“Mark, the only reason I came is because I thought that I should tell you in person…” The slightly taller man spoke through an old telephone behind grimy Plexiglass.
“Go… Away!!” The younger sibling’s voice came as a disheveled growl that peeled away what little humanity was left in his brother’s eyes.
“Dad’s dead, Mark.” The man leaned into the window, attempting eye contact with the fidgety sibling. All sensitivity had been replaced with frustration and impatience.
“I said leave…” Marks gaze was fixed on the corner of the table as he gave a slight pout.
“You've got to be fucking kidding me.” The brother whispered, then scoffed and leaned back into the metal folding chair. “You don’t even bat an eyelid…” The voice was soft and surprised now as his arms crossed as best they could whilst maneuvering the phone. “The only fucking person in the world that believed you, Mark. The only person who loved you enough to testify at your trial?!” The softness had boiled into a rage that encompassed the entire room. “You really are a bloody sociopath, Mark… I am surer of it now than I ever was... and there is nothing I can do to change that.” Tears were forming in his eyes as his volume dwindled with as much haste as it rose.
“Fuck off, Louis. What difference does it make if I’m rotting in a cell, anyway? Bastard never even came to visit me.”
“Never-?!” The expressions reached a climax with the brother’s baffled retort. “The past three years he has tried coming here—without fail— two days every year… your birthday, and Christmas…” He paused as he gathered his words. “But you’re going to sit there like the fucked up piece of shit that you are and tell me he never came?!” Louis was standing up now, tears streaming from his eyes. The only reaction this rose was a laugh, almost choked on, by his kid brother.
“Yeah, he did come…. He came, Lou… but not for me…. He came for the old Mark….”
All the brother could do was sit down again and listen, his jaw gaping and his brows trying to process the situation. All of his anger was with good reason, and fear. For despite him agreeing with the jury—despite the three women that had been raped and murdered—he still loved and cared very much for his kid brother, and not much could change that, no matter how he tried to cover it up.
“Are you someone else now, then?”
Maniacal cackling now sprouted from the man’s throat. His head was held low, his chin almost touching the not-quite-white table, wrist dangling the phone ever so lightly.
“Completely different, brother…”
“What’s different, Mark? Tell me. What has this place done to you?” A condescending roar of laughter surprised Louis.
“This place hasn’t given me anything but hurt, same with you, and mom, and sis. But you know what, Lou?” His shoulders hunkered again as his neurotic giggle echoed through him, “I found something…. It makes me better.” Louis didn’t know how to respond at first. After a while he guessed.
“You mean, like religion?” He was leaning in now, brimming with curiosity. A smile shone on his baby brother’s face, but it gave Louis no consolation.
“Yeah, a bit like it… It’s more a relationship though.” Louis failed to follow.
“With one of the inmates?” Mark let out an abbreviated laugh.
“I wouldn’t expect you to understand, though…” He held himself more prostrate now as a grin menaced his swarthy features. “We always were different, you and I. Never could see eye to eye…” Louis never placed his brother under the category of sane, but he would now call Mark flat out hysterical.
“Mark… You’re making me a bit nervous…” The brother was at a complete loss for words after that. He hadn’t seen his sibling since the trial. He never once came to visit, partially due to he and Mark’s agreement, but mostly because of guilt.
“I know you still don’t believe my innocence… in the case…” Louis looked down at the table, as if to subtly agree, “but that’s okay, brother… None of it matters anymore….” His grin had subsided to a euphoric expression. “Well, I guess you’d better get on then.”
“Mark…” There was no sense in speaking further. “In the next life, then, brother.”
To this Mark stood up and accepted the cold embrace of the two armed guards that had silently been observing the conversation.
Mark returned to the comfort of his familiar cell with his familiar bed and his familiar barred windows and to his everything, the center of his universe. Although, for the first time since their relationship began, she was angry with him.
“What’d I do wrong?”
She made him recall the compliant scene with his brother. She reminded him that there were no excuses for rambling with pitiful humans such as Louis. The attention she gave him was esteemed and not to be muddled by other humans.
And Mark drank the sweet words that flowed through his open mind like honey and begged for her to forgive him.
She was clever. She was not going to allow her follower to have any chink in his shining armor. She used the brother’s conversation to her advantage.
She reminded him of Louis’s absence of trust and of his betrayal. How he had stolen Mark’s first love from him. How many times had Mark turned to his big brother and been failed?
And now he was rotting in a prison cell for three homicides that he didn’t commit, waiting—wanting—to die. Those soft words, those delicate words she whispered in his ear brought his serenity, peace, comfort, and now, since his brother’s visit, there was one more emotion—Revenge.
The confrontation gave her the need for control and with control came a purpose.
Her beauty had certainly allured him, and she cleverly crafted her promising proverbs of hope and truth. They gradually worked their way down, staining his entire being a hue of crimson— hate and resentment. And in not much time at all, an eloquent plan had been devised by the pair.
For the prison, it was every ordinary night, but for Mark’s conniving companion, things were less than favorable. She was gone tonight, completely cut off from the Sun’s precious rays, making this foggy November night even colder. But the temperature was nothing to fear, for Mark ran off of the burning contempt that had been fanned and fueled incessantly by his new light, whether it shone or not.
This was the night that the metamorphosis reached its final stage—when the pupa transformed into an immaculate butterfly…