It’s not the blood that scares you. Strange, isn’t it? The way it looks on your pretty hands. So sticky all you want to do is wash it off. Go, wash it off. I’ll wait. You’ve done a good job. Stand at the utility sink, scrub your skin raw, shake so hard your white fingers look like frantic moths trying to avoid a destructive light . You always did hate anything unclean.
As the water washes your sins away, realize this is the first time you’ve ever cleansed blood from your skin without fear of stinging the source wound. Feel the power in that. In someone else’s pain. Watch your fingers settle. It feels good, doesn’t it? You don’t have to answer. I already know. I’ve been watching you for forever.
People like us always fall in love too easily. I suppose that was our first mistake. Or, more accurately, it was hers. She was the one who dug the hole we crashed into so recklessly. She was the one who beckoned us closer. Don’t try to tell me you didn’t feel it. She was magic, the dark kind. She would’ve killed us both if I hadn’t gotten to her first.
I can’t stop watching you. The way you stare at it even as it’s cradled in your hands. Like some sacred treasure. Like you’re even crazier than I am. It’s like the way you laughed at all those horror movies. You say they aren’t real, that’s why they don’t get to you. Now her head is detached from her body, her swollen tongue fat between her lips, her vacant eyes staring, and all you can think is this isn’t real either. I can see it just from the way you don’t know what to do with your mouth, your eyes. You want to laugh. Go ahead, I love the sound. You were never as pretty as she was, nobody was, but when you stumbled out of her room in the morning all those years ago, your short hair an electric shock disaster, your goofy glasses perched on your nose, and not a spot of makeup on your young face, there was something about you. I guess maybe I was a little in love with you, then, too, or maybe I would’ve been if people like her hadn’t existed.
I think it was her fault. All of it. Letting us watch those movies together to begin with. Telling us how much she cared while fucking men who crept into our rooms once she was asleep. You know when she first saw me perched above her bed tonight she didn’t move? Maybe she thought I was going to fuck her. As if I could, knowing what I know about her. As if I didn’t give up those dreams long ago for something better.
You should’ve seen the delicate glint of the wire saw in my hands. Like the prettiest silver necklace in the world, especially when I wrapped it around her neck.
I’m sorry. You don’t want to hear this. Don’t walk away. I won’t talk about it anymore. It had to be done. It had to. She wanted to keep us apart. You know I’m right. Don’t you?
You fall against my chest. Wrapping your arms so tight around me, with it still in your hand.
A clutch like yours, well, it could bring Hercules to his knees. I kiss the top of your head.
“I’m sorry I didn’t lock the door,” you say. Your voice is barely a murmur, but the chill vibrates all through me. The mere mention of it makes me want you, just like I had you then. Had your pale, soft body beneath the stained sheet on your bed while the radio played The Beatles’ song Blackbird through a soft layer of static. She was supposed to be at work. Your skin was so goose bumped, your body so much smaller than I’d expected. I didn’t stop when she came in the room. I was so distracted by you the noise didn’t register until your fingertips dug into my shoulders as I groaned and you whispered the word please like I was humiliating you in public. I suppose it isn’t a wonder that when I came out she’d put all my things in the driveway, even though it was raining.
I want to tell you I’m sorry I ever opened the door, or that she found us, but I’m not. I can’t help it if I like the way your fingertips look dipped in blood. I can’t help it if I liked the look on her face when she discovered us. Like her own son had morphed into a monster before her very eyes.
You look up at me, now. To you I’m less a monster than a man, but maybe love has just blinded you. Even with it in your hands, you look like an angel, so maybe the same thing’s happened to me. You are beautiful. That I know without fearing I’m biased. No more goofy glasses, no more short electric hair. At fifteen, you’re more of a grown up than I was at twenty. It’s almost intimidating how mature you are.
“Do you think it’s weird that I wanted it?” you ask.
I look at her body. The severed head. The shirt torn open, the skin and ribcage cracked. The dark hole where the heart should be between the lungs, empty. Then I take the cloudy mason jar from your hand and look at it. Your keepsake. Our mother’s heart.
“I don’t think there’s anything weird about you at all, Sis,” I say.
©2015 Olivia Wilding
Olivia Wilding, a native New Yorker, is a college student and young writer who aspires to one day not be scared to sleep with the light off, despite the fact that she outright refuses to stop reading horror novels before going to bed.