Runs in the Family
Well, that’s just speculation, but with no family as long as I’ve had no family, one might start to form theories and speculate on circumstance. As I have. As it stands, I was not the first of my siblings to exhibit signs of the sickness. I was the third.
My sister had the blackened, bloodied vomit from the tender age of seven, and my brother started coughing the mess up at three. I, the middle child, didn’t exhibit any symptoms until I was abouts… eight.
For reference, that puts my sister at ten, brother at four. So, if we want to shoulder the blame on a child, then we shove it onto my sister. But that hardly seems fair. I mean, they didn’t die until I started showing signs. Shaking. Coughs. Fits of full body spasms. Vomitting. Bloody noses. Other nastiness.
You see, I had it by far the worst. I suppose the Tall One had a fondess for me from the start. Sort of morbid way to look at the sickness. Ah well. So then the eye turns back unto myself. And I wonder wherein I became the difference. When did I become the child who would live, and my seemingly more resilient siblings them that would die?
It must go earlier than his accident on the playground, or hers in freezer it mum’s bakery. It can’t simply be that I was just… chosen. No. It isn’t that simple for the Slender One. The eye then turns to the parents. Where were they? All this time, what have they been doing about their three constantly ailing children?
And I realize something very clear. Before I exhibited signs of the sickness, it had been me who got to make the important decisions on where we would go on the weekends, what we would watch on the tele, who got the last bit of jam on their toast. I was spoiled. Shocker. I was apparently the favorite. Also, a shocker.
This revelation hit me at about twenty.
My father was not a kind man. From what I recall of him, he had more tendencies towards yelling and open palms than any sort of tenderness. We three all feared him in that way that children fear fathers when they’ve had too much drink in them. But looking back on it, I almost never got that hand. So I feared because he made examples of my siblings. I have always been the smart one. The one who gets the message. I never rebelled or acted out, and I always obeyed very quickly, so I suppose it makes sense that to the abusive father I would become the favorite.
As to my mother? I’m not so sure, but she followed the bear of a man in his every opinion, his every action. She seemed to just be his shadow. Bearing his children, pushing foward his word as law. An enabler. I doubt I was actually her favorite. But she treated me well. Very well. Maybe because I was the child she could get away with treating well. It’s hard to say.
They’re both gone now. Everything I type on the matter is speculation because of that, but it brings me some small solace.
…We never went to any form of religious gathering.
The eye is still suspiciously turned on my parents.
I had a prior revelation, about when I was fourteen. Two years after my sister had supposedly locked herself into a giant freezer on accident. For four hours. Slow death. No one heard her yelling for them. No one went back there. For four hours. Someone had turned the cold down to below freezing. She had been found in jeans, flip flops, and a tank top. She had no chance.
But of course, this had been an accident. Her own fault for playing in a freezer. No one took a second look at how my mother had been the last to see her, and the one to find her. No one looked at how she often had asked us to fetch things for her from the back. No one looked twice when she closed up shop.
Grief, she said.
We are a family of convincing liars.
My health improved dramatically upon becoming the eldest child. For a year and a half I was able to function as a boy might. No coughs or vomit or breathing issues. No black bile.
A year and a half.
My brother was eight. Our father had taken a turn towards the nice. We were shocked, my brother and I, but we took the niceness in stride. It was better than the ulterior.
And then my health began to wane again. Maybe not as bad as it had been before, not at first. But the bile was everywhere. I have always known the reason for my bile. I have always known the Slender One to be the cause. Or at least a symptom. They have always been related. A year and a half without seeing Him had been… odd. Not comforting, but discerning.
Seeing Him had become a natural part of life. I had thought that, like so many others, I would be called to join His side. The other children I saw with Him… had seemed so happy. At peace. Content. It was only a matter of time.
I had missed Him in His abscence. Maybe not the obvious reaction, but seeing Him again was comforting. And my sickness was creeping back. My brother’s had never left. And then father took him to the park, one on one, to play.
The jungle gym is a dangerous place sometimes.
We went to the hospital.
My brother didn’t make it.
More mourning. And my sickness fled. As did the Tall One. For eight months.
And then it hit me, on his return three months after I had turned fourteen. My sister had been worth eighteen months. My brother, eight. I saw then what my parents had been doing. The favors they were doing me. Or themselves.
It’s hard to say what they were trying to postpone: my inevitable turn towards the Tall One, and thereby my inevitable transformation into a monster. Or were they just trying to keep me but a few months longer, for purely selfish reasons? Or was I just a justification for their acts of violence out against my siblings? I don’t know if they were proxies who wanted to do these things anyway, or runners making bad decisions (proxy and runner for lack of better terms right now).
My first victim was my father, immediately following him was my mother. I was fifteen, and my health stayed well until I hit twenty.
And then I met my Sweet Cherie. That’s an interesting history too, but perhaps for another time.
I suppose you could say that I am just following my nature. It’s what my parents did before me after all. And maybe I am. But maybe I’m not.