Prologue:

My memories smell like eucalyptus. They infiltrate my dreams. They sink into my dusty lungs and settle like rocks in my soft belly. They eat away at my heart, slowly, like pins and needles jabbing at the muscle tissues, over and over again. The smell of eucalyptus burrows into my skin, it worms its way into my creaky bones, ties ropes around my rib cage until I can’t breathe anymore. It follows me like a cloud, a formidable scent that echoes in the hallways of my mind, awakening sleeping memories. And I can’t breathe when they’re awake. Curtains fall over my brown eyes; the memories ensnare me in their traps of barbed wire and blood. All I can see is blood, all I can smell is eucalyptus, all I can taste is the metallic taste of fear as it tears my soul from my shivering body, cramped in the darkness. I want to breathe, but I can’t.

Three year old boys don’t commit murder. They do not. How can they? They are three. With their chubby arms and watery eyes. Their fluffy hair and gummy mouths. Sticky children do not slaughter their families. They do not leave pools of blood and gore throughout the house. They don’t know how to kill, to maim. They do not. How can they? It’s impossible. Their minds are unconditioned, innocent. They don’t understand anything except for hunger and sleep and play and happy and sad. They’re three. Three year old boys that smell like eucalyptus do not commit a first class felony. They do not.

I know it doesn’t make sense. Not to you, not to me. Not then, and not now. Not eight years later. He would be eleven years old now. I can imagine that an eleven year old would certainly be able to premeditate murder. But a three year old? I don’t get it. Incomprehensible? Yeah, that’s the right word. You think it’s crazy that a three year old was charged with murder. It was. I think it was crazy – insanity of the justice system at its finest. It did happen. I insist that it happened. How would I know? What would I know? Well, I do know. I know because it tore my family apart. Some of us quite literally; my mother and grandparents murdered in cold blood, body parts strewn around the house. A bit of brain here, a finger there. My sister and father and I, left out in the cold all by ourselves. And a three year old boy, what the fuck, sentenced to three counts of first degree murder. Three life sentences like three knives, three jabs in the intestines, three fucking stabs in the heart.

It just doesn’t quite make sense. Something else happened. There is something they’re not telling us. There is something that I don’t know, we don’t know. A secret locked away in a cage, a cage with no key, a cage welded shut with time and money and power.  Or maybe, in the land of the impossible, maybe it did happen. Maybe he did do it. Demon possession, superhuman strength, whatever. Maybe the impossible is possible? It’s not. It can’t be and I do not think that it is. There is a secret and maybe I know the answer. Then again, I probably don’t. I don’t know if I want the answer. Do I? Yeah. I do want the answer. No. Scratch that. Fuck the answer. Just let it rip me apart forever. 

Published by Samantha Anderson