Photo by Adriana “The Monster” Cebrero
inordinate and uncontrollable feelings of hatred and anger*
I lie in wait as he makes his way down the well worn trail back to his tents. He sings low to himself, praising the heavens on his return from another blessed offering. The sun presses on my back, the stench of the herd seeps from my pores, the river can never quite wash it clean.
He’s mere footsteps away, my pulse hammers in my head and I strike. The first blow connects with the base of his skull and he falls face first in the dust. A kick to the ribs, he grunts and turns on his side. Glancing up he catches my eye. I see it dawn across his face – shock, confusion, fear. Adrenaline courses through my veins, a mix of euphoria and hysteria, and I know I’ve won.
Blow after blow. I swing again and again. Blood, bones, flesh. I hammer down over and over until the golden child, the blessed one, is nothing but a faceless mass.
Satisfaction sweeps through me and I laugh despite myself. No longer will I be second best. Never again will I be less than. The thrill of victory is hot in my veins. I pull him onto my shoulder, the weight is nothing, my burden was left with the blood in the sand. I carry his body to the ravine and leave it for the scavengers to have their fill then head back to my camp.
I drop my tunic in the fire and walk down to the river. The icy water cools my skin, soothes my rage. I wash and clean as best I can with mangled fists. Cuts criss cross the flesh, accented by swollen knuckles and bloodied nails. I work and scrub, but they will never be as clean as his, never as perfect, never as pure. But none of that matters anymore. There is no ‘he’ to be concerned with.
Eventually they will come. They will ask where their precious one is, and I will answer, “I am not my brother’s keeper.”