Chapter 3

Jon looked over the crime scene with distress. This was the sixth murder in as many days. The victims seemed to be randomly chosen, but the amount of blood and the deep knife wounds, while a bit varied in each crime, convinced him that the killer was the same.

"óIt grew without mortal limits

feeding on rage and pain.

Yet still man fought against it,

though slaughtered and in shame."

This time it was a single man, Terrance Shwartz, fresh out of college and looking for a job in the Computer Sciences. Paranoia in town was up tenfold and when the landlord of the apartment Terrance rented noticed he hadnít been out that day she called the police. It looked as though Terrance had never gotten out of bed.

"It began before the sage sang

its destiny to fill.

Tied with broken, bleeding lives

When best man thought his will.

The blankets were in perfect condition and the rest of the room seemed fine. But Terranceís face had been a bit gray and he had been unresponsive. When the blankets were pulled back they had found his body mutilated similarly to the last five murders. The blankets and mattress underneath the young man were soaked in his blood. Yet they were no closer to finding the killer.

"The cursed life of a monster,

forever it hath bore.

Demon deep inside manís flesh,

man consumed to the core.

ĎTil one would solve the riddle,

and break death of its hold."

Jonathen was halfway inside when he heard it. A soft voice singing absent-mindedly. He paused, frowning as he listened to the lyrics to an old-style tune. Bananís voice was young, yet rich, as his lyrics dissolved into humming.

Just as Jon started moving again Banan started singing once more, giving the man pause.

"It stared at the dawn of age,

when man and woman wed.

Robbing souls of wee babies

until its need was fed.

It grew without mortal limits,

feeding on rage and pain.

Yet still manó"

Jon interrupted by closing the door behind him loudly, still shivering a little from the song. It abruptly stopped. Shedding his shoes and jacket and dropping a paper bag by the door, Jon climbed upstairs to find the pale boy coloring with black on a pad of paper.

"That wasÖ an interesting song," Jon commented slowly, "Where did you hear it?"

"Everyone used to sing it," Banan said, his eyes staring ahead emptily. After a few minutes of silence, hollow eyes turned up to Jon, "Maybe you will, someday. Would you like me to sing it to you?" His voice was even and unemotional, with a strange feel to it that Jon didnít like at all.

"No," he said quickly, "No, thatís okay." Somehow the idea of having a song like that sung to him seemed worse than overhearing it could ever be.

Bananís empty eyes returned to staring at nothing in front of him and his hand continued to automatically move the pen over the paper. Jon looked down at the paper, but couldnít make any sense out of the lines.

"Oh," he said quickly, hurrying back towards the door while trying to look like he wasnít hurrying. "I picked up some more cider. Would you like some?"

The boy blinked, looking over at him, but didnít say anything. Undaunted, Jon pulled the jug of cider out of the grocery bag heíd left at the door and quickly set about to heating some up for the boy. He had noticed that it seemed to snap him back to reality whenever he got likeÖ this.

Jon wasnít sure if the boyís behavior was more disturbing or the fact that he was growing used to it. He was strongly considering bringing the boy in to see his doctor. Maybe he would be able to make some sense out of him.

Jon smiled across at Banan as he began drinking from the steaming mug, his eyes softening and skin coloring slightly. Bananís brown eyes flicked across to him.

"What?" Banan asked after a moment of silence. His face was still devoid of most emotion, but Jon thought he saw the light of curiosity in his eyes.

"I was just thinking," Jon replied. After a brief pause he continued, boldly, "I was wondering if you would like to meet a friend of mine, actually."

A slight frown crossed the boyís features, much to Jonís relief. "Who?" Banan asked.

"His name is Tom Lesvene," Jon answered.

"You know him from work?" Banan asked, his brown eyes boring straight into Jon.

"Uh, yeah," Jon agreed, "Thatís where we met. Heís a good guy."

"Why do you want me to meet him?" Banan asked.

"I..." Jon trailed off, unable to think up a good reason on such short notice.

Something undefinable flashed through Bananís eyes. "Heís a doctor," the boy said coldly, his eyes hardening over slightly.

Caught in the act, Jon could think of nothing but to fess up. "I thought you might like someone to talk to," he admitted, "It sounds like youíve had a rough past and... it might be good for you to have someone to talk to about.. everything thatís been going on around here, lately. I know Iíve been kind of busy."

"Someone else died today," Banan said, his eyes dark as he stared straight ahead.

"Yes," Jon agreed uncomfortably.

"Everyone has to die sometime, Jon," Banan said.

Jon wasnít entirely sure how to respond to that, but a shot of anger firing up in him won out. "Does that make it alright to murder innocent people?" Jon asked, managing to keep his voice even.

"No one is innocent," Banan replied. He took a sip of cider and seemed to relax slightly, "My mother taught me so," he continued, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory..."

"These are good people who are dying, Banan," Jon said as the boy trailed off. He didnít understand how anyone could accept something like this so apathetically as Banan had been doing, but had to reason to himself that the boy didnít really know these people, and hadnít seen the conditions their bodies had been left in.

"And the way their killer butchers them," he continued, his voice shaking slightly, "They must have been in great pain when they died. No one deserves that, no matter what theyíve done."

Banan didnít reply.

"Hello, Banan, Iíve heard a lot about you," Dr. Lesvene held out his hand with an amiable smile on his face.

Banan stared at him guardedly and made no move to shake it. Slowly Dr. Lesvene allowed his hand to drop and shot Jon a glance. Jon shrugged, fighting to keep a smirk from his face.

"Well," the psychologist said, "Wonít you come in and have a seat?"

Banan entered and took the proffered seat, looking quite uncomfortable as he did so. "Iíll see you later, Jon," Dr. Lesvene said, closing the door as the cop walked away. He turned back to the boy, still staring at him with sharp eyes.

"So, shall we get started?" He suggested, "Is there something in particular you would like to start with?"

Banan didnít reply.

Dr. Lesvene grasped for some memory of what Jon had told him about the boy and at length asked, "How about that song you were singing the other day? Jon said it was a little... disturbing."

Banan stared at him.

"No, then," Dr. Lesvene said, starting to feel a little nervous. "What about your family? Jon said you mentioned a mother and sisters Ė what about your father?"

"You donít want me to talk about my father," Banan said somberly.

Dr. Lesvene felt a thrill go through him, "You mean you donít want to talk about your father," he said reasonably.

Banan raised an eyebrow, "I donít mind talking about my father, Tom," he said.

"Then why donít you tell me about him now?" Dr. Lesvene asked calmly, "As well as the rest of your family?"

Banan shrugged and leaned back on the couch. "Donít say I didnít warn you."

"My father," the boy continued, his expression and tone devoid of emotion, "Was what you would consider to be a cruel man. He beat and raped my sisters whenever he was around, he lusted after my mother and constantly subjected her to painful pleasure, and he generally joined in my sisterís game, pretending I didnít exist."

Dr. Lesvene was surprised and more than a little disturbed to hear an eleven-year-old boy say this all with such a cool disconnected tone. "And... when he wasnít pretending?" He asked nervously.

Banan smiled slightly, "He beat me, too, Tom, all while reading the Good Book."

Dr. Lesvene wasnít sure he wanted to hear more and glanced up at the clock to see that it had been barely seven minutes. At the same time, Banan was acting in a most interesting manner and he couldnít help but have a healthy dose of professional curiosity to hear more of the boyís apparently unstable childhood.

"But he wasnít around all the time, you said?" Dr. Lesvene asked.

"He wasnít around often," Banan replied, "Just often enough to ensure our scars didnít fade."

The psychologist shivered unconsciously, "And... what did your mother do about this?"

"Nothing," Banan said, "She didnít care much what he did with us as long as he showed suitable interest in her."

Dr. Lesvene tried very hard to hide his shock but this was like nothing he had ever heard before. "Was she... aware of what your father was doing?"

"She saw it often enough to be aware," Banan replied dismissively, "Although she slept through it more often." He smiled slightly again at the look on Dr. Lesveneís face. "Donít think too poorly of her, Doctor," he said smoothly, "She was only reacting normally to the circumstances."

If anything, Dr. Lesvene was more horrified rather than comforted, "You believe this is normal behavior for a mother?" He asked.

"To choose her own pleasure above the pleasure or safety of her children," Banan said affirmatively. "I hear of more and more women doing it every day."

"I am sure you are mistaken," Dr. Lesvene said immediately, "Generally, mothers place the life and well being of their children above their own."

Banan raised an eyebrow again, "Is it part of the well being of their children to kill them as they draw their first breath?" He asked, "Yet hundreds of mothers do that every day, donít they? I count myself lucky to have lived to face my fatherís lessons."

It took a moment for Dr. Lesvene to realize what Banan was speaking of, and when he did he was momentarily struck speechless. When he finally collected himself Banan was already speaking again.

"But my mother wasnít cruel," he was continuing, "She fed us often and doted on me, as the youngest and only male she bore, whenever father was away. She fed me on her breast until the day she died."

"How old were you when she died?" Dr. Lesvene asked.

"Eight," Banan replied, "Somewhere around there, at least. My sisters died at the same time. They were all killed by my father." Dr. Lesvene didnít think he could be more horrified by the light way the boy said so, as if he was retelling a story of his second grade teacher lecturing on the difference between verbs and adverbs.

"He tried to kill me, of course," Banan continued, "But, obviously, he didnít." He caught the look on the psychologistís face and added wryly, "I told you that you didnít want to hear about my father."

"Yes, well... after that?" Dr. Lesvene asked anxiously, "What happened after that?"

"My family was not well liked in town, Doctor," Banan replied, "No one would take me in. They were afraid of my whole family. So I went to a different town. Reputation had preceded me and I wasnít welcomed there, either."

"Eventually," Banan continued, "I found a place that didnít fear me and I was taken in and cared for." He shrugged, "Those people died and I had to move on again."

"So you came here?" Dr. Lesvene asked.

Banan nodded, "After a time," he added.

Dr. Lesvene paused a moment and then gave up all pretense of tact whatsoever, "And what do you think of the murders going on here?" He asked, "Donít they frighten you?"

Banan raised an eyebrow, "Tom, my father butchered my family in front of me, why would it scare me when strangers to me die?"

"Banan," Dr. Lesvene said slowly, "What happened to your father after he killed your mother and sisters?"

Banan didnít answer.

Dr. Lesvene licked dry lips, his heart beating faster. "You said your father butchered your family, do the deaths around here seem similar to what he did then?"

Banan nodded guardedly.

"Do you think," Dr. Lesvene started hesitantly, "Is there any chance... that he could be responsible for these murders, as well?"

Banan didnít answer.

"Perhaps he is following you," Dr. Lesvene suggested crassly, "You did say that the people who took you in died. Could he be trying to frighten you? Teach you a lesson again?"

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