Hello, Dear Diary. I'll call you Joe, ok? We are almost namesakes with you - my name is John. Mum gave you to me as a present, in order that I could tell you my thoughts, while she is absent. At first, let me tell you about my family.
My mother is an actress, people even recognize her in the streets. Sometimes... Witchbridge is a small town, but Mum says it's to the better - otherwise we would have had no rest. I don't quite get why not to live in London, but she is probably right. And my Dad prints books. Well, not himself, but he has many people who print books. They are all in London as well.
We have huge library, because they send Dad a copy of every printed book. However, they are sometimes rejected, and then me or Sam are asked to repair them. I like it, but Sam isn't old enough, and often spills the glue onto the floor. He is my brother, so I'm not angry about him, and always tell that it was me who spilled the glue. However, it seems to me Dad guesses about it anyway.
Mum is gone on tour again, so I'll talk with you. Today Dad read us Robin Hood. He does it in a fantastic way! If I close my eyes, it seems to me that I'm actually in Sherwood. And I have read it to the end for the first time. Dad has never read us the last story, when Robin dies. Sam gets disappointed, when heroes die, that's why every time Dad invents a new last story for him. Now I know what actually happened, and I'll invent happy endings for Sam, too. Formerly, Dad often told us stories about ourselves, and there I always defended Sam. I was even stronger than Dad!
Sam keeps being offended after his return from Grandma and Grandpa. He refuses to talk even with me. Yesterday, while we had supper with Dad and talked about Mum, he said that Victoria told him that for Mum job comes first. Dad was very upset, me too. Why job comes first? We come first for her! They know nothing at all about her! When Mum comes home, we are always together. We have great time, and always go somewhere. Last time we have been in attractions park. It was such a fun! It's truly a holiday when Mum is here. It is even to the better, that we are not always together, otherwise it would not be so joyful.
Music teacher came today. Mum invited him to teach me playing violin. I'm fond of music, and Mr. Violon said I have a good ear. When he plays, I have a pump in my throat, and my heart aches. The sounds of violin are so... anxious. I've never thought I would be a violinist, but I could try. At least, our first lesson was interesting.
Oh, Joe, I haven't told you about school yet! School year began not so long ago, and we have a new school uniform. I hoped that they will remove that stupid necktie! When Nan puts it on me, I feel like sentenced to death. But if you loose it on the sly, some of the teachers will surely notice and scold you.
Joe, we have a new girl in class! Her name is Jane, and she loves reading. She was seated with me, teacher said, that I'm the most polite boy in class, and I shall tell her about our school. During the break, I've shown Jane the classrooms and the garden. Last year we planted trees there, and everyone has put a plate with her or his name onto her or his tree. In many years, the plates will get very high! We've agreed, that Jenny will also plant a tree. She told about her school. They had a book club for kids and a puppet theater. I think, we shall also organize these things!
I've had Birthday. Dad presented me a new mark, "Inverted Jenny". It was so funny, I've shown it Jenny, she seems not to be offended. Jenny from the mark is a plane. And my Jenny has given me a Kipling book as a present. I liked Mowgli since childhood, I imagined how wonderful it is to live in the real jungle, in absolute freedom, when there is no need to wear that silly necktie. I have told her about it, and even howled. She was amused, and said, that she has puppets of all Mowgli characters at home, we could make a show together. It could be so exiting!
I was absolutely carried away by our theater, and has almost forgotten about dad's birthday! Luckily, Sam concerned with a Birthday present for him. Brother has actually grown up - he has bought a coin from his classmate with our pocket money. Dad was very glad, and offered us help with the theater. We will surely be in time for Mum's birthday! She has it right on the eighth of March, so we'll make the show for everyone, but I'll announce that first of all it is for Mum! And for Jenny, of course.
Jenny and the teachers have decided, that I should play with Sam - Jenny is a girl, and it would be wrong, if she will make a present for herself. It's a pity, I'm used to playing with her. Sammy is too young, he just gets under feet and tangles the threads. I get angry sometimes, but try not to shout at him. He is my younger brother. But I've learned to operate the puppets so rapidly, why is it such a trouble for him?
Sam hasn't arrived at the repetition today - has been hunting for his butterflies again. We have such a little time left, but he can't make the bear beat breast with his paw yet and occupied with wrong things again! It's just impossible! Doesn't he understand, we must make a good show!
I'm sitting at the garret. We have even got applause, but I'm sure we could have done everything much better. If I could operate all the puppets at once... I have understood long ago that it makes no interest for Sam, but they could let me play with Jenny. For the puppets are her, and she enjoys them, but today she had to sit on her place and watch how Sam was trying to manage with two wolf-cubs at a time. Fortunately, it was me who operated Mowgli and the panther, and they have been good.
So I'm sitting at the garret. I was afraid of getting here before. Me and brother once persuaded Dad to tell us where the ghost comes from. It was winter, we were sitting by the fireplace in the living-room, and something has been cracking and whining upstairs again. Dad refused to tell it for a long time, but Sam is very stubborn sometimes. Dad took an old newspaper from the drawer, opened it at the right place and began to read in a boring, expressionless voice - but still, it was thrilling.
He read an article about the criminal, who was transported for murdering five people, but escaped and returned to Witchbridge with the view of settling accounts with those who witnessed against him. It was written vaguely, that he "turned lives of his accusers into misery, and thereafter burned the house where they lived, with whole their family and himself".
On the photo in that newspaper, I've noticed an oak-wood behind the house, that was very alike with the one behind our mansion. Dad said it was really that very oak-wood - grand-granddad had built our house on the place of that, burned by the criminal. Dad asked us no to tell Mum that he had shown us the newspaper, but she found it out somehow anyway. On the next evening, she scolded him for telling us such horrible things.
But now, I'm not afraid. It's just a ghost and can make no harm. It has revenged everyone he wanted. The only thing I don't understand - why didn't he run away from the house, why burnt with his victims? Maybe, they were important to him? Maybe, he was betrayed by his relatives and had no place to go anyway? He is almost the Count of Monte Cristo than.
Our house is actually very old - it was built as far back as at the end of the 19th century, by my grand-granddad. The building could have fallen into decay after all this time, but 40 years ago my grandpa found money and time to restore it. But the garret is already cold, there are droughts. I'll certainly repair it when I grow up! And if the ghost wouldn't leave by then, I'll make a room for him, and bring him some books. It must be boring here.
When I was younger, I was not only afraid of the garret, but also of the basement. Rats have always lived there, as they live now. I know that Nan feeds them, but I don't tell Mum. Once Nan said me, that rats in the house are half the trouble, the trouble happens when they leave. I didn't get it, I was only in my fifth year. I was looking for her in the kitchen and peeped into the basement - the door was half-opened.
I've noticed Nan, and started descending the stairs to call her. But in that moment the rat bit my leg, I cried and fell down from the stairs, head over heels. Nan dropped jar with jam she had been looking for and turned round. She had probably got angry - a boy who was frightened by the infant rat! - but that rat seemed huge to me, and I was sure that it would gorge me. Nan separated the rat, gave me a scolding and took to the kitchen. She forbade me to get into the basement, since I'm such a little coward.
Jenny's in hospital! Yesterday after the show, when everyone was leaving, she was knocked down by a car. Oh God, why did I run away, if I remained we would have stayed a little longer, or, vice verso, packed her puppets faster, and she wouldn't have got into that accident! It all looks like a black bar. Mum says, it's not that bad, Jenny will come around soon and we'll be friends again. I'll come to see her every day, I promise!
Joe. It all seems a bit steep. The rats have gone yesterday. We wouldn't have noticed, if it were not for nanny. She has been in a stew whole day. She says, it is quiet as in grave in the basement. Grandpa and grandma are coming tomorrow. They are actually grand-uncle and grand-aunt, but we don't voice it. Mum is even glad, that the rats are gone. I don't know whether to be pleased or upset about it. It is uncomfortable, falling asleep without their tread, that's why I'm writing. What kind of people are Vicoria and Bill, I wonder? I've seen them only on photographs, but Sam spends by them in Dublin every summer. He says they are nice, but Mum is sometimes angry with them, because Sam comes home with Irish accent and Victoria's words.
Joe, things are in a bad way. I'll try to relate the facts as they have actually happened.
At first sight, Victoria and Bill seemed to be a typical Irish pair: friendly, cheerful, but constantly complaining about life and their share of worries. They behaved that way - joking and wailing - during the family dinner, and I kept silence almost for the whole time. In spite of their amiability and benevolence, I didn't like them. There was something artificial, double-minded about them. They seemed to be hiding under the masks of entirely different people.
After dinner Victoria and Bill decided to present us the toy railway. It was just great, just the one I dreamed about: a real train with loads of different wagons and a steam locomotive! I was delighted and wanted to take the toy, but Victoria carried it past me and gave to Sam! In that very moment something has happened to me. I seized the toy and harshly pulled. Brother didn't expect it and started falling onto the floor. Victoria tried to catch him, but I pushed her, and she fell down after Sam, holding her elbow. And I remained standing there above lying grandmother and brother, cuddling the train.
Parents were shocked. I have always behaved mannerly before, so the very strange thing occurred. I couldn't make out myself, why have I suddenly decided to take away this toy, we would have played together anyway. After helping up Victoria and Sam, dad abused me as never before, and stood me in a corner. It was so unfair that I even began to cry, hoping that nobody will see.
Victoria got off with a bruise, Sam - with a graze on a knee and a fright, but tense silence reigned in the house. Nobody expected that grandson's meeting with his grandmother would result into the fight. At last, Victoria said that she needs to go out for a while, and Bill has gone with her of course. Dad has sent me into the kids room to think over my behavior till evening and stayed in the living room with Mum and Sam.
I know, I was wrong. But sometimes it happens so - you loose control and start thinking only after your act. I have no pity for Victoria, but I didn't want to hurt younger brother! It was not his fault, Victoria gave him the train intentionally - to make me angry! But now it's unimportant. Mum would be upset, if I'll be angry with Victoria. It's nothing, I'll go downstairs and apologize. Grandmother and grandfather will come, and I will apologize, and they will see that I am a good boy.
Joe... Joe. They have left me you. What is it all for, Joe? What's going on? Why nobody trusts me? Now you're the only one I have. And I'll tell you what actually happened.
Exactly at midday I've heard the doorbell, and thought that Victoria and Bill returned home. The butler and the nurse took the day off, therefore Mum should have opened the door. I remembered that I should apologize, and was on the ladder when a shot rang.
The sound was very shrilly and loud, and came from the hall. I knew this sound well from the films in which Mum played. I have immediately guessed what to do and raced into the study. There, in the drawer of fathers table, a pistol was kept. I seized it in two seconds, inserted a clip and raised the cock. Nobody showed me how to do that before, but I've seen in the cinema. And made a dash for the door. I wanted to save Mum...
In the living room I found Dad and brother lying on the floor. I ran up to them, fell to my knees, started to shake them by the shoulders, but they didn't open their eyes. Binged out of my mind, I ran into the lobby, slipping on the wet floor. Mum was lying beside the entrance door. I sat down by her and noticed that she keeps breathing, thank God! It means she's alive. It was necessary to find anybody quickly - red stain on her dress was spreading rapidly. But what if the one who has committed it is still here?
The entrance door has started to open. I was sure - it is the murderer, so I raised a pistol, screw up my eyes and shoot. And as I opened my eyes, I saw Victoria and Bill with the policeman in a doorway. I hurried to him, but Victoria cried: "Hold him! He is the murderer!". The policeman reacted instantly: struck me down and knocked the pistol out of my hands. Precisely, I had still been holding it in my hands...
The court didn't last for long. Victoria and Bill, as close relatives, assured jury that "The boy is a real devil, and has certainly shot his family". There were no witnesses and nobody except me could object them. It was found out, that murderers pistol was of same caliber as Dads, and the fact that I tried to shoot down my grandparents and the representative of law and order left me no chances. I was in despair because of grief, injustice and impotence. I said them that I wanted to save my family, and therefore took the pistol, but nobody trusted me.
Thank God they had enough time to rescue Mum. But she is in coma. To the last, I kept hoping that she would emerge from coma soon and tell everyone that I'm not guilty, and the real murderer will be caught and punished, but it didn't happen. Victoria and Bill now live in our house - as they said, to look after Mum, and I'm sentenced to imprisonment.
Here I am Little Johnny, Mute Johnny. I really almost don't speak, and I'm the youngest. That scary little boy, they are so afraid of me. Same thought is read in their sights: "How terrible, he has killed his family!" I was sent to the clinic, but the judicial doctor said that I'm healthy. First nine months I will sit in the separate cell. It is good. If they don't listen to me, I will do everything myself.
Yes, Joe, I haven't written for a long time. They took away the spoon and transferred me into another cell. The previous one is to be repaired - I tore off the upholstery plate and hollowed out a sizable hole in concrete. Nine months have already passed, or was it just an inspection? I didn't count the days, I don't know. Looks like I won't be transferred from solitary cell, and this is for the better. I've been away for some time - you've noticed - I've been in segregation. It's a small cell for violent. All right. I won't stop.
Segregation turned into punishment cell, they don't switch on the light. Darkness, silence. I'm not scared, I'm thinking over next plan. Punishment cell, an attempt, punishment cell... They are afraid of me, of my obsession. Mum, I'll come, fear not, Mum. I don't want to kill, I won't try this way until there are others, no. But if it will come to nothing, Mum... For you, I'll do it.
I don't attend dining room with the others anymore, I walk in the prison yard when there is nobody around, only the guards and cameras. I have bad influence on others, yes, desire for freedom is infectious. Tableware is made of plastic -- "oh, I've broken a spoon, I have thrown out into the toilet bowl" - they don't worry. It is plastic, after all... I go to school, I study well, Mum, you will be pleased when I'll show you my diary. For biology - excellent marks only...
Human beings are so fragile, there are so many arteries and veins under the skin, so many nerve knots... I do press-ups in the punishment cell, and they let me into the gym - when there's nobody about, of course... I am still so emaciated, who knows how strong thin arms can be. It is dark in segregation. They can't see what I do...
One short stroke into the skull base - and the security guard is unconscious. I thought I'll succeed, but I'm caught again. Huh. They think it's my trump card - they are mistaken. Now I'm in the cell, but I bet they'll take me away to segregation soon. I know the way perfectly - from the prison yard, from the wall, from the cell, from the dining room, from security post... Well. Who's coming for me now? I'm waiting.
I could even take you with me, Joe. Oh, problems with electricity, a leak somewhere and the whole building without light. It's safety, I adore present standards. And now, owing to your accidental death fear, "a dangerous criminal" is free. It was simple, now it's getting difficult. The first juvey is far from Witchbridge, but it's unimportant. Mummy. I'm already coming.
It is good to live in a small country, from end to end - couple of weeks on foot. Passing cars, stolen money - I'm sorry, I'm in need. Posters with face... Whose mad eyes are looking at me? I have already seen them in the puddles and reflexions of shop-windows. Locks in hair white as milk... Well, you have to pay for freedom with your life. At least with its part, but it is worth it. Mum, I'm just ten miles away.
Nobody here... It's cold, it rains, I'm chilled... Dirt under my feet, muddy water flowing from my hair, graveyard earth is sodden and soaks into my clothes. Mummy, why? Oh, Mummy... I've tried my damnedest. There is nobody up there in the skies if such things happen, Mum! I've escaped to help you, what shall I do now, Mum? Kathleen Elisa Foll. Autumn. You have died a year after that day. Mum... Forgive me that I am late. They didn't allow me to be with you, Mum, they accused me of father's and brother's death! I know, you needed me, but they have taken my freedom away so easily, with a wave of a hand. People do not appreciate freedom. I'll teach them. I promise, Mum. And you know, who will be the first.