I killed Jamie Nelson. They will never catch me. Neither will you.
Jamie Nelson got out of bed.
He walked over to the bathroom and started brushing his teeth. After rinsing his mouth, he took a good look at the mirror.
A strong youthful face, with clear light brown eyes and cheeks that looked like they were chiseled by a sculptor, stared right back at him.
Why won’t you catch me? Cause I am a genius. And well, nobody would believe an animal murdered a human.
His focus was interrupted by Dave’s barking.
Dave had run into the bathroom with the newspaper, wagging his tail furiously. Jamie leaned forward, took the paper from Dave’s mouth, and patted his head. Dave began to happily lick Jamie’s foot.
Jamie walked over to the kitchen. He broke a few eggs and poured the yolk neatly out onto the pan.
Sally, lying on the counter, woke up startled at the sizzling noise, jumped off snarling and waving her furry tail in protest.
Well, sure, tigers and lions have killed humans before but that’s more like you know, they were hungry. My friends and I refer to the definition of murder as, how do you say it, “unlawful premeditated killing”. We are kind of sophisticated like that.
Jamie sat down at his table and set the plate down. He didn’t pay attention to Sylvester swimming in the glass bowl. Sylvester kept bumping into the sides of the bowl.
Behind him, he could hear Champ going at it on the wheel in his cage, running furiously as hamsters tend to do.
Although they are different sounds, we all speak the same language. Just variations of it in each species.
Jamie read through the paper, scanning it until he came across exactly what he was looking for.
His coverage of the Russian Mafia was splayed all over the entire fourth page. Annoyed, he read on.
. . .
Why did we decide to kill him?
It was nearly midnight.
Jamie walked over to the bedroom after feeding all the pets.
He sat down at his desk getting ready to work on the next article. Jamie stared at the blank screen waiting for the computer to come to life.
The whole thing sounds very morally grey, to be honest. A nice editor with three pets. Feeds us regularly. Takes care of us. What a lovely person.
The phone rang.
A warm and friendly voice was on the other side. “Hello? Is this Jamie?” “Yes.”
“Hey, it’s Charlie. Did you like your article? All published neat and tidy on the fourth page?”
“What article? I didn’t see my article anywhere.”
“Huh? Whatcha mean? We took what you gave us and-”
“And minced it up into fine pieces is what you did!”, Jamie yelled into the phone.
He then took a deep breath. “Don’t you dare call that trash my article. You guys tried to play it safe. You are scared of them as much as everyone.”
“Look, Jamie, you don’t run the paper, we do.” The warmth and friendliness were gone. “This call was just a courtesy to inform you that we will not be publishing your second article. It’s too straightforward.”
“IT’S TOO STRAIGHTFORWARD?! NO, YOU ALL ARE TOO-”, Jamie went into a frenzy as he heard Charlie hang up on the other end.
Thick silence filled the room. Jamie didn’t move a muscle, the phone still in his hand, just slightly quivering. He proceeded to slowly let go of the phone, watching it fall. The sound as it hit the floor tore through the quiet atmosphere of the room. Dave perked his ears up in response.
It’s always Dave that tries to be helpful and comforting at first.
Dave came running to Jamie only to get kicked in the stomach.
“What do you want?!”, Jamie ran after Dave, who was frightened out of his mind. “Always yipping and yapping like anything. Never a moment of peace!”
Dave ran to a corner and started scratching at the walls frantically. Jamie was staring at him like a wild animal.
Sally knows to keep away but she doesn’t. She loves Dave. She saves him as always. One way or the other.
Hearing multiple crashes, Jamie turned around and saw Sally pushing bowls off the kitchen table.
Enraged, Jamie didn’t notice as Dave slipped out of the corner and ran out. He instead lunged forward for the cat, tripped and his jaw caught right on the table.
Sylvester stared dumbly at him through the glass bowl.
Sometimes he gets angry at me. Broke my bowl twice.
Frustrated, Jamie got up and walked off to his room.
Another time, he nearly squeezed Champ so hard that he killed him. Sally scratched his hands and Dave bit his legs so he would let go.
Jamie switched off the light and went to sleep.
Why do we want to kill him?
Well, he’s a jerk.
And it’s either we kill him or he kills us.
. . .
Jamie Nelson got out of bed.
He walked over to the bathroom and started brushing his teeth. Entering the kitchen, he looked at his schedule on the fridge.
● Stopping by the newspaper office.
Not going to happen.
● Therapist appointment.
If he felt like it, maybe.
I planned the whole thing.
We rehearsed this a million times. Took a long time to set this up. But works smoother than an oiled door.
Jamie prepared the coffee.
As usual, Jamie set the cup down on the table.
The hamster will escape from his cage and topple it off just as Jamie is about to sit down at the table.
Irritated, Jamie will get up to catch him and put him back in his cage. Jamie got up from the table.
But the hamster will run like he never has before.
The cat will start scraping at the door, diverting Jamie’s attention and buying the hamster enough time to reach the cup on the table.
Jamie walked to the door.
The dog will bring the arsenic to the hamster on the table. The hamster will pour the arsenic into his cup.
The cat will stop scraping at the door.
The hamster will run back to his cage causing Jamie to return to his coffee. Then we wait.
Jamie sat down at the table.
Jamie will drink from his coffee.
He took sips from his coffee while he read the paper.
He could feel his vision blurring.
Feeling dizzy, he grasped the sides of the table for support and his face came at eye level with Sylvester.
I will look into his eyes as the arsenic rips him apart.
Jamie attempted to stand up and noticed Sally and Dave were watching him intently. He growled, “I knew it, I always did-” and his feet began to give way. The cat and the dog will trip him by jumping on his back and pouncing on his foot. We will watch him fall to the floor.
Jamie collapsed to the floor.
. . .
“What happened here?”
“Jamie Nelson, age 24, found dead by the neighbor when he came over to borrow some batteries.”
“Cause of death?”
“Well, any sign of a break-in, officer?”
“Ok, why did they want me here?”
“Sir, Jamie Nelson is one of the editors of The Daily Globe and also a slightly controversial yet influential figure. So they want to make sure there is no chance of foul play before revealing his death to the public.”
“I see. Do you have anything else?”
“We did find a letter. Not sure what to make of it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Sir, I think you will understand if you take a look at it yourself. The original letter has been transferred to forensics. This is a copy that was made. Here.”
The inspector took out his glasses and inspected the neat cursive handwriting that started with,
“I killed Jamie Nelson. They will never catch me. Neither will you…”
After reading it through, the inspector took off his glasses and stared at the pets scattered all around the room.
The cat was sleeping on the counter.
The dog was sleeping in a basket.
The goldfish was mindlessly swimming around.
The hamster was having a go at the wheel.
Seeing he was done reading, the officer added, “And we have checked with other samples of his writing around the room. They match perfectly with-”
Startled, the inspector and the officer turned around to see a middle-aged woman stumble into the house and before they could stop her, had run to Jamie’s body.
“Oh, Jamie! What have you done?! Oh my-”. The woman collapsed to the floor next to Jamie’s face.
“Excuse me, ma’am, do you know this young man?”
The woman looked up, tears having begun to stream down her face. “Yes, umm, I am uhh, his therapist.”
“Oh, maybe you could tell us the meaning of this letter that supposedly, Jamie wrote.”
The inspector extended the letter out to the woman.
Fumbling, she read through it slowly.
When she was done, she sighed and nodded, “Yeah, Jamie definitely wrote this. His whole wild theory of the variations of animal language, all documented in my files at the house. He’s tried to convince me of it several times in several sessions. ”
Seeing the confused expression on the inspector’s face, she explained, “Jamie had a rather unfortunate incident at a wildlife park when he was a child. A nasty run-in with a jaguar they had. Being a tender age, it affected him mentally. He developed a
certain aggression towards animals because he began to believe they were always trying to kill him. His parents sent him to therapy when he began to get worse.”
“But he has all these pets around. Doesn’t seem like he hated them.”
“Yeah, I advised him to get them one by one. Confront your fears head-on, as I tell all my clients. Jamie was getting better at controlling this irrational unstable fear. He had momentary breakdowns, though, if his job got stressful enough. And he would blame the pets for distracting him. Yell about them in my office but eventually calm down. But Jamie never ever hurt them.”
She paused to take a deep breath and control her composure.
“Well, recently, there’s been this talk of an article at work that he really wanted to get them to publish. He had spent around half a year on it. Big stuff. I came over today to enquire if the other editors had let him publish it. I guess they didn’t. But I never thought he would break down so terribly. This horrific letter, poisoning himself, oh my..”
She began to sob again.
The officer escorted her out of the house.
The inspector watched as Jamie’s body was removed from the room and the evidence was packaged. Soon he was the only man left in the house.
An eerie silence filled the room.
He walked over to the dining table, leaned forward, and stared intensely at the goldfish. Bobbing up and down, the goldfish’s gaze didn’t waver and kept up at eye contact with him.
Under his breath, the inspector softly uttered, “Can’t believe I nearly thought you were a killer for a second.”
And for a split second, he could nearly swear he had seen it wink.
But his concentration was interrupted by the cat hissing and the dog simultaneously at the same time. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the hamster begin to rattle relentlessly at the door of the cage.
Taken aback by the sudden noise, the inspector backed out of the house quickly. Right as he stepped out the door, the pets stopped and the silence returned.
The inspector glanced at the transcript of the letter in his hand. He read through the last paragraph once more.
“I will look into his eyes as the arsenic rips him apart. The cat and the dog will trip him by jumping on his back and pouncing on his foot. We will watch him fall to the floor.
Why did I make Champ write the letter (amazing how capable hamsters are with those little fingers)? Arrogance, I suppose. Taunting humans is so much fun. Besides, whichever human reads this, they will make up an explanation for how some other human must have written it, possibly Jamie, I am assuming. Idiots.
Deep down, someone will wonder if I did it.”
The inspector crumpled the transcript up, tossed it aside, and walked away. THE END