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done somethingto make his brother was angy he was alwaysreal sorry sorrierthan w

hen his mother and father


were angry sorrier than thattime he made his grandma cry he loved his brother an
d he wanted to be just like
him a bigbrother and every now and then in the wake of his worship hewould feel
that what he wanted was
always six years ahead of him 23 that he would never be one himself never not un
less his motherand father had
another baby because you couldnt overtake people like like you can in a bicycle
you have to just sit behind them
watching them grow wishingyou were like them wanting to do everything that they
re doingsnd not seeing
anything that you bve already done it wasn t fair always having to watch everyon
e else growing up and always
seeingthem as older and then having them always looking at yow as beingyounger a
lways wanting to be older
was nevei mwch fun alex watched his brother weave through and around hissisters
and walk with the tray in one
hand he was so smart helooked really cool as well and alex watched not just him
lrut at allthe other kids in the
cafeteria who were watching his brother zipabout and he watched his mother and f
ather too as they looked athis
brother with a proud smile as if it were something that they hadtaught him somet
hing that made him different
and better than allof the other kids alex watched and he wanted to be just like
him in the adorationof othersand
his fi rst step could not have been any worse he loweredone hand and the tray te
etered and tottered nervously on
his tiny little hand and his orange juice which had already spilled over theside
s of the cup onto his mashed
potato wobbled like a staggeringdrunk and it all played out so slow and so obvi
ous that everyoneknew to watch
and as he lifted his foot and leaned forward to walk he slippwd on a wet piece o
f floor and sent the tray toppling
oventself through the air and smashing on the ground and he fell to the ground t
oo and he chin hard and
he hit his hand too and it really hurt and everyone stanted to laugh and he staa
yed down on the ground wishing
he didnt haveto get up 24 alex lay on the ground with brts of potato on his chee
k andthe spilled orange juice now
pooling under his belly and betweenhis fi ngers his face and his hands stung fro
m hitting the ground but the
insult was in everyone was laughing so loud they were all so meanhis fathed over
with two trays in his
hands and restedthem on nis bent knee and he kneeled down and helped alex upwith
one hand he bruhed off
the potato that was stuchin and wiped away the orange juice on his arms his neck
and hishands with a
rough napkin alex was in tears he felt so stupid and hopeless he wantedhis daddy
to pick him up to lift him high
on his shoulders againand tell him that everyting would be ok and he wanted him
to turnaround to all the
laughing idiots and to shout at them and to growllike a big angry bear he wanted
his daddy to show his teeth
and toscream shut up but he didn t instead alex wept and his father made huffi n
g sounds ashe wiped away
the junice from his hands his neck and his armsand he gave alex the same look th
at he did that time when
thosepeople turned around and shushed him and his sisters when theywere playing
around in church it was the

same face his father worewhsn he couldnt find his bank card when he was at the c
heckouttrying to pay for his
their watches every couple of seconds and his dad looked thesame way now as he d
id other times and alex
felt stupidand to blame and he frlt stupid not because all the people saw and th
eywere pointing and laughing
but because his brother saw and theple were probly laughing at him and maybe he
felt stupid too but what
about my food asked alex seated at the tablewith his family all of them bowing t
heir heads in obvious shun his
father looked at him sterney we cant get anymore you spilled yours youre gonna
have 25 to share mine he said
infantile alex hated to disappoint his dad he looked angry and kind of sad and a
little brt silly they all
did everyone bowed their heads and ate in discretion they all looked embarrassed
even his brother 26 it rained
heavy that night and the howling wind blew so hard thatthe bedroom window rattl
ed alex awake he lay on his
fold out bed trying to keep completely still and holding the covers over his fac
elrut creeping them down just enough
so that his eyes could peepthrough and see if any ghosts or ghouls were scratchi
ngat the window
frame he neded to go to the bathroom but he couldnt move he was too scared every
ting the wind howled the
window rattled and everytime the window rattled alex ainched and every time alex
ainched the rusted springs
on his fold out bed screeched and aquawked andevery time they did he pulled the
covers back over his eyes and
heshook and he shivered and he told himself there s no such thingas ghosts but t
he rain it was relentless and all
he wanted to do was torun away because the robbers or the monsters were probably
comingupt the stairs now and
with the lashing rain and the howlingwind nobody would be able to hear their hoo
ks and chains
draggingalong on the grund behind them and because of the thunder clapping so lo
ud nobody wouldbe anle to
hear the monter s grunting and nobody would be ableto see the monsters salivatin
g because of the rain that
would washit all away anw so alex curled in a tight little ball on his creepy an
d creaky fold out and he
wantsd to scream and he wanted to yell but he couldnt find his voice he looked t
o his right and his brother was
sound asleep onhis bed and he was snoring so loud and then to his left sharing t
helrgger bed were his two older
sisters and they were sleeping headto foot and one was kicking the other was nud
gingand kicking
back and in the dark alex couldnt tell who was who but with all the nudging they
didnt wake up chapter
two 2 the wind whistled through the gaps in the window and alexslowly lowered th
e covers over his eyeshe didnt
want to look buthe had to he stared out the window out into the black night andh
e saw the shadows swaying
this way and that and it looked likea hole had opened up in the night a swirling
and ravaging blackmass and
from it stretched and stemmed the digits of devilry longscratching finger nails
that rode the howling wind and
reached outfrom the back abyss and rasped at his brdroom window and hecouldnt lo
ok away not for a second
should the devil devil itself use thattime to have its way with or his sleeping
i m not scared of ghosts he

said but it was untrue he was petrifi ed he thought maybe ifthey believed him if
they heard his voice then maybe
they wouldpester some other child whild whose fright had kept them awake he trie
d to throw the words like a swinging fi
st but the warningin his voice what amount there was dissipated in the cold nigh
tair before it had evenleleft his
tongue and what came on wsd moreof a pleaer or an aprayer or an apology than it
was a threat he could hear
creaking from the front door it was a small apartment more like a box than an ap
artmemt and alex s room was
like the piece of stapled cardboard inside thatbox and outside his door was a ti
ny living room with a dusty
greenbean bag on the in front of it an old black and white televisionthat hummed
even when it wasn;t

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