Tag Archives: sister

Blackout

They kicked the front door in, screaming for me to get down.

Only when one of the officers turned me over and pulled my arms behind my back, only then, with my face shoved into the pillow, did I feel the massive headache.

They were pulling me out of our studio and when we were on the stairs I finally woke up enough to turn and shout for Reana to wait, that I would come back, that it must all be some mistake. In about the same moment an officer said that it was no mistake while I realized that Reana wasn’t in the room.

I’m trying to reconstruct it all, I tried in those four hours of questioning, and I’m still trying. But there’s nothing to reconstruct. But there’s nothing in my mind to reconstruct. We were on the couch, watching TV and waiting for the fireworks shows. She was cuddled up against my chest and had a blanket wrapped over her feet. We were speaking the countdown together with the announcer on TV. There were the first fireworks. We raised our champagne glasses – and then all is just blank. Or maybe rather black. It’s a black curtain that’s blocking me from my own memories.

I didn’t drink any alcohol before midnight. I don’t even remember drinking the champagne, but they still found a blood alcohol level of 0.2 % – in my body, not in hers. Continue reading

Five Days. Five Nights.

Noah J. was so kind to narrate this story. You can listen and read along:

This story was also translated to Polish.


The first four days Lachlan had been excited. The fifth day, that Friday that he came back from primary school with dirt on his knees, he was not excited. He was euphoric.

I was in my office, writing the final formulaic words of another research proposal.

“Daaad!”

“Hey!”

“Dad! Dad! Dad!”

“Oh wow, someone is happy. Enjoyed school?”

“School is awesome!”

“That’s great!”

“And I have loads of friends!”

“Of course you do.”

“Look!”

He stretched his small, dirty hand towards me.

“You cut yourself?”

“No.”

“That looks like a cut.”

“It’s a talesman.” Continue reading

Sweat House

Trigger warning!



I can’t understand it. I never will. Why? And why me?

And why my sister?

He shook my hand with a sweaty group of sausages. He smiled and said his name and even in that short moment of meeting him, with two steps of distance between our bodies and his thick and soft fingers in my hand, I noticed the smell.

From that day on it was always there. I walked past his nodding face behind the reception desk, unsure whether to breathe in deeply or to hold my breath. It was not something that made me jump out of my shoes, but it made my nose itch and my feet sweat. The smell was musky but light, intruding and penetrating but relaxing and, even as that is hard to admit, arousing. Continue reading

“I need to be put down.”

“Put me down,” he said.

I closed the door behind me.

“I’m here to ask a few questions,” I said. “My name –“

“Put me down!” he shouted.

“What do you mean?”

“You know,” Andrew said. “Like an animal. Put me down. I shouldn’t live.”

“Andrew, you’re not an animal.”

“I’m like an animal. I shouldn’t live.”

He pointed at his bandaged eye.

“You see that?”

“You injured your eye.”

“I didn’t injure my eye.” Andrew laughed. “I grated it.”

“You grated your eye?”

“That’s why I need to be put down.”

“Because you grated your eye?”

“No, because I’m insane. I need to be put down because I’m not human anymore. I want to eat other humans. Do you understand? I’m a cannibal! I just can’t control myself anymore.”

Instinctively I pushed my chair backwards on the rubber floor.

“Why is that, Andrew?”

“I don’t know! It just started like that. One day I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like it. I felt this taste on my tongue, like iron, you know, like raw meat. I went to the fridge and bit in a raw sausage, but it tasted disgusting.”

“And then you decided to eat other humans?”

Andrew shook his head.

“I didn’t decide that. I just felt this desire. The sausage tasted like a piece of moist bread; it was disgusting. And then I saw this picture of my sister on the shelf and I just felt that she looked delicious.”

“Delicious?” I asked.

“Like – delicious, tasty. She just looked like she had tender and soft meat.”

“Okay, for a moment I thought you meant –“

“What, no!” He shouted “I’m not some rapist or pedophile. She just looked like, just delicious! Like, such tender soft meat.”

“And you did something to your sister?”

“Well, I went to her room.”

“She was home?”

“Of course.”

“And you went inside?”

“I stood outside for a bit, and then I opened the door. I looked at her sleeping, how her chest was heaving under the blanket. It was really hard to stop myself from going in.”

“So you went inside her room?”

“No. I stood there for maybe five minutes; I felt my jaw aching; I so much wanted to bite in her arm or neck.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I didn’t. I closed the door and punched myself. I actually punched my own face because I was so disgusted of myself.”

Andrew clenched his fist and slowly pressed it against his chin.

“Like this,” he said. “But a real punch.”

“And you didn’t feel this ‘urge’ anymore? The one to bite your sister?”

“I still felt it,” Andrew said. “And I still feel it. But it’s not about the biting. I just really want to chew her flesh. I just feel like I should swallow such soft flesh. And it’s not just her; it’s for a lot of people.”

I felt my body tense up.

“So you want to eat different people?”

“I don’t know. I just want to eat flesh. It doesn’t even matter who it is, just nobody disgusting.”

“So there are some kinds of people you wouldn’t eat?”

“I don’t know. I guess I would, but I’m not really feeling the urge. I just feel it with young people, particularly when they are pale.”

“As a warning,” I said. “If you admit any serious crimes I might need to report them to the police.”

“What exactly?” He asked.

“Did you ever follow through on your urges? Did you ever attack another human?”

“Other – no. I mean I thought about it a lot. I’ve been feeling this thing for months and it’s just not going away; if anything it’s getting worse. And a few times I followed people for a bit, but they always got nervous and walked faster and then I got nervous and walked the other direction.”

“Those were random people?”

“Pretty much; mostly from the bus, and a few times from the mall.”

“A few times?”

“I don’t know how often. I’ve been doing this far too many times. You know, the security guards even started to follow me.”

“Okay, but you have never attacked anyone?”

“There was this one girl that I knew back from school. I met her in the mall and we talked and I walked her home. And then when we got to her house I grabbed her arm and leaned over to bite her neck; but she pushed me away. I tried again and she said ‘No!’ and then ‘I don’t think of you that way.’ And somehow that threw me off track.”

“So you were trying to bite her?”

“Yes.”

“And she thought you were trying to kiss her?”

“I think so.”

“But you didn’t hurt her?”

“No. I mean, I might have pressed her arm a bit hard, but I didn’t bite her or anything. And she just went inside.”

“Did you try to contact this girl again?”

“I texted her to apologize; she didn’t even reply.”

“And you didn’t see her again?”

“No.”

“So you never actually harmed anybody? You just feel the urge to taste human flesh?”

“I don’t just want to taste it. I want to eat more.”

“More than what?”

“I mean, I tried a piece of myself.”

“You ate a piece of your own flesh?”

“Two times; once from my arm and once from my ass. I would have done it more often, but it hurts like hell.”

Andrew rolled the sleeve on his left arm back. There was a bandage around his biceps.

“I can take it the bandage off, if you want to see.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “I believe you.”

“It looks really good. You can see the color and everything.”

“Really, it’s okay.”

“Fine,” Andrew said.

He unrolled his sleeve again; then pulled it back once more to expose his armpit. Andrew pointed at small blue and red marks in his armpit.

“Oh, and here I drew blood a few times. But blood doesn’t really taste that good.”

I nodded.

Andrew paused, looked at me, and finally unrolled his sleeve again.

“You see now,” he said. “Why I need to be put down?”

“I think we have some excellent therapists –“

“No!”

Andrew slammed his fist on the table.

“I can’t use a goddamn therapist! I’m not human! I will hurt people!”

“Andrew, it seems to me that you have it quite well under control. With the right therapy you could be normal again.”

“I don’t want to hurt my sister. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“Andrew, you can control this.”

“Do you know how many times I already stood in her doorway while she was sleeping?”

“Andrew –“

“Do you?”

“I don’t.”

“I can’t even count it anymore. The way she smells, it just draws me to her room. And during the day, when she walks past me, or just when she sits on the couch – I just can’t control myself anymore.”

“You told me that you didn’t touch her, so it seems you have a lot of control over your condition.”

“I don’t know,” Andrew said. “How long I can control it.”

“That’s why I would suggest therapy.”

“You know, I’ve been smelling her. I try to get close to her, just to smell her. And then, whenever I’m close, I can feel my jaw itching and this tension; I just know that I want to bite in this soft flesh of hers.”

“Andrew, with the right treatment –“

“Do you even know why I’m here?”

“The police told us you hurt yourself.”

“I didn’t want to hurt myself. I wanted to hurt my sister.”

“But you hurt yourself?”

“I did. I stepped into her room and I saw her lying there. And her meat looked so damn delicious and I stepped closer, but then I saw this photo of us on her shelf.”

“And the photo stopped you?”

“She looked so happy on that photo. I just didn’t want to hear her scream.”

“And so you went back to your room?”

“I just ran out and sat in the corridor. I had the cheese grater in one hand and the knife in the other. I didn’t even think about it; I just placed the grater on my eye and pulled it downwards. Twice.”

“You grated your eye?”

“And then I ate the pieces.”


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

He Took My Sister

From the very beginning I didn’t like Erik. There is not much I remember from that age, but I remember that Erik scared me; whenever mom left the room I followed her, just so that I wouldn’t have to be alone with him. Mom often scolded me for that, especially if Gia was in the room too.

I was six back then and Gia was three. I loved playing with her, but in contrast to me Gia didn’t mind playing with Erik either. I hated it when he played with her, often I felt he just played with her to taunt me. Most of our evenings ended with mom in the kitchen and Gia in the middle of the living room with a ring of toys around her. On the one side, the side closer to the kitchen, was me, on the other side, towards the stove, was him. Gia was the barrier between us, the protective wall that kept us in place and at the same time kept me away from him.

I remember mom and Erik fighting about me. They never fought about Gia, they only fought about me. They fought often during the three months that Erik slept in mom’s bed.

“She hates me.” I heard Erik say.

“She will get used to having you around.” Was my mom’s reply. “She will think of you as her dad.”

My mom was wrong. She was wrong about everything. She was wrong when she told me that Erik was a good guy and that he was just trying to be nice. She was wrong when she told me that I should stop glancing around corners to see whether Erik was hurting Gia. And mom was wrong when she swore to me that Erik would never hurt me.

After those three months, when he left, Erik hurt me more than I could have imagined in my wildest nightmares.

In retrospect it’s strange to think back of the weeks where the nice lady talked to me nearly every day. I knew she was a police officer, I knew I could trust her. And still, every time she asked me whether Erik had touched me somewhere I said “No.” And I don’t think that I was lying. He really never touched me. He tried hugging me a few times, but he gave up when I kept running away. I think that’s why he chose Gia instead.

When I think back of the times where the nice lady asked me questions I remember three things: the way she smiled, how the teddy sheep in my arms made me feel safe, and that the lights on the Christmas tree were twinkling at the other end of the room, behind the couch.

In the years afterwards I knew that mom always cried around Christmas because of Gia; she didn’t cry because Erik left – she cried because Erik took Gia with him.

I always thought that important things stay with you, that you don’t forget the memories that matter in life. Then, shortly after I turned sixteen, I read the protocols that the nice lady did – the protocols of her interviewing my mom and me. I felt my stomach cramp when so many memories, so many paranoid habits and fears suddenly made sense.

I didn’t remember that I had told the police why I was scared of Erik. And of course I didn’t know the things mom told the police either.

I told the police that I was scared because Erik was often hiding behind my window. Mom told the police that I cried on the day that she brought him home for the first time. I told the police that he had the same smile behind the window that he had when he played with Gia. Mom told the police that she thought I was just inventing things; that she thought the boogeyman I’d been seeing outside my window for over half a year wasn’t real.

That day, when I read through the old protocols, much of my past suddenly seemed in a different light; suddenly those Christmas with my mother crying on the sofa seemed almost evil, nasty. I felt that for all those years mom had not just crying because of Gia, instead she cried because I warned her and still she let him in.

And maybe mom was also crying because originally Erik was at my window, not at Gia’s; she was crying because I stayed safe because I refused to be alone with him. Mom would have taken Gia to go gift shopping; instead she took me and left Gia with Erik.

From my sixteenth Christmas on Christmas was even worse than before. It was suddenly not just the time when mom cried – and of course I was sad too. Suddenly it felt as if mom was blaming herself, and it felt as if she was blaming me.

Those days, when she cried, mom was blaming herself because she had ignored my warnings. And she was blaming me because it should have been me. Erik was outside my window. He always tried to be friends with me. But I fought hard to get away from him; I was never alone with him. The one Erik wanted to take was me, but because he couldn’t get me he took Gia instead.

I’m 23 now. It’s been seventeen years and it always made me angry that mom couldn’t get over losing Gia. I’m not cruel and I don’t want to sound selfish, but for me the fact that she mourned Gia around Christmas felt like a knife in my back. It always felt to me that she wished it had been me, rather than Gia, and it felt to me as if she rather mourned a family that doesn’t exist anymore than spend time with the family she has – with me.

I feel dirty and guilty for it, but for years I felt angry at mom – angry that Erik might have taken one part of my family, but she took the second part.

A wedding invitation changed all that. It came about three month ago; a stray mail with my name on it. My name is fairly common and I’m used to getting holiday cards or other letters obviously not addressed to me because my address is the only one in my town that shows up in a cursory internet search.

“Together with their families Jennifer Swift and Greg Murray request the honor of your presence…”

I stopped reading because I knew neither of the two. As said, a common mistake.

There was no return address, just the address of a venue in Jamaica and an email to send the RSVP notice.

I sent a short note that they sent the letter to the wrong address. Within three hours I got a one-line response:

“Sorry to hear that. – Greg.”

The letter went in the trash and the memory fell out of my mind.

Then, last week, I got another email, an obvious mass message:

“We are sad that you weren’t able to attend – here are some of the photos from our wedding. Love, Jenn & Greg.”

I’m not sure if it was curiosity or the peeping tom-like instinct to look at private photos that you are sent; to see what other people’s lives look like.

The venue looked great, with open spaces, a beautiful beach backdrop and a perfect ceremony, but there weren’t many guests and even those looked uncomfortable. The groom stood at the altar with a smile on his face.

The bride looked ugly, nearly scary, in the way she was standing at the end of the aisle. Her nose was bent and despite the beautiful white dress several scars and blue and yellow bruises were visible on her face and arms.

On the next photo she was led down the aisle. The bride was crying.

It took me a moment to register it, to pull my eyes away from the scared bride and onto the man next to her. He held her arm gently, had a beer belly, and his hair and beard were gray. Still, I recognized first the beard and then the nose and finally the eyes. I hadn’t seen his face in seventeen years and still I held my breath and felt cold sweat running down my skin.

The man walking the bride down the aisle was Erik.

My mom came over. She cried when she saw the pictures – she cried just the same way she cried each Christmas.

It’s strange to discover that there are some important things you don’t remember, for example that your sister’s full name is Jennifer.

And it is even stranger to loathe your mom for many years for hurting you every Christmas; to loathe your mom for not allowing you to be happy and be a family – and then, one day, you learn that she was just protecting you. All those years, all those tears for Christmas she wasn’t mourning Gia, she was crying for Gia. She was crying because once a year, once every Christmas, she received an envelope with a photo inside – one photo of Gia, sitting on a stone floor and with dirt on her clothes and bruises on her face.


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

The Square Window

When I was seven a burglar broke into our house. I remember coming home that day, after my mom picked me up from primary school. She unlocked the door and I ran upstairs to go to the bathroom.

The whole upper floor was a mess. Every drawer was emptied on the floor, out clothes were ripped out of the wardrobes, even suitcases and mattresses were cut open. But the worst for me was seeing the open window in my sister’s room – the way it stood open, innocently and perfectly still, with the trees silently moving behind the open frame. I stood there for what felt like ages, until I finally managed to scream and my mom rushed upstairs.

I don’t remember much of the rest of the day. My parents stored me with the neighbors while the police searched the house and took the report. Mrs. Vateva gave me cookies and milk, I remember that. And she told me stories and read books with me and smiled and laughed. But I don’t think I relaxed – the whole time all I could think about was that window with its square white frame.

In the evening my parents picked me up again and my older sister was back at home too. Ekaterina and I refused to leave because we were scared that the burglar would come back and steal us. Ekaterina was thirteen back then and I remember feeling sorry for her. I told my parents that she would be the first one that would be stolen because the burglar had come through her room.

I think we all spent a few nights together in my parents’ bedroom, and at some point we again went back to our old rooms. My sister slept with her door open, but my open door terrified me. The house was old and there were always noises downstairs during the night – noises like creaking floorboards and stairs, and the wind was strong and rattling on the windows. I couldn’t sleep like that and I thought my window was safe; there was nothing to step on outside of it.

A few weeks later I overheard my mother on the phone. I don’t know who she was talking to, but she was very upset and talked about the burglar. She said that he only took some money that they had hidden in a mattress, and else only an old watch that my grandfather somehow got in World War II. I don’t remember the watch, but my mom said it was precious, invaluable even, and in my country it was sure worth a lot of money. Still it was strange that he only took the watch, not any of the other watches or my mom’s jewelry.

Nothing else happened, but since that day I was scared of my sister’s room. Even when other people were inside the room with me I felt uncomfortable, as if someone was watching me. And nightmares started hunting me; I dreamt I was in my room, or sometimes in my sister’s room, and there was a man standing at the window, staring at me. He never did anything, I think. He only stared.

I must have been around nine when the nightmares changed. They had become rarer, I only had them about twice a month at that time, but from one night on they changed. From then on I had the impression that there was someone in my room with me. I never saw him, but I felt a silent body standing in a corner of the room, and sometimes he walked around. Once or twice he even touched my bed. I felt this tiny, faint movement, as if someone was pushing against the mattress.

I’m not sure whether I was lying in bed and feeling all that, or whether I was dreaming. It was confusing, I felt stiff and cold, and it felt as if I couldn’t run. I never screamed and I never opened my eyes, not just because I was scared, but also because it was impossible. It was as if some intangible force was keeping my eyes and mouth shut. But it wasn’t like my nightmares before. I didn’t wake up bathed in sweat. I was just lying in my bed, unable to move or look or scream, and felt him standing quietly in a corner, or slowly pacing through the room.

I told my father about the man, but my father only played it off as nightmares and said I should grow up and not be scared anymore. My mother was more understanding and she promised to check on me. I don’t know if she did, I never heard her open the door, but the man didn’t come for a while, and from then on he only returned a few times per year, maybe every two or three months. But still I couldn’t move when he was there. I couldn’t fight it. And I never told my parents again because I didn’t want to make my father angry.

I was eleven when my sister went to university. My father wanted to transform my room into an office and so I had to move into my sister’s room. I didn’t like that but my father made clear I had no choice.

The first night in that room my nightmares returned fully. At first I couldn’t fall asleep; all I could think of was the big, square window at the other end of the room. I stared at it for hours, and at some point I drifted off into a shallow sleep.

The nightmares were exactly like those when I was seven. I was lying in my bed, my eyes closed, but somehow I knew there was somebody outside the window. With my eyes closed I saw his blurry face smiling and I knew that he was touching the window.

Three nights went like that – I stared, terrified, at the window, until sleep took me away. Only that sleep didn’t take the window away. Instead it threw the window right in front of me and placed this man behind it, with his black hair and blurry face. And still I couldn’t move. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t even open my eyes. All I knew was that he was there, watching me.

It might have been the fifth night, but I think it was the fourth; the fourth night in my new room. I stared at the window again. But the previous nights had exhausted me. I must have fallen asleep fairly quickly, not even ten minutes after I went to bed. And I had some solid sleep, at first.

It must have been in the early morning hours when I woke up again. Or maybe I dreamt that I woke up, I’m not sure. Either way, I was lying in my bed and felt incredibly cold. I felt a draft in my room. And I heard him again, the slow, steady footsteps, pacing at the end of my bed.

I was frozen in fear. I remember I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t move any of my muscles, not even open my eyes.

He paced at the foot of my bed for a few minutes, and I was still lying, silently, pretending to be asleep and at the same time trying to move just any part of my body. Then the footsteps came closer. They moved along the side of my bed, deliberate and with even less noise. I heard a deep, slow breath above me, close to my face.

My heart was racing and my whole body tense, but still I was pretending to be asleep. I heard clothes rustling and then, just for a second, a warm hand brushed over my cheek. I was holding back tears and I could barely breathe. I think my heart even stopped beating for that second.

The footsteps quickly moved to the other side of the room, there was more rustling and I heard the window fall shut and being locked. But the footsteps were still inside, they moved towards the door, the door opened, the footsteps moved outside, the door closed and then I didn’t hear anything.

I just stayed in my bed. I was too scared that he was still inside; I didn’t dare to move for a long time. At some point I finally opened my eyes and jumped out of bed – but the room was empty. The moonlight was bright; I nearly saw every corner – and nobody was inside.

For the rest of the night I had my light on and read a book. I tried to convince myself that it was my mother; that she had checked on me and aired the room while she was inside.

I never got to ask her about it. In the morning I just didn’t find the right moment to ask. She was busy making breakfast and I was sitting at the table, scared and wondering what I could say. I didn’t want her to think I had another nightmare because she told me she would bring me to therapy if they continued.

At some point my mother left the room. Then I heard her running upstairs and when she came back down she rushed me to finish breakfast and told me that we had to leave. It was earlier than usual, but she said she would drive me to school that day and I definitely didn’t want to refuse that offer.

At school everything was normal, except that I was exhausted and nearly fell asleep during my lessons. But the return home was strange. My mother picked me up, like she always did when she got off work early. She told me that I couldn’t sleep in my room again because my father had spilled some paint and the fumes were too unhealthy so I couldn’t sleep in there.

I thought it was strange, but I didn’t question her. I didn’t want to sleep in that room anymore, but my parents didn’t let me sleep in my old room either. I slept with my mother in my parents’ bed and my father slept on a mattress near our feet.

Two days later we moved most of our stuff to my grandparents. My father said that he found asbestos in the house and that we would have to sell it.

And so we did. After a bit more than two months with my grandparents – my parents still drove me to my old school – we moved into a new house in a different neighborhood.

I’m 23 now and just finished university. Last weekend I went home for a visit. Ekaterina was there with her husband and we drank wine and had a nice meal with my parents.

Somehow we got to talk about our old house and I asked my parents whether the new owners knew about the asbestos.

My father shook his head and, after another glad of wine, said that I was old enough to know it now, that there had been no asbestos and that they had only lied to me to protect me.

That morning, when my mother left the kitchen, she saw a ladder leaning against our house. A ladder, my father said, that led straight to the square window in my room.


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.