The Blue Boy
My brother disappeared on a dull afternoon in May. Mother had been grocery shopping and father was tending to his orchids. They usually left us alone, I the responsible girl of twelve just on the cusp of becoming a teenager. Maybe they thought the responsibility of looking after my sibling would stave off the teen angst that was beckoning on the horizon. Anyway, I turned to wave to my mother who was unloading the car that was filled with boxes of cereal and packs of meat that I didn't approve of as I'd recently become a vegetarian. I'd thought about becoming vegan but that was a step too far for someone who still enjoyed her scrambled eggs on a sunday morning and anyway I'd just had a beautiful pair of leather shoes bought for me by a distant aunt, I couldn't upset her now could I?.
After turning away from my brother and waving to her I turned back and he'd gone. She said she hadn't seen him but I knew she had, she may have even seen where he'd gone but what with carrying the heavy bags inside and then answering the telephone my mother becomes confused. I on the other hand know exactly what happened, he simply vanished, there I've said it. The police and locals have scoured the area, digging up, knocking down and looking in places even an animal wouldn't hide, but to no avail.
My parents stayed up for three nights waiting for news, father's orchids were removed and his greenhouse searched, in fact the whole house was turned upside down. I was kept home from school because they felt it was too upsetting for me, but really it was because no one knew what to say to me, they'd never met anyone whose brother had gone missing in front of their eyes before.The doctor said if I was hypnotised I might give a clue as to what really happened but to be honest they have no answers, he's gone.
Local people reported an old tramp wandering about and a lynch mob was set up, but he had an alibi, the nuns at the convent had taken him in for a bath uuggh.
I hope they disinfected it afterwards, but then nuns are like that aren't they?, kind and giving. I think I should like to be a nun, or a laboratory technician, I haven't made my mind up yet.
Anyway, two weeks after my brother disappeared I could have sworn I saw him in his room, maybe it's shock or just wishful thinking but as I was passing, out the corner of my eye, I thought I saw him. Still wearing his blue sweater and Jeans, and I swear in that moment I saw his face and it too was blue.
My little brother had turned into a smurf, I giggled to myself at this ridiculous notion and my mother slapped me.
There was no laughter in the house anymore, although there hadn't been any laughter in that house for years, ever since that little monster had arrived.
He had taken over everything, he came into my room when I was trying to do my homework or listen to music, my parents ignored me even more as he got older.
"Look after your brother" they shouted up the stairs as they left for yet another visit to distant relatives who may or may not have had money.
Yes I resented him. I thought about him not being here anymore and maybe that's what happened.
"If I don't think about him then he won't exist" I willed, then turning back there he was, those chubby little fingers poking where they shouldn't and that frown that kicked off a torrent of tears.
I pretend not to care but really, how can a five year old disappear into thin air?.
I saw him again last night, he stood at the foot of my bed, all blue and glowing in the moonlight. I screamed but no one came, they have their own issues.
So I talked to him, I said 'hello' and he waved those chubby blue fingers that looked like crayons, I wanted to ask him where he'd gone but he turned and ran.
Two nights later I looked out on to the garden, the moon was peeking behind the orchard and as I looked down there he was, he looked up at me and ran towards the apple groves so I put on my robe and ran after him. Jumping over upturned pots I found it hard to keep up, but I was determined to find out what had happened. The old fruit store which hadn't been used in years was ahead of me, I'm sure the police would have checked in here but it was still boarded up.
Being brave I pulled one of the wooden slats, it crumbled beneath my fingers and I got an awful splinter. No one had been here for a long time and there was a strange smell, I spotted a small opening that maybe a child could push through. I wondered whether I should come back in daylight but what if he was trapped in here, although it had been two weeks now and I don't think anyone would still be alive after that amount of time, though you do hear of it.
An owl screeched and I stepped back, fear took over me as he came into view, the little smurf so cold and alone.
And then I remembered where I'd put him.