Jan/Feb 2003  •   Fiction

The Dreamer

by Stanley Jenkins

It went from to something I did. A line was crossed. I crossed over. It is not clear to me just when.

In February I kidnapped, corn-holed and killed three little boys. I stabbed at privates. I cut their bodies up. I buried them under the foundation of an old barn. This wasn't the first time—just the last before they got me.

I am thirty-nine years old and have never been much of a "joiner."

I talked to the Chaplain. What would it mean to be "cured"? Would I have to be sorry? What would that mean? It's really not about that though. It's about the fact that the line can be crossed. It's about the fact that there is a line at all. That's what I find so interesting. We had a good talk.

I have had the dream for as long as I can remember. I stopped trying to put it into words a long time ago. I was a sensitive child. It didn't take much for me to realize no one else had such dreams. I find that interesting.

I liked TV as a kid. Sometimes I told people my name was "Jim." Jim was the kind of name I would have liked to have. Seemed like everybody on TV was named Jim.

I don't like to be touched.

Before you do it there are the pictures in your head and before the pictures there is "something else." By the time you figure out that “something else” is never what you think it is because by thinking about it you have already made it "something"—it's too late—the "something else" has already slipped in. By the time I began to think about it, it was already too late. By then I was having the dream.

When I was ten I accidentally pushed a lawnmower over a nest of baby rabbits. A few days later the mother rabbit was still coming around. I watched for her. I shot her with a BB gun. She lay there. I stabbed her with a pitchfork. I did it again. I did other things I can't tell you about. They don't have words for it.

I ate dirt. I touched my privates.

We lived in a new home in a new development. White concrete driveways. Sod. Shiny swing-sets. I played alone a lot. I poked Punky Mencker with a fork once. I told him I'd kill him if he ever told. He was fat and smelled of wood smoke. The Mencker's had a dog named Duchess in a pen out back. Duchess was a German Shepherd. All the kids threw rocks at her and poked sticks through the fence. Duchess would bare her teeth and slobber and make crazed, vicious rushes at the kids. She would choke herself on the collar and cough and bleed where the collar rubbed. She always had sores. Punky didn't live in the development. He lived across the highway.

I made him pull down his pants and I pushed things inside of him until he bled. He had been eating a peanut butter sandwich. I remember it was all sticky on his face. He was my first.

The Chaplain says I can't be forgiven until I repent. He says if I accept Jesus Christ as my Personal Savior I will be made clean. He says God will set me right again.

Anyhow, I don't try to put words to the dream anymore. There aren't any words that don't make it seem somehow cheap or small. They're going to kill me and it's the only thing I'm taking with me.

I hope I have done some good in my life. I always tried to make the world a little brighter when I could. But I think something slipped in with the dream. Something crossed over.

I will say this though, it's old. That "something else." And its closer than you think. And it lives in your house. You just don't see it.