I lived next to this one kid who always had bandages wrapped around their whole head, even covering their face. I remembered his name was Wilbur, a twelve-year-old boy who never left his house.
He sometimes looked out of his bedroom window on the top floor, at all of the kids who would play outside, while Wilbur sat and watched. I remembered his windows had metal bars on them, so there was no way he could climb out of his bedroom windows.
We sometimes communicated to each other by writing to each other on pieces of paper, since Wilbur can’t hear me because the window was locked. Wilbur only does it when his parents aren’t around since they’re weird.
His mother and father were one of those parents that were insanely crazy about science and chemistry, according to Wilbur. They would stay in their basement and work all day and night, except at the times where they have to give Wilbur some food daily. Now, they’re not treating him like an animal, his parents were just very busy.
They told Wilbur that he shouldn’t go outside to make contact with anyone until his face got better. He told me that he accidentally slipped on one of his parents’ chemicals and fell face first, ruining his appearance. And his parents feared that he would be made fun of by the other kids in the neighborhood.
I remember one time, a couple of older kids were throwing rocks and pebbles at his windows, laughing and pointing at Wilbur as he looked down at them. He told me that they do it a few times, but he’s used to it.
But to me, he’s a great guy, and still is today. I have never been inside his house, but he showed me some cool stuff he collected, like comic books. He had loads of them, from Marvel to DC to other non-superhero comics. He was a huge superhero fan, he even said that he felt like a superhero. “A normal human being who became affected by dangerous chemicals, and then became a powerful superhero!” He once wrote on a piece of paper and had it put up to his window as he pretended to be a superhero.
I had a collection of action figures and video games that amazed Wilbur. He told me that he never played a single video game in his life, which was quite sad. He also told me that his babysitter took them away from him before he could play them, and burnt them in front of him.
Wilbur had a mean babysitter named Miss Fitzgerald, a tall mean lady who never liked kids at all. This started before his face became messed up, he told me. She was basically every kid’s nightmare, of all the things I heard she has done.
Miss Fitzgerald had babysat many kids before, and trust me, it was not pretty. Wilbur told me that the last kid she babysat, a four-year-old girl, she made her live through seven hours of hell. Wilbur said that Miss Fitzgerald starved her and surrounded her bed with a few bear traps, and the worst thing that happened, the parents didn’t know about her deed. She would lie to them, just to get paid.
All those things I’ve heard, she is a foul, cruel woman with no soul. At all. And now she had to babysit this poor guy. Wilbur was old enough to make his own decisions, except for some, but his parents apparently hired an evil witch. The parents had to go to Texas to a scientist convention, so Wilbur was left alone with her.
One time, I was writing about her to show to him, but then I saw Miss Fitzgerald, forcefully pulling him away from the window. And that was the rest of my day without talking to him.
The next day, when I looked through my window to see Wilbur, I saw someone lying down on his bed. Looking at the person’s wrapped head, I bang my fist on the window, trying to get Wilbur’s attention.
He slowly sat up on his bed, wiping away tears from his eyes. He seemed to be crying, which gave me a thought.
I had a worried look on my face as I saw bruises all over his arms and legs, a faded dark tone of purple. He went to write something down on a piece of paper. Then as Wilbur finished writing, he went up to the window and pressed the note on the glass. What he wrote had terrified me, the whole situation still burnt in the back of my mind. Something I knew I would never forget.
He wrote: “HELP ME”. What made it worse was that his handwriting was scribbled onto the paper, and was almost illegible. Wilbur kept banging on the window with his other hand.
Then suddenly, I saw someone else run into his bedroom next to him. It was her. You-know-who.
She had something in both of her big, chubby hands. In one hand was a lemon, and in the other was a pair of scissors. What Miss Fitzgerald did terrified me even more.
Miss Fitzgerald ran up to Wilbur, grabbing his head, holding it still. I saw him screaming in pain and fear, so I knew I had to do something. At the same time, I couldn’t stop watching.
She used her scissors to cut open the bandages, and unwrapped them off his head, and threw them to the side. What I saw almost made me vomit, something that sickened me, I was utterly shocked at looking at Wilbur’s real, deformed face.
His whole head was completely covered by bandages, and what was underneath, I knew the purpose to. I saw his face, almost melted off, showing a dark red layer underneath. I could only imagine his face looking like melted cheese on a cheeseburger. Wilbur’s whole face, even one of his eyeballs were burnt a bit. The chemicals had messed him up, badly.
Miss Fitzgerald sliced the lemon in half with the scissors, pinning Wilbur down on his bed. Then she threw the scissors to the side, next to the bandages, and held his head still with one hand. With the other hand, she squeezed a lemon slice onto Wilbur’s head, into his eyes, into the red layer of his face. The painful expression on his face, his loud, muffled screams, his face stinging from the acid of the lemon juice.
She used the other lemon to squeeze onto his face again, torturing Wilbur with extreme pain.
I decided to bang my fist on my window, which was a bad idea. Miss Fitzgerald looked over to the bedroom window, right at me. I jumped back, she noticed me. She ran back out of the bedroom, shoving Wilbur down as he screamed in pain and agony. I knew what she was going to do, so I ran out of my bedroom and ran downstairs.
The good thing about this situation was that my parents don’t know about Wilbur and the fact that they were at work for a little while.
I locked the front door, hoping that Miss Fitzgerald wouldn’t burst into my house. I looked around for the house phone, but as I was, a loud bang rang my ears. I looked behind myself at the door, noticing her red, sweaty face and her curly blond hair. By the looks in her eyes, I knew there was going to be some trouble.
She kept banging at the door, nearly screaming her head off. As I looked around for the phone, I finally spotted it, next to the couch on the coffee table. I ran towards it, dialing 911 as the sounds of Miss Fitzgerald’s threatening screams were heard from outside.
Waiting for a few rings, I finally hear the operator’s voice, the usual greeting from a 911 operator. I started explaining the whole situation from beginning to end, as quickly and clear as possible.
They told me to wait patiently as the police will arrive at my house soon. It took a few minutes for the police to arrive at my house. Not only did they arrived, but my parents arrived early from work as well. Apparently, they got a call from the police, explaining my situation, and decided to come home.
My parents were extremely worried and frightened, they asked me more questions about it than the police did. I had to explain everything, from being friends with Wilbur to how his parents left him with an abusive babysitter to what she tried to do.
About an hour later, a police officer came to me, he had something he wanted to tell me about the horrible atrocities that took place next door. The truth about the babysitter, the parents, and Wilbur, was truly shocking.
Based on the evidence they found, Wilbur’s parents weren’t his actual parents at all. They adopted Wilbur from an orphanage that’s out of town, only to perform an experiment on him. It was the reason why they moved to Texas, to hide. The babysitter, Miss Fitzgerald, was part of the experiment too. In fact, Wilbur wasn’t the first kid to get adopted by the scientists. They had done illegal experiments on those orphans, and it was to find out how much pain a child can take before death, based on the cause of death and the age of the child. Thirty-eight children between the ages of two and thirteen were reported missing, and Wilbur was one of them. There were security cameras on the outside and the inside of the house. Right now, they arrested Miss Fitzgerald for child cruelty and the deaths of many children, and are on the case to find the two scientists. All of that, and I was friends with someone who would’ve been killed if I didn’t call the police. Apparently, Wilbur also tried to lie about almost everything he told me, he was trying to protect himself. He was sent to a new trusted family, a married couple who lived out of town. Since then, I never saw him again, until now.
Twenty years later, I went to a bar to get myself a few drinks by myself, when a man approached me.
“Remember me?” he said, that familiar man smiling at me. I smiled back, realizing how long it has been since I had last seen Wilbur. In fact, he looks like a nice, healthy man now, without his bandages. He was a brown-haired man with sky blue eyes, he almost looked like a complete stranger.
And after that, we talked and drank a few glasses, finally speaking to each other in person. Wilbur and I knew that nobody would try to keep us apart, the scientists and the babysitter are probably locked away right now. After all, I still couldn’t stop thinking of the fact that this man would’ve been killed if I didn’t help save his life.
Credit: Adrian Johnson
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