Faceless-Chapter 3

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June 29th, 2010JAYI don’t know what the fuck I was doing back here. Virginia was the last place I ever wanted travel to, yet here I was, back in its clutches. I felt like a prisoner here as soon as I crossed the state border. Those trees were like jaws closing in on me. The closer I got to that house, the more claustrophobic I became.Mom always invited me to the house during the holidays, but I didn’t want to be anywhere near that sick fuck. This summer was different, though. It was our ten-year family reunion and my bastard father was diagnosed with lung cancer. The only reason why I had returned was for my sister. I wasn’t planning to stay the whole weekend, and I sure as hell wasn’t staying in that God forsaken house.My parents lived on a large property near the countryside. The house was an old colonial home and the land looked beautiful from an aerial perspective. But no one knew about the horrors that took place beyond that “welcoming” red door; only those silent walls, decaying from the inside.Someone I knew had died in my bedroom. I saw his ghostly face materialize near the upstairs window when I pulled up and parked in the gravel driveway… my ten-year-old twin: me.“You made it!”My mother gathered her lime green skirt, careful not to trip as she came down the steps to greet me.“Look at you!” She beamed. “More handsome than ever!” Her hazel eyes looked tired, and her face was thinner than the last time we saw each other. She smelled like apple pie.“Has the big city made you forget all about your small-town mother?” She hugged me long and hard before she pulled away to check out my ride. “You must have spent a fortune!”“It’s the company car.”The air was humid, and I wanted to change out of my shirt. “Where is everybody?” I asked.“Uncle Nate and Aunt Rowen are inside—the kids are out back playing on the trampoline. Your cousins are here as well!”“All of them?”“Yes, except for Sara. She went into labor this morning and Dylan drove her to the hospital. They’ve got a healthy baby boy now!” Mom cupped my face and said, “When are ankara escort you going to make me a proud grandmother?”Never. I couldn’t imagine myself as a father.I changed the subject and asked, “Where’s Savannah?”“She’s baking cupcakes in the kitchen. Drop in and say hi. She’s been missing her big brother.”I had a baby sister who was only three years younger than me. We used to be close, but ever since I moved out at eighteen, we lost touch, and that was entirely my fault.The screen door opened with a creek as I stepped inside the old home. This place was still familiar to me. Nothing had changed; not the antique furniture, not the dark wooden floorboards, or the yellow Victorian wallpaper. There wasn’t a single thing that was out of place. Everything was still as it were, as if I had jumped back in time and was reliving my own personal hell. Something twisted and churned inside of me. All I could feel was the strongest urge to demolish everything in sight, break every picture frame, tear into the upholstered sofas, and scream at the top of my lungs like a madman, if only to feel a sense of peace.“Jay!”I whipped my head around and was immediately welcomed with an unexpected hug. “Savannah…”We embraced briefly, and when she pulled back, she slapped me across the face. “Hey! What the—”“That’s for moving out without telling me!”SLAP!“And that’s for staying away for so long!”SLAP!“And that’s for being an asshole and not checking on your only sister!”She was about to hit me again but I dodged her hand.“Okay! Jeez!” I caught her wrist. “Calm your tits, woman. I get it!”Savannah pursed her glossy lips and yanked her wrist free before folding her arms in her chest. “I’m so incredibly pissed off at you!” she fumed. “But right now… I’m just so fucking happy that you’re here, it’s hard to stay angry.” Tears filled her emerald eyes as she rushed into my chest and hugged me again. “I missed you so much! How could you stay away for so long?”Something felt constricted in my throat as I stroked her strawberry blonde hair. Savannah clung to me ankara escort bayan like a baby koala hugging a tree. I was always the one who chased away the monsters under her bed, made the boogeyman disappear from her closet, beat the shit out of anyone who bullied her. My sister looked up to me, and I had left her because I couldn’t survive under his roof anymore. It wasn’t safe for me, but it was safe for her. He always left her alone. He was a cocksucker. That’s all he was.When I was sixteen, our next door neighbor, Harold Benson (a widower) had asked me if I could help him out with some yard work in the afternoon. I liked the guy. I’d gone to school with his son and we were good friends, so I had agreed to lend a hand. He’d been setting up a tree house for his kids. Once we finished for the day, he passed me a cold brew and asked me to stay a while. I didn’t have anything else to do—and to be honest, I’d been relieved that I wouldn’t have to go home any time soon. So we sat on his front porch and watched the sun go down. Mr. Benson told me something that night: a secret. I couldn’t believe it at first, but I’d left his house without breathing a word.When I had arrived home, I looked at Savannah and suddenly realized that the truth was right there in front of me. All I’d had to do was confront mom, and when I did, she had cried. She didn’t deny it. But she’d made me promise not to tell dad. Mom and Mr. Benson had been sleeping together when she first moved into the house with my father. I was only a year old then. When she got pregnant with Savannah, Mr. Benson was sure he was the father because mom had told him that she had stopped sleeping with her husband.I think I was happy that Savannah wasn’t biologically related to our scum of a father. Her genes weren’t corrupted like mine. She and I were only half siblings. Not that it mattered to me or made a difference. I loved her, regardless.“Come on!” She pulled me out of the past and into the kitchen. “I’ve made all your favorites!”My sister grabbed a chocolate cupcake and escort ankara stuffed it into my mouth.“Whoa! Easy!” I chuckled, chewing on the home baked sweet.“Like it?”I shook my head, screwing up my face in disgust while saying, “I love it.”Savannah didn’t look amused as she said, “You’d have to have the most warped taste buds if you actually thought my baking was gross.”“I’m your big brother. I’m supposed to annoy the fuck out of you.” I scarfed down the rest of that delicious cupcake and kissed her cheek.“Ew! Wipe your mouth first! You ruined my MAC foundation!”“Don’t be such a drama queen. Who have you invited over that you need to impress?”“No one important…”There was a carton of milk on the counter, reminding me that I was thirsty. “Do you want a glass?” I asked her.“No, I’ve recently quit drinking milk. Makes me want to puke.”“You’re not pregnant, are you?” I teased.She smacked my arm. “Not cool! Do I look like I’m preggerz? I might not be in flawless shape like you, but—”“Hey, relax. I’m kidding! You look great.”Savannah paused and stared at me with suspicion in her eyes. “Well… thank you—for noticing.” She ran her fingers through her silky locks and added, “As a matter of fact, I’ve dropped at least fifteen pounds in the past two months.”“You don’t need to drop another pound,” I reassured her.“Dad says I’m fat.”“Dad needs to look in the mirror.”She giggled and threw a gummy worm at me. “Savannah, don’t start. You know how these food fights will end between us.” But she ignored my warning and tossed a green one over, and then a red, and then a handful. “Oh, you are so in for it!” I grabbed the cup of flour and grinned.“No! Not the flour, not the—”It was too late. I had powdered her face and hair with that stuff.“Ugh! I so hate you for that!” Savannah reached for the carton of milk and splashed it on my face. She stood still for a moment, seemingly worried at how I’d react. And then she started cracking up, saying, “Pay back’s a bitch!”“I’m not done yet.” I opened the fridge and started throwing eggs at her while she screamed and tried to shield herself from the yolk grenades.“Jay!” She screamed. “Stop!”I wasn’t planning on stopping, but our shenanigans came to an end as soon as our mother entered the kitchen.“What the hell is going on in here?”

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