Fiction Sad Teens & Young Adult

This story contains sensitive content

This story contains violence, crude language, and mentions of mental health. Read at your own risk.

"Hey Grey! Wait up!" Mark called as his younger brother nearly skidded into the road in front of their house. Mark himself had stayed behind trying to help their younger sibling, Ben, into his shoes. Grey called after him. "Well hurry up, you clowns!" Grey had already made it down the sidewalk and was just about to turn the corner. Mark debated whether he should flip his brother off before quickly deciding against it. It would be better if Mom didn't catch him being a bad influence in front of his six-year-old brother. She already had a hard time with the neighborhood crackhead that she had taken in almost a year ago. "I found a white flower in the backyard today Mark." Ben said in an upbeat tone. "You did? What'd you do with it buddy?" "I gave it to Mommy. She looked really sad this morning, so I gave it to her after I picked it." "Oh yeah?" Mark took his brother's hand and started walking down the driveway. "And what did she do?" "She took it without saying nothin'. I don't think it worked."

The mid-afternoon sky seemed to shine the brightest shade of blue. Today was a good day for Spring, only a few whisps of cloud, as well as a light breeze that still somehow felt warm.Days like this were the best. Mark would have to write that down in his journal. "Those clouds kinda look like dog tails." Grey broke in. "Oh yeah?" Mark deviated his gaze to the fair-haired boy in front of him. His equally blonde brother remained at his side, hopping along the sidewalk cracks. "There's this weird kid in my class." Grey started again. "He just sits in class all day, drawing something in his dumb notebook. The teacher had to stop the lesson three times today because he wouldn't pay attention." Grey continued practically sliding down the next six blocks. "'least he knows how to focus." Mark narrowed his eyes. Grey simply rolled his. "I don't know. Maybe he just don't know how to talk to no one. Seems a little freaky to me."

"So? Anyone'd think you be a little freaky if they saw the way your dancing in the street. And they'd be right."

Grey was thinking of his next great comeback, when a sound like rolling thunder started coming their way. Mark stopped right in his tracks and picked up his baby brother, waiting for the oncoming storm. A tall, black Toyota rolled up next to the boys, bellowing smoke and ear-bleeding punk rock. It had orange and red flames painted along its sides. It creaked and rocked under the uneven weight of four different tires. "Monster Truck." Ben said blankly, pointing at the bizarre abomination. Mark could only silently agree with him. A lanky, long-haired man that smelled too much of incense and gasoline stuck his head from inside the passenger window. "What'ya got there, Mark? Another sad bastard your mom picked up from the streets?" "Leave us alone Trevor" Mark could only hold in so much as he tried not to gag. Another all-too-familiar face popped up above the truck. "Look's like she's got a thing for blondes. Hey, your dad was a blonde, wasn't he Mark?" Sherry. Trevor's little...friend did not begin to cover what these two got up to high school, but it was the most anyone was allowed to talk about without getting an eyebrow raise from one of the teachers. Grey, feeling deprived of attention, as his brothers seemed to be the sole focus, did what he normally did. "Hey, leave my mom outta this. She's goin' through enough as it is, and y'all are just beatin' her while she's down."

"Shut your trap, you little brat, or I'll do to you what I did to the ginger kid with the freckles. The one with the weird little purple notebook." Sherry snarled

"Hey, leave him alone, alright? He hasn't done nothin. Grey, shut the hell up right now."

Mark tried to focus on escaping the situation with both his brothers at his side. "But-" Grey started. "Shut up!" Just then, Ben started to pucker his lip. He hated seeing his brothers fight. "Awww, is baby sad? Is baby gonna go to Momma and cry because he can't handle a little shouting? HUH?! HE CAN'T HANDLE A LITTLE SHOUTING?!!" Trevor wasn't making the situation any better. Mark did the only thing he could do. "Hey buddy, home is just right there, where the white fence ends. Run straight home, okay? Me and Grey will be right behind ya." Mark set the small boy down, and Ben immediately took off, barely even looking behind him. "Gee, I was kidding." Trevor said with a smirk. "But hey, now that the kid's gone, we can do whatever we want to you two."

"Leave Grey alone, guys. He's ten."

"No, Mark. I can take up. These clowns don't scare me." "

"Death doesn't scare you, Meathead, just go home."

"I can handle Mysel-" Grey barely got a word out before Sherry slugged him right in the nose. Grey staggered back, holding his face. Mark stood steady as Trevor went lower. He acted just in time to knee Trevor in the chest before slamming him into the ground. Mark looked over as Sherry pinned Grey down by stepping on his left foot and tightly grasping his right arm, practically pulling him apart.Mark moved fast. He grabbed Trevor by the shirt, and pushed his whole body weight into him, causing Trevor to fly right at Sherry and hit her with the force of a wrecking ball. Mark was above Grey in record time. "Grey, I'm serious. Go home!" Grey looked like he would say something to protest, but whether he was too concerned with his gushing nose, or he was finally letting the seriousness of the situation sink in, he silently got up and ran, keeping his head ducked the entire way. "Awww, looks like you're all alone, huh Marky?" Sherry spat out the last few words, presumably trying to make the stupid nickname seem threatening. She and Trevor jumped at the opportunity to pin down the easy prey, but Mark moved out of the way just in time. He grabbed Sherry by the front of her scarlet tank top and threw her onto the sidewalk. He then went in full force on Trevor, slugging him in the face and beating him down. When Trevor was too low for Mark's fists to reach him, Mark resorted to his feet. He stomped at Trevor's hands, head and body, eventually blacking out and functioning on autopilot. He didn't feel a hint of sympathy for Trevor, nor did he get any joy out of beating his attacker. Sherry could only look on in stoic horror as her partner had the crap beaten out of him. Eventually, Trevor managed to shamble away from under Mark's feet, and stumble toward his car. Sherry did not even hesitate to follow him. In a few seconds, Mark was standing alone on that street corner. He breathed a heavy sigh, and began walking home.

"I can't believe you got in a fight again, Mark!" Mrs. Riese handed her son a ziploc full of ice. Mark took the small package of freezing death without even looking at her. "Bubby? I picked you a flower too." Ben innocently offered his big brother a small white flower. The only five petals it had were thin and frail, barely hanging on with the little force it was being handled with. "Thanks, Benny-bob." Mark carefully cupped the tiny plant and placed it near his plate.Today was the usual meal of boiled greens. For the immense lack of other food in the house, Ms. Riese seemed to make sure they never ran out of that. Another journal entry. Either the unconditional love of his mother that she would always think about them to cook enough food, or the bland, yet bizarrely tangy taste of the greens themselves. "Well, You boys worried me when Benny came running all the way home crying by himself, and then when Grey told me y'all had gotten into a scuffle, I had all but decided to run over there and see what was happening! And then you come over here with a black eye and act as if nothing happened!" She paused when all three of her sons had taken the same somber expression. "But, I am glad that you stood up for your brothers, Mark. And I'm honestly too tired to punish you tonight. But don't let something like this happen again, alright? I love you." She kissed her boys on the forehead and retreated to her room before any of them had the chance to answer. Mark took a last bite of greens before dumping the rest into the crock pot. He honestly had lost his appetite. "You guys clean up. I saved your butts tonight, so I think you oughta." Mark trudged to his room and flopped on the mattress in the corner. He lay there for a little while before pulling out a light purple notebook. He began writing about his day, about putting too much sugar in his cereal because he found it too bland, about his friends at school who talked nonstop about comic-con and these weird cosplayers they found on the internet, about the fight after school, and the fact that he'd contemplated taking a nap in the street afterwards, and, of course, the greens. He then placed Ben's flower in between the cover and the over-laying plastic, before tucking the notebook under his bed, where it continued laying with its companions, a withered piece of board that didn't go with anything in the house, and a picture of a goat that Ben drew when he was like, four. Mark lay there for what seemed like a few moments, but could have honestly been hours. All he knew was that he had fallen asleep at some point, and when he woke up, it was dark outside. Minutes after he attempted to fall back asleep, the door creaked open. Ben stood there in his choo-choo pajamas, clutching his stuffed giraffe. "Bubby?" He whispered into the darkness. "I had a bad dream. Can I..?" He trailed off, expecting Mark to fill in the gaps. Mark let out a small sigh. "Come here, kid." Mark moved to the edge of the mattress, to where his back was hugging the wall. Ben practically stampeded into the room and slid onto the bed, smashing against his big brother. "The door..." Mark mumbled, shielding himself from the bright yellow flooding into the room. The door was eventually closed, but not by Ben. Another figure stood outside the doorway, and turned off the light in the hall. "Grey?" Mark was stunned. "You know, Ben and I sleep in the same room and...well, it is my job to make sure he's safe, so...I thought I'd come protect him in here." The two sat there in silence, staring at each other for several minutes. Ben lay still and snoring under Mark's arm. Eventually, Mark broke the silence. "Just this once." he said, pulling Ben close to make more room. Grey lay on the edge of the mattress farthest from the wall, also placing his arm on his younger brother. Since Ben was so small, he left such little space between Mark and Grey that they were touching foreheads. "You know, you didn't have to yell at me today. I told you, I could take 'em." Grey shifted on the bed, slowly realizing he would not get enough space to be comfortable regardless. He didn't get up regardless. "I know." Mark said solemnly. "And its not because I don't think you can do it." He paused as Grey looked at him, confused. "It because I'm your brother. My job is making sure you don't hurt yourself by doing something stupid." Grey took it in for a moment. "Well, we're not related, so I don't think you should care that much. Eventually I am gonna have to fend for myself."

"I know. And I will let you. Eventually."


"When you stop being so flippin' dumb!" Mark reached over and ruffled his brother's hair. The quick gesture made Grey squirm and giggle a bit. Under their weight, Ben giggled as well. Mark would never admit it, but he liked it when his brothers smiled. It seemed way easier for them than it did for him. Mark yawned and began to close his eyes. "I love you guys." He whispered into the dark. He wasn't sure if either of them heard it, but he didn't care. He was just so tired.

February 02, 2022 14:40

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