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Anthill

No one would ever expect me to be anywhere in the vicinity of Macgrove King. Yep that is his name. Maybe that should’ve been my first clue when I saw the androgynous , , pain free kid , letting fire ants crawl up his hand. People walk by and gawk when they see the little red dots flicking off his fingers. His face was blank and shows no pain at all but the other students move along to class. “Could you be normal for once!!?” I said while wiping the ants with my notebook. He stayed next to me with his spiky dyed hair and held my hand. If you think that we’re dating that’s far from the truth. He’s actually my step brother.
It was in elementary school when I first saw this. At the time I never could’ve comprehended I would have any relation to him. It was already traumatizing seeing him at the bus loading zone as he kicked ant hills and let them swarm on his ankles. The kids even at the time of bug eating and nose picking were disturbed when he stood there smiling with swollen ankles. A kindergartner cried and tattled and the others went on the bus as fast as they could . Macgrove always was his own island at school, the bus , and even walking home. No one dared to make contact with him. Everyone was sure that the little boy who enjoyed pain was surely bound to strike it on them.
Years later I never once thought of Macgrove. In school I had my own life with popular friends and a huge spot in color guard! Middle school was great for me whether the adults agreed or not from their experiences.
At the end of the day I would come home to see my mom wearing her spandex pants and heaping bowl of mac-n-cheese in her hands.
Her boyfriend , Ivan, would come over and they would sit at the kitchen table holding hands and laughing. Mom always has the most beautiful smile and golden flippy hair to match her sunny attitude. Her boyfriend of 3 years was a catch too and seemed to really care for my mom. Overall life was normal , not glamorous or dramatic but normally pleasant.
“ Honey make sure to put on something nice!” she yelled over blaring Spongebob. I groaned , flipping through the channels. “ Wahhhyyyy?” She dusted and started the vacuum up , making the house more loud. “ We’re going to have a special dinner tonight.” I doubted it was in anyway going to be special for me, “ Do I have to go?? Can’t I just go to Amy’s house!?” Mom vacuumed beneath my feet and cupped her hand on my cheek. “ Please.. This means a lot to me.” I couldn’t argue with that face.. “Alright but don’t expect me to wear pink.”

Candles were lit and the house smelled of lavender and fresh linen. I walked around and felt the soft carpet when the doorbell rang. Looking back now I should’ve hid in my room, throw a fit and ruin the whole night , or simply run away, but I was clueless to the future. I opened the door to see Ivan smiling with flowers in his hand. “ Hi Jessica! It’s nice to see you!” Mom walked behind and gave him a kiss on the cheek and giggled over the pink roses he handed. “ Aww you remembered my favorite color!”
I looked beyond giant Ivan and saw the unexpected. There in my front yard burning his jeans at the knees with a lighter was Macgrove. “What was he doing on my yard!? What if the neighbors saw?”
Ivan turned around and in a stern voice said “ Come on Mac and introduce yourself!” He stumbled over and I felt my throat close up.
“This can’t be happening !?” I thought to myself . Many questions slammed my mind as Macgrove stood by his father and looked down. His dyed purple hair fell over his eyes and his intricate dark clothing suited the grimness.
Mom hugged Macgrove without a thought and he tensed up and had large blue eyes peeking through the bangs. . “ Make yourself at home !”, mom chimed. I was hoping the opposite as he flopped on MY couch and continued burning his knees with the lighter. Ivan tried to make small talk , awkwardly “ Umm I’m sure you two already know each other from class ha ha !”
Macgrove snapped his neck and with a clear voice said “ We don’t have any classes.”
The silence continued and I started to wonder . “ Who the hell is Macgrove? Is Macgrove a boy or girl!?” I scanned over to see any clues but nothing rang a bell.
I saw the intense gaze in the candle light as Macgrove dipped his fingers in scolding wax and letting it freeze on. The wax dripped onto the table but he didn’t apologize. He didn’t even flinch when the flame grazed his skin. Did he not feel pain? Was something wrong with his nervous system or something ?
“ I hope you all like lasagna !”, mom cheered when she turned on the pop station and swaying in her chair.
Now he was sitting in MY house , eating MY food , and stealing MY comfort. The meal couldn’t have gone any longer as I glared at Macgrove’s flawless hands twiddling the knife. His gaping eyes stared back like a cat bored out of it’s mind.
Our stare down was interrupted when mom clinked her wine glass and held Ivan’s hand. Her face was overwhelmed with happiness and Ivan radiated joy to the zoned out Macgrove.
“ I just wanted to announce that .. we’re going to get married!! Isn’t that exciting kids!?
We’re going to have a small wedding and you’ll be my maid of honor Jessica and then we can be a big happy family! “

I was too shocked. How the hell was I going to survive?! Did she even consider to think of my sake? Does she even care that I am stuck with this freak!?
Macgrove didn’t look phased by this news and kept clinking the knife during the silence.

“Is something wrong honey?”, mom asked.
Ivan looked over at Macgrove who was still speechless, “ I think it’s just a lot to take in.”

I don’t remember anything from the rest of the night. For the first time I wished someone would die. Or better ! I should just die but I was preparing for that when the news spreads to school. Maybe I’ll even be dead before the word gets out because my new sibling killed me.
I knew my life would change and was too nearsighted to see the positives. All I saw in front of me was that same freaky kid from the bus zone..


The weekend arrived and the genderless Macgrove rang the door bell with boxes stacked high. He actually smiled and his hair was flat and unstyled, you could actually the big eyes even more and the freckles on his cheeks with the hair back. “ Which room is mine?” he asked still smiling. I pointed to the room next to mine avoiding the question. It’s not like I could just plain out ask “Are you a boy or girl?” That would make me look like an idiot. Macgrove’s voice was deep but not deep enough, it also had a soft tone that made it seem more like woman . The shirt didn’t help either because it was baggy and left a lot of to the imagination.
“I’m actually happy about this! I’ve always wanted a little sister to torture!” , Macgrove said. I gulped wondering how far from the truth it really was but the only reply I could give was slamming the door.
Mom knocked on the door persistently but I just wanted to sleep forever. “ Sweetie Did something happen??”

“NOOO Mom ! It’s nothing !!”
It really wasn’t nothing. In the room
next to mine was probably a guy with throwing knives and chains waiting to torture me.
I skipped dinner that night because I didn’t want to sit at the table and act like everything was fine and dandy.
I avoided Macgrove for weeks and stuck with the usual patter of “ My day was good ,I have a ton of homework , See ya at dinner.” , to mom.
I still didn’t know if Macgrove was a boy or girl which irritated me the most because anyone would like to know that basic thing of a “step-____” I didn’t even know how to fill that blank in!
It was midnight and I thought I could sneak past Macgrove’s room without getting attention. Oh if I had a picture of my face when I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth , it would be priceless and hanging in a art gallery with how it resembled the “Scream”
Standing right there was Macgrove shirtless with a toothbrush poking out the mouth.
“YOU’RE A GUY!!???”
His eyebrows creased and he turned back around , “ Yeah I’m a dude.. It’s nice to see the preppy ghost sister again.
“ Sorry but I’m not your sister. You might be my step-.. brother” getting used to the role, “ but I’m not your family.”
He continued to brush his teeth when in the reflection I saw a trickle of blood down his mouth. If you think this is leading to a vampire story you must think I’m a complete trite fool. The blood dropped on the sink but he did not seem to notice till he heard me scream “ Oh god!!! You’re bleeding everywhere!”
He gave a taunting smirk as he put in the new lip ring “ What? You afraid of a little blood?”
I didn’t have an answer because I was watching the blood drip with a steady beat in the sink. I just paced and he went to his room leaving a small trail behind.
“ Geez this is your house too now!! Clean up this mess!”, but he fell right on his gray bedspread with headphones blasting out Gorillaz. I looked around the room ..
It seemed normal enough with CD’s stacked everywhere, clothes strewn about , card house balancing on his desk . The somewhat typical high school boys’ room , He noticed I was in the room and gave empty stare . He always looked worn out, like a beaten dog hiding behind trash cans most of the time.
“I know you hate me..” , beginning to hide his face under his pillow. “ Everyone hates me. It should be a normal thing to me now.”
Everything was too awkward and I felt the pressure to do something overwhelming. I barely knew Macgrove, just a few minutes ago I realized he was a guy . So it definitely was not my place to pry.
“ Thanks for putting up with my nonsense. Goodnight” he said.
“ uhh yeah goodnight”, I weirdly said as I closed the door slowly.
It was hard for me to sleep with all the confusion. Did I actually have a sliver of care for the psychopath in the next room? Was I wrong to be so judgmental?
Then I remembered how calm and cool he was with blood dripping down his face and hid deeper under the covers.
That morning he sat across from me at the breakfast table with droopy eyes and a major bed head. Ivan reprimanded him saying “ Boy you could’ve waited till after the wedding to dismantle your face. You know your grandma will pitch a fit when she sees you!” Mom flipped eggs saying “ I’m sure it will be just fine ! Don’t worry sweetie he’s just nervous since the big day is coming up!”
I was reaching for the syrup when I see Macgrove already had it. It was stupid every little thing he did bugged me . “ Give me the syrup.” He kept pouring slowly and tediously so I went to grab it out of his hand. Macgrove pulled back and scrunched his eyebrows “ Looks like someone has the case of Only- Child syndrome, that’s why you don’t know how to share..”
I felt my muscles spasm and without thinking about it I slapped him across the face and the lip ring flew across the room and hit the wall. A tiny splat of blood was on my finger and I could see him smiling as he poked the open wound . Mom knew I crossed a line. She screamed , “ Go to your room!!!!!! You’ve had enough breakfast !” throwing my plate in the sink with it’s full platter. Macgrove didn’t seem to be mentally checked in because he continued eating with blood down his chin like some deranged zombie. He didn’t feel the slightest bit of remorse for what he said! I got the heat because he was a smart ass!!
I rushed to school to see if I could get there in time for the paid breakfast. I ran to the bus hoping I could escape the dreadful truck ride with mom. She always drove me in that truck when she wanted to talk about my feelings or have deep conversations. Now was not the time for that!
The bus was crowded and stunk but better than the “ Let’s have a talk.”, truck.
Some of my friends were on the bus and rushed to sit next to me.
“Spill it girl! We saw the moving van last Saturday.” I looked out the window trying to change the subject “ Isn’t that interesting all the houses are either white or yellow.” They ignored my observation and said “ Who is it!?? Is it Lance Bagaleo ??” Another girl stated “ Oh my that would be somethin’” May interjected , “ What if it is Chris Balsa ?!!”, where they joined in a unison of “ EWWWW”

“It’s too bad he’s been with Kelsey for three years now.. They are practically married when you think about it.”, may solemnly stated.
“ This is too depressing..”, I sighed out.
I could only wish.. I would kill to have a Lance Bagaleo shirtless in my bathroom. I wouldn’t even mind having skinny snotty Chris at the dinner table everyday.

As the day went on , I feared that Macgrove would bring attention to me but he just passed by without looking like the years before.
“Who knows maybe I can pull off this charade till we graduate!” , getting a bit too cocky.

My last class of the day was gym.. I loved being able to run and be active after a whole day of sitting . It was like my grown up recess. When I went outside to get a Gatorade in the vending machines I heard something slapping around the corner. I turned and saw the purple hair being pushed back and forth. There was Lance Bagaleo holding Macgrove by the shirt and slamming him hard into the brick wall.



Macgrove was smiling as his elbows bled from the course walls. Lance yelled “ Why the hell are you smiling!!? You like this??” Macgrove laughed and his smile got more delightful with mad eyes, “ Can’t you see! No normal person would enjoy this but lucky for you I do. Is there any satisfaction from beating someone who enjoys it? I don’t know unless you are into that kinky stuff.”
The pushing got more and more violent and Macgrove’s head even started to hit the wall with a large thump. Lances’ face was bright red with anger and you could hear him growling to get any flinch of misery on his face.
When he punched Macgrove in the face I could hear the wind behind his fists . As if it were slow motion Macgrove’s lip ring clinked on the concrete. His face was turned towards me and his big eyes were looking straight at mine. I ducked hoping he didn’t see me.. “Why should I help him? It’s none of my business.”
The bus ride was pleasant as I thought about what Macgrove could’ve done to provoke such a cool guy. Seriously why would the popular Lance waste his time with Macgrove unless he started it? That was just the only thing that made sense to me.
As the bus loaded I saw Kelsey in the opposite seat with that gloomy look she always had. She was one to always be sad after her dad passed away during middle school. She wore tight shirts that were too short and had smeared eyeliner after crying in the bathroom most days.
She ran to Lance and hugged him as he swung her around and laughed. “ Bye babe!”, Lance yelled across the parking lot. I couldn’t help but envy her..
Mom was giddy in her new wedding dress, closing the door so Ivan couldn’t see. I didn’t bring up what happened this morning , fearing that she would be reminded of punishment.
I heard the door open and Ivan yell “ What happened!!?” I peeked out and saw Macgrove looking down.. “ I fell down a hill.” Ivan grabbed him and leaned down “ Mac you can’t give that same excuse!! A hill doesn’t do this to a person!”
Macgrove was covered in scrapes and dried blood on his arms , his hair was sticky , and worst of all there was a huge welt on his cheek. Mom looked out and ran out the room “ Oh no sweetie ! Are you okay!??” She completely forgot about Ivan seeing her in the wedding dress.
Macgrove looked bitter, “ It was just a hill..” Ivan interrupted “ No son, I know you think things will get worse if you tell but I need you to know the truth.”
It was just silence till Macgrove looked straight at me. Oh GOD he knew I saw!!!
Mom turned to me and asked “Jessica do you know what happened ??”
My stomach fell into a pit.. For the first time the whole day I felt remorse. Not any remorse for not stopping it but for getting caught. “ Um I don’t know .. I didn’t see him all day.”, was the only excuse I could blabber out. Macgrove looked even into my eyes but I couldn’t look at his. Man I really sunk to a all new low .. Maybe I deserve whatever evil plan he had for me.


The wedding came at a rapid pace and many guests from both sides came. I had to pose for many photos with everyone. It was inevitable that some of my friends were going to be there since their families were close to ours. When the ritzy classical started and we went down the aisle my friends were soon shocked into silence when they saw my new step brother. Not once , even with all the jokes, did they expect this..
For the wedding pictures I always stayed beside my mom until the photographer said “Okay just the kids now!”
I stood next to him and he put his arm on my shoulder. Most of his arms were still bandaged and he had a thin less noticeable bandage covering the bruise on his face. I tried to squirm away but he held on tightly and gave a big smile for the camera.
In the picture my head is turned looking at him. I am not creeped out or happy , just in awe. Who is Macgrove King..?


The honeymoon started soon after. “ Ivan I just don’t think they are old enough to be left alone..” mom worried. Ivan was packed and ready and packed her things also. “ Nahhh they are fine! They have keys and know how to dial 911. They are practically high schoolers !” Mom was hesitant and I felt like I was four again . When she left the house I was this close to crying and pounding on the door like every morning at the daycare.
Macgrove was happy as can be as he shoved them out “ Have a good time hot shot!”



The door creaked and came to a close as he turned and looked at me. His eyes were not sad and pitiful .. They were icy and confused.. He held his eyes to mine for what felt like forever before stepping forward . He was so close to my face and I froze in fear. I could barely breathe as his eyes reflected myself in the mirrors of blue.
He turned suddenly and went to his room , leaving me exhausted and terrified..
I would have to spend the whole spring break with Macgrove. All my friends were gone on vacations and I had nowhere to go.
We spent the first two days avoiding each other as much as possible. We didn’t look at each other and he mostly huddled back to his room after grabbing a handful of food.



It was on the third night that I saw the truth. I heard the screen slapping and the blinds shuffling a lot. I opened Macgrove’s door slowly and as I expected saw the window opened. I went to close it as I peeked over my back.
“Where the hell is he?”
It was then I saw the dark reflection and gleam of his eyes outside. He was holding his ribs and his lips looked like pink raw fish that sat out too long.
I slammed the window shut with a loud clang but he just laughed,
“Jessi! Let me in !! Pretty please!”, he giggled
“ Don’t call me Jessi !” I yelled as I opened the window back up.
He climbed still holding his ribs till he gasped and fell on the floor.
“ Macgrove!!!!!! What’s wrong!!!??” I screamed as I pulled up his shirt.

He smiled as he gripped tighter on the large bruise. “ It’s nothing I just have the wind knocked out of me.”, he said between breaths . “ Just… put me …on the bed.”
I helped him out a bit before he flopped on the bed and hysterically laughed.
“ Do you want me to get you anything? Ice ? Water?”
He just kept laughing as tears filled his eyes . “ Hehe I don’t need anything!”
The laughter slowly died but the tears kept flowing as his eyes shined sorrow.
He covered his face trying to hide the tears.
“ Why are you still standing there!?”, he said while his voice cracked.
“ What is wrong with you!!?”
He got up and streams of pink remained on his cheeks as the lips slowly moved. He got closer and closer with a cold glare. “ It’s best if you don’t ask any questions..”
“ But how am I going to explain this to my mom!?” I asked while scooting farther away.
“ Believe me it’s best if you just butt out.”, in a icy voice.
He wiped the tears around his eyes and gently pushed me out .

I stomped to my room , “ As if I want to know!!!!” I screamed as I slammed my door.
“Why is it I wanted to know what happened? Why do I actually care if he doesn’t want me to know?”, I whispered to myself.
Something about seeing him that way was unsettling.. I preferred thinking he was the crazy sadist than a victim. Yet how would I know..








Captain Crunch got soggy in my bowl as I checked the news real quick for anything that mentioned Macgrove. It was better to be safe than sorry . Macgrove came out with dark circles under his eyes and a cowlick.
“ Do you mind if I eat the rest of that?” he asked in a droggy voice.
He plopped down and sighed“ I know you are pissed at me but I just wanted to say I am sorry.. I didn’t treat you like a sister and you were just worried.”
I looked away and kept closed “ I’m not your sister idiot!”
He smiled and changed the channel. “ Can you forgive me Jessi ?”
I grunted still refusing to look at him .
“ You’re stubborn but that’s how all kids with Only-child syndrome act.”
I yelled “ You were a only child too!!”
Macgrove gave a light hearted laugh and patted the top of my head . “ Yeah you are right.”


The day actually went pretty well.. We had a lot more in common than I would ever imagine. We both love cartoons and the stars out in the boonies. We also both hated scorpions and the crowds in the halls. We just sat on that couch most of the day watching old cartoons and sharing childhood stories. As he told his adventures it was hard not to picture the little boy with fire ants on his ankles. Not once did I see him have a friend or really stand out for the most part.
Before we knew it was eleven at night and Boomerang delighted us with Speed Buggy. The blaring blue light shined on our faces and I kept glancing at his carefree smile.




“ I mean seriously didn’t the animators have a imagination?? It’s practically Scooby Doo with a sputtering car instead!”, he exclaimed through the commercials.





When out of nowhere we heard something banging loudly outside. Macgrove’s eyes widened and he got up in a instant. “ It’s probably nothing ..”
“ We should check toget—“ , but he cut me off. “ No I can handle this.”
He went outside and strutted towards our knocked over trash cans. I looked out the window and saw him talking to a silhouette .
I could hear the faint tones past the window as the cool glass pressed my cheek.
The murmurs spoke , “ Don’t you have other things to do ? This is just annoying..”
Who is Macgrove speaking to??
I couldn’t hear the other person but as I watched the silhouettes disappeared into the spring night.
I waited for Macgrove to walk in but the door never opened.
He must actually have a friend.. Of course he wouldn’t want to be cooped up with me .
We are just from two different worlds.



My body was planted near the door waiting for him.. It’s not like I care ! I just can’t be blamed if he gets in trouble.” , I ranted .
A hour passed by when he finally entered.
“ Did you have fun with your friends?”, I said sarcastically.
Macgrove didn’t answer which just made me more furious.
“ I bet you were out torturing people! I wouldn’t be shocked if you had accomplices!”
He didn’t even respond.. he just slowly walked to the bathroom and closed the door.
I didn’t give a damn if he was taking a crap I wasn’t going to be ignored!
The door flew open and I saw him hunched over the sink shirtless. His head bolted up staring at my reflection. My eyes followed the trail of hickeys on his neck and chest as the scratch marks on his back revealed much more.
He threw his shirt back on and briskly walked to his room. I was completely stunned..
Macgrove actually has a girlfriend. My cheeks turned red thinking of him with a girl doing those naughty things. I was quite popular and I still never got that far .. “ Is it just a goth thing?” I thought stupidly.




He stayed away for what seemed like eternity.. He rarely even went out to eat. It was as if he were shunning me..
Surprisingly I felt the empty void in the house. I lived 15 years without him there but why is it now I want to see him more than ever. Speed Buggy wasn’t as fun anymore and Captain Crunch always went down the sink.
The only hint he existed was the blinds clattering in his abandoned room.

I couldn’t stand it anymore as I heard the window slide open . I had to see for myself what the big mystery was.
I followed the foot prints of crushed dew grass and watched my shadow in the street lights. “ Geez this is a long way.. I’m already by the construction site..”

It was then I heard mumbling among the dark skeletons of homes.
“ That’s enough!”, Macgrove yelled.
I followed the voice while tip toeing around the stray nails. “ Finally I get to see who this chick is.”

I could see the glow of a cell phone and Macgroves’ pale skin beaming in the moonlight. I saw the hands on his back , “ Those are some big hands for a girl..”
A deep familiar voice harshly whispered. “ You don’t leave till I say so !”
“ Oh so it’s actually a guy? That’s not really too shocking .”
The big hands pulled him closer to the lone drywall. I pressed forward to see the face behind the shadow.
The sounds of smacking lips stabbed into my ears .. I was so far doing well at hiding till one of my stupid Uggs slipped and hit a board.
The voice spoke louder grabbing Macgrove’s chin. “ What the hell was that?”
Where have I heard his voice before?
The screen light shined on me before I could hide and there in the light I saw ..
“ Lance!!?”
Macgrove was in his arms “Go away!!!”
I was frozen in fear as Lance grabbed Macgrove tighter and bared his teeth. “ Oh look here the freak has a girlfriend!!”
Macgrove bit his arm as Lance bellowed in the emptiness.
Right there he punched Macgrove across the face , sending him into the wall.
Lance stormed over to me with blind fury as I tried to run around him . He was much stronger than either of us.
“ You were too nosey for your own good.”, Lance said through a smirk.
I darted side to side like I saw basketball players do but luck wasn’t in my favor..
The sharp pain rose through my leg as a rusty nail stabbed through my foot. I fell to the ground screaming but Lance muffled them.
“How could a little nail take me down? I really am weak..”, I thought to myself.
Lance looked at me with a whole new set of eyes and wicked smile. “ Hmm you are kinda cute this way.. I always wanted to try a blonde..”
I screamed and struggled as the true face of a psycho revealed itself.

My vision blurred as the grip around my neck got tighter .. All I could see was the dirty trailer with a pile of beer cans.. So this is where I was going to die?? In some gross sweaty construction site. I just kept picturing my mom’s face when she finds out .. She would be heart broken and her love with Ivan would forever fade. Macgrove actually started to feel like a brother to me.. I was going to regret I never admitted that.
Just as I was making peace with the demise I would soon face I saw the purple mess slyly go from behind.
Macgrove pulled him in a head lock as they rolled in the dirt. I regained my breath and saw the tears make little mud trails. I crawled slowly to the trailer with only the glimmer of beer cans to show the way. My throat felt crushed as I pushed the door open on my belly. “ Damn it I left my cell at home! Damn these pocket-less pajamas!”, I cursed in my thoughts.
When I looked over the fight was waning.. I knew Macgrove couldn’t hold him much longer.
Lance was on top of Macgrove with a huge grin. “ You know you like this ! After I’m done with you I’ll get to that bimbo!!” At that moment the blue turned silver widened , “You’re a monster.. I can’t wait till everyone finds about this side of you. It’s no longer our dirty secret.”, Macgrove mocked.
At that moment Lance grabbed a screw driver and stabbed right into Macgroves’ shoulder.
Macgrove didn’t even scream .. Instead all I heard was a shrill giggle to go with the unrestrained laughing from Lance. They both looked like madmen with wide smiles and blood making a steady stream in the dust.
“ Why aren’t you in pain!!??”, Lance yelled in frustration!
Just as soon as the madness reached it’s peak Macgrove grabbed the nail gun under the desk. The trigger ready to pull and aimed to fire point blank in Lance’s neck.
Lance froze and it became dead silent .. “ How does it feel for it to be reversed??”
His eyes flickered to me and Lance dashed with lightning speed.
“ Ka- choop !” the nail gun shot Lance’s back. He fell with a loud thud and hit his head against the wooden stairs.
“ Macgrove I …think he’s..... dead!!!!!”, I barely screeched.
His steely eyes walked over gracefully with his chest and arm soaking in blood.
Macgrove didn’t seem phased but checked him casually, “ He’s just unconscious. Call the police so we can have this all settled.”
I couldn’t take anymore as I curled up in a ball and shook in fear..
His blood drenched hand caressed my hair as he whispered softly.
“I’m so sorry Jessi… It would’ve been better if you never knew me…”

Macgrove pit pocketed Lance and flipped the phone open.

“Hello 911 what’s you emergency?”—
“ Yeah my sister and I were attacked and our injuries are pretty bad.”
The operator asked many questions .. Then the police asked many more .
We were sent to the hospital where our wounds could be treated over night. Only a curtain separated us in our room as many people came to investigate.
I don’t know how many times we had to tell the story but it wasn’t until they asked,
“ What were you doing there with Mr. Bagaleo anyway boy? You obviously knew him quite well so when did things get violent.

Macgrove sighed and scrunched his eyebrows with his fingers.
“ It was violent to begin with. I knew it was wrong but I kept coming back because I enjoyed it.”
The officer looked baffled but tried to keep a straight face. “ What made you became infatuated with Mr. Bagaleo?”
Macgrove looked clearly in the officers’ eyes,
“ I saw Lance hitting his girlfriend at the school. I was the only one to see it but it should be obvious just by how battered she looks. Lance threatened me when I saw the abuse but I gave him a proposal.”
“And what did you propose?” , he asked while writing notes.
“ I told him that if he wanted someone to smack around to let it be me. “ You can do anything you want to me !”, I said to Lance. He was embarrassed but soon after he took up on my offer.”
The officer was lost by that point “ So you were okay with the violence inflicted last night ?”

Macgrove bit his lip and turned cold. “ No because he hurt Jessi.. I don’t care what happened to me but when he went after her I lost it.
I won’t ever forgive him.”

Our parents rushed to the hospital and I was ready to be discharged. After all it was just a stupid nail. The tetanus shot was excruciating though.
Mom gave us both a huge hug and had tears all down her face. “ Oh babies I let you down! I should’ve protected you two but instead I only thought of myself! How can I ever make it up to you??”
“ It’s okay mom it’s our faults.”
Mom calmed down a bit and Ivan looked at his son with complete angst.
“ Mac it’s okay I will handle things now. We’re going to get you some help and get past this.”
Macgrove looked down murmuring.. “You’re right dad I really do need help.. I think I know something you can do right now..”
Ivan was concerned and asked attentively “ What is it Mac ?”
Macgrove raised his head with a big grin . “Can you get me a cheese burger? This hospital food isn’t helping me worth a s***!”
Ivan smirked , “ Hmm still a smart ass I see .. Alright see you in a bit.”



We were left alone in the room for the first time since we got to the hospital. Channel 5 news played as the background noise played,
“ Last night a bloody scene came to this peaceful suburban neighborhood . Apparently three teens had a violent encounter late in the night when –“ The tv was quickly turned off .

Now was the time to tell him how I felt.. I can’t wait till it’s too late.

“ Macgrove…”
He looked like a rag doll as he smiled with bandages and wires. “ Yes Jessica?”, he said smiling .
“ Umm .. well .. nhmm .. I’m sorry.”
He stumbled out of his bed quickly. “ Don’t!!”, he cut me off “Don’t say that! It’s all my fault about what happened! I should punished with Lance for what I put you through!”

I stared at the teddy bear wall paper , “ Jessi..”
His cheeks flushed and on a impulsive whim he wrapped his arms around me and nuzzled his face onto mine. “ Thank you …” , he whispered through a teary smile.










Things weren’t quite the same after that. Macgrove had to go to several counselors there was finally a name for his habits. It was strange hearing it for the first time .. “ The term is “masochist”?

It is the enjoyment of pain and humiliation caused by childhood trauma , so let’s just say that he has a lot to sort out.



Lance wrote us a letter apologizing but Macgrove never read it . It was just better to pretend he never existed.
Life went on and high school became a daily drag that had no meaning but when we would get home the day started.
All my “friends” that were as mindless and stale as old soda left for brighter pastures at frat parties.
Kelsey.. Well sadly she still talks to Lance, writes him letters , and visits him through the glass. I hope one day before it’s too late she will get the courage and help she needs.



We go to college together and yes he is still seen as the weirdo with a peculiar fascination to fire ants , but he’s my weirdo and I wouldn’t want him any other way.



No matter what we are Macgrove and Jessi King..



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