Snippets: a spontaneous, mostly unedited piece of writing, whatever I felt like writing spontaneously at that moment, shared here for no purpose other than entertainment.
“Hey, Brian, do you mind doing a favour for me?”
Bob could tell by the sound of his voice that his brother in a state of rapture. Something was glowing faintly blue from his room but the light wasn’t on. Obsessed, thought Bob. Who didn’t have enough self control to play video games after breakfast?
Pulling out his chair, he sat down with a contented sigh as he relished in the rattle of Lucky Charms falling into his bowl. It was Sunday morning. The prospect of tomorrow shimmered with the raindrops tapping on the kitchen window. With their parents away on a business trip, Bob was content to spend the rest of the week playing video games with his brother. And not to mention, but there were still those butter loaded overripe blueberry strudels waiting for him in the oven. The heat of it thawed his toes and eased the circulation back to the tip of his nose. Paradise…
“Hey…Look!” With an muted plop, the toy dropped out of the cereal box and into his milk. A plastic sword! It was about four inches long and a painted plastic, but sharp. He ripped open the small, moist plastic bag encasing it without waiting for his brother. “Brian! I found the toy! Come down or it’s mine!”
No response. The moment was oddly anticlimactic, with no one to witness it in the empty kitchen. Still that should teach his brother, who had been waiting to open this box of cereal all week, not to obsess over video games over his own flesh and blood brother. Isn’t that a choking hazard anyways?
Bob considered running up into his brother’s room, brandishing the mini sword heroically in the air, before swiping it out of reach as Brian inevitably grabbed for it, but instead he set it aside on the table and picked up his spoon. He stared at it for a moment, letting a little disappointed “This toy sucks” slip out from his mouth, before resumed to eat his cereal. It sounded like Brian was fighting a hydra in Cosmic Creature Wars; he’d just ignore Bob anyways. With a background of tinny electronic noises to compliment the clack of his spoon, Bob worked away at his Lucky Charms until he only had colourful milk left.
“Come down here! I’m not washing the dishes again!” Bob yelled, at last, as he tossed his dirtied spoon and bowl into the sink where three dishes crusted with orange powder and a cup were already piled. He had no more patience left. The kitchen certainly got grubbier when his parents weren’t around; Bob would attest to that. Navigating a kitchen when dirty bowls rested on every countertop and bits of slippery food lined the ground wasn’t always fun. Still, that was no matter though when you could have mac and cheese five times a day and not be told you’d die of malnutrition.
From Brian’s room, Bob heard the thundering of footsteps and then a thump as his brother jumped from the third step down as he customarily did. The sound of scurrying feet directed his mind’s eye, zeroing in on the a mental picture of Brian disappearing behind the washroom door to mess with his hair or brush his teeth lest he inflicting his slightly foul breath upon him. And then as Bob slowly rotated his head from ten to forty five degrees directly at the doorway he saw something he might never forget…
Bob screamed. It wasn’t Brian. It might have once been Brian, but this was definitely a zombie. “What did you do to my brother?” Bob screamed shrilly. All he could see was the advancing bloodied face and empty, cold dead eyes as he felt his psyche detach from his body. The two flaps that were its lips opened in reply but only a disgusting thick gurgle came out while globules of blood stitched the two lips together. “Did you kill him?” A sob caught in his throat as he realized what Brian’s conditioned entailed; his older brother, his reluctant idol, his beloved brother, killed! And him…was he next? The thought almost didn’t even seem to matter after the fright of living with such a sight. Then as he calmed down a rational thought settled in his mind. Wait. This guy looks familiar, but not because he’s my brother. He’s familiar because he’s from Cosmic Creature Wars! Bob screamed again. “Where are you, Brian? Stop hiding, I’m your little brother! Save me! Save me!”
It came to him in slow motion as he sweeped the scene, detached, from above. The toy sword! He had a weapon! Quickly, jumping onto his chair and swiping the toy sword off of the table with white knuckles shaking, Bob realized he wasn’t as afraid as he thought he’d be. He’d have to save himself. There would be no Brian, no time for tears. There would only be revenge. Brandishing the sword, Bob squinted his eyes and braced for the oncoming figure. Through his squinted eyes, he could only see the red of the blood and plaid of the figure’s shirt. The horrible, moaning cries were all he could hear, save for the rushing of blood inside his own head. In five seconds, the figure was within hacking distance and Bob reared his hand back. He closed his eyes and felt hot, putrid breath against his face. He screamed. The knife burned like a sparking branding iron in his hands. He plunged it forward.
He opened his eyes.
His hand was bloodied from his fingers to his elbow.
The head popped cleanly off.
It and the body fell backward and rolled down the stairs and down out of sight.
The next thing he knew, he was on the floor, breathing hard, feeling faint from his head down to his toes. There was a wobble in his vision. He flailed until he felt the railing.
For the upteempth time, Bob screamed. And he almost lost his grip and rolled down the stairs. “But you’re dead! I killed you!” For, incredibly, it was the sound of his brother’s voice. Bob clutched at the air wildly, feeling for his sword. Slowly, like in a dream, a familiar tousled head of not yet brushed hair poked over the ceiling. He was holding a bloodied head in his arms. “Did I trick you?”
“Trick me?” Bob stared at his brother incredulously, forgetting for the moment all that had transpired before this morning. What was he talking about…? Why, it was the second day their parents had left for their business trip. It was the day they had planned to unlock the next level in Cosmic Creature Wars. And it was the day before Halloween.
Bob had had to hide his fear many times before, lest Brian take advantage of any break in his fortress, but this time he found it troublesome. In a comic manner, Bob feigned tripping and grasping the railing only to fall down a few steps until he was within clipping distance of his brother and gave him a good clip on the head. Brian yowled and dropped the head, which rolled down around the winding curve of the stairs to the basement door. Bob yelped as he felt his momentum carry him too far and he lurched into the railing, jabbing his ribs.
“Save it for Halloween,” Bob said as brusquely as he could while righting himself, smiling inwardly at Brian’s grimace.
“I worked all night on it,” Brian whined, wiping his hands where artificial blood at stained them on his pants. “I even skipped out on my morning shift on Cosmic Creature Wars. My team needed me. Why should I wait until tomorrow?”
“Because.” Bob couldn’t think of a single reason why as he stared at his brother, who he now noticed seemed slightly off for some reason he couldn’t name. Was it just his frightful hair? No, it had to be more than that.
“Because,” Bob continued, the unease creeping up on him, “Because, I’m your brother. And I’ll laugh at you tomorrow if you wear the same costume.” There, he said it. Lame, but he said it.
“You’re lame,” Brian said right on time, inflaming Bob’s cheeks. Raising his fist for a second punch, Bob felt, for the second time, a shiver of unease. And then he got it. His hand froze midair. The pattern of Brian’s paisley shirt blurred in his vision for a while, in denial, before it suddenly sharpened into a focus along with everything else. He abruptly terminated the insult at the tip of his tongue and spun around to flee up the stairs.
“What’s wrong?” Brian asked, grabbing a fistful of his brother’s shirt and sensing that his usually impulsive brother was disturbed.
“Let me go!” Bob screamed. “Let me go!”
“Calm down! You’re acting like an idiot.”
“Y-your shirt!” Bob’s eyes were frantic and wide, jumping from spot to spot like a maniac’s. “You’re wearing a different shirt!”
“What do you you mean? I’ve been wearing this shirt all morning. I just woke up from the basement. I spent my night there last night after making my zombie head.”
Time seemed to slow. Or, for Bob, it seemed to stop entirely. “You mean, you were never up in your room?”
“That wasn’t me,” Brian said. “You should know that. I told you I’d been working on my costume last night. I’m serious about this.”
Bob pushed Brian’s hand away from his chest. Then he looked over the stairwell.
There were two heads at the bottom of the stairwell.
One had a small plastic sword stuck in its neck.