Everyone assumed that Blaine Anderson was the paragon of a well-mannered teenage boy. His friends' mothers would always ask their sons, "Why can't you be more like your friend Blaine?," leading to rolling eyes and slamming doors. The elderly librarians in the library he frequented would smile as he whispered a polite "please" and "thank you" when they checked his books out. He never returned a book late, never missed a chance to volunteer at their monthly book fairs. He looked after the library garden, pro bono of course, although no one ever saw him tending it. They all assumed that, with his busy schedule of school, glee club, and volunteering, he was just taking care of it after dark. But the flowers in the garden were big, lush, and beautiful, and the grass well-tended, so no one thought to question his methods.
And, as such a well-liked member of the community, everyone instantly came to Blaine's aid when his father mysteriously vanished. Walter Anderson was just as well-loved as his son, by acquaintances and friends alike. He was a state senator, known for his tough stance on welfare and abortion. He had run unopposed for the past six election cycles, and no politician dreamed of challenging him. Naturally, his disappearance made national news. Rumors swirled- an affair? Spies? An overseas visit gone wrong? Blaine and his mother, Celeste, appeared on the news every night, tears in their eyes, begging for any information anyone could give about Walter's whereabouts.
A scream from Blaine's beloved library garden gave them their wish.
It was a Sunday morning. Blaine was busy reading the first chapter of the first Harry Potter novel to a group of third graders when he heard the scream. He dropped the book instantly, and excused himself. The children sat rapt, carefully awaiting his return. Tripping over his dress shoes, he rushed into the garden, where one of the librarians was curled up on the ground, still screeching at the top of her lungs. Next to her was a body, caked with congealed blood and clods of dirt. A long slice cut from the body's head to its upper back, and pieces of broken skull were visible through the cut. Blaine quickly removed his Dalton blazer, worn for posterity, and placed it over the body. He held the librarian close, shushing her cried.
"What happened?" he asked, concern shining in his hazel eyes.
"I came outside to check on the flowers. They looked so pretty and I wanted to pick some to go inside." She muttered. Her breathing was shallow, broken, and Blaine could feel her heart beating through her whole body. "I thought I'd dig them up and then I found..." she trailed off, and Blaine knew exactly what had happened.
"Go call the police." he mumbled, giving her a quick kiss on the forehead. "They'll take care of this."
The librarian did as she was told, and Blaine sat on his haunches, examining the body in front of him. He removed his blazer, and hung it over his shoulders. He examined its wounds, studied its cold extremities, and, as course of habit, checked its pulse. He stood up and flipped the body over, already ready for the horrified, dirt-caked face that was about to appear on the other side.
"Hello, Dad." He sighed, as the body's arm flopped out to its side at an inhuman angle. "Fancy seeing you here."
No sooner were the words out of his mouth that the police, news vans, and his own mother arrived. Celeste immediately clung to her son, big, heaving sobs erupting from her body. The police surrounded Walter's corpse, taking pictures and picking dirt and debris off the body. The news reporters pushed microphones and cameras into Blaine's face, asking for a soundbite or comment. Celeste was still sobbing as Blaine carefully placed his words together.
"I am heartbroken and disturbed to see my father in this state, but Mom and I are both glad to have some closure on this issue."
Later that night, Blaine couldn't sleep. After all the questions the police and reporters had asked him, he was second-guessing every move he made. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins, and he could barely stay still. Resolved to achieve some kind of catharsis, he dug through a box of books until he found his diary from middle school. He found a pen somewhere on his desk, and, checking to make sure his door was securely locked, he began to write.
Dear Diary, he began, ashamed at his own cliché beginnings. I guess I should start at the beginning. I am 17 years old and a Junior at Dalton Academy. I volunteer at the Lima Public Library and sing with the Dalton Warblers. I am gay. I am single. I've never had a boyfriend. My favorite color is red. I play guitar, piano, violin, and cello. I love football, pop music, and hiking.
Blaine hesitated before writing the next sentence. Putting this in writing would change everything. Someone could find it. Someone could read it and know his secret. But, regardless, he needed to share this fact with someone- anyone.
He sighed and placed his pen on the paper. Last week, I killed my father.
Ten minutes later, Blaine sat back down at his desk and re-read the six words he had written for what felt like the thousandth time. He knew he couldn't leave his journal entry there, so he continued the story.
My father seemed like a good guy to most people. And he was, except for one large problem. Dad liked to drink. For as far back as I can remember, he's come home from work every day and drank. Sometimes he would only have one beer or two. Sometimes he would down almost a full bottle of rum before he passed out. If he passed out, though, that was a good day. On the bad days, he would gather up all his energy and hit my mother and myself.
It started off innocently enough. I came home late from Warblers practice, and Dad was already drunk. He yelled at me for being late. As he lifted one arm in anger, it accidentally hit me on the face. From there, the accidental hits became more and more intentional. Before long, I was prepared for battle as soon as I got home. I was stealing Mom's concealer to hide the bruises on my face. I wore my Dalton blazer year-round to hide the welts on my arms. I was finding any excuse to stay at friends' houses, just to get away from him.
But Mom couldn't leave. She wouldn't leave. I knew I had to do something.
Then it happened. One night, I came home in a bad mood, and Dad had already been drinking for hours. He slurred insults at me, swinging his arms blindly. His fist struck my head. The next thing I knew, I woke up on the living room floor with a throbbing head. Dad was snoring, passed out on the couch. My eyes felt like they were about to fall out of their sockets. I couldn't think clearly. I was conscious in flashes. I was pulling Dad out into the backyard. I was grabbing a shovel. The smell of blood and the sound of bones breaking. Driving. The library garden. Digging. Driving home. I crawled into bed.
I woke to Mom shaking my shoulders, her voice shaking. "Have you seen your father?" She was asking. She asked again and again, her voice growing louder with every word.
I grumbled and turned over. I mumbled something about how he was probably at work.
She started sobbing. "It's been three days."
I turned back over to face her. "Three days?" I asked. "How long have I been asleep?"
She shrugged as her sobs took over her voice. I checked my phone- it had been almost a week since Dad had knocked me unconscious. "Call the police." I muttered, pulling my covers over my head. I could hear Mom's footsteps as she left the room.