Dear Mr. Edmunds,
I recently signed up online through a prison pen pal agency, and was given your name and address as a potential match, as determined by scores indicating mutual temperament and personal interests. I hope that over time we can find common ground and become friends and confidantes. In the meantime I will allow you to respond, so as to indicate the nature and depth of the pen pal relationship you are seeking. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
I must admit I was fairly surprised at how quickly you were able to get a letter back to me. For some reason I had imagined the bureaucratic processes involved would make our correspondence slow and erratic. However I am completely elated that you are seeking a pen pal who writes frequently and is willing to share their most personal thoughts, and wish to do the same. There are many things I have never told anyone, and it will be a great relief to share them with someone whose situation makes it impossible my secrets could ever be used against me, if I can be so frank. In return I promise to take anything you decide to tell me about your self, your history and your innermost thoughts, to my grave - on my honor.
p.s. I took the liberty of adding $100 to your commissary fund, which I promise to do as often as I can afford to, as a token of appreciation for our mutual candor.
I write to inform you that, unfortunately, I was able to survive another Christmas. How come I never get what I asked for? My sister was typically mousy and overattentive, her husband typically drunk and quasi-violent, and their children as typically self-absorbed and unimaginative as ever. I wish I could just tell her no when she invites me. Or just not answer at all. Or even better, tell her and her shitty family just to fuck right the fuck off.
I have been thinking about the problem you ran by me and I think there might be a solution. You need to get some dirt on the fence. That is the weak spot. You get a hold of one little string that can unravel him, and it could pull the whole enterprise apart. I trust you are clever enough to dig up what you need on a low level player like him.
Sorry I could not send any commissary this time, I had to buy presents for my terrible relatives. Trust me when I say I would much rather share what little I have with you.
Enclosed is the photograph of me that you requested, and I look forward to seeing the drawings you make from it. It is unbelievable how quickly this talent has blossomed in you. As I was lying in bed last night I was thinking about what could make a man do the things that you did, and it suddenly all made sense for the first time. You were always an artist. The undeniable urge to create became twisted when you were not nurtured in your imagination and talents, and instead of pouring beauty out into the world, you poured out an insatiable rage which could not see its fuel through its own flames. That led me to believe that this new passion of yours could actually be redemption incarnate. Your art is more than rehabilitation, it is a righting of the wrong circumstances that made you act out in the first place. Is this the essential mishap that makes human beings become criminally violent, a socially-conditioned separation from their intrinsic creative nature? Is that why John Wayne Gacy and so many other "psychopaths" also became brilliant artists after they had been caught and locked away?
You are right about your suspicion that I have been holding something back. I am just figuring out how to say it. It is almost impossible to say something you can never really stop thinking about, but have never actually said. I will begin writing an account of my secret and share it with you as soon as I am confident it is succinct and believable. It is such an unorthodox revelation that I fear you may take our entire correspondence over the last nine months as some kind of elaborate prank, but I assure you that I have never been anything but entirely earnest with you, and respectfully intend to remain as impeccable as I have come to believe you yourself to be, despite any self-doubts you may still harbor about the content of your character.
I believe in you,
I decided to send this letter on the one year anniversary of our my first written missive to you. It contains everything I have been wanting to reveal about myself since I first learned about it from my father shortly before he died.
In October of 1943 my great grandfather was docked in Pennsylvania on the naval warship USS Eldridge, an incident which you may have heard of referred to as The Philadelphia Experiment. It was an attempt to cloak an entire ship with an electromagnetic gravitational field, which resulted in a number of highly irregular claims from the witnesses and those on board the vessel who survived. My great grandfather was one of the latter. His story was even more bizarre than the others, and except for top military brass who made him swear his life to secrecy, only his descendants have ever been told the truth.
My great grandfather claimed that he saw a bright light and then was suddenly in the middle of a pristine pasture in what he believed to be what is now France, only in the 80th century BCE. He was there for three years, where he was adopted by a clan of neanderthals shortly after his arrival, and taught how to survive the rough prehistoric world. That is where he met my grandmother, whom he claims was the most beautiful and loving woman, human, neanderthal or otherwise, to ever walk on two legs. Unfortunately she died during childbirth, as did so many hominid mothers during that time, and he was left to raise their child alone.
One day he had the infant in a sling on his chest as he was out gathering roots, berries and grubs, when he and his son were suddenly transported back to the 20th century, where only a brief time had passed. The ship, however, had traveled a few hundred miles south to the Virginia coast. He was quarantined, debriefed and then assigned to a cushy post as a reoccurring reward for keeping his story secret.
What I am trying to tell you, Wayndre, is that I am 1/8th neanderthal. I know that is terribly hard to believe, but it also happens to be completely true. Even if you decide not to believe what I have told you, I hope you will acknowledge that I genuinely believe it to be true, and have placed great trust in you by sharing my story.
By now you have undoubtedly heard about me in the news, and if you were not entirely convinced before, must surely believe my story now.
To be honest it did not even occur to me that the test would reveal my secret, and on top of that, I didn't have any choice. It was either submit to the antibody test or not return to my teaching career, and I could neither afford nor fathom that outcome. When my antibody test came back with intriguing results, I was forced to submit more DNA for exhaustive testing, at which point my secret was genetically revealed. The doctors and scientists were reluctant to believe my story, but in the end there was no satisfactory alternative. Since they had already presented my case to the media, there was no putting the cat back in the bag, and the tale was told to the entire world.
What I would never have expected, aside from being believed in the first place, is what a huge impact my story would have on humanity. The Philadelphia Experiment was widely considered to be a conspiracy theory, and once it was revealed to be true, the floodgates just opened, and now the public is hungry to reconsider all of the stories they have been told by authorities were make-believe. Never before has the ruling class felt so much pressure, which has created a boiling pot of their innumerable layers of lies that will not be containable for much longer.
I want to thank you again for being such a good friend and confidante. Without you I would never have had the courage to face the world which my story is changing at a frightening pace. Whatever happens now I will always have you to thank for being the first person to accept and believe in me. And thanks to the proceeds from all of the interviews, I will now be able to extend more generosity to you. Just promise me that, if you somehow get out of prison because of all this, you won't go out and kill a bunch of people again.
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Now THAT’s a family secret! 😂 Kept me hooked throughout waiting for the reveal, and I had a huge grin on my face when it veered into sci-fi absurdity. I also love how we never get to see the inmate’s letters, it really hammered home how the protagonist is just here to get away from life and get something off his chest. This was such an entertaining read, keep it up! 😁
Thank you for the kindness and encouragement! Before I wrote this I was scrolling through the news and saw back to back articles about the possibility of time travel and neanderthal/human mating. Seemed like a good combo!
No problem! 🙂 I actually learnt in class that there’s a general consensus of Caucasians possessing 1-4% Neanderthal genes due to interbreeding back in the day, so your story might not be so farfetched!
We also have the dna of Denisovians and a few unknown hominid species. The early upright weren't too picky!
Evidently not, no! 😂
I like how this is told through letters, but only from one side. Now I'm wondering what his grandmother must have thought of his grandfather... tall, thin, weak-boned and weak-jawed compared to her tribe. Maybe she found him "exotic!" Well done! Stay safe and keep writing!
Yeah, her attraction to him must have seemed like a kink to her clan. hehehe Thank you very much!