Alert: Strong Language
"Bro, I killed a man." said my brother Drake with glassy eyes and shaking hands. 3.A. M, I was sleeping after a hard day of work, when he rang the intercom, claiming my help. He always needs. He burst into my flat smelling of booze and cigarettes, wearing a hunter outfit covered in mud and blood. I was bringing some coffee as he spilled the beans.
"Are you joking? Please, tell me you are kidding," I said, giving him a cup. All sleepiness left my body in a flash before even sipping the coffee. No good news come at 3.A.M.
"I am telling the truth. I discovered a couple of months ago Beth was cheating. I didn't know with who. So I started to stalk her every time she left for 'a get-together with friends' until I discovery the bastard. Guess who was the bastard I shot in the head?" Calmly informed my brother, sipping the cup.
"What?! I don't know, and I think I don't want either. Man, do you have any proof she was cheating on you? Do you remember the last time your paranoia cause us? I remember I have the scars to tell the story," I asked, getting nervous about the bloodstains. The cup, the sofa, the doorknob, all marked with red spots.
"Of course, I have proof. I bugged our family shack when I discovered it was the cheater lair. They dirted our name and property, man. I have the records in the glove compart if you want. I already saw this tape many times. Beth and Mark, like bunnies, doing nasty things in my sheets," complained Drake with tight fists and red eyes.
"Mark? Our Mark? Our cousin Mark, the one that lived with us our whole childhoods. Lil' Mark of aunt May. You kill our cousin, Drake... Are you mental?" I screamed, forgetting the time and the neighbors.
"You know me. My blood boils, I see all red. I didn't have the guts to kill Beth. I still love her, she is my better half. So I decided to put him down for good. I prepare an ambush. I waited until he had kissed my Beth goodbye and, like a dear, I shot him. Clean shot, no suffering." Brag my brother finishing the cup.
"Are you stupid or what? I thought I have taught you to solve your problems with your head no your fist, goddamit Mark. You shot a man in cold blood, moron. Don't brag about killing a man. You are a murder, not a rewarded hunter. Marriage problems you solve with therapy, a divorce or, I don't know, lots of booze. Goddamit, Mark." I said, feeling what was coming.
"I know. When I cooled down, I notice how wrong I was, how deep was the shit I put myself in. I only have one way to get away from this mess: you, my big brother. When we lost our parents, you protected me and kept me away from trouble. Only you can help me now, brother. Please, Will, I need you." Asked him with sad dog eyes. Not this time.
"You killed a man! Not an ordinary one, our cousin, and now want to drag me to help you to commit a crime. No, buddy, there is a limit on how much I can help you. I won't commit a crime for you. I got beat up many times, I work my ass off for you all my life. I drop school to pay for our rent. I bail you out many times, even lend you money for your projects. I am ok with it. I am ok with my scars, the money I lost, the dreams I give up. I love you, but I can't do it, " I said, convinced. I can't show weakness.
"Will, please. If you don't help me, I will go to jail. Lucy and Bob, your nephews, will lose their father. You know how it's like for a child to lose a father. Beth is the worst mother in the world. She can't raise the kids alone. Our family will be devasted with the news of relatives killing relatives. Brother, you are smart, smarter than me, and you know what you need to do as the elder, my big brother, and the godparent of my sons. Please." Asked Drake again. The blood was scattered in my flat.
"Godammit Drake! You needed to think about it before going insane. I can't be your guardian angel. My years of savior are over. Shit! Why do you do it to me? You brought a corpse to me, trouble into my house. Months without a word, a visit, anything, and when you appear, at an ungodly hour, you bring a dead body and a crime. Why should I help you, dumbhead?" I asked, devasted.
"You are my only brother, my last hope, man. I don't want to die in jail. We know that will happen when I got in there. Or worst, I may receive the death penalty. I don't want to die. I have beautiful kids and people who depend on me," he said without really mean it. I know him enough time to say that.
"Do you have no shame to tell such lies on my face, asshole? Here there isn't a capital penalty. Thanks to me, you lack a prior record, you won't die for this, maybe receive a short sentence. You know this, goddammit, you are a lawyer... Is the body in the trunk?" The question slipped. My coffee was over too.
"Yes, wrapped up like thanksgiving's turkey." He answered, straight away. He couldn't even look me in the eyes. He was staring at the floor. Dumbhead.
"How can you joke about it? Did you plan it? Of course, you planned it. Your clothes, boots, gloves, the rented car, everything adds up. You planned all, except how to get away from the murder," I mutter to myself.
"This is the part you get in. You must get in and save me, the kids, and our family. It will be easy for you," he shamelessly answered.
We stare at each other. Only the city's sounds broke the silence. At some moment, it was clear how this would end, "Jesus Christ. Give me the keys, clean your mess here, and burn these clothes. After this, you can crash on the sofa. Send a message to Beth to say you will stay over. Lie, you are good with it anyway. Tomorrow early, you take a bus home. How can you be so stupid, man? How can I be so naive?" I said, taking the keys and going to the door.
"You are my hero," I hear he talking from the sofa. I could feel his old cynical smile burning at my back.
"Go to hell, jerk. Fuck! It will be the last time I do anything for you. Anything. Do you hear me?" I asked him while I flipped a bird and closed the door.
"I heard. I heard as I had heard all the other times, brother," were the last things I heard. I am diving in deep shit, for Christ's sake.
I had prepared something while on the road. I turn on and off the alarm on my workshop, faking a breaking in. I had just bought my sawmill by the docks, four years saving every penny and dime to put in jeopardy saving the lier ass of my brother. How stupid I am to still believe in him? I park the car inside the shop.
I prepared the machines before taking the body. Current models have safety devices to protect the body of distracted users. The moment something soft touch the saw, it turns off at once. A necessary device that I must turn off to do my nasty task. I tried to prolong this moment the most, knowing the moment I start won't turn back. I would be part of this crime.
Mark was a bulky fellow, an athletic guy. He stands out everywhere -now, no more. I had difficulties dragging him out of the trunk to a logging machine. I couldn't look at his face without having a flashback. Dammit, we have so many memories together, happy ones. I was his friend besides cousin. I see myself praying after so many years away from the church, asking for forgiveness, peace to my cousin's soul, and help to my shameless brother. I also vow to help my aunt before butchering his son's body.
I lost part of my soul, sawing Mark's body. Using the powerful machines of my workplace, it wasn't difficult. However, for god's sake, I was not mentally prepared to mutilate a body, even a dead one. I throw up twice before finishing and dirt myself in blood and goo. I put everything in reinforced trash bags, the body, the shredded cellphone, and wallet before cleaning the place and machines. I left everything spotless, cleaner than usual. Unfortunately, I wouldn't feel clean ever again, and a strange aura was bound to the place. I dump the bags on the pier's waters, near the area the fishmongers threw the fish guts, and the suiciders jumped. This place made me sick.
From there, I race to the cabin. My stupid brother and the cheaters left a mess. Drake was drunk as a skunk when was here. I can recreate each step he made, from the place she waits to the place he wrapped the body, and the blood trails left behind. My first job was at a cleaning company. I never think I would use that skill again. I never thought I would do it again, especially to clean a crime scene. I had to hide the evidence of the adultery. It was too risky to leave such a strong link behind. I thought about burn the cabin down, but the firemen would investigate. I was fleeing from any kind of investigation and running from my conscience and honor.
The next part was ditching Mark's cars, parked behind the cabin. A simple car, well cared, just a few personal things in the glove compartment. I didn't touch anything. I couldn't. My task was already arduous this way, anything else would worsen. I took gloves and a cap in the cabin and drove to a secondary road far from there. Two-hour driving, the sun had already risen when I broke some windows and pop two tires. I never saw a stolen car, but I did my best faking it.
I walk to the main road to ask for hitchhiking to the cabin, another hour to return to my brother's rented car. I delivered the car to the nearest car rental next to my flat. I was tired, sad, not in a mood to return to the place I butcher a body. My brother wasn't there anymore, leaving a mess behind and a note: "You are the man. I can never thank you enough." Bastard.
I just needed to rest.
"I can't make you a new prescription. I had already made three for you this month, Mr. Lars. You need to solve your issues. The drugs are only to help you in this tough moment," was the words of my doctor when I asked for more drugs.
One month after that awful night, I was having issues sleeping and at work. In the workshop, I stop using some machines. Only my oldest employee could touch them. I couldn't handle to go near it anymore. I feel sick just watching the saws spinning. My beloved wood smell, the smell of good wood became trusting furniture, gave place to a rust odor, the odor of something wrong. No one else could smell it, but I still feel the stink of old blood.
Sometimes I saw my cousin's ghost, in the corner of my eyes, when I am tired, or when I blink, or in a shadow in an alley. I see him judging me and asking for help. I tried to confess to the priest, but I lack the guts to tell the truth. Strength to confess my sins and, above all, my brother's, there are so many. That was just the last one, the worst, but not the last, I am sure about this. I feel it in my bones and my nightmares. Some came when I am awake.
I can't talk with my family anymore, neither could they, the missing of my cousin and the divorce of my brother castes shadows on us. No one talks anymore. Drake doesn't speak with me anymore, denying my calls and visits. Not even my nephews can talk with me anymore. I don't know why—in fact, I know, I just can't admit I am being cast away from their lives for helping him. No good deed goes unpunished—neither do the not good ones.
I think I am losing myself. I leave my flat to take some fresh air, a strong wind blasts from the docks. The salty air only reminding me of my crime. I am a murder who feed the fishes with my own cousin. I curse his soul to never rest in peace, and he haunts me every night. While Drake has, already, a new girlfriend, and I am hearing Mark calling me in the wind. He wants revenge and justice. He was wrong to have an affair with Beth, he risked going against Drake, knowing him since a child, but this crime isn't punishable by death- it shouldn't. He just wanted a defense opportunity, but neither Drake nor I gave him any. Mark wants justice, and I know what I need to do to make amends.
I take a deep breath before entering the building, going tho the counter. "I am officer Millers. How can I help you, mister?" Asked the young man at the desk looking at me with a smile. I can see my face in the mirror behind him, my beard grew, my eyes got dark, I lost weight. I don't recognize myself in the image. I don't recognize myself at all.
I heard Mark again calling for justice. The rust smell came to help me make my decision. "Yes, you can help me, officer. I deeply need some help. I came to report a crime officer. I killed a man. Arrest me, please. Free me from my guilt."