By Paul Lubaczewski
Edward woke up, he did this every morning so there isn't anything
special about that, but we have to start somewhere. He was not one of those
people who woke up, woke up. One minute they're asleep and the next you can
have something approaching a reasonable discussion with them. He was an ease-into-it
sort of waker. His eyes would creep open, but only enough to get him to the
bathroom so he could pee. From there he would lurch into the kitchen with all
the grace of manatee on land, grab a cup and put coffee in it. Next, he would
go out into the living room and turn on the TV, the sound of other people
talking in reasonable and pert voices hopefully reminding his own brain what
was going to be expected of it today.
Finally, it was
back to the kitchen, to
get some cereal, letting the inane morning show chatter waft through the house.
It was just as he was pouring the milk that he heard the TV click off.
“Goddammit John!” he moaned. He didn't bother to go storming out to the living
room, there would be no point to it, really. Especially since he hadn't gotten
his spoon yet, which he took a moment to rectify. Then, breakfast in hand, he
There sat John, waiting
for him calmly,
“I thought we'd talk.”
Edward snatched the remote
turned the TV back on, “Well, think again, this is already more conversation
than I want to have before I've eaten and had my coffee!”
The matter settled, he tried
to let his
temper ebb so he could see if there would be any good guests before he needed
to shower. Same old, same old, B-list
actors smiling like seals begging for fish while promoting their films that
would all make exactly enough money to justify them being in another bland
vanilla romantic comedy after this one. He ignored John entirely as he sat
there with his hands primly on his lap, well mostly ignored him, he couldn't
help but notice John was wearing a suit. Breakfast finished, he got up, and
went and got a shower and got ready for work. Not a word was spoken.
Edward went out
to his car to leave.
John was sitting in the passenger seat waiting, the morning light seemed to
gleam off his receding hairline as he sat there patiently. Edward got into the
car, not bothering to hide his disgust as he put his briefcase in the back and
started the car up.
in the hell do you have to be
today anyway?” he snarled.
with you,” John replied
evenly, his eyes straight ahead.
COURSE, you are,” Edward snarled
pulling out of his driveway.
Work was as good
a place as any to
escape. Certainly, John was here, but since Edward was busy working, it didn't
matter. Edward was more than capable of ignoring almost everything when he was
working. John wouldn't matter now until lunch at least. Of course, lunch was
inevitable, it happened every day after all.
Edward got up and left
precision. He got up and went out and got a cab every day at this time to go to
the restaurant he preferred. Even though he had his car, his department didn't
rate inclusion into the parking garage. It was just one of those mix-ups when
they designed the place that it didn't have enough spaces in the garage, even
when car-pooling was taken into consideration. In all honesty, what had most
likely happened was they had larger offices here once, and fewer cubicles. The
designer hadn't taken into consideration how potentially soul-crushing the
place would become. No one in his department rated a space. He might have his
own office, he might have lunch breaks long enough to allow for eating out, but
his car was still in a lot three blocks away.
It was raining when
he got outside,
with John right on his heels. But the cabs knew when to be there and there was
still one left waiting. Edward vigorously waved his arm at it to let the driver
know he wanted it before moving as quickly as he could through the rain. He ran
out with John moving alongside of him, step for step. Until they got to the car
That was when John
aside, rushing forward and held the door open for another woman who was just
walking out saying, “Please Miss, I wouldn't dream of taking the cab from you.”
In an instant, the
woman was inside,
and the cab was streaming away through the downpour.
snarled Edward, “that
was Jane Feldstar, her department has parking, she could have just driven!”
never hurts to be polite,” John
sniffed as the pair of them began the long trudge in the soaking rain to where
Edward was parked.
Edward didn't begin to
feel truly dry
again for hours. He thought for sure he was going to get a cold from this. The
circulated cool air of the building blowing on his soaked clothes put the chill
all the way into his bones. Back at work though, the swing of things carried
him away, and he was able to at least ignore it better. Nothing he could do
about it now.
Sometime in the late afternoon,
from closing time, Melissa Parks came into his office. Edward had a secret
crush on Melissa, that had lasted for years now. He always was looking, desperate
to find that exact right time to ask if she'd like to go out on a date. Today
something in him was telling him to go for it here and now. It was probably
only the feeling that the whole day had been a wash, if she turned him down it
wouldn't ruin a perfectly good day that way. Edward thought that way, some
Once the business end was finished,
needed some reports looked after for her boss, he tried to make small talk.
“So, are you thinking about running any races soon?” he asked knowing she had
run a couple of little 5k's this last year.
She smiled, he thought
answered, “Well, I'm not sure, I mean I like doing them, but I never have
anyone to run with. I mean my first one I ran with my ex-boyfriend, and since
the operative word is ex....”
THERE IT WAS, his chance,
and why he'd
opened with that. Edward until recently had been a religious runner, he could
offer to run with her, all he had to do was make the offer....
“Hi I'm John!”
interrupted his thoughts
like a sledgehammer hitting concrete. Edward had never heard him coming but
there he was, his hand thrust out directly at Melissa.
“Oh Hi!” she
said politely, “I’m
Melissa, how nice to
finally meet you,” John said happily as Edward died inside. Before he could get
any more control over the situation, John added, “Well we'd best get out of my
LITTLE brother's office and let him finish up. We drove in together, and I'm
sure he doesn't need to stay late!”
was microwaved lasagna for dinner tonight.
Just one of those frozen things you got at a store. John had his own
arrangements, and Edward just couldn't convince himself it was worth cooking
for only one. Instead, he just tossed his little box on to a plate and went out
to watch TV to eat. John was there, sitting quietly. Edward could feel his eyes
on him as he ate. He didn't want to acknowledge it, acknowledging it would be
to acknowledge John himself, and that was the last thing he wanted to do right
now. But still, his gaze was like an itch that just begged to be scratched, or
He finished his meal and
tossed the carton
into the trash by his chair where it landed with a rustle on top of all of the
other containers just like it, awaiting trash day. John used the gap in
purposeful activity to pounce, “So, why don't you want to just talk?”
“If I wanted to
talk, I'd talk. What I
really want to do is watch TV right now. It was a long day,” Edward replied
curtly, his eyes focused intently on the TV trying to block his brother out as
much as possible while fuming inside about him. The overall effect being he
couldn't concentrate on the television at all now.
“It's just that
we haven't really
talked,” John persisted doggedly.
That was enough!
That was more than
enough for Edward at this point! Standing up brusquely he snapped, “If I really
wanted to talk to you any more John, do you think I would have killed you? When
my hands were wrapped around your throat, don't you think I was sending you a
Edward stormed from
the room without
another word. A moment later the air filled with the sound of his bedroom door
slamming. John said quietly to the empty living room, “And that's what I think
we need to talk about.”
This was it, this was the end. Since they were children Edward had done
everything he could to get away from John. He had wanted his life, his space,
his world, not John's hand me down one. But even after their parents died, they
had forced him into the shadow of his brother, they left the house to both of
them, meaning it would take both signatures to sell. John hadn't wanted to
Edward had moved back,
convinced him it was foolish to be paying top dollar for an apartment when he
had a room in a house he technically owned waiting there for him. Within weeks
he had seen the folly of it. It was all there like he had never left, every
accidental slight, every annoying mannerism every degrading aspect of being the
“little brother”, it all came back to him.
He hadn't PLANNED to kill
John. It was
no great plot, no scheme hatched through hours of trying to sleep enraged,
finally enacted with precision and certainty. No, it was just an average
everyday sleight from his older brother that had sent him into a final,
violent, deadly rage. Something about him not doing the dishes correctly.
But when it was over,
when the red fury
vanished from his mind and he looked down on the breathless cold lifelong
tormentor, the joy! The release from bondage, the ecstatic freedom for the
first time in his life. Edward actually
chuckled when he checked for a pulse or for any even minor gust of breath. He
hummed to himself as he dragged the body down the basement steps for safe
keeping until he could be rid of it, letting John's head bounce on every step.
He slept peacefully that night for the first time in as long as he could
John was sitting there when
he got up the
He had died, he even acknowledged
the final darkness had not claimed him for long, and there John was. Just as he
had always been. Edward’s tormentor, his cell keeper, his bane, now and
Well, it ended tonight.
He couldn't get away from John
all now, he hadn't been in a building in weeks without him. If anything looked
like it might be good or fun, there was John to spoil it. John was everywhere
now. If that bastard didn't have the
decency to stay dead, there were ways around it.
Like the rope, he'd snuck
out from the
garage. Very high ceilings in this house, also, a very sturdy light fixture,
Edward had tested it. Carefully and quietly he dragged his desk chair over so
it was directly under it. He re-attached the rope, as he had every night this
week. The noose was already tied and it fit easily over Edward's head. If John
had found a way around death and decided to haunt the earth as something in
between for the rest of eternity, he could damned well do it without Edward!
the chair out from
pain, he had expected it.
There was even panic, and although he had not prepared for that, the hatred in
his heart allowed him to fight it down. Finally, mercifully, walls of blackness
closed off the space he occupied before closing in until it didn't exist
voice seemed to come from a long
way off at first, but now it demanded his attention. Edward's eyes fluttered
open to see....
His face took
up almost all of the
available view. He smiled at Edward opening his eyes, “I only thank god I got
to you in time!”
not in pain, just in
disappointment and misery, “Why? Why did you have to get me down? Why couldn't
you just let me die!”
looked puzzled for only a
moment, and then he chuckled slightly, “Oh no, I meant before you came back. It
would be awful to come back and just be hanging there like that trying to
figure out how to get down. I don't know about you but I would just freak!”
a little more and
punched Edward on the shoulder, “No, you're stone cold dead, and what a
compliment, if you had died somewhere else who knows what might have happened.
But since you died here, well it all continues safely onward!”
“What do you
mean? What could you
possibly mean?” Edward gasped.
“That's why I wanted to talk
thought you knew and were just avoiding the subject! You were always far more
interested in his studies than I was, but just to see what was there for
myself, I went through father's papers. It was their final gift to us, one they
paid for with their own lives. If we died here in our family home, then that
wouldn't be the end, only a beginning of a new life without the threat of
mortality. We'll be together forever now Edward, won't that be grand?”