Henry hadn't felt comfortable in his childhood. He had been thin for a boy, lacking both the graceful charm of his mother and the confident athleticism of his father. He had often daydreamed up a brother, someone older and wiser and, naturally, large enough to stand up to the other kids. Someone who would totally and entirely dote on his family, but most of all on his little admirer. Henry called him Older Brother.
He hadn't felt comfortable in high school, either. The other kids were the same except that they were bigger, and Henry was still uncomfortably stuck in his lanky limbs. Older Brother, who had long since graduated and gone off to achieve great things at the university, was no longer around to provide refuse. Despite the urging of his parents, he hadn't even tried college.
He wasn't old enough to work in a liquor store, and he felt uncomfortable there, but that was nothing unusual. He'd taken to pilfering bottles from the storage room and downing them at night behind the counter, hours after close. He'd stumble onto the streets in a drunken stupor, only to wake up hours later in the same dark alley with no idea where he'd been.
There had been women, he could faintly remember. He heard muffled screams in the back of his mind and saw the reflection of blood in drops of rain. He began to suffocate, and then to drown, and yet he plodded on behind the counter of Dru'z Wine and Spirits, whose sign hung sideways on two nails over the front door.