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By effigor All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller

Untitled Chapter

We had a charmed life, traveling across the globe with our father. He was in the military, and his job allowed us to visit him in exotic and beautiful countries. It is funny, that our move to America provoked the most excitement from us children. Even though we were born in various states, we had no memory of the U.S., only our oldest sister had a slight recollection of living in California. The United States appealed to us as deliciously foreign. The culture shock hit us hard. Our unique accents, which we have come accustomed to others finding intriguing and charming, were the source of our being bullied. Being well educated, and having a large vocabulary, which seemed desired in most cultures, was the reason they mimicked and taunted me when I spoke in class. You see, this was our first exposure to the public education system. We were miserable, and to our parent's annoyance, complained often about our new surroundings. We could tell our parent's were equally unhappy, but the decision had been made, and they were powerless to change it.

We were friendless and unhappy. We spent most of our free time sulking in the yard. My eldest sister, who was a beauty, had attracted many dates, but had little luck with friend's. She often brought her boyfriend Mark around, and soon Mark's siblings tagged along with him.

 He had a sister name Angie and a brother named Larry. Sadly, Angie was closer to my little sisters age, and Larry, even though he was my age, made fast friends with my lonely brother, who was only a year my junior. Even though I had not yet made friends of my own, it was nice to hear stories from my siblings about their adventures and mishaps with their new friends. As if sensing my loneliness, Mark took me under his wing and treated me as if I were his little sister.

 Larry began staying overnight with my brother, and often they would sneak  off to his room, I suspected to look at the dirty magazines they had unsuccessfully concealed under their clothes. Larry would always make direct contact with me, which made me uncomfortable. He did not speak to me ever until one night. It was a weekend, I usually hogged the downstairs den and often chose five or six movies from my parents extensive collection. One night I had made popcorn and just snuggled in under my blanket when Larry came into the room and sat next to me. "What are you watching?" I stared at him for a moment before I answered. It was a bloody horror movie that my sister's could not bare to watch with me. "Cool." Larry said, and without asking, began sharing my popcorn. "Where's John?" I wondered about my brother's whereabouts. "He already passed out." Larry told me. I found myself, surprisingly pleased to have the company. I ended up watching a couple other movies with Larry that night, and even though I didn't was to admit it, I was grudgingly attracted to him.The next morning Larry had left. My brother who slept until noon finally awoke. I was having lunch in the kitchen when John came stumbling in. "Where is Larry?" he asked groggily. "He left an hour ago." John first looked confused and then looked at the clock. He usually rose at 7 a.m. at the latest, even on weekends, and it never mattered how late he stayed up the night before. "Are you feeling alright?" I was suddenly concerned. It had only been seven in the evening when Larry had joined me on the couch. My brother wiped his eyes and then took the pitcher of cold water out of the fridge, and after chugging down two glasses finally answered. "I must be. I could not keep my eyes open for anything last night!" I reached across the table and felt his head. It was cool to the touch. "Well, if you had a fever it must be gone now." I told him.

I spent most of my day laying out in the sun, and spray painting an old bike I had found in the work shop behind the house. My parent's had went out on my dad's boat and did not return until it was almost dinner. My father had been fishing and came out to where I was in search of John. "Where has John gone off to?" he asked me. "I want him to help me clean these." my father lifted up a mass a fish. I made a face. I really did not want to help clean them. "He must be at Larry's. I will run and get him." I offered. Larry only lived at the corner of our street.  His house looked as if it had once been nice, but the years of neglect were obvious. I had overheard Angie tell my sister that their mother had simply left the family one day. Which didn't sit well with me. How can any woman just neglect her children, especially when her husband has a laundry list of disabilities? I suspected this is why they all spent so much time at our house. I knocked on the front door and there was not an answer. I have learned that this was not unusual. The main door was open, and through the glass door I could see Larry's dad asleep in his recliner. "Poor guy." I empathized. I let myself in and went to the recliner to attempt to shake Larry's dad awake with no luck. The end table next to him was covered with medications. I gave up trying to wake him when I heard a gasp from the outside. Even though it was common for my brother in sisters to come in and out of this house as they pleased, I was not accustomed to just entering someone else's home uninvited, so I quietly made my way through the kitchen and out the back door. In the back they had a small deck that overlooked a large, shabby, fenced in back yard. From my vantage point, I could see John and Larry huddled over something. I knew spying was rude, but my curiosity had taken over. Careful not to make a sound I tip toed to the end of the deck so I had a birds eye view of the boys.

 They were both sitting on the ground. Larry was carefully cutting something with a knife. It was not until he moved that I had seen what it was. He had some kind of rodent, it's little hands and feet were nailed to the ground. Larry had opened up its chest cavity and had carefully opened up it's skin so that it's organs were exposed. You could see it's heart pumping away in it's little chest. I drew in a breath and for some reason held it. I had never seen anything like it. To my further horror, Larry poured some kind of liquid in it, lit a match and dropped it onto the rodent's beating heart. The rodent began to squeal and I let out a scream. Both boys jumped when they heard me scream. My brother John's expression was wide eyed fear, but Larry remained calm. "What can we help you with Libby?" he was calm and unaffected. I felt stupid because I screamed and wondered if maybe I had overreacted. "Dad wants you home to clean fish." I told my brother, turning curtly and walked straight home. I doubted and questioned myself all the way home. Maybe I had overreacted. I felt stupid, just like a silly girl. When I got home I quickly told my father that John was on his way, and I went to help my mother with the rest of dinner. I seen John pass the kitchen on his way to the outside deck, and to my embarrassment, Larry was in tow. I helped my mother put the veggies, rolls and potatoes into heat insulated dishes and carried them out to the deck. I had been in the kitchen with my mother so I had not seen that our other sister Alyssa was home. Alyssa was in between myself and my oldest sister. She didn't exactly live with us. My mother only explained that she had "emotional" problems and this is why she boarded at a special school. I suspected that my parent's often lied when it came to Alyssa, but I grew up not questioning my Alyssa. She sat out on the deck with her arms crossed tightly as she glared at Larry. He answered her with a seemingly amused, but unfaltering stare of his own. My brother's eyes shifted back and forth, not understanding the star down. I was often afraid to speak to Alyssa. Most of my memories that have her in them are frightening and unpleasant. The two didn't break contact until my parent's had finished organizing items and sat down at the table. Their eyes both shifted, and no winner was declared.  It was not uncommon for Alyssa to be interested in boys. Her body language and response to them was always promiscuous. She even had a habit of giving our male family members, to their discomfort, "The look". She was terribly jealous of our older sister. So our eldest sister made herself scarce when she knew Alyssa was coming to visit. Before we began to eat my youngest sister and Larry's sister Angie came to join us.

During dinner my parent's announced that they were going to a movie after Alyssa went back to school. Alyssa was usually transported by a van that was provided by the school. Alyssa rolled her eyes and my little sister and Angie whined and begged until my parents surrendered and said that they could go also. I didn't bother to ask if I could go to the movie. My parents, who were movie buffs themselves, had purchased more movies and I anxious to paw through them. My parents ordered me to clean up so they wouldn't miss their movie time. "I'll help." Larry offered. "You are the kindest boy." my mother exclaimed and leaned over to put an arm around him and squeezed his shoulder. Larry smiled while my brother, obviously displeased, stood behind Larry mumbling that the kitchen was woman's work. Finally, John resolved when he saw that his friend was not going to change his mind and he pitched in too. With the three of us working, it did not take long for us to clean up. After the kitchen was clean, I went downstairs to the den to watch new movies and John and Larry disappeared into John's room. 

 I had just finished the first movie when I heard footsteps on the stairs. I didn't look up because I assumed it was my older sister. She liked to use the downstairs shower. I was surprised when I looked up to see Larry entering the den. It was only eight o'clock. "Your brother passed out on me, again." He explained rolling his eyes and flopping down on the sofa next to me. "You must wear him out." I said quickly, I remembered the dead hamster from earlier and did not wish to discuss it. I played my second movie and was engrossed in it when I felt Larry lightly touch my blonde hair. I shifted my head and shoulders as a subtle hint that I did not want to be bothered. "Sorry." he sounded embarrassed and I felt bad. "Its alright, I was just not expecting it." I gave him a week smile and looked at him. His eyes met mine and for some reason I was not able to look away. "You are just so pretty." he told me softly. I could not help it, my hormones sometimes got the best of me, at the moment he made something inside me stir. I found myself pleased. He tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear and began to lean in. It was as if I was stuck in a trance. My mind said "No. No! No!" I froze. His lips brushed mine when a clatter down the stairs made us both jump.

Camping equipment sprawled into the din, followed by multiple footsteps. I had forgotten that my eldest sister had went camping this weekend with Mark. She was often gone, so I had stopped keeping tabs on her. My eldest sister, Rosie, entered the den and flipped on the overhead lights. Since Larry and I had gotten accustomed to the dark, we both automatically threw our hands up to shield our eyes. Rosie, began kneeling down and picking up the items she had lunged down the stairs instead of carrying it all. She noticed us and gave us her brilliant, toothy smile. "Sorry." she smile at us apologetically. Behind her, Mark emerged. He had a smirk on his face as if he were trying to prevent himself from laughing at her. Rosie shot him a look and even though he lost the smile, his eyes danced in amusement. "What happened to camping?" I asked. Rosie's head shot up and I noticed that my beautiful, delicate sister was covered in angry welts. I looked to Mark, he had some, but not as many as Rosie. "Oh my god! What happened?" I asked shocked. "Well" Rosie forgot the camping gear and put her hands on her hips. "We were out for a walk, and wondered into a wasps nest! Can you believe that?" she exclaimed. "Wasps? Out in the forest?" I replied in mock awe. Rosie did not seem to recognized that I was teasing her. "I know. Right?" she muttered, scooping up what she could and lugging it across the den to the storage room. My remark was not lost on Mark he eyed me and grinned. "How you doing buddy?" he asked Larry. Larry looked annoyed for some reason. "I'm good." his body was stiff and he didn't hid his displeasure. I wondered if he was upset because our kiss had been interrupted. I realized that I was no longer under his spell. "I think I am going to bed." I announced to everyone. I heard Rosie holler goodnight, Mark gave me a quick pat on the back, when I looked back to see if Larry was going to wish me a good night, I saw his eyes were in narrow slits.

 I checked on John before I went to my room. He was sprawled out across his bed. He even still had his sneakers on. I removed his shoes and moved his legs so he was positioned mainly on the bed. John didn't stir as I did this. I felt his forehead, and he didn't seem to be running a fever. I was about to leave the room when I spotted Larry's bag next to the cot in John's room where his guest stayed. Something nudged my brain. I peeked out in the hall and listened. No one was coming up the stairs. "You are becoming a spy and a snoop!" I scolded myself, but the nudging wouldn't stop. I carefully started pawing through Larry's stuff. I had just lifted up a sweater when I heard a rattle. I peeked inside the rolled up sweater. I discovered a bottle of Larry's father's prescription pills. I was about to read the label when I heard distant footsteps. Someone was coming upstairs. I quickly patted Larry's stuff into place and hit the light switch as I quickly and swiftly made my way to my own room. Once my door was I stopped holding my breath. My heart was racing, partially from excitement, partially from my dash down the hall.

 I read by lamp for most of the night. I heard my parents come home, with two tired, and grumpy little girls in tow. Their voices were low and distant as they convinced the two girls that they would feel better after a good nights sleep. Then after a while it was silent. I turned out my light and my room was pitch black with the exception of the soft light from the hallway filtering through the crack under my door. My little sister insisted we have it on so when she got up to go to the bathroom at night. I focused on the soft light as my eyes grew heavy. Right before my eyes fluttered closed I saw two shadows in the soft light. My eyes flew open and I froze. I blinked, but the shadows stayed. Whoever was on the other side of the door just stood there for while. I did my best to remain still the entire time. After, what seemed like an eternity, they finally turned and left. I shivered. I knew it was Larry. Somehow he knows that I had went through his stuff.

 When I awoke the next morning I went into the kitchen to fix myself breakfast. My brother and parents were talking in the kitchen in hushed whispers. I entered the room. They immediately ceased speaking. My parents were seated on each end of the table and my brother John in between them. My parent's looked up at me expectantly and my brother was red faced. He didn't look up when I entered the room, as if he were trying to bore holes into the table. "Sit down Libby." my father's voice was not harsh, but it was the no nonsense tone that resonated with me that this was an order, not a request. Confused, I sat.

" You can leave if you want son." my father spoke softly to my brother. Still red faced and refusing to look up my brother shook his head. "Libby,.." My father's voice caught and he nodded at my mother. She turned to me. "We know at your age you are going to naturally be curious." she started. "The kiss, they are talking about the almost kiss." I thought to my relief. John must be made because Larry told him what had transpired between us last night. I was fourteen, most girls my age were suppose to experiment with kissing. So why did everyone in here looked so stunned. I looked from my Mom and Dad to try to see what they were getting at. My Mother took a deep breath and straightened herself up. This was the manner she adopted when she was trying to face something difficult. Still confused, I waited. "Your brother said he woke up with his pants unzipped and his genitals exposed." she finally spit it out. Shocked, but still confused, I said nothing. It took a moment to realize what they were getting at. Stunned all I could say was "What?..You..think?" My brother finally lifted up his eyes. "Larry said he saw you sneaking out of my room last night." he accused. My mouth gaped open. I realized how I must look and I snapped it shut. My brain went haywire. I was confused, angry and, even though I had done nothing wrong, I also felt a deep sense of shame. I tried to sound cool, but my voice trembled. "I was in John's room last night." I admitted, "but I only took off his sneakers and moved him so he was laying on the bed. He had passed with his legs over the bed and his sneakers still on. That was it! I didn't touch him anywhere else." My parents exchanged a look, they know us children well enough to know that we did no peek in at each other at night. "What made you go in to John's room if you knew he was asleep?" my mom questioned me quietly. I went on to explain how he had been going to sleep very early, especially early for summer, and only when Larry stayed the night. I went on to tell them that I had went through Larry's bag and had found the bottle of his Dad's pills. My parents eyed each other skeptically, but my brother's eyes revealed that he was no longer angry, and suddenly doubtful. My parent's kept looking at one another, as if exchanging some dialogue telepathically. My brother's eyes met mine and he looked as if he were going to ask me a question. My parent's had come to a decision at that moment and my mother spoke. "You are going to see a therapist. You are also restricted from your brother's room and are no longer allowed to be unattended with him." I burst into tears, too embarrassed to sit there a moment longer, I ran to my room, and locked the door.

 I seethed in my room. I was angry with my parents for doubting me. I understood why though. They have already been through a lot with my sister Alyssa. They have been to a number of therapist, and knew mental illness could lurk anywhere. Their very own daughter was a psychopath, scratch that, the correct terminology is dissociative identity disorder. They knew how it reared its ugly head and grew. I knew they would be keeping a close eye on me. A thought occurred to me. I knew where my cell phone was. It stayed on the charger now (I had no friends, and no one to call). I called my sister at her "school". I hoped Alyssa was on one of her breaks. The call was directed to her room and she picked up the phone after two rings. "Hello?" Alyssa's voice was thick and sweet, even though I could hear some other girl weeping in the back ground. "It's Libby." I told her "Is this a bad time?" I noted that the weeping in the background grew a little louder. "Not at all." Alyssa answered. Her voice was vibrant. She was most likely the cause of the weeping. She was happy, because once again she had played her game, which she alone knew the rules to, and she won. The now faded scars on the back of my hands itched. Even though she was a hundred miles from me, she still had an effect on me. "What do you need sissy?" she asked as if she adored me. I assumed that this was a show in case any of her doctors just happened to pass her room, or it may have been to further taunt the weeping girl as if to say "See? I am nice, just not to you because you don't deserve it." I suspected it may have been a little bit of both. "Is she alright?" I asked. "Yeah, it is just my roommate, she is a bit pathetic." Alyssa answered, then said to the girl "If you don't be quiet I am going to take your pee sheets to Dr. Shane." the threat was cruel, but I had to admit, it was effective, because the girl stopped crying. "Shes upset because her daddy use to touch her." Alyssa casually explained as if she had said "She fell off her bike." I shook my head in disbelief. I couldn't even believe that they had allowed anyone to roommate with Alyssa. "So, whats up?" she asked, her last victim already forgotten.

 I told Alyssa everything. Yes, I know, you shouldn't tell a psychotic your personal business, but I suspected something was seriously wrong with Larry, and Alyssa, over the years, has become a bit of an expert. When I finished telling her about the kitchen she burst out laughing. Alyssa knew we were well aware of what she was. She didn't care, and she didn't bother to hid it in front of her family anymore. I didn't expect any kind of empathy or even feigned sympathy, but I didn't expect to send her rolling with laughter either. I waited patiently for her to stop. When she quieted down she finally spoke. "He got you good didn't he? Whew! He is a smart cookie. I sensed something was up with him when I met him. You all sat there, dumb as usual." she bragged. "I didn't call to tell you a hilarious story, I called hoping that you may help." realizing how naive I must sound to her I quickly added "I know you can't care less, but this is not a game I know how to play, but I know how well you handle yourself." I finished, playing to her ego. It was her one weak spot. Her ego. It worked, she sounded pleased with herself. "Drug him back. If he realizes that he too can be vulnerable, he will back off." I waited for her to tell me more. She didn't. I had the feeling she knew something else, but was not going to tell me because it was in her best interest not to. I thanked her and hung up.

 I only emerged out of my room to go to the bathroom. I made myself a sandwich, and grabbed some sodas and snack cakes for later. I planned to be holed up in my room for a while. Luckily, my parents were also big on books and often signed up for book clubs. I planned on spending my self inflicted exile reading. I was almost half way through a pretty good thriller when I heard a light tapping on my door. "Who is it?" I assumed it was my mother and did not bother to hid my annoyance at her. "Can I come it?" It was my brother John. "No. I am not allowed to be alone with you, remember?" I told him meanly from the other side of the wood door, "I may have the urge to molest you." I shot at him sarcastically. "Dad went to work, and Mom left for one of her candle parties or some shit like that." He told me frankly. I opened the door a little. My brother and I had a bond, and it was hard for me to stay mad at him. If it had not been for intervention with Alyssa, then I would not be alive today. "What is it?" I had opened the door. Through the slit I could see he looked sad and sorry. I opened the door wider, my voice kinder "Whats up?" He walked into my room. I was careful not to shut the door in case my mom did come home. I sat at the head of the bed, my back against the headboard, my knees up against my chest and my arms wrapped around my shins. He sat at the corner of the bed.

 "I didn't mean to get you into trouble." he started "But you have to see it from my point of view. I woke up, my pants were half way down, know." his face reddened and his eyes shot away from mine. "I know, but how could you have thought it was me?" I think that was the core of why I was so hurt. John could be so easily convinced that I would hurt him. "Larry was so convincing." he explained. "He didn't say so much, as suggested." I nodded. I knew very well what he was saying. After years of being taunted by Alyssa, it was still hard to tell when we were being manipulated. We got duped each time. Stupid humans, with our stupid idea that people were initially good. "So what changed your mind?" I prompted him. "When you mentioned the pills, and the fact I was sleeping so much when he stayed over. I didn't understand why I was winding down, then I would try to fight it, but couldn't." he then looked at me sheepishly, "I think I knew he drugged me a few other times." he admitted. I gaped at him in disbelief. "Then why did you keep letting him stay over?" I asked. He sighed and thought about it. "He is one of the few friends I have here." he explained "It is hard here, people are not friendly like they were back home. No one messes with me because they know Larry is my buddy." I nodded, I understood. "I was also charmed by Larry." I admitted. My brother grinned "I know. I was a little jealous because I thought he was doing it to get me out of the way so he could spend time with you." We realized how crazy it all sounded. We burst out laughing and hugged. He got up to leave. "John." I called after him. He stopped at the door and looked back at me. "Don't let him know, and do not confront him or provoke him." I warned. Without meaning to, his eyes were drawn to the scars on my arms and hands, they were more pronounced in the summer when my arms tanned. "I know." he said quietly.

                                 Chapter 2

    I stayed holed up in my room, only sitting with the family at the dinner table, because my parents insisted. I did however become lonely and began to leave my door open in case anyone wanted to chat with me. Sometimes John would come and we would plot how he could discourage Larry from wanting to stay over, or from going off on some adventure in the woods. When John couldn't find a way to discourage Larry, then Larry would come to the door and casually ask me "What'ch reading." when I would look up he would smirk and look me straight in the eye and dare me to challenge him. When I kept my mouth shut, he got braver, and would invite himself in. He would have polite dialogue with me and sometimes he would creep his fingers over to my feet and lightly stroke them. I knew not to provoke him, so I would either sit up and cross my legs at the ankle so he couldn't touch my feet, or I would excuse myself to turn in for the night if it were in the evening. He would frown, but it never discouraged him for too long. My brother used more caution around him, and so far managed not to be drugged by Larry. One evening, Larry,Mark, Angie, and Alyssa all joined us for dinner. My mother made spaghetti because it stretched far. We sat at the large table on the deck. Everyone passing the noodles, sauce, and garlic bread around and making happy chatter. My parents were the only ones brave enough to sit by Alyssa. After all, she was their daughter and they loved her very much, and Larry. I could see she was annoyed when Larry sat next to her, and she did her best to scoot away from him, even if it were a few centimeters. She would have usually been pleased to have a male next to her, but Larry bothered her and it was Larry's pleasure to cause her discomfort. During the meal Alyssa began complaining that the food was horrible (even though she was on her second helping) and began belittling my mother's cooking skills. My mother looked hurt, but knew not to respond to it. The hurt flickered across her face for a mere second. Alyssa caught it, smiled, then began the usual guilt trip about how neglected she was. To my surprise, Larry stopped her in her tracks. "If you would treat your family with more respect, then they would allow you to come home more often." he told her plainly. Alyssa gaped at him. "I am sorry, I know it is not my place to say anything. I just can not tolerate good people being treated so poorly." he told my parents apologetically. Alyssa was seething, but she knew he was a great competitor, and she would lose. So she did nothing, for now.

 After dinner, I excused myself and went to my room to read. I also could not tolerate Larry and Alyssa at the same time. I was engrossed in my book when a sound began to bother me. The bathroom was only two doors down, so I could hear the toilet running from my room. I cursed who ever it was who didn't jiggle the handle, and left my book to go fix the toilet. I walked into the bathroom, and to my surprise the top of the toilet was off and the plug had been jammed by a hanger. Before I could process this in my confusion, I heard the door shut behind me. I turned around to see Alyssa standing there.

 She saw the surprise and sheer terror on my face, and rolled her eyes. "Relax." she told me. She moved  and I backed up. She smirked at my reaction. She reached over and retrieved the hanger. "That was beginning to get on my nerves." she told me. She rolled my eyes when she saw I was frozen in confusion. "I knew if I asked you to speak in private you would have never come. I knew if you heard the toilet running, it would annoy you enough to come do something about it." she explained. Shaking her head as if to say "You really are dumb, aren't you?" I was a bit angry she had tricked me. "What do you want?" I asked crossing my arms defensively. Wrong move. She eyed my scars and they began to itch. I put my hands behind my back and entwined my fingers together instead. She looked me in the eye. Her stare always put me in a hypnotic state. It was unwavering and unfaltering. It was steady and made it difficult to look away. "We need to do something about him." she told me. "Something about who?" I asked her quizzically. She sighed heavily and her eyes widened. "Larry, you dummy, we have to do something about Larry." she put her hands on her hips and looked at me thoughtfully. I knew this alliance was short lived, but at least she had her sights on a mutual enemy, and having Alyssa on my side made me feel a little relief. "Tell me what you know." I told her everything, even about the "almost kiss" , after I finished she was nodding knowingly. "Well, he wanted to get close to you. You are so trusting, and easy prey. He has future plans for you." I was about to ask what she thought he had in mind for me, but she put her hand up. She was not finished. "He is not stupid. He staged the whole thing with John, not only to punish you for defying him, but if you were to bring up the pills, he would have already created doubt in everyone's minds. They are not sure about your stability or if they can believe a word you say." It not only made me feel uneasy how easy it was for her to break down his motives and understand his actions, I was also horrified when I realized that she seemed a bit impressed. "Does he suspect that John knows anything?" I shook my head. "I don't think so. John has been careful because.." I didn't finish my sentence. Alyssa thought about this a moment more, then, to my relief, left the bathroom.  I saw that Larry was stuck to John like glue. I had a plan, well, roughly a plan, I just had no clue how I was going to execute it. I made various trips to the kitchen that night, in hopes of catching John alone. Finally, Larry got board in Johns room and said he was going to find a movie. The minute I heard him on the stairs to the den I raced to Johns room. I quickly relayed what Alyssa had said about drugging Larry back. "I am not stealing from his back pack, he will know. Look what he did to you!" John hissed. I shook my head. "You go to his house, his dad's prescriptions are all over the place." I suggested in hushed tones and rushed back to my own room before Larry returned.

 A few days later John came to my door. He had a wide, half scared, half excited look in his eye. I sat up. "I did it." he told me. He reached into his pockets and produced a handful of pills. "John!" I exclaimed in pleasure and disbelief. Even though I had began to cook up the plan, I had not thought John could go through with it. John, who had never stolen a thing in his life. We ran to the kitchen and secured the pills in a baggie and hid them in my closet. We chose a snap pocket in an old jacket that I never wore. Suddenly I thought about something. "Are you sure he won't know?" I asked John. John shrugged. "His dad is on so much medication I doubt his dad will even notice." I shook my head at this. "It's not his dad I am worried about." I said pointedly. He realized at what I was getting out and his eyes widened. "No, John was too busy performing surgery on Ginger." a picture of Ginger, the ginger and white cat that roamed the street, popped into my mind. I could only imagine poor Gingers fate. "Oh no!" I was horrified. My brother sympathized with me. He drew me into a hug.

  A few days later John casually told me about Larry wanting to go on one of his stupid adventures in the woods. I was relieved when John said he had been able to avoid it. "Jacob and Tyler went instead." I thought nothing more of it, until the cops came knocking on our door the next morning. Jacob never went home.

  My brother told the police what he knew, and the last time he had seen Jacob. He mentioned many times that Larry always wanted to go to the woods. I think he hoped that the clueless policemen would pick up on the hint. We learned later that Tyler had not gone with Larry and Jacob. Larry had said or done something to irritate Tyler so Tyler went home. I suspected Larry had done this on purpose to get rid of Tyler. Larry claims that Jacob had not wanted to hang out with Larry because of the disagreement he had had with Tyler and had left. Larry said he had just stayed home, his heavily medicated father supported his story about being home. I doubt his father kept track of days or time. I could tell that Jacob going missing unnerved John. I didn't blame him. It unnerved me too.

 The next week Alyssa came to the house. She done her usual complaining. She played on my parents sympathies, reminding them that in a few short weeks summer would be over and she would not be able to visit as often. After she had them saturated with guilt, she came to see John and I. She wanted to know the latest. Her sights were still sat on destroying Larry, and with recent events, and my concern for my only brother, I was secretly glad. We told her about Jacob and about John's theft of the pills. When Alyssa asked us to show her the pills, we refused. Just because Alyssa was on our side for the moment, did not mean we had blind trust in her. We asked her advice about when and how to use the pills against Larry. She stared off. You could tell that the wheels were turning in her demented mind. "In light of recent events, I would tread lightly. We need to wait until he is sure he is not a suspect. When he knows he got away with it he will be at the peak of his high. That will be when we strike." she said thoughtfully. You could tell she was somewhere else. As if she sensed that we were staring at her, she broke the spell and left the den, our open plotting ground, and made her way up the stairs to find a new kind of hell to put our parents through. John and I were not as careful about the "Don't be alone rule." and broke it so we could watch a movie together. Later Alyssa came down the stairs. We assumed she was announcing to us that she was leaving. "If you try to tell Larry or anyone about me, or what we are doing." She stopped to eye John. "There will be consequences." she nodded at my arms. I subconsciously started scratching my itchy arms. John and I nodded. We knew too well what happened when you provoked Alyssa. She made you pay. "Well, bye!" she waved happily and ran up the stairs. I listened for her to finally leave. She didn't even pretend anymore. She knew she terrified us and taunted us with it. She enjoyed having that power over us. I hated myself for allowing her to have that power. John looked at me. His face mirrored how I felt.

  Larry came over as often as he had always done. He always seemed preoccupied, as if he didn't want to be there. I relayed this to Alyssa, who told me "He needs to keep up the appearance of being guilt free. He has to stay in his usual habits and patterns in order to be free of suspicion. He is waiting for them to find the body and ensure he got away with it." Alyssa relayed this to me candidly. As if this were just common sense and she didn't understand how we didn't understand. The thing that made it spookier was when it came to Larry, she was always right.

 I had only been off the phone with Alyssa for a few minutes when my brother burst into my room. "They found Jacob." he told meThey had found Jacob in a lake that existed on a farm deep in the woods. Most of the kids avoided going across town and entering the more rural areas because they were unfamiliar. The more adventurous boys always went, but often played on the outskirts, careful not to get lost. After an autopsy was performed, Jacobs death was ruled as accidental drowning. His parents could not explain why he was so deep in the woods, because he never had done anything like that before. They did protest the suggestion that his main goal was to reach the lake, because Jacob couldn't swim. It was suggested that he had gotten lost, and it had gotten dark and he happened upon the lake by accident, or he had went to the lake for water. Case closed.

  John and I followed the story closely. Both had our fingers crossed that fowl play would be suspected and Larry exposed. Our problem would be solved without us having to lift a finger. Life never seemed to work out that way though, at least not for those of us that have a conscious.

 John continued to entertain Larry. For both John and my own well being, I too started showing Larry attention. He seemed pleased by my renewed interaction with him. After a while I began to wonder about my own state of mind. I knew Larry was a monster. I had seen him torture a helpless creature with my own eyes. I know he killed that boy, and he had my parents suspecting me of being a horrible molester. I knew all of this, but shamefully, I still found myself sexually attracted to him. I often woke up smiling from steamy and sexy dreams I had about him. When I would realize why I woke this way, I would then scold myself. I realized that Alyssa must have the same effect on men. Neither one was bad looking, but Alyssa was no beauty like Rosie (this is why Rosie avoided her. Alyssa didn't do much to hid her jealousy of Rosie's beauty.)Rosie didn't even hang around much anymore. It was as if she sensed something was sinister in the air. One day Rosie did come.

  She came to my door way. I was on my bed reading, which had now become my habit. I don't know how long she had been there. When I looked up and saw her looking at me, her face was full of love and adoration. "You are the only sister of mine that looks like me." she said affectionately. I snorted. I did not feel as if I was ugly, but I was certainly not perfect, not like Rosie. "Come on, lets do your hair and make up." she grabbed my hand and led me to her room.  Rosie's room was loaded with cosmetics, lotions, and every tool you could imagine to manipulate your hair. Her addiction to beauty products was the reason she had gotten a summer job. Our parents had put their foot down and refused to pay for them any longer. I don't think Rosie minded working, and often volunteered to work more hours. I think she wanted an excuse to avoid home. She turned the chair that went to her vanity away from the mirror so I could not see myself until she was finished. "You should invest more in yourself." she advised me as she worked. I didn't answer. I didn't admit to her that I hoped no one would notice me. I didn't want to explain the scars that covered my arms. If a boy ever got under my shirt, he would be treated to deeper scars that were on my chest. As if she read my mind Rosie said " Stop seeing those scars as something ugly. You survived a horrific attack. They are the marks of a survivor. They make you interesting and a bit exotic." This made me smile. As dull as I was, exotic wouldn't be a word I would use to describe myself. Finally, Rosie allowed me to see myself. To my surprise, a younger version of Rosie stared back at me from the glass. After she loaded me down with make up, hair ties and bobby pins, and instructions, I was free to go. I don't think I felt this good in a long time.

  After I put my new make up stock away I went to John's room. He was playing his new video game. "You want to walk with me to the store." he glanced up and then took a second look at me. "Wow." he said. I preened. "You look like a hooker." he teased.

    We walked to the gas station. There I purchased a slushy and picked up a magazine that promised the best make up tips. I figured if I was going to have that much makeup, then I better learn how to use it. My brother browsed the latest car magazines. "Hey John." the cashier, who was obviously familiar with my brother greeted him. John gave him a nod and put his stuff on the counter. The cashier kept eyeing me. Then asked "Are you going to introduce your girlfriend John?" My brother looked momentarily confused, then, remembered that I had come along. "This is my sister Libby." I put my purchases on the counter and did my best to look cool and calm. "I'm Randy." he offered. "Pleased to meet you." I replied. I was about to leave the store when I heard Randy call out to me. I stopped and turned around. "Can I have your number?"

  I walked away happily. My brother teased and mocked me all the way home. "Maybe Rosie can give me a make over." he said. I had never been on a date or had anyone interested in me before, so I was on cloud nine.

  After dinner Randy did call. "I get off in an hour. Can I stop by?" he asked. I of course accepted and rushed to shower. It took me two attempts and rereading the magazine's directions to get my make up right. I chose an outfit that was not baggy and unappealing. When I emerged from my room my mother gawked at me. "Oh my goodness! look at you!" my mother gushed. Since it wasn't often that I had any news to give her, I told her about Rosie making me over, John and I going to the store and I told her about my meeting Randy. Her face darkened. "I don't want to discourage you from dating, but I am not going to let you wander off with some boy you just met." she warned. I told her we were meeting here and planned on hanging around the house. This subdued her and she shared in my excitement.

    Randy arrived soon after and we sat out on the front porch and talked. He told me about himself, school, football, and his job. I told him about the places I had visited and some of the things I have done. When I took a break from talking he said "You're and interesting girl Libby. You told me a lot, and I can't wait to find out what you have left out." I looked away when he said that, and began to wish that I had worn a long sleeved shirt. I began to rub my arms as if it would make the scars go away. Suddenly he took my chin and turned my head so that our eyes met. "I am sorry. It is none of my business. I just get nosy sometimes." he pleaded with me. I relaxed. "I get oversensitive." I offered. "You're beautiful." he said and lifted up my hand and planted a kiss on one of the scars. My heart was doing cartwheels, until I noticed that we had an audience. 

 I spotted Larry, standing on the walkway. His eyes were narrowed as he witnessed our display. "Hey Larry." I greeted him lightly, even though my heart had dropped into my stomach like a cold hard stone. Randy looked up too. "Hey Larry." he said, not too enthused. "Hey, is John home?" he asked not returning mine our Randy's greeting. I nodded. "Go on inside." I said, even though Larry was already opening the door. I noticed Randy watched him go inside. After Larry was in the house Randy asked "Is he here often." I shrugged. "Often enough, he comes over to see my brother." Randy looked at the door again. He lowered his voice. "That kid gives me the creeps." he confessed. I let out a laugh. He really had no idea. 

   Randy had declined my mother's offer to stay for dinner and left. I happily helped set the table and even though both of my parents eyed me, I didn't give them much information about Randy. Larry seemed intently interested in the new friend I have made. I didn't want to seem too interested in Randy. I was afraid of placing him in Larry's cross hairs. "He is just a friend." I told both of my parents. Later that night, I was sure to hang around my brother and Larry. I wanted to keep up the facade of being interested in Larry. Larry seemed pleased by my attentiveness. He acknowledge when I touched his arm by treating me with a warm smile. My brother eyed me at one point as if to say "You are laying it on too thick." , I gradually backed off and disappeared to my room. 

  I ended up wrapped up in my latest novel, when I finally looked up at the time, it was already four a.m.! I turned out my lamp and fluffed my pillow. I attempted to forget about my book and fall asleep. Suddenly, I felt a shift on my bed as if someone had joined me. I froze in fear at first, then I opened my mouth to scream, a hand covered my mouth. Slowly, I turned my head. Larry was sitting there, smiling down on me. "Shh." he hushed me in the dark. I nodded to let him know I understood. He let go of my mouth and let his thumb play with my lower lip. " I wanted some privacy with you, it took forever for John to fall asleep." he whispered in the dark. I turned onto my back so my head was not twisted back. "It seems like he is jealous and he don't want me around you." Even though he was whispering; what he was insinuating was clear. "He is my brother, and you are his friend!" I shot at him . I regretted my tone at once, for fear of provoking him. I could feel him smile in the dark. "I just want  your attention too." he told me. His voice was strained and whiny. It was the same tone Alyssa used when she was manipulating my parents. I placated him the same way they did her. "I want your attention too." I lied. I rolled over and he spooned with me. I felt him lightly kiss my neck. Even though he made me sick, that maddening sexual attraction that I could not help, or determine the cause, stirred up in me. I rolled over and began kissing him back.

 I awoke the next morning. Larry was gone. I laid in bed a little longer, not wanting to face the day..or myself. I hated the delicious quiver that shot through my body as I recounted the night before. The kissing had turned to touching, the touching into  undressing. When he had sat eyes on the scars on my chest that Alyssa had so  mercilessly created only two short years before, his lust for me only grew. He licked and kissed every inch of me, as if his tongue were searching for new scars to love. Finally he was above me, and as much as I hated myself for it, I surrendered to him.

  I finally resolved to get out of bed. I showered and dressed. I did my hair like Rosie had shown me. I went into my bedroom and made myself up. I told myself that I was doing it for Randy's attention, and not Larry's, I knew I was telling myself a lie. His effect on me was worse. I had to stay away from him and try to fight it! I went into the kitchen for a quick breakfast and ran to my room and locked the door. I heard Larry return to the house. The minute he spoke my mind thought about his mouth on mine, and the things we had done last night. I fought the thoughts. To my relief my phone rang, and it was Randy.

  I did my best to avoid Larry, and never, ever met up with Randy at my house. I felt like an idiot for sneaking out of my own home, but felt I had to. The reasonable part of my mind argued "This is not his home, and he don't own you!" and the nasty part of my mind sneered and teased "Oh, yes he does!" I was troubled, Randy noticed and asked me about it. I was able to a least answer truthfully "Problems at home." he would nod and didn't press me on the matter. We were teenagers, so there for we had home life issues.

 Randy and I did quiet a lot of kissing, and found our way to other activities. No his tongue didn't manipulate my sexual senses like Larry's had, and he didn't bury his mouth into my chest upon seeing my scars like Larry had. He was gentle, and his touch was light and wavering on my skin. This was equally just as attractive as Larry's animal like hunger for me.

 I think Larry began to notice my long absences from the house, and often asked me questions that seemed innocent enough, but I think he was keeping tabs on me. A few times John had unwittingly left us alone. Larry's eyes would dance with pleasure that was immediately squandered when I didn't take advantage of those moments to be with him. I hoped he would lose interest in me, but instead, I woke up to a visitor in my bed. 

  I was dreaming. Larry and Randy were both morphing into each other as they made love to me. First it began with the sweet entanglement I experienced with Randy, then Randy morphed into Larry. That rough, dominant, animal hunger. I awoke because a moan had escaped me. At first I thought I was dreaming, then I realized that I was indeed having sex.  I was laying on my side, and Larry was behind me. He used his leg to spread mine. He was kissing and licking the back of my neck without skipping a beat in his rhythmic thrusting. I froze, then I felt something welling up in me. "Don't you do it!" I screamed at myself inside my head, but it was too late. I had an unmistakable orgasm. My body quivered and hot fluid ran down my legs. I felt his lips twist in a knowing grin when I went, he softly bit the back of my neck as he increased his thrust and finished. I was spent, I was full filled, and I was ashamed.

  Larry left my bed soon after we finished. He kissed me on the lips and whispered "Good night Baby." and tiptoed out of my room. Once he was gone, I sat up in my bed and drew my knees up to my chest. Why did I like it so much? What was wrong with me? I recounted all the reasons I was terrified of Larry. I did this until I feel back asleep.

 I awoke, and did my usual self depreciation exercise, after finished beating myself up, I got up and showered. I got dressed. I resorted to my baggy tee shirt and jeans. Bare faced, I put my hair in a pony tail. I went to eat breakfast. Larry and John sat in the kitchen. I attempted to hid my embarrassment as I got cereal and milk out. "Morning." I mumbled. "Morning." I heard them both say back. Even though neither one of us said anything John felt that something was amiss. His eyes kept shifting from Larry to me, to Larry again. I ignored it. Larry stood up. "I will see you later." he told John. Without warning, he swooped down and kissed me on the lips. "I love you." he told me. He didn't bother to wait if I would say it back. He left me alone with a stunned John. John stared at me. "What?" I knew I was being defensive. I was caught, it wasn't the fact that just anyone would know, John knew and it was terrible. He made a face. "You know what he as done. To not just me, but to you, and poor Jacob!" my brother ranted at me. I realized that his voice had reached a high pitch. I jumped up and started shushing him. He looked at me enraged. "The next time you piss him off, and trust me, it don't take much, and he retaliates, do not come to me!" John stomped out of the kitchen. I was left there crying.

  "My mom is making tacos tonight." I laughed out loud. I have never heard anyone get so excited about 'taco night' the way Randy did. I thought about it. I was consumed with guilt, but I had to see Randy. I needed the sweet embrace of a normal man. The kisses of a boy who was simply in love. I needed my human lover  to erase any residual feelings I had about the monster that my sorry butt kept laying down with. "I will be over." I hurried to my room to dress. I liked Randy's mother. I learned that his father was gone and she worked sixty hours a week so she and Randy didn't have to suffer financially. Randy's earnings from the school went to his personal needs, and to finance his bike. I never had the nerve to hope on the back of his motorcycle, and his mother shook her head every time she spotted it in the drive way. "Can't you just get a flashy car?" she would often nag him. I got to Randy's house. His mother greeted me warmly. "Hi Ms. Walker." I said allowing my self to be swept up into a huge hug. "I told you, call me Eve." she scolded me for being so formal. 

 We sat around the table and laughed that night. The relationship between Randy and his mother was easy and relaxed. She told rowdy stories about the bar she worked at as a second job. Randy always had a strange or funny customer at the store. I don't remember laughing like this. I was sad when the evening ended. After saying my good byes to Eve, Randy walked me out. "You sure you don't want a ride." he nodded at his shiny bike. I shook my head. "Maybe one day." I told him. He leaned forward and gave me a kiss. "Do you want me to walk you home?" I smiled and shook my head. "It is still light outside. I think I will be fine." after another kiss that made me dizzy, I started on my way home. The self beating began again. It was nice to be around people that didn't have me on edge or anxious all the time. It was nice not to subconsciously note my escape routs, but all the same, my magnetic appeal to Larry was unstoppable. I felt guilty. Randy was such a great guy and he had a rotten slut for a girlfriend. I knew he deserved better.

  When I got home my own family was cleaning up dinner. "Did you have a nice time honey?" my mother greeted me as soon as I entered the house. I sat down and relived my night with them. To my dismay, Larry was there also. He tried to make contact with me, but I was sure to focus on the space above his head when I turned in his direction. I saw John mildly amused by my telling about my evening with my other boyfriend in front of Larry. After I finished my mother stood. "I'm glad you had a good time." she leaned over and kissed my forehead. "Go to bed tonight." she told me. "You, Rosie and I are shopping for school tomorrow." I did want to go shopping, but a trip with Rosie was an all day marathon. After telling my father good night I made my was to my bedroom and went to sleep. It was still very early, but I was tired due to my lack of sleeping.

 "Wake up!" The harsh whisper shocked me out of deep sleep. My body shivered as if I had just been emerged in cold water. Larry's pressed his self against me. I felt his need for me stir. "No." I told him weakly. I fought the lust that stirred within me. "I love you." he said as he planted kisses on my forehead and face. I shook my head. "I love you so much." he breathed in my ear. I closed my eyes and stiffened my body. Even though it sickened me, I wanted to tell him I loved him too. I wanted to surrender myself to his passion. I kept picturing sweet Randy, and imagined how he would feel if he found out. I then put myself in Randy's shoes and the crushing feeling I felt when I imagined him cheating on me was enough to crush the shameless whore that had taken residency in my body. "No." I said firmly, not bothering to whisper. He was taken aback by my firmness. "Baby! I love you." he pleaded with me. My heart lurched in my chest. The guilt washed over me, but that was fleeting. The voice in my head, the constant nag reminded me "He and Alyssa are the same species." That thought made me jerk away from him, horrified, I told him. "Go or I will scream!" he didn't look concerned, but the lines on his face hardened and his eyes seemed to glow. A shiver ran down my spine. "Alright. I will leave you alone." he told me quietly. I rolled over and buried my head under the covers. I knew he had just threatened me.

  When I awoke the next day, to my relief, Larry was not at the breakfast table. John sat there thoughtfully chewing his cereal. He noticed that my eyes shot around the kitchen and behind me. "Your lover boy left already." he told me bluntly. I realized that I was holding my breath and I exhaled. I went to the cupboard to fetch myself a bowl of cereal. "Lover boy couldn't get it up last night, huh?" John wasn't teasing, so much as shaming me. I turned to him. "Actually, I sent him away last night." I bragged proudly. John shook his head. "Don't poke a stick at a snake." he warned me. Flabbergasted, I flung my bowl onto the table, hard. I was surprised that it didn't break. "What do you want from me? I am damned if I do, and damned if I don't." John's eyes softened at this. "I think we are just damned sissy." he told me.

  My mother came home from work early. Rosie made one of her rare appearances to join us for shopping. This was her favorite past time.

 A day shopping with Rosie was fun, but exhausting. I let her pick out all of my outfits. For the day I was her life sized barbie doll. She even convinced my mother to take me to get my hair cut and styled. "No dye in the gorgeous hair of yours." my mother warned. I agreed happily. The stylist ended up opting for some choppy layers. When I heard the stylist and Rosie consulting, I was worried, but the finished product was chunky, cool layers that made me feel like I could go out this minute and form a band.

  We came through the front door laughing and carrying our purchases. Rosie only had three bags, and to my surprise I had nine! My mother waved off my apology for spending so much money. "I am just glad you are taking an interest in yourself." she told me. The previous years I had opted to go to the thrift stores and usually selected dark clothes that covered my body. We had entered the door way and my father teased my mom "Spent every dime I had, didn't you?" his voice caught when he attempted to tease us. The grins turned to frowns of worry. "Paul, whats wrong?" my mother asked my father. He walked over to me and drew me into a big hug. "Dad?" I questioned. He didn't pull away. He gave me news that no father wanted to give his teenage daughter. "Randy passed away today."

  It had been caused by a defect in his bike. He had been unable to stop himself from being flung into oncoming traffic. His mother had contacted my father while we had been gone. I felt guilty. I was having a wonderful time while my boyfriend was dyeing. I ran out the door and all the way to Randy's house. Eve opened the door as soon as I arrived, it was as if she knew I was coming and she had been waiting for me. I threw my arms around her and together we cried.

  I left Eve alone after we had cried ourselves out and she hinted that she needed some time to herself. Embarrassed that I had overstayed my welcome, I excused myself and headed home. To my relief Larry was not there tonight, but that was overshadowed by the fact Alyssa was. Alyssa was surprisingly on her best behavior that night. She didn't get annoyed and snap at anyone, and she refrained from her usual prattle of complaints.

 After dinner I excused myself and went down to the den to be alone. I played a movie, but my mind was preoccupied, I didn't even bother to watch it. I think the background noise was preferable to silence. It was soon after that Alyssa entered the den. My heart rate didn't accelerate and I didn't mentally panic at the thought of being alone right now. I was in real pain. Alyssa did not have the power to hurt me right now. I think if she came at me with a dozen knives I would not bother to defend myself. She would be doing me a favor and relieving me of my agony. She sat on the couch next to me. She didn't seem too disappointed when I didn't skitter away from her. She sat quietly for a moment then turned and opened her mouth to speak, but I cut her off. "If you are here to gloat or toy with me forget it. Right now I am the dangerous one." she didn't seem to take offense to me cutting her off like that. She hated to be interrupted. She gave me an awkward pat on the back. "I didn't come to poke at your pain." she tried to reassure me. I didn't believe her. Her next question threw me off. "How long have you been sleeping with Larry?"  I sat back, repulsed by her question. "How did you?" I couldn't finish my question. She smiled at my naivety, and then stated briskly "First of all you have the glow about you. The one woman get when they have orgasms. So I determined that Randy could not be the one rocking your world." I opened my mouth to defend Randy, but she stopped me in my tracks. "You may have loved him, but he was just as goofy and inexperienced as you were." My shoulders slumped. I couldn't lie. Randy and I had something pretty special, but it wasn't addictive like those lust filled nights with Larry. Alyssa nodded, as if my silence was answer enough for her, she went on. "His initial attraction to you was your damage. I am not just talking about the physical attributes, but he could easily spot the mental scars." I looked at her quizzically and was surprised that this was not met with frustrated eye rolling. "I can't explain it. The way you move or walk gives away more about you than anything you say. Your reactions and responses tell the truth about who you are and what you are vulnerable  to." I sat back impressed. Alyssa was smart, but I suspected she has been doing some reading, most likely she found a way to hijack her own folder and took some notes of her own. When I didn't object, she continued. "He likes it too. In his own way he does love you. You are now his, and you do not cheat him out of something that is his. Getting rid of Randy was just for his own security. That is all." this time I did object. "I am not his. I even told him so the other night." I ranted hotly. Alyssa nodded, as if this too was something she already knew. "He wasn't punishing Randy, just removing an obstacle. He also killed two birds with one stone. When he got rid of Randy, he also punished you for his betrayal." On one side she was acting as if she was just explaining to me what had really happened, on the other hand her tone sounded as if she were shaming me for my own actions. She shook her head. "I don't see why any of this is so hard for you to understand."

                                      Chapter 3

 Randy had a small, but beautiful service. His mother opted to have his body cremated. I stood there and said good bye to the silver urn that had once been my sweet boyfriend Randy. Larry showed up, to my dismay. He made his way to the appropriate people and gave his condolences. He then sat by me, giving my hand a squeeze at the appropriate moments. I stuck around after the service and listened to Randy's relative tell stories about Randy when he was younger. We teared up, and to my relief, laughed at the funnier stories. We really celebrated Randy that day. I phoned my mother when I was ready to leave the service. Eve came to join me while I waited outside. "How are you holding up honey?" she put an arm around me. "I should be asking you the same." I mumbled.  She gave my shoulders a quick squeeze. " Time heals all." she told me. "Your friend Larry seems concerned about you. He is a really nice boy." she finally said. I cringed inside.

   There were only two more weeks until school started. I looked in at my new wardrobe. I didn't even want any of it anymore. Most of the outfits that I had allowed Rosie to talk me into buying had been for Randy. I imagined his reaction and pleasure as I chose each outfit. Randy was not here anymore, and I no longer wanted the clothes I had bought for him. I shut my closet door after hanging up my little black dress. This too had been purchased with the hope of a romantic date night with Randy in mind. My heart ached for Randy. I felt guilty for what I had done to betray Randy, and I was grateful that he never knew.

  My parent's attempted to talk with me, but the only one I would talk to was John. Ever since the night of Alyssa's attack, John had been my rock. He came and sat with me, sometimes we would sit in silence. I was sad and the pain did not waver.

 Larry visited my room. I did not bother to fight him off, but I did not bother to participate either. He happily did what he need to do while I lay there, depressed and listless. After he was done he lay there, stroking my hair. "You made the right choice. I love you." Choice? What choice did I make? My choice had been taken from me!

                                Chapter 4 

                           Alyssa's Story

  Rosie. The whole world ate out of Rosie's hand. Alyssa was smart, much smarter than Rosie. She even skipped a grade in school. Everyone always remarked on how pretty Rosie was, and how sweet she was. Rosie was dumb. Alyssa had fooled her many times. Alyssa also hated her two younger siblings Libby and John. John got a lot of attention just for being a boy, and Alyssa thought her parents felt sorry for Libby because she had suffered a sever head injury (caused by Alyssa) as a baby. Alyssa had pushed her down the stairs, it had been her intention just to get rid of her. It upset Alyssa that it was because of her efforts that they obviously adored Libby even more. Alyssa was stamped as "high spirited" by here parents and "misunderstood" by others. Alyssa watched the other children. She sat back and observed. She wanted to know how to get the attention she deserved.  She thought Rosie and Libby were spineless and acted stupid, but it got the response that Alyssa wanted for herself. She tried it one day, and it worked! The parent's who had banned Alyssa from staying over began to let her stay over night with their children again. Alyssa learned how to get what she wanted out of other children without them telling on her. She often discovered a secret or misdeed of a playmate, then she would choose what it was that the playmate had that she wanted. The other children rarely refused out of self preservation. The was Alyssa saw it, they used her to keep her secrets, so they had to pay for it.

 As they reached their teens the boys started to notice Rosie. The only time they paid attention to Alyssa, was when they had questions about Rosie. This upset Alyssa. She sometimes told lies in order to discourage them from liking Rosie. It was not until one boy, Thomas, had gotten angry with Alyssa, and told her "You are just jealous Alyssa." and continued to pursue Rosie. Alyssa knew that she was better than Rosie, and she was going to prove it. 

 Rosie began to sneak out of the house on weekends in order to meet her boyfriend in the park. Alyssa would often sneak and spy on them. They would neck for a while, but Rosie would stop them at a certain point. No matter how much Thomas begged, and tried to convince her that other couples were having sex. This is when Alyssa realized that she had her weapon against Rosie. Sex. Now she just needed to get Rosie out of the way, and get alone time with Thomas.

  One day she got her chance. Alyssa heard Rosie on the phone with Thomas. They were meeting at nine that evening. Alyssa found her mother alone in the kitchen. "Mom, I need to tell you something." Alyssa told her mom. "What is it?" her mom was busy cooking. "Rosie is doing something and I am worried." Alyssa told her.

  That night a fight ensued between Rosie and their parents. Mom had promised not to tell Rosie whom they had gotten the information from. Rosie was grounded and her parents moved her into Libby's room for the night. They were not watching Alyssa so she left to meet Thomas at the park.

  Thomas was surprised to see Alyssa instead of Rosie. "Where's Rosie?" he stood up. Alyssa kept a straight face, but inside she smiled at how disappointed Thomas was. "She is not coming." Alyssa watched his face darken. "Why not?" he demanded. Alyssa sighed. "She just asked me to come and tell you she would not be meeting you anymore. I don't know why." Alyssa watched him sit down and cover his face. "You poor guy." Alyssa told him sympathetically. She sat next to him. "You are not the first guys she has done this to you  know." Alyssa informed him.

  Alyssa was back home an hour later. She always wondered what the big deal about sex was. The act itself was quick and unsatisfying, but the power she felt. The power she felt over him, and the fact that she was now better than Rosie was an incredible power too. She had taken back what was rightfully hers, and Rosie would be crushed when she found out about her and Thomas. 

  The next day Rosie came flying into Alyssa's room. Rumors of what had transpired between Alyssa and Thomas were the talk of the school today. When Rosie confronted Alyssa she simply said "Thomas just realized that he had chosen the wrong sister."

  This was done to Rosie again and again. Alyssa knew she was better than Rosie, it was Rosie's fault that she needed to be reminded so often that she was superior. Once and a while it didn't work. Alyssa assumed that those boys were being fed lies about her by Rosie. This only increased her attacks on Rosie. How dare Rosie betray her trust? Rosie just never seemed to learn. Rosie had been Alyssa's focus until Libby took the spot light.

  Alyssa usually didn't notice Libby. It annoyed her when Libby would try to speak to her, or attempt to tag along when she went out. Libby had nothing she wanted.

 Alyssa had her sights set on Scott. He rejected most of her attempts, but she noticed that he responded when she cried, so she did her best to make him feel pity for her. He wouldn't be able to resist her for long. He would eventually have to pay attention. She had convinced him she was being bullied and he agreed to walk her home from school each day. She would ask him questions and give him the appropriate responses. They had just stopped in front of her house when Libby emerged. Alyssa rolled her eyes. "What do you want?" she looked at Scott as if to say isn't she annoying? The look in Scott's eyes when he saw Libby told her everything she needed to know. "Hi to you too Alyssa." Libby offered her hand to Scott. He shook it. "I'm Libby." Libby told him politely. Scott nodded. "I know, I have seen you around school. I am Scott." he smiled at Libby. Alyssa was furious. "What do you want?" she asked Libby again. "Oh!" Libby turned to Alyssa "Mom told me to tell you to go straight to your room when you got here. She is upset about the mess." Alyssa scowled. "I will be in a minute, just go away." she hoped that Scott would mirror her annoyance at Libby. "I gotta go anyway." Scott waved as he walked away. "Bye Libby!" he added. Alyssa walked beside Libby as they entered the house. "How do you like my boyfriend?" she asked Libby casually. Libby shrugged. "He seemed nice." Libby shrugged. "Don't tell mom, but we had sex." Alyssa did not often share secrets with her. Libby mistaken this sudden sharing of secrets as a sisterly bond. "I won't tell mom. I promise." Libby told her.

   The next day Alyssa walked down the hall to meet Scott at his locker. She saw he was encircled by boys and girls. Curious to what was going on she approached the group. When she reached them they all looked at her and stood to the side.They know how important I am.  

 Alyssa smirked and approached Scott. He was obviously the one who's attention everyone was seeking. "Are you ready to walk me home?" she asked sweetly. Scott was red eyed and angry. To Alyssa's surprise he glared at her. "No!, I am never going anywhere with you again!" he told her angry. The group was watching her now. "Why are you so mad at me?" Alyssa let her eyes fill with tears. Scott could not stand to see anyone cry. Scott stared at her a moment. "I know you have a crush on me. I try to be a nice guy. I asked your sister out today. She was under the impression that I was your boyfriend! She told me she could not date a guy having sex with her sister." He angrily shoved books into his backpack. "Libby lies. She has an issue." Alyssa pleaded. Scott slammed his locker shut. "A lot of people told me that you told them that. Is everyone a liar? I didn't care because I didn't like those other girls. You went too far this time." Alyssa looked around at the crowd. They were all grinning at her. "What are you looking at?" her voice was full of venom. She turned and stomped home alone. Libby was in the den. She never saw it coming or why. She didn't even look up from her movie when Alyssa entered the room. Alyssa held a butcher knife behind her back. "What's playing?" she asked Libby. Libby looked up to answer her and Alyssa attacked. Alyssa originally was just going to slash Libby's face. Libby threw her arms up and made this difficult, and she attempted to fight back. Alyssa got frustrated and decided to start stabbing her chest instead. Alyssa didn't care if she killed Libby. She was just going to make her ugly. Libby would never think she was better than Alyssa ever again. Alyssa would not have quit stabbing if John had not hit her upside the head with a heavy antique lamp.

   Alyssa's parents were horrified when they discovered all of Alyssa's misdeeds. Now that Alyssa was no longer a threat to them, everyone was freely sharing what she had done to them. Almost everyone who had contact with Alyssa was victimized by her one way or another. Counseling sessions were sat up for the other children at the school they attended. All of Alyssa's sister's and brothers were evaluated by therapist. Alyssa herself was under the supervision of an older man. Dr. Tyler Cole.

  Alyssa's parent's came to visit often. She thought that they were trying to understand. Their stupidity annoyed her. She knew that she shouldn't have stabbed Libby, but they completely dismissed Alyssa's feelings. They told her how Libby was doing, and as an after thought, they would then ask about how she felt. Her parent's acted as if it was her own fault, and hers alone that she was here. They did not hold Libby responsible for her obvious role in all of this. Dr. Cole seemed to be on her side though. Alyssa was pretty sure he was her key out of here.

 Alyssa's parent's had always assumed that Alyssa had a low self esteem, and they had been careful not to nurture that. They often assumed her lack of self responsibility as  camouflage for her own self hate. They had noticed that she often tried to cause trouble for her older sister, but they had assumed that this was due to her not growing into her own. Dr. Cole told them in a no nonsense tone. "We usually don't make this determination until the age of 18, but I am certain that your daughter suffers from a very serious condition." He didn't like the terms sociopath or psychopath, but those were the terms used at the time. He did his best to make it clear to these parents what they were dealing with. Alyssa's parents made a lot of excuses and accepted a lot of blame. He gave them reading materials and did his best to explain. They had done nothing wrong, and Alyssa can never change. "Trying to condition her to be a valuable and functioning member of society is the best we can hope for." He did go on to let them know that many persons that suffered this condition used it to their advantage and became very successful. This brought them a little comfort.

  Alyssa sat in Dr. Cole's office. He had a meeting with her parent's before they were to meet with her. She imagined her parents crying, begging Dr. Cole to just let her go home. She smiled at the thought. Dr. Cole had a picture of his family on his desk. Alyssa took interest in it because the two women in the picture with Dr. Cole were attractive. Alyssa held the picture. She entertained herself, imagining what Dr. Cole's wife would look like bald and with no nose, and his pretty daughter without any teeth and breast. Then she began to plan how she was going to do it. She was smiling down at the photo when Dr. Cole entered the room. "Hello Alyssa." he told her warmly. "Hello Dr. Cole." Alyssa put his family photo back on his desk. "How are you feeling today?" he asked her. She thought about this. "They keep giving me medicine that makes me feel foggy." she told him. He nodded. "You will adjust to it soon." Alyssa did her best not to scowl. She hated the medicine. It dulled her out and made her throat dry. She did her best to look sincere "It's whatever you think is best, you are the doctor." Dr. Cole made a mental note. She has already begun to manipulate him. "Well, I spoke to your parents. Do you want to know what we discussed?" she looked at him hopeful. She knew her parents loved her. They would explain all that she has been through. " They agree that you are in the best place at the moment, but because of the incident being so publicized they are thinking about moving. How do you feel about this?" Alyssa was caught off guard. Her parent's were leaving her here? They were moving? "What about me? All they care about are the other kids! It's not fair!" she began to cry. Dr. Cole handed her tissues. "Thank you." she took a tissue. "They are not abandoning you Alyssa, but they do have the other children to consider. Libby has a lot of healing left to do. This won't happen immediately." he reminded her. "Libby is going to be fine. I am the one who has to suffer. Why does everyone keep forgetting about me? What about my feelings?" she asked Dr. Cole. "How do you feel?" Alyssa thought about it. "Everyone keeps talking about Libby healing, but no one talks about my pain. John hit me over the head! I still have a bump back here." she reached up and rubbed the back of her head. She thought about it a moment. "John is violent too. He could have called for help or tried to hold me down. He chose to hit me instead." Dr. Cole nodded. Pleased that he seemed to believe her she continued to talk.

   Dr. Cole had recorded their session. He knew Alyssa would never be released into society, and if she is, the world around her would suffer the consequences. He allowed her to talk. She seemed to like the attention. She lied a lot, but there was always a small grain of truth she let slip out. She was confident that her misdeeds would not have happened if she had not been provoked. Dr. Cole noted she thought she was superior to everyone else. She is unable to pin point exactly why she is envious of others, so she reasons that they are doing something to stimulate this feeling. Therefor if they are making her feel inferior to them, than they must be doing it purposefully. When he asked her what Libby had done to undermine her, she had answered "She took Scott. I already told her that he was mine." and when it came to the actual act she rolled her eyes. "I was only going to cut her face a little. I kept stabbing so I could get to her face. Her arms were in the way. If she had put down her arms than it would not have gone on for so long." Dr. Cole kept nodding, Alyssa kept watching him to see if he believed her, and that he was sympathizing with her. When she left Dr. Cole reflected on her appointment. A lot of her justification and projection were still in the immature stages. Common in teenagers. Alyssa was bright though. He imagined what Alyssa would be like as an adult and the thought chilled him. Alyssa was not his finale appointment for the day. He was anxious to go home and hold his own beautiful daughter.

  Alyssa went back to her room. She felt confident that Dr. Cole was on her side. She told him all of the horrible things her siblings had done to her, some were not true, but that didn't matter. She had to lie, so he would see how crazy they were. The nurse waited by her door. They locked her in after her sessions. "You are stupid." she hissed at the nurse before she walked in the room. The nurses face flickered, but she quickly recovered. This disappointed Alyssa, who usually got a different response. She glared at the nurse through the glass window.

  Alyssa behaved and was allowed more privileges. She began to carefully filter what she told Dr. Cole. Her parent's were eventually allowed to visit. They told her that she would be transferred to a different hospital. They explained that their family was having problems functioning in this area now. "Now that Libby has been released, your father has put in for a transfer." her mother announced brightly. Alyssa nodded. "Libby is able to breath on her own, and she is.." Alyssa covered her ears. She looked at her parents "All you care about is Libby!" she accused. They assured her that this was not true and began to hug her. Alyssa hugged them back. "I just want you to love me too!" she cried. She knew they pitied her, as they should. They have no idea what this all has been like for her.

  Alyssa's family did make the decision to move. "Are you excited about moving Alyssa?" Dr. Cole had noticed that Alyssa had been bright eyed and talkative the last few days. It was reported that she even began cleaning her tray. Alyssa often refused to eat out of fear of being overweight. "Yes, I am super excited." she nodded. She was telling him the truth. They were moving across the ocean where no one would know what she had done. She was confident that since the event wasn't so close to home, then the facility there would deem her fit enough to go home. She often daydreamed of what it would be like to be home again. Now that Libby knew what the consequences would be for upsetting her, Libby would be careful not to get involved with anyone that Alyssa wanted for herself. She didn't intend for Libby to be in any type of relationship. Libby didn't deserve it. Dr. Cole was watching her. As if he read her mind, he told her "You will not be able to return home, at least not for a permanent bases for a period of time. Are you alright with that?" Alyssa nodded "I understand getting the care I need is best for myself and my family." she recited. 

  After their session Dr. Cole made a note to contact the facility and have a very detailed discussion with the administrator. He was secretly glad to see Alyssa gone. Even though he was a therapist, he also had a natural fear of a woman so cunning. He noted the books she had been checking out from the library. They were all books written by psychologist. Alyssa was studying him as much as he was studying her.

  Alyssa made her way down the hall. She nodded at a Certified Nurses Aide that passed her. Alyssa would miss this place. She was able to automatically tell who would do favors for her and who wouldn't. The woman she passed was a coward, and afraid of people not liking her. Alyssa spotted her shy and hopeful looks right off the bat. She was able to draw her in easily. Made her feel like she was part of something special by befriending Alyssa and doing her favors. Most people just wanted to feel special, and Alyssa was careful to do this and was good at it when she chose to. She often lost control when they spoke to her as if they were an equal to her. She expected them to make her feel special too.

   The transfer was long and boring. Alyssa did notice something interesting at the airport restaurant. She seen a man and his wife sitting at the next table. The wife watched the husband as she ate. She reached for the ketchup to put on some french fries. He smoothly removed the french fries from her plate, and then transferred the carrots on his tray to hers. She blinked at the carrots. He watched her, daring her to protest. She slowly picked up a carrot and began to munch on a carrot. Alyssa noted how subtle his means of control over her was. Alyssa had a bad habit of openly staring at people. It made them uncomfortable, but Alyssa refused to look away until she was done seeing what she needed to see. The wife noticed first and kept glancing at Alyssa. The husband turned to see what she was looking at. His eyes met Alyssa's and Alyssa was forced to look away first. His stare was unnerving and rude. She had two plain clothes escorting her. They didn't seem to notice the exchange. They were too interested in their food.

  The plane ride was uneventful. She was bored and could not wait until they arrived at their destination. She tried to make polite conversation with her escorts. They ignored her and gave her curt answers. Crying didn't even get their attention. One of them, whom Alyssa assumed had children, allowed only a flicker of emotion cross his face. She tried harder, but he didn't budge.

 They landed at the airport. Her parents greeted her warmly. She ran to them and they embraced her warmly. They rode all the way to the new facility with her. She happily chatted with them. When they spoke of her other siblings she expressed excitement and interest at the right times. Her parents kept exchanging happy looks. Alyssa was confident that she would soon be home, by the time they reached the facility she was glowing. It was a major shock when two orderlies came out to the van and removed her from her parents. She was shocked. They were suppose to come in and talk to the doctor. What about how much she has changed. They both waved from the van. They knew that this is what was going to happen. Alyssa unleashed the rage she had been withholding. She began to cuss, kick, scream, bit  It took a lot of hard work, and self control, but Alyssa was eventually allowed passes to go home. She was even in school again. Yes, it was in one small classroom at the facility, but it was something to do. It was an interruption in the daily teeth grinding boredom that was the alternative to school. Alyssa practiced her subtle manipulation skills she had been perfecting. She would decide that she wanted a certain pencil or pen. She would suggest another pen to the person that was reaching for the one she wanted. She had forgotten to study for a test, she managed to convince another girl, the girl was what Alyssa secretly labeled her neediness as being a "Friend Finder", to take the test but swap it with Alyssa's test. To Alyssa's annoyance this backfired. Alyssa had gotten the better grade anyway. The girl assumed this was Alyssa's offer of friendship and smiled at her gratefully. Alyssa smiled back. She let her believe what she needed to.

  Alyssa was greeted by her entire family. She noticed that Rosie was absent, but both of her parents, Libby, John, and their little sister Ella were waiting for her. Alyssa was taken aback. Ella had been just a tot the last time she had seen her. Alyssa had forgotten she had a little sister. Ella had nothing she wanted so Alyssa had put her on the back burner. Alyssa spent the day with her family. She was disappointed that Libby had no scars on her face, but her arms and hands had large, ugly scars all up and down them. Alyssa noticed a slight tremor in her right hand. It was subtle, but it was there. Libby wore no make up, had her hair was pulled back in a pony tail, and her clothes were dark, baggy and shapeless. Libby had once been talkative and lively, now she has shrunk into the back ground. This is where Alyssa thought she belonged. John looked her straight in the eye, unafraid of her. Alyssa didn't like this. It was John's fault she hadn't succeeded. It was John's fault she that she had been caught. If she had more time she was sure she could have staged it to look as if an intruder had attacked Libby. Yes, this meant that she would have had to kill Libby, but what needed to be done, just simply needed to be done. She watched her family sit and laugh together. Ella had her friend Angie over. Alyssa found out that Angie's older brother was Rosie's boyfriend. Alyssa was truly interested in meeting this boyfriend. She would make sure she conveyed to her parent's that she was disappointed not to see Rosie. It was during dinner that Alyssa's whole targeting process changed.

                                     Chapter 5

                                     John's Turn

         The people in his life were mainly women. He and his dad were outnumbered 4 to 2. John spent most of his time alone. He knew way too much of the inner workings of woman, and did not want to get involved. He had gotten use to not talking much. This made his life difficult as he grew older. He was often mistaken for being shy, or nice. His teachers always made comments to his parents about how 'sensitive' and 'insightful' he was. John tried to recall if he had said or done anything to give him this misconception, and he could not think of anything. He was often forgotten at home, and he managed to fly under the radar at school also. He always managed to make some friends though. He was friendly, he just didn't like to talk much.

  He was now living in the United States. Only Rosie had remembered living stateside, and she had not warned the rest of the crew that it was ugly and it sucked. John had taken for granted the beauty,pride, and preservation of history that the other countries had held sacred. Manners were also something America had done away with and forgotten too. He had been use to the publicly polite world of Europe. There were some rotten eggs in the bunch, but you did not have anyone anxious to join in and follow their example. John guessed he was being so judgmental was because he hated it here. The kids back home usually left him alone. The ones here bullied him and tried to invoke a reaction. His only friend was Libby, and she was just as miserable as he was. She had regressed into a hermit after 'the incident'(his parents attempt to minimize what had happened to her). She often wore long sleeves, even when it was hot and unforgiving. When she got nervous she often scratched at her arms, making them angry and red. She often looked to John when she was troubled, he was after all, her savior that night.                           

  John, unlike Libby, did explore their new surroundings. He walked down to the gas station for magazines, gum, and in some emergencies, tampons. It was not until Rosie, who the boys all seemed to want to be around, had chosen a guy named Mark for her new suitor. Mark was alright. He had a cool confidence about him. He never did anything cheesy to make anyone else think he was cool, or tough. He was himself, and this seemed to work out for him. One day Rosie had informed John that Mark had a brother about his age, and he might come by the house. John felt pathetic about how excited he was about the prospect of a new friend. He even cleaned his room and changed his outfit twice. He rolled his eyes at himself. "Shit. I am man dating now." he joked to himself.

    The first day Larry came over he seemed interested in the same things John was. They played the same video games, liked the same music and even had the same taste in food. It was as if John had met the perfect friend. That was until Larry took an interest in Libby.

  John had felt responsible for Libby. Yeah, he knows he saved her life and that should be enough, but she was like a scared mouse. She often quivered when people approached her. When he noticed Larry asking too many questions about her, he broke down and told him his horrible family history. He was going to find out anyway, right? Alyssa had been granted a family pass once a week. Their parents had informed them of this. They kept impressing upon us that Alyssa was very sick. If we wanted her to get better than we had to let her know that we all loved her and that she was still our sister. John made a face when he thought about Alyssa. He had never bonded with her and found her a bit creepy. Larry was fascinated by John's story and when John was finished Larry's face revealed that he was more in awe of not just John, but Libby also.  

  Larry's family had its own skeletons. His mother had left shortly after his father got sick. She didn't bother to pack anything. Without warning, she just walked out of the house and didn't come back. Larry said that his father's brother disappeared on the same day too. It was suspected that they ran off together, never to be heard from again. Larry's dad had frozen her bank account and credit cards, hoping she would need the money and contact him. She never called. "The old man won't give up though." Larry confined in John "He still keeps all of her clothes, and even her purse." Larry had also told John she had left some cash in the purse. After about a year of her missing, his brother Mark had taken that cash and spent it on a fun day out with him and his sister Angie. "That was a great day." Larry told John. John suspected that Larry had not experienced many good days in his short life.

  At first Larry's interest in Libby didn't bother him much. He knew Libby would shoot Larry down. She was too self conscious about her scars and did not want anyone asking about them. One day she had happened upon them doing stuff to a hamster, and John thought that would discourage Larry's interest in her, but it only seemed to increase it.

  John dropped Libby subtle warning about Larry. John was sure that after discovering them with the hamster, she was sure to steer clear. Boy John was wrong. Even after that boy Jacob went missing she continued to have sex with Larry. Libby, to John's disappointment, was more messed up than a football bat. She even shamelessly pursued her relationship with Randy. John's opinion of Libby changed after that. Not just Libby, but all women. Libby was a clumsy puppeteer, John could only imagine what damage a more experienced woman could cause. He learned a lot from his sisters, and swore he would never be caught in the death trap of love.

   John often wondered what this did to Ella. She seemed like your typical spoiled brat, and was too young to understand what has happened to everyone. Most of the time John noticed her studying everyone, as if trying to decipher the source of tension that seemed to hang over their home. John was sure she was going to be fine.

     John hated to admit it, but he felt a sense of abandonment when Libby had met Randy. She left him alone to deal with Larry. John thought Libby was a little selfish sometimes. He didn't hold a grudge though. His parents were often overwhelmed, dealing with all the girl's craziness, he began to come accustomed to being a bit neglected. He tried to keep himself occupied, and often didn't mind being alone. 


 Rosie was the eldest of a very complicated, and dysfunctional family. Her parents were good people. They did their best. Rosie's mother was proud of her daughters good looks. Rosie spent most of her time in beauty contests. She usually won, but the prize money did not near make up for the money spent on glitz dresses, hair and makeup, and coaching. Rosie usually won, and when her father lost his patience with his wife over the money being spent on these events. When Rosie got older, she usually opted out of participating in the contests. She didn't think you should be rewarded for having good genetics, and sometimes wonder if the parents often pushed these kids into these contests for their own rewards. When the winners were announced the winning parent's usually clapped for themselves and looked a bit smugly at the parents of the losing girls as if to say "See? my husband and I produced the prettiest one of them all." Her mother discouraged her from playing what her mother considered "Rough sports". Rosie really wanted to play basketball, but Rosie was denied this out of fear of broken shins, ankles, and worst of all (in her mothers eyes) a broken nose. Rosie was redirected to water sports, and cheer leading instead.

 Rosie had always felt sorry for Alyssa. Alyssa was not ugly, but she was not blessed with their mother's good looks, or their father's lean build. Alyssa instead favored their father in the face, and their mother's curves, which would have been alright, but Alyssa had a habit of indulging her appetite. Rosie thought Alyssa's mean spirit and unapologetic nature was due to a low self esteem. Rosie felt sorry for her. Alyssa often demanded a lot of attention and Rosie knew Alyssa had stolen from her. Rosie didn't know how deep seeded Alyssa's issue were until she had began to date. 

  Every time Rosie was interested in a boy, Alyssa chased the same boy. Rosie thought that Alyssa was just trying to compete with her. When they were younger Alyssa usually wrote the boy a childish note, warning the boy not to get involved with Rosie, and often whispered lies about Rosie. Sadly, some of the mean girls were happy to spread these rumors for Alyssa. Most people were split on their opinion of Rosie. Rosie did her best to rise above the rumors, but occasionally a boy would take her on a date and expect more than Rosie was ready to offer. The boys were often embarrassed and angry when she rejected their advances and often defended their actions by stating "Well, I heard..." This often hurt Rosie. She told her parents about it, but they determined that it was just jealousy on Alyssa's part. They patted her on the back and would say "Alyssa will find herself one day."

 Rosie suffered a lot of mental abuses at the hands of Alyssa. Often a boy would suddenly break it off with her for no reason. Rosie would later hear rumors that it was because they had done something with Alyssa that Rosie was not willing to do. The boy's seemed to be uninterested in Alyssa afterward, but as far as Rosie could tell, Alyssa was no longer interested in the boys after they had betrayed and broken up with Rosie. Alyssa would walk around as if she had won a prize. The only prize Rosie could see that she had won was the fact that Rosie was hurt by her actions. Alyssa never seemed to care. The first few times Rosie had confronted her, Alyssa would first lie, then burst into tears and Rosie often left the conversation feeling as if it had been Rosie herself, instead of Alyssa that had done something wrong. After Rosie decided that she was no longer going to allow Alyssa to play the victim, Alyssa stopped the tears. "He just realized that he had chosen the wrong sister." she would tell Rosie smugly. After that Rosie decided that Alyssa's lack of responsibility had to be a mask for self hate. Rosie knew she would hate herself if she had done some of the things Alyssa had done. Alyssa had no friends, and no one to talk to about it. Rosie hated to admit it to herself, but she had no desire to be that friend for Alyssa. She often avoided her at all costs, and was careful not to share her feelings with her. 

 Rosie got an after school job instead. She was rarely home, but she also made her own money. She was able to buy her own car, and pay for plans she made with her friends. She felt guilty for avoiding her family, but she had to protect her own feelings also.

 On one of the rare nights that Rosie was home she noticed Alyssa studying Libby. Libby was becoming a woman, and Rosie had to admit that Libby was stunning. She had gotten the best features from both parents. Not only did she inherit their dad's lean build, but paired up with her mothers curves. Her skin always looked tan, just like their fathers, and she had their mothers big blue eyes and pert nose. The large lips she had gotten from their father. Libby was not vain and rarely wore make up, so she was naturally stunning. Rosie worried that Alyssa had begun to notice. Rosie brushed this off though. Libby didn't seem to know she was beautiful, and her interest in boys seemed to take a back seat to her movies and books, so Rosie wasn't too concerned about Alyssa's attacking her. The only thing Alyssa could do to Libby was hide a favorite book, or movie. Rosie knew John shared her secret dislike of Alyssa, because he told her one day.

 She had come home to eat quickly before her shift. John was making sandwiches. "You want one Rosie?" he offered. "Yes, thank you sweetie." Rosie adored John, he was always so thoughtful. "Here Rosie." he passed her a paper plate with a sandwich on it. Rosie took the sandwich gratefully. She was hungry. She skipped lunch in order to keep up with her school work most days. "Rosie?" John asked her. "Yeah buddy?" Rosie asked him after she swallowed the food in her mouth. "You are never home anymore and I miss you." He confessed. Rosie felt her heart clinch. "I miss you too buddy. I just have to work." this was only partially true. If she could not pick up a shift she often drove around with her friends. John shook his head "Mom and Dad would help you with money. You just don't want to be around Alyssa, nobody does. We are stuck with her!" his accusations were true, and Rosie could not think of one convincing lie to tell him. "She will grow up one day." she reassured him.

  Rosie went to work that night. Something nagged her. She brushed it off. She felt guilty for neglecting John. He was her little buddy, and she had always spoiled him. She told herself she would make it up to him.

   She had not been at her shift for long when the phone rang and she was told Alyssa had stabbed Libby.

   The knife wounds had nicked some serious arteries and the permanent damage done, if there was any, could not be determined until after she healed and began her rehabilitation. Their parents were red eyed and clung to each other. They had left Ella with the neighbors so their mom would leave often to check on her. Rosie thought these absences were an excuse for her mother to go to the bathroom and bawl without upsetting Dad. John clung to Rosie. After they got the news that Libby was stable, their parents suggested that Rosie take John home. Their father had tried to convince their mother to leave with them. Their mother put her foot down though. The neighbors had agreed to keep Ella overnight, so Rosie and John arrived home to an empty house.

  There was so much blood. Rosie and John got cleaning supplies to try to clean up the mess. After hours of scrubbing, Rosie and John guessed that their parents would have to just replace the couch and carpet. It was agreed that they would both attend school the next day. Their house was usually busy, and the quiet rang in their ears, neither one of them wanted to stay home.

 Rosie dropped John off at school and then arrived at the high school. All eyes were on her as she got out of her car and made her way across the parking lot.

   Rosie's best girlfriends greeted her when she arrived at her locker. She could tell by their demeanor that they had already heard the news. They all hugged her tightly and kissed her cheek. 

  The rest of the student body stared at her, but were careful not to come near her. They all treated her as if she were diseased. She only made it through one class period when she decided she could not stay there either. Rosie called her father and asked if he would call John's school and excuse him. Rosie picked John up and they met their parents at the hospital.

  Libby was in and out. Their mother had left to check on Ella, so only their father was there when they arrived. His eyes were tired and Rosie felt sorry for him. "Oh Daddy!" she ran to him and hugged him when his eyes began to water again. He held her tight. "I just don't understand." he cried. "I don't understand any of this."

  After their father was all cried out they went in to see Libby. Rosie gasp when she caught sight of Libby. She had gotten the PG version of her condition. Libby was strapped to a breathing machine. Bandages still protected her arms. Rosie drew closer to her. Her head had been undamaged, but her arms and hands suffered plenty. Rosie was determined to stay strong for her father and brother, but she found tears uncontrollably rolling down her face and down her neck. Her father passed her the tissues. He had been here the entire time, so he had adjusted to Libby's state. "I hate Alyssa." John whispered.

  When their mother came back Rosie suggested that they go shower and take a nap. "John and I can sit with her." she saw her parents exchange a look and come to an agreement. "Call us if anything changes." Rosie and John promised and gave them both long hugs. After they were gone She and John curled up in chairs in Libby's room. She and John complained about their treatment at school, and they compared the itchy red welts on their hands and arms. They later inquired about it with a nurse. She determined it was chemical burn. "Have you been using multiple cleaning products.?" they both nodded. Later she returned to Libby's room with a tube. "This should help." she smiled at them. 

 They rubbed the cream on their arms and hands and both sighed in relief. Later Rosie left John to go get them dinner. They found blankets and extra pillows in the closet by the bathroom. They got as comfortable as possible and both of them fell asleep.

  Rosie woke up to the sun streaming in through the window. Her neck and shoulders ached. She sat up and attempted to work out the stiffness in her body. She saw that her parents had returned at some point and were camped out on the floor. Rosie smiled when she saw they had fallen asleep holding hands.

  The next few months were brutal. The school had arranged a tutor for homeschooling. Their parents had fought it, but it was agreed that Rosie and John's presence at school was distracting the other students and they had to think about the majority of the children. Rosie was secretly relieved. She and John now had a stigma attached to them. She had scolded John for saying he hated Alyssa, but Rosie began to bore hatred for her too. The phone rang off the hook for weeks. They unplugged the home phone. Some of the calls were reporters, but others were threatening and nasty. People were passing their house in droves. One night someone had even thrown a rock through their window. Their father had ended up going to the base and requested that they be transferred stateside and away from the notoriety. His work agreed to process the request as soon as Libby was well enough to travel. The worst part was the family therapy.

  They saw a therapist as a family, and alone. Rosie suspected that they recommended so many sessions (2 a week) was because her parents often argued with the therapist when they reminded them that there was no 'cure' for Alyssa's illness. Rosie ached for them, John was angry with them for not just locking her up and forgetting about her. He didn't understand. Alyssa would always be their daughter, and they would never give up on one of their children. Libby did get better each day though. She had been not only receiving therapy for her body, but to cope and accept what had happened. Libby exceeded their expectations and was eventually allowed to come home.

  It was painful for Rosie to witness Libby struggle with her walker, and Rosie saw how tired she was all the time. Her mother explained that this was partially because of exertion and partially from pain medication. Libby worked hard, and eventually she was walking and moving with ease. After a while they were told that she was well enough to travel and they could move. Rosie had a vague recollection of the states. She was too young to remember too much, but at this point they could be moving to a third world country and she would be more than happy to go.

                                       Chapter 6

                                   The Present

  Alyssa had hatched a plan. She wanted to slip the sleeping pills into Larry's dinner, than tie him down. John and Libby exchanged a look. "I am not going to hurt him." they both gave her a doubtful look. She crossed her heart. "We don't want to kill him. We just want to safely extract him from our lives." Libby told her. Alyssa rolled her eyes and said "Yeah, you really pursued him to back off didn't you?" Libby shot her a dirty look. Larry had mentioned that he would be there for dinner tonight. Originally John thought he was sure to accept if Libby suggested it, but Alyssa shook her head. "Has Libby ever invited him before?" John shook his head. "You don't think he would be suspicious of her sudden rekindled interest in him?" John and Libby both agreed. For someone so detached from the rest of humanity, Alyssa certainly had a birds eye view of the world. She was always a step ahead and able to predict peoples actions and reactions. Libby hated to admit it, but she felt a twinge of jealousy that Alyssa was able to do this. Libby imagined what Alyssa could amount to if she just used her special gifts to create something positive. When they plotted how they were going to slip Larry the drugs, Alyssa volunteered. "I will offer to help Mom and make the plates in the kitchen." John raised a skeptical eyebrow. "You don't think Mom would be suspicious of your sudden interest in common household chores?" Alyssa smirked. "No, she will believe what she wants to believe. She will be thrilled that I am finally responding to therapy and am beginning to participate in this family." Alyssa was right once again. Mom's face lit up when Alyssa offered to help with supper.

 Libby was nervous. She kept scolding herself for shoveling food into her mouth. She kept looking to Larry, looking for any sign of wavering. If he did began passing out at the table, then we all agreed that we would abort the plan. Libby hoped he held through dinner. John picked at his food nervously and Alyssa held her usual facade. Libby's stomach began to lurch. Her nerves must have been worse than she thought. It wasn't until it began to burn did she stand up. Her eyes shot to Alyssa ready to accuse her, but Alyssa's eyes were wide and she was distressed also. Ella began to scream and her parents fell together as they both attempted to rush to her. Larry's eyes bulged out of his head. The coppery scent of blood and feces filled the dining room. Libby felt it running down her legs. "You little bastard." Alyssa attempted to reach for John, but stumbled and fell. Larry stumbled to me with open arms. I caught him and we fell clinging each other. John stood above us all. " hell." Alyssa managed to croak. Everyone was vomiting at this point. John looked down at her. "At least I won't die shitting myself to death." His voice was so cold. The truth hit Libby all at once. John had been squatting over that hamster too. John was who first made her leery of Larry, John who had secured the pills. He had not even protested Alyssa's involvement in their plans. Hind sight was 20/20 and once again Libby was too late or too dumb to see the truth. She looked into Larry's eyes. He had just been a boy, a boy who had been in love with her. John walked over to where they clung to each other dyeing. "I loved you so much Libby. The world never would have understood." he leaned over and was about to plant a kiss on Libby's forehead but his body jerked too. Alyssa, in her weakened state grinned. John grinned right back. "It won't work unless I had at least gotten a touch of it." Alyssa quit smiling. One by one they all closed their eyes forever.


  Rosie had come home from work that night. A fowl stink entered her nostrils as soon as she opened the front door. She gagged and left the front door standing open as an attempt to allow the odor to escape. She used her shirt to mask her mouth and nostril and entered the house. The house was still. She had the urge to turn right around and run, but she forced her legs to allow her to continue. "Mom? Dad?" her voice was muffled by her shirt.

  The horror in the dining room was unimaginable. The rancid smell was blood and feces. Her family was splayed out and covered in it. Her parents and Ella clung together at one end of the table. Libby and Larry were holding each other, both slumped in a sitting position against the wall by the sliding glass door. Alyssa was on her belly as if she had clawed at the floor. John was in a sitting position against the large buffet that decorated the dining room. Rosie screamed and screamed. When she was finally able to stop screaming she realized someone was saying her name. It was John, "Rosie." he croaked and reached for her.

   Rosie followed the moving van to her new home. It had taken a while to get things straightened out. John told the police that it must have been Alyssa. She had offered to help their parents with dinner that night. He wasn't sure if she had meant to poison herself too. Rosie and Alyssa's therapist agreed, that Alyssa would have never offered to help prepare dinner unless it somehow was to her advantaged. Rosie was glad she was dead. She wept at how much damaged that girl has caused. It took two professional cleanings to rid the house of the smell. Rosie put the house up for sale. She and John would not get a quarter of what it was worth. She understood that many buyers would be leery of purchasing a house with such a history. They not only had to make burial arrangements, but they had a million papers to sign with lawyers and paying off her parents owed bills. Her and John inherited a considerable sum of money. Rosie had had no clue that her parents had been so invested in their financial well being. Rosie was 18, and had temporary custody of John, as long as they both attended therapy. Rosie planned to go ahead with her plans for college. Since she would not have to work, then she would be able to care for John and his needs. They held hands as they drove. Both excited at the prospect of a new beginning.                          


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