Horror · writing

Alone part 2 of 4

When I wrote this I explored the idea of what would it be like to always have someone with you, no matter what, no privacy at all, everything is shared. How could you call anything your own when “You” are essentually them.

Caution, graphic violence ahead. if you are squeamish you might want to pass on this one.


Luis could swing the eight-pound sledgehammer one-handed. His left arm bulged and rippled with muscle that was far more developed than it should be for a fifteen-year-old. His right arm, easily half as thick, seemed useless in comparison. The sledgehammer came down hard on the stake, driving it down a full foot. Randolph, with practiced movements, let go of the stake just in time. Another loud crack split the air as the sledgehammer pounded the stake another foot deeper. Most roustabouts took as many as ten, or even twenty hits to sink the tent stakes. But Luis and Randolph could get the job done in four or five.  
 ”She’s never gonna go for you, you know,” Luis’s poignant sarcasm dripped from his lips. “She aint gonna go for a half-wit anyhow. Even if she don’t care if I’m here. No one would go for you. Not now, not if you were normal, not ever!” He accentuated his point with a final blow of his sledgehammer 
 Randolph fidgeted with his wooden mallet before pulling out another three-foot-long tent stake. “You don’t know that! It’s not like she don’t see us every day, and I never see her with any other guy,” Randolph, wounded, defended his ego with a sad wispy voice. He set the stake with a few solid taps of his mallet, holding it in place with a shrunken left hand.  
 ”Yeah? Don’t you get it? She doesn’t even like me, so how’s that suppose to work for ya? Ha! You’re stuck with me. The only way you’re going to get any of that is if we take it!” He had a vicious smile as he punctuated every other word with long smooth strokes of his sledgehammer handle.  
  ”Why are you so mean to me?” Randolph sniffled in defeat.  
  Luis hefted the sledgehammer then slammed it down on the stake with a loud crack. “I’m not bein’ mean ya. I’m just sayin the truth to ya, cause you don’t know no better.” Two more loud cracks on the stake finished his words.  
 ”I do know. She’s so pretty, and she’s nice to me,” his little voice squeaked his thin defense.  

“Nah, you just don’t know nothin’ at all, do you ya shrivel? She’s only nice to you ’cause you’re just a little shriveled-up half-wit.” Luis puffed up his chest, emphasizing his dominance.  
 ”Don’t call me shrivel no more. You always just call me that.” Randolph’s little voice was sounding weaker.  
 ”Yeah? I’ll call ya shrivel whenever I want. Now get another stake. It’s getting dark, and we gotta git this done ‘fore we lose the light.” Luis hefted the sledgehammer, ready to sink another stake.  
 Randolph grabbed the stake, set it with a few pounds with his mallet, and then put it back in the loop of his coveralls. They worked quickly together. Each one was doing his job in practiced unison. Randolph would set the stakes, then Luis would sink them with the sledgehammer while the other roustabouts set up the bale rigs and blocks-and-tackle. The scent of hot stew from the cookhouse inspired a quicker pace to finish the last few tent stakes.  
 ”She would have sat with us if you weren’t such a meanie.” Randolph pouted, looking over at the long blonde hair of a girl sitting next to a heavily tattooed man.  
 Luis gritted his teeth with a sneering smile. “Yeah? It’s not me , ya know. She’s just not sweet on lil’ shrivels,” Luis goaded with a vicious sarcastic tone.  

“She would like me if’n we weren’t stuck together. She likes ’em big and strong.” He flexed his muscled left arm with arrogant pride. ”You’re always sayin things like that. She likes me just fine, all right. Not you, ’cause your such a meanie. She don’t care if we’re together. You just got to be nicer when I talk to her. But you’re not nice to anyone, no how. Not even me!”  
 Luis laughed at that. “Yeah? Especially you!” He chided and poked Randolph in the side with his right hand.   

Randolph flinched at the poking, his overalls worn thin at the spot where Luis habitually poked at him. Randolph tried to brush his brother’s hand away. But he always managed to get a few good pokes in before Randolph could successfully block him. Luis’s half-formed right arm and Randolph’s equally diminished left constantly battled between their bodies. Their little arms warred against each other in seemingly endless battles, tug-of-war’s, and poking. Randolph was used to the poking, fidgeting and pulling, but knew when Luis was “being a meanie,” it would go on all night.  
 In almost mechanical precision, their unified movements were smooth and effortless. Their conjoined heads leaned over two stew bowls, sitting side by side as opposing hands spooned up hot stew in unconscious cooperation.   

Randolph soaked up the last of his stew with a biscuit. Stuffed his mouth and stared long, wistful eyes at the slender blonde trapeze artist. He watched as she ate her dinner, laughing and talking between delicate bites of her stew and biscuits.    

Luis pulled his head hard to the side, almost lifting Randolph off his seat.  Luis Enjoyed pulling his smaller, weaker brother around with his head. It gave him a cruel pleasure that amounted to, ”Even though we are attached, I am always in control.”  
  They stood up, grabbing their stew bowls, then walked to the wash basin. Almost a full stride quicker, Luis forced Randolph to make short quick steps to get back into unison. “I gotta take a piss. Let’s go,” Luis ordered, grabbing his crotch to make his point clear that it was an emergency. He pulled Randolph along, beyond the lights and tents of the circus, to the shadows where he could get some privacy to do his business.  
 They headed back toward the lights and sounds of the circus around the back end of the bunkhouse. Luis saw her first, his side of their heads coming into view before Randolph. The blonde girl was leaning against the door to her bunkhouse, talking quietly to another boy, flashing a smile, and twisting her hair.  
 ”Hey, would ya look at that?” Luis pointed to the couple. Randolph’s heart sank at the sight of her and the other boy. “Looks like ya missed out already there, Shrivel.” He laughed and poked Randolph in the side again.   

The boy took a few steps back from her, then turned away, looking reluctant to leave. She watched him go with a small smile and radiant eyes.   

Luis started walking in her direction, pulling Randolph along. ”Let’s go talk to her,” Luis said with a mysterious tone in his voice.   

She heard them and looked over. Her smile changed. It did not go away, only switched to one of greeting.  “Hello, Randolph.”  

Randolph’s heart thumped at her acknowledgment.  

 ”And Luis.” But when she said Luis’s name, it lacked the same warmth.   

Randolph’s nervous fingers fidgeted with his mallet. “Um, uh, Hello Greta,”  
He said, smiling a wide toothy grin.  Luis poked at him again, but this time it seemed encouraging rather than harassing.   

“What ya up to?” Luis spoke up before Randolph could pick up his hint.  

“Oh, I’m just about to turn in for the evening,” she said with a cheery soft voice that made Randolph fidget with his mallet, and then she took a few steps closer. Luis’s left arm snapped out, grabbing Greta’s shoulder. Her eyes went wide with surprise as she twisted her body, trying to escape the iron grip.  

“Now’s your chance, Shrivel!” Luis sneered and began pulling Greta and Randolph toward the shadows behind the bunkhouse.   

Randolph stumbled amidst the tangle of feet. ”Wha..?” was all his meek voice could squeeze out, shocked by Luis’s brashness.   

Greta twisted and clawed at Luis’s hand. ”Let me go!” she shouted, then flashed a pleading look into Randolph’s eyes.   

Luis just gripped harder and continued to pull the two of them farther into the shadows.   

Randolph’s shock faded. He dug his feet firm to the ground and then reached out to Greta to pull her free from his brother’s grasp.  

Luis only smiled and pulled her closer to him. “That’s the spirit, Shrivel! I’ll let you go first since you’re so sweet on her.”   

At that, she wrenched with a quick turn, wriggling free, ripping her blouse in the process. Leaving Luis with a handful of fabric, she ran, looking back with a sad, hurt look that Randolph knew was the end of his friendship with her.  

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