1. JONATHAN

“My name is Ian Hurts and this is how I killed Jonathan Martinez.”

Those were the first words I heard coming out of Ian’s mouth. Words uncovering a disturbed mind, revealing a psychopath, a serial killer. However, there was something in Ian’s voice, a quality that could carry away and convince even the hardest of minds, the coldest of hearts. Ian, a 35-year-old psychiatrist, sitting comfortably in court in a tasteless, black suit, describing each murder he had committed with shocking details, was a spectacle of horror. Especially, the ending of each statement… oh, those endings…

The young boys were riding their bikes down the hill with tremendous speed. Ian was first, screaming his head off of excitement, followed by Jordan and Michael. Last, at a short distance was Paul riding his electric wheelchair, lifting his hands up in the sky. The four friends were inseparable since kindergarten, having gone through countless adventures and incredible mischiefs. Their favorite habit was exploring the forest, which was why, almost every day, after school, they would roam the streets with one and only destination; their magical and beloved place.

Like every kid at their age their imagination was running wild. Their idea of building a treehouse in the middle of the woods was carried out with great success. It took almost a month to finish their masterpiece. Jordan, the smartest of the four, had managed to sneak out valuable supplies they could use for the construction part of the treehouse. Handsome Paul was in charge of the decoration. Carpets, picture frames, even paintings. His ability in drawing was exceptional as he had managed to transform the wooden construction into a medieval castle. Chubby Michael was the only member of the food committee. His mother always prepared extra snacks and candies for him and his friends. And then, it was Ian. Blonde, skinny-tall Ian. He was the leader of the group and the mastermind behind everything. He had built the entire thing all by himself. Before his father’s death, the two used to spend a lot of time together, building and destroying little crafts around the house. His father, a civil engineer, loved sharing his passion with his little son and Ian, the 9-year-old rebel, enjoyed listening and challenging his own father with his questions and ideas.

The winter wind was blowing, and the black clouds surrounded the sky were like a bad omen for that particular day. The weather was cold enough to make their bodies shiver, but rain or snow, hurricane or tornado, when it was play-time, nothing else mattered. When the boys arrived at their secret spot, a big surprise was awaiting.       

A group of 7th-graders was vandalizing their fortress. Broken pieces of wood, ripped carpets, graffiti all over the wooden walls with the gang’s symbol, a big black circle and on the inside a trident with every spear looking like the letter J – a manifestation of their atrocities. At the view of the horrible disaster, Ian pushed his bike on the ground and run toward the evil group. His friends followed him in rush.

            “What the hell, do you think you’re doing?” Ian shouted.

The five, young savages started laughing. Jonathan, the leader of their group, walked slowly and stood at a very short distance from Ian’s face.

            “Oh, I’m sorry. Was is it yours?” Jonathan said sarcastically, holding a ripped, white piece of cloth of what seemed to be a bedsheet.

            “This is our place now, so get the hell out of here,” screamed with pride one of the 7th-graders.

            “No way!” shouted Jordan and Michael at the same time.

            “I think the little dwarfs need a lesson,” the evil boys were ready to pick up a fight.

            “Come on guys, let it go. Stop acting stupid,” said Paul.

            “Did you just call me, stupid?” Jonathan looked at him with rage and with a nod to his friends, everyone jumped into a fight. There is no place for argument and conversation when it comes to young boys. It is easier to kick and punch than confront through dialogue. Jonathan, however, avoiding any kind of violence at that point, walked towards Paul. He looked at him with despise. Paul tried to move his way around with his wheelchair in an attempt to help his friends. A friend of Jonathan tried to grab the wheelchair, but Jonathan looked at him angrily.

            “He’s mine,” he said with eyes sparkled, and a face depicting all kinds of pain and anger existing in his soul.

Ian, Jordan and Michael were lying on the ground filled with blood. The barbarian gang was forcing them to stay down, unable to react, and just stare at what Jonathan was doing to little Paul.

Paul’s wheelchair was on the ground, his body lying in the mud. The rain, falling down his face, was covering his tears. He was crying but not because of pain. Either way, he couldn’t feel a thing, could he? Jonathan was kicking and stepping hard on the boy’s paralyzed legs with all the strength he could possess. The anger in his eyes was the one’s of a wild animal devouring its prey.

Ian blacked out for a few minutes during the whole atrocious act of violence. His eyes remained wide open, but he was unable to see anything. He could only listen to the drumming sound of the rain falling from the black sky. Rain, the form of weather that cleanses, washes away everything and brings new life again. And that was exactly what happened at that moment, the events of that day would change Ian’s life forever.

            “Ian? Ian? Can you hear me?” Come on, man get up.” Michael’s voice brought Ian back to reality. He wiped his tears away with his muddy fingers and without saying a word, stood up and started running like he was chased by a rabid dog. The rest of the boys stayed behind, helping Paul get back on his wheelchair. After almost three minutes of what had seemed like the longest time of his life, Ian found the evil gang. They were chased by some men in a nearby farm. They had probably caused more trouble. Ian noticed Jonathan separating from the group running in another direction and followed him. The rain kept falling hard, one could barely see anything around.

As strong as the body may be the power of the mind can be stronger. Ian could never fully remember his first victim – the way he murdered Jonathan at the age of nine. The way he made his heart stopped from beating. That was his statement in the court room, on the first day of his trial:

            “I remember looking at my hands, full of scratches, trembling. It was as if my soul had been separated from my body and there I was… a witness to my own acts. I remember his eyes turning red and wet. I can’t remember his voice. Maybe he was screaming, maybe not. His neck was red. When he was no longer moving, I started running. And that was it.”

Jonathan Martinez was found two days later strangled in the woods and half-eaten by wild animals.

  

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