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Twins are similar in most cases. matching hair, eyes, complexion, height. The perfect sibling. A person who could switch places with you, someone who you can confide all your secrets in. Whether brother or sister, fraternal or not, someone to just.... be there. That’s not what it’s like with me and Tyler. He’s childish. Not creative or a good student like myself. No, my counterpart is my complete opposite, an awful territorial maniac who seeps through the cracks in my dreams.
Slap. Smack. Crack. The sounds of the school hallway traveled all around its inhabitants. Dark teenagers, vague creature of the night, plagued the high school area. Two in particular stood from the rest. A boy of no older than fourteen, Mac. Light brown hair covering the sun kissed features of his face, almond brown eyes staring into those of Tom, school bully. Tom repeated the last sentence, letting the words drip slowly from his mouth. “He’s nothing but a retard.”
Mac’s fists instinctively reacted. Pulling his arms up from his worn green jacket sleeves, Mac nailed Tom in the stomach. His opponent stumbled, but did not fall. A cruel smile lingered on his face as he re-approached.
Mac’s mind flashed before him with images of his brother. The home taped video where the two were born, two bouncing baby boys. No one understood until Tyler grew to two years of age why he receded so coldly from the touch of his mother, strangely spelling words over and over with his letter toys. A crippling diagnosis of autism. Mac distantly remembered the hospital. Flowery wallpaper acting as a sheet, disguising the depression and sadness that was caked into the very core of the building. Mac’s young mind couldn’t totally process all what was happening. As Mac shifted through his memories, he remembered more than what he could bear. The warm scratchy cloth of the hospital chairs. A dark man in white standing over the four family members with a synthetic smile plastered onto his cheeks. “I’m sorry,” his voice echoed.
Crack. another punch. This time Tom’s own fingers resting on Mac’s neck, knocking him down cleanly. Mac ripped his body from the ground and blocked another blow, mere centimeters from his head. A slew of students crowded the two, most not stating any words. simple onlookers. “Playing with his stupid toys all day.” Tom said again, wiping saliva from his mouth.
Mac’s eyes were taken from him as sights from another day filled his being. Tyler was not in sight, probably playing in the yard as Mac came home from a long school day. When he was in the seventh grade. Mac’s backpack was slung over his shoulder, leaving the world of school work and pain behind him as he took more and more steps away. A dark character loomed behind him without Mac’s knowledge. At that time Mac was within sight of his home. Two story blue paneled walls, the feeling of safety floods his mind as soon as he can see it. But that was when the man came up behind him. The crook of his elbow locked around Mac’s neck, allowing tiny gasps of air to escape into his lungs. “Got any money?” The guy demanded, the scent of smoke thick on his breath.
“No! I don’t!” Mac cried, thrashin desperately. But it was no use. He couldn’t overpower the guy, whom carried at least twenty pounds of muscle on him, black hair dripping with sweat. The guy didn’t believe him. “I’ll kill you if you don’t give me your money!”
Mac didn’t have any. The guy must have been desperate mugging him in the middle of the day, in plain sight of all of suburbia. No cars were around. No one to save Mac. That was when his arm crushed into Mac’s neck with all the strength it could muster. When Mac’s eye sight when hazy, he felt the pressure from his neck lessen and the guy’s grasp fall. When Mac opened his eyes next, he was in the front yard. Tyler was there with his airplanes, a piece of cloth from the mugger’s jacket still residing on Tyler’s shoulder. Mac tried to say something, but Tyler spoke first. “Brother.”
Mac shook his head back and forth. A blow to the gut had him bending over, trying to hold the contents of his stomach from going to the outside. A drop of blood trickled from his nose and onto the cold white floors. “Go back home to that retard! That freak won’t leave us alone!” Tom screamed, standing tall. All the teachers were gone in a meeting. The only one to fend for Mac was himself. The other kids looked sympathetic, while others smiled in agreement. “What has that freak got to offer any of us proud, functional people of the world?”
Mac lost control. He lunged at Tom, knocking him flat to the ground. Mac sat on top of his chest, pounding his skin. When Tom’s thrashing subsided, Mac slapped him on the face. Once. “Let this be a message to all of you. No one makes fun of him anymore. Not a word unless it’s a praise or you’ll end up like my good buddy Tom here.”
No one dared threaten Tyler again after Mac spoke his final words of the day.
“Leave. My brother. Alone.”