The morning of February 18th, 1945 was a day I had been waiting for my entire life: my sixteenth birthday. The moment I woke up, I discarded my Hitler Youth uniform and childish tin medals, and stepped forward to defend the Fatherland side-by-side with German men. I was the last boy in my family to enter Hitler’s war. I felt left behind and restless. My father was an Obersturmführer in the Waffen-SS; my brothers Franz and Götz had been fighting since 1939, and were both in Russia.
The third Tuesday in September had such an ordinary beginning. Sylvia’s husband, Omar, left for work before dawn. The Hartford Courant lay in the driveway, delivered as promised. The kitchen countertop was smudged with germy paw prints from the cat’s nocturnal shenanigans. And, according to the jokers on the radio, Hell had not yet frozen over.
“It’s okay, Mom. He’ll be back soon.” Not the words she wanted to hear at Dad’s funeral. I may have been an eleven-year-old kid who didn’t know a whole lot, but I did know that dead things don’t always stay dead. Dad was alright, as dads go. He showed up at all of my school plays (when he wasn’t on the road for work), he took me to piano lessons on the days that Mom couldn’t (again, when he wasn’t on the road), and he helped me with my math homework (even when he was on the road, thanks to the internet).
She been alone in this place for a long time, how long she wasn’t really aware now. Sometimes, it seemed like it been a short time, other times it seemed like years. Things seemed fuzzy and hard to keep track of now. Her mind wasn’t the same as it used to be. It happened when she was thirteen, the accident that got her in this state. It often flashed in front of her eyes. It was so painful, it was hard to think of.
I was the best. Not ‘one of the best’. The. Best. The Best Jest. What am I saying? Was. Am. I am The Best Jest. It says so on the curtains. The curtains I’m currently hidden behind. The huge red velvet drapes conceal me from my audience. The tension is starting to bubble. I can almost taste it. Like candyfloss. There for a moment on your tongue then gone. The sweetness. I need more of it. So, I put on shows every night.
Have you ever noticed that time passes faster when we aren’t aware of it? I sneak a look at the antique clock on the wall, vaguely aware of the loud kids and their poor parents as they hurriedly move past or rather are dragged away by their children. 2:45. Just fifteen more minutes.
“Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t move,” Milo told himself over and over standing at the window. For fifty-one nights he stood this post, whispering his chant and staring out into the dark void of the woods surrounding the cabin. “Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t move.”
I am writing this report with the hope that someone someday will find it and still be able to read. My wish is that my words will explain what happened and give the reader some insight as to how things went so terribly wrong.
There’s a town on Florida’s west coast that you’ve never heard of. The people that grow up there never escape. The ones that arrive there, do so to die. You might mistake it for a nursing home gone wrong, heaven’s waiting room if you will. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that after Jason managed to escape this place four years ago, he hadn’t returned.
I hear sirens. They ring around me. Banging in my head. I have no memory of the moments prior to this moment. I looked down at the blood that on my hands. It was dripping down my arms. Where did it come from? I looked just past to see the girl lifeless, a cut at her heart and on her neck. The heart’s blood was dried up but went fairly far down her stomach.
John died the same day Jenny’s name moved up on the waitlist. She’d waited three months to reach the top of that list, and was unconscious for most of it. I didn’t see any difference whether she was the one to receive his heart or not.