Cain

A short piece, and definitely an unusual one for me.

The day I leave, it rains.

The heavens finally open, leading to a torrential downpour that drenches us as we walk to the car, hunched and clinging to each other. Tom puts a hand briefly on my shoulder, and I thank God silently for brothers; my face falls as I realise that this will be harder than I thought.

I look at him as I slump into the passenger seat, hot and cold water mixing on my face. I raise a hand to my cheek in a half-hearted attempt to wipe away the rain and the tears.

“We both knew this was coming,” he says, hands on the wheel as he watches raindrops run down the windscreen.

I swallow, a salty taste in my mouth, and it takes a few seconds for me to speak. “I didn’t.”

He watches me for a long moment, and his eyes are concerned; the brown irises combine with the expression, and in the half-light, he looks exactly like our mother. He looses a low sigh. “You outgrew them. You were changing too fast, they said.”

I study my lap, only glancing upwards as he speaks again.

“They would have killed you, by the way,” he announces faux-casually. “Without a second thought. Would’ve ripped you apart.”

“No…” I murmur, voice barely more than a croak. “Not me.”

“And they would’ve laughed. Karl, they would’ve laughed.” A small, bitter bark of his own, and he shakes his head, lip curling. “And they would’ve killed me, too. Don’t defend them.”

“But…” I look back to my knees.

“They told me!” he cries. “Wanted me to join them, wanted me to…” He trails off.

I hear something scrape, the sound of him taking something from under his seat. I don’t look up.

“They gave me things,” he continues desperately. “Told me things. Made offers, and bribes, and…”

“I know,” I interrupt, through gritted teeth.

“They told me to kill you, Karl.”

I shake my head, laugh, but it’s quiet and cold, and there’s a hard, twisted knot inside of me. “I’ve known since the start.”

“What they said…

My voice is louder than intended, the tears still streaming down my face, as I say, “You think you were the only one?”

A pause and an intake of breath. Two separate clicks.

I look up, into the barrel of his gun, and raise my own. Then I smile.

Honestly, no idea what happened here. Was meant to be a sweet/sad piece, then turned more than a bit sinister. Maybe it was because I was ill when writing it, I don’t know.

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