.
I told Nathon that I’d blow him up if he tried escaping again. He said he wasn’t, but it was a lie. Lie! Lie! Lie! The liar! I told him about blowing up Michigan’s thumb. I told him I would get a jet and fly him up there, and drop him down on Michigan’s thumb, then I’d blow it all to smithereens with him still on it.
December 18th, 2008
Yates told me that he was going to visit his family, or some other kind of crazy lie like that. But lies do not deceive us. I know a snitch in the formation. So I locked him in the attic, too.
I can already tell he’s going to be more trouble than Nathon. He talks more. And it’s not begging, it’s reasoning. I can’t stand the reasoning! It shouldn’t be allowed! He can’t reason with me, he shouldn’t try.
I can’t blow him up, though. I’d have to drag him to our basement, and he’s too heavy. He’s too heavy when he’s awake and struggling!
Must make more carbon monoxide. I’ll have to bring the dry ice and the coal box up to the attic. Course the temperature change may bring on some unintended complications…
Simmer, steam, fall, crash, boom!
December 19th, 2008
I’ve decided to spare Yates’s life – for now. He’s actually useful. He keeps the beast quiet. I don’t know how. Maybe it likes more company.
I could just kill all three of them. Why don’t I kill all three of them? The neighbors would never know, Yates and Nathon were hardly ever out I’ll bet they’d like to go out now, though. I’ll bet they’d give anything to be able to go outside now. See, it’s not all bad, I’m teaching them to have a deeper appreciation for life and nature. You can’t buy that crap.
Back to what I was saying, they’re a lot of trouble. I have to feed them, for crying out loud! Not that I pay for it. I dug out their sorry credit cards from their pathetic wallets, and used them to buy food. Well, not just their food. But they owe it to me, they’re still renting, and I’m providing room service. That’s going above and beyond, if you ask me, especially when it’s so cold in there. Sheesh! You’d think they’d want to thank me for even going inside that icebox they put themselves in.
They also bought me some glass soda bottles. You know- the ones we need, the ones that she needs. Do you know that no one really asks for I.D. on those things? And they don’t look at the signature you put on the receipt either. I could write freaking Donald Duck if I wanted to, and they’d still take it, give me a fake grin, and say “Have a nice day!”
Ignorance, ignorance, ignorance! I hate ignorance! But I use it to my advantage. That’s what everyone should do. Take the things that they hate, and manipulate them to a state of usefulness. That’s the true meaning of genius.
December 20th, 2008
I went ahead and tested one of our firework combinations. Went way out in some remote field, up in Creve Coeur, or around that area. You should have seen it. You should have been there! Why weren’t you there?
You should have seen it. The smoke. I saw her in the smoke, but it wasn’t just her hair this time. I saw her face. I saw all of it, I saw her whole face, and her hand. She held up her hand and waggled her finger at me. She was beckoning me. She wanted me to come to her. So I did, and she spoke to me. She actually spoke to me, just like you said she would. All I had to do was wait. She’s coming. The boom is her, and she is the boom. That’s how it was, so that’s how it has to be. She died in the flames, the gas leak, the explosion! Since she left in the explosion, in the explosion she shall come back.
She told me she is coming. She told me she would be here soon.
December 21st, 2008
The begging! The begging, begging, begging! All they do is beg! It’s intolerable, insufferable! You heard them last night, you know what I’m talking about! They beg for more water, more food, more freaking toilet paper! They beg for blankets. Hey, they’ve got that big, warm animal, what else do they need? And they beg to be out. They bargain. They’re good at bargaining! But I won’t listen. I can’t be bought. What do they take me for? It’s not just my welfare that’s depending on this, it’s hers! I won’t settle for anything but her.
Anyway, how can I take bargains from them seriously? They can’t even see you. They don’t even answer your questions. And when I order them to – or I’ll blow their sorry heads off – they just stare into space, scared. Imbeciles! I’ll kill them all as soon as I can steal some bullets. I can’t buy them, not even with their money, I don’t have a permit for my gun. More stupid laws! But, I’ll steal some, and blow their brains out. Explosives are too valuable to waste on them.
Bang, crack, thump, dead!
December 23rd, 2008
I almost had a code blue this morning. Some lady called, and she wanted to speak to Nathon. What could I do? What could I do? She was good. First she asked if this was the Tsidkenu residence, she asked that first. So I didn’t know to lie! And then, after she’d tricked me into giving her classified information, she asked to speak with Nathon. What could I do? I guess I could have said that he wasn’t home, but then she’d start the questioning. She’d want to know where and why and when he’d be back. I couldn’t have the questioning! So I improvised.
I said I’d get him, that I’d be right back. I put the phone down and got my gun. It’s still not loaded, of course, but only we know that. I charged up to the attic and took the guy down. He was scared to death, with all the pleading, “No, don’t shoot me, please! What have I done?” Blah, blah, waa, waa! I told him to shut up and that someone wanted to talk to him on the phone, but if he said one thing about the attic or the bombs, I‘d put a bullet in his guts then and there, so whoever was kind enough to call him would hear his last, dying shrieks.
He talked to her, and I stood right there with my gun and listened on the other phone (the cord reaches). I listened to their conversation, just because I wanted to, and I listened for anything suspicious, any kind of foreign language, code words, just anything I didn’t like. I didn’t hear anything. His lousy teeth were chattering. Why didn’t I make him wait for them to stop!? I don’t think it mattered, though. She did ask about it, but he made up his own lie without me helping him. He claimed he’d been shoveling the driveway. When he was done talking, I put him back in the attic.
I haven’t seen the beast move for a while now. I’ll bet it’s dead. We could blow up the body.
December 24th, 2008
I enjoyed your visit, as always. I’m so glad we didn’t waste time looking at the prisoners. And I thank you for trusting me to do as I please while you are on vacation.
I’ve already decided what I’m going to do. I’m going to take all my dynamite and equipment and blow up the whole stash. It will be magnificent.
And she’ll come out. She’ll have to.
I’ve got all the supplies ready for safe travel in my truck. I’m going off to Missouri Valley where all those cornfields are. It’ll be great, it really will. It won’t even be all that wrong to blow up a bunch of farmland, it’s just for corn. Who eats corn anyway? It doesn’t even have any nutritional value. Most of America probably knows that by now.
It will be great. You know, I actually feel this wonderful, tranquil, calm coming over me, even as I write this.You’re probably picturing me crawling out of my skin, but I’m not. I’ve been waiting a long time for this. This is it.
I only wish that you could come, but I know you can’t. And I know you won’t mind me doing this without you. Remember, you said I could choose.
I’m not bringing the dog’s carcass, it’d ruin the mood. I see it as a ceremony, don’t you?
Well, Alexander, this is it, this is going to be a great undertaking in my life. When you come back again, Loraine and I will both be there to greet you.
It was here that the journal entries stopped. On that night, Danny Yates and Nathon Whilterwool escaped their prison and told authorities about Greggory’s strange and unlawful behavior. They gave a brief description of his vehicle and physical appearance, making sure to mention that the criminal was extremely armed and dangerous.
Greggory Tsidkenu was taken to a psychiatric hospital soon after being arrested. Almost immediately after being admitted, he started raving about the beautification of Michigan, which was enough to concern any psychologist. When they were informed by his roommates that he would rant to an invisible person named Alexander on a regular basis, their views on the possibility of his recovery became even dimmer.
One minor detail that failed to make documentation was Greggory’s agonized scream as he was brought down and captured. All of the surrounding farmers had been disturbed by it while they were trying to sleep that night. They said there were words in that scream, which were incoherent. But what baffled them the most was the sound some swore they heard next. There seemed to be an answer. A voice called back; a voice that was not the screamer’s own. But maybe it was only an echo.
Meagan Hamilton is a young adult who loves her dog very much. She grew up in various states, but will always claim Ohio as her own. Being sickly with Multiple Sclerosis and mentally ill from Bipolar, she rarely leaves the sanctuary of her bedroom. Meagan sits alone and types, inspired by the sound of the winds whispering in the trees.