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, and..you 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.