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My Little Brother Caleb

All I want to do now is run away, deep into the forest, far out into the desert, or even just dunk my head underwater, and scream. Scream my lungs to shreds until I can feel the blood pumping through my skull. I can't believe what just happened. How could it have happened? Why did it happen? I wish I could just erase those horrible memories from my mind, and replace them with how I wanted everything to turn out.

I feel like someone has just taken the meaning of life away from me. It sounds silly, even when I say it out loud to myself. I don't know how to control my anger. So, at totally random moments, I just run upstairs to my room and scream as loud as I can into my pillow. My parents don't even come to check up on me anymore when they hear the muffled sounds coming from my room.

Man, I sound like I'm preparing my own death bed. I try to sound up-beat, but most people can sense the depressed vibe that I, sadly, cannot help giving off. No one asks what's wrong. If they do, I just respond with a simple shake of the head. Then I run to the closest hiding place that I can find where my silent cries and screams won't be heard.

The only way to soothe my pain (other than screaming my head off), is to go to school. It's weird, but that's where my mind is distracted the most. Since I'm usually the quiet one in class, no one really notices the deep purple bags under my eyes, and the distant look I give off when I'm thinking about…the incident.

A few people actually care. My neighbors, for example, are always asking me if I'm okay. "How's everything going Claire?" or "I'm so sorry for what happened." But, I only respond one word at a time. How can they even ask that? Of course, everything is absolutely not fine! How would they like if I came up right to their door with a big grin on my face asking how they're feeling about whatever happened to them. I wouldn't even care! Why put them through all of that misery? All I would be doing is bringing back all of the horrible nightmares that they are trying to avoid, even though it's no use.

At my bus stop in the mornings, everyone just stares at me. I don't really care anymore, and I just pretend like there's no one there. Before, when everything was still processing in my head, and I was still practically paralyzed from what happened, I yelled and screamed at everyone who so much as glanced in my direction. I even exploded at my friends.

There's really only one person who still cares about me, other than my parents who share my grief. Violet, my best friend who is practically my sister, is the only one who I can talk to. We've been friends for who knows how long. All I know is that she knows me like we've been in each other's presence for a very long time. Violet will sit down and listen to me scream and shout and cry and curse every curse word there is possible. She sits, and listens. Something no one else has the courage to do. And that's why Violet is my best friend.

Even though her parents hate me (although they refuse to admit it to both of us), I still jump over the fence to let out all of my frustrations in Violet's face. Sometimes I feel bad about it. I hardly ever hear anything about what's been going on in her life. I don't know why, but she's had the patience to handle me in this depression state.

But, what did happen? Sometimes I can't even remember. However, all of this thinking about how unbelievably stupid my neighbors are, and what they put me through sort of triggers something in my head. Anyone in their right mind would probably ask why I hate my neighbors so much. Well, after what happened to my little brother Caleb, I don't really trust anyone anymore.

Okay, before I say anything else. I will apologize in advanced for my yelling and the horrible, gruesome pictures that will come up to your mind.

It was when I was in eighth grade, and Caleb was in sixth. I was helping him through the stressful afternoons after the teachers gave him mountains of homework. It made me sick, watching the roller coaster of negative emotions run across his face every day. Yes, I went through those same, tiring evenings, but I couldn't watch Caleb suffer from it.

He was finally realizing that he wasn't hanging out with the right friends. I spent years trying to convince him how our troubled neighbors were leading him into the wrong direction.

And boy was I right.

I was just walking out the front door of my house, heading over across the street to retrieve my brother for dinner. That's when I sensed the danger. Three houses down from mine was where two boys, about my brother's age, lived. Their names were Mason and Max. They make me so sick; they have personally hurt me physically and emotionally.

But what they did to Caleb?just thinking about it makes my heart beat a little faster, makes my hands shake and clench up, makes my teeth grind together in anger of what they did. Maybe one day, when no one's around to stop me, I will take them into a dark field, and make them feel the pain not only Caleb felt, but what my family and I felt. For your information, I do realize that my ways of thinking are abnormal and unhealthy but I can't help it. I feel good when I let my anger out. It almost relieves the pain.

As expected, they were on scooters zooming down the street in the darkness. Hardly any cars drive by for I live on a much hidden road. Even so, I still unapproved of this; it was completely unsafe and just plain stupid but, insecure little Caleb, just 'had' to do what his friends were doing.

Mason and his father had built a ramp a few years back out of wood and nails. I have gone on it with my bike, so I suppose it's all right, but after many months of hard wheels, stomping young children, and horrible weather, was still safe enough?

Anyways, I slowly walked up the sidewalk, allowing Caleb a few extra seconds of time with his so called friends. Back then was when I actually smiled. I occasionally watched the three boys play around, calling out to them when they were being idiots. Mason and Max misunderstood me; they took me for a weak girl who could take a punch without running to her mommy. They were wrong, of course, but they still hit me, tackled me, and spit in my face. Since they were just little kids, I would only yell at them, but never would I hurt them, because I was better than that.

But, on that day, everything would change. Caleb was on the side, just watching as his friends raced and made weird sounds. "C'mon Caleb, go off the ramp! Pop a wheelie, do something!" they told him. By now, I was about half way there, barely listening on the conversation. Mason and Max were very good at peer pressuring, especially when it comes to my little brother. I suppose the many times Caleb and I have talked privately haven't made very good impressions. He reluctantly put one foot on his scooter, then pushed off with all his might.

He was flying down the street heading straight for the ramp. I could feel my own feet begin to quicken their pace; apparently it was a natural reflex for me to act upon my brother's actions that I took as a risk. Even when I broke into a fast jog, Caleb was still faster. I could see how the acceleration was making his blonde hair wing to the sides of his head.

"Caleb!" I yelled, trying to get his attention. I was too late; he gave his final kick to go at top speed and he soared off the ramp. My heart was beating so fast that I thought it would jump out of my chest.

My eyes shut closed as I waited for the cries of pain, but they never came. Instead I heard a Clunk as the wheels of his scooter hit the hard asphalt of the road. I let out a sigh of relief. Alright, I suppose I was a little over protective of Caleb, and discredited him for his mad scooter skills, but he was my only brother; my only Caleb that I was able to care for and help when things got tough. I almost hate thinking about him because it only brings back the tears and exhaustion.

Mason and Max cheered. Anger was bubbling inside of me. I was tempted to go over to them and smack their hands like little four year olds. But, I tried my hardest to keep my cool and not overreact. As I caught Caleb's eye, I could tell that he was sort of relieved. It was always obvious when he'd had enough of the obnoxious behavior from the two other boys. "Time to come in for dinner." I said.

"Claire! Why can't you learn to have fun? Hey Caleb, let's keep playing. You can wait a few more minutes can't you?" Max said.

Immediately I looked over to my brother to see his reaction. I could easily tell that he wanted to leave, but didn't want to disappoint his friends. You see, Caleb has a warm heart, and doesn't like to hurt feelings. He wants to please and make everyone happy. In some ways, it's a good thing, but in other ways, it could bring some consequences.

I slowly shook my head slightly. I had a feeling that it wasn't a good idea to stay outside when it was dark, cold, and just downright eerie. I felt as though I was involved with a gang. Mason and Max were glaring at Caleb just as I was. Basically I was in a battle to get my brother home, to safety, where nothing could hurt him.

Of course, I lost that fight. Mason and Max's stare was more intense and intimidating than mine, and they managed to cloud up Caleb's thoughts with what was wrong; what was risky. "Um-I guess I can stay out for a couple more minutes. Claire, will you go tell Mom that I'll be inside soon?" he said.

"Caleb, I really think you should come in and eat. Seriously, your food's getting cold, and-" But I was cut off by a weird rustling sound coming from the dark shadows of the fields just behind my brother, Max, and Mason.

My heart was beginning to pound. I was afraid of what the two wild boys were going to do. When Caleb looked in my direction, I motioned for him to come on home. His friends were distracted so it was the perfect time to run away.

But he was too slow. Max whipped back around; there was a look in his eye that told me all about the crazy thoughts running through his mind. "Let's go see what that was!" Max spun and nodded his head in agreement.

"No way! It's dark over there! What if there's a wild animal? Or, some guy with a gun?" I placed my body protectively in front of my brother's. There was a street across from ours that was literally the home to a bunch of bad people. I don't know what it is about that side of field, but it's filled with danger. There have been murders, rapes, houses burned down, robberies; pretty much anything you can think of that's considered to be unsafe. I didn't like that place.

Mason looked back as if to check and see if there really was a guy with a weapon. "Oh, there's nothing bad over there. We're just going to have a little peak at those bushes. What if it was a fox or a raccoon? Those are pretty cool! I've never seen any of them before."

I rolled my eyes. "Again, dangerous animals! Just let it go, alright?" I turned back to Caleb who was standing quietly and patiently behind me. "C'mon, let's go home already."

As I was beginning to turn around, however, Max tried to convince Caleb to stay. "Please? It'll only take two seconds! It'll be fun!" There was something about Max that made it hard to refuse him. I've noticed it many times before. Every time he gets hurt, and blames it on Mason, he gets all the sympathy and isn't blamed for a thing. Every time he wants something, he gets it in the best shape/form possible.
And it was having its effect on Caleb.

Without even mentioning a word, my little brother slowly began to follow Max and Mason into the darkness of the field. I didn't even notice it until it struck me that there weren't any annoying boys by my side. When I turned, I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat or two.

Caleb was nowhere in sight.

I immediately broke into a sprint through the eerie shadows. I couldn't hear anything, for the beating in my ears was so intense. I couldn't scream, for my throat was clumping up. I could barely even run, for my legs were slowly turning into rubber.

I was finally in the middle of the field where I could put the senses that I had to the best of their ability to find my little brother, but it was too dark to see a thing. No matter where I looked, it always seemed as though there was something moving in the corner of my eye. It was hard to imagine Caleb with two immature little boys roaming this eerie setting. I didn't want to move any further into the night and I definitely didn't want to move any closer to the other street.

However, as I was making my final round through the field in search of my brother, I heard it; what I had been afraid of this entire time.

The gunshot.





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