Jonas

I became a murderer at 4 years old. 

I don’t remember much. 4 is very young. What I do remember seems like a movie, like it happened to someone else. Dissociation, they call it. The closest thing I can compare it to is a dream; confusing, frightening, incomplete.

I remember wondering why they kept the best toy in a cabinet. Mine were chunky plastic, all neon colors and cheap flame stickers. Befitting of a 4-year-old’s toys. But the toy locked away was the coolest. It was made of metal and finished wood. Big and black and sleek, it was the most amazing thing. I always imagined Mom and Dad giving it to me for my birthday, and Jonas being green with envy. Jonas always got the better toys. “That’s what being older is like, Harper,” he’d say. “I protect you, so I get the better toys.” To a 4-year-old, 7 was old and wise. 7-year-olds could walk to school without Mom or Dad. 7-year-olds could take showers by themselves, not baths. I wanted him to see that I could be big like him. I wanted to know that sometimes older kids didn’t get everything.

Mom and Dad didn’t know that I knew about the special toy. I only saw Dad take it out once, when someone knocked on our door late at night. I was supposed to be sleeping. 

The cabinet was locked. It was always locked, but one day while playing hide-and-seek with Jonas after he came back from school, I found that it was open. I pulled the toy out, the gleaming black finish so smooth, no smudges or anything. It was heavier than I’d thought it would be, but that did nothing to dampen my excitement. I went to find Jonas. 

He was in Mom and Dad’s bedroom, peeking under the bed. I came up close behind him.

“Jonas! Look what I found!”

“Hah! I found you! You’re–” He saw what I was holding and froze. “Harper–”

“Pew pew!” I said and giggled, pointing it at his heart and pulling the trigger like I always did when we played Star Wars. He said something after my name but I didn’t hear it. 

The loudest noise I’d ever heard erupted from the gun. I could feel it in my chest. It was like my lungs stopped and my heart burst. The gun balked in my hand like an ornery horse, hitting me in the nose. It bled. 

Jonas was on the ground. His eyes were wide and his t-shirt was turning red. My hands were red too, from my nose. I started screaming, I think. There was so much red and I couldn’t hear anything.

After that, all I remember is red, red, read and blue lights, strangers and cars and Mom and Dad screaming. Me screaming. Cars, lots of cars, then pastel walls and a nice woman asking me if I knew what death means. I said yes, it’s what happens to bad guys in movies. 

I remember moving to Hong Kong. It’s hotter here, and there is no Jonas, no Mom and Dad, no toys locked in cabinets, no flashing lights. I live with my aunt and uncle, the black sheep of the family, and my cousins of course. Twin girls, 2 years younger than me. Carrey and Miriam will forever be my little sisters, but even when I am happy and too busy to worry, I still wonder what it would be like to have a Jonas again.

 

Kris Weller is a senior at Fremont High School.