Peter enters his mother’s bedroom to find her staring out her window. The soup on the table before her is cold and untouched. He can see a deep sadness in her eyes. “Mother, why haven’t you eaten? Are you not feeling well? Should I fix you something else?” She doesn’t respond, continuing to look up at the rising moon. He steps closer and touches her hand. “Mother?”
Upon contact, she finally looks at him, and her sadness becomes anger. “I don’t like that girl Peter. She’s no good for you.” Peter rolls his eyes and backs up; it always seems to come to this. “I mean it Peter, she’s no good! She’s trying to tear us apart and get rid of me. She threatened me earlier, saying nonsense like she would have you send me away once she becomes lady of the house or some foolishness. She alluded to the possibility that you didn’t plan for me to live with you at all. How could you possibly trust a woman like that? She’s deceiving you.”
“Mother, I’m not in the mood to have this conversation tonight. Please, just drop it. It’s not as though you don’t give her reasons to say those things if she really did.”
“What are you insinuating? Are you saying I’m the one being rude to her? If I am, it’s because I can see how much of a vixen she is. Her type is no good, she’ll squeeze you for every dime you have. She’ll leave you and get with the next hottie that looks her way. She’s already shown herself to be that type hasn’t she? With how she left you heartbroken and then jumped into bed with the other man. She’s a slut of the lowest kind and that’s not the kind of woman I want for you.”
“Don’t!” The table shakes and the soup spills over the bowl as he slams his hands down on it. He grips it tightly, his knuckles bulging with such tension, showing his anger. He takes deep breathes to regain his composure and lower his tone. “Please don’t call her that mother. Nai is not a slut, not now, not ever. She just made a minor indiscretion; one I partially lead her to with my carelessness. She’s come around and I know she’s not going to betray me again. We’re working our way back to having full trust as we did before, and I know we’ll get there soon. For now, please just let it go.”
She doesn’t say anything, obviously a bit rattled by his sudden flare of anger. He’s rarely lost his temper that way in front of her, and he’s never directed it towards her. She watches as he clears her bowl and cleans the table down. He brings a warm cloth and uses it to wipe her down. He undresses her and slips on her gown. He then carefully lays her in bed and slips the covers on. He never says a word as he does these things.
“Can I do anything else for you mother?”
She reaches for him. “Come lie with me darling. Lie with me, just like we used to. I want to feel your warmth and breathe your scent like before. It’s been such a long time.”
He looks away from her. “I’m not a kid anymore mother, we’re done doing those kind of things. It’s time for you to let me grow up. I’m a man, and I have needs as a man. Needs that you can’t fulfill for me as my mother. I want to live independently and have a family of my own with the woman I love. Nai is that woman, I’m sure of it. I can’t help that my soul is tainted, but she makes me feel pure. For the first time in my life, I want to foster such pureness, not snuff it out just to give me comfort. I’ll always be infected with this disease that makes me want to corrupt pure souls, and so I’ll have to find ways to deal with that. However, she’s the one who can heal me after I indulge these dark desires and I need that. You must accept this fact.”
Her face becomes sad. “Peter, my sweet Peter. Please...my baby.” She continues to reach for him, desperation in her eyes. She knows he’s slipping away and leaving her behind. She knows that he’s moving on and she’s not ready.
He sighs deeply. “Mother...I will always love you, very much. However, I’m going to start my life, and I’m afraid I can’t do that with you in it. I won’t let you control me anymore. I didn’t want to tell you this yet, but I think I must for you to really understand. Nai was right. When we leave here, Nai and I will be moving into our new house. However you mother, will be going to a very nice long-term care facility. They are renowned and can take excellent care of you. You’ll enjoy your time there, and I’ll come visit you once a month. It will provide us with the distance we both desperately need to learn to have from each other, while keeping a connection. I hope you understand now.” He turns away. “Anyway, I’m heading back mother. Goodnight.”
“I understand,” she starts. “I understand that you’ve been manipulated by that dirty whore. She’s gotten under your skin and in your mind. She’s turned you against me and made you a weak man. You may even be weaker than your dolt of a brother now. You are blinded by your baseless love and refuse to see what’s right in front of you. You’re being deceived Peter! She’s going to drive me and everyone else away so that you’ll have no one left but her. She’s going to let you give her the world, and then she’s going to take it from you when you least expect it. She’s going to ruin you one day at a time until there’s nothing left. She’s going to cheapen you to nothing, and you’ll become a disgrace. You’ll fall to the lowest point simply because you couldn’t resist that unholy pussy of that nasty slut!”
“Arg!” Peter becomes overwhelmed with rage, and in a swift motion he turns, grabs the spare pillow off the bed and brings it down over Ruby’s face, pressing down hard. “I said not to call her that mother!” He doesn’t stop, even with her arms failing about and reaching for his own. “Why can’t you just leave us alone?! Why do you have to be such a jealous bitch?!” He finally comes back down from his rage induced mania and breathes deeply to catch his breath. Once he’s reached a calmer place, he removes the pillow and places it back neatly.
“I’m sorry mother, I didn’t mean to lose it like that, but you were saying such hurtful things, I just couldn’t control myself....” He realizes she’s staring at him, but she’s not moving otherwise. “Mother?” He gently shakes her. “Mother, are you already asleep? With your eyes open?” She doesn’t respond and so he leans down closer to her face. “Mother? What’s wrong? Why won’t you answer me?” As he hovers over her mouth, he realizes she’s not breathing anymore. “Mother?!” He stares at her again, her eyes dull. He realizes the truth. “Mother....” He stares at his hands as they begin to tremble, and he places them against his face as tears begin to fall from his eyes. “I’m sorry mother...I’m so sorry.” He falls beside her a cries harder, until he can’t anymore.
He slowly gets up and straightens out her gown. He centers the pillow on the other side of the bed, and he smooths the covers. He pulls her eyelids closed and kisses her on her forehead. “You can rest peacefully now mother. Thank you for raising me. I’ll take care of things from here.” He flips the lights, shuts the door, and exits the apartment.
He goes to fetch Veronica as he promised and leads her to the apartment. “You can sleep here and if you’re hungry, you may help yourself to any of the meals in the fridge. The bathroom is to the side here and the TV doesn’t work, but the radio does, just don’t play it loudly. Mother is asleep already, so please don’t disturb her. That’s all I have to say. Please excuse me.”
Veronica watches him leave like a zombie and can’t help but wonder why. However, once he’s shut the door, she prepares herself for the next step of their plan. It’ll be risky, but if she succeeds, then not only will she be saved, but so will many others, including Nai. Her survival most of all, rests on her shoulders and so she won’t fail her.
When Adam returns to the room, he looks like a zombie. “Honey? What the matter?” She’d been waiting for him in just a robe on the bed, the tub filled with hot, salted water and surrounded by candles for extra ambiance. She wanted to go the extra mile to ensure that she’d keep him in the mood for sweet love making all night long. There was a time she’d have killed for the chance, now it’s just a means to an end. A way to buy time so Veronica can make her move. “Peter, what’s wrong?”
He walks over to her a nearly crumbles into her lap on the bed. He lies there silently, not saying a word or making any moves. She feels that it’s better if she just let’s this play out and remains silent for several minutes. Finally, he slides himself up and falls into her arms. She follows the cue and gently strokes his head, like a mother might her child. They are again silent for several minutes. Eventually, he moves up to her mouth and kisses her. It’s a desperate kiss, and she gets the feeling that he’s in great distress.
“Honey...let’s take a bath.” She manages to get up and leads him with her to the tub. He climbs in with her and they relax together. At some point he must return to his senses, as he pulls her face back and kisses her, more sensually this time. He plays with her as she plays with him, and soon he slips himself inside. They go for several rounds there, and after transition to the bed for many more. All the while, they never say a word and Nai’s last few orgasms may have been the only real one’s she’s had with him in a while. If things go as planned, they will also be the last.
“Wake the fuck up!” Nai wakes up to the brash voice of Adam. He’s standing beside the bed on Peter’s side, slapping his face.
“Ok, I’m up!” Peter shouts back as he sits up in the bed. “Jesus, what time is it?” He looks at the clock. “Dammit Adam, it’s only 7 am! I still had a couple of hours.”
Nai covers herself with the sheets and groggily asks, “What’s going on? Why all the commotion?”
Adams glares at her. “Don’t act like you don’t know. That dumb slut couldn’t have done this all on her own. You played us all for a fool, just as I knew you would. You sneaky bitch!”
Peter grabs his arm. “Hey, I believe I told you about saying those things Adam. Now explain what’s going on.”
“She’s screwed us Peter, that’s what’s going on! I’m not sure how she did it, but that slut is nowhere to be found. I’ve looked everywhere. She’s gone Peter! She’s fucking gone and that means that soon there’s going to be police swarming this place!”
Peter becomes fully alert and jumps out of the bed now. “That’s impossible! We’ve got this place locked down tighter than a prison. I secured all the exits and windows myself when we got back. There’s no way she got out. You must’ve missed her.” He slips on his clothes in a hurry. “I’m going to go check myself, since you tend to half-ass it when you search for something.”
“Be my guest bro, but I promise you, she’s nowhere to be found and it’s all your precious lady’s fault.”
“Listen, I know you despise her, but you need to cool it already. I swear, you and mom are just the same with that.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Forget it. Come help me look again.”
The two race to search for Veronica, but Nai already knows they won’t find her. “Did you actually do it Ver?” She smiles, happy things seemed to have worked out, but she’s still not out of the woods yet. She chose to have faith in Veronica and believed that she’d keep her word and do the things she asked her to once she was free. However, Nai doesn’t know her that well, so she could’ve been telling her what she wanted to hear just to escape. She could be long gone by now and Nai will be on the fast track to her doom.
Several minutes later they return, and Peter looks a bit dejected. He walks close to Nai and looks her right in the eyes. “She’s gone. She escaped somehow, but how? We took all the precautions in securing the place. How else did you think we’d have been willing to allow you two to roam freely?” His face becomes sad. “You didn’t have anything to do with this, did you Nai? You wouldn’t have betrayed my trust like that, would you?”
“What? No... I wouldn’t.” She answers softly.
“She’s lying! She planned this entire thing and is trying to play innocent. It’s time to stop playing around with her and release her like all the others. I’d be honored to do it for you.” Adam grins at Nai with heavy desire in his eye.
“I swear, I don’t know! I had nothing to do with it! I’d like to know how she did it too. If I knew of a way out, don’t you think I’d have taken it by now? I’m just as surprised as you two!”
She notices Peter looking at her strangely. “You...you’d have taken it?” He appears distraught. “You’d have left if you knew of a way Nai? You’d have left me? Even though you swore that you’d stay? Even though you said you loved me?”
She tries to maintain his gaze, but she finds that she can’t as she says, “I do love you. I meant to say I would have before. Now I’m in this for life. I changed my mind and decided to stay with you. I swear Peter, I love you!” She tries to sound convincing, but his eyes tell her that it doesn’t work.
“You lied to me?” He looks like his heart is breaking.
“That’s what I’ve been telling you man! This bitch has been lying this whole time and scheming behind our backs. She made the way for that slut to escape, and you played right into her hands. You got played bro, and now we’re gonna be ruined!” He moves closer to Nai. “So, let me ruin her.” He glares menacingly.
Nai realizes things are escalating, and so she’d better think of a way to deescalate quickly, or she’s done. “Peter...I’m sorry. The truth is, I just wanted her to get out. I couldn’t bear to think that she and her baby would die in a place like this. She didn’t deserve that. So yes, I helped her escape, but I never planned to leave. I mean, I’m still here, aren’t I?”
He stares at her in anguish, unable to speak right away, but then he hears the sirens blaring outside, and he snaps back to reality. “We need to move, now. Take only immediate necessities and be ready to go in five.” He grabs Nai’s arm. “That means you too.” He pulls her up and tosses clothes at her. “Hurry and put those on.” He doesn’t look at her directly, clearly upset.
“Damn! Everything ruined because of one bitch!” Adam punches the wall. “I don’t need anything, so I’m gonna go get mom ready and prepare the gasoline.”
Peter doesn’t immediately react to his words, but then as though he just remembered something important, he becomes panicked and shouts after him. “Wait, I’ll handle mom, you just-.” He stops short when he sees a furious Adam standing before him.
“I figured out how the slut escaped. Mom’s window through the fire escape. It’s the only one we didn’t gate remember? Just in case she needed to escape quickly for a fire or some other emergency. That was your idea.”
“Oh...I forgot about that. Guess that was an oversight on my part. Anyway, we need to hurry, so I’m just going to go wake her and-.” Peter meets Adam’s eyes as he reaches the door and gets a chill when he sees the pure rage behind them.
“Mom isn’t going to wake up Peter. She’s never going to wake up again. It’s her fault.” He sulks over to the kitchen and pulls out the largest kitchen knife he can find. “The stupid slut probably killed her before she left so she wouldn’t alert us, and it’s your stupid bitch’s fault!” He charges into the room with the knife raised, aiming right for Nai. “My mama is dead because of you!”
“Ah!” Nai narrowly escapes being impaled in the chest by rolling off the bed and down to the floor. “Stay the hell away from me!” She jumps up and scrambles to the door, just narrowly missing his slice again. “Stay away from me you psycho!”
“It’s your fault! I’m gonna kill you!” Adam chases after her in a mania and is blinded by his rage to anything else. So as he charged Nai once again with his knife pointed towards her, he didn’t notice Peter’s hand grab his arm and change the trajectory towards Adam himself. Not until he felt the cold steel pierce through his chest and saw Peter’s determined eyes. He finally stops and drops his arm, as he looks down at the knife protruding out of his chest. “Peter...I’ve been stabbed.”
Peter looks at his brother with pained eyes. “Why couldn’t you just control yourself? What did you expect me to do? You left me no choice Adam!” Tears begin to pool in his eyes.
Adam looks past Peter to see Nai with her hands over her mouth, looking shocked. He begins to stagger towards Peter and starts to collapse, but Peter catches him and eases him to the ground, such that his head lies on his lap. “Peter...it hurts.” He coughs, leaving blood around his lips. “Am I gonna die?”
Peter takes Adam’s hand and squeezes it tightly. “I’m with you brother, no matter where we go, I’ll always be with you.”
“So this is what it feels like, huh? It kind of sucks.” He manages a painful laugh. “At least I’ll be with mama again. Maybe in the next life she’ll love me. Will you come too Peter? I know I wasn’t always a good brother, but I still want to live my next life with you too. Can I?” He coughs again, more blood being ejected.
Peter grips his hands and with a sorrow filled voice he says, “I’d always want to live life with you. You were a great brother, and I’ll love you in the next life too. I’ll meet you there one day, so just wait for me, ok?” His tears slide down his cheeks.
Adam gives him a weak smile. “I love you too Peter, even when I hated you sometimes, I’ve always loved you. I’ll be waiting. I’ll be....” His body stills and his eyes slowly shut. He’s gone.
Peter finally allows himself to cry fully, as he rests his head against his fallen brother. He cries for a long time, and Nai simply watches, finding herself feeling sympathetic, even if they brought this on themselves. Slowly Peter stands and looks at Nai with dead eyes. “First my mother, now my brother. You really are going to be my ruin, aren’t you?”
He walks out and Nai starts to wonder if he’s left, but soon she hears sloshing. She peeks her head out the door, and finds Peter dumping gasoline all over Adam’s apartment, down the stairs and when he enters his own and shuts the door, Nai is finally scared. “Peter...what are you going to do?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m going to release us.” He begins spreading the gasoline all around the apartment. “It’s all over now and there’s no escape. So... let’s go together baby.” He pulls a lighter from his back pocket and flicks it on. He gives Nai a crazed grin as he drops it, and the room quickly goes up in flames.