Family Murdered After Christmas
She came to us after Christmas. It was some ten years ago, a knock at our door, in the midst of our holiday celebrations. Who would’ve been knocking at this hour? We had no guests, and no deliveries. Opening the door, we were met by the sight of a basket, wrapped up as if it was a gift, golden ribbon and vert linings. Inside, a child, no older than 3. We brought her inside, and expected another knock at the door, anytime soon, a worrying mother to ask if we had seen their baby. An hour passed. The next day came along. A week passed. The whole time, we kept in contact with the police and local social services.
It was a year before we finally decided to adopt who we came to know as Laura, the newest addition to our family. She adapted well, as we fed, clothed and raised her. She was especially attached to me, and refused to go to separate schools. At first, it was endearing, and I enjoyed caring for my little sister, practically babying her, making sure she was eating well, insisting for her to shower, and ruling over even the smallest parts of her life. As the only child before her, I made it my solemn duty to act as the older sibling I never had.
But as we grew older, it became more and more tiring. Laura was still clingy, and as a result she stayed childlike and innocent compared to her peers. I heard from friends that she was being bullied for being weird and different, and I chose to do nothing. As cruel as it was, I hoped that she would learn to become independent, everyone had to go through hardships and Laura had none from what I knew.
Surprisingly, my parents felt the same way. They were worried about my sister’s unhealthy reliance on me, and said nothing. Even when she returned home at dark, soaked in water even though it had been bone dry the whole day, we’d dry her off and tell her to be more careful. Even when her clothes were dirty and torn, we’d quietly wash and sow it back together. We loved her dearly, made sure to regularly catch up and talk to her, but said nothing about the bullying. Eventually, when I found out about the various bruises and marks on her legs, I decided to act.
Instead of returning home after school, I went to Laura’s class, and waited for her to leave. At a distance, I followed, but she emerged into the crowd, and I lost her. An hour after school had ended, and it was all but silent, I decided to return home, thinking that her bullies had left her alone for today. It happened sometimes, she’d come back at the usual time without any noticeable changes. I caught the bus back, thinking of how I’d tackle the situation the next day.
The door to our house was unlocked, which was strange. When I opened it, there were no sounds inside either. There’d always be something, either my mom talking loudly on the phone, the dog barking, dad listening to the radio. Today, bleak silence. I went upstairs, thinking Laura had just carelessly left the door open, to scold her. Outside her room, I could hear from inside a thudding noise. Once, twice, once twice. Over and over again.
I entered, and was horrified by what I saw. Laura, hammer in hand, smacking away at her shins. The sound of steel hitting flesh, repeatedly. She noticed me, and began laughing immediately. I approached to wrench the hammer away from her hands, but she raised it menacingly towards me, forcing me back.
‘Stop doing that!’ I yelled, ‘You’re hurting yourself!’
‘I know.’ she giggled, her eyes were blank, unassuming ‘But it’s the only way my family will pay attention to me!’
‘What do you mean?’ I replied, shocked, ‘Now, give me the hammer, or I’ll tell Mom!’
‘Good luck with that.’ she screamed manically, and swung her weapon at me. I backed away, through her bedroom door, running downstairs and calling for my parents. I could hear her chasing from behind, confused by how fast she was moving after abusing her legs so severely. There were no bullies, just Laura, and her deranged mind.
I found Dad lying asleep on the garden bench, as he usually was. I yelled for him, but there was no reply. It was only when I got closer that I noticed the profuse bleeding from the indenture on his forehead. I stopped, in dismay. There was a dull pain in the back of my leg, as Laura swung her hammer and connected. Before she could swing again, I was running, this time towards our garden shed, where I knew Mom liked to hang out.
My worst fears were confirmed as I saw her with similar injuries to dad. She was face down in her favorite flower garden, and I gagged. Cornered, Laura strode up to me threateningly. I raised my hands to defend myself, buckling as she smashed into my knee. She raised the hammer again, this time for the killing blow, but stopped.
‘Why didn’t you all love me?’ she asked, there were tears in her eyes.
I stammered for an answer, but found none. When she realized I had nothing to say, Laura fell to her knees, the hammer released from her grasp. It was at that moment that I wanted to hug her, tell her the answer I knew I had but did not want to say. But there was something else, deep in my heart that burned harder. I clutched up the hammer, and swung once.
She survived, my parents did not. Since she was a minor, there were no charges pressed, the case quickly swept under the rug after the brief nationwide attention. The trauma to her head had wiped all of her memories, and she’d stare blankly at me. There was no Laura anymore, she had her name changed, ironically to Angel. Once a month, for both of our therapies, we meet, and pretend to be friends. At least, I do, she has no idea what she had done, who I was, and sometimes, I mistakenly call her ‘Laura’, and she’d stare, puzzled. She became clingy again, asking staff constantly when I’d be back, and whenever I came, she’d do as Laura did, asking to be fed, washed and told stories. And although I smile and laugh, and stay the older brother I was before, inside my heart I know that I have no family anymore, and the hatred burns harder still.
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