Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. As a family, we go down to Florida to enjoy the warm weather and get away from Indiana. I still hate living in Indiana. I miss all my friends back in Connecticut, but we can at least see some family in Florida when we visit.
Dad always takes me hunting on our Florida trips. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I’ve learned a lot over the years. He taught me how to clean up the deer so we could use the meat for food. Even though I didn’t enjoy hunting, I enjoyed the clean-up process. I’m not sure why, but it was fascinating to see the insides of an animal. I always wondered if humans and animals looked the same on the inside.
This year was different. Last Christmas, I got a new dog for my present. His name is Spot, and this year he gets to go hunting with dad and me. I’m so excited to have him with us but also kind of nervous. He doesn’t listen very well, which has made dad mad before. Hopefully, he’s on his best behavior.
When we got to the woods, dad, me, and Spot were coming up to a populated area known to have lots of deer. It’s usually the place we get all our kills, so we’re bound to get one today.
“Spot! No! What are you doing? Get back here, dumb animal!” whispered dad. Spot had just run behind a bush.
“I’ll get him, dad, I’m sorry.”
“No, stay here, Charlie. He needs to learn to come when he’s called.”
Suddenly, dad shot at the bush that Spot was hiding behind. He looked at me with a weird grin and said, “Just trying to scare him.”
When I walked over to the bush to get Spot, it was evident that dad didn’t scare him. He shot my dog. Dad shot my best friend.
“Whoops. Maybe he should have listened the first time. It was an accident, Charlie; I was trying to scare him. Let’s keep going. Nothing we can do now. I’ll get you a new dog when we get back home to Indiana.”
That was the last of that. We never spoke of it again. I spent the rest of the hunting trip looking back towards where Spot and the bush were, secretly wiping tears from my eyes. Spot was my best friend, my only friend, one that I knew I’d never move away from, and now he’s gone forever.
We cut our Florida trip shorter than usual. I think dad felt terrible about Spot and wanted to get us home as soon as possible so he could get me a new dog; I loved Spot. He might not have been well behaved, but he was playful and listened to me. None of the kids in my new school like to talk to me, but I don’t want to talk to them. I’m sure we’ll move soon, anyway.
One night, I dreamed about the hunting trip. I could see him laying there with the bullet wound. His blood was pouring out of the hole made in his chest, a gap that was a perfect shot for his heart. Too perfect to be an accident.
After dad shot Spot, we went back and cleaned him like we did deer. We cut him open as I watched his blood and guts pour out of him. Dad took his heart and squeezed it until it popped. I woke up with tears running down my face.
Days started to get strange. I would lose minutes or sometimes hours of my day. One night, I walked from the living room to my bedroom, and when I blinked, I was sitting on the toilet. I didn’t know how I got there or when I got up to use the bathroom, but it scared me.
Not as much as that night.
I was sitting in my room reading a new book I got for Christmas. I could feel myself getting tired, so I decided to close my book and get ready for bed. I remember the next thing I’m standing in front of Angie, my older sister, and she’s looking at me with this horrified look on her face and breathing heavily. I have never seen her look so scared of me. Why was she scared of me?
“What am I doing?” I looked at the floor, and there was a gun there.
“Charlie, go upstairs and get the girls.”
“Where are you going? Are you leaving me? Angie, please don’t leave me.”
“I’m not leaving you, Charlie. I love you so much. Get the girls and come back downstairs. We need to get help.”
“Please don’t leave me, Angie.”
“I’m not leaving you. I love you, Charlie.”
I was almost to the top of the steps when I heard the front door swing open. When I turned around, Angie wasn’t there anymore. I ran down the stairs and looked outside, and saw her running to our neighbor, Sandi’s house. When I got to the door, Angie was going to another neighbor’s house, so I knocked, and Sandi opened the door.
“Hey, Charlie, what’s going on?”
“Sandi, I just shot my mom and dad.”
Please keep in mind, this backstory is completely fictional. Details about Charlie Brandt’s childhood are public knowledge but his motives and medical history are inconclusive on what actually made him do what he did. Further research should be done to see if Charlie showed signs of having Dissaciative Identity Disorder (DID) formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). While no professionals have concluded this may be the case, the triggers in Charlie’s life present the possibility that he may have suffered from DID due to trauma’s in his childhood.
So did Charlie Brandt snap in 2004 when he stabbed his wife Teri 7 times, and decapitated his niece, setting her head next to her body while he took out her heart before hanging himself with a bed sheet? Or has he been killing since he shot his dad and shot and killed his pregnant mother on January 3rd, 1971?
Something tells me, there were more.
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