I smiled happily and waved a greeting as he came towards me. He smiled back and came to look down at the sketch pad that was sat on my knee. “It’s just an idea for a character that I had.” I said looking down at the picture of a girl all dressed in black with a shock of electric blue hair. “I haven’t got the story or anything but I wanted to draw it right away. She hasn’t even got a name yet but maybe I can do something with her and get into writing.”
He gave a hollow laugh. “Just what you need that; another string to your bow.”
I looked at him in surprise. “What do you mean?”
“Oh for Gods sake Simon, you are just so fucking good at everything you would probably be a best seller overnight and show up my failings even more!” He looked at me levelly as he spoke while I just stared blankly, unable to comprehend his meaning. He frowned at me then stood up to pace away from me. “Is there nothing you can’t do?” He asked angrily. “How can I compete with someone like you? Someone who can do anything they want?”
I put aside the sketchbook and stood to cross to him. “There are many things I can’t do Mark.” I was confused; I didn’t see us as competing at all. We were far too different from each other; not to mention that our interests were in other areas. I had always been the introvert with hardly any friends and he was the social butterfly with friends and relationships. Honestly, if nothing else, I envied that about him and so I decided to tell him. “Mark I can’t make friends like you do and...”
He spun to face me, the knife that had appeared in his hand dragging over my chest making me stagger back in pain and shock. I stared at him wild eyed as I felt the warm liquid spill against my skin. “All I ever hear is why can’t you be more like Simon? I am so sick of hearing it trust me.” He stepped towards me and I shrank back in sudden fear. He smirked at me, obviously enjoying his moment of power. “People can’t ask me that if you are dead now can they?”
I didn’t know what to do but the blood loss was starting to make feel dizzy. I looked at my brother. “I... Mark? I never meant for you to be competing with me and I am sorry if you feel that...” My knees gave way then and I slid to the floor where I looked up at him. “There must be another way?”
He drew the knife slowly up my arm, leaving a trail of red as blood seeping from the broken skin. I whimpered and he struck me hard across the face. “I dislike that noise Simon.”
I bit my lip. “Sorry?” I mumbled unable to look away from the knife that I was sure was going to kill me. I couldn’t believe my own brother was the one holding the handle with so much hate in his eyes. “Mark... Please...”
He reached to tug at my hair, forcing our blue eyes to meet. “This is the only way I can be out of your shadow.” He told me in a way that suggested he had been plotting this for a while. Mark raised the knife and I closed my eyes giving a whimper of fear. He struck me again and growled. “I told you about that noise.” Before I could respond to that in any way I felt a sharp pain in my side as the knife dove deep inside of me. I screamed louder than I thought possible but his free hand clamped over my lips to silence me. The pain continued, white flashes and a blinding light shot from my side and I felt the hot tears flowing down my face.
Then suddenly everything went black and I felt nothing which was a blessing.
“And then you woke up here?” Charlotte asked as I showed her the angry looking barley healed scar in my side. She reached out and touched it gingerly, drawing her hand away as I inhaled sharply with a jolt of pain. “I am so sorry baby I won’t do that again.”
I looked at her and shook my head. “No, please don’t... I like... Ah... It really isn’t a problem.” I bit my lip and looked away, colouring slightly as I had been about to say that I liked her touching me. As true as that statement might have been the last thing that I wanted to do was to freak the girl out with my feelings towards her. So instead I drew my knees to my chest and hugged them before continuing with my story.
“I woke up down here but I didn’t know where I was then. I was in a lot of pain and I cried out but he struck me so hard that I nearly passed out again. He told me that he had found something that I couldn’t do and that was to die. He said he couldn’t let me go though and so I was his prisoner here forever. He said that he would not put up with any noise or questions. I get punished for any of that along with what he refers to as baby noises when he is with me.”
I took a deep shuddering breath as I dragged up the memories of when I first came here and before I understood it was my fault. “I argued that he couldn’t keep me here and he beat me until I changed to pleading but then he beat me even more. He told me that it was my own fault for eclipsing him with my perfection and also for not dying. He had to keep me here because of that and so he was going to teach me to be the perfect captive.”
“When he left I found all the medical stuff and I tried to patch myself up but it seems I didn’t do a good job. Mark had stitched it up to stop the bleeding but he never really wanted to pain to stop so he did nothing else.” I glanced at the scar and sighed. “He is a trained nurse you know so he can do these things.” I rested my head on my knees. “I could never do that and I was so proud of him. Like he said though, because of me nobody even noticed him doing that.”
“That just isn’t true.” Charlotte said, her hand skating over my back. “Simon we had a party for him when he graduated, don’t you remember?”
“Yes, but I had just got the job at the network the very same day, remember? So it became a joint celebration and so his achievement vanished before his very eyes. This is the way it always went so, you see, he is right Charlotte and I am a bad brother.”
“This isn’t your fault.” Charlotte told me as she moved to give me a hug. “I would do anything to have a brother like you.” She squeezed me gently and I turned slightly to loop my own arms around her small frame. “Mark’s insecurities cannot be your fault.”
Oh, she would learn to blame me in time just like I had done.