The ant scurried across the hot concrete in the summer afternoon sun. A large dried bread crumb was clutched between its jaws. Timothy's shadow engulfed the ant as the boy stepped forward to observe. Timothy squatted down to take a closer look. The ant was far from its colony, wandering aimlessly. Timothy had read up on ants. He knew they communicated through pheromones, as opposed to sound or sight. This little one was searching for the pheromone trail.
"Hey Timmy" said a kid. Timothy hated that nickname. He looked back. Immediately, a rock hit him at the rim of his eye socket. He winced in pain. "Hahaha!" laughed the classmate who threw the rock. The boy's name was Eric. Other kids laughed at Timothy as well.
"Freakin' loser. Weirdo" said Eric.
"Timmy, you're stupid" said another kid. Timothy didn't retaliate. He just sat there, bleeding onto the ground. Timothy dared not look back at the kids to see what else might happen. He sat for several minutes, beginning to tremble and cry.
The ant ventured far enough towards him and found the river of blood that Timothy leaked onto the ground. Timothy sat looking at the helpless creature.
He suddenly saw the ant differently. Instead of finding intrigue, he found disdain in the ant's ignorance. It kept running into the blood. "Just go around" he said with a tremble. He tried to sweep the ant away, but it dumbly walked back to the blood, and found no exit.
Timothy never hurt ants, but he felt so frustrated at the moment. He slowly reached over it with his index and thumb, and snatched the ant right on its central bodily component. The ant dropped the breadcrumb. Timothy looked at the ant with a scowl. The school bells rang, signaling the conclusion of recess. He ignored it. The ant was wriggling between his finger pads and flailing its limbs. Timothy then smooshed the ant into the blood. He twisted the ant in the ground. He left the remains of his victim in the miniature river of blood. After slaying his victim, he wiped his hand on his pants.
Later on, when Timothy's mom got home from work, she went to Timothy to see if he was okay.
"Timmy, what happened?!" she asked.
"I..." he wanted to tell the truth, like he used to. "I g-got..."
"Got what, my sweetheart!?" She held his face with both hands, inspecting the bandage.
"I f-f-fell at recess." Telling her the truth always made things worse.
"Oh, Timmy, you have to be careful!" she said, then hugging him. She was hurting his head where he got hit, but he said nothing.
"We have to put a new bandage on later. I don't think you should go to school tomorrow baby."
He saw this as a good and a bad thing. If he went to school, he might get hit again. If he didn't go to school, the kids might do something worse for his absence.
He didn't realize, until years later, that the kids didn't like him because although he stuttered quite annoyingly, he was intimidatingly more intelligent, and just different. In class, the teachers loved him, which evoked animosity from his peers. Outside class was another world. He never had even one friend, except a couple acquaintances; they often got him in trouble for their bad behavior since they were often loud, obnoxious, and mischievous. The other kids often threw things at him, or stole things from him when he wasn't looking, or called him names because he dressed like "a freakin stupidhead", or he would stutter when he spoke, or he corrected them in class priorly. His so-called "friends" never helped him, and in fact, they laughed along with the others.
The next day, he was off school, which made it far worse because he knew that the next day those kids were going to do something worse to him.
His older brother got home in the early afternoon from his high school. He was a senior and had several years on Timothy. Timothy liked following his brother around, but that only annoyed his sibling. Timothy peeked into his room and saw that his brother was watching a horror movie. Timothy was never allowed to watch anything of the sort. "No! Johnny!" said a young woman on screen. A giant figure appeared behind the young man, whom Timothy ascribed as Johnny, and the giant figure punctured the young man from the back. A red object protruded from Johnny's chest full of blood. The large figure behind him laughed. Timothy didn't know what to make of this scenario.
On Friday, the next day, three classmates had kicked Timothy brutally in the boy's bathroom. They were hungry for more antagonizing and they were angry at him for not being around the day before. He went home hurting, but he had no marks on his face to show the damage this time. He said nothing of the issue.
On Saturday, Timothy was outside looking at lizards darting across the yard. Timothy was annoyed by the sound of the scurrying, with its rapid scuttle across the debris of the yard. He wanted to catch a lizard and stop the annoying scuttling. He chased them around the yard. He grew angry and ambitious with each failure. He took a break for a moment, and his anger lessened. After a minute, he thought of using a box to scare them into. He put the box against the fence nice and snug with no gaps. He then chased the lizards around towards the box. One went into the box as he had planned. He then snatched one of them up and put them in one of the plastic insect cages he had. He watched it move frenetically, jolting to the corners, trying to climb up and out of its imprisonment. Timothy watched with fascination and a relish. It couldn't do anything.
Timothy then went inside and retrieved one of his dad’s tools. He came back out with a volt meter. It was the closest thing he could find to a probing tool, so he used it. He took the lid off the critter cage and reached in with the meter’s sharp probe. The lizard darted frantically back and forth across the plastic prison. Then Timothy got impatient and finally held the lizard down with his other hand. Timothy pushed the probe into the little creature’s vertebrate. Its mouth gaped open, and body squirmed. Timothy was captivated, and actually enjoyed the pain he caused the little reptile.
“Timothy!” his mother screamed out, looking at him in horror. “What are you doing?!”
Timothy just sat still, staring at his mother. He was confused, and felt a little guilty. She walked up to him and snatched the tool out of his hand. “What is the matter with you? Don’t do that to lizards!” She yanked his arm and took him to his room. “You think about what you did, Mr.; you’re not allowed out until dinner!”
She closed his door on him.
During dinner, it was quiet. His mother kept looking over at him. He could tell, but he didn’t look back. His father opened his mouth, but then he stopped himself. His brother didn’t seem too affected, and ate gluttonously. Timothy played with his food. It was meatloaf and veggies. He stirred the veggies around on the plate for a bit, but got bored. He took the fork and began to poke the meatloaf.
“Stop that!” his mother said. Timothy looked at her wide-eyed.
“Mom, what’s wrong?” asked Timothy’s brother. “He doesn’t seem that hungry.”
“Son” Timothy’s father said, “please, eat your food.”
“Alex is right. I’m n-n-not hungry” said Timothy with a sullen undertone.
“Timothy, you will finish your food.”
“Mom, chill, alright?” said Timothy’s brother.
“Can I g-go to my room?”
“No. Finish your food, and then you can go to your room.”
Timothy then stabbed the meatloaf and stuffed a big chunk in his mouth.
“Okay, we’re going to have a talk” said his mother.
She took him into the hallway and gave him ultimatums. He was silent through most of the intervention. She ended up sending him to his room just like he wanted.
A week went by as Timothy became angrier and more silent. He did not do well in his classes that week. The classmates had tormented him less, but his spite for them only grew.
Late one night, Timothy overheard his mother and father arguing about what to do with him.
"There is something wrong. He just won't talk to me" said his mother. "The teachers say he's doing poorer now and say he needs counseling"
"Maybe, he just needs some friends. Can't you set up a playdate for him?" suggested his father.
"David, he's just not the social type. You know how he gets when Alex's friends come over. He just gets quiet and hides from everyone."
"Those are his brother's friends, not his. He needs to have friends to hang out with at some point".
On the weekend, his mother had spoken with another mom from his same school. "Timmy, you're going to meet another kid today!" she said. "He goes to the same––"
"W-w-when?" Timothy asked.
"Today, in thirty minutes!"
He felt sick to the stomach. He had issues of throwing up when unexpected things popped up. He got especially nauseous with people, like other kids. He used to throw up often at school, and kids made fun of him for it.
When the time came. He saw the fuzzy image of a large figure and a smaller figure through the decorative glass of the front door. He felt twisting in his abdomen. The bell rang. He ran to his room after hearing it, then subsequently heard the front door being opened. "Oh hi, Janet!" his mother said. "They're going to have a great time! I'll see you at 5:00 pm?" Timothy had to endure several hours of this predicament. "Okay, we'll see you later!" said his mother.
"Timmy!" his mother said. "Our guest is here!"
Timothy didn't want to leave his room, but he felt inexorable obligation. As he stepped outside his room, he looked down at his feet. When Timothy looked up, he recognized the face.
It was Eric.
"Why don't you guys..." his mother was attempting some facilitation of friendship, but was uncertain how to deliver it to her socially dysfunctional son. "You guys can go play outside with the bugs."
Eric contorted his face, "Play with bugs? That's dumb". His mother's face shifted from pleasant to embarrassed bewilderment. "Or, maybe some board games?"
"Do you guys have a playstation?" Eric asked.
Timothy deduced that his mother was struggling to accommodate the guest and her son's needs by the look in her eyes. "Um, I can ask my other son if you guys can play some games on his console?" said Timothy's mother.
"Nah, I want to play outside now" said Eric.
"Okay. You guys want to play in the back?"
Timothy was silent, and it seemed both of them were waiting for his response. "Okay" he finally submitted. She took them outside into the back yard. As she closed the door to leave both of the boys she smiled meekly at Timothy. Once she disappeared, Eric looked at Timothy.
"Ha. Timmy" said Eric. Timothy really hated that nickname now.
"Your mom his hot, but she's pretty stupid, huh?"
Timothy looked away.
"Let's throw rocks at those pots over there." Eric walked towards the xeriscaped area. Timothy, reluctant, followed. Eric picked up a rock. "Think I can hit that pot right there?"
Timothy didn't say anything. Eric threw the rock, but missed. He picked up another, threw it, and the stone bounced off the water feature in the corner of the yard. Eric handed Timothy a rock, raising a brow that asked Aren't you going to throw rocks?
Timothy was tempted to throw the rock at... something. Eric threw another rock, and it hit the pot, chipping it. "Yes! I got it!" he said. "Like when I hit you in the face" Eric then shared an evil grin. Timothy held a stoic expression, but squeezed the rock until the nerves of his hands were crushed. "Let's do something else now" said Eric. Timothy dropped the rock. The pain remained in his hand, sore and stinging at the bone. Eric looked at the backyard tree in the lawn. "Climb that tree." Timothy looked at the tree. "Do it". Timothy only redirected his gaze at Eric. "Do it, stupid weirdo". Timothy remained motionless.
"Why are you so stupid, Timmy?" Eric said, sneering, then walked out of sight of the windows behind the house.
Eric hardly got in trouble at school; Timothy knew Eric was really good at hiding his bad behaviors from adults, which is what he did at the moment.
"Come on, Timmy". Adrenaline filled Timothy's blood; he tried with all his effort not to do anything to Eric.
Eric picked up a gardening tool. It had three pointed prongs for tilling soil. "What's this thing?" Eric asked. Timothy didn't say anything. Eric rolled his eyes. Eric found bags of mulch in the yard against the fence. He stabbed the mulch, making a grunting sound in childish satisfaction. He stabbed again and again, the mulch spilling out. Timothy was boiling. Eric then grabbed some of the mulch and said "The blood of my victim", then threw it at Timothy's face.
Timothy grabbed the tool out of Eric's hand and slapped him on the side of the head with it. Eric was stunned a moment. Timothy then jabbed Eric in the throat and the boy shrieked. There was red all over the ends of each pronged tip. Eric fell to the ground, clutching his throat, breathing deliberately and desperately. Timothy smiled in evil. "Help" Eric wheezed futilely, blood streaming from his fingers.
"Timothy?!" his mother came outside. "Where are you?" She walked around and saw the horror, gasping. "Timothy!? What have you done?!?" She went to Eric and tried to help him up.
That evening, police vehicles occupied the curb of the residence. Two cops stood looming over the table across from Timothy. One of the cops took his mother into another room to get a report from her.
"Son, why did you hurt that boy?" the cop said, standing at the head of the kitchen table across from Timothy with his hands on his hips. The police kept trying to ask Timothy questions, but didn’t get anything out of Timothy.
Timothy didn't want to respond, or didn't know how to respond.
A child services representative arrived and Timothy’s father let her in. The cop left the kitchen to talk to her. Timothy wasn’t listening to everything, only snippets. His mind flooded with thoughts and feelings.
“Have you talked with the other family?”
“Yes, we gathered a report from each member. He’s the last one we need to talk to, but he’s not budging.”
The woman sat at the table aside from Timothy. “Hi. I’m Renee. What’s your name?”
Timothy didn’t look at her.
"You don't have to go through this alone. Is there someone you trust, like a family member or a friend, that you might feel more comfortable talking to with me here?"
Timothy gave no sign of relenting. "Guys, I need some privacy" she looked at the cop and Timothy's father. They left the room.
"I know you're not ready to talk. Do you want to write or draw what your feeling?"
Timothy still didn't let up, but merely looked at Renee. She was pretty, and appeared kind. "When I was little, I had trouble with other kids in school."
Timothy looked at her again, but quickly looked away.
"Kids were mean to me" she admitted. "Do you feel this way?"
Timothy then looked at her without escape, "Sometimes".
"Do you feel angry with other kids?"
He looked at her. "Yeah."
"Was Eric one of the kids that was mean to you?"
Timothy bottled up again. He was now vulnerable to attack. Renee tried another approach. "I know you're afraid, and angry, but I want you to know that you are safe with me, and you can tell me anything." Was this another tease?
After some time, Renee succeeded in opening Timothy up to more conversation. He explained the abuse that other kids had put him through. He shared his confusion and anger, his pain and feelings of helplessness, in the only way he knew how to explain. Renee, however, didn't mind, and Timothy didn't know that this was even possible. He began to cry.
"Timothy, it's okay to say how you're feeling" he wanted to hug her, but he felt so scared, so vulnerable, so ashamed. He felt wildly emotional, and he could no longer contain it. He got up and he hugged her. She lightly hugged him back.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" he said, sobbing uncontrollably.
"For what, Timothy?"
"For hurting that lizard, for hurting Eric. For everything!"
After transfer to a new school several months later, Timothy began to do well in his studies again. Renee performed regular check-ups on him every week, which delighted him. In school, he even made a friend in his science class. Although he was monitored regularly for almost two years, the restrictions on him slowly eased, and he felt more open to talking with his parents about his thoughts, even things he did not like. He never saw Eric again. He never heard Timmy from his mother again, and he never heard it in his new school. He hung out regularly with his best friend, Bennet.
One day, some years later, Timothy gave Renee a call.
"Renee" Timothy said on the phone.
"Thank you for coming into my life."