Hunter is a nickname for Brandon. My middle name is Andrew, which is Swedish for Brandon. And Pence is English for Brandon. So my actual name is Brandon Brandon Brandon.
You also probably didn’t know that “Tim Lincecum’’ is Dutch for Brandon.
Buster is a nickname for Brandon. Pablo is Spanish for Brandon. Pagan is Puerto Rican for Brandon. Madison is Southern for Brandon. “Bumgarner’’ is — I have no idea what that is. I think it’s Arabic for Brandon.
Pretty much everyone is Brandon. We’re Team Brandon.
Mr Lane was our Math teacher in high
school. He didn’t stand out in any way, and his lessons weren’t particularly
interesting. He was just always there. Always there in his usual button-down
shirt and pants, earnest in his hope to interest us in algebra and isosceles
triangles and whatnot. Seldom was he successful though.
we all knew he was a kind man. Mel went to him when she found out, at fifteen,
that she was pregnant. She didn’t want to have an abortion, so he helped to
arrange for the baby to be put up for adoption after it was born. He helped out
Brandon when his deadbeat dad just upped and left him without a word, letting
him stay at his place for a while until the county found him foster parents in
what we knew of him, he was unmarried and had no family to speak of—his parents
were dead and the one sibling he had, a brother, had moved to Canada years ago
and not bothered to stay in contact.
had a dog though, and the day it died was the only day any of us could ever
recall him calling in sick. That was just the sort of man he was.
imagine our surprise when the police arrested Mr Lane in our final year.
Apparently it was only us kids who had no idea that was coming. Suspicion among
the adults had been mounting for some time, especially after the disappearance
of Evelyn, the fifth kid in two years to go missing without any explanation,
and without eventually being found. They were all from our school, but in
one thing they all had in common? They had Mr Lane as their Math teacher.
interrogated, he confessed. He brought them to the wooded area near the school
where four bodies were found buried. For some reason or another, he refused to
reveal where Evelyn’s body was hidden, though he admitted to killing her.
the same, the prosecution had more than enough evidence to proceed to trial. It
made the news, of course, but it wasn’t really considered sensational enough to
be featured on the front page. There were no lurid details to be savoured by
the public, much to their annoyance. The voices in his head had told him to do
it, he said. He was sentenced to a hundred and twenty years without any
possibility of parole.
so done, the convicted murderer faded from the public consciousness. Evelyn’s
body was never found, and Mr Lane died in prison barely a year into his
imprisonment, beaten to a pulp by a fellow inmate whose niece had been one of
some things just refuse to stay buried in the past. Around a decade after the
death of Mr Lane, teens started disappearing again, but at a brisker pace. “Ten
Gone in Two Months!” the headlines of the local paper screamed. Even the
national newspapers took an interest this time, for there were dark whisperings
of how evil never really dies; old Mrs Graham in fact swore she saw the spectre
of the long-dead teacher-turned-murderer—in the very same woods where he had
previously hidden the evidence of his crimes.
hard-nosed detectives at the police department weren’t as inclined to believe
that the missing persons were being spirited away by a—well, spirit—though, and
they investigated every case thoroughly and tirelessly, and soon enough they
got a lucky break.
one evening, a state trooper pulled a car over for a busted tail light. He was
just about to let off the driver with a warning when the tiniest cry could be
heard wafting from the boot. The driver must have heard it too, for he floored
it immediately, hurling the officer to the side. The ensuing high-speed chase
involved at least five patrol cars and a helicopter, and it wasn’t long before
the suspect was apprehended.
Name of suspect? Brandon Hicks. The
very same Brandon taken in by Mr Lane after his dad had abandoned him. In the
boot of his car the police found his latest victim, Brenna Taylor, thankfully
still alive. When pressed on his victim count, he proudly declared: Sixteen.
in the recent two months, not counting Ms Taylor. One of them had not been reported
as a missing persons case due to her history of running away from home.
And five more from a decade
ago. Including Evelyn, whose body was never found.
police was sceptical at first, seeing it as a deliberate ploy to throw them off
balance. But when they found the skeleton of Evelyn Burrows in a remote spot at
the local quarry—just as Brandon said they would—they began to sit up and take
truth shook the town to the core. Ten years back, Mr Lane confronted his young
charge after he had found one of Brandon’s shirts, bloodied and muddied. The
youth broke down and confessed, and begged his teacher not to give him up to
the police. For some reason, he agreed. And when things came to a head and he
was arrested, something in him made him decide to be the willing scapegoat for
townsfolk all shook their heads in disbelief at the revelation. No one could
understand why Mr Lane would do anything like that. Brandon himself offered no
Hicks eventually was shut away for a long, long time. And after a while, the
whole incident faded from memory, an ugly stain on an otherwise clean history
the town was eager to forget.
I still think about it sometimes. The man who had never called in sick his
entire life doing so for the first time when his dog died. The one living thing
he had as a friend.
think Mr Lane was a lonely man. A very lonely man.