Part 3

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“No! Stop it!”

I sprang up from my desk and pulled my arm away from Mr. Kern. I was sweating and I felt some scratches on my face. Everyone in the class was staring at me.

“Jax, everything is okay. You’re okay. Let’s bring you to the nurse.”

I blinked slowly and tried to wrap my head around what was happening.

“Jax. Let’s go, bud.”

I looked at Mr. Kern. He had a concerned look on his face, as well as a couple of my classmates.

“No. No, I don’t need to go to the nurse.”

Mr. Kern reached out his hand.

“Jax, I think you do. You have scratches on your face. The nurse can look at it and clean it up then you’ll be good to go. Come on, bud, I’ll go with you.”

Mr. Kern gently grabbed my arm, picked up my backpack, and walked with me to the nurse’s station. He stopped me before we entered the room and looked me in the eyes.

“Jax, is everything okay? Is there something I can do to help?”

I remember him asking, but my brain felt so clouded and my eyes were droopy from the crying. I don’t remember answering him. The nurse came out and led me into the room. She looked over the scratches on my face, cleaned off the blood, and put bandages on them.

“These band-aids aren’t the best looking, but the scratches will heal up soon. Mr. Kern tells me you woke up from a bad dream or something in class. Do you want to talk about it?”

I looked at the nurse and felt the words wanting to come out, but they wouldn’t. I started crying instead. She called my mother to tell her what was going on, and she came to pick me up from school. I looked out of the window in the car and tried my best not to cry, but I was unsuccessful.

“Jax, honey, what’s going on?”

“Mom, I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you what’s going on because it’s bad.”

I’ve never seen my mom look so worried in my life.

“Honey, you can tell me anything. Did something happen?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me about it.”

“I can’t.”

Mom sighed and gave me a sympathetic look. We went home and I went straight to my bed. I couldn’t hold in the tears anymore.

Is this what it’s like to live as a murderer?

I guess I ended up falling asleep because when I woke up, it was 10pm. I went to the kitchen and found a note from my mom: “Jax, supper is in the microwave.” I opened it, saw a few slices of pizza, and closed the microwave door to heat them. I sat down and ate, but then I got a text.

Cully.

“Dude, what happened today?? You really gotta pull yourself together!!”

I decided to ignore his text.

I couldn’t sleep that night, so I stayed up and watched crime documentaries on Netflix. One in particular, I Am A Killer, just made the irony feel ridiculous. In the show, murderers on death row are interviewed about the crime they committed, basically telling their side of the story. Some of them get released from death row and go into general population after their lawyers fight their case with the state. I wonder if I would go to death row if I were caught. I’d probably die before I got to my execution date. I’m not a very big guy, so one swing from a huge muscular guy that works out every day in prison would end me. I wonder if I would be beat up the way Dahmer was, with a big metal pole. Then again, I’m not a cannibal.

You’re rambling.

Right. Focus.

I wonder if I should see a therapist. The voices in my head aren’t really backing down either. In fact, I swear they’ve gotten worse since that night. But then, I have to tell a therapist everything, right? Like the fact that I murdered someone in cold blood? But did I? It still feels like a dream. Like it wasn’t real. But Cully knows about it, so he had to have helped. I’ve never even hung out with Cully before this. Why him?

I have to start getting some answers, and the only one I can question is Cully. Maybe I should text him back.

“Cully, sorry for the late reply. I just had a bad dream, that’s all. Let’s talk at lunch today.”