I remember this old lady.
I remember she would always, without fail every Christmas give me and my
brother a handful of cookies each. No particular reason, she'd just do it.
I must have been what.about 10 when it happened.
I don't remember much. But I do remember when my mother found out, she
clasped her face with her hands, and when she moved them, there were two
white hand marks.
That sacred me, I don't know why.
My father always said that old lady was someone to watch out for, I guess
he never trusted her like my mother, my brother and I did.
Know I look back and don't really blame him.
She was, how do you say it. Eccentric.

She looked genually nice. Long, Greying hair, pulled back into a loose bun,
with a short fringe just hovering over her eyebrows. She always wore the
same old navy blue dress with gold buttons down the front, and black slip
on shoes.
She had full rose coloured lips, and dark hazel eyes. Her figure left
nothing to desire for, but in the photo's she showed me, you could tell she
was what all the guys wanted wehnshe was young.
Her friendly smile showed white straight teeth, she once told me that she
had never been to the dentist, not once, as her family couldn't afford it
when she was growing up. I felt jealous, naturally.
Not like most old ladies, her finger nails where cut short, and she always
wore a clear pink nail varnish on them. I thought they looked pretty, and
she had the loveliest hands.

Of course, this was all an act. The old lady we grew up with wasn't who we
thought she was, or for that matter, who we wanted her to be.
We had lived next to her for 5 years, we moved in after the old neighbors
moved out, apparently their son had died, the same age as my brother, age
8, we didn't know how, my father said he was poisoned.
Over those 5 years, there were signs, of course; but we ignored them, just
hoping. We didn't know what for, because we new it would happen, but still,
we hoped. We would cross our fingers, and hope.
On the 5th year, she came to our house for Christmas as usual. And as usual
we all sat around the table with the log fire going. Mother would bring out
the vegetables and the stuffed chicken. I never liked the stuffing; I would
give it to my brother.
As usual, we would all exchange stories of what had happened in that past
year.
And as usual, the old lady would leave at exactly 10pm.
We walked her to her front door. And she unlocked it and turned around; she
told us she would just go get our present.
5 minutes later, she walked out, holding two pieces of material with a neat
bow tied around it, made into a kind of pouch.
Mine was dark blue velvet with silver stars and a silver ribbon tied
around, while my brothers was blood red velvet with gold comets and a gold
ribbon tied around it.
We thanked her and headed home. This time it was different, and I felt
uneasy.
Normally we would just get a hand full of cookies, never pretty material
with silk ribbons holding them.
When we got home, we said goodnight to our parents, and went up to our
room.
My brother and I shared a room, you see. I hated it, he snored really loud.
Anyway, he was excited of course; I wasn't I mean, what kind of present
were cookies?
But it was sweet, nevertheless.
So we sat on our beds, which were next to each other, and unwrapped the
silk ribbon, then gently unfolded the material. Laying on the material,
where half a dozen chocolate cookies, this time with an off-white icing
atop.
We never got icing, I thought.
All of a sudden, I got chills down my spine; I turned and just silently
watched my brother gulp down the cookies.
I new, I new I new, but still I just watched.
Then I watched as his face turned white, and as he threw up over his brand
new Christmas quilt covers. I watched as he shook violently, and as he
stared at me, pleading with his eyes for me to help him.
I then watched as he writhed in pain on his bed, the covers being ripped
off by his body movements and convulsions.
I watched as he chocked out my name, and then mummy and daddy's, and
finally the old lady's.
He then lay there, still and cold. I went over to his bed side where a
clock lay, an hour had passed. I had sat there for an hour watching my
brother pass away in front of me. Watching his face twist in agony. I
looked into his wide open eyes, and saw nothing.

The next day, of course my parents found out, I had just gone to bed the
night before. There was no need to tell them, they new, I new they did.
The police came in, but they couldn't find anything to pin his death on. I
new, and my mother and father new, but we shook our heads, saying we new
nothing.
They just zipped up my brother's body in a body bag, and left with the
ambulance blazing behind them.

The day after that, my mother and father had found a new block of flats
where we could live. I was told to pack everything, and leave all my
brothers stuff. It was all to be burned along with his body.
But I took one thing; I took his velvet material, and the silk ribbon which
the old lady had given us, I hid it in my pocket. I new it wouldn't be
missed,
By midday, the car and removal van were loaded, and we backed out of the
drive way.
I looked back, and glanced over at the old lady's house. One of the lace
curtains was drawn back slightly, and I could see her face, half covered by
shadow, I swear I saw a small smile playing on her lips.

I also noticed a red minivan pulling into our drive way. A dog flew out the
window, it was a golden retriever. A lady then gracefully stepped out of
the car, along with a man; both had wide smiles on their faces, they where
happy.
Then the back door flung open, and two children stepped out, a girl about
my age, and a boy about my brothers, they where both giggling madly. The
girl had pigtails, pulled back with a pink ribbon.
She patted the dog, and then walked over to her parents and brother; the
old lady was there, talking to them.
The old lady then dug into her pocket, and the children held out their
hands, she dropped half a dozen or so cookies into each.
She then looked over her shoulder, into my eyes, and smiled.
I gasped and pressed my hands and face up to the glass, shouting to the
children and parents.
My mother told me to be quiet.
But I new they wouldn't hear me anyhow, I new it, and the old lady did.
Give it time, I thought, and that family would find the meaning of
Iniquity.

By Siobhan
Date: 23/Febuary/2004

Iniquity