Tama bit his lip as he walked toward the cabin, rolling his rusty bike along side himself.
His eyes wandered to the space beside his tiny house, and with a feeling of dread, he realized the white van belonging to his father was parked on the gravel driveway.
His father was back.
He had been gone for three weeks, leaving Tama alone. He had been paying the bills for Tama, but Tama had not known where he was staying, he just knew he was somewhere luxurious, because the money he sent back to Tama was much more than he usually got from his jobs.
His father would change jobs often, moving from career to career, faking his I.D. at every one.
But still, Tama felt less anxious when his father was gone.
He knew there wouldn't be any outbursts or fighting.
Now he was back.
Tama stopped halfway up the driveway and pushed his bike over, letting it clash to the ground.
He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked up at the sky. It was getting dark, but there were still a few rays of sunlight washing through the trees. Tama pursed his lips and blew his breath toward the clouds, watching his frozen breath drift higher and higher until it dissolved in a wisp.
He sighed heavily and dropped his eyes to the pebbles beneath his feet.
Butterflies were fluttering in his stomach as he thought about his father, and what he had probably done while in another town.
He knew what his dad coming back meant.
It meant he had another boy.
Tama clenched his fists and crouched onto the ground, tucking his head of black hair into his knees. He felt terrible, he felt guilty, and he felt like a bad person.
His dad was a killer, and he knew it.
But the worst thing was...
He never did anything to stop him.
He was thirteen, almost fourteen, he knew right from wrong, right?
But he was too scared to so anything, to tell anyone.
"Coward." Tama whispered to himself, hiding in the darkness of his knees.
He sighed again and stood, brushing his bangs out of his face.
"Maybe this time." Tama said to himself, trying to convince himself that he would help the boy this time.
He said this, but he knew he could never be brave enough.
He knew in his heart, he could never stand up to his father.
He walked over to the back of the van and reached for the handle of the back door, but he stopped in horror when he noticed blood smeared across the right door. He pulled his hand back, shaking. He felt light headed. He dropped his book bag and rushed to the cabin, freezing at the front door.
He swallowed his trepidation and rapped loudly on the peeling paint.
He winced and backed away as the sound of heavy feet approached the door.
They stopped suddenly and the door knob turned silently, adding to Tama's nervousness.
It opened a crack, and Tama could see his father's cold eyes taking him in. The door slammed shut and Tama heard his father fumbling with the metal chain lock.
The door swung open and Tama's eyes drifted to the ground, avoiding his father's gaze.
His father said nothing; he simply stood there, his eyes boring into Tama's head. Tama bowed his head deeper, allowing his bangs to hide his face.
"Where were you?" Tama mumbled.
"I was taking a well-deserved vacation."
"Well deserved, sure." Tama scoffed softly.
His father reached forward and took hold of his face with one warm hand, pulling it up so Tama would have to look his father in the eyes.
"Don't backtalk." He said dangerously, his mouth cut into a deep frown.
"Whatever." Tama said quietly, pulling his face from his father hand.
"Hey doctor! I finished cutting the zip ties! Do you want your shears?" A voice yelled from the living room. Tama stiffened and his head snapped to face his father, realizing that his suspicions were correct. He looked at his father with disgust.
"I knew it!" Tama yelled, his voice rising in anger, "I knew you did it again! You're insane, you're sick! You're-" his father interrupted his screeching by grabbing him roughly by the bangs. He pulled him toward himself, causing Tama to wince and grab at his hands to try and minimize the sharp pain.
"Shut. Up." his father hissed vehemently, throwing him back onto the gravel driveway. Tama landed with a yelp, sharp stones digging into his back.
He pushed himself back onto his feet and glared at his father, his eyes tearing from the pain. His father glared back. Then he turned swiftly and walked back into the house.
Tama rubbed his scratched hands against his black jeans and fixed his hair. His head was throbbing relentlessly.
He slowly moved toward the door and strode inside the cabin. His father stood near the dusty sofa, eyeing him cautiously. Tama looked around the dirty living room, which he hadn't cleaned since his father had disappeared, and his gaze settled on the closet. The boy would be inside that closet by now, and he knew there was a boy.
His dad never came back after a vacation without a victim.
He wondered who the boy was, if he had family, friends. The thought made his gut wrench with shame.
"So, Tama," His father started, glancing at the raven haired boy, "Will you finally help me with this one? You're what, fifteen?"
"Old enough. I started when I was sixteen, with people at least. The animals came sooner…yes, you'll help me with them." His father said. Tama's eyes widened with surprise.
"Them?" he asked, moving toward his father, who grinned.
"Oh yes, this time I captured two beautiful prizes, twins in fact."
"Are you insane? You can't kill them both." Tama hissed. His father's face hardened.
His father was pulling something far too risky. Two missing brothers would cause too much publicity.
His dad was going to get himself caught, and then Tama would be alone.
"If you don't like it, then go to the police! I'll hunt you down. Don't think you're any different than they are, I'll kill you just the same." His father growled. Tama didn't doubt it. His father would kill him without hesitation if he were to betray him. Not only that, but Tama was getting older, and his appearance wasn't far from his father's favorite "type" of prize.
If I'm not careful, I'll be the next victim.
"You know I wouldn't do that." Tama said softly, looking down at his beaten converse shoes.
His father sniffed and mumbled something incoherent.
Suddenly a loud bang issued from the closet that made Tama and his father jump. Tama looked to the source of the noise and realized the boy had slammed the mail slot open. Tama's eyes met the boys, and Tama shivered.
He looked away, ashamed.
Tama's father flew to the closet and slammed the slot closed, hissing something at the boy.
He then walked from the room, openly annoyed.
Tama heard the cabin door open and close with a bang.
This was his chance to apologize to the twins. Maybe then he wouldn't feel so terrible.
He then rushed to the closet, sliding onto his knees to become level with the slot. He pushed it open and was startled by two pairs of amber eyes focused on his face.
He swallowed nervously and said the first thing that came to mind.
"Are you okay?"
One boy shook his head and the other moved closer to the door. Tama was amazed. They were identical.
"My name is Tama. I'm sorry he's doing this to you." And he was, he thought his father was the most disgusting human there had ever been, but he was still his father, unfortunately.
The twins introduced themselves as Kaoru and Hikaru.
Tama waited for them to say more, but they simply stared at him.
"Why aren't you helping us escape?" They asked. Were they crazy? Did they know what would happen if he did that?
"I can't." Tama said, averting his eyes sheepishly. He could never let them go, the thought of what his father would do to him was…
"I can't disobey him. He'll kill me."
"If you run and get the police, they'll protect you." One twin said. That was a lie, Tama knew it. His father told him the police were bad, they hurt people. The police always let people down.
"They'll put you in a safe house with armed guards and everything." The other twin said. Tama wrung his hands and moved away from the door.
"Even if that's true, I can't go against his wishes." Tama said timidly, biting his lip.
"Why not?" One of the twins asked.
"Because, he's my father."
The twins' mouths dropped into identical faces of awe.
Tama's throat tied in a knot as he watched the distrust seep into their eyes.
"You're-" A twin started, but Tama let the slot fall closed and backed up, walking toward his room. They despised him now, the twins Hikaru and Kaoru. Who wouldn't, knowing who his father was?
Tama rushed into his room and fell onto his bed. He clenched his teeth and buried his head into his pillow, crushing it with his face. Tears blurred his eyes and stained his pillow as he let his emotions take over. He hated crying, it made him feel weak.
But in that moment he allowed himself a second of self-pity.
Why me? Why is he my father?
The twins stared at each other, blinking in the sudden darkness.
"This is insane."
They sat there for a few minutes, each processing what they had learned about the boy.
"Maybe we can persuade him somehow." Hikaru tried. Kaoru shook his head.
"I don't think that's going to happen. Dr. Hirato raised that kid; I don't think we can trust him."
"He seemed worried about us though."
"For all we know, he's a killer too." Kaoru said. It was hard for him to believe, the kid looked so innocent, and his eyes had been so sad.
They both sighed.
"So what do we do? He's our only chance." Hikaru said, sliding up against the door.
"Hope he'll have a change of heart, I guess."