's 2014 Horror Write-off:

"  Little Brother "

Submitted by   Rahkshasarani

  There was never any baby, that Kevin was 100% sure. Mommy had been pregnant for a long time and then not, but there was no bassinet, no co-sleeper next to the bed where mommy rested with a cloth over her eyes. So when his new little brother came home, Kevin felt sure enough to say, “who's baby is he?”

Mommy looked very irritated and said, “mine, of course.”

But Kevin knew what new babies looked like. Chris's little sister had come into his homeroom for a visit when she was just two weeks old. Kevin's little brother looked...odd. More like a little old man than a baby. And he could already walk. He was nearly bald, and his eyes were two different colors.

“His name is Kip,” daddy said, “now shake hands and be friends.”

Kip whined and peed. Kevin wiped his hands on his jeans.

Kip wasn't much fun to play with. He couldn't walk very fast and he always dropped things. He was just as drooly as a new baby, and he liked to put things in his mouth, too. But still, a little brother was a little brother, and Kevin was happy enough it wasn't a dumb girl. Kevin tried to play nice with him, but the weird thing was his parents never reminded him to be gentle with Kip. He thought that every mom and dad told a new big brother that. “Don't run too fast while holding your brother's hand,” “don't teach him to do that,” etc.

Once, mommy wanted Kip to move and she gave his behind a little slap. Kevin was a little shocked. Mommy and daddy barely hugged him, they would never lay a hand on him.

Kip didn't grow right. He had health problems, had to have a lot of shots. He couldn't eat chocolate and he couldn't have most veggies. He was still the size of a three-year-old when they enrolled him in kindergarten. Kevin could see the disaster coming a mile away. Kip could barely speak, something about his tongue and his voice box, words didn't come out right. He went to a speech therapist twice a week, which irritated mommy so much she started smoking again.

Kevin had to spend every recess protecting his little brother. The other kids would chase after him, throwing things and calling him “retard.” Daddy just shrugged it off when Kevin told him that. Mommy was even less sympathetic: she'd stand over Kip during speech homework and yell at him for every problem he got wrong.

It was horrible. Kevin didn't see how they could be so horrible to someone so sweet like Kip. He always wanted to play when you did, and he never got angry at the people who were mean to him. Nothing made sense. They wanted a baby so long, and now that it was here they treated it like dirt. Kevin had gotten over how weird he was, why couldn't they?

Mommy and daddy were having shouting fights again, this time about Kip instead of each other. Daddy would yell that he pulled a lot of strings to get him, now mommy had to work for it even though she wasn't used to work. Mommy would say caring for the load made it hard to have a life, and daddy asked if she meant drinking. Then there was a hitting sound and crying. Kevin went to sleep with his little brother curled around him.

One day Daddy took them for a drive to his work. Mommy was resting with the shades drawn.

Ten minutes into the drive, daddy said, “I don't think this is working out, kiddo.”

Kevin was confused. “Do we have to go home?”

“No, I mean Kip.” Daddy sighed. “Look, it's just too much effort. Mommy and I will try again, and you'll get a real brother or sister this time. Doesn't that sound nice?”

Kevin asked, “What do you mean? You can't just get rid of Kip.”

Daddy laughed. “It's really up to us, kiddo. We're your parents. Kip was a nice idea, but some ideas just don't work out.”

Kevin blinked, his eyes were suddenly too hot. “Don't talk about him like he's not even here,” he said in a wobbly voice.

Daddy just laughed and switched on the radio loud enough that they couldn't talk anymore.

When they got to his work, daddy parked them in the break room and told them to stay there. He left a bunch of coloring books for babies and a pack of salami. After he left Kevin took Kip by the hand and went exploring.

Kevin had never been to his father's work. He thought daddy had an office job, but there was lab stuff here and there, too. Kip shrank back from some doors, sticking tight to Kevin's side. Then there was one door he got real excited to see. He tugged on Kevin's hand and practically danced down the hall. The door said “kennel.” Kevin turned the handle and a strong medical smell hit his nose. Kip darted ahead. Kevin followed.

The room had gleaming white walls and floors of tile, and a big drain right in the middle. Kip was darting around a metal table in the center, whimpering.

It was only when he thought about it later that Kevin realized it must have been a dog. There was no fluffy tail or paws, just big pink scars in the places they would have been. Most of the head wasn't there. The back of the skull ended in a white plastic plate with wires coming out of it. The belly was painfully swollen. Udders the size of a cow protruded, Kevin gave a little start of disgust when he caught Kip nuzzling one.

“Kip, gross,” he said, grabbing his arm, “away.”

Kip pulled back, something he had never done. His weird little eyes filled with tears.

“Maulm,” he said, “maulmmm.”

The door open behind him.

“Kid, what the fu–” the lab tech looked behind him. “How'd you get out?”

No matter how Kip screamed, no matter how Kevin begged, the man would not let go of Kip's arm, propelling him down the hall. He gave Kevin a little shove with his foot, and disappeared behind a door that locked electronically behind him. The last Kevin saw of his brother, Kip was looking behind him desperately, reaching for his brother.

“Someone stole Kip,” Kevin shouted at his father.

Daddy was on a headset. He held up one finger and tilted back in his chair. “What was that, Sharon? I didn't catch that.”

“Dad—” Kevin wept. Daddy snapped his finger in Kevin's face, then swiveled the chair around to face away from him.

Kevin blew his nose on his sleeve, waiting for his father to get off the phone. Then he noticed something behind his father.

It was a cardboard cutout of a cartoon dog, standing on two legs, wearing little boy clothes. “Foreverbabies,” the poster said, and “bring your buddy home!”

“Dad,” Kevin said dully. “What'd you do to Kip?”

Daddy covered the mouthpiece with his hand. “You never had a brother.” he switched back to the headset.“I know, Sharon,” daddy said, “but these things are ugly as sin. Can't you...I dunno, cuten them up? I know we agreed for a July release date, but the foreign market will never accept them like this... ”