10/29/2013

Billy & Billy Part 2 (Short Story)

Billy

I'm up here in front of this classroom and look around as I speak words filled with the glory of the days past. When men were men and there was some actual sense in the world. They don't listen to me anymore. Hell, I wouldn't listen to me anymore. History 101. It makes me wonder why we even make these kids take Gen Eds. So they can come to my class and pull out their phones or catch up on some sleep, while I don't even know how to work those things. It's nice and warm in here, though and this chair leans back all the way, it's quite nice.

There was a tap on my desk. I must have been dozing off again. Sometimes it's hard to stay awake, these kids don't even interact with me. “Thanks there Billy”, I say. Billy  sits in the front. Right in front of my face. He's the only one who cares about me. Problem is, I can't stand the kid. If he had just let me sleep, this place would be a lot quieter. Those kids in the back would be able to keep sleeping uninterrupted. Now I have to wake them up and start droning on again about the politics of World War 2. I don't even know if what I've been telling these 100 level kids for years is true at all. Nobody knows what really went on at these meetings, but here I am preaching to these kids, and they don't even care either way.

Billy stares at me so intently. His big, dark blue eyes in contrast with his blonde hair and those glasses. Those glasses create a lens for him to see into my soul. I come in each day and look towards his seat in the front just hoping he won't be in class. He never fails to make it, and he's usually the first one here. Oh look, he's raising his hand. I'll keep talking and pretend I don't see him. With my eyesight nowadays it's a wonder I can even see him. He's started waiving his hand around eagerly. I can't ignore it for much longer. Each time his hand waves back and forth in front of my face the walls seem to constrict with the tension of my temper. The room is heating up. A bead of sweat pours down my face. I wipe the sweat with my arm and speak.

“Yes, Billy?”

“Well Professor McDaniels, my dad told me that the Nazis had social order and economics down to a key, and that us Americans have something to learn from them. And you see...”

I stopped listening. He's talking, that means I can stop and think about the end of this torture. His voice intrudes upon my inner workings and my stress steadily rises. It cuts deep into me, crushes my head and compresses my thoughts. This pencil on my desk is sharp. I felt the tip, and a prick of blood flowed from my fingertip. I jammed it a little bit harder into my fingertip. Billy is still talking. Those eyes through those glasses, they pierce my skull, pound my brain.

“And they did that up until the end of the war when their leader was killed and America tried them in court and gave out these punishments.”

He's stopped talking. I took a deep breath. I'm not even going to talk about how Hitler actually killed himself, that'll just make him talk more. I can't hear it. I don't even know if that's the truth anymore. I taught these kids that Hitler killed himself my whole life and I don't even know if it's the truth. Billy grins at me. This grin is the kind of creepy grin that pains you to look at, it digs into your forehead and throbs. Something goes on in his thoughts. He stares at me with that grin as if tempting me over the edge.

“Yes Billy. That is correct”

I said it real slow, and Billy sat back, accomplished and staring at me. Was it a test? Does he know that Hitler actually killed himself? Billy stares at me through those glasses. The pencil in front of me stands out boldly against the white desk that I sit behind. I took that pencil and put it in my pocket, taking care not to snap the point, the point that drew blood from my fingertip. I began once more to drone on about World War 2 until the end of class.

I dismissed the class and my students all left in their groups of friends. It's a small school and everybody knows each other. Billy always leaves alone, and last. I watch him leave and make a left outside of the class each and every day, while I make a right. Today was different. I put my hands in my pockets and waited just a little bit longer. Billy made it to the parking lot and I could see he was going to cut across through the woods. I got in my car and drove to the other side of the woods. I got out of my car and snuck into the woods and laid down. Did Billy know that Hitler killed himself?

I laid and waited for a bit, and then I heard his footsteps. I reached into my pocket and felt for the pencil and it's sharp tip. I have a problem. The sharp tip of the pencil must have broke off. This tip won't do, too much noise. Billy must be getting closer. The leaves are rustling. I can see a stone over there that looks heavy enough, but I'm afraid I won't be able to pick it up in my condition. I lifted a large branch about the size of a baseball bat and crept closer to the path. I can see Billy. I'm going to wait until he gets closer. The sunlight reflects off those glasses and nearly blinds me. Billy's close. I want him to see me. I jumped out in front of the path and gave him a second to look at me, then I smashed him straight in the face with that big branch. Those glasses shattered and broke all over the path. It took a few more hits to finish it. He's small enough for me to drag off the path. I hid him in those woods there.

Now I'm in class the next day. Billy didn't make it to class today. I'm still droning on about World War 2. I'm at peace with this damned place and it's still awfully warm in here. Now if I could just lean back a little bit and let these words work their magic. I could probably just doze off for a little while, and nobody would ever notice. Not even Billy.

Billy Part 2

I decided to go for a nice little walk after class today. Usually after class I go home and sleep the rest of my day away, but today was different, class was so peaceful. I was able to sleep in class today, there weren't any distractions. Now I'm not so tired, and I can manage to take a walk around the town. I recognize most of the faces I see, the same faces that have been sent down through the generations and put on those who pass me. Almost everybody stays here, in this small town, for their whole lives. I wonder if these people know what I've done.

Then I saw her. With those bright blue eyes, and that pretty blonde hair that makes them pop. She was walking with him, two parts of the Billy from my class. He's stern and tall and proud. She's small and timid, and those glasses. Those glasses, they magnify the tears on her face showing me the true extent of her sadness. I can see the tears causing her makeup to run through the clear glass and behind them sat those bright blue eyes, heavy with sorrow. I stared as we approached, getting closer and closer on this sidewalk. I could see her saddened face and his strained pride as we passed.

Seeing them pass me on that street was like thrusting a knife into my side. They must be looking for him. Billy. Maybe they already found him, they must have. Why else would she be crying? I stopped and turned around. They were still close enough. I caught up to them and tapped her on the shoulder.

“Excuse me, miss.”

She stopped moving but did not turn around. He turned first and his gaze turned me to stone. His eyes were cold, dark and powerful. His look suggested strong judgement and an air of superiority. He continued to stare, without saying a word. Then she turned and looked at me with those warm blue eyes that she gave to Billy. She kept her mouth shut and just looked at me through those glasses, slowly chipping away at me.

“Well, you look so sad, and I couldn't help but wonder what brings tears to those pretty eyes.”

But I already knew. It was Billy. She was mourning her son, her son who was in my class. Her son who interrupted my sleep. Her son who I murdered in the woods yesterday. Those glasses continued to press me, bringing me ever lower, down towards rock bottom. His stone cold gaze, and her warm blue eyes continued to bend me and put tension on my old, weak heart. 

“It's my Billy. He's missing. He didn't come home from class yesterday and there's no where else he'd be. Oh, Billy.”

The tears rolled down her face. His phone started to ring and he picked it up and walked off a little. She grasped me and wrapped her arms around me, burying her face in my chest. Those glasses fell to the ground. She was crying for her son Billy, making my shirt wet with her tears. The tears she sheds for him because of what I've done to him. 

“I'm so sorry.”

“You're such a kind, kind stranger, offering me comfort when I need it most. He just makes the rules, and enforces them. And now that Billy's gone, there's only me...”
Then he came back over. Her tears continued to spread the moisture on my shirt, expanding from two small circles an eye's width apart. I felt the cold, wet tears seeping through my shirt onto my skin. A chill went down my spine, I fought not to let it show. He was still staring at me with that cold gaze, and those glasses were still on the ground next to my foot. The same glasses that Billy wore in class.

“They found him in the woods near the University. Let's go.”

She let go of me, giving me one last sad look as she turned to latch onto his arm. He continued to stare straight past my eyes, right into my heart. It was cold and it was getting dark. She left without picking up those glasses. I stood and watched them walk away. Then I looked at those glasses on the ground, perfectly intact, reflecting the setting sun up into my eyes. I stomped on those glasses, crushing them on that sidewalk, then I turned and headed home. The shopkeeper on the corner watched me stomp those glasses. I wonder if he knows what I've done?

I got home and my thoughts took me over. Billy was found. They found his body in the woods by the school and now they're coming for me. They'll be at my door soon with some questions. I know all about what happened, but I won't tell. I can answer those questions but I won't. They'll put me away. I went into my room and opened the top drawer of my desk. There was a list of all the students in my History 101 class. I found Billy's and addressed an envelope to his home. I wrote on a piece of paper “My name is Steven McDaniels and I killed Billy with a stick in the woods because he wouldn't let me sleep in class”. Then I sealed that enveloped and put it in my mailbox.

I walked back into my room and opened the desk drawer again. There was something else in there. Something I thought I might need to use one day if there were an intruder to my home. It's been years and I've kept this thing ready for when I might need it. Then I heard a car pull up in my driveway. I always kept it fully loaded. There was a knock at my door. I shoved it in the back of my waistband and went to the door. I looked through the peep hole and saw the face of a police officer, those blue eyes from earlier, missing the glasses, and his stone cold staring eyes. I thought he could see me through that peep hole, with his cold gaze looking straight into my mind.

I opened the door. I said “Hello”, then I told them to check the mailbox. She opened the mailbox and pulled out the letter addressed to them. The police officer reached to put me in cuffs. I pulled out what I had behind me and shot him right in the chest. The officer dropped to the ground. Then he tried to grab me and I put one right between those dark, hollow, loveless eyes. His gaze was still fixed on me from the bloody concrete of my front porch. She still had the letter and turned to run with it. I let her go and put it to my head.

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