Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
He was waiting for me when I got home from school today. He was standing by the front gate, watching me with those beady eyes of his, following my every move. I didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t even look at him, but I could feel him watching me as I made my way up the path and inside the house.
Why can’t he just leave me alone? Every fucking day when I get home from school he’s there, waiting for me. I’ve told him not to. He knows exactly how I feel about him, but still he’s stood there every day. I know he’s just doing it to torment me. I shouldn’t let it get to me, shouldn’t show him how much it bothers me, but I can’t help myself. I feel sick whenever I see him.
I was barely up the stairs when I heard him come inside. I hurried to my bedroom, tried to get the door closed before he could follow, but he barged his way inside. I glared at him, told him to leave, but of course he never listens to anything I say. He just stood there in the doorway, watching me. I decided I wasn’t going to give in, swore to myself that I would wait for him to leave, but after a few minutes I found myself walking to my wardrobe, dropping my bag on my bed and unbuttoning my shirt.
He didn’t make a sound as I undressed. He just stood there, silent, motionless, his eyes fixed on me as I pulled off my shirt. If he hadn’t been there I probably would have stripped down to my shorts and sat in front of the computer for an hour playing a game or surfing the Net, but all I wanted to do was get changed so I could go back downstairs and find Mum.
He’s different when she’s around. He barely even looks at me when she’s in the room. Maybe if he did, maybe if she saw the way he was with me she’d understand why I feel the way I do about him and keep him away from me, perhaps even get rid of him, but she doesn’t see it. I’ve tried telling her, but thirteen year olds don’t get to have an opinion.
I’d kicked off my shoes, pulled off my socks and was about to unfasten my trousers when I heard her call out to him. I glanced over my shoulder in time to see him hurry away. He didn’t even look in my direction when I ran to my bedroom door and slammed it shut, just ambled down the stairs. Ambled? It was more like a cocky strut. He even has a different way of walking when Mum’s around.
I hate homework, but it’s better than sitting downstairs with him, so I made a start on my English assignment. I couldn’t really concentrate, but I’d written just over a page when Mum called me downstairs to help with dinner. At first I pretended like I didn’t hear her, hoped that maybe she’d give up and do whatever needed doing herself, but a minute later she called again and I could tell by the tone of her voice that continuing to ignore her was not an option.
I think what annoyed me most was that when I got downstairs I found Paul slumped on the sofa in the lounge watching television. Why couldn’t she have asked him to help? I know the answer already. He’s only ten. He’s too young to peel vegetables or stir saucepans or do whatever chore she had in mind. Sometimes I think she forgets that I’ve been helping her around the house since I was nine!
He was in the kitchen with her when I got there. I stood in the doorway for a moment watching them, feeling sick to my stomach. It’s disgusting the way he behaves with her; nuzzling into her, rubbing his body against hers, pawing at her. Of course, she doesn’t seem to mind it. Sometimes he gets in her way and she nudges him aside, but most of the time she just soaks up the attention.
That’s the real reason she’ll never hear a bad word said about him, especially by me. He gives her all the attention she wants, never complains, never misbehaves, never talks back or argues with her. He’s perfect and I’m just a moody teenager who whinges and whines when he doesn’t get his way. Her words. She’s even said it to me once or twice – why can’t I be more like Elton.
What kind of stupid name is that?
Mum didn’t even ask if I was busy, if I had time to help her with dinner. The moment she saw me she handed me a bag of carrots and told me to peel them. I didn’t bother arguing. I just got on with it so I could get out of there as quickly as possible, tried to ignore him, but every so often I felt him look at me when Mum’s back was turned and each time I felt myself shudder.
* * *
Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
I stayed late at school today. I didn’t need to. There were no clubs and all my friends buggered off as soon as the day was over, but I couldn’t face going home. I barely slept last night thanks to him and I guess I just needed an hour or so to myself, so I went to the library and worked on my English assignment. Even managed to finish it. I caught the last bus home, had to pay for it out of my pocket money, but it was worth it just to stay out of the house for a little longer.
Of course, he was waiting for me when I got home. Again. I didn’t even tell Mum that I was going to be late so I don’t know how he knew what time I’d be arriving back. Maybe he’d been waiting from the time I was supposed to be there, or maybe he somehow knew what time I’d be back. All I know is that he was there again.
I walked slowly to the gate, tried to appear unperturbed by his presence, but the instant I closed it behind me I broke into a run, burst through the front door and slammed it shut, flipping the latch, locking him out. I glanced over my shoulder before heading to the stairs, saw him standing there, his eyes fixed on me, his expression unreadable. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or hurt, but I didn’t much care either way, not after last night.
I went to bed at a little after ten last night, but it took me ages to get to sleep. Paul had gone to bed long before me, but I could hear Mum and Elton downstairs. Even with the television blaring I could hear her laughter and knew that he was doing something to entertain or please her, though I didn’t allow myself to think what exactly might have been going on. I was still awake when she came up to bed, leaving him downstairs to do whatever it is he does before he goes up to her room at night.
Only last night he didn’t go up to her room. He came to mine. I know I was still awake when he entered my room, but I didn’t hear the door open. All I can think is that I mustn’t have closed it properly, because one moment I was lying there with my eyes closed, trying to stop thinking and start sleeping, and the next I felt a weight on my bed.
I knew it was him instantly, but I didn’t dare move, didn’t dare acknowledge his presence. I thought that maybe if I lay there quietly, pretended to be asleep, he would just go to my Mum’s room like he normally does, but then I felt it. I didn’t know exactly what it was at first. All I knew was that I felt something cold and slimy on my bare shoulder. It had moved to my chest before I realised it was his tongue, and as soon as I realised…
In my mind I screamed, threw myself out of bed, pounded at him with my fists, but my body just wouldn’t respond. All I could do was lie there while he licked me. My arm, my chest, my face; at one point I think he even tried to put his tongue in my mouth. He certainly licked my lips, but fortunately I had enough control over my body to clamp my mouth shut. The next thing I knew he’d clambered on top of me. He was so heavy I could barely breathe, but I didn’t even try to get him off me. I just lay there while he rubbed himself against me, trying not to gag when I felt his breath against my face, against my nostrils.
How can my mother even be in the same room as him, let alone her bedroom? His breath…to say it stank would be an understatement. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled a more appalling scent. If he’d stayed any longer I’m sure I would have thrown up, but after a minute he just licked my chin, then climbed off the bed and left my room.
I felt dirty. I could feel his saliva on my skin, feel the weight of his body on mine, I could even smell his breath though he was gone. I waited until I thought he was in my mother’s room, until I couldn’t hear any movement, any sound, and then I crept out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. I took the longest shower, scrubbed every inch of my skin until all traces of him were gone, then I dried myself, wrapped a towel around my waist and started back to my bedroom, but that wasn’t the end of it.
He was waiting for me.
The instant I opened the bathroom door I saw him standing on the landing, his eyes fixed on me. For a moment I considered just running past him to my room, but I couldn’t risk him following me again so I retreated back into the bathroom, closed the door, locked it, and waited there. It was over an hour before I heard his footsteps on the carpet outside heading into my mother’s room.
I didn’t see him again last night, not after I finally made it back to my room, but it was already getting light outside by the time I fell asleep. I think I managed to get a couple of hours before my alarm clock woke me. I could have stayed in bed. If I’d explained to Mum that I wasn’t feeling well she would have let me stay home from school, get some more sleep, but the idea of spending a whole day alone in the house with him…
Mum was furious when she found I’d locked Elton out of the house. She’d been working on her computer when I got home so it was nearly an hour before she found him out there. Apparently he’d just been sitting in the garden with a pathetic expression on his face. He’d made no effort to alert her to the situation, hadn’t even called for her, but still I was the villain for locking him out. She shouted at me for nearly twenty minutes while he just sat and watched, then she sent me to my room, told me she would bring my dinner upstairs when it was ready, said that I wasn’t to leave my room until morning except to use the bathroom.
It suited me just fine.
After I finished my dinner I took a long, hot bath, but I made sure to take a change of clothes to the bathroom with me and made certain the door was locked. I needn’t have bothered. I didn’t see him again all evening, though I can hear him on the landing right now. Mum’s in the bathroom getting ready for bed and he’s pacing the corridor outside my room. Every now and then he bumps the door as if to let me know he’s out there, but I’m ignoring him. Hopefully he’ll give up and won’t try to come near me before morning.
* * *
Thursday, April 7th, 2011
I was dreading coming home from school today. My Mum told me this morning that she would be late home, that she was taking Paul to the dentist and afterwards she would be doing some shopping, so it would just be me and Elton in the house for a good couple of hours after I got home. I considered not going home, staying at the library or going to a friend’s house, but Mum told me she wanted me to make a start on dinner, peel the potatoes, put the chicken in the oven, make sure it was all underway by the time she got back.
It was all I could think about all morning, so at lunchtime I asked Warren if he wanted to come over for dinner, but of course he refused. It was hardly a surprise. He’s terrified of Elton, has been ever since last summer. I can’t say I blame him.
Back then I had no problem with Elton. Like my mother and brother I thought he was wonderful. It was a hot summer day, the middle of the school holidays, and Warren was staying over at my house. The barbecue was my mother’s idea, a treat for us all, though I think part of the reason for her suggestion was that she didn’t want to be stuck in a hot kitchen on such a muggy day.
We had the paddling pool set up in the back garden – it’s a poor man’s swimming pool, but it gave us just over a foot of icy water and was big enough for me, my brother and my best friend – and of course Warren and I had our water pistols, so suffice to say we were clad only in our swimming trunks and soaking wet before my mother put the first burger on the grill. Elton was there, of course. He’d found a comfortable, shaded spot for himself on the edge of the garden and sat there watching the three of us play, occasionally walking over to my mother to observe her cooking before retreating back to the shadows.
It was a fantastic day. I think it was one of the happiest days of my life, but then Elton went and ruined it for everyone. The burgers were nearly ready so my mother told us to go inside and towel off. The three of us went straight to the bathroom and dried ourselves, then my brother and I went back downstairs. Warren didn’t come with us. While my brother and I have always been, to use my mother’s words, thin as rakes, for as long as I’ve known him Warren has been a little on the chubby side. He’s not fat by any means, but he has enough bulk on him that since the beginning of that year he’d been a little self-conscious about his body. Running around the pool in his trunks was fine while we were splashing each other, but while my brother and I were happy enough to remain in our trunks as we ate, Warren decided to go to my room and change.
None of us noticed that Elton wasn’t in the back garden when we got back downstairs. My mother was too busy concentrating on the food and my brother and I were too busy concentrating on the prospect of eating it. We didn’t notice until a good five minutes after we’d come back downstairs, and only then because we heard Warren squawking upstairs.
I wasn’t particularly concerned. He’s my best friend, but he can be a bit of a girl sometimes. The sight of a spider or a bee is enough to get him screaming and dancing around like a mad thing. I would probably have ignored it, but Mum told me to go and see what was wrong. I could hear Warren struggling the moment I reached the stairs, and when I arrived at my bedroom door I saw the reason for his distress.
He was lying on the floor, his swimming trunks around his ankles, curled into a semi-foetal position with a panicked expression on his face. Elton was on top of him, clambering over him, bouncing up and down on him. At the time I took it for playfulness on Elton’s part, even laughed at the pair before telling Elton to bugger off, but for Warren it was clearly a distressing experience. He barely ate any of the food my mother prepared for him and after we’d finished our meal he decided to go home.
At the time I told him he was being stupid. Elton and I had engaged in that kind of roughhousing frequently so I didn’t think it was a big deal. I figured Warren was just embarrassed, that he was overreacting. I even teased him about it, at first, but less than a month later I saw Elton’s true colours for myself. I saw how malicious he can be. I saw how he disguises cruelty with playfulness, and how innocent he was able to appear when challenged.
It was a relief to arrive home and see no sign of him, but I knew he was somewhere in the house so my relief was short-lived, dissipating the instant I reached the front door. I felt a sense of dread as I slid my key into the lock, and the second I was inside I wanted to rush straight up to my room and close the door behind me, but I knew I had to find out where he was, what he was doing. I couldn’t relax, couldn’t get on with my chores, couldn’t do anything until I knew exactly where he was.
It didn’t take me long to find him. He was lying on my mother’s bed – I guess you could say it was also his bed. He raised his head when he heard me, stared at me coldly for a moment, then looked away. That was fine with me. I didn’t really care if he was sick, tired, or for some other reason disinterested, as long as he left me alone. I went to my room, got changed and then headed straight downstairs to make a start on dinner.
It would be an hour before I could put the chicken in the oven, but I decided to peel the potatoes and even score a few points with my mother by doing the washing up. When I finished I went back to my room, made a start on my homework, and put all thoughts of Elton from my mind. I have to admit, though, I did feel a little uneasy, perhaps even concerned, when the hour passed without Elton approaching me or even moving from my mother’s room.
I went downstairs and put the chicken on, chopped the potatoes and put away the dishes I’d washed earlier. Mum and Paul arrived home earlier than they’d expected and I think Mum believed I wouldn’t have made a start on dinner because she came straight to the kitchen and seemed surprised to find me there, the oven on. Of course, she complained that I’d prepared the potatoes too soon, said they would start to brown before it came time to cook them. I guess that’s her way of saying, “thank you”. Nothing I do is ever good enough.
We saw no sign of Elton all evening, but I think Mum was too harassed to notice. The bill from the dentist was more than she’d expected and she hadn’t been able to find even half the things she’d gone looking for in the shops, so she took to banging around in the kitchen until the meal was done and afterwards eating with an angry scowl on her face. Even when I volunteered to clear the table and wash the dishes her mood didn’t change. Instead she just muttered something and went upstairs.
I didn’t hear what happened in the bedroom. Paul did. He was in his room and he heard everything. He even caught the end of it. I was filling the sink with water so I was utterly oblivious until he came down and told me. His account was jumbled, just like you’d expect from a ten year old I’m convinced is mentally defective, but from what I can gather Mum had gone to her bed to rouse Elton and he’d snapped at her. What happened next wasn’t exactly clear to me, but it seems she wasn’t content to leave him alone and after pushing him he’d lunged at her. He hadn’t hurt her, not exactly, but she’d stumbled backwards, fallen and hit her head.
She wasn’t badly hurt, but if anyone can turn a bump onto the head into a major drama it’s my mother. After Paul finished relaying his account of the events in my mother’s room I’d found her sat in the lounge nursing her head with tears in her eyes. I seized the opportunity, told her that I knew something like that would eventually happen, told her exactly what I thought of Elton, but she took his side! He hurt her and she still took his side! She told me it wasn’t his fault and when I pushed the matter she ordered me to my room.
I can’t win. No matter what I say she’ll never believe he’s the monster I know him to be. All I can do is stay out of his way, out of her way, until she wakes up and sees the truth for herself.
* * *
Friday, April 8th, 2011
Elton wasn’t waiting for me at the gate today either. Mum told me the instant I stepped through the door – as if I really cared – that he hadn’t left her room all day. He hadn’t eaten and she’d barely been able to coax him into drinking a little water. She’d stayed home to look after him, but ended up spending most of the day sat in the lounge worrying. She said that if there was no change by morning she would have to do something, though what exactly she intends to do I neither know nor care.
I suppose I sound heartless, but I’m not alone. When I told Warren about last night he said it was time my Mum woke up and got rid of him, but I know she won’t. She stood by him after what he did in September, after he murdered Yvette, so she’s not going to abandon him now. That’s the thing about my mother – she won’t believe she’s wrong even when the evidence is overwhelming. She just…she can’t accept that Elton is anything other than perfect, and if anyone says otherwise the problem is with them.
She’s been making excuses for him since the day he came into our lives. He trashed my brother’s room, but it was Paul’s fault for leaving his door open and stashing food under his bed. He terrorised the old woman who used to live next door, but it was her fault for provoking him. He attacked Warren in my room, but when Warren’s mother came round to talk about it my mother said he was just being playful. I suppose it’s not entirely my mother’s fault. Until he killed Yvette I made excuses right along with her, apologised for him, defended him, but after…
If there was any doubt that he was responsible I could understand my mother trying to defend him, but we caught him red handed. We saw it with our own eyes. There wasn’t a trace of doubt about what he’d done, yet my mother still stood up for him, still made excuses for him, brushed it under the carpet, pretended it hadn’t happened. That day she saw the darkness within him and she looked the other way. I think I hate her a little for it. I know I hate him.
I hate him so much that when my mother asked me to take him up some food this evening I flat out refused. We argued, I answered her back and earned myself a slap across the face for my troubles, but there’s no way I’m going anywhere near him. He can starve for all I care. Mum sent me to my room and a few minutes later I heard her coming up the stairs. She brought him food and once again he snapped at her. It was more than just a snap. Even from my room I could hear him threaten her and I know she felt the danger from him because a moment later I heard her hurry downstairs again.
Of course, she probably had an excuse for his behaviour ready before she even reached the kitchen.
* * *
Saturday, April 9th, 2011
Mum slept downstairs last night. She slept on the sofa so she wouldn’t disturb Elton. This morning when she came up to check on him she found him dead in her bed.
She and Paul have both been crying all morning. I went downstairs to see if there was anything I could do for them, but neither of them would even talk to me. They know how I felt about Elton and maybe they even blame me a little for his death. I think perhaps I blame myself a little too.
I cried for a while. I didn’t expect to, but I did. I cried for nearly an hour and even when I thought of Yvette my tears didn’t stop. I felt anger, of course. I remembered the day we found her, all bloody and broken, torn to shreds, but still I cried for him. On some level I feel relief that he’s gone, but at the same time I regret not making peace with him, not forgiving him while I had the chance.
We buried him in the back garden this afternoon. Mum dug the grave herself, just as she did for Yvette, a few feet away from where she’s buried. I thought it would bother me having his grave so close to hers, but somehow it seemed appropriate. Mum and Paul both said a few words before they piled the soil on top of his body, but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t think it was appropriate. As sad as I am, I can’t pretend I loved him the way they did.
I loved Yvette.
She was mine. When Elton killed her I cried for a week, and I never forgot the rage I felt when I saw her clenched between his jaws, her soft white fur stained red, her body limp, her eyes still wide with terror. I suppose it was partly my fault for letting her out of the hutch, letting her roam around the garden, not keeping a careful eye on her, but it was also Paul’s fault for leaving the back door open, letting Elton get to her. I don’t blame him, though. I’m not even sure I blame Elton anymore.
As angry as I was towards him for the past seven months, I can’t forget the years of happiness he brought me before he killed Yvette. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps waiting for me each day, greeting me at the gate when I came home from school, was his way of apologising for what he did. I’m probably crediting him with more intelligence, even emotion, than he possessed, but maybe, just maybe, he was trying to make it up to me in his own way.
After Mum and Paul went inside I picked a flower from the garden and sat it on his grave. Maybe it was a little hypocritical of my after the way I’ve treated him, the way I’ve felt about him, the things I’ve said about him, but I am genuinely sorry he’s gone. He was a big bounding brute who killed my pet rabbit, but at his core I guess he wasn’t a bad dog.
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