"What are you doing?" His voice snapped at me; it was a very cold voice, and could easily shake me out of any sort of rhythm I'd managed to get myself into. That is, of course, if I had any idea what it was that I had been doing incorrectly in the first place. Thankfully, he clarified. "With your hands. It's unattractive. Stop it."
I looked down at my hands, rather solemn, but a bit curiously considering I didn't know what to make of it myself. I realized I'd been wringing my fingers together as I usually did in nervous habit, and I hadn't touched a bite of my food. This was back when I thought he was planning on killing me, too, so I was a bit afraid of touching anything that he served me.
But I digress. I should probably explain myself.
My name is Doherty Barr. I'm 31 years old, and I'm an accountant. At the time, however, I'd been at least sixteen years old and I had absolutely no plans for the future considering I didn't think I was going to have much of one anyway. My older brother, Bradley, had strangled and dismembered our parents in their own living room one morning. Before he was charged with the majority of his murders several years later, he told me once that his reasoning was so he could be my legal guardian, and get much closer to me than our parents were letting him.
He stopped seeing his psychologist when she told our Mother that she suspected him of having antisocial personality disorder. I only found his denial all the more amusing because the woman had earlier stated that she found pretty good evidence of narcissistic personality disorder, as well, and Bradley was not about to accept such imperfections. He immediately terminated his sessions and a few weeks later I came home to my parent's corpses and my brother waiting for me with some dinner made up on the table.
I ceased my movements and rather hesitantly lifted my fork instead, poking my salad leaves around the edge of my plate. I could feel his eyes on me; his eyes that matching mine almost exactly in their shade of aqua blue. He knew I'd suspected him of poisoning my food. At the time, I hadn't thought about why he wouldn't have just sliced me up and served me as a sandwich rather than poison me. It really wasn't my brother's way. He liked murder to be a much more exciting practice.
"Come on, Doherty, I haven't poisoned your food." He tilted his head upwards slightly in such a way as to suggest a king staring down at their servant, and just watched me. I looked to the side, and my eyes met my mother's, there on the floor with her own blonde hair in bloodied heaps around her cheeks and wide open eyes. I spun my head back around to face Bradley again.
"I'm just not hungry." I said. I stopped messing with the food on my plate. I hadn't even been allowed to change out of my school clothes and into my home clothes, yet. And besides, no one would be hungry after such an event. Well… no one but Bradley. I was never going to forget that. Why were we eating with them in the room, anyway? How in God's name did my brother plan on getting rid of them? He certainly wasn't going to be able to replace the carpet; that was for sure. When I look back on the event, I feel I've become more and more like Bradley, really. Because it's really only become a hollow space in me, rather than a terrifying event to look back on, and I feel as though I never cared enough about the whole ordeal.
Though considering everything that followed after, I think I've been conditioned by my brother to only think about him anymore. No matter how many people lay on the floor before me – open eyes, staring almost past me in such a clouded way as corpses often do, I'll only be able to see him standing so proudly above them. Even if the work was done by me.
Bradley had watched me still when my face flashed towards the bodies of our parents, though not even a strand of his hair made any movement to follow the gaze of my eyes. He was always so proud of himself, and so calm and collected about everything that it really doesn't surprise me that he could do such a thing. I'd even been a bit afraid of it, while we were growing up, because he used to say things like 'That person shouldn't be alive anyway.' I would stare at him, a bit confused and mostly aghast, until he would just murmur 'Social Darwinism, Doherty, you just wouldn't understand.' And then he'd beat me over the head with whatever object we'd been playing with and stride back into the house.
I was unable to come up with any other excuses not to eat, and Bradley sensed it quite obviously and told me to go to bed, and that he would be there to tuck me in soon enough. I thought it strange that he'd mentioned anything about tucking me into bed; I was sixteen, and didn't have any reason for him to have to do such a thing. But I stood and gathered up my plate, walking around behind him to head into our kitchen and scrape all of the food I hadn't eaten into the sink. My heart was beating faster than I think it ever had before, and I was surprised I didn't just go into cardiac arrest when Bradley's hand shot out to grab my arm as I was heading past him to go down the hallway to my bedroom.
My brother was twenty-five years old, then, and he was always very tall and wore his blond hair down all the way to his middle back. He worked with my father at the largest bank in our state, and it seemed he hadn't gone to work today but he had still dressed himself in a fine suit and tie for this occasion. I looked down at him immediately as he grabbed at me and cried out, for it was a rather tight grip.
"Are you feeling all right?" He asked me, softly, and I'm sure my eyes dilated with confusion. My brother's mood swings were quite frequent, and at that time I had no idea I was going to end up with them as well. "This must be hard for you. Don't worry," He let go and patted at my wrist. "You'll be fine."
I said nothing to him and rushed down the hallway and into my bedroom, clicking the door shut behind me. After a very long while I decided to obey him, and stripped out of my school uniform and into some pajamas, before folding up the uniform and setting it out where I usually did to put it in the laundry tomorrow morning. Maybe, I thought, if I acted as though nothing had happened… I would wake up and it really wouldn't have happened.
The rest of that night was a complete blur, after I had stuffed myself into my bed and wrapped up into my bed sheets. I could hear what I thought I recognized now as the sound of my brother wrapping up and disposing of our parent's bodies, and squeezed my eyes shut while stuffing myself further down into my bedding. I let out a soft, frustrated cry and shivered, feeling as if I could protect myself further and further if I just suffocated myself in my comforter. However it wasn't long until there was a knock on my bedroom door, and it took much more strength than it should have for me to call my brother into my room.
I pushed my covers down to my shoulders and looked up as Bradley clicked the door shut behind him, and I'm sure I seemed alarmed when he locked it. Sure, he'd locked it from the inside, and I could easily attempt to get away but what scared me the most is what on Earth was he planning on doing to me in which he had to lock the door? "You can't possibly be asleep all ready, hmm, Dou?" Bradley asked, pushing himself up and away from the door to stride over to my bed. I couldn't very well stay silent.
"I'm not." I replied. "I can't get to sleep, I'm afraid." I might as well be honest, I used to do that with my brother all the time, and… as if nothing had happened, I would continue to really tell him how I felt.
Bradley knelt down at the edge of my bed with that cracking of joints that accompanies such movements in people who spend all day on their feet. I was lying on my side, staring at him still, and when he moved a hand to cup the back of my neck he must have seen me go rigid with worry. I was searching his eyes for any desire to kill me, any sign in them that told me there was a ligature in his palm he held pressed against my flesh – though there didn't seem to be one. I only realized this when he moved his hand to my cheek, and was looking at me as if he wanted me to calm down.
I swallowed, worried still and heart racing, and held my eyes shut in case I started to cry. In almost a split instant my brother had rolled me onto my back and was sitting on my waist, working himself out of his suit jacket and tossing it to my bedroom floor. His mouth was on my mouth, and all I will ever, ever allow myself to remember about that entire night was the feel of my brother's wet tongue pressing itself so eagerly into my own mouth… and how much I came to enjoy the feeling later in life.
I lay quite still and naked in my bed, pretending to shrink back into my sheets as I had been before my brother had come into the room. I hurt absolutely everywhere, and the worst, most confusing feeling just kept sticking with me the entire time. How… how was I supposed to feel about this? Towards my own brother? I didn't hate him, but everything I had ever felt for him was far from even a familial sort of love, now. I was afraid to lie on my back and just stay completely still on my side. I pressed my face into my pillow, but it smelled like my brother's lengthy hair, and I couldn't stand it so I picked up the pillow and threw it across my bedroom with a sob. Or maybe it was my own hair.
I realized that my entire body smelled like Bradley now, and as much as it pained me I forced myself out of my bed. He'd made a mess of my clothing on the floor, and I had to search for my pajama pants before being able to slip back into them. After I did so, I fled my bedroom with caution – I had no idea where Bradley had gone off to – and made my way into our bathroom to shower.
In the shower I noticed that I wasn't bruised nearly as much as I felt I was, and actually had to accept that Bradley had been quite gentle with me, now that I really think about it. All of my flesh was perfectly intact, except for the stinging pain that kept hissing itself through my spine every moment I moved my rear. After washing up I'd headed back into my bedroom and left my bed alone. I was going to have to change my sheets before I was ever going to be able to sleep again, and I never knew when I was going to be comfortable in there again.
Tea. Something hot to drink would be good for me, I decided. Walking back through the hallway I had to pass the living room, where I spotted my brother with some latex gloves and a large plastic jug of bleach. Bloodstains. I was lucky I had only been raped, lucky I was still alive. I wish I felt luckier. My brother stopped when he saw me to ask me how I was feeling, and kissed my forehead. He really did think he could do anything with me, couldn't he? I hated the feel of latex gloves against my cheek. He kissed me again. "Does it hurt?"
"Yes. I'm going to make some tea. Do you want any?"
"Chamomile should help you get to sleep."
I ignored that, but I was going to make chamomile anyway. "Would you like any?"
"Mm, sure. It's been a long day."
"I can imagine." I murmured honestly, before leaving him there to go back into the kitchen and start on our tea. He turned his back to me and started on the job of bleaching out the carpet. I've watched enough crime shows to know that the crime scene investigators would still be able to use that special light of theirs to see the blood even if he did clean it up, but he had a man come by later in the week to remove it professionally and get hardwood floors done in instead.
At around midnight he'd finished his job and the two of us finished our cups of tea. I yawned, and found myself leaning into him on the couch. He took me with him into his bedroom when I'd yawned and told me I could sleep with him in his own bed. I don't know why I agreed to it, but I was afraid he'd get angry and do away with me if I didn't respond positively to everything he wanted of me, so I followed him willingly.
I spent many of my nights growing up wrapped up in his arms in his bed, getting progressively used to him being around me, his scent being all over me… and it suddenly changed from frequent rapes to frequent acts of love making, and everything about me and who I thought I was kept getting confused. I never thought I was in love with Bradley, and after I finally moved away from Bradley, away from home, away from everything I was only afraid of him. I was only afraid of him.
I'm sitting at my desk now in my apartment, at thirty-one and alone, wondering just how long I'm going to keep being afraid. Ten years ago from now my brother was convicted of raping and murdering several women, and just a couple days ago he was released from death row. I still don't have enough information, but they keep telling me on the news that somebody else had much more sufficient evidence against them for these murders rather than Bradley. I haven't had a lover since a fling in college that I thought I cared immensely for, and now I don't know if Bradley is going to come and find me. Now I don't know if I want him to, but I can't help but wait for him. I want him to come for me, I want someone… someone to lie next to me again, someone that loves me to touch me again.
But do I want Bradley?
I have no one else to want.
I wish… I wish I did.