Thursday, 4 January 2018

So much better than this

A very dark story, partly inspired by an image from a dream.

The blood is still streaming down the street, three weeks after it happened. I wonder if they kill a pig every day to keep the memory fresh. The dark red fluid sticks to my feet and makes it hard to walk, but I have to be here. It is night and my house is just around the corner, uphill. The darkness turns the blood to black while I scuffle around the corner, my back towards the walls. I have no wish to be seen, not after what happened here. The smell is abhorring, nauseating. I keep my nose covered, only my eyes could betray me if anyone looked closely. But there is no one around, this place is tainted by its events. ‘We are better than this, so much better than this!’, the voices keep running around in my head. I’m almost there, nobody here. Yet I hear a soft whining sound from inside the house, almost inaudible. She waits for me.

I see the bloody streaks on the doorknob, smears made by my hands, three weeks ago. Fingerprints for the police if they would be interested. They are not. They leave this neighbourhood alone, there is no justice here, only survival. The door is still unlocked, my bloody footprints going in and out on top of each other from my recent visits are leaving a trail. I don’t dare to come every day, but as often as I can, because she needs me. She has always needed me, that is how it happened. She was sitting in a corner, beaten and frightened. My family kicked her and were yelling at her. ‘We are better than this!’ I shouted at my brother and sister. They just laughed. My mother told me to shut up and my father asked me if I would like to join her. ‘So much better than this,’ I whispered while I sneaked away, upstairs to the relative safety of the first floor. Another kick, more laughter, she screamed, it sounded almost human. Human! Those people downstairs, they should have been better than that.

‘Stop it!’ I shouted from the top of the stairs. My brother took two steps up and I ran for the bathroom and locked the door, trembling. I closed my eyes and saw her sitting in the corner, downstairs. Her green eyes big with fear, not able to defend herself. All she had was me. Sitting on the floor, my back against the door I suddenly saw it. It must have fallen down and slid under the cabinet, my brothers missing knife. He had beaten up my sister over it, claiming she had stolen it, which wasn’t so far from the truth. Lying flat on my stomach I could just reach it, it made a clicking sound when I opened it. Something shifted, I didn’t feel so small anymore, nor frightened all the time.

‘We are better than this! You have to stop it!’ Again I was standing on the top of the stairs. This time my father came out and laughed when he saw me standing there with the knife held high. Good, I thought, he is the biggest shit of them all, he is first. I took a leap and landed on top of him. He was totally surprised, didn’t see it coming. The knife was sharp. The first pool of blood appeared at the bottom of the stairs. He didn’t even make a sound. The sudden silence alarmed my mother, who came out of the room next. She was second. She tried to scream, but all she made was a small puffing sound. ‘We are better than this,’ were my last words to her. I looked around the corner of the living room door and saw my brother, totally absorbed in his wicked game, trying to lure the little one out of her corner. My sister turned around and saw the blood, a little pool of red creeping inside the living room from under the half-open door. And then she saw me, sliding in, blood dripping from my hand, from the knife, dripping down my arm and making a trail while it dripped from my elbow to the ground. Even she was caught by surprise. ‘What the devil…’ ‘So… much… better… than… this…’
Every word emphasized by a stab. 

That alarmed my brother, I didn’t have time to finish my sister off properly. My brother was a real nasty job. He turned around and went for me, almost knocked me off my feet. I ducked underneath, finally having the advantage of my small posture, making a nasty slash at the inside of his knee. He stumbled, that was all I needed. After him, I finished off my sister. I looked her in her fading eye. ‘You! You, you both, really, really should have been better than this.’
I wept a bit and tended to my little one in the corner. She was still afraid and wouldn’t leave the corner.

There was so much blood, it streamed through the crack in the wall into the street. The bloodstream alarmed the neighbours. While I was hiding upstairs, they came in and took the bodies away. I don’t know what they did with those, probably sold them. After it all happened, I couldn’t stay in the house, just couldn’t. But she wouldn’t move, couldn’t move, she was hurt. I had to leave her behind.

So I come here, like a thief in the night, as often as I can and take care of her. Feeding her, tending to her wounds. I think she is getting better, but still in pain. She is so much better than they were, so much more loving. When she looks up to me with her big green eyes and purrs when I feed her, I know she is my only friend. My family said I just imagined her, but I know that is just a lie. They were all liars, vicious liars. People should be better than that.