Brotherly Love

Everyone in town knows the Myers. A beautiful family of 4 who lives in the big, pastel yellow house at the end of Gosler Street. The house with its wrap-around front porch and its big bright windows is almost as perfect as the family who lives inside. A vast garden occupies the side of the house and Ms. Myer is frequently seen catering to the array of flowers and vegetables growing there. Mr. Myer is usually found inside the house; he always seems to be lost in some sort of old mystery novel or puzzling over that day’s crossword. But the real wonders of the Myer family are their two perfect twin boys, Thomas and Oliver.

Thomas and Oliver were born right at the end of March, just as the flowers in Ms. Myers’ garden started to blossom and spring began. They were born flawless, with fat rosy cheeks and tufts of blond hair on each of their perfect little heads. When they were born, everyone in town made their way to the Myers house, to congratulate the parents and coo at the two baby boys. As time went on the boys grew and grew and the Myers family stayed as happy as ever.

 They were best friends, those twins.  Ever since they were born, they stayed attached at the hip. Thomas was the happiest child you could imagine. He was constantly full of energy and was never seen without a huge grin on his face.  Everyone in town adored him. Oliver was more shy; he seemed to hide behind his brother, almost as if he was scared to face the world without Thomas right beside him. But besides being so vastly different, they were never seen without each other. 

Once they were old enough to attend school, it became clear that Thomas was gifted. Not only did he excel in math and science, but he took up piano and by the ripe age of 10 he was already a prodigy,  playing Mozart and Beethoven. Mr. and Ms. Myer were both so proud of their son and constantly bragged about him to anyone that would listen. It was very obvious who was the favorite of the Myers twins, and just as Oliver used to hide in his brother’s shadow, he now seemed to be lost in it completely. 

Oliver wasn’t necessarily dumb, so to say he just was no where as intelligent as his brother. He was often overlooked, especially by his parents. The Myers house had 4 lovely bedrooms.  There was the master on the top floor complete with a balcony that overlooked the garden, where Mr. and Ms. Myers slept.  Across the hall were two other charming bedrooms with big windows that brought in lots of natural sunlight and high ceilings that made the rooms feel airy and light. The final bedroom was in the back of the house.  It was a small dreary room with only one tiny window up in the corner.  The room was used to store old furniture and knick knacks that the Myers didn’t have room for anywhere else in the house. 

When Thomas started to spark an interest in the piano the Myers had one of the two front rooms (the room Oliver previously occupied) converted into a piano studio complete, with an expensive grand piano and a bookshelf full of music books. They cleared out the back room and moved Oliver’s belongings. Oliver wasn’t too thrilled by this but that was just the way things operated in that household. For the past 11 years of their life Thomas was always the priority.  

The Myers really were a perfect family it seemed, except for one thing: Ms. Myers’ father. His name was Nick but to the children of the neighborhood he was “Crazy Nick”. He lived in an old beat up house on the outskirts of town until Mr and Ms. Myers decided to send him to the mental hospital in the city. He really did seem crazy. He was paranoid all the time, constantly talking to himself and pacing the front yard. He was schizophrenic and always said there were voices talking to him.  He said they controlled him and told him what to do. He said he had to listen to them. No one knew why. 

Before he was sent off Oliver would come and visit him. His grandpa lived a short walk away from the elementary school and sometimes Oliver would simply just leave in the middle of class. His teachers would always try to talk to his parents about it but they never seemed to have the time. He liked his grandpa because he seemed to actually see him as Oliver rather than Oliver, Thomas’s brother.  But there was something else too. Oliver would never admit it, but he also heard the voices. 

Late at night when he couldn’t sleep they would come to him. But the peculiar thing about it was they weren’t bad. They spoke the truth. They told Oliver what he wanted to hear, what he already knew. He knew he deserved more. He knew he was superior to his brother, but no one understood, not his parents, not his teachers, no one. Oliver was smart. He knew the voices were only a figment of his imagination. But even if they weren’t real, they were his source of comfort. They made him feel powerful.

Sometimes the voices would talk to him. When he would get home from school and his parents didn’t even acknowledge his presence they would whisper to him. 

“They don’t care about you Oliver, you’re worth nothing to them.”

When Thomas got a standing ovation at his piano recital they were there. 

“They should be applauding you, Thomas doesn’t deserve all this.  You’re better than him.”

Sometimes the voices would tell him to do things. 

“Leave, just run away for a day, they will miss you, they will come find you, they will remember your worth.”  

And he would listen to them. 

One day after school Oliver didn’t come home. He left for a night and slept in the woods. He seemed to find peace there. He loved the thick forest because it made him feel secluded, yet still so exposed. He loved the smell of fresh dirt and pine needles that surrounded him. He loved the tiny bit of fear evoked in him when he heard wolf howls or something rustle in the trees. But most of all he just liked having his own space to sit with his thoughts.

He stared at the pitch black sky littered with tiny stars and it comforted him. He felt so small and all his problems just seemed insignificant. He knew any moment his parents would be calling his name. They were probably worried sick right now. His mom was probably crying and his dad was stressed, pacing the room. They probably called the police and there was a search party looking for him right now. But they never came.

The next morning Oliver made his way back to the house.  He peered through the window and instead of his family looking frantically worried like he’d expected them to, they were all just sitting around the breakfast table enjoying a nice meal. He walked through the door, and right past the table. No one looked up, no one even noticed his presence. And as he walked the stairs up to his room the voice’s whispers filled his head.

“They didn’t even notice, they didn’t even notice.”

“Stop” he told them, 

They didn’t stop.  They just got louder.

“All they care about is Thomas.  If only Thomas was gone, then it would just be you and they would have to pay attention to you.”

“No, no that’s bad. I wouldn’t.  I couldn’t.”

“Oh, but you would.  You will.”

The voices scared him.  He could never hurt his brother.  He was his best friend. He would never hurt his best friend.

A few weeks later Thomas came home from school with a piece of paper in his hand. He waved it in front of Oliver’s face screaming, 

“Look, look Ms. Herschel loved my research paper and she said I should start taking science classes at the middle school!”

Thomas was waving the paper all around, taunting Oliver. 

“Isn’t that so cool Oliver. I get to study with the 6th graders.  Maybe if you work hard enough, Ms. Herschel would move you up a grade too, but you’re not smart enough in science so… nevermind.”

The next few moments felt like a blur. Oliver could feel the rage building up in him and the voices began to scream in his head. 

“Do it. You know you want to,”

And in one quick motion Oliver snatched the paper out of Thomas’’s hand and punched him as hard as he could. At that moment, Oliver felt so alive.  He loved the feeling of hurting someone, the sound of his fist smacking Thomas’s face.  He loved taking his anger out on something, causing pain. He loved the excruciating scream that Thomas let out as he doubled over and fell to the floor. And as he looked down at Thomas, in tears at his feet, he smiled.

That day was the moment Thomas found it. That feeling he was looking for, that release, it was the inflection of pain. The voices had been trying to tell him all along but he would always tune them out. He knew it was wrong but he didn’t have any sort of guilt. Why should he? Most people deserved to be hurt anyways. 

So he began to experiment. After school he would go to the forest behind the school. He set up traps and started catching small critters like squirrels and mice. But he wouldn’t hurt them then and there. He would bring them to the garage in the back of his house. No one ever went into the garage so it was the perfect location. Then, when he was mad or when the voices told him it was time, he would go back to the garage and take all his anger out on them. 

He liked it when they struggled. He enjoyed the thrill of watching their little helpless bodys go limp. But there was one thing missing, the personal connection. Sure he liked taking all his problems and anger out on little animals, but in the end it didn’t change anything. He didn’t feel that satisfaction of hurting someone who had hurt him. His small kills brought him triumph, but he knew he needed more. 


1 month later:

The sky was pitch black, the moon masked by late night clouds. The only light came from a bright flashlight held in the hands of a small blond boy. In his other hand, the boy was holding a shovel. He was digging a hole. A hole big enough and deep enough for his own twin brother. 


Oliver had it all planned out. Every morning at 7am Thomas woke up to take a shower. So the next morning Oliver was up at 5am. From 5-6 he contemplated what he was planning to do. But by 6:30 he was ready. As soon as he heard the shower water running he grabbed the biggest sharpest knife he could find from the kitchen and crept into the bathroom. Thomas heard him come in and poked his head out of shower curtain. The confusion shifted to fear as he looked at the knife Oliver was clutching. The voices began to talk in Oliver’s head.
“Do it, do it, do it.” they whispered

“Don’t hesitate, Thomas is the cause of your misery, get rid of him.”

Oliver took a small step forward, he stared at Thomas who seemed to be frozen in place. In that moment he looked at Thomas, really looked at him. He saw the nose that was identical to his own. The light spotting of freckles that parallel the ones scattered across his own cheeks. But the one feature that didn’t match was Thomas’s eyes. They were the same cool blue color but there wasn’t that quality  that Oliver recognized deep within his own. He then turned around and caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the mirror. A single tear ran down his cheek and he slowly turned the knife towards his own chest.