's 2015 Horror Write-off:

" Selected Pages From the Rich and Human "

Submitted by Zoe Keidong

There’s only three of us here. My older brother, who owns the mansion now, my other brother, and me.

None of us know how we got all this money. When I ask my brother, he only says that we inherited it. I let it slide most of the time, but sometimes it bothers me so hard my head hurts.

- - - - - 

My older brother likes himself. He takes about an hour every morning in the bathroom, primping. When he’s done, he smells like vinegar and olive oil. He says it smells wonderful.

I try to talk with him sometimes when he’s working on… whatever business he does to keep us from losing the house. Sometimes I show him things I found. Pretty things like him.

Most of the times he turns back to his papers, mumbling under his breath.

Other times, I end up bleeding from my nose and my other brother runs in to pick me up. He stares at him, telling him again that “we’re the only ones we have left. You can’t do this to him.” And then my older brother growls back that he didn’t do it as other brother’s shirt gets stained again, and they both start yelling at each other. He then fusses over me and my nose until it feels “better.”

- - - - - 

I keep my pets in my room in a tank. I’m not sure what they are to be honest. All I know is that my mom gave them to me before she left. Sometimes they’re small and swimming with orange scales. Sometimes they’re slimy and lazy brats with bulging eyes. Today they all bunched together into one clump, wiggling everywhere. Touching every bit of the glass, pleading falsely sweet, spreading the room with a swampy, burnt odor.

They say I should stand up for myself, that I’m stronger than them.

I say back “You’ve got to be kidding.”

Then they tell me they “understand, but you’ll be able to get past all this.”

They stop telling me this when I give them crickets.

- - - - - 

Sometimes I feel the cogs in my lungs shuttering like they did before. A momentary slick of cool mercury in my veins. Maybe it is me. If I could have just figured out how to rewire myself before all this happened, maybe he wouldn’t be such an asshole. And again I look.

There’s still skin.

There’s still dots.

There’s still pits from picked skin.

There’s still signs of humanity here.

When I tell my older brother this, he just tells me that I’m just worrying too much. Every time his nails dig into my shoulders, making me wonder when he’s gonna pop them.

- - - - - 

He screams at the mirror sometimes when I walk past his room, almost like how he screams at me. He apologizes right after to it, like he’s scared of what he did. Is that what narcissism is?

- - - - - 

I woke up tonight to crackling glass on the ceiling. It looked straight back at me with such hatred. It tch’d with disgust before it ran off. I think it took about 54 minutes before I fell back asleep again.

- - - - - 

My older brother was quiet today. He smelled blank. Not like a normal not-smelly smell, but utterly blank. He poured a bowl of cereal for himself before staring at me. I stare at some toast until he stops. I don’t know where my other brother went.

My pets are gone. I looked everywhere, but they are gone.

- - - - - 

Wether I was ready or not, a party happened today. It was uneventful to be honest about it. Everyone else beside my family was blurred and happy, jerking around, limbs snapping apart to the beat/ never ending whir. I just hung out by the food, stuffing hors d’oeuvres in the general direction of my mouth. A lot of it landed on the floor though.

Just as I was going to drink something, my older brother gripped onto my wrist, dragging me off from the room.

“What are you doing here? You can’t be out here like this! What if somebody sees you? Oh god, are you going to-“

I didn’t catch what else he was trying to say as I stumbled as fast as I could into the bathroom. The door clunked behind me as I dropped towards the vibrating floor, my arm shooting out as if on a trigger. The porcelain ring of the toilet was the only thing that was clear, all shiny and hard, the water shimmering like stars. What came out of my mouth hurt. My lower lip screamed red, trying to hold together against prickly silver chunks. I closed my eyes as tight as they could go, but I only felt my throat going raw. And a few rock hard strings knocking against my teeth, though that was a given.

When I was done, I had to fish out the junk from the bowl. No one had to see this, and as hell I was gonna flush this down to the sewers. If anyone knocked, I called back with a “I’m busy” or some sort of variant on that, trying to ignore the cuts. The pile seemed to giggle like the pets used to.

I was crying the entire time I wrapped it all up in toilet paper, making a wet glob barely shielded by tissue. I tried to keep it down as I walked past the rest of the party, my chest pushing against the sphere, thrudging towards the backyard. I didn’t care that my hands and muscles were getting dirty, I just wanted a hole to put it in, alright? It got a little foggy as it went in there, but I managed to keep awake as I filled it back up. The whole world stared thumping, like it all was a heart, and I couldn’t do anything else but lie down. I managed to get this all down by some miracle, but I need a nap. They wouldn’t mind, right?

- - - - - 

I woke up this morning covered in dirt and decayed tissue paper. My brother was standing over me, shaking with a shovel in his hand and a trash bag in the other. There was red on his shirt again. And blue, and green, and yellow, and brunette, and vermillion, and other flashes that popped out once and a while. His eyes seemed more black than anything else. I don’t know what words he was saying, but it was like he didn’t like saying them. It was only a few minutes before he stopped and pulled me out, wrapping me in fuzzy cloth. Then he looked in the hole again.

The bag held my finger as I poked it. It seemed so sad about all this. All I could do was pet it until it felt better, trying not to hurt myself against the glass. I couldn’t bring myself to fully forgive them, but I have a hold on myself. And ourselves are human.