The boy was lost in boy things while his mother talked with her friend. On the way to the park, he was already upset about stopping. The boy walked away from his mother. “Stay where you are!” she called out, and he did. A man with a nice smile was coming down the street, but he stumbled a little, and the facade the man was wearing dropped away for an instant. The boy noticed it though, and he saw the man as he truly was in that brief flash. he ran screaming for his mother, unable to tell her what got to him so. Among the pulsing sobs and wracked breaths, the “there there”s and pats on the back, the boys’ mind went to a very dark place, for just a little bit too long. No one noticed the man, facade back in place, walk away.
Aliah Mode went silent for two years. His mother, Babs, had taken him to doctors and shrinks, play therapy, music therapy, grandparent therapy and everything she could think of for him. Nothing worked. Her therapy, for she took blame upon herself for whatever happened to Aliah that day, in the form of very expensive high alcoholic content.
Elliot Mode, loving then ex-husband, helped drive that blame onto her and won custody of Aliah over her drinking. Aliah was six years and three months old when he and his father left New York and went to live on the West Coast. New job, new house, new life, ex-wife, and Eliot thought this was solve all of his son’s problems.
He was partially right, but very, very wrong in the end. Living in the midst of Manhattan, there was so much negative kinetic energy floating around that it kept Aliah in check. Quiet, but in check. Out in a private house, separated and less dense in population, a back yard to be alone in, trees fencing them in, Aliah began to come into his own.
Aliah still did not speak for another year, not even when he was told that his mother had died. He knew she had killed herself, he heard his father on the phone, but the news was so removed. He was almost seven at this point, and he understood what taking too many pills and too much vodka meant. TV was a source of information, and since it was his main babysitter and teacher, he learned a lot.
He did not start out killing small animals, as the experts would later profile. Ali (which is what he preferred, at nine) went a different way. Brake hoses were disconnected. Electrical house systems were rewired to overload with one turning on the bathroom light. Holes were dug in the park on jogger paths, broken glass was laid out on the bottom, and the camouflage concealed it perfectly. For four years, people were hurt, maimed, and eventually tortured and killed, and the police could not find a clue. Ali learned to keep his facade on. His silence served him well.
At thirteen, puberty hit Ali hard. He discovered girls.
(to be continued)