Hood

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7

I chopped up some onion, wiping the tears.

“Aw, is someone crying?” a man’s voice asked behind me.

I shook my head. “I’m chopping onions.” I’d call him an idiot but I was not in the mood for playful arguments.

Jason, my brother, came up to my side and looked at the cutting board full of onions. “Are you okay?”

“You’d know the answer if you bothered to be in my life some more,” the words rolled off my tongue.

“Shani, don’t be like that.”

I put the knife down and looked at him. “What should I be like? What will please you?” I crossed my arms. “It’s all about what pleases you. Nevermind how I feel.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

I sighed. “Life is a bitch. My life sucks right now. I can’t pretend it doesn’t. Part of being on this earth means going through tough times and I can’t always be happy to please you.” I continued chopping up some other veggies and plants for the sauce.

Jason grabbed my arm, earning a curse from my lips. He let go, looking at my arm and finally noticing the wound. “Shani, what happened?”

“I was attacked. I won. He’s dead. It’s good now. Don’t pretend to care.” I never looked at him as I spoke.

“I do care.”

“Your little date for the night told me that we look alike. Yeah. She said it’s crazy how much we look like each other. Are you really so ashamed of me that you can’t tell the woman you fuck that you shared a womb with me? We are the same age, Jason. I’m only a few minutes older.” I scooped the veggies into the saucepan.

“I didn’t get to that part.” He watched me cook. I always cooked for myself so I was a master at it by now.

“It’s really not that fucking hard to introduce me as your twin sister. I’ve been attacked multiple times in the past week. I’ve been put in the newspaper as a murderer. You don’t even care to ask me how I’m doing. You spend so much time with all these people who love you as if you’re trying to rub it in my face that you’re lovable and I’m not. We shared a uterus. We should be inseparable yet you barely know I exist.” I wiped a tear, now realizing they were not from the onions.

He wasn’t sure of what to say.

“Twins are born holding onto each other a lot of times. They cry for each other. When mom was alive, she told me how you cried like a baby when I wasn’t near you. I’ve been dealing with the damn police and attackers and you don’t even bat an eye for me.” I turned to him, finally looking at him.

He rubbed his eyes. “I’m sorry. I know my apology won’t work but I am.”

“You’re right, it won’t work.”

“Why don’t the two of us just do something?”

I shook my head. “You think you can just fix this by hanging out with me for a day? We are here because of you. I follow you wherever your job takes you and I don’t complain. Now I’m cast as the murderer. Do you know how that feels? I’m here because of you and I’m putting up with the crap people say about me and you still don’t want to be around me. If I need support, I need your support the most.”

“How can I make this up to you?” His eyes gave me a pitiful look and I despised it.

I turned to cook again, stirring the veggies with the sauce. “You can’t. It’s over with now.”

“Shani, please.”

I looked at him, pressing my lips together. “No.” I finished cooking my pasta and I added a lot of meat to it. I served it in a bowl and went to my room, locking the door.

I took one bite of the food but the flavor wasn’t as intense due to my lack of appetite. Tears fell down my cheeks, staining my skin. I just wanted someone to have my back once in a while. It was too hard to ask for that.

Once I managed to eat all my food, I laid down in my bed and fell into a world without these people.

“Get the hell away from her!” someone yelled.

I awoke from my dream state with a jolt, looking around my room. I spotted the wolf that watched me from the corner of my room, baring its teeth.

My brother held a gun, aiming at the wolf.

“Jason, stop,” I demanded.

He looked at me and back at the wolf. “Are you serious? This animal is trying to kill you.”

I slapped the wall, catching the attention of both him and the wolf. “I said stop. I don’t need your protection.”

“You would’ve died had I not been here.”

“Why would that matter? It would prove I’m not the killer because I’d be dead but the killings would live on. What do I really have to live for? I know why these wolves are after me.”

The wolf looked my way, ask if listening to my theory.

“I’m one of them. I’m a werewolf and I haven’t turned so they’re trying to get rid of me. I’m assuming I’m like some defect or mutation that will ruin the purity of their breed.”

Jason choked. “What?”

The werewolf began to growl at both of us again, attacking Jason.

I jumped off the bed and jumped on the wolf, getting thrown off. My head hit the wall, blurring my vision. I tried to stand but the dizziness stopped me from doing so.

I heard a gunshot and the cry of a wolf. The voice that belonged to the figure in front of me was muffled by the injury to my head. I was lifted from the ground.

Who I assumed was my brother, he took me to a hospital. I was very cautious inside my head, knowing the doctors’ views of me.

It was quite a lengthy process as the doctors checked on me. They only cared because my brother was around.

With a bandage around my head and a lot of water now in my system, I was gaining my sight again. I coughed a bit and looked at my brother who sat next to my bed. “Why the hell did you take me here?”

“Why the hell did you think you were a werewolf?”

“Excuse me?” I narrowed my eyes at him.

He was reading the newspaper, one that didn’t have my face plastered on the front of it. He looked at me. “There’s no way you’re a werewolf. They aren’t real. You come up with the craziest theories.”

“Screw you. I’ll take care of myself.” I sat up before a hand grabbed onto my shoulder, forcing me back down.

Jason sighed. “You can’t leave. We have to keep you awake. You have a concussion.”

“Who cares if I die? I don’t.”

“Do you have a death wish? Are you suicidal?”

I laughed, wincing from the pain in my head. “Am I suicidal? No. Do I accept my fate? Yes. I’m not persistent to end my life but I won’t fight it if it’s time for me to go. I’m not afraid to die and I have nothing holding me back.”

“What about how I feel?”

“What about how you feel? You wouldn’t care.”

He put the newspaper down and shook his head. “I do care, Shani. I do. I’m sorry for being such a dick and not being there more often. I thought you didn’t want to hang out with your twin. I thought you liked being reserved.”

I shifted, using the movement to scratch my back. “What about me? Have you ever thought to ask what I wanted? You just assume because it benefits you.”

“Damnit, Shani, I am trying to do something right here. I am not in it for me. I care about you. You’re my sister. We are twins. I want us to be friends. I want to do stuff together. We’ve only lived in this town for five months. I want to see you happy. Just tell me what you want.” He leaned forward.

I crossed my arms. “I want my brother to put me before his hoes. Bros before hoes, right? I’m like a bro, aren’t I?”

He said, “They’re not hoes.”

“Jason, have you ever opened a dictionary?”

He sighed, shaking his head. “I have. I don’t pay these women to have sex with me. I don’t even have sex with most of them. They’re friends. We go on dates and when it doesn’t work out, we move on.”

I finally sat up, feeling a bit lightheaded. My brain was thumping against my skull. “Jason, I’m just trying to make a quick argument on why I should come before these women. Is that so damn hard to accept? I don’t give two shits if you sleep around. I’ve had sex before. I know it’s good stuff. I just want you to at least put your sister before a good fuck. Can I ask you to do that?”

He rubbed his heads, groaning. “Yes, yes, I can do that. No more girlfriends for a while.”

“Good. Jumping from one to the next is not that good for you anyway. Give yourself time to breathe and learn about yourself. Love yourself. Enjoy being single. It’s not shameful to be single. In fact, here’s a crazy idea. Why don’t you become friends first and see if you might be compatible romantically? Get to know her on a friendship level and you’ll know what she’s really like.”

“Okay. Okay, I get it.” He looked like someone who just agreed to quit smoking. He was worried if he was making the right choice.

He grabbed a book. “Why don’t I read you a story?”

“We’re not five.” I rolled my eyes, laying back.

Jason glanced at me. “You sure do act five.” He opened it up. “It’s the story of Little Red Riding Hood.”

“What’s are the odds that you tell me that story?”

“What do you mean?” He furrowed his brows.

I lifted both of my eyebrows. “Are you serious? Do you not see the resemblance? I wear a red cloak. My nickname in this town is Hood. I’m being hunted by wolves. Bad wolves.”

He tapped his chin, squinting. “I don’t see it. You’re nothing like her. She’s sweet and loving. You’re definitely anything but.”

I gasped. “Excuse me, take that back.”

He chuckled. “Why should I? It’s true. She is loving. You’re not. You’re mean and cold.”

“You’re heartless. What’s your excuse?”

He didn’t say another word.

I swallowed, shaking my head. “I’m sorry. I just want you to care. I don’t like coming home to an empty cabin. I work extra shifts. I try hard to be what the town refuses to see. I am not bad. I just want you to have my back.”

“Whenever I try to help, you push me away. I don’t like to be pushed away.”

“It’s a defense mechanism. I refuse help because if I get it, I begin to rely on and trust that person. I can’t do that because people will always disappoint.” I yawned. The sleep was settling in.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting help. I’m your brother. I will always want to be here for you. I want to. If I have to give up girls for the next five years to make you happy, I will. I just want you to tell me how you feel.”

I wiped a tear. “I can’t. Telling people how I feel sucks because they think I’m crazy. You don’t believe me about werewolves. I know what I saw. A human chased me and turned into a wolf. The police know a werewolf attacked me. They believe me. Phillip doesn’t believe me. Nobody I care about does. The only ones who believe me are the people who think I killed them.”

Jason put down the book and looked at me. “Who’s Phillip?”

I replied, “None of your damn business.”

“Shani, I’m trying here.”

I formulated a little joke in my head in the last two seconds. A tiny smile crept up on my lips. “You want to know? I got myself a friend. Phillip is the man I buy a sandwich from, talk to about my problems, and we go on our merry way. He can make me smile for a little while.”

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