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I heard a rattling beside me and quickly flashed the knife from under my pillow that I never sleep without. I rolled off the bed and cautiously went over to the window, gripping the knife behind my back. I peered into the window which revealed my older brother.
I tugged the window open, blasting cold air into my face and sirens ringing my ears. I heaved him up into my room. I hastily bolted the window and closed the curtains.
Xavier panted and slumped on the bed.
“What are you doing here?” I hissed.
He shook his head and raised a finger to give him a minute. He clutched his stomach, waiting to catch his breath.
I shook my head. “Are the police looking for you? You got to get out of here!” I grasped his wrists and yanked him off my bed. He fell against me and it took all my strength to bear his weight. Liquid warmness flooded into my hands and gasped. “What happened?” I pushed him gently back on the bed.
He looked up at me with sorrowful eyes. “It happened again.”
My stomach plummeted. I glanced over at the wound and winced. Despite the darkness, I could see how much blood was dripping.
I bit my lip and tried to focus on what to do. The police will come searching here first. Xavier knew that. He shouldn’t have come over to have me stress over this.
As if reading my thoughts he said, “Alicia, I have nowhere else to go.”
I wanted to yell at him right then for his idiocy, but he wasn’t dumb. He was smart enough to stay hidden from the police for this long. He could’ve easily thought of a place to go.
Me? My mind was swarming for places for him to go. But I couldn’t just kick him out.
I needed to clean the wound. It would stain the bed sheets, which would cause questions. I gently pulled him up and into my bathroom. I needed to hurry.
I helped him out of his shirt and ushered him into the shower. I twisted the knob for cold water and left out a dark towel and my sponge.
“Make sure you wash off all the blood. I’m going to get a first-aid kit. Also, please hurry.”
I turned to leave, but he said, “Wait,” when I turned back towards him he said, “Be careful.”
I nodded. I closed the door and froze when I heard voices downstairs. My heart stopped.
No. No, no, no, no, no.
My dad was drunkenly yelling at voices that were controlled calmness, but had an edge of urgency.
I spun back around into the bathroom. Xavier, startled, dropped the bar of soap. I motioned impatiently at the knobs and pointed at a towel, not trusting my voice.
He wrapped the towel around him and I shoved him, none too gently, under the bed.
I jumped into my bed and wrapped my blanket around me. Oh! - My knife!
I patted around on the bed and found it, sliding it under the mattress.
Pounding on the door made me remember that I lock my doors every night. I hesitantly got up and opened the door to three officers and a red-faced dad behind them.
“What’s going on?” Proud that my voice didn’t shake.
“Step aside, ma’am,” the front officer said and pushed me gently aside.
Anger flared, but I shoved it away.
The man nodded to his companions and they started rummaging around my room.
Dad started to come into the room and I stiffened, avoiding looking at him.
The one that pushed me said, “May we please do this in private?” His voice indicated that there wasn’t going to be room for arguing. My dad’s face flushed angrily, but left.
I relaxed but I’m still worried about Xavier. Please don’t look under the bed… I thought as I dropped onto my bed.
The man crossed his arms and scrutinized down at me. I wasn’t intimidated. I met his gaze unflinchingly. Just don’t look under the bed.
“I’m going to ask a few questions, Miss Floy.”
“Alright,” I crossed my legs and clasped my hands as if I were at a job interview.
Irritation scrunched up his face, but it passes away swiftly. “When was the last time you saw Xavier Floy?”
I tried to loosen up my tense shoulders and calmly answered, “Two months ago.”
“How close were you with your brother?”
I shrugged, “Not much.”
One of the men dropped to the floor and peered under the bed. My breath caught.
The officer stood back up again and kept searching as though nothing happened. I could breathe again. Where is he?!
Unfortunately, for them, there weren’t many hiding places in my room.
The officer chatting with me hesitated before leaving. He stared at me for a while longer and left.
I allowed myself to break into a grin. But…
Where is Xavier?
Mama cowered in the corner, whimpering.
“Mama!” I screamed as the hammer jabbed onto her head. Dad laughed delightfully as mama limped, unconscious. “Mommy,” I shrieked, choking on a sob.
Dad turned to me and yelled savagely, “Shut up!”
“No!” I screamed, and added very unpleasant words that would’ve made Xavier proud.
Dad snarled and came towards me. I unsteadily stood up and whirled around and tried to run, but tripped…
I woke suddenly, my hair plastered to face in sweat. I looked at the clock and it read 7:15. I wearily sat up and got dressed for school.
School was much better than home, don’t get me wrong, but I always dread it. People, along with my ex-friends, give my pitying looks everywhere I go. I hear the whispering and see the pointing.
They also believe that they know the real story. Ha. Only very few do just the old paps, Xavier, and me. Only people.
And that’s probably for the best because in science lab, a new kid was my lab partner, but instead of discussing our experiment, he was just talking, asking questions, and whatnot. I was uncomfortable, because rarely anybody talks to me unless they have to.
I reply with short responses.
When we started the lab experiment I lifted the pipette high enough to squeeze the orange liquid into the tube and my too big jacket sleeve fell down.
“God, what happened to your arms?” Luke asked.
My arm was faint blue from all the old bruises, but the bruises from last week hadn’t faded much. Big, purple, ugly bruises circulated my arm.
I immediately dropped the pipette and pulled my sleeve down. My face burned and tears threatened.
“Whoa, hey, I’m sorry.”
I couldn’t look at him and abruptly stood up and walked over to the teacher to ask to go to the bathroom. I bit my tongue, it usually helped push back the tears, but tears leaked out. Once the tears started flowing, it wouldn’t stop.
I rushed to the bathroom to see two juniors brushing up on makeup.
Hiding my face with my hair, I locked myself into the farthest stall and cried silently.
I didn’t go back to science, for fear of seeing Luke again. I went to lunch and sat outside in the grass, nearest to the parking lot. I couldn’t wait for junior year, next year, to come so I could drive off campus for lunch. But no, I was stuck with a tray that has rice which looks like maggots and meatloaf that has hair in it.
I watched as students come and go, girls gossiping, and guys chatting about whose hot and who’s not.
An unfamiliar car drives in. I would’ve noticed it before because it stood out so much. All the students’ cars were old, battered, family cars. But this was a blazing red sports car. New rich kid?
My jaw dropped when I saw who stepped out of the car. Oh, my God.
My head twisted left to right before getting up and storm towards him.
Xavier face broke into a smile when he found me. His smile falters when he sees my expression.
“Xavier, you idiot!” I said through gritted my teeth when we got into hearing length and far enough away to not create a scene.
“Nice to see you to, Alicia,” X sighed.
“You shouldn’t be here,” I breathed heavily and tried to calm down. What was he thinking?!
He snorted, “Nobody’s going to recognize me.”
I raged, “Just because you were gone for two months, doesn’t mean nobody will recognize you!”
“Take a better look at me, Ali.”
I gaped at him. Instead of his blond hair, it was dyed black. He’s also paler than before. Paler than last night. How could I have not have noticed? I wondered to myself. Am I really that oblivious?
Xavier laughed at my expression.
I shook my head, “People can still recognize you. I recognized you!” I recognized him at first glance.
“That’s because you’re my sister,” he shook his head. “Anyways, I didn’t come here to say hi.”
He moved closer to fill the space in between us. He squeezed something into my hand.
I opened my hand to find a wad of one hundreds. “B-b-but –“ I spluttered.
“There’s more than that came from,” he smiled and motioned his head to the car.
“Where did you get this money?” I demanded.
But Xavier wasn’t looking at me, but heading toward the car.
“Xavier!” I screamed after him.
He got in the back seat of the car and called out, “New name’s Mason.” With that, he slammed the door and the car raced off. I stood there gaping after them, replaying the scene.
Xavier came home from football practice, looking shell shocked at the scene in front of him.
“Xavier!” Dad called out joyfully. He was entrapping me by the weight of his body on my back. “Come here, I want to show you something.”
Xavier stared down at me, horrified, and shook his head.
“Come on son,” Annoyance creeping into dad’s voice. “Remember how I told you about the light going off in their eyes? Well, this is your chance to see it!”
Xavier paled. He hesitated before nodding. Bile rose in my throat.
Xavier went behind his dad, as I squirmed and kicked.
“You see, son, it’s even more fun when they fight,” Dad smacked the back of my head and I saw black creeping in my vision. I fought to stay awake.
Then, the weight was off of me. I could barely sit up, though, but I could see that Xavier wrestled down to the floor and hit him with the hammer multiple times.
I ignored the dizziness and crawled over to Xavier. I placed my hand on his arm and said, “Stop;” only I didn’t say it as loud and powerful as I wanted it to be. Nevertheless, Xavier heard me and stopped. We sat there for what seemed like a long time, but probably only a few minutes.
I woke up and shuttered. No. I will never get used to the nightmares.
If Xavier hadn’t gone home, or didn’t stop dad, I’d be dead. It was too late for mom. We ran away, thinking dad was dead. He wasn’t. He was actually very rich from selling drugs and hired police to come after us. The police caught me after a week, but they couldn’t find Xavier. I wasn’t about to rat him out. The story was that Xavier killed mom, attacked me, and dad tried to stop him. Xavier brutally harmed dad and kidnapped me. The bruises on my body were all blamed on Xavier.
Whenever he is found on sight by cops, he kills them. Whenever it is safe again, and needed a place to stay, he rooms with me.
Later, though, I find out that that night when he arrived wounded, he killed two people to become a gang leader. That was how he managed to get all that money. He felt more and more natural every time he murdered someone. He becomes more reckless, when before he was the cautious, thought-through type. He looks more and more like dad.
I couldn’t handle anymore dead bodies killed by him, so as much as I loved him, I turned him in. I can never go visit him without the look of betrayal on his face.
Luke and I are in a relationship and he took me to school counseling. The counseling led to admitting about my dad, and now he is in jail for life.
I now have a caring foster family, a good boyfriend, friends, and a good future. Even though I lost my brother, and feel guilty every day, I’m much happier with the life I have now than the stress, pain, and worry from my previous life.