“Don’t you remember?”
“The things that were done to you?”
“The things that were done to us?”
“Please don’t kill me…. please….”
Beep…. beep…. beep…beep……Pain was all he could feel as soon as he opened his eyes. Every part of his body was in pain. Every inch of his hands, his legs, his back, his head, his heart….
However, other than the pain, he could feel a pair of green eyes on him. A pair of orbs he instantly felt a connection with.
“Who are you?” His voice was a whisper, a sound that the other could only hear.
The owner of the green eyes let out a smile……a dry one in the eyes of the lying person who had no clue what was happening.
“I am your brother, Jeffrey Moore.”
“Oww!” The patient held his head after feeling a sharp…. stabbing kind of pain inside.
It’s hurting. It hurts so bad that it knocked out the patient again.
The next time he woke up, a masked doctor greeted him with a smile instead of the green-eyed person. There were some rounds of tests and questions that he had to go through without any idea of what was happening.
Although the lack of knowledge was not for eternity. He learned his name was ‘Daniel Moore’; the other person was his brother Jeffrey Moore who had admitted him to the hospital after Daniel accidentally fell down the stairs and slipped into unconsciousness.
“The memory loss is temporary and may gradually improve over time.” Daniel overheard the conversation between his brother and the doctor. However, he didn’t feel upset or shocked for some unknown reason. He felt nothing.
Then he remembered something. No, not a memory he forgot, but some words he heard before waking up. There was a man’s voice asking him to remember…. something.
Daniel doesn’t remember what kind of brother Jeffrey was, but right now, he was very kind and helpful. He looked past every window sitting on a wheelchair while Jeffrey pushed it from behind, humming a tune.
Oww!! Another sharp pain Daniel felt in his head.
The brothers entered the elevator after a nurse passing by wished Daniel to recover quickly and have a safe trip back home. Home? Daniel wondered what their home looked like. Are their parents waiting for him back at home?
“What about Mom and Dad? Where are they?” Daniel noticed Jeffrey’s body going stiff after the mention of their parents while he stopped humming the tune.
“They are no more. It has been a year now.” Oww! Again, that damn headache.
“Although it wasn’t always you and me. My fiancée used to live with us.”
“Used to? What happened then?”
“She’s no more….”
“I am sorry.” After a moment of hesitation, Daniel spoke.
Jeffrey didn’t reply this time.
“Were we close?” Daniel asked, not sure whom he was addressing. His parents or his brother’s girlfriend. But one thing was sure his curiosity suddenly reached its peak.
“Very,” Jeffrey replied while patting Dan’s shoulders.
“Did I mourn?” Now that was a foolish question; however, Daniel needed to know if he and his parents had a normal relationship. A relationship where one would cry for the other’s pain.
“You are still mourning. You just don’t know.”
Daniel thought to ask whom Jeffrey had in his mind while replying to that. Their parents or his fiancée? But he didn’t.
Since then the air around them grew awkward and somewhat….tensed; Daniel perceived.
“Do you want me to turn on the radio?” Jeffrey asked, perhaps to shake off the weird atmosphere.
The car wasn’t silent anymore. Daniel was busy listening to the radio while Jeffrey focused on driving. Daniel wanted to ask where they lived.
But he didn’t.
They drove past tall buildings. They left behind small houses.
Daniel started changing the radio station when he suddenly heard a reporter’s voice that sounded urgent - “A couple was brutally murdered last night, and no suspects are confirmed by the police yet. This reminds us of a similar case that took place a year ago where a couple….”
“Owww!!!” This time the headache was so terrible that it kicked the life out of Daniel forcing him to hold his head and groan.
Jeffrey turned off the radio and abruptly parked the car on the roadside.
“Are you okay? What’s happening?” Jeffrey lightly touched Dan’s shoulder, but the latter was not there to respond.
Daniel was lost in a memory. Another bloody returning memory. There was blood everywhere. In his hands. On the floor. On the person lying in front of him. Please don’t kill me…. Again, the same pleading voice.
“Heyyy?” A rough jerk pulled Daniel out from the pit hole of the past and brought him back to the unknown present.
“Nothing. I think the music gave me a headache.” Daniel smiled at Jeffrey, who observed him for a second with a…. look.
At that moment, inside that car sat two brothers who didn’t seem to trust one another.
The vehicle was back on the road speeding towards its destiny. However, the two left behind their certainty.
Jeffrey picked up the same tune he was humming back inside the elevator, and this time Daniel joined him.
Jeffrey was surprised. Very much. How did he remember that tune only after hearing it for a split second? He was indeed surprised. But didn’t say anything. Instead, Jeffrey smiled. A smile which one shows when in a good mood.
“What happened?” Daniel asked.
Jeffrey shook his head yet didn’t stop grinning.
Daniel doesn’t need to know what happened.
He stole a glance and noticed the faint smile on Daniel’s lips.
Or perhaps he already knows what happened.
Inside the car,
the brothers smiled together.
the brothers smiled differently.
When they reached the place Jeffrey called ‘home,’ Daniel felt no attachment to it. There was no pull or push. The heart always remembers what the mind forgets, and hence Daniel’s heart pounded. Not when he stepped inside the house but when Jeffrey said ‘Welcome back,’ in a gruff voice.
And since then, the pounding didn’t stop.
The pounding went wild at the dinner table when Daniel saw Jeffrey holding a knife.
“Want some salad?” Jeffrey asked while rinsing the knife with clear water.
Daniel nodded, stealing a glance at the weapon.
After dinner, the brothers clinked their wine glasses and said cheers.
Cheers for returning.
Cheers for surviving.
Pleasantries were exchanged. Glances were stolen. Awareness was shared.
After calling it a night, they returned to their respective rooms.
Two of them entered their room.
Two of them walked closer to their mirrors and inspected themselves with their green orbs.
Two of them let out a not-so-innocent smirk.
Two of them had the same thought:
The murderer is back!
Later that night, Daniel woke up gasping for air. Something had him in a chokehold. It was his nightmares. His guilt. His memories.
He unlocked his door carefully and walked cautiously out in the dark.
The outside wasn’t completely dark. There was light escaping through the slightly ajar door of Jeffrey’s room.
Daniel’s mind didn’t protest when he marched towards the glow. His hands didn’t shake when he held the doorknob, and his eyes didn’t overlook an engrossed Jeffrey, who stared at his reflection and slowly started to reach for his eyeball.
Daniel was indeed amazed. He was amazed after the green contacts were taken out so smoothly by Jeffrey and kept inside a small box.
Daniel noticed those eyes. Those brown eyes which his heart and mind both remember.
Pleasantries were not exchanged, glances were never stolen, and awareness was not shared…. the following day.
Daniel found himself alone inside the house after Jeffrey mentioned an urgent task that needed to be ‘taken care of' and drove away.
In that emptiness, he didn’t do anything. Daniel sat quietly staring at the front door…. patiently waiting for the other to return. When the sun had set, then only an emotion rose.
He was done waiting.
Pulling out the kitchen knife, Daniel went to his room and hid the object under his pillow.
Now instead of waiting for Jeffrey, he was waiting for the right time.
Jeffrey was back in the evening, and the two ate together.
Dinner was wonderful, and the night was exciting. The brothers clinked their wine glasses but with a look instead of ‘cheers.’
Daniel didn’t ask Jeffrey where he was or how his ‘task’ went, nor did the other bother to say anything regarding his absence.
Jeffrey was the first to retreat to his room and call it a night, followed by an enthusiastic Daniel for whom the night had just begun.
Both of them went to bed and closed their eyes. Their hearts slept while their minds were wide awake.
The house was quiet for some time, and then it wasn’t. A click was heard and then a creak. Footsteps approached another door, and a hand opened it with a light push. In the dark, the hand reached out for the other person who was covered in a duvet.
While the person was busy slowly pulling away the piece of cloth……
another hand reached out from nowhere and wrapped its palm around the other’s wrist.
“Looks like your memories are finally back, Daniel.”
Jeffrey stared at the other with a grin while Daniel stood hovering over the other’s vulnerable figure upon which he could attack anytime.
Bringing out the knife that he held in his other hand Daniel aimed for a stab, but Jeffrey was quick to react.
He landed a kick on Daniel’s lower abdomen, forcing him to land on the ground and drop his weapon.
In the darkness, Daniel groaned in pain. He was aware of Jeffery’s approach, but the pain overpowered his fury, making him miss another lethal attack.
Jeffrey held the door and retracted it back with full swing, bashing Daniel’s head. His cry echoed in the darkness while he gradually fell into unconsciousness.
When Daniel opened his eyes, he was seated in the middle of the living room. Daniel expected himself to be bound and gagged; however, he found himself in a comfortable position. In a chair with his limbs free to move and throw around.
Next, he spotted an impassive Jeffrey sharpening another knife while humming the familiar tune.
“So, what did you remember?” Jeffrey asked.
Daniel didn’t answer straight away. Instead, he laughed. He laughed without any restraint or remorse.
“The fact that you killed my fiancée?” Jeffrey asked again, unfazed by Daniel’s gesture.
Daniel continued to chuckle so hard that his eyes started to fill with tears.
“Or……the fact that we killed your parents?”
Jeffrey inquired after he was finished sharpening the knife. Now it was his turn to chuckle while Daniel looked at him with pure rage.
“I am really curious about something, though. When did your memories actually return?” Jeffrey sat opposite Daniel and had a curious look on his face.
The news on the radio about the murder and Jeffrey’s whistling unlocked the gate behind which his memories were trapped.
How could Daniel forget the night when the person sitting in front of him along with his fiancée murdered his parents? Daniel remembered every minor detail…. from a couple asking his parents for shelter a year ago….to them killing his parents….to him escaping from his room’s window.
“I still remember how your mother wished on her deathbed to spare her life. How she begged my fiancée to not kill her and how we failed to keep her promise.” Every dark corner of the house was well supplied with Jeffrey’s laughter after he finished convincing his crime.
Daniel’s mind replayed an ugly memory. His mother lying on the ground with blood all over her body…. not her blood but that of her husband, who was the first to be killed.
“Please don’t kill me…. please!!” Her voice was shaky as she tried hard to live.
“I also remember how you ran away like a coward leaving your parents behind to die,” Jeffrey spoke, his tone slight accusing as if Daniel caused their death. It was all mockery; Daniel knew.
However, Jeffrey was right. Daniel couldn’t do anything that night. He ran away to seek help, but deep down in his heart, he also knew that he had run away to save his own life.
“But I was wrong to judge you. You were not a coward. You were an opportunist.” Jeffrey’s voice turned from cheerful to furious.
Daniel’s laughter was back. The other person was right. Daniel had always waited for the right time since that night…. he always waited for the right opportunity.
“The night you killed my parents was the night you killed me too. The guilt and anger of not doing anything to save them have eaten me alive, but revenge is the only thing which kept me breathing.” Daniel expressed that, and after his laughter died, he could feel the hollowness inside.
“It took me a year to find you guys…. a torturous year after which I finally gained the courage. I don’t know if your fiancée was dumb or you guys had so many runaway victims that she couldn’t remember the face…but whatever it was, it was in my favor.”
“You were still a coward…you bastard!! You killed her in my absence.” Jeffrey sprang up, and Daniel did the same.
“She was whimpering in pain…. crying, screaming, dragging her wounded body around to get away.”
“Please don’t kill me…please!”
Daniel remembered those exact words his mother uttered but had no luck. He remembered how the girl begged him using the same phrase, and it took one final stab to end her life.
After one kill, Daniel waited for another.
When Jeffrey returned home to his dead fiancée, he spotted an impatient Daniel who welcomed him with a knife.
He was quick to duck and toss a tired Daniel over the staircase railings causing him to knock out. He could have killed him then and there, but after one look at his dead fiancée’s body, Jeffrey promised that he would make Daniel go through the exact amount of pain she suffered.
“When the doctors told me you suffered a memory loss, I was sad. I wanted you to remember everything so that when I kill you, you could beg me the same way your mother did. I sat beside you and chanted everything that was done by us….by you…. like a prayer. And my prayer has finally been answered.”
From using the name 'Jeffrey,' which he gave Daniel’s parents while seeking shelter, to whistling the exact tune Daniel’s father used to hum, Jeffrey did everything to help Daniel recover his memories.
Memories they shared. Memories that were intertwined.
“You did great acting, though, as my brother in front of the doctors. If my memory never returned, I would have thought you were my own brother.” Daniel smiled, making Jeffrey reckless.
He charged at Daniel while holding the knife, but instead of getting away, Daniel was fast enough to crouch and land a blow on the other’s stomach, causing him to land on the ground.
“What was their fault, huh? To trust two strangers who appeared helpless? To provide them shelter? Or to show humanity? What was their goddamn fault?” Daniel continued to kick Jeffrey multiple times while screaming out his anger and pain.
“But don’t worry, I won’t kill you that easily. Unlike your fiancée, your death will be very slow. You will get to live with the wish of dying every day. I will make you suffer.”
Leaving behind a weak Jeffrey who had no more strength left in his body Daniel went away to bring his weapon. His anger made him reckless.
The sound of something scraping against the floor reached a helpless Jeffrey’s ears, and when Daniel dragged the baseball bat in front of him, only then could he make out its silhouette.
“I promise you will find yourself in a better place when you wake up.”
The last thing Jeffrey saw was a gentle smile on Daniel’s face that held a promise. A promise of endless suffering.
“Don’t you remember?”
“The things I did to you?”
“The things you did to me?”
Beep…. beep…. beep…beep……Pain was all he felt as soon as he opened his eyes. Every part of his body was in pain. Every inch of his hands, his legs, his back, his head, his stomach….
However, other than the pain, he could feel a pair of brown eyes on him. A pair of orbs he felt an attachment to.
“Who are you?” His voice was a whisper, a sound that the other could only hear.
The owner of the brown eyes let out a smile……a gentle one in the eyes of the person lying on the bed who had no clue what was happening.
“I am your brother, Daniel Moore.”