The One that Wasn't

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two brothers in a basement.

Submitted: August 05, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 05, 2016



It’s hard to find the light switch in the dark. The longer I’m tapping the empty wall the faster my heart beats. I can feel it pulsing in my ears. Then I find it and there’s light. The bulb hangs over the basement but only really illuminates the centre. I close the door behind me and go down the stairs. It doesn’t smell bad down here. Not like up there. Down here it just smells a bit stuffy but up there… I don’t like the smell up there.

I wheel Luca out of the darkness and into the pool of light. His head lolls forwards and the jerk of his neck wakes him. He blinks hard and looks up at me.

“I slept?” he asks.

“You must have.” I pull up a stool next to him and lift up the plate. “I’ve brought you some food.”

He looks down at the leather belts that secure his wrist to the chair’s arms. “Please just…”

“I’ll feed you.”

“You still don’t trust me?.”

“I don’t want to untie you.”


“Because…” I look up at the door.

“What’s done is done.”

“And I don’t want that to happen to me.”

“I would never hurt you.”

I stay quiet because I don’t believe him. I used to believe him. I thought I knew my brother so well. Being a twin, I thought he could never surprise me. We were two halves of the same person. But that changed last week.

“She hurt us, Richie,” says Luca. He nods down to the bruises over my arms. I look back at his.

“But… she was all we had.”

“We have each other.”

Luca lets me feed him beans on toast. I have to cut up the toast into extra small pieces for him. I don’t think I’m doing a good job at looking after him but I don’t say anything. I pretend like I know what I’m doing even though he doesn’t look very good. His hair is greasy and his eyes are dull. He still has blood all over his t-shirt. Looking at him used to be like looking in a mirror. It’s not really like that anymore. Now I don’t really know who my brother is.

“Please don’t be afraid of me,” he says and the pain in his voice hurts me. “I did it to protect you.”

“I’m just scared,” I say, wiping some sauce from his chin.

“Scared of me?”

I am scared of him but I don’t say it. His voice is wet like he is about to cry. I don’t want to make him cry so I tell a white lie. “I’m just scared of what’s going to happen.”

“If you untie me we can sort things out together.”

I shake my head and get up. Luca watches me from his chair as I rummage through the boxes around us. Momma stored all our old toys down here. I find Snakes and Ladders and set it up in front of him.

I put the dice in his hand and he throws it onto the floor but I have to move his counter for him. It’s like old times when Momma used to leave us for work. We laugh and joke and I forget about the smell upstairs. After Snakes and Ladders, we try to play Guess Who but we can’t do it without me either letting Luca free or me cheating. So we play Draughts instead. It’s difficult but we manage.

Then there’s banging coming from upstairs. We both look up to the door. A man’s voice booms. It’s the police. I jump up and the Draughts pieces fly everywhere. Luca is crying as I’m pushing him back into the dark.

“It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay,” I say but I must not be very convincing because he’s still crying. My heart starts to beat so hard I can feel it in my ears again.

There’s a crash of breaking glass upstairs and then I hear footsteps above us.

“Oh my God…” says a man.

They’re inside.

I turn to Luca and put my finger to my lips. He sucks in a breath and nods but I can see the fear in his eyes.

I sit beside him in the darkness. I want to turn the light off but I don’t want to risk them hearing me.

The door opens and I grab Luca’s hand. His fingers knot with mine. A man in a uniform steps down into the basement and looks around. He finds me.

“Winters, I got him!” He calls up the stairs.

He approaches me and Luca’s hand grabs me tighter.

“No!” I scream, pushing myself further into the corner. He’s crouching a little to get to me. I don’t like how close he is. “Get away!”

He grabs my arm and pulls me to my feet. I lose my grip on Luca. I start to scream and try to rip myself free because I’m scared and he’s pressing on my bruises and why is he taking me but not Luca?

He’s pulling me up the stairs and I’m trying to turn around. I see Luca still strapped to his chair, watching me. Watching him take me.

The smell hits me when we get back upstairs. The police man picks me up when we get to the hallway and he carries me over the broken glass. I look behind me and see Momma’s body in the living room in her bloody puddle.

When we’re out of the house I try to wriggle free again.

“Don’t take me! Luca!” I scream. There is another police man by the front door. He looks into the house as I scream. “Luca! Luca!”

I’m locked in the back of the police car. I bang on the door. I’m crying now and I don’t like how fast my heart is beating. “It wasn’t me!” My tears clog my throat. “It was Luca!”

“Who is Luca?” The police man asks from outside the car.

“My brother! He’s in there!”

He looks to the other police man and he shakes his head. “There’s no one else in the house.”

I stop banging on the door. I’m confused. Did Luca get out? Did he run away and leave me to take the blame? I look up and catch my reflection in the car mirror. But it’s not my reflection because it’s grinning.

It’s not my face.

It’s Luca’s. 

© Copyright 2017 MissGangamash. All rights reserved.

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