It’s not normal, he knows. Normal is boring. Normal boys are watching Doctor Who and secretly lusting after blonde pop princesses and reading comic books and rollerskating. Normal boys don’t look and look and see - the principal wants to do dirty things with the girls in short skirts who smoke outside the school gates, waiting for their boyfriends. There are six boys in his year who go off together in pairs sometimes and come back looking scrape-scratched around their mouths, guilty-eyed and smelling faintly of... ammonia? Close, but not quite. Little Benjamin, who is always quiet and well-behaved, draws endless pictures of bees with enormous penises and keeps them in his desk - nobody knows that he is the one who crept into his neighbour’s henhouse one holiday and killed all of her chickens with a hammer. (Nobody but Sherlock, and he’ll never tell - it’s just all too interesting.)
Sometimes, when he is at home, he goes exploring. He looks in overgrown ditches and hollowed-out fallen trees and thinks, this would be a good place for someone to hide a body. He’s always a bit disappointed when it’s time to go back to the house and he hasn’t found one.
Of course when there is a body it’s in the last place one would expect. It doesn’t look anything like the way he thought a corpse would; he’s seen pictures in books and once stole a glance at a traffic fatality from a distance, but this thing is more obviously dead than anything he has ever seen before. The bloat of the face and the awkward, unnatural splay of the limbs are as expected; what stays with him, though, as a solicitously interfering police officer obstructs his view and leads him gently away, is the obscenely off-kilter look of the eyes. There is an indefinable wrongness to them, he thinks; puts his unnerved response down to cultural conditioning, and pretends it isn’t that dead gaze that follows him as he opens up Carl Powers’ locker and sees what isn’t there.