I grew up in Westlake, Ohio, and graduated from Westlake Highschool last month, the day before my 18th birthday. I'm writing this letter to try and explain what really happened over the weekend, because the news has almost all of it wrong. I don't expect you to understand or agree with what I did, but I would like you to at least hear an explanation directly from me.
First, I need to tell you a little bit about my history with Sara Maarten. Sara and I were friends since the third grade, when she and her parents moved to Cleveland from The Netherlands. She spoke perfect English, but her Dutch accent made some of the kids, especially other girls, laugh at her. I loved it. She and I were friends almost from the first time we met. We lived just a few blocks apart, so I saw her all the time on weekends and during the summer. Lucky for us, my parents got along very well with hers, and they would hang out and play cards sometimes while Sara and I played in the yard and eventually fell asleep together on the couch watching television. We started spending the night at eachother's houses in 5th grade.
In 6th grade we had our first kiss. I'll never forget it, mostly because it was so embarassing. We were watching a movie, and she had her head on a pillow in my lap like she always did. The actors were kissing, and suddenly she just sat up and kissed me right on the lips. She backed off, smiled, then came in for another one. I lurched forward at just the wrong minute, and our top teeth hit, making both of us say "OW!" at exactly the same time. It was weird, and funny, and embarassing. We laughed about it for a few mintues, then finished the movie. Our next few visits were a little awkward, probably because both of us were trying to figure out if anything else was going to happen. But it didn't, and eventually we settled back in to our old routine like nothing had ever happened. I loved her, and thought she was beautiful. But she was more like my sister than anything else. Our first kiss was our last, if you don't count that time in the photobooth when she and Becky sat on my lap and kissed me on the cheeks while I grinned like a fool idiot for the camera.
She started dating in 8th grade. I think her first 'boyfriend' was Micah Samuels - which was kind of a surprise to me, since I had never seen them talk or hang out together before that summer. They went to a few movies together, made out all the time, and were completely inseperable for about 6 weeks. She gave him a blowjob on the last day of summer, and told me all about it on the phone afterwards, which was awkward to say the least. It must not have been very good for either of them, because I don't think they spoke to eachother ever again after the first day of 9th grade. She never talked about him again.
She dated occaisionally for the two years, but nothing lasted very long. I'd go without seeing her much for a month or two, then she'd break up with the guy and we would drop right back into our old weekend routine like nothing ever happened.
She met James Holloran at the beginning of junior year, and he was all she talked about for months. James' family moved to Cleveland from Midland, Texas that summer. He was tall and narrow at the time, and his thick southern accent made her melt. She finally got her shot at him that November, at a party in Linndale. After that I almost never saw her outside of school. We still talked on the phone about once a week, but by January I was dating a girl from Lakewood, and so we gradually lost track of eachother.
I liked James well enough. He was tough, but not an asshole - even though a lot of his friends were. He played football junior and senior year, and by the beginning of this year he had gained about 20 pounds of muscle and was the fastest and strongest white guy in school. Last fall he made alternate on the all-state football team on offense and defense, which was pretty cool. He and Sara were both beautiful, and almost everybody liked them. He was nice to me, and didn't seem to mind when Sara insisted that I give her piggyback rides in the parkling lot outside school. It took me a while to fully warm up to him, since he was dating my best friend, but I honestly managed it. I was happy for them both. Sara looked spectacular at prom, and I even got to dance with her while James was talking to his friends. She smelled like champagne.
The Monday after prom, everything changed. I got a text on my way to school that morning: "OMFG did you hear about Sara?" As soon as I saw that message on the screen my stomach clenched, and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I turned around and drove to her house. There was a police car in the driveway. I jumped out and ran to the door, which was open. Sara's mom was standing in the doorway, talking to one of thier neighbors.
I knew what happened even before they told me. Sara was dead. She had overdosed on Sunday afternoon.
I spent five hours at thier house, crying with her mother and talking to her dad. There was no advance warning. No signs of trouble until early Saturday afternoon, when Sara came home from prom. She was wearing dark sunglasses, and didn't speak to her parents before going up to her room and locking the door. Her mom knocked, but Sara said she needed to sleep and asked to be left alone. The next time they saw her she was dead. Her suicide note, which I never saw, apparently said she loved her parents and her friends, but didn't give a reason for what she did.
James was at the funeral. I stood right next to him. He said he couldn't talk about it. I believed him.
Graduation was fucking terrible. We had to show up to officially graduate, so most of us were there. The whole thing should have been cancelled, but the principal and the school board thought it would be best to go ahead. There was a "tribute" to Sara's memory, which was ridiculous and contrived. Once it was finally over everyone just left. No cheering, hat throwing, or anything like that.
The next day I got an anonymous text with a link to Sendspace, a password. I would have ignored it, except that the subject line said "Sara". I logged on and downloaded a 210Mb movie file. The second I opened the movie I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life in prison. And I was OK with that.
There on the screen was Sara, passed out in a bathtub, wearing a t-shirt but otherwise naked. Mascara and lipstick were streaked across her face. She was passed out. There were lots of cans and bottles in the tub, but otherwise she was fully exposed. Her crotch was swollen, and there were bruises and bright red handprints on her legs, her stomach, her breasts, and her face.
The person with the camera walked out of the bathroom for a moment to film the scene in the other room. I saw James passed out in the corner, still wearing his tux. A few of his friends were running around the room, turning over furniture, pulling down the curtains. I saw one of them pissing in the corner. Another one was running around with a bottle of hairspray and a lighter, playing Flamethrower. Most were boys, but there were a few girls in the mix. Four people were fucking on the bed, and two more on the floor.
I pulled out a piece of paper and started writing down names.
The cameraman returned to the bathroom and sat on the edge of the tub. He zoomed into her crotch. He picked up a glass beer bottle and twisted it into her asshole. I could see the flesh and muscle resisting, but the guy kept pushing the bottle until the entire neck disappeared inside her. He thrust the bottle inside her 40 or 50 times, as fast as he could, forcing it in as deep as it could possibly go. Her body never moved. When he was finished he pulled the bottle out and held it close to the camera, rotating it slowly so the viewer could see all the mucous and small flecks of blood that coated the neck.
Throwing the bottle aside, he refocused on someone new entering the bathroom. The camera never made it above his waist, so I couldn't see who it was. He stepped into the tub, straddling her. Then the shorts and underwear came off. He masturbated while rubbing his cock on her face. After a minute or so he reached down and pulled apart her lips, stuffed the head of his penis in her mouth, and shot into her mouth. She never moved.
The cameraman got out of the tub and went back into the hotel room. He walked to the corner where James was laying, and producing the beer bottle that he had used to rape Sara, started rubbing it on his face. James was fully dressed and obviously unconcious. The cameraman forced the neck of the bottle into his mouth several times. I could hear it scraping against his teeth as it slid in and out. He left it there and returned to the bathroom. On the way he caught several more faces of people I knew.
Back in the bathroom he sat the camera down on the edge of the tub, climbed in, and stood above her head. A second later I saw why. He soaked her hair with a hot foamy stream of urine, then aimed for her eyes and mouth. When he was done, stepped out and picked up the camera. For a split second I saw his face.
I knew what to do. It took me four days to plan.
I showed Sara's senior picture to Damian, then shot him in the face. I stabbed and strangled Jun behind the grocery store where he worked. I killed Mike Halpern with a knife from his own kitchen while he was playing Xbox. I found Mike Moore sleeping in the sun in his back yard, and beat his skull in with a sledgehammer. He never moved. I followed Cathy Francis to the mall and then shot her in the stomach as she was getting out of her car.
I went to Scott's house and found him watching an Indians game on TV. I cut his throat from behind with a boxcutter. I killed John and Amy with my grandfather's shotgun while they were coming out of Brock Johnson's house, then went inside and beat Brock to death with a golf club I found in his coat closet. Brock's mom was screaming and trying to stop me, but she is only 5 feet tall and not very strong. I pushed her out of the way and left.
By the time I got into my car the air was buzzing with ambulance and police sirens.
I found Micah at work. I shot him in the left knee, then held his face in my hands and watched the life pass out of him as I stabbed him over and over again in the stomach. His coworkers were screaming and trying to get out of the building. Once I was sure he was dead I laid my weapons aside, sat down about ten feet from the body, and waited for the police.
It had taken me six hours and ten minutes to kill the 10 of the 11 people I could identify from the video.
I leave James to sort out his conscience in his own.