Woohoo =D Kinda funny that I cross the line at another interlude. I originally planned to write the entire thing today, but it's already quiite longer than I'd planned. Oh well.
Interlude 2 - My Brother's Keeper
Adrienne watched from the block of concrete that was her back porch as Charlie ran off into the night. The clothes he wore disappeared in the blackness. Only his legs could be seen chuffing through the snow that had mounted up in the yard. Even those soon disappeared as the shadow of her brother blended into the trees.
Even over the sounds of the approaching sirens, Adrienne could hear her brother in the woods. His footfalls through the snow soon gave way to breaking branches. Those noises were soon lost as Adrienne's yard was flooded with flashing crimson and azure lights. The colours cast her thoughts towards the dead man in her dining room, matching his blood-stained robes.
Charlie had occasionally broached the subject of selling this house with the tragedy of their mother's death. She could not bring herself to do it, especially with her father still here. Now that he was gone, died in his sleep in the bedroom he had once shared with their mother, she had started to consider it. With yet another body on the ground, one more bloody stain to cover up, it was something she wanted even more now.
Knowing the truth about her grandmother, and generations more besides, did not help any. Who they were, and what they did. Adrienne's entire concept of her family, and the house she had lived in her entire life, was now tainted.
Before the police were all the way up her driveway, Adrienne ducked back inside, and removed the turtleneck. She used the garment to wrap up the handgun still tucked in her pants, and stashed it underneath the bathroom sink.
As Adrienne made her way to the front door, where an incessant rapping rythym was being beaten out, she adjusted the tshirt she had on underneath the turtleneck.
She pulled aside the curtains hanging over the front door's large window and peeked out into the night. Adrienne didn't need to do so, but she was buying for time to get a story, any story, straight in her head. She knew she couldn't tell the police exactly what happened. Not with a member of the order one of the best cops in the town.
Brendan Franks and her had shared something, once. A long time ago. She remembered her brother and the boy who would one day be standing outside her front door to investigate a murder. Once Charlie had left them all behind, her and Brendan had grown close. They both missed Charlie, and she missed her mother. Brendan saw an opportunity to get closer to the girl he had always had a crush on. She reciprocated the feelings eventually, but by then Brendan went off to a nearby college.
Even through the distance, they stayed close, and saw each other almost every weekend for two years, and even had an apartment together one summer of Brendan's senior year. Adrienne had yet to turn 18, but her father was still dealing with his own personal demons and failed to care about where his daughter was, or whom she was with.
The anti-social behaviour Brendan had shown as a youth never went away completely, and one day he flew off the handle. In a fit of rage he set a pile of Adrienne's books on fire, almost burning down the entire apartment building if the young Boxer woman had not acted quick.
She had moved back home with her father the very next day, and had not spoken to Brendan since. The only contact they had was of the occasional pleasentry as they passed each other in town.
Brendan credited that day, and Adrienne leaving him, with what finally set him straight. He never wanted to be that person again. With the help of the Cerulean Order, a group that at the time was new to the town, he cleaned up his act, and got a job as a cop.
Now, here both of them were once more. Brendan looked theough the glass at the pretty redhead he still carried a torch for. Her green eyes bathed in alternating red and blue flashes.
"Miss Boxer, Adrienne, we need to come in and inspect the premesis. We received a call about fifteen minutes ago..." He stopped as the green curtain fell back in place over the window. The sound of locks unlatching could be heard through the door.
Once the door was opened, Brendan gave a nod and stepped through the entryway, followed by one other officer that Adrienne didn't recognise.
"Have you seen Richard Meyers tonight, Adrienne?" Brendan asked, trying to sound as official as possible. He was having trouble keeping his cool around this girl. He didn't want to seem flustered in front of the rookie.
Boy have I ever seen Richard, thought Adrienne. Instead of being the smartass her brother knew all too well, and even Brendan had seen glimpses of, all she did was nod. Brendan saw she looked sad and confused, while she did her best to look just such a way.
Even with trying not to, Adrienne still could not stop her natural tendencies, despite the situation. "I guess you could say I have. He's right this way."
Adrienne wished there was enough time to hide the body. Enough time to drag it down into the basement and throw it down the deep, dark pit he had crawled out of. Maybe the monsters down there would have made quick work of the corpse. If she had found the time to get rid of Richard, there was still the telltale stain of blood on the floor that would have been difficult to explain away. Better to leave the body there and deal with explanations as they come.
As they entered the dining room, the heavy boots of the police officers clumping with heavy thuds even through the thick carpeting, Adrienne noticed the smell for the first time. The body had only been there for 20 minutes, 30 at the most she guessed, but already the air was becoming thick with flies.
The smell of dried blood filled the air, choking her as she tried to breathe. It was even harder for Adrienne as the smell reminded her of her mother, and seeing Charlie covered in her blood years ago. She would never forget the mental image of her brother standing there, empty eyes staring out into the void until he was woken up from his sister screaming his name. The empty look changed to one of confusion, then shock and horror, as his own screams blended with her own.
She knew in an instant that it wasn't his fault, just as Richard's suicide was not Charlie's fault. Their father was less certain. George did not see what had happened. He had not seen the drool dribbling from the corner of Charlie's mouth as he slashed at his mother in his sleep. All George saw was his son covered in his wife's blood, as the knife that did the deed clattered to the floor.
Once the patriarch of the Boxer family shook off the surprise of what he saw, he grabbed his eldest child and threw him against the wall. Adrienne groped at her father's thick arms, arms that Charlie would one day come to inherit through years of hard work.
Adrienne's attempts were given no more notice than a piece of dust landing on the shoulder. Her cries to stop went unheard. All her father could hear was the rushing thunder of blood in his veins.
Not knowing what else to do, Adrienne did what all young children did best; she bit. Her teeth sunk deep into her father's bare arm. While the smell of blood filled her nose, a scent she would never forget, the taste filled her mouth, only amplifying the sensations in her memories.
Her father didn't even cry out. All he did at the sharp, sudden pain shooting through his arm was to swing it around, hoping to smash whatever was tearing into his flesh.
The small girl barely in her teens was unable to hold on through the thrashing, and all the blood everywhere only served to make things all the more slippery. Adrienne lost her grip and was thrown back into the desk against the back wall by the stairs. She fell into a heap beside her mother. She began to cry, less from the pain, and more from the grim visage in crimson that lay beside her slashed to ribbons.
It was Adrienne's cries more than anything that shook her father from his rage, that stopped there from being two dead Boxers that day. George released his son who gasped for air, forgotten. George scooped his daughter up in his arms, and buried her against his chest. His sobbing drowned out his sorries, which in turn drowned out his sobbings, until anything sputtering past his lips was naught but an incoherent mess. The wound in his arm was forgotten as much as his son was in those moments.
With their father calmed down, Adrienne explained what she had seen, that Charlie wasn't in control. George listened to his daughter far more than his son that day, but he heard his son say he was asleep, and the next thing he knew...
The cops were called. The body taken away to the morgue. Charlie was taken away, in spite of what his sister had to say to the officers. Adrienne accompanied her father to the hospital where he got stitched for his bite. He didn't remember how he had gotten it, the morning was such a haze of red and rage.
Charlie was brought to trial for the murder of his mother. He sat their quiet throughout the entire thing, looking down at the table in front of him almost the whole time. He looked up only when his sister took the stand to explain what she had seen. The words poured out of her mouth in a cold, detached way, without any emotion to them. Adrienne had sealed that day up in a little box inside her mind, and set it aside, as if it had happened to some other girl.
A psychiatrist testified to Charlie's mental state, and while there was no question that the knife had been in Charlies hand, even he said he rememebred dropping it in that haze as he woke up, they chose to found him mentally unfit.
Charlie was sent away to a nearby mental institution where he spent most of his days locked in a tiny room. He never presented any danger to anyone, and after several months, they started to let him mingle with the general population of the facility once more.
Adrienne paid her brother frequent visits, and saw he was starting to come out of the walking daze he had been in since that day. She was seeing a therapist herself, and knew that forgiving her brother, and letting him know she was there for him was as important as anything else in his recovery.
Their father never came, save to drop off and pick up Adrienne. Forgiveness was a hard thing for him. George believed what his children said had happened, and the judgement of the courts, but he would never get the image of his son standing there out of his mind.
The best thing to happen to Charlie at the institution was that he discovered he could sleep through the night. Ever since the courts had put him there, he had nights full of sleep, and normal dreams. Never once did he have a nightmare, be it normal or his own special breed.
Charlie questioned if maybe he really was crazy. Once he was getting help, the dreams ended, and life returned to normal. When he found out where the insitution was though, he developed another theory. He was being helped by doctors in the next town over, in the city of Griggs, almost ten miles from home.
As the dreams became more and more part of his past, Charlie was able to express himself as a normal young man who had just turned eighteen.
The doctors could tell he was keeping others at bay, not wanting to let anyone else close. It was understandable with what had happened, and knew it would take time for him to open up once more.
After almost a year locked away within pastel green walls the same colour as the mint green upon his house, Charlie was deemed fit to be released. No further charges were brought up against him, and no further time in a real jail was deemed necessary. In fact, it was recommended against any such action. Charlie needed to interact with normal people, return to society, so he could have a real life. If he had been sent to jail for years, so soon after becoming a man, for something he was not responsible for, the doctors and judges all felt it would have ended his life before it began.
His father did not even come to pick Charlie up, which was fine by him. Charlie preferred to walk, stretch his leg, and just soak the world in once more. Adrienne was busy with school, or she would have joined him. If she had been there, it may have changed the course of Charlie's life.
As he walked back to Kraftsbury, he came upon the sign into town; the same sign that years later he would find himself face down in the snow besides. He stood there, a small pack of clothes on his back, and his wallet stuffed with cash for doing odd jobs around the institute. Staring up at the sign, he rememebred his little theory. He looked past the sign, down the road, and chose not to look any further.
Charlie turned his back on the sign, on his home, on his family. If Kraftsbury had driven him made once, it may do so again, and this time he may hurt his sister. Rather than take that chance, instead Charlie walked away, and he kept walking for eight long years.
Adrienne remembered rushing home from school that day, hoping to see her brother back, and was instead greeted only by an empty house. Her father came home from work eventually, and told her that Charlie had been set free, but no one knew where he went.
A motnh passed and a letter showed up in the mail. Charlie had stayed away to protect his sister, but that didn't mean they couldn't keep in touch. Letters became phone calls. Landlines became cell towers. Even the occasional e-mail. Adrienne was just glad he was alive, and doing well, even if he refused to come home.
Now here she stood, once again her brother was running off to who knew where, with another body at her feet. Different cirumstances, same old story.
The first thing to catch Adrienne's eye, was that Richard's other arm, or arms, or tentacles, were gone. Each and every one. All that was left was his stump, obscured by torn clothing.
"We received the call from Mister Meyers, saying your brother was threatening him. Where is Charlie, Adrienne?"
And so the lies began, tinged with truth. She could feel that dead voice, cold and emotionless, that she used that day in court returning.
"I don't know. He borrowed my car and drove off. I was just cleaning, and all of a sudden, Charlie and Richard were back here."
"How did they get here? There's no cars in the driveway."
"I don't know, Brendan."
"That's Officer Franks while I'm in uniform. Fine, you don't know. But you saw what happened?"
Yes, I saw a man with an octopus shoved up his arm slash his own neck after holding me hostage in a subterranean chamber where a monster straight out of my brother's nightmares chased us. As much as she wanted to tell the truth, she stuck to her altered version instead.
"I did, but I don't know what it was about. Richard came at my brother with the knife, they fought, they stopped."
"They stopped?" the officer queried her.
"Only for a moment. They held each other at bay, circling. It went on for awhile. I know Charlie got heated at the Order hall earlier today, but I don't know what would have caused this."
She paused for a second, thinking. "Then Richard pulled out his phone, and called you. I guess he knew Charlie's past, and wanted to make you think...well, exactly what you think right now." Adrienne shot an accusatory glance at her former boyfriend.
"Richard made a phone call?"
"While holding your brother at knifepoint?"
"With only one arm?"
"I don't know how he did it! But my brother did not kill him!"
Brendan leaned closer, and placed a hand on Adrienne's shoulder.
"I know you're trying to protect him, Adrienne. But he's done this before. It was only a matter of time before Charlie snapped again. Coming back to town was simply too much for the guy."
In that instant, Adrienne knew how her father had felt that day, the rage in her heart boiling up her throat. She grabbed Brendan's wrist and tiwsted his arm to get his hand off her body.
"Don't you ever try and blame my brother for what happened to my mother! I was there, you weren't. I saw what happened, and whatever killed her was not Charlie! Get out! Get out this instant! I'll call someone to take care of the body! I'll answer questions tomorrow, but you get the hell out of this house right the fuck now!"
Her last few words pierced the air and would have broken windows if just the barest pitch higher.
Brendan didn't like it, but he took the other officer with him and left, after calling up an ambulence himself.
Adrienne let the EMTs in and crawled upstairs to take a shower and get to bed before they had even left.