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A Moment of Suspense: Siblings
Author's note: Growing up, I lived a somewhat abusive lifestyle. By writing A Moment of Suspense: Siblings, I hope that anyone who may be going through the same thing to seek help before it's too late and things turn out like the end of this story.
The night was so cold…. And the blood was so warm… I couldn’t stop shaking… I don’t get it… what are you supposed to do when someone dies…?
I remember it all too well; glass shattering, Cecilia screaming, Cal crying, and his dad cursing... My face was wet with tears. The bitter cold rushed into the house through the broken window. I was under the table shaking. I didn't know whether it was because of the cold December air, or if it was that I was afraid. Cecilia and I stared at the broken window. Then things grew quiet; too quiet...
"Go check if he left," Cecilia said, nudging me toward the living room.
"Are you crazy?" I whispered back at her.
Suddenly the power went out. All was silent and still, as Cecilia and I held our breath. We sat for a while under the table in silence. The only light came from the moon that shone dimly through the windows. I couldn't hear anything, but the sound of our own breathing and the leaves rustling outside from a gentle breeze. I was shaking violently. Cecilia's sigh broke the silence. She nudged me again.
"Go check," She said again, being persistent.
"Why don't you go check," I shot back at her.
"C'mon, Irene, "she said, "You are the bravest out of the rest of us. Go check it out."
"Fine, I'll go,” I said standing up trying not to let her know I was afraid. Out of Cecilia, Cal and I, I was the middle child. Cecilia was sixteen, Cal was four, and I was ten. That damned Cecilia... She always knew how to aggravate me even at times like this. I never did like being considered a coward, so Cecilia's order to check the window was her way of challenging me. You know how it is between siblings.
I stood still for a moment. I looked at the shattered window, then to Cecilia. I wiped the tears--which she had more than likely mistaken for sweat in the dim lighting--with my shirt. I took a step forward. Suddenly, I felt something tugging on my shirt. Startled, I turned my head back to see what it was. It was Cal. He was in his Transformers pajamas, clinging to his Pokémon blanket which he had always carried around with him. His face was puffy, and tears filled his eyes.
"Whadda ya want, Cal," I said grumpily.
"D-Don... g-go..." He hiccupped, still half crying.
"Let go of me!" I snapped at him.
I was always mean to Cal. Obviously, he didn't know why, but then again, neither did I. I was just mean. Maybe it's because he was Anthony's son, and I just couldn't be around him since Anthony's blood ran through his veins. Cal was always affectionate, but that just aggravated me even further. To me, it only seemed like he was taunting me.
"Big sister no go! Sister be taked away!" He persisted.
"Ugh! Stupid kid!" I said half to myself impatiently.
I was getting furious. I looked over at Cecilia, hinting her to take him into a different room. She noticed me gesturing towards Cal, nodded, and took him into the dining room. It was quiet again. I looked back at the broken window.
“Okay, Irene... Just check the window. It's all ya gotta do,” I said quietly to myself, “just check it out..."
I held my breath, and slowly crept toward the window. Step by step... my heart pounded faster and faster. It was at this time that I was wondering where Mom was. She never did come home from work that day...
I carefully inspected the broken window. The moonlight shone through the opening. I tried to stay out of the light. I looked outside; nothing.
Maybe he left, I thought.
"Hey Cecilia! He's not--"
Suddenly chills were sent rapidly down my spine at the sound of Cecilia screaming. I ran to the dining room, paying no mind to the broken glass shards cutting my feet on the way. I met Cal and Cecilia in the hallway that led to the dining room.
"What happened!?!" I demanded.
Her hand shaking violently, Cecilia pointed in the direction of the dining room. Cal was crying into his blanket.
"Stay here," I said, trying not to show signs of fear.
I walked down the hallway. My heart was drumming in my ears. Finally, as I turned the corner, into the dining room... I saw Anthony. His face and hands were pressed against the sliding glass door that led to the backyard. He was clearly intoxicated. Even in the dim lighting, I could see red circles around his eyes, which were open wide, staring right at me. Grinning, he mouthed out the words, "I found you."
He turned around, and picked up a branch, and turned back around to lock his eyes with mine. He smiled his crooked smile, then mouthed out, "There's no getting rid of me."
Cecilia came out of the hallway, into the dining room behind me, "Irene, what--"
"STAY BACK!!!" I yelled keeping my eyes fixed on Anthony. He raised the branch above his head. I tried to run for something to fend him off with, but it was too late...
He swung the branch.
Glass was flying everywhere. The sound of the glass hitting the tile floor rang in my ears. More of the freezing air rushed in. The air was tainted by the scent of blood. At that moment, time suddenly froze for me. I was disturbed by the sight of Cecilia and Cal standing there, several feet away; their faces painted with fear. I couldn't believe how much blood was on the floor from my from the cuts on my feet and ankles... but what really horrified me was the expression Anthony wore.
I tried to look away, but I couldn't move. I closed my eyes... but I could still feel his gaze. The grin on his face... his eyes, sharper than any dagger... his sick look of triumph… all staring right at me... no... through me. His aura that says, “It’s over for you," clung to my eyelids. It horrified me, sending never ending chills right down my spine.
Time suddenly unfroze; everything was in motion again, but I remained still, in a daze. I was overwhelmed by all of the chaos. It all seemed so unreal, but I knew all too well that this was too horrifying to be a dream; too terrible even for any nightmare anyone could imagine. It was really happening… all of it.
Suddenly a sharp pain shot up my legs, snapping me out of my trance. The pain from stepping on all the glass finally caught up with me. I quickly tried to tend to my wounds, completely distracting me from Anthony's presence. I tried desperately to get the glass out. All of a sudden a certain noise caught my attention. I looked up. Anthony was coming toward me. I could hear the glass being crushed from beneath his shoes.... I watched him take each step forward... Slowly, but steadily, he grew closer... closer... closer... I didn't know what to do. I just watched him.
Anthony sneered at me, " Oh no.... What to do, what to do...? Not so tough without Mommy here protecting you now, huh?"
I gritted my teeth.
"Well, that's just too bad.’Cause here's the thing. She's not coming to your rescue this time--"
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY MOM!?!” I demanded, my voice shaking.
He just continued laughing his cold laugh at me, and tossed something on the floor in my direction... I stared at it sitting there in a small spot of light on the floor. I recognized it. It was the bracelet I had made for Mom’s birthday; bloodstained. I picked it up, and held it in my hand, bringing it close to me; a few tears escaped my eyes. Noticing my realization, Anthony laughed silently. I began to shake even more violently than before. Only rather than fear being the drive of it, anger took over. I clenched Mom’s bracelet in my hand. Then, blinded with hatred, wrath and fury, I charged at him. I pounded my fists into him, and then as if it took no effort at all, he pushed me—as easily as it would have been to toss a rag doll-- into the counter. I hit my back. I heard a cracking noise. I couldn't move.
My body wouldn't respond; I started losing all sense of feeling… All I could feel was the sensation of the numbness spreading... My vision was deteriorating. From then on, all sounds began to seize. I couldn't tell what was happening, or what was being said. I sat there, in such a state of numbness, that I could never explain, nor would anyone but I comprehend. I thought to myself, This is it. I can't believe this is how it ends. I closed my eyes... I submitted to death.
"BIG SISTER STAN' UP!!!"
I regained consciousness. My eyes flicked open, and I became aware once more. Though it was painful, I regained the lost sense feeling in my body. I swear I had died in that brief moment, but something wouldn't let me. I refused to die. I'd soon die twice than to so easily submit to Anthony's will.
I saw Anthony carrying Cal and moving past Cecilia with ease. Cecilia was frozen. Anthony was going through the living room. From the looks of it, he was planning to leave out the front door. Cal thrashed his arms and legs in vain, crying.
"NO! I NO WANNA GO WITH YOU!!!" he screamed.
I sprung back up and ran out the kitchen and down the hallway after them, grabbing a broom on the way out.
As I passed Cecilia I yelled, "What kind of an older sister are you!?! You're letting Anthony get away!!!"
I didn't bother to wait for her reply. I just passed right by her. I didn't even look back. I was near the end of the hall. Cal was crying my name. I caught up to Anthony and stood in his way. I stood before him, broom in hand; no turning back.
"Put him down, Anthony," I commanded.
A frown formed on his face. He set Cal down, who immediately ran back through the hallway towards Cecilia. Anthony took the broom from my hands, snapped it in half, and threw the pieces at my feet. I looked down at the broom, then at him. I could see the anger in his eyes.
"How many times do I have to kill you!?!" he yelled as he pulled out his switchblade.
He wasn't playing around now... no... now he was serious. He was really going to kill me, and I knew it. I knew that it'd be useless to try to escape. Still, I had no sense of fear. Determined, I picked up a nearby chair in a desperate attempt to keep on fighting. He easily took it from me, and I took a punch to the face causing me to fly to the other side of the living room, back toward the hallway. I rammed into the wall head first, and then slid down slowly to the floor.
I saw Cecilia edge of the hall; Cal running back towards her. They watched in fear as Anthony ran toward me with his blade. He was going to make sure that this time, I would die. He ran at full speed, growing closer and closer with each step; each second. He was only a few feet away now. I shut my eyes.
Silence. The air reeked of fresh blood once more. I reopened my eyes. I couldn't believe what I saw. Cecilia stood before me; back facing me. She coughed, and sputtered blood... She was in pain... I stared at her in disbelief. She turned her head to look at me, and laughed weakly. I was speechless.
"What's the matter, Irene...? You're staring off into space... You're not... scared... are you...?" she said trying to conceal her pain.
"... Cecilia... Why'd... why did you..." I said trying to find my voice.
She smirked at me, and turned her head back at Anthony, still speaking to me, "What... what kind of little sister are you...? Don't you know...? It's... the older sister's job... to protect her younger siblings..."
Anthony gritted his teeth as she glared at him saying, "And you. Don't you dare touch her again." He kicked her toward my direction. She staggered backwards into me, knocking us both down. Cal rushed towards us. Cecilia's time was running out.
"Ceecee..." he whimpered. I still couldn't say anything.
She coughed again, and said quietly, "Irene... Cal... be strong, okay...?" She turned her head to me, "That's twice now that you've saved me... I could only save you once... I'm sorry... I'm a failure as an older sister..."
I couldn't stand it; I couldn't stay silent anymore, “Cecilia... you..." I gritted my teeth, "I didn't ask for this! I didn't ask you to save me! How could you… I never asked you to!!!" I yelled in both agony, and frustration.
Cecilia smiled at me, "You're not just gonna let me win... are you...? Irene... don't lose…”
Those were her final words to us… Then, with Anthony's blade still embedded in her chest, she became still as stone... Cecilia... my rival... and dearly beloved sister... died right there in my arms...
She was gone...
I couldn’t believe it... Cecilia was really gone… I put my hand on her face. Her expression was so peaceful. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought she was only sleeping; only she had no warmth.
“Tch! That’s what you get for playin’ the hero, C,” Anthony said in disgust.
I looked down at my sister. Tears fell relentlessly from my face onto hers. I cried in silence, as Cal kept on screaming for Cecilia to wake up.
“Now, then…” Anthony said slurring his words, “Would you like to join her, Irene? I can send you straight to Hell, and you can reunite with her. Unless… you give me my son.”
I laid Cecilia’s body onto the floor. I stood up; my hands clenched into fists. I met Anthony’s gaze. His eyes blank, as if he no longer possessed a human soul, he awaited my answer. We stood there in each other’s presence in silence for what seemed like forever. Cal continued his useless cries for Cecilia to revive.
Finally, Anthony spoke again, “You really do look like your mother,” he said. I didn’t reply.
“Except for your eyes. I guess you inherited your green eyes from Tom, that bastard of a father. Cecilia was always daddy’s little girl, wasn’t she?”
I gritted my teeth, and glared at him, “Shut up…”
“Like father, like daughter, then, I suppose. Cecilia got herself killed just like Tom,” he said as I stood there trying to keep my cool, “I wish I could’ve been there to kill him myself. Although, killing you would be a sufficient substitute.”
At that moment I began to realize this wasn’t just a matter of Anthony trying to take Cal, but there was something more. Was there something I had missed? Was there perhaps something beyond that? Maybe this wasn’t just between Anthony and my mother… Maybe this was really a battle between Anthony, and my father… and now… the war has been passed down to me…
I shook my head, “You can’t kill me…”
He chuckled, “Of course I can… But I won’t… if you give me the boy.”
I looked over at Cal. This is all your fault, I thought. If it weren’t for you, Anthony wouldn’t have a purpose to be here… Mom would still be with us… and… Cecilia… Cecilia would…
So many thoughts ran through my mind. With every second that passed, I grew to hate Cal more and more. I despised him.
“So what do you choose to do,” Anthony said growing impatient.
I looked at him and then walked over to Cal, who looked up at me. I stared down at him.
Still not speaking, I grabbed Cal by the back of his shirt, and pushed him in Anthony’s direction. He staggered, then fell down, turning his head at me in utter disbelief at what I had just done.
“Sister?” he repeated.
“Take him,” I said averting my gaze from Cal, “Take him, and get the hell out.”
“Good choice,” Anthony snickered.
Cal looked at his dad, then at me, completely confused.
“Sister, why!?! Why you doing this!?!” Cal cried. I just glared at him sourly.
“I don’ get it,” he whimpered pathetically, “why… WHY--”
“SHUT UP!!!” I yelled at him bitterly. He was shocked.
“JUST SHUT UP! I’M SO SICK OF YOU!” I yelled, my voice growing louder. I pointed my finger at him, “LITTLE BRAT! DON’T YOU GET IT!?! I HATE YOU!!!”
Cal just stared at me, silent, but I just kept on attacking him.
“I HATE YOU!” I repeated, “MOM LEFT TO GO HAVE YOU AND BECAUSE YOU WERE BORN, SHE’S NEVER COMING BACK!”
Cal began to cry, but I didn’t care, “Because… Because of you… BECAUSE OF YOU, SHE WAS KILLED! IT'S YOUR FAULT SHE DIED! AND IT'S YOUR FAULT CECILIA DIED TOO! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT! I HATE YOU! AND SO DID CECILIA!”
After my furious accusations, I turned my attention to Anthony. He was laughing quietly… and I knew he was laughing at me.
“That’s it, Irene,” he said in a satanic tone, “Get angry. Let your hate take control. Turn your back on your own flesh and blood.”
I stared at the floor, “Just take him and go.”
He laughed, “…Very well, then…”
He made his way to the front door, Cal at his side; broken. He’d just been abandoned by both of his sisters, in two different ways. Things were quiet except for Cal’s whimpering. Nothing was said until Anthony passed by me.
“I can see a lot of myself in you, Irene. We’re both very much alike. You could be my mirror image.”
I pretended to ignore him. They were almost out the door when Cal turned his head and looked at me. He whimpered one more time, “Sister…”
He turned his head back away from me. Anthony and Cal were almost out the door. I stood there, eyes fixed on Anthony. Then somewhere in my mind, a voice called to me, 'You’re not just gonna let Anthony have his way are you?'
That’s when I found myself running full speed at Anthony and jumping on his back, wrapping my arm around his neck. Anthony struggled to shake me off. He rammed me into walls, shelves, and windows trying to get me to release him, as I held on for dear life. My arm hit the corner of TV stand. My grip loosened, and Anthony jumped at that chance to throw me off of him. He sent me flying and I landed on the coffee table, and rolled off onto the floor, wheezing, and clutching my stomach.
I saw Cal, who just stood and watched me. I didn’t know if he was just too scared to move… but I it wasn't like I expected him to help me after everything I had said to him. He was shaking.
I tried to stand up, “What are you waiting for, Cal…? RUN--”
I received a kick to the ribs and I went rolling. I hurt to breathe. I tried to get up, but he just kicked me again, and sent me off rolling once more.
My ribs hurt so badly. I lied there motionless, curled into a ball; arms over my stomach, eyes closed. Next thing I knew, he kicked me again… and again… and again… Finally, something stopped me from rolling. Something was in front of me, but I knew it couldn’t be the wall. I opened my eyes… And there I was lying face to face with my sister’s dead body. I stared at the knife embedded in her. Then her words echoed through my head, Don’t lose…
I managed to sit up, but that was all. I tried to catch my breath, but then I heard a click noise. I looked up. Anthony stood before me. He had his gun pointed at me.
“You know, I thought this would happen,” he said sternly. However, I was more focused on the weapon he could easily kill me with. Anthony literally held my life in his hand, which he could dispose of with the pull of a trigger.
“This gun only has two bullets. One was meant for Cecilia there,” he said gesturing at my sister’s corpse, “and the other was for you…” I glared at him.
“Tsk. You know you really do piss me off. You never seem to submit to defeat even when it’s clear that you’ve already lost… but I guess it can’t be helped.”
He prepared his gun. This was it… It was all over for me. I closed my eyes waiting for him to shoot. He pulled the trigger, and the gun fired…
Silence. I opened my eyes.
“Sis…ter… I… sowwy…”
I sat there astonished. I couldn’t see Cal’s face, but I knew he was crying… Anthony dropped his gun.
“Cal!!!” he yelled in agony. He dropped down to his knees, but Cal remained standing.
“Leave… Irene… alone…” Cal swayed, and then collapsed to the floor. He wasn’t moving… and… just as if he was following our older sister… he died…
“CAL!!!” Anthony cried again, “MY SON!!! MY BOY! MY BOOOOOY!!!”
Anthony mourned and howled like an injured dog, as I sat there dazed.
“Cal…” I said half to myself.
Anthony stopped. He lifted his head. Tears ran down his face. He was shaking.
“You…” he said, his voice shaking with anger, then standing up, “You killed my son… YOU KILLED MY SON!!!”
Anthony was running at me now. I had to think fast. He was going to kill me, no doubt about it. A few yards separated us now… meters… feet…
Hurriedly, I seized the knife lodged in Cecilia’s chest, turned around, and lunged forward…
The night was so cold…. And the blood was so warm… I couldn’t stop shaking… I don’t get it… what are you supposed to do when someone dies…? Especially when you’re responsible… for their death…?
I stood there in silence, Anthony’s knife in one hand, and my mother’s bracelet in the other. The sun was coming up. I stared down at Anthony’s body lying there on the floor. I had stabbed him to death. I was covered in blood; Anthony’s, Cecilia’s as well as my own. So there I stood alone in that cold house in the middle of nowhere. My brother and sister lie dead on the floor, and Anthony, at my feet. I found Anthony’s gun, and picked it up. I stared at everyone, then sighed.
Anthony’s voice then echoed to me over and over… The gun has two bullets… One was meant for Cecilia… the other…
“…is for me…” I sighed quietly under my breath.
I pressed the gun to my head. My last few tears fell from my eyes…
I pulled the trigger…