All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
It was my fault I was supposed to have taken care of him. It was my job, and I had failed. As my little brother, if by even only a year and a half, I felt responsible for the annoying creature I used to hate my parents for bringing home. He hadn’t been so bad these last few years, in fact, I dare say we got along. More than just putting up with each other, we now had a good relationship to the relief of my parents. In past years we screamed at each other nearly everyday in an ever present power struggle. As soon as the leaving parents closed the door we wear at each other’s throats.
That door. The poor, once white, thing has taken more of a beating than anything should be subjected to. We had a small tendency to lock each other out of the house. It was always a race to get to the house first when we got of the school bus. He smashed a shovel on the doorknob once knocking the golden thing clean off. The door was covered in dirt and potted plant soil from all of the pots we had chucked at it, and all of the mudballs we had thrown at the pretty, colorful stained glass birds and flowers. The mud and dirt still haven't completely washed off the door for some reason I still haven't figured out. I can't even begin to try to count the times that the birds and flowers have decorated the ground in a colorful, dangerous mess. Rocks were chucked it constantly as well, occasionally even bending the frame. Shovel and rake handles have been speared through it. I've tried kicking the door down a few times, but after fracturing my ankle on a particularly awkward kick I stuck to breaking the window, unless the shed was open, than the easier to fix doorknob found itself on the porch steps.
We did more the lock each other out and argue though. Our faces, like the door, took a beating. We took turns painting each others faces black, blue, and purple, with our fists. Our mother often came home to find the two of us on the ground, seemingly trying to kill the other. At first it frightened her, but as she got used to it, she more so became angry. However, we never fought dirty. Well, one time he did take a fist full of my mud brown curls and yanked as hard as he could. Fighting back tears, I kicked him as hard as I could in the groin. After that, we had a wordless understanding.
Shattering glass was another constant inside the two-story house. Eventually my mom stopped replacing the colorful vases. Until we were smart enough to take it outside, that is. The first time we broke a vase we yelled at each other, trying to force the blame onto our partner in crime, so we decided to just clean it up and not tell our parents. We just hopped that they wouldn't notice. He held the dust pan while I swept. We found ourselves laughing the whole time.
The ground was cold and hard against my skin, causing goosebumps to form. Where was I? For once everything had finally been going right and now…now this. I looked around, but it was pointless. Only darkness covered my eyes trying to drag me into oblivion. Surprisingly, my thoughts drifted towards my sister. We were actually siblings now. We could fight here and there and have it mean absolutely nothing the next day. It was funny considering how we used to be. I don't know why we used to fight as often and violently as we did. It feels like years wasted now. Just thrown away. Trashed. Until now, I hadn't realized it.
I broke my mom's long embrace. Questioningly, my dad looked at me from his spot on the coal black leather recliner across from us. I ignored it and hopped over the sectional and slipped into my black tennis shoes.
"Where do you think you're going?" my father demanded, almost sounding appalled.
"If they find him or find something out, I have my cell," I replied my tone escalating above his.
He started shouting at me, telling me if I dare take a step out that door that he'd do something or another. Although, I had already slammed the door shut, and by doing such I felt like I had lost a giant attachment to my only sibling. I loved that door so much. Taking only seconds to decide, I grabbed my purple mountain bike from the side of the house. I had to search for him myself. The police were too slow. I had just about nothing to go on except for the fact that we had our own spot in the vast forest reachable a few miles down the road. If I peddled hard it wouldn't take me very long, maybe fifteen minutes plus the hiking through the forest. Too slow. I threw my bike down, not caring about paint chips and tiny dents done by the jagged rocks that lined the rocky driveway. Besides our four wheeler was large enough for two people. My shoes squished through the mud as my hands tested the shed's doorknob, which was locked. Without hesitation, I grabbed a rock and chucked it through the bottom corner window pane on the door, causing me to smile. It was probably stupid, seeing as I now cringed with the red dripping off my arm, but I hadn't bothered to clear out the jagged glass that remained before stuffing my arm through the hole. The satisfying click of the lock made me yank the door open a little too fast for the already bleeding arm to move, but it didn't matter. Nothing did, except finding my brother. I lifted the long wooden beam, which had never felt so light, off of the large twin double doors and kicked them open. The keys were in their usual spot, waiting faithfully for me. I don't remember shifting the quad out of reverse or even hopping on, but soon I was zooming out of the shed. The rain hadn't been as bad as earlier, but apparently this little victory peeved somebody off, because it started down pouring again as I made my way through the bumpy, dead corn rows.
Rain sprinkled down to my face through the roof and my heart quickened as thunder made its presence known. Lighting lit up the room, but only a smidge. Something must've been blocking most of it from coming through. A few more cold drops plopped on my face. Suddenly a little surge of hope raced through me like a race horse after the gun fire. Between the rain and the lightning I must be on the first floor of this place. Where was that exactly? I attempted to stand, though my legs felt weak. I stumbled to one side of the room. It was made of wood, just like the shed back home.
Fed up with us our dad bought two sledge hammers, and then cleaned out the shed. At that time the wood was rotting horribly and it had this old, musty, nasty odor to it. He handed us the black hammers and told us to have a go. I can't remember who was more surprised, but after a reassuring nod our fourteen and fifteen year old selves wreaked havoc on the old shack. Ever ounce of anger, jealousy, and envy went into each swing. Shattering glass had never sounded so sweet. As it was, the wood practically collapsed at a normal tap; it never had a chance. To this day it makes the top five most fun things I've ever done.
However, the fun quickly ended. After we had demolished it, our dad told us to clear the rubble and build a new one. Just us two. As it turned out he'd already bought the supplies and we were to get started right away. He never picked up a single tool or piece of wood, but he guided us through the whole thing. The two of us worked for hours building it, and occasionally tapping each other just hard enough to leave a bruise when the director went inside to take care of something. After two shifts that equaled a day there was a brand new shed.
We both knew this must've been some evil trick designed to, gasp, make us not hate each other, yet somehow it worked. Things slowly got better after that. The number of broken windows and broken knobs decreased dramatically. We might've not really talked to each other, but it was better then trying to beat each other into a pulp. Somehow we've managed not to break a single window on it, and suddenly that seemed almost wrong. As if it just wasn't ours if the window hadn't been broken, as odd as it seemed. I now had the strong desire to break one of the windows on it; otherwise it just didn't seem complete. As soon as I get out of here that's the first thing I'll do. I'll have my sister break a window with me. Then, and only then, will it be ours.
My kid brother. I have to find him. I can't loose him now. It seemed like an eternity, and I barley took the time between the centuries to wipe the drenched, stringy hair from my face, but I finally made it to the forest edge. I didn't bother taking the keys out of the ignition, after all who was going to steal it? I tried to just take off sprinting, but I ended up with a face full of mud. My sibling always made fun of my whenever he caught me with a face mask on. As payback I covered his face in the green goop while he was sleeping and posted pictures around the school. He never got me back for that one. Obviously this sprinting thing wasn't going to work, so I resorted to a jog while I tried to wipe the much from my eyes. Nevertheless, some made its way past my eyelashes, causing my eyes to tear up in an automatic self-defense that I couldn't stop. My feet did their best to carry me across the slippery, moss covered forest floor, yet I still nearly tripped over every log in my way as the leaves tangoed in the cautioning wind. The dancers were too preoccupied to offer any shelter from the pouring rain. Thunder did its part by roaring; meanwhile the lighting was actually helpful as it constantly lit up the world around me.
I came to a small clearing. I mean it really was tiny compared the rest of the surrounding forest. It was in the shape of a blob, closing in on paint splatter with a small tree in growing near the middle that we had planted a little over a year ago. The grass, though still green, was horribly overgrown and trampled in most spots. That's all there is in our simple and secret spot, yet I used to find it pretty. I suppose I still do, evidently just not tonight. Tonight even the shed appeared to be hideous. They're awful reminders that he is missing.
We would always find each other here if something in our day went horribly wrong. The first, and only, time I asked a boy I liked on a date my brother found me here, crying. He just came over and sat down next to me with our shoulders touching. He said not one word, which I was grateful for. When I had had finally calmed down, he told me about the latest book he had just finished reading. I still remember it was about a boy and his pet bear. Really, it seemed odd to me. Shouldn't the bear have mauled the sixteen year old? Supposedly, it's based off of a true story, but I still don't know if I buy it. My brother, on the other hand, loved the idea. A boy and a bear: what could be cooler? I don't remember how the boy kept the bear from his parents, and I don't know why I remember it at all, but I've always been grateful for it.
I was able to repay him, though, only a few months later when his girlfriend of just over a year broke up with him. He never saw it coming. I don't remember what story I told him, yet I'll bet almost anything that he does. He's caught me there two other times, and I found him one other time after his best friend drank himself to death. He left a short, apologetic letter and that was it. That appeared to be out of the blue as well. I ended up crying with him. The boy hadn't been my best friend, but we still hung out a little. After his eyes were out of tears, he looked at me, told me I looked ridiculous, and then he just started laughing. Although I hadn't quite seemed like it at the time, it was probably out of hysteria that he started laughing. Besides me, he didn't really talk to anyone for a while after the event. My brother was practically a mute. His grades would've slipped dramatically if the teachers hadn't been sympathetic and taken pity on him. My dad tired to jump start him four moths later by telling him that "stuff'" happens, but people learn to move on with their lives. That silenced him again, even to me.
Buying a tree ended up being my solution. Dragging him through the fields, I blabbed on about nothing in particular while he listened. Just listened. I had already left the shovels and crab apple tree at the spot. It had only been about three and half feet tall, as the lady who sold it to me said it was easier to keep older and bigger plants alive. With our "green thumbs" I would've taken a full grown tree if I could've.
My dad had started yelling at me one night; a couple of months after my best friend took his life. I don't know what was running through my head, but I just quit talking to everyone again. My sister took my across the cornfields afterwards and went on about everything. How all of the teachers she had this year weren't too bad, in comparison to last years. Except, I remember that her AP history teacher, who bounced of the walls, was the polar opposite of her beyond dull math teacher. Also, she talked about the latest movie she'd seen with her friends. She complained about how all they ever wanted to see were chick flicks. They were all the same to even her. Then she proceeded to tell me about the last movie we had seen together. At the time it was some ridiculously stupid sci-fi film that through some miracle had made its way to the big screen. She informed me that some girl had gotten herself knocked up in her grade and didn't know who the father was, to the relief of more than a few guys. Furthermore, her friends had just had a mutual break-up with her boyfriend of just over seven months. Apparently, the spark just wasn't there anymore.
Eventually, we reached our clearing and I was more the a little surprised to see a tree in the center. She bounded like an excited puppy over to two shovels and tossed me one almost quicker then I could react. She said one word: dig. Drawing a circle in the ground she grinned at me and beckoned me to come over and start digging.
"Do you see how much dirt has to be buried with that thing? Get your butt over here!" she had demanded.
Once again shock made its way through me. After another moment I helped her transfer the dirt. It was silent except for a few birds chirping merrily, plus I'm pretty sure I could hear one wood pecker pounding away at tree bark somewhere. Somehow, it wasn't awkward at all. Feverishly working at moving the damp and heavy soil, we finally finished…with the digging. Our faces were shiny with sweat as it was and getting the tree out of the plastic pot was a challenge all in its own. She ended up sitting on the ground with the green pot while I pulled. Soil spilled everywhere, but the stupid thing finally decided to join the party. By this time our cloths were filthy, so falling over-dramatically on the ground didn't help anything. Then again who cared?
When our sudden bout of laughter was finished she began to tell me about the latest book she had read. Additionally, she said something about starting a new one and reached under the sweatshirt she was lying on. I didn't see the cover, but as she flawlessly read the first page I immediately knew what book it was. It was the story of a boy and his bear.
The novel was pretty short, barely reaching two hundred pages, so finishing it before the sun started setting wasn't an issue. Right off the bat, my sister began picking out all of the little flaws to make her case on how it couldn't be based of a true story. After all, bears eat people. Well, that's what she tried to convince me. To conclude our argument we agreed to disagree. What I love the most about that day is how she didn't make a big fuss when I started talking. The conversation was carried our smoothly. There were no looks of surprise, no gasps, no sudden pauses, just a normal talk.
I have to escape. My legs try to tell me different. Despite that I do my best to fight the always present temptation to sit down. My hands explore the wooden walls as more lighting makes me turn around. Filtering through a crack, the guiding light strikes again and I realize some wood is jutting out of the wall. The windows have been boarded up from the inside! The planks were a little thicker than preferred, then again, I would've preferred them to be non-existent. I use another flash to examine the rest of the room. Empty.
I quickly left the clearing. I couldn't stand being there anymore. I headed off in a random direction with not so much as a gut feeling. For all I know he could be in a different state. That thought frightened me deeply and I found myself running faster. I guess that wasn't my best idea ever, but it was better then sitting on the couch doing nothing. How can they just sit there?! It was quickly boiling, my anger. I was past furious, I was near corybantic. They could help! A little rain never hurt anyone. I was freezing, and I was out here. If I could freeze my butt off, so can they! For God's sake, they're his parents!
At least the police were out searching. That was the good thing about living in a tiny town. The police knew everyone, therefore the forty-eight hour rule for filing a missing persons report had never really applied. Today had been like any other normal, dry, boring day. School was going by slowly, and the bratty middle schoolers were clogging up both sides of the hallways. I had only one class with my brother due to me needing half of a science credit to put me at four. I ended up choosing space systems, and thank God he's in it because I'm the only senior. Everyone else was smart enough to pounce on it the first chance they got. Luckily, he ditched his friends to be my partner whenever we got them, so I wasn't stuck to be a loner.
The other kids find it odd that we get along as well as we do, so they think I'm over exaggerating when I say we've given each other more black eyes then the money they make flipping burgers. They really have no idea what we used to inflict upon each other.
Suddenly I just started crying. The tears came so unexpectedly. I realized that I've been holding them in all day. The salty droplets ran down like the droplets on the outside of a cold glass in the summer. As much as it pained me, I forced myself to stop in order to get my sobs under control. I was practically running blind as it was. Crazy blurry vision wasn't going to help anything. I had to stay strong for him. I was supposed to have picked him up from school today, but my work called and asked if I could come in early. He said he could get a ride from one of his friends, and that's what he did. She just had to stop at a couple of places to run errands for her parents before dropping him off at home. I don't know if it made a difference with all of the delays, but he took his bike somewhere instead of going inside because it seems to have vanished alongside with my brother. My guess is that he went to the clearing; however, there hadn't been any signs of the hand-me-down mountain bike anywhere.
I finally had gotten myself together when I heard my phone ring; well mostly I just felt it vibrate in my pocket. The caller ID revealed that it was my mother. I waited before I answered; tempted to just let it ring out, but then I figured it must have something to due with my brother.
I cautiously placed the phone to my ear and her voice, though fuzzy rang through, "Hey."
Immediately I could tell something wasn't right and my voice cracked, "What is it?"
"They've called off the search for tonight. They're getting no where with the storm. Why don't you head home? The weather's-"
Thankfully, I think I flipped the phone closed before yelling obscurities at no one. Normally I'm not one to swear, but did I do a number on the trees. I picked up a branch and swung it as hard as I possibly could, and instead of it snapping when it hit a tree, pain shot up into my wrists. This time I just ignored the blurry vision as I trekked onward.
I tapped my fist against the wood. After several, horrible and unsuccessful attempts at tugging on the wood that blocked the window I came to a painful realization: I was going to have to literally bust my way through the planks that were too high for my feet to reach. It probably wasn't even going to work. I had tried to kick the door down, after finding it, but it was too sturdy for my dead feeling legs. That urge to break the shed window at home was still with me, just like I need to break this one. The planks were more than intimidating. I was motivated though. I desperately wanted to see my family again. I wanted to tell my sister more stories.
I still remember the one time when we were little and she was actually nice to me. I don't quite remember why, but some kids were picking on me, and my sister saw it. Suddenly, I was scared out of my wits, but my jaw dropped to the floor when she shoved one of the kids against the wall. The look in her face and even just the tone of her voice, a low growl, was enough to strike fear into our very cores. Her words didn't matter, she was beyond furious and big, that mattered. She ended with something that was about leaving me alone and just like that she turned around and walked away. Mumbling something of an apology, they high tailed it in the opposite direction. I couldn't wrap my mind around how, even though we beat up on each other all the time, she still felt the need to stand up for me. Looking back on the peculiar event now, I think it must've been some natural protective instinct that was buried deep inside her.
Trying to figure out how I got here wasn't any help. One moment I was at the clearing, then I distinctly remember hearing footsteps, but when I tried to turn around, someone wacked me across the head with a heavy, blunt object. All of this put me here which was all I could piece together. As far as the room went, the only thing I had figured out with the assistance of the small crack and illuminating lighting was that there were a lot of trees around the shack. I could be out in the forest or simply looking over-looking someone's backyard. There was only one way to tell.
When I had finally built up the courage I didn't give myself anytime to think about it any further. I drew my fist back and unleashed it like a lizard catches a bug with its tongue. A grunt escaped me as the skin on my knuckles split open and lead to bleeding and I think a few broken bones, but I figured out it was worth it before I could examine the wood with my eyes. The loud cracking sound I'd heard let me know that it had split in half. More lightning was aloud through the window and into the room and thunder applauded my accomplishment. I tore my gray t-shirt sleeve off and wrapped it tightly around my right hand the best I could. Then, I tore of the other one and wrapped it around tightly. I cursed myself for nothing thinking of doing that first with the other hand as I added a sock to the wrapping. I sent up a little message to God as I mentally prepared myself for the next one. Holding my breath, I drew back once again. With as much force as I could, I propelled my fist forward with the same result. The pain in my left hand was barely reduced by all of the wrapping despite my best effort. It was some of the most excruciating pain I've ever felt in my life, on the other hand, it was better then my only other option which was to stay here.
All I had to do was brake the glass and hoist myself up through the window, and then I'd be home-free. I turned my head so it wasn't facing the window as I lifted my elbow head level and my elbow made the glass sing a song I knew could never be improved upon. I was working on scrambling out, but a scraping on the door, and a couple of clicks. One drawn out eerie squeal fought its way through all of Mother Nature's fury.
I was sprinting now and for the first time I had a good gut feeling about where I was heading. When it first reached my ears I was confused, but I was sure I heard it; some one had called my name! Hope warmed me from the inside out as it filtered through my body. It quickly turned into a fool's paradise when I was the two police officers making a bee-line for me. I knew they were here to bring my home, there was no other explanation. My plain to evade them quickly came to a stand still because I had just been herded like cattle into two other officers. Each took one of my arms, so I struggled, and screamed. They lifted me off of my feet and closer to the sky. I was fighting with every single ounce of strength I had. I tried to tell them I had heard him, but obviously they didn't believe me. So I kicked my feet as hard as I could at the air. This time the obscurities were directed at people, but the still fell on deaf ears; just like the words they were trying to use to calm me down. I'm not sure how, maybe because the rain had made everything slick, but I had managed to slip through their iron grasp.
Stupidly, I had gotten myself caught again, and some threat about handcuffs barely registered in my brain, yet the shrieking started all over again, I had an opportunity, that I pounced greedily on when they lowered me to get a better grip. My feet touched the ground long enough to twist my torso in a quick jerking motion. I was, through a miracle, free again. I didn't was my time. All those years of track had paid off as I was sprinting through the forest. His name threw itself out of my mouth above it all. Above the fore-warning wind, above the still tangoing leaves, above the constant droning shower, and even about the roaring dragon in the sky.
"Abby!" this time I had no doubt about it: he had called my name.
Yet I could tell something was wrong. In a different kind of way than when my mother had called me. It took a moment for the desperation and fear in his tone to register with me. I wanted to go faster, but legs wouldn't respond.
I screamed again, "Kyle!"
"Abby!" this time I could hear the officers shouting orders to each other behind my. They had heard him. There was a chance for a happy ending. He was alive and we had the direction.
I called for him again, but what I expected was missing. Where was his calling to me back? I tried again. Nothing. Just panic and despair. A few more yards passed under my feet and the lighting lit up the silhouette of a small, random shed. The police officers sped past me and I could see that there was a busted window. Our signature. Somehow I had found him, I had found my kid brother, but most of the officers had gotten there before me. I heard someone yell something about hot pursuit while two of the remaining officers entered the shack. Upon trying to make my way to it, I was stopped by three officers. Maybe I would've made it if I hadn't yelled his name again. My heart felt like it was going to melt out of my ears with how loud blood was pounding through them. If I was panicking before I don't know what this is.
Adrenaline was pulsing through my veins as I continued to fight to get away from the officers. They weren't letting my go. It meant one of two things: the unthinkable or they just didn't want me to get in the way of any medical treatment. I finally stopped struggling and concentrated all of my energy on praying for the latter. I'd been praying this whole night, to God, our guardian angels, anyone who would listen. I tried to bargain my own life with God in order save my brother's. I prayed and prayed.
But sometimes God sucks. Sometimes no matter how hard you pray, plea, and attempt to bargain with Him, He just doesn't care. He won't listen.
The official time of death: 11:52P.M.
They eventually caught up with our families personal Lucifer's. I was convinced that this horrid wretched act could only be committed by the devil himself. They were two males in their late thirties that no one knew. Apparently, they were just looking for a way to pass the time. That's what the official motive was, so in retrospect there was no motive. They received life in prison with no chance of parole, which infuriated me. In all honesty I wanted to see them get pumped full of chemicals until their last breath exited their bodies. I ended up getting escorted from the courtroom after making a persistent attempt to go at them like Kyle and I used to. I was only allowed back in the room to witness their sentences being read off.
I bawled for days on end until I was able to space it out to every other day. Now, I didn't even have my brother to comfort me. No, he had been yanked out of my life. I was by myself since my parents were dealing with the loss themselves. They received the backlash of my mixing bowl of emotions. I had blamed them for asking the police to drag me home, but later realized if they hadn't, I would've stumbled upon the two and gotten myself killed as well.
I took a sledge hammer to the stupid, evil shack. I started with the unbroken windows and then just went a little crazy on it. Even after it was in shambles on the ground I still attacked it with wood chopping motions. It would never be gone from this world enough to satisfy me. I left the sledge hammer and avoided the clearing on the way back I'd made the unwise choice of going through it on the way to the shed and instantly starting weeping. When I returned home, I threw a rock through every dumb window in the shed we had built together in a day. I just hoped Kyle wouldn't mind because it felt like the right thing to do at the moment.
I found myself changing in little ways. For instance, the things that made me laugh and smile changed, I was less cautious, but at the same time I wasn't as happy-go-lucky as I once was. While I refused to go into the shed, and months later I started watering the crab apple tree almost everyday to make sure it stayed alive for Kyle. Perhaps the biggest change was that I now believed that the story of the boy and the bear could be true because the way it's explained is surprisingly very similar to the relationship of a brother and sister. Unbreakable.