Hello. My name is William Sanchez, better known as Paco. Nomar Knight asked me to write something in this month's blog. I guess I should start by telling you where I reside. The actual location isn't important, but I was finally put into the population. The damn cop that busted me convinced the warden I was too dangerous so they had me in isolation. At last I can breathe. The first few days I only wanted to sleep for you see, darkness torments me beyond anything that's believable.
For much of my life I've been mistreated by those around me. My father castrated me when I was a boy. One of his many drunken fits turned me into his personal punching bag. He beat Mother to a pulp until one day she just vanished. Growing up was tough. He didn't allow me to cut my hair. The boys in school teased me, calling me names. Girls stayed away from me. The only humans that didn't judge me by my appearance were children.
Ah, children have always made me feel important. The way they smile, so innocent and sweet, so trusting. I vowed in my father's last minutes of life that I would be a better father. Hell, I told him that I will be the perfect father. All was going well too if it hadn't been for Lieutenant Woods. Clever bastard! I had just seen something that I knew to be impossible on my television set. The Winslow boy hugging his parents, happy as can be. So I lost all train of thought. I raced to the spot in the woods, afraid of having witnessed a miracle. This is my account of events as they unfolded:
As I took the shovel out of my yellow Volkswagon, images of what I had just seen on television flashed before me. The evil Jeff Winslow hugging his wife and little boy, when the boy should be dead.
"What's happening to me?"
The news media made a big deal about the boy's disappearance, yet when my little girl vanished, no one cared. Instead of showing compassion, Jeff Winslow fired me from the tire plant. He had to pay for his sins.
I shouted at the top of my lungs, "How could this happen?"
Ten paces from a huge, old, oak tree lay a grave. Maintaining the low beams on while I commenced my work, I chanced being spotted, but I had to know. The illumination created menacing shadows. The tree's thick, crooked branches crouched over the freshly packed soil as if ready to scoop an innocent child and trap it for all eternity.
More images of the happy Winslow boy hugging and kissing his parents haunted me while I pounded the shovel into the ground.
My face began to perspire, causing my thick glasses to slip off, so I put them in my pocket. With every scoop of dirt, I envisioned my five-year-old daughter playing in the park.
"Look, Daddy!" She waved at me and slid down the slide.
My muscles began to ache. Dirt piled up nearby, blending with the smell of sweat. I cringed when a blister popped in my hand.
"He has to be dead."
I remembered my heart almost coming to a complete stop and hearing the other parents' conversations as one collective, giant murmur. It felt as if I saw my surroundings through a dark tunnel when I realized the love of my life, Jessica, was missing.
I was nearing the tiny body when a beam of light flashed across, revealing my location.
Who could be out here at this hour?
My fear vanished when the vehicle headed off in another direction until it was out of sight.
Continuing my work, my limbs ached under the excess weight caused by lifelong depression. Throughout my childhood, rich, nasty boys picked on me. Some went as far as calling me a girl.
"It's not fair."
I recalled how Jeff Winslow looked at me with his cold eyes when I told him about my daughter. He eased away and ordered me to get back to work.
At last, a pale, blue rug was visible amongst the damp soil. I jumped in the grave and uncovered the tiny body.
All of a sudden, tires munched on the dirt road and pebbles kicked up bringing bright lights towards me, eliminating the comforting shadows, blinding my vision. Then loud shouts barked from a multitude of dark silhouettes forced me to freeze.
"Hold it right there!" A familiar voice echoed throughout. "Paco Sanchez, don't move! You're surrounded."
"My glasses. I can't see well without them. Who are you?"
"I'm Lieutenant Woods and you're under arrest for murder."
Lieutenant Woods was the man I saw on television with the happy family. He was a tall, lean, no nonsense man.
I raised my hands to show them I was harmless and unarmed. "It's not fair. My daughter is gone. Why should the Winslows have it all?"
"What are you saying?" The lieutenant aimed a weapon at me.
"Winslow didn't care. I loved my daughter and he didn't care. The bastard fired me. Can I take out my glasses?"
I heard shotguns being chambered. "Do it slowly." The lieutenant said, "How many more have you killed?"
The question confused me. I was the victim. I put on my glasses, glanced down and saw the boy's curly blond hair.
"But I saw him on television. He was alive."
The lieutenant nodded, "Computer generated. We superimposed the boy's image and linked a short circuit feed to your screen to get you to doubt yourself and lead us to the body. Is that the Winslow boy?"
"Why did you kill her?"
I looked down. Another body lay next to the boy's corpse. I spotted long, black hair amongst the dirt.
"Why did you kill Jessica Rivers?"
The rage. I recalled the anger rising in me. All she wanted was ice cream. That's all. It was easy to entice her into the car, to pretend I was her father. Just like I did with the others. Perfection came in the form of wanting something so bad that no one could stop me.
I cried, "Look at me Lieutenant. My father castrated me when I was a boy. No woman wants anything to do with me. How else could I show him? Every time I get a child, I show him I am the perfect father."
Suddenly, a pair of tiny hands grabbed my legs.
I collapsed, landing near the bodies. The policemen's shouts were drowned out by the blood rushing to my ears. Both of the children, eyes empty and wide, tugged at my shirt. Jessica smiled and then all I saw was darkness.
The next time I awoke conscious of my surroundings, I was handcuffed to a hospital bed. A correction officer guarded the door, while Lieutenant Woods sat nodding in disbelief and said, "How did you get the bodies to look like they were strangling you?"
"They tried to kill me, Lieutenant."
"Save it for the trial. You better get this straight. You'll never be a father, much less the perfect one."
"But you have to save me."
"At night, when I'm left alone in the dark, I hear them, laughing."
He raised his hand in disgust, "Save it--"
"You must believe me. They're going to kill me."
Lieutenant Woods smiled and said to the officer by the door, "Make sure this guy goes into isolation where it's always dark."
"You do believe me."
"Why shouldn't I? After all, you're not the only one who sees them. Payback is a bitch, Paco."
He left, grinning, ignoring my cries for help.
They tell me that I spent the last six months in isolation. Six months of enduring the children crying. Feeling their tiny fingers poking me. I begged to be let out. Madness consumed me. Soon I had lost all sense of time. I can still hear whispers at night. The children vow revenge. They cry and shout obscenities. I'm the only one who hears them. The warden thinks I should be in a psychiatric ward. I'm praying for the transfer to happen. If the transfer goes through I must escape. I must not allow darkness to continue to haunt me. I must find my son and show him what it's like to be a perfect father. I must get out. For now, time moves forward slowly and half of my days are spent in daylight. But the shadows are filling the room. There they go again. The children begin to whisper. "Paco, Paco, die Paco!" Oh no!