My Brother’s Keeper

Jason slowly moved back and forth on an old rocking chair at the far end of the dust covered, white painted flaking porch.   A gentle breeze lifted his long dark hair and then replaced it concealing his face; he pushed it back revealing once more the deepest and most haunting blue eyes.   His chair creaked as its dry wooden joints kick-started the optimism or disappointment of yet another day into action. It would be hard to say which one it would be but in the past the element of surprise was expected as his unpredictable emotions were wrenched into existence.   It was painfully true there were moments in his life where he felt such pressure that it was stifling to the point of choking. Today however there was only calmness about him and an understanding to the point of acceptance. The fresh morning air was crisp and cleansing on his nostrils almost removing the stench of old congealed blood and with it the smell of death.   In the moments before he had attacked his hands with such vigour and intent to clean away the stains of yet another victim. This effort was given even greater strength by an accompanying and reliable scrubbing brush. It would not be foolish to believe that a thin layer of skin had undoubtedly been lifted along with the reminder of how easy someone’s life could be ended without regrets and maybe just with an element of pleasure.   Anyway in his eyes it was a command from above in the biblical sense and not a deranged psychopath locked in the attic. God had told him what he must do and he had always been taught never to question the word of the Lord! Still, at first, he had been somewhat reluctant to take his soul to where it could be twisted beyond recognition. His concerns may not have needed to be given quite so much thought though for he was already more than slightly damaged goods.   He had often wondered what the first time would feel like; to take that first step and thrust a knife so hard into a body that it would break through skin, tear through guts, blood and organs alike. His actions could not be denied just by the turning of his head and the closing of his eyes tightly. In the end he would have to look and there was no ignoring the sensation of warm blood as it travelled along his fingers and then between his knuckles until it finally dripped onto the floor as it left the back of his hand.   He would be lost in savouring all the sensations of his actions rather than hurrying to see its final conclusion. He had tried it once on an old fat sow which only squealed loudly and bled heavily before making a good dinner albeit a bit tough. Not the perfect test in reality although there was something to be gained from getting used to the weight of the knife and learning the best grip to ensure his aim and control. In truth it was still only a hog which would sit on a plate without the fear of anyone being horrified unless of course they were a vegetarian. When it came to these ‘she Devil’s’ that was a different matter, he had no intention of eating such an abomination.   He would strip the flesh from their bones and cut them up into small chunks ready to mince but not to put into a pie with thick gravy guaranteed to invite another wiping of the plate with some fresh hot biscuits. No, worm feed was to be its destiny; just a little closer to hell whilst making sure the Demons had nowhere else to hide. You see only by totally destroying the body would the soul be able to find salvation in the embracing arms of an all forgiving and loving God. That is one thing the voices were adamant on. In time such whispers became too loud and strong, only through self-inflicted pain could the volume and images of thought be dimmed for a freeing moment. This was done with the aid of only a small insignificant penknife.   He would place the sharp blade into a festering wound on the inside of his thigh and when twisted it would test the most defiant of pain thresholds. He soon realised however his only chance of a long term escape would be in the act of obedience. Once he had accepted his purpose and allowed those taunting desires to peel away the restraints of his reluctant denial he found himself refreshingly liberated. Days, weeks and months passed into a year and he had killed so many times that the reason for counting had become redundant if not abandoned through familiarity. Maybe it was ten, fifteen, twenty or even more, that would not surprise him. To him it did not seem to matter now or even offer the slightest threat of sitting uneasy on his conscience.   A permanent callous had now formed on his right hand like a medal from hours of turning a rough wooden handle on a vintage mincing machine. His victims would be drugged and bound, then taken to an old mine shaft where their tongue would be removed to avoid the distraction of their pleading. He had got that down to a fine art; he would heat his sharp edged knife to a hot glowing red, grab hold of the tip of the tongue with a pair of pliers and stretch it out fully enabling him to cut clean through cauterising it at the same time. To him this would naturally be followed by the removal of their eyes, the windows of any soul even the darkest ones. By using a metal cocktail stick he would pop them out like fresh plump olives as he could always sense them watching, plotting and scheming and he felt uncomfortable by such and saw no reason to limit their suffering.   The only person he had ever told was his twin brother Billy who, of late, refused to even speak to him. Billy would only bury his head in denial deep under his pillows placing the words into a muffled dream where they could be buried forever and unanswered. He felt to give such madness credence may invite them to surface within him for they were twins after all. There was a time not so long ago in those minutes before sleep where some words would pass between them revealing everything from their daily deeds to their ambitions and dreams without fear of damnation but no longer, no more!

Billy had found love in the arms of Mary Jane and he would not betray or forsake it, not at any cost.   Love was not usually given to someone like him. It would only be flaunted cruelly as a tease to entice needs and break hearts only to be pulled away before it could deliver its promise.   Not his Mary, his angel, she did not laugh at his awkwardness as he shuffled from one foot to the other whilst his eyes were searching for that space between recognition and indifference. She loved him beyond reason or doubt and her heart would lift to a song at the slightest of his touches.   Those who called him strange or even retarded, an unpleasant word she had always thought to herself, could take their judgements to ears that were willing to listen for she had no time for such blind prejudice. They did not understand shyness was a terrible burden for those inflicted and should not be dismissed.   She knew the man with all her heart and soul, so if the world could not accept their love then it should at least release them from constant enquiry. Either way, one day they would be husband-and-wife without concern for how others may choke in surprise or even laugh and ridicule.

“Morning Billy it’s going to be a hot one,” Jason said whilst tapping a homemade pipe on the heel of his boot releasing some old stale tobacco.

Billy nervously gave a deep grunt in recognition and stretched his braces up and over his shoulders in the search for a little more security, at least in his clothing if nothing else.

“Don’t forget your lunch,” Mama shouted rushing out onto the porch behind him.

“You have got to keep your strength up now you have a new job, I’m so proud of you.”

She smiled and gave a gentle stroke of his face while saying,

“I’ve also put in a little extra!”

It was his first day at Dawson’s lumberyard and if it worked out he would soon have enough money for him and Mary to rent a little place together nothing grand mind but theirs’ just the same.   Who knows he may even find enough courage to pop that stomach wrenching and butterfly dancing question, will you marry me? He shuffled nervously on his feet as the idea touched on the edge of not just possibility but reality for a moment.

“Always the favourite one,” Jason muttered annoyingly to himself under his breath.

Sometimes he felt like he didn’t even exist in his mama’s eyes or plans so must be an unwelcome annoyance of endless disappointment.   If only she knew of his calling and those evil bitches he had ended so clinically and without mercy she might just show a little more respect.

He shook his head and thought proudly to himself that this was his path to do God’s will and he should seek no reward but just the same a little recognition wouldn’t go amiss.   Even his father just saw the bottom of a jug and would only open his mouth to swallow his own self-pity. Sometimes he would find the enthusiasm to throw a few choice curses in the direction of anyone within earshot.

Later that day Jason sat parked across the street from a small rundown motel in his dent ridden pickup truck more rust than red but the effect from a distance was similar and able to play a misleading illusion on most eyes.   He had made this his vigil for some time now; waiting and watching everything but in truth it was her who had undoubtedly held the interest of his eyes! A prostitute from the devil’s bosom carrying a curse of little or no virtue and able to suck not only the seed of life from a man’s body but also the grace of God to that point of total empty.   At least that’s what Jason truly believed for there was no place for doubt anymore but just unwavering conviction. It was unusual for him to study his next victim for quite so long. If at a later date he was to question himself about the reasons behind his change of routine it would be difficult on his part to supply a plausible excuse and maybe just a little revealing.   In reality he was beginning to enjoy not only the kill but the hunt as well and maybe all just a little too much, however, this vigil was soon to take an unexpected turn. Crystal was a hard-working woman in her way; true to say maybe lying on her back or kneeling in front of a man’s open zip but someone had to do it. What she would actually say was “someone needed to pay somebody to do it.”   Unfortunately in doing so she was unashamedly living up to at least one of Jason’s expectations and was now about to make her second mistake. She had an inquisitive mind and had noticed the parked truck along with its occupant over the last couple of days. Not wishing to miss out on the opportunity of yet another trick she decided a little proactive action was called for. She quickly touched up her lipstick with the aid of a small compact mirror taken from her bag, followed by an unladylike jiggle in an attempt to straighten her tight, shocking pink, pencil line leather skirt.   She then started to walk towards what was hopefully going to be a rewarding transaction. This was a feat in itself for her high heels seemed to have little to offer in the way of support or comfort and every so often would dart sideways causing her head to jerk forward suddenly. This would reveal a much-needed and way overdue blonde touch-up.

“Tap, tap, tap,” was the sound made by a slightly over sized engagement ring as its glass met the glass of his window.   Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but she was still waiting to make the acquaintance of one but for now a poor copy would have to suffice.

Yes she had been engaged to Joey for five years now.   He had always said that she could give up the tricks once they had enough money to start a new life but then again he also promised that the ring was real and he would get it resized one day.

Jason slowly opened the window halfway down trying not to reveal too much at this stage of the surprised expression which had planted itself firmly across his face.   He was feeling uneasy with his sudden discovery.

“Looking for a good time handsome?” she said, always straight to the point and abandoned by the ability to occasionally just be a little subtle.  

She even added a little shimmy for good measure.   Oh yes dancing was her dream but not one of those tacky dancers who left little or nothing to the imagination.   In her case it would be much classier than that for she would actually keep her panties on. She would also only work in a club with excellent hygiene and an even better dental plan.  There is nothing more important than your teeth or that’s what her grandmother would say each night before placing them in a glass of water beside her bed. Unfortunately for her, Jason’s idea of a good time had no resemblance to her own.   He lent across and with a bit of effort managed to open the stiff passenger’s door then turning back he said,

“Get in.”

“That’s what I like a man who can take control,” she replied as once again she tried to regain her composure and balance.

“God damn them heels,” she angrily mumbled to herself.

After successfully navigating herself around the truck and into the passenger seat she continued,

“Now baby, as for the cost.”

She always found it much better and more businesslike to get the financial transactions out the way as soon as possible.

The response was unexpected, first a fist in the face and then total blackout.   This showing once again the importance of a good dental plan and the need for some effective but reasonably priced concealer.

As she started to regain consciousness she could feel a more than uncomfortable tugging on the end of her tongue and an unwelcome knee pushing securely into the wall of her chest.   This was followed by a cracking sound from maybe a rip or two causing a sharp gasp for air and short lived distraction. More pain followed cutting through her senses like a hot knife through butter; so much pain and heat with the smell and taste of burning flesh.  Her thoughts were frantic in confusion and her body wet with fear and the stench of escaping urine. Her mind turning to the comfort of madness as it tried to hide itself from reality and then one final flirt with compassion, pleading to the point of an uncontrollable mind scream please stop, please stop.   However her mouth was only able to deliver one continuous and haunting deadly groan. Now she was paralysed by what could only be described as unthinkable suffering. In fact so debilitating was her situation she was unable to conjure up one single movement from either arms or legs for they were also bound tightly with barbed wire to a wooden farmhouse chair, in case pain and fear were not dependable enough to provide an unbreakable restraint.   Next came the removal of some tape and a purposeful pressing of two fingers placed upon her right eyelid and prising it to wide open. This discomfort did not deliver one morsel of worthwhile sight. A very bright light was unashamedly distorting any chance of vision. Trying to force the left eye to peek from behind its lid in an attempt of some kind of reinforcement made no difference. It had also been taped firmly shut and was unable to be little more than a blind partner in the onslaught and brutality to come.   Her wrists and ankles were beginning to crack and bleed and any defiant struggling would only encourage the arrival of more impressive wounds. Some unwanted blood was running down from the corner of her mouth but she was unable to investigate or even just remove it. Unfortunately her tongue no longer had sufficient reach from its new discarded position on the floor. A sounding breath of agony then ricocheted from the bones of her eye sockets to the plates of her skull. The driving force behind this being the point of a shiny metal cocktail stick as it now successfully removed her right eyeball. This was then dropped to the ground where a sounding crunch delivered by the sole of a deep treaded boot finished off the task.   It was soon to be joined by the left eyeball which was no longer given the securities of a tape made blanket to hide beneath until the monster was gone. More obstacles were soon to be underfoot with the arrival of her severed left-hand. This was not in an attempt to bring about divine intervention for it did not possess the ability to pick anything up. In fact if any miracles were available it would, without reservation, gladly keep them for itself as an erratic twitching of fingers was its only resemblance of life. He continued to disembowel and dissect her body piece by piece until the screams from the back of her throat finally stopped and all that was left were dead blooded chunks of human body parts waiting to be minced.

Next morning Jason awoke as normal giving a big wide yawn, rubbing his eyes and stretching his arms out.   He then noticed a note secured under one corner of an old dressing table mirror. He got out of bed and on a rather cold wooden floor he walked over cautiously and removed it and then began to read.

It said, ‘Don’t forget to pick Mary Jane up from work at 6pm.’

He had no remembrance of such a conversation with Billy.   He never even spoke to him these days and was sure he would have remembered if such open recognition had taken place.   Then again he had been preoccupied with doing God’s work and it had definitely become more consuming than usual of late.   Maybe this could be the catalyst which could bring about, at the very least, an improvement in their relationship. He decided not to analyse anymore but just reach out a brotherly hand and do as requested.   So that evening at six o’clock he sat in his pickup truck outside Rick’s Diner where Mary Jane had waitressed for the last two years. The passenger door opened and slowly she slid in and across the seat, whilst pulling the hem of her skirt gently down.   Then leaning across she kissed Jason firmly on the lips, not a peck but a proper kiss the kind only lovers give where a tongue slips between the lips and rolls freely in an inviting mouth. This was accompanied by her hand sliding up his inner thigh stopping with a gentle squeeze at his crotch; her fingers desperately fighting to force the buttons of his jeans to pop open one by one. Lowering her head and slowly sliding her body downwards she delivered a warm breath to the tip of his penis.   Stretching fingers reached up and pressed her nails through his T-shirt and into the wall of his fast beating chest. He seemed abandoned by self-control and almost any moral fibre. He wanted her so badly and in so many ways that images mocked his mind and tempted his lust. He pulled her up and placed her astride him and he thrust himself, without hesitation, deep inside her. She laughed and moved up and down at an ever quickening pace bringing an explosion of pleasure and a flowing wave of confusion.   Jason could not understand how she could betray his brother like this and how he could let her and where would she stop? All of a sudden like an epiphany it was all so very clear. He knew what she was and more importantly what he had to do now. She would suffer beyond imagination; there were no words to describe what he would inflict on her. This time it was personal, for he loved his brother even though they had drifted apart of late so with every strike of his blade and every piece of vile flesh removed she would learn just how much.   From that moment all he could do and feel were her newly manicured nails tearing away at the skin on his left cheek whilst a single tear rolled from the corner of her eye as he left her in an unconscious heap beside him. Once more he drove to the mine shaft; the place where he could release his anger and take Mary Jane to hell on earth. It wasn’t long before the only sounds were that of a mincing machine handle as it turned and crunched slowly. The picture was completed with the appearance of fresh blood stains on the palms of his hands.

The next morning Billy woke up with a jump, his bedding soaked through with sweat and the most anxious feeling sitting on the edge of his conscience.   Something was just not right, not right at all.

“Must have been a bad dream,” he said giving himself permission to relax.

He took a downwards glance towards his watch.

“Shit I ’m running late for work,” he thought as panic quickly washed over him, abruptly cutting short any thoughts of what his nightmare may have delivered.

With his clothing now half on and half off he ran down the stairs and out onto the porch.

A frantic female voice shouted behind him,

“Your lunch, your lunch Billy, you forgot it again and what are you doing going out with no breakfast?”

She continued with more than a little motherly concern.

“I can’t have my son getting ill because he isn’t eating properly can I?”

“What will people say or even think?”

“I’m a bad mother that’s what they’ll say.”

“Yes mama, sorry mama,” Billy replied turning around obediently.

She continued,

“What has happened to your beautiful face?”

Billy raised his left hand and touched his cheek feeling the desperate claw marks still slightly moist from congealed blood.   His dark pupils widened in his deep blue eyes as he said angrily.

“My name is Jason!   My name is not Billy, it’s Jason!”

Mama looking horrified said through tearful eyes,

“Don’t say that Billy, you know your twin brother died at birth.”

« Back to Short Stories.