Estimated reading time — 33 minutes
“God have mercy on me…” he whispered, stepping through the hallway lined with loud gossip. “It’s been too long. Almost a week. I know I’m-”
“Surprise!” the gargantuan hands grabbed him from behind, slamming him against the locker. His books crashed to the ground with a thud, and he stared like a deer in headlights at the man before him.
“It’s been almost a week!”
“I… was just thinking that too.”
“So, you knew it was coming, huh, Christopher?” his posse of friends were laughing beside him, as other teenagers simply walked by, not the least bit concerned.
“Buzz… give me a break…”
“You had a break, Chrissy,” he ruffled his hair. “Almost a week.”
Christopher said nothing. He conceded defeat.
“Dammit…” Christopher whispered in anger, feeling unable to breathe.
His body was tightly pressed against the metal inner-lining of his locker. The only present light was through the three slits near the top of it; besides this, the locker was pitch black. His legs no longer hurt from standing the 55 minutes until class got out, or until the hall monitor or school security guard stumbled upon him. He’d had to do it too many times; it was routine now.
His grades, however, were beginning to suffer. The classes he missed due to this were hurting his GPA. He refused to dwell on that thought when trapped in the locker; it just made him all the more furious.
“I spend every other day in this damn locker…” he seethed. “I’m so sick of it… I-”
A shadow passed the slits of the locker, eclipsing the light. It didn’t move. He felt a pair of eyes cutting through the locker.
There was no response. After another moment, he became less annoyed, and more frightened. Then a small piece of paper slid inside, thumping his chest. He caught it before it fell to the floor; had it reached the bottom of the locker, he’d have had no chance at picking it up. The shadow disappeared at that moment.
“What the hell…” he stared at the small note in his hand. “Hello?” he called. “Hey! Can you open this damn locker?!” The person never replied. “Bastard…” Christopher whispered. “What the hell is this, a fake love letter or something?” he opened the note.
The first thing he noticed was the awful handwriting. It was hardly legible, and written in a dark black ink. It slightly unnerved him; the formation of the letters looked, somehow, angry, to him. Perhaps it was their spiky structure, like the bubble surrounding an onomatopoeia in a comic book.
Aren’t you sick of this? They bully you. Frequently. But I understand.
He felt anxious as he held the note up in the dusty, faint locker light. He studied the words carefully.
“Ed… who’s Ed? Eddy Braxton…? Why would he… and he doesn’t go by Ed…”
He felt a sense of ominousness. What did the words mean? Who was present outside for only a moment, eclipsing the locker light? Who was Ed? And what exactly did he understand?
Chills crept down his spine as he stared at the note one last time, then folded it back up, sliding it into his pocket.
“Christopher?” a voice caught him by surprise, startling him.
“Mr. Tiller,” he breathed in relief, “you scared me.”
“They put you in the locker again?” the janitor asked angrily. “Somebody needs to put a stop to those kids,” he twisted the lock left and right, having memorized the combination by heart at this point.
When it unlocked, he opened the locker, studying Christopher’s dark blue eyes and long brown hair.
“Thanks,” he stepped out. “And nobody will put a stop to them. Everything they do here at here Gehrig goes unnoticed. The principals don’t care. Not one bit. That’s why I always end up in there.”
The janitor sighed. “I’m going to do something about this,” he spoke his expected platitudinous promise.
Christopher nodded. Then, he felt the urge to ask a question.
“Hey… Mr. Tiller… did you see anybody walking by in the hall? Like, only a couple minutes ago?”
“I saw a boy,” Mr. Tiller responded. “Not sure who he was. He walked down the hall and took a left; didn’t see him after that. A tall fellow; looked like he had glasses, but I’m not sure. Why? Did you beg him to help you and he just walked on by?”
“No… I… don’t worry about it. Thanks for getting me out again.”
“Of course. I mean it, Christopher, I’m going to do something about this.”
The room was dark. Christopher’s back to his bed, he lay awake, his curtain open, allowing in the moonlight from outside, which illuminated the room just enough to read the words.
Aren’t you sick of this? They bully you. Frequently. But I understand.
“Who is Ed…?” he contemplated it continually, without rest. “Ed… what is it you understand? Are you getting bullied too? Why didn’t you say anything…” chills crept down his spine again, and he decided to stop thinking about it for the night.
He folded the note and sat up. He set it on his desk, then crawled back into his bed, making his way under the covers. He tried to sleep, but the eerie interest kept him awake. All he could think about was the moment the light in the locker eclipsed, and he felt the stare of whatever was outside. It wouldn’t leave his mind. For some reason, as he considered the presence outside the locker, it didn’t feel human to him. It felt more like an entity or force. Perhaps it was because the person was so standoffish and strange, with a name unknown to him.
He opened his eyes. Staring at the roof, he took in a long, deep breath.
“I’ll be up all night thinking about this…” he sighed.
“Christopher,” a firm voice finally caught his attention, and his heavy eyelids raised, meeting the face of his teacher. “Wake up.”
Christopher sat up quickly, embarrassed and worried. “Sorry. It won’t happen again.”
“That’s thirty minutes of my class you’ve missed. I suspect your grade on tomorrow’s quiz will reflect that.”
She walked back to the front of the classroom, everybody now studying him, either laughingly or awkwardly. No one looked at him sympathetically.
He stared at the board dully, already feeling his eyelids grow heavy again as his racing heart slowed down.
Christopher opened his locker. To his shock, a book was present inside that he’d never seen before, with a note taped to it. He picked it up, analyzing it; it was an old, faded red notebook. The pages of the book were a yellowish-brown, having seemed to deteriorate from the once bright white loose-leaf that they were. He was about to open the notebook when he figured he’d check the note first. He pulled the tape off and opened it.
This is my gift to you. Read it carefully, and not at school. You can’t show anybody this notebook. Read it when you are alone. When you are finished, leave a note in your locker telling me what you think.
It slightly unnerved him to see the words written in the misshapen handwriting. Even the dark ink of the letters looked unnatural.
He placed the notebook back down in the locker, following the instructions. However, curiosity took over. He opened it slightly, eyeing the first page. From what he could tell, it was notes on American history. The handwriting was the same: hardly legible and dark.
“Something’s… wrong, here…” Christopher sighed. “I don’t know what… but this just isn’t right. How did… Ed… get in my locker? And this notebook looks so old… like’s it’s from the eighties or nineties. I don’t like this at all…” he shook his head.
He set the notebook down, shutting his locker. He turned around, and instantly noted the presence of Buzz coming up the hall. He dashed for his classroom, hoping Buzz hadn’t noticed him.
All Christopher could hear was the clock ticking. The school psychiatrist was making her pot of coffee like usual, leaving Christopher alone in the office. His elbow pressed against the table, he leaned on his palm, bored.
“I hate these Thursday meetings…” he grumbled. “I have better things to do than sit here while you make coffee…”
Then the journal came to mind. Despite how ominous it felt, he was also deeply curious about what he’d find inside. Every time he imagined it sitting in his backpack, he felt like Ed was nearby, watching him. Alone in the office, he stopped contemplating the notebook, and Ed, in hopes not to feel worried again.
Three minutes later, the psychiatrist returned. She had long, dark brown hair and caramel eyes behind glasses. She was in her late twenties, gorgeous to look upon. He used to feel butterflies when he saw her in the hall, but now, all he felt toward her was contempt. Her neglect of his problem seemed completely opposite of her job, and her tendency to make his situation seem like his fault infuriated him.
“Hey, Christopher,” she smiled, sitting down at the desk across from him, holding her cup of coffee.
“How was your day?”
“I didn’t get kicked or punched today. I wasn’t thrown into a locker either. So, it was okay.”
“Don’t be so negative, Christopher!” she touched his shoulder, slightly annoyed and slightly determined to change his mindset. “I told you! Your negativity only contributes to the problem.”
Christopher seethed. He decided that saying nothing was better than saying something and having her make things worse.
“Listen, Christopher. Buzz’s parents give a lot of money to the school. And Gehrig High School needs the money,” she rubbed his arm tenderly as he stared into her eyes, his tortured soul meaning nothing to her oblivious smile. “And they’re all just messing around! Anyway, if you weren’t so moody, I don’t think people wound pick on you as much. Look, Christopher: just take this all as a life lesson. There are gonna’ be mean people in the world sometimes; you need to deal with them. You’ll have bosses you don’t like, and…”
Christopher faded out. Once again, he was reminded why he hated everyone. Though he generally suppressed thoughts of anger, the school psychiatrist always made them blossom. In her office, he always came to a new dark conclusion. Today, while blocking her meaningless words, he realized that there wasn’t a single person at the entire school that he cared about. He started to think about if it would bother him if they all died. He lied to himself when he reached the epiphany that it wouldn’t.
Then he started thinking about how perhaps things would be easier if he himself died. Then nobody could hurt him anymore, or ignore him- and if they did ignore him, he’d be dead, so he wouldn’t have to experience it.
“Are you listening?”
“No one… understands…” he thought to himself. Then he remembered Ed. “They bully you. Frequently. But I understand.”
He looked at her uninterestedly. “Hmm.”
“Are you there? You know, ignoring somebody that’s trying to help you is rude, and…”
Christopher faded out again, thinking about Ed more. He couldn’t wait to get home and check the notebook now. Though, still, a strange sense of dread crowded his mind whenever the notebook, or Ed, came to mind. He wondered if he simply was unused to someone reaching out to him, if his mind was so confused by the idea of a possible friend that he simply felt worried. But it wasn’t the same worrying feeling.
He didn’t feel anxious. He didn’t feel nervous, or shy, or like he was going out of his comfort zone.
He felt like he was talking to a corpse. Maybe it was because Ed rhymed with dead. He’d joked about it to calm his nerves, but every time Ed came to mind, he remembered the feeling of the presence standing inches from his face, separated only by the dark locker. All he could feel when he considered that moment was dread.
If Ed did understand, why did he seem so sinister?
Then he began to ponder Ed’s reasoning. If Ed understood Christopher’s pain, it meant he was the victim of years of bullying and isolation as well, and perhaps lacked social ability. He was probably too shy to say anything, he thought, and that’s why he’d been writing him letters. He was lonely and shy, just like Christopher.
Ed almost felt normal at that moment, like nothing was wrong.
“But… how did he get in my locker…” the ambiguousness returned, and Ed felt paranormal again.
“Christopher!” the psychiatrist snapped. “I’m speaking to you!”
“I’m not listening,” he responded dully.
She looked at him in disgust.
“You wonder why people are mean to you. You’re such a brat, Christopher. Nobody respects you because you’re not respectable. You’re mean and selfish and-”
“Wow. I didn’t think your job was to insult insecure people. In fact, I always kinda’ thought it was to help them. So, either I always had it wrong in my head, or holy shit you suck at your job.”
He got to his feet as she exploded in a tirade about respect. He walked over to the door and she grabbed his hand, yanking him back. He pulled his hand back as she roared “You cussed at me! You’ll be in detention for-”
“You just put your hands on me in a confrontational way. If you want your job, you’ll shut the fuck up as I walk out this door.”
She seethed. Breathing heavily and angrily, she stared at him in contempt. He looked at her dully. His hand rose, hovering level to her face, extended close to her. His middle finger protruded. Then he turned and walked out of the office, closing the door behind him.
Christopher threw his backpack down on the floor. He unzipped it, placing his hands on the old red notebook. He made sure his bedroom door was locked. He put the note in the same drawer where he had put the first note, then sat down at his desk. He placed the notebook before him.
“Here we go…” he whispered, opening it to the first page.
He found descriptions of the founding of America, of the Revolutionary War, and of the Founding Fathers. All of it was written in the dark, strange handwriting. He flipped further into the book, finding only notes from a history class.
“It’s all just… notes…” he scratched his head. “Seriously… what was I supposed to get from this?”
He flipped to the end of the book. Here, he saw tens of equations, most more complex than any he could understand. He figured it was calculus. Then something caught his interest. “Edward Faust,” was written at the top left-hand corner, and beneath it was the date. “01-18-91.”
“Nineteen… ninety-one?” he whispered in confusion. “This homework is dated from January of 1991… The whole book even looks like it’s from 1991…” he stared at the old, faded, brownish pages. “Edward Faust is your name… Ed…”
He held the notebook. He was deeply confused that Ed had left it for him. He flipped around more, finding little; most of it was history notes, English notes, or equations. He found that Ed was highly linguistic, with a startling vocabulary. Throughout even his notes, he used many intelligent words, some of which Christopher didn’t even understand. Then he stumbled across something of interest. Unlike most of his notes, which were all crammed onto one page with little to no room for anything else to be written, this page was almost empty. The only thing on the page was a poem. It was titled “A Walk in Isolation.”
Christopher’s blue eyes fixed on the stanzas.
Once again this hall I walk,
Mired in isolation,
My ears assailed with profane talk,
And the hushed dealings of medication.
Invisible, I am unseen,
A specter haunting the faded halls,
With nothing better to do than
Read vulgar philosophies upon the stalls
I am alone, I tell myself,
But this is just a lie.
A lie I cannot fully stomach,
When, in the mirror, I meet my blackened eyes.
For I am noticed, I cannot deny,
As curled fists discover my face
With ease, as I am plainly visible,
But only to those whom I hate.
I cannot spend another year,
Attempting to justify their sins.
Not one more day. Not one more hour.
I will be heard. I will.
Christopher held the notebook in his hands, unable to look away from the poem. He had felt it all before. He felt as if he were reading his own mind, like it was all written exactly for him. Now he felt close to Ed. He did not understand some of the things that were happening; he didn’t understand the strange date on the notebook, or how Ed opened his locker.
But he understood Ed himself.
“I… This is… so strange…” he thought, when he remembered Ed’s instructions. He sat down, taking out a piece of paper and scribbling his thoughts on it.
Ed’s notebook sat in Christopher’s backpack constantly. He didn’t take it out during school or in public, but he felt safe with it on him. He felt as if Ed were nearby, perhaps protecting him. He almost considered the notebook a good luck charm.
He walked through the halls, remembering the poem. He’d memorized it accidentally; reading it so many times and resonating with the lines left him unable to forget a word of it. He whispered the lines to himself as he passed a group of students who all leaned against their lockers, cursing without hesitation.
He looked to his left, studying the brazen transaction among two students in the shadow of a vending machine, before they departed, each sliding what he received in his own jacket pocket.
“Ed…” he thought. “I wish… you were here… to walk these halls with me… I feel like I know you so well now. Edward Faust… It’s like, we’re brothers or something.”
He choked in agony as his back abruptly slammed against a locker. His eyes widened in fear as Buzz came into view, laughing and holding his phone in Christopher’s face, recording him as he began to punch him in the stomach. After five seconds, he let go of Christopher, turning and staring at his phone with a grin as if he’d simply played a small prank and recorded it.
“Send that to me!” one of his friends laughed, a perky girl, and he laughed, “I will, one sec!”
Christopher breathed heavily, his stomach in agony. He tried to stumble away but Buzz spoke, “Don’t go anywhere, Christopher.”
He froze. He waited dully.
“Not one more day. Not one more hour. I will be heard. I will.”
The words wrapped around his brain, and he almost felt like speaking them aloud, as if they were some type of savior’s gospel that could rescue him. Buzz picked his phone back up, recording Christopher again as he instructed, “Get in your locker, Christopher.”
Christopher glared at him, paying no mind to the camera.
“Hey, man, I could film myself shoving you in there,” his friends started laughing. “Don’t think I can’t do it one-handed.”
Christopher climbed into the locker. He stared at the camera in deep hatred, before the locker door slammed shut.
“Not one more day. Not one more hour. I will be heard. I will.”
Buzz’s laughs echoed through the hall, matched only by the chuckles of his friends. When the filming stopped, Buzz grinned, “I knew you’d make the right decision. That was hilarious; I just told you to go in and you did. You’re like my dog or something. Shit! That’s a great idea! I’m gonna’ bring a leash to school someday and make you wear it!” he laughed. “Damn. Well, it was nice talking to you, Christopher. And, hey. You’re welcome. You know, for the leg training I’ve been giving you. Standing the whole class period must’ve been hard for a pussy like you, but now you’re used to it.”
He high-fived one of his friends as he walked off with the group. Christopher was silent. Today, he was not furious. Today, he was not desperate. Today, he was not depressed. Ever since the discovery of the poem in Ed’s notebook, he started to feel in control. He felt as if these were only battles he was losing.
But he was going to win the war.
Thirty minutes elapsed of Christopher trying to get the notebook out of his backpack so he could read more of it, but he couldn’t get the backpack off his shoulders in the cramped space, nor could he reach into it from behind and remove the old red book.
Then, to his surprise, a shadow eclipsed the slits atop the locker. He knew it was Ed.
His heart exploded to life. He felt deep fear, as well as intense gratitude. He felt like speaking, but stayed silent. He waited for Ed to initiate things.
“Did you read my book, Christopher?”
Christopher was taken aback. Ed’s voice was nothing like he imagined. It was deep, regal, powerful, godly. He sounded, perhaps, like a news anchorman or radio talk show host. Christopher could barely breathe for some reason, as if a mythical creature he’d always believed in were now before him, indisputably.
“I did. I didn’t understand a lot of it… I mean, I understood it, but I don’t get why you wanted me to read it. I read your poem, though. ‘A Walk in Isolation.’ I loved it. It’s an amazing poem… I completely know how you feel.”
Ed was quiet. “You didn’t read through the book. You missed the most important part. You skipped the middle.”
Christopher felt embarrassed. “Yeah… the beginning was all notes, so I skipped to the end to see if it changed. The end was all equations. I… I found your poem, and another page that was weird… it looked like homework… it was dated from 1991.”
Ed had no response. There was a strange period of prolonged silence. However, the light never returned to the locker. This meant Ed was still outside.
“I want you to read the middle tonight. It might be a little confusing. I’m sorry about my handwriting, as well. Anyway, there’s a trick to reading what I wrote. You’re smart, Christopher; you’ll figure it out. And… for what it’s worth… thank you. For your regards concerning my poem.”
“Mm-hm…” he replied.
“I’m going to open your locker now, so you can get out. But you have to promise me something.”
He felt like asking him how he knew his combination, but instead simply responded, “Yes?”
“Don’t look at me. I don’t want you to come out until you count to thirty.”
The instructions deeply perplexed him. “Okay.”
He heard Ed’s long fingers twist the lock left and right, accompanied by clicking sounds.
He set the lock on the ground. The light seeped in through the locker again as Ed’s footsteps reverberated softly down the hall. It took everything in Christopher’s body not to look at Ed. When he reached twenty-five, he could hold back no longer.
He opened the locker door, scanning the hall for anything. He found nothing. He sprinted over to the end of the hall, taking a left, going the same direction Mr. Tiller had described Ed going the last time. Now he saw a tall male in the distance, wearing an old blue flannel shirt. He had short, dark hair and glasses. The male was far into the parking lot of the school. He finally disappeared past a van.
“Wow…” Christopher whispered. “That… that was Ed… I could barely see him, but… He didn’t look like he was in his late thirties. He sounded like it, though…”
It shocked him that he’d finally heard the voice of the phantom that kept him wide awake at night. Now he could slightly imagine the presence standing outside the locker that day. It dawned on him that Ed had to be tall; if he blocked the locker slits with his body, that meant his head was level with the top of the locker. Even Buzz wasn’t that tall.
He was in awe of Ed. His voice and vocabulary seemed mismatched with his poor handwriting. He wished Ed had stayed and they could sit and talk.
When he got home that afternoon, he dashed to his bedroom, hoping to lock the door and begin reading the middle of the red book. However, his mother’s voice bellowed, “Christopher! Don’t you go running off to your room! You’ve got chores to do! And homework! Do you even check your grades? It’s ridiculous… just ridiculous…” she sighed disdainfully.
“Come on…” Christopher gritted his teeth.
He dropped his backpack in his room, then walked into the living room, finding her placing cleaning chemicals on the counter.
It was nine PM. He’d finally escaped his mother’s disappointed lectures and her tedious assignments. He closed his bedroom door, locking it. Now he removed the book. Deep interest accompanied his slight fear of what he’d find. Ed was still shrouded in mystery, and sometimes, the contemplation of Ed left Christopher feeling as if he’d just finished a horror movie.
He wanted to know what the “most important part was.” He hoped it would give him closure, explain why Ed had reached out to him in the first place, and all the weird feelings he’d received from the ordeal. He flipped the book open to the middle.
He saw intricate sketches of something, but he was unable to tell what it was. The drawings were impeccable; they looked like a diagram he’d find in a science book. There were words all throughout the page, placed amongst the sketches, but he couldn’t read them.
They looked as if they were written in another language. Ed’s terrible handwriting didn’t help. He studied it all, trying to figure out what it meant. Then he noticed one of the letters.
“Wait…” he whispered. “That looks like… an upside-down, backward, cursive letter ‘R.’”
Deeply interested, he walked over to the mirror in his room. He flipped the notebook upside down and backward. Now the writing became immediately legible. It was all in cursive, and Ed’s handwriting was not stellar, but he could read the words. Then he noticed the sketches become easier to comprehend, as they were drawn backward and upside down.
“These look like… bombs.”
He almost dropped the notebook. He began reading the words. Within them were lists of materials needed, and careful, descriptive instructions concerning how to build several types of bombs. His hands began to shake as he held the book in the mirror, reading Ed’s manual of destruction.
He flipped the page, finding blueprints of a building.
“This… this is Gehrig High…” he noticed the four large buildings, all across from each other in the shape of a diamond. “This is the A Building… here are the B and C Buildings… and there’s the D Building… But what’s all this?” he noticed certain dots on areas of the blueprints, like something was indicated to be there.
He began reading the text. From what he could tell, three bombs were indicated to be placed, one at the north side of the A Building, one at the west side of the B Building, and one at the east side of the C building. Also, smaller bombs seemed to be located in the school in random locations, with titles like “A144” and “C180.”
He dropped the book. His hands were shaking as he stepped back, absolutely horrified by it.
“What the fuck is this…” he whispered, eyes fixed on the book as if it were Ed himself, smirking at him. “Who is Ed… Who is he…”
He closed the book. It unnerved him to even have it next to him. He sat down before his computer, typing into Google, “Edward F.”
The moment he typed the F, it suggested “Edward Faust.”
He clicked on it. A picture appeared on the screen of a tall male with a blue flannel on. He had glasses and short, dark hair, and was looking at the camera with no smile. The picture seemed as if were taken decades ago. Underneath Ed’s name was the title “Attempted Mass-murderer.”
“What the fuck…” he whispered, reading it. Beneath that, his birth date and death date were present: “August 24th, 1972-March 18th, 1991.”
His heart froze completely. He stared into Ed’s eyes on the computer screen. He was sure that this was the figure he’d seen outside his school earlier. He clicked on the first website that was accessible, a news article from 2011.
It’s been two decades since arsonist and murderer Edward Faust died in what could only be considered the will of God occurring. Edward Faust, a senior at Gehrig High School in 1991, became what America today considers, ‘America’s first modern school-shooter.’ Though Columbine stole much of Faust’s recognition from the spotlight, it can’t be denied that had Faust actually been able to carry out his plan, the destruction associated with it would have left Columbine a minor tragedy.
Christopher could barely read the words. He felt like Ed was standing outside his door, watching him panic. He hated having Ed’s notebook next to him.
Much of Edward Faust’s plan to wreak destruction on Gehrig High School has been classified by police, in order to prevent any from attempting to do it. This leads to the common speculation that Faust’s plan was not only too sinister for the public’s ears, but perhaps so effective that it is kept from the eyes of civilians. All that is known is that Faust, an expert bomb-maker, planned on detonating three large bombs at the school, one in the school’s A Building, one in the school’s B Building, and one in the school’s C Building. However, many questions are left unanswered concerning the mass killing that almost reshaped the country of America itself. First, among the three large bombs, nearly twenty other smaller bombs were found. Their purpose in the plan is unknown. It is believed that Faust owned both a rifle and a pistol, but there is no direct evidence pointing to this; at least, publicly accessible evidence. The only definitive answer to what would have happened that day had Edward not perished lies in a book confiscated by police, known only as “The Red Book.” The Red Book was a journal in which Faust descriptively plotted his plan. Within it are also detailed descriptions of how to make the bombs he’d built. Police have confiscated the book, and it has been kept hidden ever since.
“No… it’s… it’s in my bedroom…” Christopher stared at The Red Book. “It’s… right fucking next to me…”
Faust was infamous for building military-grade bombs. Unlike the situation with Columbine, in which many of the bombs failed to detonate, it is speculated that Faust’s bombs would have detonated with lethal punctuality. The Red Book is thought to be so carefully guarded because of how effective Faust’s bombs were. It’s also noted that the descriptions in the book concerning the construction of the bombs is very easy to understand, written so that anybody could build them if they followed the directions carefully. No one except police and Faust himself have read The Red Book, but we can’t deny it would be morbidly interesting to hear the details of the plan considered by police as ‘expertly crafted and militaristically brilliant.’
“I… I’ve read it…”
Christopher held The Red Book. He could hardly restrain the intense emotion driven from touching it. He was astonished to be holding this piece of American history, this item that almost changed the shape of the country forever.
“What happened to him… why didn’t his plan ever happen…” Christopher scratched his head anxiously, scrolling to the bottom of the article.
Faust’s death was just as mysterious as his writings. One day, in his basement, where he built all his bombs, it is believed that he did something wrong while crafting an explosive. It detonated, killing him and his mother, destroying their house and damaging surrounding houses. While this was at first believed to be one of his larger bombs, it was later discovered this was far smaller than the three bombs he’d built and plotted to leave in the A, B, and C Buildings. The explosion prompted police to investigate, and within the week, they discovered a storage unit Faust had rented, which was loaded with the bombs he’d constructed. The Red Book is believed to have been in the storage unit as well, though some speculate it was destroyed in the initial explosion, and only pages of The Red Book were present in the storage unit. The bombs were quickly confiscated by police and hidden from the public, though one photo was taken of the bombs being transported from the scene by a reporter that dashed behind crime scene lines. The picture is below.
He looked at the picture. It was blurry and in poor resolution; a police officer was close to the camera, raising his hands to block the shot, but in the background, a truck could be seen, with three tall, ominous bombs sitting in its bed. They looked exactly like the drawings he’d seen in The Red Book. He estimated that the other smaller bombs were in the truck, too small to be seen in the flatbed.
The police at first were opposed to the photo being released, but years later, they allowed it to be shown, after hundreds of demands from Gehrig Town locals to see the weapons that almost marked the end of their lives. To this day, great tragedies have occurred: 911, Columbine, and Sandy Hook are several examples. But it is absolutely definite that had things not happened differently in March of 1991, Gehrig High would be a word none of us would grow up in America without knowing.
Christopher hit the back button, eyes meeting Ed’s eyes again.
“You… you’re dead… but you’re not. You came to my school… you gave me… The Red Book. You’ve been talking to me…”
His whole body was trembling. He knew it was real, and yet still, it felt like some long, drawn-out nightmare, or a horrible hallucination. He opened The Red Book again. He looked at the handwriting, the dark ink, imagining Ed sitting in his basement, plotting the mass-murder of hundreds of teenagers, teachers and civilians.
“Not one more day… not one more hour… I will be heard… I will…” Christopher whispered. The words all made sense now. It disgusted him that he began to feel… flattered.
“He picked… me… to carry out his plan… his brilliant plan… He picked me to do it… He… he’s just like me…”
His own words scared him. He tried to stop thinking about it, but he couldn’t resist.
“Ed saw everybody as an enemy… except me. He trusted me with The Red Book… He came to my locker… He… opened it… for me…”
He began to consider that the first day Ed arrived, it was, in fact, an attempted mass murderer standing outside his locker, saying nothing, eclipsing the light. He was horrified by Ed. He was mesmerized by Ed. He was… respectful, of Ed.
“I… I could do what he would have done… I could do it… Nobody even knows the whole plan… but here it is… I can read the whole thing, and know what nobody else knows. I… I could be noticed forever… Ed and I, we’d go down in history…”
He caught his tongue.
“What… the fuck am I saying…”
He thought about the first time Ed thought these things, sitting in his basement. The first couple times he held onto morality and shooed the thoughts away, however desirable they were, denying they gave him pleasure to consider. Then he imagined Ed facing himself, admitting he loved the idea, admitting it sounded like something he was capable of.
And before long, he was writing The Red Book and building the bombs.
“And here I am… Faced with the same decision… I can do it… Or I can refuse to… I can’t deny it sounds tempting…” Buzz’s punches and laughs assaulted Christopher’s mind. “Tempting… to be noticed…” The psychiatrist’s foolish advice and heartless sentiments left him curling his fists, trembling, sweating. “I could kill them all… it’d be the craziest fucking school shooting they ever see… a bombing… they’d all die, like what should have happened twenty-six years ago… all dead, like they deserved… and I’d be remembered forever… So would Ed… I could do this for Ed… he wouldn’t be the failure that almost did it… He’d be the seed that made it happen, when everybody least expected it…”
He felt his heart begging him to stop thinking what he was thinking. Every last scrap of morality and faith in human nature slowly distracted him, and he began to think about how disturbing it all was.
He stood up.
He walked out of his bedroom, leaving The Red Book on his desk. He walked past the living room where his mother was drinking on the couch. He stepped outside, shutting the door behind him, breathing in the freezing outside air.
“I… can’t do something like that… I know I can’t…”
What was Edward Faust’s Plan at Gehrig?
I know the police covered most of the story up but any informed opinions?
Submitted by Eregold
Best Answer: Edward was brilliant he made bombs that even the military said were so powerful that everybody at Gehrig wouldve died in the A B C Buildings if he had lived to place them. The smalls bombs that were found were gonna get placed in the people’s lockers that he didn’t like first and then when those went of he was gonna set the bigger bombs off. the news doesnt say it alot but 2 weeks before edward died the master plan of all the school locker combinations and who they belonged to got stolen and it was probably stolen by edward so he could placed the bombs in the lockers of the people he didnt like. He also had a shotgun that he was going to use he was going to wait at the D building and shoot at people running out of the school. He picked the D building becuase the d building was under maintenance at that time and there were only a couple exits that could be reached so hed have a tight grouping of escaping students and teachers to shoot at. The red book has plans like this in it and you can find pictures taken of the red book here: https://www.consipracyreal.com/UTF-8
Submitted by Consipracy_Realest
“Damn…” Christopher nodded. “You were pretty close. You probably don’t even know how close you are to what he was going to do.”
He’d already read every sacred page of The Red Book concerning the day of the shooting, and had decided to look up Edward Faust’s name and conspiracy theories concerning the event, simply to see what other people thought. He felt like he knew the answers to whether aliens or the Loch Ness monster existed, and despite the fact it was a disturbing topic, he couldn’t deny how exciting it felt to know the answers everyone on the internet tried and failed to find.
The first part was totally correct. He stole the sheet with all the locker combinations on it. He could get into any locker in the school. He made eighteen small bombs, five medium-sized bombs, and three large bombs; the eighteen were placed in eighteen student’s lockers as specific targets, and the three big ones were placed in the A, B, and C Buildings, specifically, the north of A, the west of B, and the east of C. This was so that when they exploded, whoever survived would be left escaping through the D Building, as the A Building’s main exit was on its north side, the B Building’s main exit on its west side, and the C Building’s main exit on the east side. You forgot though that the bombs were Napalm bombs and would have created such a high-intensity fire that it would have been literally impossible to escape any way but the south side of the D Building; everything else would be mired in flames.
The part about the D Building was correct, mostly. It was under construction, and there were only six exits in the whole building, four of which would be destroyed by the initial explosions. He didn’t have a shotgun though. He had a Colt CAR-15 Commando and a Colt M1911A1, and was proficient with them; he’d been going to the shooting range with them three days a week almost a year before his death date. By the way, another interesting fact: he planned the shooting to be on May 1st. Anyway, he placed the five other bombs in strategic locations in the parking lot to kill mourning teenagers and police.
The way it would have happened is as follows: at 12:00, sixth period, Edward was going to ditch his class. This whole hour he was going to move back and forth from his car, placing the bombs in the lockers. They were each placed in a different backpack. He planned on taking them all in one by one, so if anybody saw him, it looked like he simply had a backpack on. He was so neglected that no one would have noticed these weren’t his usual backpack. When they were all placed, they were wired to explode upon being moved. He knew that they’d all go off at different times, and some of them would never go off at all, because once the first few did, his other targeted victims would be running out of the school. Still, he placed all eighteen, letting fate decide which of them would be personally killed by him. The three largest bombs were scheduled to go off at 1:01, six minutes after sixth period got out, and right after the first few bombs went off. After that, he would begin picking off the survivors. The parking lot bombs, most of which were hidden in trashcans, were then set to go off at 2:00, when police would be occupying the parking lot. He planned on filming the whole thing on several camcorders positioned around him and the parking lot, which he was going to place earlier that morning.
The link you posted is false. Those pictures are creepy but they’re not images of the real Red Book. It’s easy to tell because of how distinguishable Ed’s handwriting is: dark black and spiky. Anyway, if you’re wondering how I know all of this… it’s because I have the real Red Book. But I guess you’ll never know for sure if I’m serious.
He submitted it. He wondered how many people would read it and learn the truth, but dismiss it as a hoax.
Christopher walked through the halls. It had been a week since Ed had told him to read The Red Book. He had not heard anything from Ed since. He’d battled with considering carrying the assault through; deep inside him, whether or not he was ashamed and disturbed by it, he did admit that it sounded tempting. But just because he hated most of the people at his school, and knew they despised him, he would not do what Ed did and give up on humanity. He would not lose his mind and become a monster.
So, he continued on, being bullied now and then, and hated, and ignored, but never giving into temptation.
He couldn’t convince himself to destroy The Red Book, however. Holding it was terrifying and exciting; it told a story so often pondered with absolute truth, and being one of the only people in all the Earth to know the truth was refreshing. He couldn’t get rid of it. Still, he knew things couldn’t be over. He knew Ed had to be watching him, waiting for an answer. He wondered in dread sometimes when Ed would approach.
Then Buzz turned into the hallway.
Christopher tensed up and tried to escape but Buzz was upon him instantly, jabbing him in the stomach. He looked up in horror at Buzz, who pummeled him, then shoved him into his locker laughingly.
“Been a while!” he grinned. “Have fun in there! I’m sure you missed it!”
Christopher’s eyes widened. A horrible, sinister feeling overtook him as he considered that Ed might appear again, now that he was trapped in the locker.
“Please!” he screamed to Buzz. “Please let me out! I’ll give you anything!”
“Whoa,” Buzz turned around, walking back over to the locker. “You’re desperate. Scared of the dark suddenly?”
“I… Buzz…” he whispered desperately. “Please, just, let me out…”
Buzz was quiet a moment. Then Christopher heard his chuckles. Before long, he was loudly cackling.
“Not one more day. Not one more hour. I will be heard. I will.”
“You’re such a pussy, man,” he laughed.
“Not one more day. Not one more hour. I will be heard. I will.”
“Buzz…” he trembled, overwhelmed with fear.
He felt Ed coming. He knew the moment Buzz left, there’d be silence, and then he’d hear footsteps. Before long, the locker would be eclipsed, and there’d be breathing outside.
“No!” he cried, slamming his hands against the locker. “Let me out! Let me out! Let me out, you motherfucker!”
“Whoa,” Buzz jumped back, seemingly caught off guard. “Christopher, what the hell are you doing?”
“LET ME OUT!” he screamed, banging on it.
“Calm the hell down, dude, a teacher’s gonna’ come out,” Buzz started twisting the lock, and Christopher silenced himself, breathing in heavily. Then the turning stopped.
“What… the hell?” he heard Buzz whisper, his voice weak.
“What is it?”
Christopher knew what it was. He knew his chance to escape was over. He sat back in the locker as Buzz’s pounding footsteps became audible. When he ran off, another set of footsteps could be heard.
Something stood in front of the locker. There was complete darkness inside. Christopher knew who awaited him. On the other side of the locker, only inches from his face, were the eyes of a mass-murderer. Breathing in the air before him was a walking corpse. The pupils piercing him through the metal were Ed’s.
“They locked you in here again. Don’t worry. You’ll make them pay.”
Ed waited for a response. Hearing Ed’s voice again made his heart tremor. He couldn’t deny how strange it was to be respected by Edward Faust.
“Did you read my book? What do you think, Christopher?”
He was silent.
“Christopher, I know you can do this. Remember everything that they’ve done to you. Remember how they made you feel, Christopher. You know there’s nobody in the world that cares about you. But I do. Here,” a piece of paper fell through the slit, and he caught it. “This is where I buried my guns, and the key to my storage unit. The locker codes are all in there too. The locks have changed but nonetheless, that’s where it was all buried.”
Christopher said nothing.
Ed was frozen in place. The darkness of the locker remained.
“I know who you are now… I read about you… all about you… Ed… I’m not going to lie. You’re… brilliant. Honestly. And sometimes, I really do wish I was capable of doing what you were going to do. But… I know I shouldn’t wish something like that. I know it’s wrong. I know I shouldn’t even be thinking about it… I can’t shoot people. I can’t blow the school up.”
“I gave you my journal…” he detected anger in his voice, which mortified him. “Christopher… I trusted you to do this… You’re in a locker… for the millionth time… and you say you shouldn’t be hurting them? Really?”
“I can’t, Ed… Please, leave me alone…”
“Christopher…” Ed leaned against the locker, whispering in fury.
Christopher could barely make out Ed’s fierce eyes that were up against the locker’s slits.
“Why the hell don’t you just do it, huh?! You’re here! You’re back on Earth somehow! So, you do it! Why me?!”
Ed stared into his eyes. He said nothing as he breathed slowly, unmoving, staring into Christopher’s soul. Somehow, Christopher knew Ed was unable to perform the bombing. He knew some force was limiting him. He stared into Ed’s eyes, trying not to look away.
“You fucking coward…” Ed whispered. “I trusted you… You’re the only person that’s read my journal… Besides the pigs… I fucking trusted you…”
“I’m not as far gone as you…” Christopher whispered back. “I won’t do it… I’ll never do it… Leave me alone, Edward Faust. I won’t blow up the school. I won’t show the world what would’ve happened if you didn’t die early. I won’t. I won’t! You hear me?! I won’t! I-”
The lock started moving around, and Christopher heard the clicking. He was terrified but headstrong as he waited for it to open. The lock fell to the floor. He waited for the locker to open but it didn’t.
Then light poured into the locker again. Christopher considered opening the door as he heard Ed step away. He wanted to see his face, to really see him there. But he didn’t. Something in him begged him not to see that sight. After all, if Buzz reacted the way he did, there was something visibly disturbing about Ed. He counted to thirty. When he reached thirty, he stepped into the hall, finding nothing.
“Christopher… it’s really brave, what you did,” Detective Sanders shook his hand. “I won’t condone anything like what Edward Faust was going to do… but I can’t say he wasn’t a victim. That you weren’t a victim. Most of the people in your shoes… they would have done it. They really would have. The fact that you didn’t… that says a lot about you, Christopher.”
Christopher sat in the office. The curtains were all shut, and he remained with the detective completely isolated from other people. Christopher said that whenever he was contacted in person, he was behind a locker, so he never saw the man’s face.
The detective informed Christopher that The Red Book had been stolen a month ago, and that the person that was confronting Christopher and pretending to be Edward Faust was likely a criminal known only as The Insurgence, a man that performed acts of terrorism, but always through manipulated young adults. He was never caught, and though he hadn’t stricken in four years, the detective, who’d been assigned to catching The Insurgence, was sure it was his work.
Christopher didn’t know what he thought. The location given to him in the locker was indeed the location where the guns and locker codes were found, as well as the key to the storage unit. He, as well as the detective, were not sure how The Insurgence would have retrieved that information.
When he left the detective’s office, he told them they’d stay in touch. When Christopher reached his bike, he climbed on the back, driving off toward his house.
They’d moved from Gehrig Town after the incident, in cooperation with the Witness Protection Program. Since then, Christopher’s relationship with his mother increased. She was shocked to learn of what had happened in his life, that he’d been confronted by a serial killer and tempted with carrying out such a plan, all the while so blatantly ignored by those around him. He’d even made a friend in his new town.
Still, though, some nights, his mind wandered back to Ed. He wondered if it somehow really was Edward Faust. He knew he saw what he saw the day that he peaked at him. It was unmistakably Edward Faust, he thought. Buzz’s description of the man was also unsettlingly similar to Edward Faust’s face, though Buzz explained that his face from the front was entirely singed and repulsive.
Detective Sanders explained it was likely all a costume to fool Christopher into really believing it was Edward’s ghost.
Christopher knew it couldn’t be Edward Faust. It couldn’t have really been him. But some nights, alone in his room, he’d remember “A Walk in Isolation,” and the final two lines, “Not one more day. Not one more hour. I will be heard. I will.” haunted him. The way he reacted to being told his poem was excellent never left him. He seemed flattered. Christopher wondered if The Insurgence could play Edward Faust that scrupulously.
“Oops! One sec, babe!” Christopher held the cell phone between his right ear and his shoulder as he placed the bread and butter knife down, pushing his daughter playfully off his leg as she gripped it, trying to push him over.
“Daddy!” his oldest daughter laughed as she jumped up and down by his leg, trying to get his attention. “When is lunch gonna’ be ready?”
“Soon, Margot,” he grinned at her. “I’m just talking with Mommy about when she’ll be back! Be patient,” he smiled.
“Okay,” she sighed, her two younger sisters pouting melodramatically.
“Stinkers,” he grinned. “Now, give Daddy some peace and quiet so he can hear what Mommy’s saying. Hey,” he smiled into the phone again. “Sorry, Margot’s hungry, and Amanda’s hungrier, and Alice thinks we’re playing football or something,” he laughed, “because she’s been trying to tackle me all morning.”
He heard her laugh. “I miss you guys…”
“I miss you too, baby…” Christopher smiled peacefully.
“Is Colton okay?”
“Teething like crazy,” Christopher laughed. “But yeah, he’s been sleepy lately, which I never mind. Anyway, when are you coming back? Saturday?”
“Saturday, baby,” she assured. “This news story is crazy. Covering the riots in Davenport alone took the whole news crew, and they’re spreading, and…” she let out a long yawn. “I just want this all to be over so I can come home and snuggle with you and sleep for hours.”
“Ashley…” he grinned. “I love you… I can’t wait. I’m telling you, the kids are staying at Eric’s that day. We’re gonna’ spend the whole day in bed together. I promise.”
“Awesome…” she sighed happily. “Remember, I told them, if these riots aren’t settled down by Saturday, I’m going home anyway, and there’s nothing they can do to stop me, because my baby’s teething, and my daughters miss their mommy, and my little Alice is trying to tackle Daddy and needs Mommy to come save him.”
Christopher grinned widely. “I can’t wait. I- Oh, one sec, getting another call.” He looked down at the caller ID. His heart froze. “Ashley. I’m going to have to call you back in a second.”
“What is it?” she sensed the seriousness in his voice.
“It’s Sanders. I gotta’ pick this up.”
“Oh. I understand. I love you, Christopher.”
“I love you too. Bye, baby.”
“Long time no talk. What’s up, Detective Sanders?”
“Christopher… I need to talk with you about something. First, how are the kids?”
“Amazing. Now, tell me what’s up.”
“Find a private place.”
Christopher walked outside.
“Daddy, you forgot-”
“Lunch will be ready soon, sweetie! Daddy needs privacy for a moment though! Okay?”
“Okay,” she sighed.
He stepped out onto the porch. “Tell me what’s happening.”
“Christopher… I’m… warning you. This is something you might not want to know. And if you want me not to say it, I won’t. I’ll hang up and you can forget I ever called.”
“Sanders. I live with things every single day that I haven’t forgotten. I can handle something added to the list. What is it.”
“The Insurgence was found.”
“There’s one problem.”
“He’s… not a he.”
Christopher froze. “Ex… excuse me?”
“She’s a woman. A woman, Christopher. A short woman.”
“How… how was that not something you knew?”
“All the people she dealt with killed themselves after their terror acts, usually during them. We assumed it was a man. You were our number one reason to think she was a man. Now, however… other people have reported being victims of her… having told her no… and they all describe the same woman: short, red hair… This suggests that not only is she a woman… but she never disguised herself with these people… Not once. So…”
“So, she wouldn’t have with me. And she couldn’t. That voice was a man’s voice. No woman can sound that way.”
The two were silent. They said nothing for a moment.
“You’ve never been bothered again. Just remember that. Whoever that was… they’re gone. They don’t know you live in Tennessee now. So, don’t let this bother you. Okay? One day, we’ll figure out who he was, and-”
They were silent again.
“Anyway, Christopher, I’m… I’m going to get to this paperwork… honestly, it’s been good to hear from you again. We’ll keep in touch.”
Christopher leaned against the rail, looking out into his yard. He took a long, deep breath, shaking his head. It had been a long time since he’d recalled the feeling of being trapped in the locker, Ed breathing outside, his eyes cutting into his soul.
But he felt it again.
“Enough… You’re dead, Edward Faust… You’re gone… and that’s all that matters. I don’t care what happened. You can’t hurt me, or anybody else; if you could, that school would be smithereens by now. And that’s all that matters. It’s time I bury this,” the man sighed, looking off into the yard one last time, before stepping back inside, closing the door behind him.
“Hey!” the boy screamed, banging against the wall of the locker. “Let me out!”
“Scared of the dark, Milton?” the group of males outside teased. “What a loser! Enjoy your hour in there!”
“Please!” he panicked. “I’m claustrophobic! Please!”
The footsteps disappeared. Milton breathed heavily, trying not to have a panic attack. His whole body trembled as he weakly called for help. Then he heard footsteps.
“Hey!” he screamed. “Help me! Please!”
The footsteps grew closer.
“Please!” he cried. “Some kids locked me in here! I’m claustrophobic and scared of the dark and…”
The slits atop the locker became dark, as if somebody were standing inches from it. Milton silenced himself as he stared through the slits, trying to make out who it was.
“Hell… hello? Who’s there?” he tremblingly asked.
There was silence for a moment longer. Then a piece of paper slid inside. Milton barely caught it. A second later, the faint locker light trickled back inside, and Milton opened the note, heart racing.
Aren’t you sick of it? They bully you. Frequently. But I understand.
“Who… who is Ed?” Milton’s hands shook as he observed the abnormal writing.
He studied it a moment longer, before tucking it in his pocket. Now his mind raced through memories, trying to recall an Ed in his class.
Credit: D.D. Howard
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