You can read part 5 here.
The sky outside my cell is lightening. I can feel Death approaching, hastening his footsteps. It won’t be long now. If I’m going to finish my story, I’d best get on with it…
Needless to say, my childhood in that house was miserable. My true mother never did come to rescue me. Neither did mirror-Eugene return to tell me it had all been a cruel joke. I held onto this foolish hope for at least seven days, staying up late into the night, staring at the inside of my new closet with the door wide open, waiting for the door on the other side to reappear.
A week later, I’d resigned myself to my fate, realizing that I would never see my home again.
I often wondered in those early years what my double was up to, if he was enjoying the stable loving home that I had taken for granted in my previous life. I missed my mom so much my chest ached. I can’t begin to describe the despair that wracked my psyche when I realized she was lost to me forever.
My new mom was just as bad as mirror-Eugene had described and worse. Every morning, I donned my torn and weathered hand-me-down clothes, ate a bare-bones breakfast under her watchful glare, walked the three miles that separated my new home from school, returned to my room as soon as I got back and didn’t come out again except to eat a meager dinner that did little to nourish my listless body.
My brother was an imp. He would find me in my room each night before I went to bed, the corners of his wicked grin catching broken shards of light in the dark. He would squeeze my neck in his arms like a vice until I became light headed, or hit various parts of my body until I bruised, or call me all manner of unspeakable things that I dare not repeat even now, for fear of raising very painful memories that I’ve barely managed to suppress.
I would cry out to my new mom in desperation, and each time, she would come to my room in a huff, behold her eldest, who beamed up at her, face adorned with an immaculate smile, then turn to me, dripping venom, demand that I keep my goddamn mouth shut and slam the door.
I endured my family’s abuse at home. I endured my peers’ abuse at school. The weight on my soul’s shoulders was too much for me to bear. It crushed me on the inside, so that I could hardly speak, eat or sleep. My new mother never asked if I was all right. If anything, she seemed relieved that I’d at last discovered the virtue of silence.
I put up with this for almost a year. It wasn’t until a particularly brutal fraternal beating that left blood spurting from my nose and my right eye swollen shut that I at last resolved to do something about it. I lay on my back that night, aged nine or ten (it’s so difficult to remember exactly, like trying to trace the thread-like afterimage of a distant dream) and came to a decision.
I was going to escape.
Continued next week…
If you want to keep up with my work and to know when I publish my next book, join my mailing list by clicking here. In return, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign. I’ll only send you an email once a month and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.