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Don’t Trust the Boy

dont trust the boy
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Estimated reading time — 10 minutes

They didn’t believe me. Not the couple’s family after their house burned down. Not the daycare when half the kids mysteriously fell ill. And not the police when I attempted to end this plague with my bare hands. For perhaps the final time, I am begging you, all of you, please believe me when I say that god damn boy is evil.

Many years ago, I had lived next to a beautiful couple. The two were happily married, well-known in the community, and had big dreams of starting a family. When the day finally arrived to present their beautiful baby boy to the world, everyone was ecstatic.

For a time, I was one of those people giving them congratulations and proclaiming to treat that young boy as if he were part of my family. And for a time, I believed in the happiness associated with their new life.

But… As many people fail to do in the face of something so perfect, I realized I was neglecting to answer some fundamental questions. Namely, when exactly was this baby born? Surely there had to have been a date or a hospital where this child had come into the world. And yet, I couldn’t remember exactly when the baby arrived. As far as I could remember, there was no talk of the mom giving birth at the hospital or rumors of a large family gathering at his birth. No… I recalled us simply showing up to the young couple’s house one day where they had a baby in hand.

But, home births happen. Maybe they preferred it that way. Still, there was something else bothering me. For there to be a birth, there had to be a pregnancy. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I hadn’t seen the wife show any signs of pregnancy for the past 9 months. And neither of them had mentioned they had a child on the way. Adoption was an option, but the couple had adamantly said for years that they wanted a child that they gave birth to.

Yet, when I’d bring up these concerns to people around town, I was always met with looks of confusion. This, along with a strong belief that the young couple had indeed given birth, there was a pregnancy, and they remembered the announcement vividly. I’d counter with evidence that there were no pictures of the pregnant wife and the lack of official birth records online.

But it didn’t seem to matter. People were convinced. I mean, how could they not be? The baby was there. “He has his eyes and her ears.” They would say.

It was a rainy day in October. As I’m getting ready to leave for work, the baby stares at me from the window. I’m not sure how or why he was there, but the look in his eyes is one of intense focus. Admittedly, it gave me a profoundly eerie feeling. There was a deeper level of contemplation that shouldn’t have been there for a kid his age. He didn’t have the look of a child attempting to figure out why all these funny shapes were moving around him. No, he was far beyond that. I could see in his eyes that he was plotting.

I shook it off for the drive to work, but my confusion came on strong when I arrived. The day’s activities were a footnote to the unshakeable dark feeling I had carried with me since that morning. I couldn’t know what to expect, but my fear of something awful happening was realized when I got back.

What was once a lovely family home was ablaze. Years of happiness adding fuel to the roaring flames. The tears of the neighborhood were drowned out by the yells of first responders and sirens. A truly chaotic scene was unfolding before our very eyes. Despite it all, the hardest-hitting moment would come long after the fires were tamed. It came in the form of a press release from the local police. The young couple was dead. Their bodies were found in each other’s arms, charred beyond recognition. The cause of death was later determined to be asphyxiation from the smoke.

A miasma of sadness hung in the atmosphere for months. All of us were profoundly hurt by the tragedy and looking for answers. Why did this happen? How could this happen?

But, in my own sadness, I had again neglected the critical question. What happened to the baby? There was no third reported body found. No update in the news even referenced a child that was being looked for.

I tried asking around, even speaking to the family of the deceased, but I got the same response every single time, “What baby?” Everyone I spoke to insisted that the couple never had a child, which was supposedly a significant factor in why this was so sad. There was apparently nothing to continue their memory. A complete 180 from the narrative just weeks prior.

There was no way I just imagined this. There definitely was a child. People did know of his existence. And now, after the family passes, there’s nothing? I did some digging on social media and even searches for pictures of the couple with the child returned nothing.

Over time, I had convinced myself that there must’ve been a massive misunderstanding. However illogical my rationale, it was more comfortable to believe than the alternative.

Some months pass, and one of my close friends asked if I could take their son, Raz, to daycare because they had to be extra early for a meeting at work, and I was happy to help.

The morning I had Raz checked in, a woman bumps into me at the door as I’m leaving. Before I could say anything, she was already hurriedly asking where she can register her son, Gordon, and if it was too late.

I wanted to explain that I didn’t know much about the daycare and that I was just dropping off my friend’s kid, but I froze for a moment when I saw the young boy behind her. I had never seen this woman or her child before in my life, and yet… I recognized that kid. Or at least, he looked like someone I knew.

In a flash, it all came back to me. The young couple. The fire. Everything… That young boy had the face of that missing baby, only aged up a couple of years. Those dark calculating eyes penetrated deep into my psyche, and I could feel sweat start to form on my brow. At that moment, I recognized I legitimately feared this kid.

The woman gave me a bewildered stare as I stood silently contemplating all of this. With a simple, “Excuse me,” I moved past her out of the building. I sat in my car, in disbelief of another impossibility. If that was indeed the same child, he had aged at least three years in the span of a few months. For my own sanity, I landed on the notion that the two simply looked incredibly similar and that there wasn’t a real reason to stress about it. Still, deep down, I knew that wasn’t the case.

A couple weeks to the day went by without anything abnormal happening until I got a call from my friend. They were in tears, and eventually, as I got them to calm down, I came to understand why. Half the kids in the daycare had come down with a mysterious illness. The severity of this illness resulted in some… grim… results for a few of the children. Raz was one of those impacted. He would eventually come to make a recovery, but there was lasting damage.

As far as the daycare and medical personnel could trace it, it seemed that a kid who showed mild symptoms a couple of weeks prior was ground zero. I nearly dropped my phone at that news. I half-screamed at my friend about how some new kid named Gordon was registered that day and how they were likely the root, but they, understandably, didn’t care. Their attention was focused on Raz and asking about my own health.

After talking for a bit longer, I assured them I was okay, and as soon as the conversation was over, I got into my car and sped in the direction of the daycare. I nearly busted down the door as I sprinted towards the front desk and asked if they had a kid named Gordon register any time recently. There was some back and forth about who I was, so I lied and said I was a relative, but that didn’t get me anywhere. Apparently, no new kids had registered in the past month.

I argued that that was impossible because my “relative” had come in two weeks prior wanting to register her kid. But again, I was told that no one had done such a thing.

It had happened again. Somehow this child was gone from everyone’s memories except mine. I went to the local police and tried to share my findings, but I was basically laughed out of the station.

For another few months, all was quiet until I was driving home late one night. I stopped at a convenience store to grab some snacks, and as I’m figuring out what I want, a father walks in with his young son in hand. Instantly I get a sense of foreboding. Before I even laid eyes on the two, I had a strong feeling of who it was. When I peeked over the rows of snacks, my fears were confirmed. Also, as expected, the kid was just as aware of my presence as I was of his. I didn’t even bother to get what I wanted. I simply walked out and drove home.

The following day on the news, the top story was about a single man shot and killed just outside that same convenience store. Whoever did it didn’t even take anything. Just a stone-cold random murder.

In the following years, I witnessed the precursor to multiple tragedies around the world. Sickness, violence, random fatal accidents, emotional trauma, etc. The one connecting thread was that boy. Whether in person or on social media, I’d always see his damn face first.

He always remained a child, but his age varied wildly. Mostly he took the form of a baby, sometimes three or four, maybe even as old as ten. But undoubtedly, it was always him. I’d try and do my best to stop some of these events before they happened, but my efforts never mattered. There would always be a moment where something went horribly wrong.

One of the scariest things about it all is that no matter whether I saw him in person or on TV, he’d always be staring at me. I could see a video of a family walking the street with their kid, and I’d catch him looking directly at the camera. It was as if he knew that I was watching and wanted me to know that he was always watching me back. There was never a moment of peace.

My mental health degraded heavily over this period. I was in and out of therapy, picked up a bad smoking habit, and ruined more than my fair share of relationships over what some had deemed an “unhealthy and twisted obsession.” It had become unbearable.

One day after a dreadful night, I decided to sit at a park near my house to try and relax for the first time in a long while. For the first ten minutes or so, I was succeeding. The cool air on my face with the birds and squirrels living peacefully brought a sense of calm.

That calm, however, was quickly shattered when that familiar sense of foreboding hit me with the force of a semi-truck. Walking towards me was the boy, this time aged around six or seven, and a new couple. One that deeply reminded me of the first. Flashes of the feelings I had when I first saw that fire circled through my mind. Fear, anxiety, sadness… But something new accompanied it. Absolute pure rage.

I was livid that this boy was somehow responsible for so much damage. All of the lives he had ruined. And he didn’t even dare to face the horrible things he’s done. He just destroys and disappears. Hoping that those damaged won’t remember he was even there. But I did. And if I was the only person that was going to remember, then maybe I was the only person who could do something about it.

I flicked my still lit cigarette onto the ground, got up from the bench, and began to walk towards the trio. My heart beat through my chest with every step. A million thoughts raced through my mind, and before I knew it, I was slowly raising up both hands and contorting them to perfectly fit around the boy’s neck. Finally, when I was just within reach, I sprung forward and let out a visceral scream. But the only thing I came into contact with midair was a pair of knuckles cracking me against the temple.

I blacked out for a moment and woke up to a man sitting on top of me. He was raining down a hailstorm of punches with a woman screaming behind him. My world went dark again, only to come back to a group of people pulling the man off of me with another holding me down in place. Watching all this chaos unfold was the young boy who had a massive smile plastered on his face. Those soulless eyes lapping up every bit of my pain.

The cops arrived shortly after that. I was charged and subsequently spent time in jail. In the police interview, I begged them to understand why what I had attempted was necessary. I laid out my case, explained the connections between multiple occurrences, and warned them that the family was in danger. The response was as expected, disbelief. And for their hubris, that couple died in a car accident only a few days later. And even then, was I believed? No.

Interestingly enough, the charges were later dropped due to “lack of evidence.” Witnesses had claimed they saw me walking out of the park when a man randomly attacked me as I tripped into him.

And just like that… So easily… Life had gone back to normal. It wasn’t until I was back sitting alone at home that a new realization hit me. I couldn’t stop this. It did me no good to even attempt to pretend like I was in control here. There’s a dark force beyond my control, and I… We… Are mere toys to be moved around at its whim. It’s not something I’m okay with, far from it. But at this point, what can I do?

All I can try to do is live a good life regardless of what I know is coming, and for a solid time, I did that to the best of my ability. This coincided with a lack of seeing that boy in any form. For a time, I thought I could actually say that I was happy. Much in my life had gone right, and then like a ghost from the past, he walked into my life again. This time in a form I had never seen previously.

He was grown. Or at least as much as I had seen him grow. He was perhaps in his late teens, but those dark, hateful eyes remained and were the unique identifiers aside from the remnants of a familiar face. I only saw him briefly in a crowd of people, but his presence was undeniable, much like the knot growing in my stomach was. He appeared as though he had been watching me for a while. Waiting for me to make eye contact. And as soon as I did, he left.

To this point, nothing bad that I know of has happened. Though, I get the feeling that something awful is coming. Maybe something that goes beyond a small family or one person. Perhaps something that involves all of us. I don’t know… And not knowing scares me.

So I write this as a direct warning. If in your life you see a child you feel is off… Or if any of you notices a kid’s placement in someone’s world doesn’t quite fit with what makes sense… Maybe you even sense an abnormal level of hate emanating from what should be an innocent kid… Then remember these words… Don’t trust the boy.

Credit : Bryan A Young

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