“Troy? What the hell?!” I stepped forward and lost balance as my foot slid to my side. The scent of stale puke entered my nostrils and I immediately pinched my nose. “Did you puke on the floor?! This is disgusting! I almost fell Troy!”
“Hun-Hun-ter?” He stuttered in a strange voice. No wonder I didn’t recognize him, he was definitely intoxicated.
I rushed up to him to see the state of his condition but couldn’t see well from the lights being out. I quickly got my phone out and shined the screen towards his face.
His natural tan was now pale and clammy, and his usual full lips were dried and cracked with residue of dried blood. His thick black curly hair was knotted and greased with bits of dirt like he was sleeping in the gutter. I didn’t recognize the man sitting in front of me.
“Troy, Troy, you need to lay down, let me get you water.” I tried moving his massive body down but he didn’t budge. “Troy! Lay down!” I lightly shook his shoulder and he suddenly flinched like he woke up from a bad dream.
“Hunter, it’s you. I don’t know how I got here....” He was looking around like we were in a strange place.
“You’re home Troy, just lay down, you need to sleep it off. You can clean up after. Just rest.” Finally I was able to help him lay on the couch as he wiggled his way down into the cushions. His legs dangled off the edge but sleeping here was better then in an alleyway outside. He will just have to sleep like this for now until the morning.
“Hunter-I-I-“He called out to me as I started walking towards the kitchen to fetch some water. I could hear him choking up with tears and I immediately ran back to his aid. Miraculously the lights came on and everything was in plain view. I gasped in shock from the sight of my brother. His pants were soiled and his clothes were completely covered in dirt and mud. I had no words to describe his filth.
“Troy why are you doing this to yourself?” I cried as I held his hand. He gave a slight squeeze as rivers of tears created clean lines down his muddied face. I wiped through his tears with my fingers and held his hand tightly in mine.
“I’m sorry Hunter, I’m-I’m...I’m- so tired, I just need to sleep.” Troy’s eyes slowly closed and his breathing steadied as he slept peacefully. I decided not to wake up and leave him as he was, I’m sure he hasn’t slept for days.
“Sleep well brother.” I kissed his forehead and left him to slumber in his dreams. I wanted to help him, but before I could help him, he will have to help himself.
.....a few hours later
“You cut out a piece of me And now I bleed internally, Left Here without you, here without you.”
Shit, I could never get the chorus right. I mushed all the lyrics together from what I heard on the radio, and strummed the strings on my guitar to the rhythm playing in my head. Whenever I was stressed out I played to keep my mind at bay. After walking into the disaster last night, I spent all night cleaning it up. Thankfully I heard Troy puttering around in the kitchen, so at least I knew he was alive.
Suddenly, I heard a loud creak from my bedroom door and glanced back into the dim hallway. Troy was taller than average and the tiny apartment we lived in always had him ducking under each doorway. At least he put on fresh clothes, but his appearance still resembled a street peddler. His red plaid shirt was partly buttoned up, while his jeans were riddled with holes.
“I’m sorry about last night, I wasn’t myself....” Troy spoke with a slight slur and I could see in his pupils were still dilated.
“Are you going to stay this time? You know I can help you if you just gave me the chance” I asked as I placed my guitar on my beside me.
“Um-yeah-” He stuttered and looked down at his feet. He was such a bad liar, and since we were twins I could practically read his mind.
“Bull-shit Troy. I know you, and by the looks of it you need another fix. I can’t give you any more money. You need to set yourself straight if we are going to move out of this shit hole apartment. I’m not sure how much longer I can put up with this and one day, the people you owe money to will come knocking on our door.” I was frustrated, but I didn’t want to scare him away. I wanted him to stay and get better, or maybe I could offer to take him to a clinic? I was secretly saving my money up to get him admitted to an addiction clinic, but only if I could convince him to go. He ran his hand through his hair while contemplating his next words.
“Hunter I don’t want to bother you- Just don’t get involved in my personal affairs, I’ll handle it alright?”
I completely lost it.
“Why can’t I tell you anything?! Why are you so defensive?! I’m just telling you how I feel and look at you! You’re high as a kite, and you say that I need to stay out of your personal affairs? Excuse me but I’m paying all the bills working at that perverted club! Do you see me shooting up and getting high from the stress?! Do something productive with your life Troy!” I stood up and raised my arms in frustration.
He stayed quiet, but I could see from his face that he was upset and usually he would retaliate with some smart ass remark.
My heart dropped at his silence. Was I too harsh with my words? I was beginning to regret what I just said, but deep down it was how I felt.
“Troy I didn’t mean-” I didn’t know what else to say and Troy started backing up towards the door. “Where are you going now?!” I chased after him but he continued walking.
“I got stuff to do Hunter. I’m sorry, I’m such a fuck up.” He replied as he started putting his sweater and shoes on.
“Come on Troy, stay! It would be nice to spend time with you for once. Please. I’m worried about you.” I pleaded, but he continued putting on his shoes. Sometimes I wondered if this was going to be the last time seeing him alive. Was his going to overdose? Was he going to get murdered?
“Fine, well if you insist on leaving me again then- here, at least take your wallet.” I grabbed his black leather wallet off from the front hallway table and placed it on his lap.
“Nope, not where I am going Hunter.” He kept his eyes focused on tying his shoes up as he tossed it back to me.
“What if something happens and you need help? How will the hospital contact me?” I interjected as I held the wallet towards him.
“Well, I’ll have to take that chance.” He looked up at me as he stood at the door way. He was stubborn, just like me, so I knew I’ll have sneak it in his pocket somehow.
“Alright have it your way then. Just give me a hug you sticky ass.” I smirked and went into him with open arms.
He rolled his eyes and followed suit. “Alright.”
As we hugged each other I slipped his wallet carefully in his back pocket hoping he wouldn’t notice, but I think he was too high to even realize that it was there. A life of foster care and living with the bare minimums has taught me to be the master of pick pocketing.
“Where are you off too?” He pointed to the bag sitting on the floor.
“Training before work. Got the fight in a couple weeks, I hope you can come and watch.” I peeled back to see him hoping he wouldn’t feel the wallet I just snuck into his back pocket.
“Fight? Oh right with the werewolf? You know you shouldn’t get involved in that-.” He scratched the back of his head as I gave him a dirty look. “Never mind, I’m a hypocrite.” He chuckled.
I chose not to argue about it and bit my tongue.
“I’ll see you tomorrow sis, take care.” Troy stepped out into the hallway and slammed the door behind him, leaving me alone once again.
“Please don’t kill yourself.” I whispered to the empty space by the door.
I was already imagining what scummy part of town he was heading to or what type of people he was seeing or dealing with.
As I packed up the rest of my things in my gym bag I kept spinning the previous night on replay. Why do I feel so helpless? Would he ever get better?
I had to try my best to keep my emotions in check and on top of that, today was another day of training. Another exhausting night at work and then I would be home again.
I kept praying that tonight would just be a normal night, but tonight was going to be far from normal.