The chains rattle keeping the beast securely bound to the wall. “Feed your brother,” she says as if was is an easy task. Yet, up the crooked stairs, I go, drifting down the hallway towards his room where he is kept. The light flickers as a gust of fresh air clears the putrid aroma out of the room.
The weight of the tray in my arms grows heavy as does my footsteps the closer I get to him. The beast, my beloved brother glares at me from the corner of his confined prison.
I set the heavy tray down at my feet wondering if by chance he is still in there hiding beneath the mask of the monster I see before me. His eyes are the same, blue and grey like the sea.
He twitches sporadically as the nerves that course through his body die. He must eat in order to stay alive. We all must feast on flesh be it cow, or chicken or pork. Here, on the tray, chunks of human remains forfeited by a labor of love is the only thing that satisfies his appetite. It was a wonder I was able to get the saw through the bone, but I did it.
My brother snarls at me as saliva leaks from his mouth. I push the tray closer with my foot and step back.
Mother would be proud of me, to know I no longer flinch when he comes to the end of his chain grasping the air between us. Somewhere in there, I see him. My brother, staring at me. If only I could find a way to make him whole again.
One day I will.
“Dinner time.” I slide the tray towards him. I watch him hunch down devouring the forearm then sucking on the fingers leaving behind the only bone. He offers me a scrap of raw meat still left on the tray. I shake my head and take a step further back towards the open door. I can’t watch any longer.
Down the derelict hallway I trudge and descend the stairs. The kitchen door creaks open as heavy as my heart. I wash my hands in the sink and stare at the blood spiraling down into oblivion. I feel dirty and used.
“Did you feed him?” Mother asks with a blood-soaked bandage around a stump that once was her arm. I nod. She flashes me a weak smile as I avert my eyes to the bandages around her knees.
“Good. Now help me to my room.” She is lighter now than she was before. I lift her into my arms carrying to her room.
My poor mother- still carrying the guilt for all that has happened.