Originally, I was going to post each story as a whole, but over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that it might be better to stretch this out a bit. It’s easier for me to write and get things up on time, and it’s easier for you to read. Win-win, am I right?
I’ll try to stick to the same order, but forgive me if I mess up or intentionally deviate from my own pattern.
* * *
You know me, I know you do. We grew up together, you and I. Neighbors on a street full of kids with big hearts, sad stories, and impossible dreams. Do you remember the other kids? They left, one by one, until only you and I remained. I always knew they’d find their own stories.
This is a real mess, all of it. I blame myself. If I hadn’t convinced you to open that letter, you never would have left. The house and its horrors would have stayed buried and hidden where they deserve to be. Instead, my curiosity and your honor paved the way to this mental institution.
It feels no different from my incarceration in your father’s house. I’m sure you would feel the same way if the doctors let you feel anything. They don’t, and I doubt they ever will. My hatred for them grows by the day, as does my hatred for myself. I curse my curiosity every day I wake up and have to take my pills and watch you take yours.
You hadn’t heard from your father in years. Not since the night he murdered your mother. That was when you ran away. Do you remember passing out on the street? I doubt you remember much through the fog of sedation. The Amoses, my neighbors, took you in. When no one else claimed you, they did. We spent eight years running around together.
When the letter arrived from your old address, you refused to even look at it. I laughed at you for hiding it, but I didn’t realize then how much you hated your father.
I convinced you to open the letter, and the first thing you said was, “I can’t believe him.” You whispered it, like even referencing your father would conjure him from the shadows. But he didn’t walk out of the corner or step out of the closet, so you took a deep breath and continued to read. I tried to read the note over your shoulder, but you pushed me gently aside and finished reading it yourself before you handed it to me. I remember every word of it. After you left, I scoured it again and again for any hint of your destination.
Cyril, it read. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to connect with you. I thought giving you space would allow both of us time to heal, but I was wrong. I haven’t healed. The grief from you mother’s passing haunts me every day. I’ve tried various outlets, but nothing soothes my sorrow.
I know you’ve recently graduated from school, so this is my attempt to make things right with you before you move beyond my reach for good. I know you believe that your mother’s death is my fault, but understand that it was an accident. Please return to me so that I may explain myself to you. It’s long past time you knew the full story.
Your loving father,
P.S. – Kieran sends his regards and wishes me to express his eagerness for your return.
Many thoughts ran through my head after reading the letter. You hadn’t told me what happened to your mother, only that your father was responsible. You didn’t tell me that your father was the Vasilis Mihal. He was one of the leading members of a group focused on improving and upgrading our little town. He used to be on the news all the time, explaining what he and his circle were up to around town. When he disappeared from the public eye, no one knew where he’d gone or what had happened. No one knew he was married, either, or that he had a son.
My first question, however, was, “Who is Kieran?” The way it was phrased made me think it was a dog. I was so wrong.
“Kieran,” you said to yourself, remembering a long-forgotten but closely-held secret. “He’s my brother.”
Silence stretched between us. I was torn between asking for more information and moving on to a new subject. This one didn’t sit well with you.
“I left him behind,” you said and clenched your fists. “I don’t want to think about what’s happened to my father since I left, but now I can’t stop thinking about what’s happened to Kieran. I abandoned him–just like his own parents.”
Confused, I asked, “I thought you said he’s your brother?”
“He is,” you said, but you didn’t explain. Your expression said everything when you stood, but you declared anyway, “I have to go get him.”
“Cy,” I said and stood to stop you. “Isn’t there a chance that your father is telling the truth?”
You stared at me then in a way that I wish I could forget. You hated your father so much that even mentioning his possible innocence was absurd and bordered on betrayal in your mind. That should have been an indicator for how this thing ended, but I didn’t know what to think, and all I wanted at that point was to disappear and for both of us to forget all about the letter.
“My father,” you said in a guttural tone. “Is a liar and a murderer.” You took a step toward me and pointed a finger in my face. “Don’t let his pretty speech make you think otherwise.”
I put a hand up in surrender and apology. I didn’t want to fight with you and I didn’t want you to see me as an enemy. Afraid to aggravate you more, I remained quiet.
You sighed and backed up a step. “I’m sorry, Raven,” you said. “But my father can’t be trusted.” You walked over to your bed and took a duffel bag from underneath. “I knew it long before he did what he did.” You grabbed clothes from wherever you found them, not caring what they were or how many you had. I turned to leave in the certainty that you wanted to be alone, but you stopped me before I reached the door. “I have to get him out, Raven. I’ve left him alone with my father for long enough.”
I left you after that, hoping you would stop and think things over, but I knew your mind was made up. When I checked with the Amoses the next morning, you were gone.
* * *
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fiction prose Writings amwriting cyril amos fiction ives kieran mcmann kristin boes procrastination deviation procrastinationdeviation prokristination prose raven ives remembrance story storytelling vasilis mihal Writing