“Mary!” The boy calls out to you. “Mary, look!”
You glance up with a glare that shuts him up almost immediately, clenching your book with white-knuckled fists. Keeping your voice levelled, you answer, “Not right now.”
He wilts under your gaze like the oil-pressed roses threatening to drip through the cloth he holds. You focus back on your book. Settle against the rough bark of the olive tree. Immerse yourself in the magical words that float on your cream-coloured pages.
You don’t notice how the sense of hatred towards your brother is so loud that it clogs his ears with screams until all he can hear are the repeats of his failures.
Sometimes, you wish he were dead. You’ve tried to make spells before – concoctions that will turn his lungs inside out, draughts that will snuff his breath in his sleep. For those, you’ve had to rip out dragonfly wings; extract pollen from bumblebee legs; tear fragile wings from butterfly skeletons.
This is why you’re here.
This is what the world has in store for you – you will bring yourself up by bringing others down. You will lap at the ocean waves while kicking others to drown. You will sing out melodies of gorgeous static while choking the rest who try.
At this point, you should merely gouge your eyes out if you’re so insensitive to all the pain you have caused on this earth.
All the pain you have caused to your brethren. The little boy who shares the same blood as you, your souls strung up with the same red thread that flows through your ancestors. Your mother, your father, your cousins. The life that flows through your veins is the same as the death that reeks in his.
And yet you wish he were dead?
Such a beautiful, young creature, looking up to you with that marvelous heart, wanting to grow in your footsteps? Do you really wish death to be brought upon him? Upon such an innocent being?
Does it not send an ache through your spirit? Does it not enclose your heart with folded wings?