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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Drama · #1083637
Finding my big brother was never more painful...

         The toast was as hard as a rock, its taste like dry sand coating my tongue. I chewed slowly, fixing a polite smile on my face as he watched me with greed.

         “Is it good? Do you like it?” he asked fervently, now leaning over the small table as if hoping I wouldn’t vanish before his eyes.

         I swallowed and struggled not to gag. I do believe the toast must have gone down the wrong way, and I quickly reached for the murky glass of supposed water; wincing as I noticed the tiny floating…things on it. Praying to the gods to protect me from whatever diseases lurked within, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and downed it quickly.

         Goodness gracious! It tasted like weak whiskey!

         “Tim,” I began but yet again, I was interrupted as he jumped to his feet and began to wave his hands about like a child caught stealing something.

         “I know! I know,” he said in panicked bursts. Behind the shaggy black beard and mustache - matted with leaves and a few twigs - (his beautiful blue eyes are the only things visible behind all that hair), he smiled and exposed teeth that were quite brown and in dire need of a toothbrush and major dental work.

         “I know you’re going to say something about the place, but I’m going to fix it up honest!”

         I stared at the rundown shack behind him and gave an inward sigh. Ever since he decided to ‘run’ away from home, almost five years ago, my oldest brother Timothy or Tim to most, has lived the life of a hermit dedicating his days and nights to exploring the beauty of nature. It’s too bad he’s actually become a part of nature now. I almost didn’t recognize him when I arrived. He blended so well with his surroundings that he stunned me into shocked silence at the sight of him with his hunting rifle. One can barely believe he’s only twenty-eight. The outdoors have aged him greatly for he now looks like he could pass for forty at least.


         “Okay, so the place looks like a dump, and the roof does leak at night, and I’ve had some problems with the vermin around the place, and damn if that wolf doesn’t keep howling at night…makes it nearly impossible to sleep-”

         “Dad’s dead.”

         “…and I swear I’m going to cut down the tree over there with the hanging branches and…what did you say?”

         I took another bite of my toast and realized that I was close to tears. I’ve missed my brother and even though I was amongst the many that pushed him to his decision to leave our posh mansion in the city, I’ve missed him more than I could ever imagine. I have two younger siblings - twin girls who could care less about anything happening in the home - and all responsibility fell on my shoulders at eighteen. Back then, I had seen it as an honor; a chance to prove myself to a strict father and to the memory of my late mother. Tim had been a free spirit, never wanting to conform to norm or take over my father’s business as he was supposed to.

         I can still remember the heated argument they got into that night. The way their voices had risen higher and higher, both men standing toe to toe and almost coming to blows as they each sought to make their voices heard. In the end, Tim had stormed out the house, never looking back with the heated promise to do things his own way.

         For five years, I pretended he didn’t exist, but missed him all the same and now that he’s before me - after months of searching - it’s all I could do not to throw myself into his arms and beg for forgiveness.

         I watched as he sat down heavily on the wooden stool he must have carved and bury his head within his hands. I listened to the low sound of suffering he made; the hollow empty cry that ripped through my heart and made my tears break free from their restraints. Together we wept in silence, neither reaching for the other as we would have liked to. It was a painful way to share our grief but under the circumstances, it was all we could do.

         “Will you come home?” I finally asked, reaching into my expensive handbag to bring out a handkerchief. “Everyone…everyone would like to see you again.”

         I would like to have my big brother home again.

         I looked at him with hope in my eyes, unaware that I was twisting the cloth in my hand tighter and tighter with each tension-filled second.

         Finally, he lifted his head to stare at me, and I knew I had lost this battle for now.

         “Maybe someday,” he croaked; his gaze dancing over my strained features for a moment before drifting towards his ramshackle of a home. “For now…I’ve got…I’ve got things to fix and traps to set up and-”

         “I understand,” I interrupted calmly as I rose to my feet and tried to not to show my disappointment. “I will let them know you’re not coming.”

         I turned to walk away, my throat tight with even more unshed tears, my eyes burning with them. Oh, how I hated him then, but I couldn’t blame anyone but myself.

         “Hey, Ellie.”

         I turned a little at the sound of my name, no a name that only he calls me, a pet name for a little girl who always ran after him and once thought him a Greek God of some sort.

         “You’ll…come visit me again, right?”

         I heard the desperation in that request and a part of me jumped with glee at the thought, but yet again, he is my older brother and will always be for as long as I lived.

         “Sure,” I finally replied with a small smile. “And next time, I’ll bring dinner.”

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