My Family – Gabriel Henders

I’ve been dreading this post, but Xavier has told me it’s necessary, because some people just attract psychopaths and we don’t know why. I am a psychopath magnet. You’ve met my brother Raphael or if you haven’t, you should know he’s a serial killer in The Fortress and he has cannibalistic leanings. He’s also my twin. I’d like to say that Raphael and Aislinn are the only psychopaths in my life, but it’d be a lie. I married one. As a result, my son is a psychopath too, albeit high functioning. He isn’t a genius, but he’s smart, and he wants to be a lawyer, a job I think he’ll be very good at.

Being the spouse of a law enforcement officer is never easy. I thought Jessica would be good at it. Her grandfather had spent time as an assistant director of the FBI under Hoover. And her father was a regional director for the Southwest who eventually also became an assistant director. But I failed to realize she was a psychopath and therefore, not cut out to be the wife of a man who travelled a lot for work.

We met as children. My father was a Texas Ranger. Her father was FBI and ran an office out of Houston, where my father also worked as a Ranger. FGNs weren’t a thing yet, but we lived in a nice neighborhood with a small park and lots of police officers from different branches. At one point in our teens, we were forbidden to speak to each other, because if you think the US Marshals and FBI have a long history of not getting along, you’ve never seen the Texas Rangers and the FBI butt heads. Forbidding it, just made us want to see each other more. I didn’t know she had been in love with Raphael and still was. After high school, we both went to college. Then we both joined the FBI. We married and had a daughter, Cecilia, two years later and my wife quit the FBI. That began the descent into madness or whatever it is that’s wrong with her.

Our daughter is mentally challenged. She’s almost twenty and will always be seven or eight mentally. Unlike most mothers, she didn’t blame herself, she blamed me. It was my fault our daughter wasn’t normal and those were her exact words. She was angry that she would have to take care of her for the rest of her life. I knew that and yet, I stayed married to her because I thought it would pass and she’d eventually love our daughter as I did. I was wrong. When our daughter was five, I was away on a case and got a call from a hospital, my daughter had wandered in there on her own, bleeding from a head wound without an adult. I tried to get home, and the FBI basically told me that’s what wives were for. But I couldn’t get in touch with my wife. I finally called my parents. They lived twenty minutes from us outside Houston. They found my wife unconscious and bleeding in the kitchen. And claimed she had no memory of what had happened.

Eventually she said she kind of remembered three men breaking in to the house and beating her up. She didn’t know how our daughter got injured. A rape kit came back positive for semen and it wasn’t mine. There were also no hits in CODIS. I was finally given leave to return home despite being on a case in California tracking down a gang member wanted for kidnapping.
My father, forever the Texas Ranger, had taken pictures of the scene and they took my daughter and toddler son, Elias, in for a few days while my wife recovered. She had a concussion and other injuries. But other than the concussion everything seemed superficial. My father recommended I leave her, he had some serious suspicions about the “crime” and “crime scene.”
At five, my daughter was in speech therapy and wasn’t good at communicating, but the therapists she spoke to didn’t get the impression mommy hurt her. She said mommy’s friend hurt her. Who mommy’s friend was though remained a mystery. She needed seven stitches to her head. Luckily, no skull fracture, but she had a big knot on her head for over a week. And Jessica totally stuck to her story of people breaking in to the house. However, my dad didn’t notice signs of forced entry or a struggle. But you don’t intensely scrutinize the daughter of the Assistant Director of the FBI for child abuse. And nothing had happened to our son, who was a year old at the time. I eventually got a DNA to prove to myself that he was my son.

It happened four more times; people broke in, knocked out my wife, beat up my daughter, and then fled without stealing anything or even making a mess. Oddly, our son was never touched. By then, even I thought it was some kind of ploy and that Jessica was either orchestrating it or doing it to herself. By the time our son was five, we sort of knew he wasn’t normal either. He was cold, distant, and the only person he seemed to care about was his sister. Physically she was three years older than him, but he acted like her big brother. I was transferred to Arizona that year. And I think Jessica understood that if she hurt our daughter at that point, our son would turn on her.

Which brings me to the night my wife shot me. I got a call from the local police in Phoenix, Arizona that my son had been arrested. He was nine years old; the charge was sexual assault and molestation of a minor. I was on a case as per usual and rushed home, basically telling the FBI they could fire me if they didn’t like me leaving. I went straight to the police station, expecting my wife to be there. I’d been an hour away, so it wasn’t like it had taken me a day to get back. Jessica was not there, but our son was. The detective pulled me into a room, said he wanted to talk to me first because he was pretty sure I didn’t know what was going on. We lived in an FGN by then. I agreed that I was clueless.

Jessica had brought him in and said she caught him sexually molesting the neighbor girl. The detective talked to the neighbor girl and she didn’t seem to have a clue what the police were talking about, no one had touched her inappropriately and certainly not done what Jessica Henders said she had seen happen. My son wasn’t talking, at all. Jessica had literally turned our son in to the police and then just left him there. The detective found the entire thing strange. He had people talking to the girl’s parents, but they were clueless about the accusation too. He was of the opinion that nothing had happened and whatever Jessica thought she saw was something different and asked if my wife had a history of mental illness. Not that I knew of, was my answer. But the truth was, I’d decided she was a compulsive liar by then, but I couldn’t tell the detective that. Just like I couldn’t tell the detective I believed my wife had staged a series of break-ins to cover up accidental physical abuse against our daughter and my wife’s plethora of affairs.

Eventually, the police officers brought in the neighbor girl and her parents. They wanted to talk to me, personally. The neighbor was a profiler. He told me his daughter didn’t seem to have symptoms of sexual abuse by anyone, not even my son. According to Jessica’s statement there had been penile penetration, not a phrase you want to hear when talking about your nine-year-old son. To be sure, they were taking their daughter to have a rape kit done. But while they did that, he thought I ought to know that over the last couple of weeks, my wife had been acting erratically. She had come to him with the allegations that our son was abusing his daughter, but it hadn’t been more than inappropriate touching at that point and he hadn’t believed her the first time. She’d also dropped off our daughter with them to stay the night, their daughter was eight and then disappeared for seven hours. He and his wife had eventually gone over to check and our son was still at the house by himself.

I was allowed to leave with our son from the police station and I did. I took him home, I was going to go pick up our daughter and take them both to Texas to stay with my parents while I tried to figure out what the hell was going on with my family. Thankfully, Elias was walking behind me when I opened the front door. Jessica shot me three times before I’d even put my foot in the door. All of them gut shots. I lost thirty feet of intestines in the operation that followed. Jessica said she thought it was the gang that had been stalking us and breaking into our house for years and she was defending herself and her family. It would have worked if she hadn’t also been acting so strange regarding Elias. She was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and got herself committed to a mental hospital, by carving the name Ashtram on her stomach which she claimed was a powerful demon that was haunting her and trying to possess her children. Her parents took the kids while I recovered from my surgery. And then they kept them.

I was an FBI agent who was rarely home they argued and unfit to be a father, just look what I’d done to my wife. I wasn’t sure what I had done to Jessica, but the courts ruled against me and awarded them custody.

A year later, my fourteen year old daughter showed up at school covered in bruises. Elias told the principal that Cici had an accident at breakfast, knocking over a glass of milk and then when she got scared, because her grandmother had screamed at her, she wet her pants. Her grandmother had beat her for that. Elias had stepped in and stopped the beating, getting a few welts of his own.

By the end of the day, he’d been arrested and so had his grandmother. Elias hadn’t mentioned that when their grandmother had taken the belt to Cici for the fourth or fifth time, he’d stepped in and taken a few lashes and then he’d knocked the bitch out.

My parents used it to get custody of both Cecilia and Elias. Elias hasn’t ended up at a jail since and Cici has never arrived anywhere covered in bruises. My mom wasn’t a big fan of spankings even when I was a kid in the 1970s. As a grandmother, the idea is even more repugnant to her.

Cecilia goes to an adult enrichment facility four days a week where she interacts with others like her and where staff care for her, giving my mom a break. But Elias is still a good brother and he watches out for her as well.

Elias applied to colleges near me. My parents are both retired. And after Elias graduates high school next year, my parents and Cici are moving here. One of the add-on houses in the FGN has their name on the contract already.

Cici is slightly afraid of me and she’s told me so. Not because of anything I’ve done, but because her mom told her that I abused her when she was little and she doesn’t know whether to believe it or not. I’m hoping once she gets here, we can get her in with a good therapist and help her overcome the trauma her mother caused and that I let happen, because I wasn’t home and didn’t realize how crazy my wife really was.

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