Chapter 3:

Guilt and Regret

Pizza College

You know, before all this went down, I actually used to daydream about killing people fairly often. Do people usually do that? Not like… people I knew, or anything. Only classmates. I just wonder whether or not that makes me some kind of monster. Right now, it doesn’t seem to matter one way or another. I feel like… no matter what led to this moment, that baby still would’ve died.

It shouldn’t be my fault. It’s not my fault. How was I supposed to know? Is there any possible timeline where I would’ve? I didn’t have anyone to let me know the machines worked like that. I never had any friends here. So what is this a punishment for? For being stupid? For being unpopular? What kind of world do I live in?

I couldn’t have avoided this because I didn’t know. That’s the bottom line. There’s no way I could’ve known. It’s bullshit, plain and simple.

But even so… there’s no avoiding the guilt of knowing somebody’s kid’s dead cause of me.


Isn’t that punishment enough?

I awaken to my mother covering her face, sobbing into her hands. 

No. Not her. Why? This feels like a nightmare. I don’t know how long I was out for or how they got her here. All that’s obvious is that they’re trying to psychologically break me.

“He wouldn’t do this… he’s a good boy…”

She’s clearly trying to defend me, but Headmaster Mikalas just pats her on the back like they’re on the same side. The understanding look on his face drives me mad. If it was him in the oven, I wouldn’t feel even the tiniest bit of the guilt I do now. Not after what he’s putting me through now. People like that don’t deserve to live in the first place.

“Oh, awake, are you?”

“You sick bastard… I’m gonna kill you…”

Mom sobs again. He gently rubs her shoulder in response.

“Your mother and I are already well aware of your psychotic tendencies. You don’t need to spell it out for us.”

I try to bang on the arm of my chair only to realize my limbs are strapped to it. The best I can do is wobble furiously as the two cops breathe down my neck and hold the seat down to keep it from falling.

“SHUT UP!” I cry out, but thinking about my image anymore after what he’s already done. “YOU WON’T PIT MY OWN MOTHER AGAINST ME, YOU CREEP!”

“The only thing with or against any of us here is the law. And I think it’s in your best interest that those laws stay within the scope of the school board, and not the state. Do you want a life in prison, Timothy?”

I bite my tongue until it bleeds. I’ve never felt so helpless in all my life.

“Now… Ms. Gainsborough, if you can… would you please tell us a bit about your son? We’d like a clearer picture.”

She wails. I finally see her tightly-sealed eyelids behind her hands as she drops them down to her shaking knees in the chair.

“He’s good… I swear he’s good!”

“How was I supposed to know…” I stack on to her efforts, just trying to get my side out before he ruins everything a second time. Of course, it’s already too late.

“Don’t you dare interrupt your mother, young man. Please continue, miss.”

“What am I supposed to say… he’d… he’d never do something like this…”

“I’m very, very sorry… but the fact of the matter is that he has. I only ask if there were… perhaps, any signs that might’ve predicted this, perhaps… strange things he did as a child, or any mental illnesses we should know about… understand that, by supplying us with this information, you’re only helping your child, ma’am. Just as we want to.”


“Would you be QUIET ALREADY?” He finally snaps at me. “Your mother is in ENOUGH stress ALREADY!” Composing himself, he sits back down after jumping up just to scream at me, straightens his tie, and only then exhales deeply with his disgusting pizza breath.

Mom cries louder, and with the sound steadily expanding, so too does my will to kill this man grow stronger.

So tell him, mom…” I concede, gritting my canines. “Tell him the truth… show him he’s fulla shit…”

She still can’t look at me. She’s so terrified of the reality we’ve found ourselves in that her eyes must be glued shut in fear. Right now, she’s in even more pain than I am. And she deserves this even less. But as the tide of her tears finally retreats for a brief moment, she at least manages to open her quivering lips.

“He… Tim was always just a little different.”

I freeze.


This can’t be happening.

“Yes, ma’am. We understand. Please speak up now.” 

“He… just didn’t understand certain things…”




“He’s a good boy. He is. He just needs… guidance.”

I writhe in my restraints. I struggle so hard that the chair almost falls over backwards. As the oinking brutes behind my ass hold me back, their force holds the seat in place. This only serves to compel me as I stomp and shake my legs so hard that I feel the left one start to come loose.

“Don’t you dare! Let the lady speak!” The Dean of Pizza shouts at my face. It takes every fiber of my body not to keep fighting. I tell myself it’s for the best if I just wait it out. Just wait for a better moment. Wait to free your leg. Wait to escape. Wait for mom to explain why you’d really never, ever do this. Wait for mom to come back to my side. That’s what she’s planning, right? Yeah. This is just a ruse. She’s just giving him what he wants.

I’ve already stopped, but nobody says anything for a few seconds. Except for mom, they all stare me down like I’ve committed another crime already. Like this situation isn’t so crazy already. Like I’m the insane one for trying to fight back, and not them for putting us all here in the first place.

So how exactly is this my fault?

That’s what I keep coming back to.

How can you be expected to act on information you don’t know? How can you be punished for something you’d only be able to fix if you had more information to begin with?

Is my negligence alone so evil?

Some days, when mom had to work, I’d stay at my grandparents.

Well, they weren’t just my grandparents- at least on my mom’s side, those had split long ago, and we didn’t talk to them. But my great-grandparents- they were together. And they were nice, if not a little… well, Y’know. Old. They were really old.

So one night, after a long day of looking through and organizing their office supplies- I must’ve been around ten or eleven years old- my great grandma put me to bed. She’d always be the one to do that, because Grandpa was out doing something every night.

I slept like an angel, and when I woke up, my mom came and got me pretty quickly. All things considered, it was probably one of the best nights I ever spent there.

But right before I left, I saw Grandma give Gramps this weird look. I didn’t know what it meant then.

It was a full year later or so when Mom told me what had happened.

“Grandpa left the car on in the garage. If the door to the garage hadn’t been as tight as it was, the carbon monoxide probably would’ve killed you and Grandma overnight. I don’t like thinking about it.”

Mom always said I didn’t take after Grandpa, and that I wouldn’t end up like him. Looking at her now, I bet she thinks she was wrong.

She finally opens her eyes for just a second to see me staring at her, and then she bawls again.

“I- can’t do it! I won’t let you hurt my baby!”

I literally see Mikalas slam his fist into his knee and grit his teeth. The bastard really saw my mom as the ace up his sleeve in ruining my life.

“I’m not a murderer.” I manage to compose myself again, stating the obvious.

“He’s not a mu- mur- murderer-! My mom echoes. the Headmaster is at a loss, but only for a second.

“You have to do what’s right, Miss Gainsbourgh. You know what to do.”

I don’t like how he talks to her.

“If your heart is telling you not to tell the truth about your son, that’s natural.”

I don’t like how he lies to everyone.

“But for the sake of the law, you have to tell us- has your son ever shown any history of violent or psychologically abnormal behaviour?”

I hate his fucking guts.

Mom still just cries. Can’t tell if she’s even listening.

“Speak up, now.”

But apparently, she is.

“He… he…”

Now I hear it. Her sounds aren’t just sobs, but quiet, hushed words.

“Speak up.”

Or… perhaps not. No. Just crying. She’s too emotional to even defend me anymore.


I almost jump at him right then and there for yelling at my own mother, but stop as soon as I hear her let out a full, coherent sentence.

“H-He’s never been normal. Tim, he- he’s been like this since the start.”

My face falls into a portrait of despair.

“Well that just about does it, doesn’t it?”

He looks at me like a smug poker champ who just won my life’s savings without me agreeing to the bet.

I explode up to the ground on my single foot, immediately blasting out the door with an entire chair still strapped to three of my skinny limbs, running as fast as I can to get the hell out of here.

“GET THAT MURDERER!” Mikalas orders, and the pigs rush after me in pursuit.