“Ah, brother. There you are. I was just coming to find you.”
“You! You bastard! How could you?” His expression doesn’t change. It’s always that same empty smile, ever since we were young. I used to love that smile, used to do anything to illicit it. Now? Now I just want to grind it off his face on the pavement.
Thunder rolls overhead. I can smell the rain in the air. My hair stands on end. It’s going to be a good storm, the one we’ve been waiting for. The only rain for weeks and weeks to feed the parched earth, to feed our empty stomachs. Sorry, my empty stomach. That’s why I’m here.
“Brother? What has got you upset? Has someone been telling you tales?” No guilt, no remorse, not even a flicker of fear. I’m bigger than him but it is only my fury that makes me his equal in a fight. He knows that.
“Stop calling me that. You lost your right to call me ‘brother’ when you stole my love from me. Do you recognize where we are? This is where she killed herself out of guilt and the terror of what else your sick mind might conjure to torture her with. Her blood is still there, monster!” I wish that was the worst he had done. I wish it was the end of the sick tale.
The rain drops are coalescing above. The air temperature is dropping. Any second now. The clouds flicker with lightning and the drumroll soon follows. My fists clench in anticipation and nerves. “You cannot keep blaming me for her death,” he says with that blank smile. “She took the fatal steps. I did not push her. I was not even there.”
“LIAR!” No. I have to calm down. I can’t let him control me like he’s always done. He’s so good at that. Manipulation at every turn. It’s all a game for him. And he’s winning. The prize is sitting in his fat belly. I feel sick but I have to finish this now before anyone else suffers. “You are a liar and a soulless demon. But you didn’t have to do that to my children. They…they were innocent.”
“Who is the liar now, brother?” The first raindrop lands next to my foot and sends up a small puff of dust. The little pitter patter of rain soon descends until I can no longer distinguish one drop from another. “Children, they were. Innocent, they were not. Just like the rest of you, they were happy little scavengers. Thieves living off of the strength of others. I merely put them in the position to repay my charity to them.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” The lightning flickers closer now. Night is swiftly falling with the rain and the heavy clouds.
“I housed them with their mother when you were getting the food. I even fed them from my own spoils. Ungrateful whelps.” Cruel words with those evil eyes and that fixed grin.
“So it was only fair?” I cannot believe this is his excuse. I can’t believe him to be so barbaric. But maybe I should have believed worse of him from the beginning. Maybe they would all have been safe if I had. “You…you ATE them! How could that be fair? In what blasted, desolate universe is that fair? They were my children. They were your blood!”
Not a tick, no indication whatsoever that he acknowledges his sin. “We are in a drought, brother. Everyone is hungry. It is not like I neglected to share.” So I heard. It’s perfectly logical to him. And for his twisted logic, I have to kill him.
If we had been in the dirt, the rain would have been a disadvantage. But the wet pavement gives my feet excellent purchase from which to leap at my own flesh and blood. This will be a cruel fight, no rules, no mercy.
He is prepared for me enough to roll with the impact of my heavy frame. Still, my ferocity surprises even me. I pull every dirty trick I can think of: biting, scratching, going for the eyes and groin, anything that could take him down faster than he could get the advantage back. It is no use. He is on top of me and despite his slight frame has me easily pinned. He lords over me with his demonic smile, taking a moment to soak in the downpour. As he does that, I see my salvation and my death swiftly approaching. He then bares his sharp teeth and latches onto my throat. There is a light then, brighter than the moon.
The impact is intense, the pain exquisite and brief. Then there is darkness.
Further down the road…
“Holy crap! What did we hit,” the passenger squeals. She soon recovers herself and hopes that the guys at work don’t find out that she squeals like a girl when startled. She is mortified that her friend has run over a poor, defenseless creature. But it is raining and very dark. Judging by the loud thunk from under the tire, it must have been a large, defenseless creature.
“Don’t worry. It looked like a possum,” the driver replies after taking a second to get his breath back. His hands are shaking a bit from adrenaline, but no one has been hurt and the car appears to be in working order. He considers with chagrin what his wife would say if she found a dent and says a silent prayer that the little beast hasn’t done that much damage.
“Oh, that’s fine, then,” says the passenger in a much happier tone. “Possums are so creepy. It’s like they’re always smiling, and not in a cute, puppy-dog way, either.”
At the scene of the murder, passing drivers might have observed, had it been daylight and the speed limit under 45 mph, a damp, bloodied possum dragging itself off the road with its characteristic creepy smile still in place.