Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
“Ben? What are you doing in there?”
I glanced up at the door briefly where my wife stood on the other side.
“I’ll just be another minute.” There was no point in answering her question. She knew what I was doing, I’m sure. And she didn’t like it. And she didn’t understand. Because she wanted me to move on.
My eyes slid back down to my phone where they stayed glued to the screen for another four minutes. I had scoured the internet for months looking for the rest of the trial but all I could find was this six minute segment that had been televised by A Current Affair. I’d seen the video so many times I knew every detail of every second. But still I watched. Because I needed an answer.
The camera was currently focused on the jury. They were all leaning forward and concentrating on the testimony of the forensic expert. The camera then slid over to the witness stand where Dr. Felmore talked about the decomposition of Andrew’s body and the state it had been in when a dog-walker had discovered it the previous May.
Felmore then walked over to the overhead projector, tapped a stack of slides on the table to straighten them, and then peeled off the top one and placed it on the projector. A graphic photo of Andrew’s body arrived on the screen and the entire courtroom gasped. A Current Affair had blurred out the photos but I remembered what was on them. They were right to be horrified. Hearing an expert drone in a monotone manner about the graphic abuse of a five year old was much different than seeing its effects first hand.
The doctor explained the slides without emotion, pointing out the countless abrasions, bruises, and open fractures. He spoke about the ultimate manner of death – strangulation – and showed the court how the handprints on Andrew’s neck matched perfectly with the defendant’s. Then he turned the projector off and began to speak to about the presumed time of death.
The camera pulled back at this point to show my family, quietly crying.
And then, finally, it panned over to the defendant’s table. The boy sitting beside his lawyer looked downright…bored. He flipped a pencil back and forth between his fingers and sighed loudly, every few seconds. This – this was the monster I wanted to kill. He seemed to feel the camera was on him now because he suddenly turned, looked straight at the camera, and smiled. It was smug, intelligent smile. As if he wasn’t afraid of the consequences. As if he believed it had all been worth it.
And in the end, he was right. He had been sentenced to be incarcerated until his majority and then another seven years after that. It was nothing. It was less than nothing.
I looked over at the straight razor I had begged my wife to get me for my birthday. How do you kill a monster? This was the answer. It would be so easy. But could I bring myself to do it? My little brother deserved vengeance, even if it came 16 years later. Andrew had suffered horrors no human should endure. Days of it.
I looked back down at the tiny screen and watched the last few seconds of the video. The boy had suddenly sat up at rapt attention as some of the makeshift torture devices he’d created were brought out and placed upon a table near the jury. My family was escorted from the courtroom and A Current Affair cut the video off there. But it didn’t matter, I remembered what happened next.
The detective had held up each one of the devices for the jury to examine and I’d rocked back and forth in my seat, giddy with pride at my creations.
Valerie knocked again. “Ben, are you coming to bed?”
But I was contemplating a much more important question, the only one that mattered. In truth, I knew how to kill a monster. I glanced over at the sharp blade on the counter. That part was easy. But the problem was more complex than that. Because how do you kill a monster when it’s inside of you?
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