It all began one cold day of December. School had finally ended and I was getting prepared to enjoy the time I had before I had to go back and stand the last years of high school before going to some random university. I ended up studying arts in the University of Cardiff, some long and fairly useless 20 or so months. Not long ago, I was obligated to drop out, for the reasons that I’m about to tell you. The day had gone through in a normal fashion. I had been sleeping a lot and playing videogames like never before, then, at about 7 o clock, I turned on my computer and logged in onto Facebook. I tried to get comfortable with a white blanket over me and, as I scrolled down the news feed, i noticed a picture of a forty-something year old man, dressed in military clothes and with a typical blue background. I only recognized him after I saw the name of the one who uploaded the picture. Fabrice Bennett, a small kid from my class. A clever kid never liked by our other classmates, come to think of it, I was one of his very few "friends"... and we barely even spoke to each other. For what we all knew, he had autism, or a sickness of the sort. He was a year younger than all of us yet he still got higher grades than anyone ever had on the history of my school. He used to like to talk about his parents a lot. Both his parents were in the military. His father began working as a normal soldier, and then ended up helping with military research, accompanied by his wife, a chemical engineer. He was the man I saw in the picture. I met Mr.Bennett one day when he and his wife drove to school to pick up Fabrice. Mr.Bennett waited at the front door with a very serious look on his face, and then his expression changed to some sort of relief when he noticed that I wasn’t one of those kids that "bullied" his son. Just before we could introduce ourselves properly, Fabrice ran unto his father's arms and they walked together towards the car, where his mother was waiting for them.
At first, I didn’t notice what creeped me out about the picture, but then I noticed that it wasn’t really the picture, but its description. It was made very clear that the boy was scared and worried. Repeated along the description, there was the phrase "Where is my father?!". Apparently his father hadn’t been seen since the night before. Nothing but one or two commentaries asking more information about what happened made me feel even sorrier for Fabrice. Many questions began to run through my head. What could’ve happened to Mr.Bennet? Why would he simply post it on Facebook? Had he already called the proper authorities? What was I supposed to do? This last question is the one that became quickly became the most relevant. I decided that I would try to contact him. I sent a couple of messages and emails, but after waiting for one or two hours, I had no response whatsoever. It was already getting late, or at least that’s how it felt, so I quickly grabbed my phone and called him. No response either. I felt a little worried at first, but then I remembered that I have never felt such sadness, so I wouldn’t know how Fabrice (especially Fabrice) would react to this situation. At about 11 o clock, I decided to go to sleep.
That same night, I had one of the worst nightmares ever. The nightmare started out rather abruptly. I stood on the middle of a dark room, panting and trying to get some air. My face hurt badly, and I couldn’t keep my hands still. They kept shaking and shaking and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Then I realized that I was scared of something, I just didn’t know precisely what. When I was finally conscious in my dream, nightmare, I looked at my shaking hands, realizing that they were dripping warm blood, and then I raised them and tried to wash some tears and sweat off my face. That’s when I realized why I was scared. My face hurt because I had an exaggerated smile on my face, a smile that was literally damaging my facial muscles. Then I began to feel that my eyes where aching and my eyelids began to move randomly. Then, right before I could scream at the emptiness that surrounded me, I woke up, sweating in my bed. I began to look around my dark empty room, while hearing some very faint voices. I began to touch my face. My mouth, my cheeks, my eyes, everything was normal, except for the rivers of sweat of course. It took me about an hour to ignore the never-ending whispers around me, then I fell asleep again and I never had that nightmare again.
The next morning, I woke up at noon, and I began to call out for my parents, wondering why they hadn’t woken me up. I thought of my nightmare and I almost began to cry, assuming the worst. Thankfully, they were simply on the garage, cleaning up. Then I remembered… I was meeting with some friends that day.
I showered, had lunch, and immediately went to my friend Charlie's house, where we had planned to eat pizza with a group of around 5 friends, then maybe watch a movie or play Halo. We had a lot of fun that day, and just before we all decided to leave, I quickly brought up the subject of Fabrice's dad disappearance. Most of my friends acknowledged that they had seen the picture of Mr.Bennett the day before, and although I didn’t think they would care the least, they did seem pretty worried about it. Then, Charlie mentioned that the story had given him nightmares. We all instantly looked at each other. We all had fear in our faces, that’s when we knew that we all had had the same nightmare. It took me a few seconds just to say that my nightmare consisted in me being alone in a dark room. Then each of them complemented the story by saying things that I didn’t remember at that moment, for example I didn’t remember that I was wearing my pajamas in the dream, or that my hands, besides shaking, they were also hurting badly. We all felt very intrigued by this amazing coincidence and we ended up leaving Charlie's house wondering what the hell had happened. The next day, very early, I got a call from Charlie. He spoke softly as if he were trying to avoid anyone else to hear him. He also spoke very slowly, trying to choose his words very well. Apparently, the night before, he had walked towards Fabrice's house as soon as we all left. I didn’t know it, but they lived just 5 or 6 blocks away from each other. How he knew where Fabrice lived is something that still puzzles me. But I digress. He told me that he had decided to visit Fabrice and ask him about what happened. As soon as he got closer to Fabrice's house, he began to hear different voices a few feet away, and then he noticed that the ones talking were a group of police men. Fabrice's house was surrounded by many police men and police cars. He approached a police officer and asked him what had happened. The whole Bennett family had been found murdered around the house. They had all been dead for a little more than 2 days. Blood had been spread everywhere, and it all seemed to be Mr. Bennett’s fault. He had grabbed a kitchen knife and murdered his wife about half an hour after they had gone to bed. She had many long deep cuts all over her body, and her body was found hanging from an open door. His son, Fabrice, on the other hand, had been woken up, taken to the basement, and been tortured all night, until his father finally got sick of his crying and whining, and stabbed him many times in the stomach. Finally, Mr.Bennett stood next to his dead child, cut himself a dozen times in the face, and then he stabbed it until he finally dropped dead. It was a total mess. I’m not really sure if the police officer was supposed to give out this information, still that’s what I was told, and much later, it was pretty much confirmed by our teachers and classmates.
That was the story for a few years, a man who had suddenly gone insane and killed his family for no reason, then not long ago , Charlie ( who I met again by pure chance) told me something new about the Bennett case, a little detail that had been kept from all of us. A digital camera had been found along with the bodies in the basement. A friend of Charlie's got into the police and found the video...something like that, I don’t remember. He began to tell me about what the camera contained. Many pictures and videos of family trips, barbecues, picnics, and a video showing the torture that poor Fabrice had gone through. The video showed exactly how Mr. Bennett punched, stabbed, spit and insulted his own kid, but the problem with the video was that Mr. Bennett...was barely recognizable. A big disgusting smile occupied half of his face, and yes, his eyelids were moving up and down randomly and his eyes moved around their sockets like if he had a seizure. As his father looked at the camera, waving his knife and arms, it could easily be heard Fabrice' voice in the background, asking in tears "Who are you?", “Why are you doing this?"; "Where is my father?". As he told me the details of the video, I remembered the picture and my dream again. They both still bring fear to my heart. I left Charlie and ran towards a restaurant so I could have a drink and think everything through. That same night, I had a nightmare, not the same one I had the night when I saw the picture, but in this one I could see the murders through Mr.Bennett's eyes. I cannot lie about it; I enjoy it, I like to hear the screams and the sound of the knife peeling away the skin. But when that first nightmare ended, I woke up still hearing the screams, the pledges, the begging. Everywhere I go now I keep hearing them, and once in a while, I’ll have that nightmare again. I had to try to make it stop, I had to leave because of this "curse" this, "obsession", I don’t know. I can hear it right now! It’s the same voice all the time, crying, asking over and over, "Where is my Father?”.