A family secret is a hard one to keep. Until it’s time to end the chain. The shovel clinks against small rocks as they continue to dig. Digging a deep enough hole. The light of the moon their only guide to how well they are doing. Dirt flies over their shoulder landing on the ground with a thump. As the hole gets deeper, the pile grows higher. When they feel it’s deep enough, they set down their shovel and climb out of the pit. They dust their hands off their equally dirty pants. In the shallows of the thick woods surrounding them, they grab a large mass. Long and heavy. The average weight of a grown man. They drag the body back to their hole. All wrapped in plastic, it crinkles as it’s being moved. They drop the half they dragged and get behind and shove the dead weight into the large void below.
Music blares through the speakers of the old Cadillac. A finger taps to the beat as she drives. The road clear ahead of her on this peaceful morning. The sun rising in the sky, causing a glare to come off the hood. Lucky for her it just misses her pretty face. Sunglasses rest over her scenic hazel eyes. Her lips shimmer in a bright red. Her drive takes her to a long winding driveway, leading to an old house. Two story with a porch wrapping around. Woods surround the home. Blocking out the sun. Making the area dark and gloomy. She parks the old caddy out front. She hops out and stares up at the house. Memories from the past creeping up on her. The stairs groan and creak as she makes her way inside. The door opens with a loud squeak, that echoes throughout the house. There is no light, only darkness. A breeze from a broken window flies through, giving her the chills. Goosebumps rise on her arms. She takes light steps across the open area between the living room and the dining room. Her eyes take in the sight of the old home. The smells of wood and other fragrances. All reminding her of better days.
The sound of a car pulling up distracts her. She watches out the door, a white Toyota sedan stops and the engine shuts off. The driver takes a moment before stepping out of the vehicle. Likely, looking at their phone or something. Gravel crunches under their feet as they take a step. Shiny shoes worn under white khakis. Then a white button up to match. His hair is gelled back. Not a hair out of place. His eyes are covered in sunglasses, but as he looks up at the women standing in the doorway, he takes the shades off and a bright pair of green eyes shine back.
“Louise, what are you doing here?”
“Jack, I could ask you the same thing.”
“Well considering I own the house. I have every right to be here. You however do not.” He says as he climbs the steps.
“How inconsiderate. We both grew up in this house brother. Just because mom and dad left it in your name, doesn’t mean I can’t come and see our childhood home.”
“You haven’t been here in years. Why now?”
She doesn’t answer. She turns on her heels and walks back into the house. Jack follows with a sigh, knowing that his sister never listens. She stops just inside main entry way. He almost walks into her, not noticing right away that she stopped.
“There are a lot of memories in this house.” She whispers. Almost to quiet.
“There would have been more if you would have come home more often.”
His words stung. It’s true, she left for California and never looked back. She rarely called or wrote. She wanted to get as far away as possible. Her brother never understood why. Not that she ever told him. She knew he resented her for leaving but she didn’t care. He didn’t need to now. He can keep the perfect image he had of their parents. She will never taint that image for her younger brother.
She endured to much for him. Making leaving being the only option. She figured he would find out on his own. His love for their parents only grew. Almost forgetting they even had a daughter. Picture frames filled with their son. From school to friends to first job. He covered the hallway walls, the staircase, even parts of the kitchen. Pictures of her taken down and replaced. Not that they were any good. She rarely smiled for any of them. She couldn’t even fake happiness.
They walked together, from room to room. While his memories were joyful, hers only filled her with terror. There parents only ever wanted a boy. She was the mistake. They never let her forget it either. When she found out they died. She couldn’t be more thrilled. People would look at her in shock when she told them with a smile on her face. That’s also why she got on the first flight flights back to Alabama. She had to make sure it was true. Jack called her while she was at work and she left as soon as she could. She grabbed a rental car from the airport and headed straight to her old stomping grounds.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming home? You didn’t exactly talk to me after I told you what happened.”
“I know. I figured you’d want me home for the funeral. I got on the first flight back here. They really let this place fall apart. When did you move out?” She asks, her fingers tracing lines along the wall.
“I’ve been out of the house for ten years now. Maybe you should have come home and visited. You would have known.”
“You really have no idea. Do you?” She turns around, her hair whipping behind her.
“Idea about what? Are you gonna finally tell me why you left?”
“Maybe I should. But I wouldn’t want to ruin your perfect image of mommy and daddy.” She says sarcastically.
“Just tell me. Apparently, you’ve been keeping something from me.”
“You were young, and they loved you. You loved them. I didn’t want to ruin anything. So, I said nothing and left as soon as I could.”
“They did argue about you for a while after you left, but then they just stopped talking about you. It was almost like you didn’t exist anymore. They took your pictures down and it was confusing. When you never called or wrote. I figured you wanted nothing to do with us anymore. Are you going to tell me why now?” He took a step towards her.
“I guess I should. Let’s go take a seat. Shall we.” She points towards the dining room.
The table is covered in boxes and paperwork. The room filled with stuff around it. Making it messy. Dust coated the untouched articles around the room. She pushed some junk over to the other half of the table, causing some on the end to fall off. The sound echoing around the house. Her brother looks at her in disbelief but says nothing and sits down. She sits down as well.
“You ready for a little family…secret.” She starts, crossing her legs.
He nods and waits for her to continue.
“While you were getting all the love you could ever imagine, dad would keep me in the basement. Telling me I don’t belong here. Abuse me, beat me, degrade me until I was nothing but a pile of flesh on the cement floor. I was a mistake that was never supposed to happen. Mom was just as bad as he was. She would just stand there and let it happen. Apparently, women being born first is a bad omen in this family. Women in general are bad. They never wanted a daughter. They only wanted a son. Dad would have killed me if mother hadn’t begged him not too. If that part was even true. I’d thank her, but she let him belittle me and destroy me. I was nothing to them. I was a leech to them. Men are superior and women inferior.”
Jack doesn’t say anything. She may have left out the gory details, but she had said enough. His jaw drops and he tries to speak. No words come out.
“Now, time to keep this a secret and end the generation.”
Before he has time to respond, his sister pulls a pistol from her behind her back and shoots him. Two to the chest and one to the head.