This is a murder mystery novel.
Siobhan said that I should write something I would want to read myself. Mostly I read books about science and maths. I do not like proper novels...
But I do like murder mystery novels. So I am writing a murder mystery novel.
In a murder mystery novel someone has to work out who the murderer is and then catch them. It is a puzzle. If it is a good puzzle you can sometimes work out the answer before the end of the book.
Siobhan said that the book should begin with something to grab people’s attention. That is why I started with the dog.
The word metaphor means carrying something from one place to another... and it is when you describe something by using a word for something that it isn’t...
I think it should be called a lie because a pig is not like a day and people do not have skeletons in their cupboards. And when I try and make a picture of the phrase in my head it just confuses me because imagining an apple in someone’s eye doesn’t have anything to do with liking someone a lot and it makes you forget what the person was talking about.
A lie is when you say something happened which didn’t happen. But there is only ever one thing which happened at a particular time and a particular place. And there are an infinite number of things which didn’t happen at that time and that place. And if I think about something which didn’t happen I start thinking about all the other things which didn’t happen.
It takes me a long time to get used to people I do not know. For example, when there is a new member of staff at school I do not talk to them for weeks and weeks. I just watch them until I know that they are safe. Then I ask them questions about themselves, like whether they have pets and what is their favorite color and what do they know about the Apollo space missions and I get them to draw a plan of their house and I ask them what kind of car they drive, so I get to know them...
So talking to the other people in our street was brave. But if you are going to do detective work you have to be brave, so I had no choice.
Mr. Shears used to be married to Mrs. Shears and they lived together until two years ago. Then Mr. Shears left and didn’t come back. This was why Mrs. Shears came over and did lots of cooking for us after Mother died, because she didn’t have to cook for Mr. Shears anymore and she didn’t have to stay at home and be his wife. And also Father said that she needed company and didn’t want to be on her own.
And sometimes Mrs. Shears stayed overnight at our house...
And Mrs. Alexander said, “Your mother, before she died, was very good friends with Mr. Shears.”
And I said, “I know.”
And she said, “No, Christopher, I’m not sure that you do. I mean that they were very good friends. Very, very good friends.”
I thought about this for a while and said, “Do you mean that they were doing sex?”
And Mrs. Alexander said, “Yes, Christopher. That is what I mean.”
I also like The Hound of the Baskervilles because I like Sherlock Holmes and I think that if I were a proper detective he is the kind of detective I would be. He is very intelligent and he solves the mystery and he says
The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.
But he notices them, like I do. Also it says in the book
Sherlock Holmes had, in a very remarkable degree, the power of detaching his mind at will.
And this is like me, too, because if I get really interested in something... I don’t notice anything else...
Also Sherlock Holmes doesn’t believe in the supernatural, which is God and fairy tales and Hounds of Hell and curses, which are stupid things.
But I don’t feel sad about it. Because Mother is dead. And because Mr. Shears isn’t around any more. So I would be feeling sad about something that isn’t real and doesn’t exist. And that would be stupid.
Mrs. Forbes said that hating yellow and brown is just being silly. And Siobhan said that she shouldn’t say things like that and everyone has favorite colors. And Siobhan was right. But Mrs. Forbes was a bit right, too. Because it is sort of being silly. But in life you have to take lots of decisions and if you don’t take decisions you would never do anything because you would spend all your time choosing between things you could do. So it is good to have a reason why you hate some things and you like others. It is like being in a restaurant... and you look at the menu and you have to choose what you are going to have... so you have favorite foods and you choose these, and you have foods you don’t like and you don’t choose these, and then it is simple.
And Father said, “Christopher, do you understand that I love you?”
And I said “Yes,” because loving someone is helping them when they get into trouble, and looking after them, and telling them the truth, and Father looks after me when I get into trouble, like coming to the police station, and he looks after me by cooking meals for me, and he always tells the truth, which means that he loves me.
And I couldn’t walk properly for a month, do you remember, and your father had to look after you. And I remember looking at the two of you and seeing you together and thinking how you were really different with him. Much calmer. And you didn’t shout at one another. And it made me so sad because it was like you didn’t really need me at all.
Mother had not had a heart attack. Mother had not died. Mother had been alive all the time. And Father had lied about this.
I tried really hard to think if there was any other explanation but I couldn’t think of one. And then I couldn’t think of anything at all because my brain wasn’t working properly.
I felt giddy. It was like the room was swinging from side to side, as if it was at the top of a really tall building and the building was swinging backward and forward in a strong wind (this is a simile, too). But I knew that the room couldn’t be swinging backward and forward, so it must have been something which was happening inside my head.
I rolled onto the bed and curled up in a ball.
My stomach hurt.
And this is why people’s brains are like computers. And it’s not because they are special but because they have to keep turning off for fractions of a second while the screen changes. And because there is something they can’t see people think it has to be special, because people always think there is something special about what they can’t see...
Also people think they’re not computers because they have feelings and computers don’t have feelings. But feelings are just having a picture on the screen in your head of what is going to happen tomorrow or next year, or what might have happened instead of what did happen, and if it is a happy picture they smile and if it is a sad picture they cry.
I want you to know that you can trust me. And... OK, maybe I don’t tell the truth all the time. God knows, I try, Christopher, God knows I do, but... Life is difficult, you know. It’s bloody hard telling the truth all the time. Sometimes it’s impossible. And I want you to know that I’m trying, I really am. And perhaps this is not a very good time to say this, and I know you’re not going to like it, but... You have to know that I am going to tell you the truth from now on. About everything. Because... if you don’t tell the truth now, then later on... later on it hurts even more. So.... I killed Wellington, Christopher.
I had to get out of the house. Father had murdered Wellington. That meant he could murder me, because I couldn’t trust him, even though he had said “Trust me,” because he had told a lie about a big thing.
People say that Orion is called Orion because Orion was a hunter and the constellation looks like a hunter with a club and a bow and arrow...
But this is really silly because it is just stars, and you could join up the dots in any way you wanted, and you could make it look like a lady with an umbrella who is waving, or the coffeemaker which Mrs. Shears has, which is from Italy, with a handle and steam coming out, or like a dinosaur...
And anyway, Orion is not a hunter or a coffeemaker or a dinosaur. It is just Betelgeuse and Bellatrix and Alnilam and Rigel and 17 other stars I don’t know the names of. And they are nuclear explosions billions of miles away.
And that is the truth.
I see everything.
That is why I don’t like new places. If I am in a place I know, like home, or school, or the bus, or the shop, or the street, I have seen almost everything in it beforehand and all I have to do is to look at the things that have changed or moved...
But most people are lazy. They never look at everything. They do what is called glancing, which is the same word for bumping off something and carrying on in almost the same direction... And the information in their head is really simple...
Because time is not like space. And when you put something down somewhere, like a protractor or a biscuit, you can have a map in your head to tell you where you have left it, but even if you don’t have a map it will still be there because a map is a representation of things that actually exist so you can find the protractor or the biscuit again. And a timetable is a map of time, except that if you don’t have a timetable time is not there like the landing and the garden and the route to school. Because time is only the relationship between the way different things change, like the earth going round the sun and atoms vibrating and clocks ticking and day and night and waking up and going to sleep...
And Siobhan says people go on holidays to see new things and relax, but it wouldn’t make me relaxed and you can see new things by looking at earth under a microscope or drawing the shape of the solid made when 3 circular rods of equal thickness intersect at right angles. And I think that there are so many things just in one house that it would take years to think about all of them properly. And, also, a thing is interesting because of thinking about it and not because of being new.
And then I saw Toby, and he was also in the lower-down bit where the rails were.... So I climbed down off the concrete...
...And then I heard the roaring and I lifted Toby up and grabbed him with both hands and he bit me on my thumb and there was blood coming out and I shouted and Toby tried to jump out of my hands.
And then the roaring got louder and I turned round and I saw the train coming out of the tunnel and I was going to be run over and killed so I tried to climb up onto the concrete but it was high and I was holding Toby in both my hands.
And then she made a loud wailing noise like an animal on a nature program on television.
And I didn’t like her doing this because it was a loud noise, and I said, “Why are you doing that?”
And she didn’t say anything for a while, and then she said, “Oh, Christopher, I’m so sorry.”
And I said, “It’s not your fault.”
And then she said, “Bastard. The bastard.”
And then, after a while, she said, “Christopher, let me hold your hand. Just for once. Just for me. Will you? I won’t hold it hard,” and she held out her hand.
And I said, “I don’t like people holding my hand.”
And Mother shouted, “What in God’s name did you think you were playing at, saying those things to him?”
And Father shouted, “What was I playing at? You were the one that bloody left.”
And Mother shouted, “So you decided to just wipe me out of his life altogether?... I wrote to him every week. Every week.”
And Father shouted, “Wrote to him? What the fuck use is writing to him?... I cooked his meals. I cleaned his clothes. I looked after him every weekend. I looked after him when he was ill. I took him to the doctor. I worried myself sick every time he wandered off somewhere at night. I went to school every time he got in a fight. And you? What? You wrote him some fucking letters.”
And Mother shouted, “So you thought it was OK to tell him his mother was dead?”
And in the dream nearly everyone on the earth is dead, because they have caught a virus.... And people catch it because of the meaning of something an infected person says and the meaning of what they do with their faces when they say it...
And eventually there is no one left in the world except people who don’t look at other people’s faces... and these people are all special people like me. And they like being on their own and I hardly ever see them...
And I can go anywhere in the world and I know that no one is going to talk to me or touch me or ask me a question. But if I don’t want to go anywhere I don’t have to, and I can stay at home and eat broccoli and oranges and licorice laces all the time...
...Father said, “Christopher, look... You have to learn to trust me... And I don’t care how long it takes... Because this is important. This is more important than anything else... Let’s call it a project....You have to spend more time with me. And I... I have to show you that you can trust me... And, um... I’ve got you a present. To show you that I really mean what I say. And to say sorry. And because... well, you’ll see what I mean.”
Then he got out of the armchair and he walked over to the kitchen door and opened it and there was a big cardboard box on the floor... and he took a little sandy-colored dog out.
Then he came back through and gave me the dog...
Then Father said, “Christopher, I would never, ever do anything to hurt you.”
And then, when I’ve done that, I am going to go to university in another town... And I can live in a flat with a garden and a proper toilet. And I can take Sandy and my books and my computer.
And then I will get a First Class Honors degree and I will become a scientist.
And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.