When I was five years old my family went to the beach. I’d never been before, or at least, if I had I didn’t remember. My mother told me if I put a seashell up to my ear I could hear the ocean inside.
I put the shell up and something crawled out of it, and inside my head.
No one believed me, but I knew it was there. I could feel it scurrying around the top of my brain. And I could hear it when it told me to do things.
Like the time our house caught fire—the thing from the shell told me to do that. No one ever found out.
Or when I pushed my little sister down the steps—it was because the thing from the shell said I had to. Everyone thought she just tripped—even she thought that. But I knew the truth, and so did the thing from the shell.
I suppose I could’ve stopped for a minute and questioned the thing from the shell---asked it why I had to do all these things. Or even refuse do to them. But you have to understand—this thing was inside my brain. It could hear my thoughts. It never everything I was going to do before I did it. So really, when you think about it, I didn’t have a choice.
So you can’t really get mad at me for that one summer when all the pets on our block disappeared—even though I knew exactly what happened to them.
And that time when my family moved, and I had to start a new school in the eighth grade, and that bully tried to push me, and I stabbed him right through his hand with a pencil. Believe me, I DIDN’T really want to do that! Even though that kid was a total jerk. But the thing from the shell—it told me exactly where to stick that pencil point.
When my parents started crying, because the therapist said that I might have some sort of “personality disorder”, I felt really rotten. I don’t like making people cry—I swear. I wanted to stand up and say I was sorry, and say that it wasn’t me doing this stuff on my own—I was being controlled, like a puppet. The thing from the shell nixed that idea, though. I remained quiet, my hands folded on my lap, while my mother sobbed and the doctor told her I would need serious therapy .
While I’m on this subject, I’d just like to put down on paper how sorry I am for that time, during my freshman year in high school, when I got sent to that hospital, and I stole that one patients meds, and she got really, really sick and almost died. I felt like a real jerk about that, but the thing from the shell was pretty sure it was hilarious.
Also, I’d like to point out to my doctors that when you finally let me out of that hospital, and proclaimed I had made great improvements and was ready to enter society—well, you guys really are kind of dumb. That wasn’t true at all, but the thing from the shell, it knew exactly what buttons to push, and you fell for it.
Once I got out, I was only seventeen and I really wanted to go back to school so I could graduate, but the thing from the shell thought that was a terrible idea. Instead, it wanted me to steal that car from that nice woman and crash it right into the church. What the heck do I have against a church. I never even went to that church! So you can tell, it really wasn’t my idea.
And Mom, Dad—believe me when I say I really wanted to go home, and get help. I did. I even tried, and made it as far as our street, but the thing from the shell turned me right around, and made me hitch-hike two counties over, and made me get that miserable job washing dishes at the diner, and made me rent that really crumby room above the gun shop.
So, I know you might be hearing a lot about all these girls that are disappearing. A lot of them are customers who come into the diner where I wash the dishes. So right away, you probably want to point the finger at me. But I hope this makes you understand that really, it’s not my fault.
I have to go now. The thing from the shell says it’s time to have some fun.