Dylan Bennet Klebold was born brilliant. He started school a year early, and by third grade was enrolled in the CHIPS program: Challenging High Intellectual Potential Students. Even among the brains, Dylan stood out as a math prodigy. The early start didn't impede him intellectually, but strained his shyness further. The idealistic Klebolds named their two boys after Dylan Thomas and Lord Byron. Tom and Sue met at Ohio State University, studying art, Tom in sculpture. They moved to Wisconsin and earned more practical master's: Tom in geophysics, Sue in education, as a reading specialist. Tom took an oil job and moved the family to Jeffco, before the Denver metroplex stretched out to reach them. Dylan was born there, five months after Eric, September 11, 1981. Both grew up as small-town boys. Dylan earned merit badges in the Cub Scouts and won a Pinewood Derby contest. Sports were always big. He was a driven competitor, hated to lose. When he pitched in Little League he liked to whiff hitters so badly they tossed their bats. He would idolize major leaguers until the day he died. The Klebold house was orderly and intellectual. Sue Klebold was a stickler for cleanliness, but Dylan enjoyed getting dirty. A neighbor--the woman who would struggle so hard to stop Eric before the massacre--fed Dylan's early Huck Finn appetite. Judy Brown was the neighborhood mom, serving up treats, hosting sleepovers, and rounding up the boys for little adventures. Dylan met her son Brooks in the gifted program. Brooks had a long, egg-shaped face, like Dylan's, narrowing at the jaw. But where Dylan's eyes were animated, Brooks's drooped, leaving a perpetual weary, worried expression. Both boys grew faster than their classmates--Brooks would eventually reach six-five. They would hang out all afternoon at the Browns' house, munching Oreos on the sofa, asking Judy politely for another. Dylan was painfully shy with strangers, but he would run right up, plop down in her lap, and snuggle in there. He couldn't be more adorable, until you tripped his fragile ego. It didn't take much. Judy first saw him blow when he was eight or nine. They had driven down to a creek bed for a typical adventure. Sue Klebold had come along--horrified by all the mud, but bearing it to bond with her boy. Officially, it was a crawdad hunt, but they were always on the lookout for frogs or tadpoles or anything that might slither by. Sue fretted about bacteria, hectoring the boys to behave and keep clean. They'd brought a big bucket to haul the crawdads home, but came back up the hillside with nothing to show. Then one of the boys slogged out of the creek with a leech attached to his leg. The kids all went delirious. They plopped the leech into the frog jar--a mayonnaise bottle with holes punched in the lid--and watched it incessantly. They had a picnic lunch and then ran back for more fun in the creek. The water was only a foot deep, but too murky for them to see the bottom. Dylan's tennis shoes squished down into the glop. All the boys were slipping around, but Dylan took a nastier slide. He wheeled his arms wildly to catch himself, lost the battle, and smacked down on his butt. His shorts were soaked instantly; dank black water splashed his clean T-shirt. Brooks and his brother, Aaron, howled; Dylan went ballistic. "Stop!" he screamed. "Stop laughing at me! Stop! Stoooooooooooooooooooooooop!" The laughing ended abruptly. Brooks and Aaron were a little alarmed. They had never seen a kid freak out like that. Judy rushed over to comfort Dylan, but he was inconsolable. Everybody was silent now, but Dylan kept screaming for them to stop. Sue grabbed him by the wrist and whisked him away. It took her several minutes to calm him down. Sue Klebold had come to expect the outbursts. Over time, Judy did, too. "I would see Dylan get frustrated with himself and go crazy," she said. He would be docile for days or months, then the pain would boil over and some minor transgression would humiliate him. Judy figured he would grow out of it, but he never did. Detectives assembled portraits of the killers that felt maddeningly similar and vanilla: youngest sons of comfortable, two-parent, two-child, quiet small-town families. The Klebolds had more money; the Harrises were more mobile. Each boy grew up in the shadow of a single older sibling: a bigger, taller, stronger brother. Eric and Dylan would eventually share the same hobbies, classes, job, friends, clothing choices, and clubs. But they had remarkably different interior lives. Dylan always saw himself as inferior. The anger and the loathing traveled inward. "He was taking it out on himself," Judy Brown said. ____ Dylan's mother was Jewish. Sue Klebold had been born Sue Yassenoff, part of a prominent Jewish family in Columbus. Her paternal grandfather, Leo Yassenoff, was a philanthropist and a bit of a local tycoon. The city's Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center was established by the foundation he funded. Classmates said Dylan never shared Eric's fascination with Hitler, Nazis, or Germany, and some suggested it bothered him. Tom was Lutheran, and the family practiced some of each religion. They celebrated Easter and Passover, with a traditional Seder. Most of the year they remained quietly spiritual, without much organized religion. In the mid-1990s, they took a stab at a traditional church. They joined the parish of St. Philip Lutheran Church; the boys went to services along with their parents. Their pastor, Reverend Don Marxhausen, described them as "hardworking, very intelligent, sixties kind of people. They don't believe in violence or guns or racism and certainly aren't anti-Semitic." They liked Marxhausen, but formal church service just wasn't a good fit for them. They attended for a brief time and then dropped away. Sue spent her career in higher education. She began as a tutor, then a lab assistant, and finally worked with disabled students. In 1997, she left a local community college for a position with the Colorado Community College System. She coordinated a program there to help vocational/rehab students get jobs and training. Tom did reasonably well in the oil business, but better at renovating and renting out apartments. He was great with repairs and remodeling. A hobby became a business. Tom and Sue formed Fountain Real Estate Management to buy and administer the properties. Tom continued consulting to independent oil companies part-time. The Klebolds were rising financially, but worried about spoiling their kids. Ethics were central in their household, and the boys needed to learn restraint. Tom and Sue settled on appropriate figures to spend on the boys and stuck to them. One Christmas, Dylan wanted an expensive baseball card that would have consumed his entire gift budget. Sue was torn. One tiny present in addition to the card for her boy? Maybe she could spend a little extra. Nope. Austerity was a gift, too, and Dylan got what he'd asked for and no more. In 1990, as metro Denver encroached into Jeffco, the Klebolds retreated beyond the hogback, the first strip of foothills hundreds of feet high, which from the air looked like the bumps along a hog's back. The hogback functions like Denver's coastline--it feels like civilization ends there. Roads are scarce; homes are distant and highly exclusive. Shops and commerce and activity are almost nonexistent. The family moved into a run-down glass and-cedar house on Deer Creek Mesa, inside a panoramic rock formation, a smaller version of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a few miles away. Tom gradually brought the house back into stunning shape. Dylan officially lived in the backcountry now--part-time country boy, riding over to the populated side every morning for school in suburbia. In seventh grade, Dylan faced a frightening transition. He had been sheltered among the brainiacs in CHIPS. Ken Caryl Middle School was five times as big and it didn't have a gifted program. Tom described Dylan lurching from "cradle to reality."