I sail out for a while, when I decide to do a quick inventory check. Deb is awake, though thoroughly duct taped to a pole. If I forgot or missed any supplies, now would be the time to find out, so I can adjust my plans accordingly. She is hyperventilating, it's quite annoying. I put my gloves on and turn to her. "Is the tape too tight? You know there is no point in you being uncomfortable.", I love messing with her head. To weave in and out of my real self and the lie I presented to her. To prove to her that this is my true face.
"Why are you doing this?", she still doesn't know. Of course she couldn't magically figure out I'm Dexter's real brother. But that will be a fun surprise for later.
"I don't want to spoil the surprise", I say as I zip open my bag. The boat serves two purposes. First is to throw the cops off my trail. If they are looking out to sea, they won't focus on land. Secondly, I don't want to run the risk of Deb escaping or someone seeing anything. But the thing is, I want to get onto land a little bit later, when it won't be so suspicious to be carrying a girl crying for help around. Everything looks worse at night.
I empty the bag and start examining the items making sure I have all my tools. A saw, a drill, knives, some tubing just in case...Deb starts crying and repeating 'Oh my God' over and over again. This must all be very traumatic for her. And it's barely begun.
"Shh! I'm just checking supplies, okay?" With all my plans going astray as of late, I can't take anymore chances. "Things are moving a little bit faster than I planned", a lot faster. Almost too fast. I sort through my killing tools, making sure everything is there.
"This isn't you.." Did Deb really just say that?
"Pretty sure it is." Yep, this is definitely my true face. She just doesn't want to admit that.
"No, I know there's more. I've seen it", clearly she needs more help with this.
I lean in close and put that loving look in my eyes. "I never wanted to hurt you...", I whisper gently, back to being the perfect boyfriend. Only this time she knows what is behind that mask.
"I know, I know...", she whispers back, grasping at the little shred of hope that I gave her. The hope that maybe the person she knows and loves really does exist.
"Does this make it easier for you? Because I can keep going", and just like that, I slip the mask off again.
"Oh God, Jesus...", I sigh and shake my head. When will she be done with this whole panicking thing? It's getting old. "Oh Jesus Christ", I know Deb isn't religious. One minute listening to her foul mouth will tell you that. But I wonder if she is just randomly saying words to show her fear, or if she is really praying. If that part of her brain that begged me for help has given up and moved on to begging God. Doesn't matter, God has never helped any of the past women before, and I doubt he is going to step in now.
"There is nothing to be ashamed of Deb. I mean, you're not the only one who bought it, okay?" Really, I hope she isn't taking this personally. Sure, I hate her, but I hate everyone. It's not like she chose to replace me as Dexter's sibling. Life just dealt her a shitty hand. One that put her in my path. It happens.
"Your name isn't even Fucking Rudy Cooper, is it?", she was able to figure that out, but why did it take so long to admit that everything else was fake too?
"Nope. But he died for a good cause", the Reunion is a very good cause. Some people want to eat, others want a home, I want my brother. What's so bad about that?
"You're not going to get away with this. I'm not some invisible hooker, you kidnapped a cop!", she points out. As though I don't know that. Hell, I'm planning on it. I gave Dexter a hint, that screensaver, but that alone won't set him in the right direction. He needs the doll to signal him home. The doll in my home. The only way he can get into my tightly locked up house is when the police get in to search it. And the police won't do that if they don't suspect me of kidnapping a cop.
"It's all part of the plan", I tell her truthfully. "Jesus, it's hard to believe it's almost come to fruition." It's almost time for the Reunion. It's just hours away. "I mean, this is a lot of years in the making", years searching for my brother, building my life to get close to him and working undercover. It's all for him. I don't care about this fake life, it's just another stepping stone to brotherhood. I look at my watch. "We are only hours away", the time has come. The Reunion will be soon. Dexter will learn, understand, and the world will become right once again.
The boat floats off at sea. They'll look for it. They'll see that Rudy Cooper rented a boat, and they'll spend hours looking for that boat. I get my tools and Deb and place them in a life boat. They'll find the yacht eventually. But they'll find it empty. I get on the life boat and turn on the small motor. The yacht isn't where Dexter will be. He'll hear the song and when he finds the same song in my record player, he'll take note of the doll. He'll link them. He'll have the hidden piece that snaps the jumbled mess I left behind to focus. Then he'll know where to go. Home, sweet home.
No, the yacht is a diversion. The sea is not where I'll be, it's on land. Dexter remembers our mother's death, but not her life. Not me. The house will change that. It's sure to jog some memories. Memories of me this time. We were always inseparable as children. Any memories he has are bound to contain me. And then he'll be led out of Harry's lie and into the truth, with me.
Deb doesn't say anything. She just lies there. Has she given up? Her eyes are open, and she's breathing. Normal people are hard to understand sometimes. She is still alive, and that's all that matters. It's not time for her to die yet. That'll come in just a few hours. I like this change. She isn't crying or screaming anymore. It's more peaceful.
It's daytime by the time I get to land. Honestly, that yacht cost me a lot of money to rent, I'd like more safety in the case of an emergency than just that little life boat. It took hours to get anywhere.
But land has been sighted. A small marina, seemingly empty. I slowly approach it in my infuriatingly slow boat. It'll really mess things up if Dexter gets to the house first. But I check my watch and it's still early. I have time. Plenty of time to set things up. This game has been rocky as of late, but for all my worries, things are turning out perfectly.
I get to the marina and look around. Now I need a car. I can't just leave Deb. She is awake, silently crying. She is still bound, but she can hop. With my two legs, it probably won't be too much of an issue, but I don't want to give her the chance. I don't wander more than ten feet from the boat, glancing back frequently. More just to let her know that I'm watching than to actually watch.
A middle aged man in a suit is on his a boat near by. All alone. I turn back to Deb. She is watching me. Good, I want her to see this. To watch me kill a man, to see what I do first hand. I walk up to the man who is busy tidying up. A fellow neat freak, have to respect that. Not enough to spare him though.
I step onto his boat and walk up to him. I extend my hand to him. "Hi, my name is Rudy".
He looks confused, but the manners that society has forced into him forces him to take my hand "Fred", he introduces himself. I grab the closest heavy object, a metal fishing box and slam a corner against his head. I can hear Deb's muted scream as she begins to panic again. Great, back to that. I was kind of hoping for a quiet terror. I reach into Fred's pocket, who is now lying down bleeding through a big hole in his head. I get his car keys and turn to the parking lot. I press the remote and there's a beep. God, I love technology.
The Marina and parking lot are small and empty. Perfect. I carry Fred, now dead, to the car and open the trunk. Good, it's nice and roomy. Room enough for two people even. I return to Deb who is still in panic mode. "Up", I tell her. Carrying all these people around is taking a toll on my back. But she just goes back to stringing together 'God', 'Jesus', and 'Christ' with a wide array of cuss words. Great, looks like I have to carry her too. Fred's dead, so he has an excuse for not being able to walk, but Deb is just being rude. I pick her up and sling her over my shoulder. She is screaming now. I swing my free hand up and hit her in the head. "Hey! No screaming. We are in public now, so don't make a scene", she doesn't stop though. So I drop her on the docks and reach into my tool bag. I pull out some duct tape and tape her mouth shut. How long have I been wanting to do that? Too long. I look around to make sure no one heard. No one is even within hearing distance.
I grab the bag and sling Deb over my shoulder again. Much better. I leave the boat behind, left to drift to sea. All the less evidence that I'm on land. I throw Deb in the trunk along side Fred and I close it. I get into the driver's side and throw my bag of death on the passenger side's floor. With that, I drive out of the parking lot. Away to 1235 Mangrove Drive. I check the time again. It's hardly past ten. Dexter won't get there for a few more hours yet. But then he will come, and we'll have our Reunion. It'll be great.
Yes, the plan is coming together perfectly. I had my doubts, but this all worked out nicely. I reach into my pocket and pull out a granola bar. A great energy boost when hiking, having a long day at work, or kidnapping a cop. Today is turning out to be a good day. Of course it's a good day, today will be our Reunion. How can today be short of anything but wonderful?
I turn on the radio. Classical music fills the air. It's cheery and fast, though I can't put a name on it, so it goes perfectly with my mood. I tap my fingers and sway my head to it. Today is a good day indeed. But I hear something else. I turn off the radio so I can identify it. "Let me out! Let me out!", sounds like Deb got the duct tape off her mouth. "Let me out, you piece of shit! Let me out!", I shake my head and roll my eyes. Honestly, all she is doing is wasting her breath and annoying me. Like asking me, nicely or otherwise, to let her out will work. I signal and pull to the side of the road. The side walks are empty. I seem to be near a warehouse, so that would explain it.
I park and grab my duct tape out before stepping out of the car and walking to the end of it. I open the trunk and she yells, "Fuck, let me out!", the strip of duct tape only sticking to her right check. I tear it off and replace it.
"Sorry, but you're drowning out Fred's radio, and he was kind enough to lend us his wheels." She continues to scream as loud as she can through the muffling tape. "Bye", and I close the trunk and continue on to 1235 Mangrove Drive.
Finally I get there. It was a good hour drive from where I landed. I park on the side of the street and go around for Deb. I grab a blindfold and open the trunk. She is crying again, and trying to scream. Duct tape is still intact. I tie the blindfold on her and she screams her muffled screams and cries her vain tears. She is going to die now. The sooner she accepts that the better. I lift her out of the trunk and stand her up. I'm tired of carrying her around. It's time she starts hopping. Because I taped her thighs together, she can even manage a slow walk. I grab my tool bag and guide her to the shed beside the house. The kill room.
I won't make the same mistake I did with Tony. This time I'll set her up just the way Dexter likes. I turn on the light, my hand still on Deb's back, guiding her. "Down on the floor please", I instruct. Kindly, too. It doesn't make any difference to her. She hops-runs blindly around until she hits a wall. She is still trying to scream. She can't be thinking right now. This is all primal instincts, telling her to run. She runs as best she can with her thighs taped together to another wall. She is blindfolded, she has no idea where the door is. So she runs around, hoping to find an opening of some kind. I wonder how aware she is that she won't find one. "This is kind of foolish Deb", I say right as she slams full force into another wall. I wince. That must have hurt. She turns around and goes for another wall. When she gets close to me I grab her and kick her legs out from under her.
She falls and wiggles around a little. She won't be able to get back up, not the way she is bound. I reach into my bag and pull out a needle. "I don't usually work this way", I inform her, as though she is even able to process words through her panicked mind. "Call it homage to a fellow traveler I greatly admire." I tell her as I plunge a needle into her neck.
She goes out quickly. I stare over her motionless form. I can see why Dexter likes that, it's so easy. Puts them right out. I go to the corner of the room where I already bought the proper supplies. Plastic wrap, lots of it, and a white table, just the right dimensions for Deb. I strip her naked. She might be offended, but my God, how many times have we had sex? I haven't changed, her knowledge about me just grew. I place her on the table and tie her down with the wrap. Turns out a little goes a long way, because there is a large excess. No matter, better to have too much than too little. I roll a smaller, mobile metal table towards me. I carefully place all the tools orderly on the table. Everything must be perfect for Dexter. The time is almost here.
Everything is right. I refill my needle. You never know, and this M-99 stuff works great.
I return to the house. I'm nervous. It's almost time. Dexter could be here any minute. The Reunion could be in one minute or in one hour. I don't know, and the lack of control only fuels my anxiety.
Or never. I doubt and second guess my plan. What if Dexter doesn't get the hint? What if he doesn't come? What if he thinks it's a trap? No, he'll come. If not for Deb, for curiosity. I think after all these months, he'll give me credit for having his best interests in mind. I've broken into his apartment several times, if I wanted him dead, I could have done it.
But I'll never hurt Dexter. Not my little brother. My last tie to this world. I try to think back to my life before Dexter. I wasn't even out of my twenties when I began looking. I remember all those years ago, wondering if he was like me. I never let myself fantasize about it. The thought seemed too good to be true. So I told myself it wasn't.
I knew though. I knew it was true. I looked for years for him. Why else would I have spent so long hunting down a person? I wasn't even sure what I would do when I got to him. Show him I'm a killer, but there was never any point in that, and I knew it. He would turn in revolt, and I would meet rejection from the one person left on this world that I care about. But still I looked, I hoped.
And it was. Dexter is just like me. The forbidden dream. And so I wait. The Reunion is at hand. Everything is set, waiting. I sit at the kitchen table to wait. Faded yellow walls, dust, all the tell tale signs of time. But the house still looks exactly the same. The same, yet different. Just like how me and Dex will be. The same brothers who would do anything for the other, but bigger, older, and blood thirsty.
I stare at the faded walls blankly. I might find it boring, but I'm too excited right now. A break to think is welcome. The past two days went by too fast, I had to act, not think. I don't like that. I make mistakes when I act without thinking. But now I think. Or I try. My mind is scattered. Part of it looks at the house around me and remembers what use to be. Another part of me dreams of what will be in the long term. That leaves very little thought power for the immediate future. Of what I'll say to Dexter when he gets here, how I'll word things, or if I even will need to.
Fear shakes me. What if he doesn't remember? If he doesn't get some suppressed memories back. Then I'll just be the guy who took Deb. I won't be his brother. He'll kill me. The very thought hits me hard. Because I know he would, being the Ice Truck Killer and potential killer of Deb will put me on his table. I lean back in the chair. My breathing gets heavier and faster without my will or consent. I'm hyperventilating, and it disgusts me. I close my eyes and slow my breathing. Even if he doesn't remember, it's not like he'll barge in and start hacking. He'll question me, ask me what I want with him. And I'll tell him. That I'm his brother, this is his house. I'll do and say whatever it takes to remind him. I'll just cross that bridge when and if I get to it.
A car engine hums outside, and I shiver. He's here. It's time. The Reunion. Brotherhood. Freedom. My thoughts scatter. I can't think. Half of me wants to run out and hug him, the other half wants to hide under the dining room table, fearing he won't remember. Instead I just lean back in the chair and take a few deep, calming breaths. He'll remember, I just have to have faith. Faith in Dexter, I can do that. I glance out the window. Dexter is there, oh God, he is here, staring out into space. A memory? Please be remembering. Remembering me, us, brotherhood. The look on his face says it all. He does remember, he knows, he won't kill me, he'll return to me.
I have to get out there. Greet him. He is my brother after all. I shift in my chair, still nervous as hell. I slowly get up. My legs are weak, yet yearning to move. To return to my brother, show him I'm here for him. That I'll always be here for him. Forever.
I walk slowly towards the door. The doorknob is cool, and it feels good against my over-heating hands. I step out to find Dexter staring intently. Remembering. Happier memories this time, no panic attacks. "You remember now?", I ask. Of course he does. That look on his face tells me so. He's mine now. We are together again. He won't leave or run. There are no more questions left to be answered. Now, we are reunited. Brotherhood at last.
He looks at me in awe, amazement, like he did as a child. His eyes are empty now, cold and emotionless, but that is what makes our bond all the more stronger. We have the same eyes. "Biney", is his reply. I smile. Perhaps he doesn't remember everything quite yet. He knows enough though.
"You always had trouble saying 'Brian'", I give him my real name. I say it out loud for the first time in years. Because there will be no more lies between us. We are brothers again.
"I have a brother", he says it with such astonishment that my next statement seems almost unnecessary.
"A real brother. None of this foster bullshit.", and I know my gaze is a mirror reflection of his own. For so long I've stared at him with longing and hope. Wonderment and awe. He never knew why. And now he himself is doing it to me. I've never forgotten about him, but the idea of him still takes my breath away. A person to be with. Travel with. A blood brother. "We are blood brothers. Through birth and death. Watching mom die. It's amazing that we survived that, isn't it?" I'm sorry for so rudely reminding you about that memory, but it was necessary. I'm sure you understand now. Grateful even. "The chainsaw. The flying body parts. The blood", and he looks down and begins to shake. Right, he has had less time to deal with that. That's okay. He'll get through it, and I'll help.
"You were there too", of course I was Dexter. That was where we were reborn.
"Two days sitting in blood before they found us", I recall, walking up to him. "You were young enough to block it out. I have never forgotten the day that we were-"
"Born", he finishes. I gape at his ability to understand. At the fact that I don't have to spell things out for him like I do for all the other people. He knows, understands, because he is the same. We are the same.
"Exactly", my God, how amazing this is. The way he knows and understands. It's amazing. Perfect.
"Where's Deb?", his mind goes back to his current task. What does he want with Deb so soon?
"I thought we'd want to wait before we got started", and how I wanted to kill her so long ago. But I waited, and now, her death will be all the better. Still, Dexter takes off for the house and I follow.
"Debra!", he calls as he frantically runs around the house.
"She is not in here", I inform him. Does he still hold ties to Deb. No, this is just Harry talking. His brainwashing still lingers.
He doesn't listen though. He just continues to run through the house. "Deb! Debra!", he shouts, as though she'll respond. He is clearly not thinking straight. Just an automated reflex put in by Harry.
"This is not the way I envisioned our family Reunion", I tell him. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little hurt. But it's okay Dexter. It's just Harry talking. This isn't you. I'll fix you, free you completely from his lies. You just need a little bit more help. "Come on, let's just sit down and have a beer", I try to reason with him. The sooner he calms, the sooner he will start thinking again. And once he is thinking, we can completely banish Harry's mark left in him.
"Deb!", he calls as he runs into what was once our room. Clearly, he needs help calming down. But that's okay too. Because I'll help him with whatever he needs. I grab the needle and a pang of guilt goes through me. I never wanted to drug him. I walk behind Dexter and plunge it into his neck. He begins to fall, but I catch him, slowly easing him to the ground.
"I didn't want to do it this way", I whisper into his neck such honest words. No, I didn't want to be so forceful with you Dexter. I hope I never have to do this again. But I'm sure you'll understand once you wake up. Harry still has a strong hold on you. Don't worry, I'll break that hold.
I rest my chin on his neck as I gently and tenderly lay him down. I lay his head on my lap and check his pulse. I don't like the way his body went so limp. It's too similar to a life-less body. But I find his pulse. It's strong, and I feel relieved. I already knew that this stuff isn't lethal, Deb could be seen as a guinea pig for that, but it's still powerful. I bend down further and rest my forehead against his. As children, I was always hugging him. It was just my resting state, my arms around him in some way or another.
I still enjoy it. Thirty years later, and my arms are still around him. Holding and protecting him. With young children, it looks cute, but as grown men, I'm sure people would read more into our relationship. I rest my cheek against his, pulling him closer. Society be damned. I don't care if America is so homophobic that any male contact is seen as gay. I want to hug my brother. And besides, being gay is a lot more morally acceptable then killing people. If anyone ever saw our true selves, they'd probably be more concerned about the chopped up bodies than any possible homosexuality.
Still, Dexter doesn't remember a lot, so he might not be comfortable with the hugging. I respect him too much to do something he wouldn't want. I pick my head up and gently carry him bridal style to the dining room table. He's heavier than most women, but that's okay, because he's my brother. I'll carry him however far he needs to be carried. Luckily, this time it only means across the house.
I softly lay his motionless form into the chair. He begins to fall to one side the second I let go. I quickly move to hold him in place. I don't want him to fall. Get hurt. I stroke his hair. No, I wouldn't want him to have a bump on his head.
I grab the duct tape with one hand while using the other to keep him in place. I duct tape him to the chair. I need to talk to him, to calm him down, before we continue. I can't have him running around again. I need him still. Because when I told Deb that I needed to talk, I really meant to Dexter.
I use most of the remaining tape, but soon Dexter is securely sitting in the chair. His head is down and he is sleeping. The police will search and search, but they won't come here. They'll look for the boat, then they'll look into Rudy Cooper's past records, trying to figure out where he would go. Then they'll learn Rudy Cooper died years ago. And then they'll be left scratching their heads. They'll have to search for days to get another lead. Maybe Fred's family or someone spotting me. By that time me and Dex will be long gone.
To what? The post-Reunion was always a little bit hazy. Freedom, the open road, killing mercilessly. Or maybe we'd start a new life somewhere else. If he feels the need to remain undercover I can do that. Anything for Dexter. Really, he'll be the one to decide what comes after.
I turn my attention to the TV in the living room. I wonder how the police are doing in their man hunt. I look at Dexter. I don't want to go to far from him. I pat him on the head "Don't worry little brother, I'll be right in the next room", I tell him, even though I know he can't hear. I wander into the living room and turn on the TV. I don't have a lot of furniture, so there isn't any sort of chair or couch in the living room at all. I grab the only unoccupied chair at the dining room table and bring it to the living room.
I flip through channels until the news comes on. A perky blonde with a serious face. "More on the Ice Truck Killer case. It appears that the prime suspect has used the alias 'Rudy Cooper'. Police are unable to identify his real name.", A picture of me enters the upper right screen. They got a good picture, I look nice. "Whoever this man is, he is believed to be armed and dangerous. If you see him, stay away and call the police immediately. Under no circumstances approach this man, it is believed that he is mentally unstable. In other news..." and I click off the TV. Looks like the police are officially in the middle of shit creek and currently lack a paddle.
I have to say, I like it. After so many years of pretending, it's nice to be recognized as who and what I am. A monster. I'm armed and mentally unstable, they say. I'm not armed, I don't know where they are getting that information from, and I don't think I'm mentally unstable. I'm more stable than most people even. I always have a plan, everything I do is thought out and structured. I just want different things in life. My priorities are abnormal, that's really all it is. I want my brother, that's all. And if that means people die, then that's okay.
My brother. I look back into the dining room. He is slumped over, just like I left him. I still feel sorry about the drug. I grab the chair and return it to its proper place. I look around the house, remembering. The hallway where we would play cars. The corner where the rocking chair was, where mother would put Dexter to sleep when he wouldn't fall asleep on his own. The spot in front of the TV where me and Dexter would watch TV. I remember watching 'Wile E. Coyote' with him. He would ask what the Coyote wants with the roadrunner. I told him he wanted to eat him. Dexter thought it was mean of the roadrunner to not let the coyote eat him.
The kitchen table where we use to hide under and pretend it was a castle. Dexter would like to pretend to be a dragon, but I would end up hugging him, and he would get mad. The knight doesn't kill the dragon with hugs, and I tell him that I didn't want to kill the dragon, and asked if we both could be dragons.
They say that sociopathy is mostly genetic, and rarely caused by environmental experiences. I have to wonder if that is the case. It could be either one with us.
It's dark now. Dexter will wake up soon, and I have to be there when he does. I grab a beer out of the frig and sit down, opening it. I turn the light on, and it shines directly down on the table. It gives limited light, but enough. I remember the dinner I had with Dexter. The steaks and beer. Really, I just wanted to do something like that again. Talk a little bit before the action.
But we will talk. Dexter was just confused. The lies Harry told him still cling to him. I'll set him free though. I sit and wait for him to wake up. It's another hour before he wakes up though. That's okay. My brother can sleep for as long as he needs.
He slowly lifts his head and looks at me, confused and groggy. He looks down at the tape. "Nothing personal. I just wanted to have a beer with you before we started", we need to talk a little bit first, to gain an understanding. "You made that kind of difficult...", but that's okay. He was just confused then. He's calm now, ready to understand.
"Sorry", he apologizes. Why? Does he think it was his fault?
"You don't ever have to apologize to me, Dexter", and he doesn't. There isn't anything that he could ever do to make me angry. He's my brother. "For who you are. For anything you do", because we are the same Dexter. Never again will we be alone.
But his mind wanders. He looks around the house. I join him in reminiscing. "Looks just like it use to, doesn't it?", and we make eye contract again.
"Who does it belong to?", does he think I'd take him to our old home like this if someone else owned it?
"Me. I got it for you actually", I finish. Just for this. The Reunion. So he'll remember.
He seems to ponder that. His mind is still fuzzy from the drugs I think. "I'm more of an apartment person", Harry really drove in the need to joke and kid. Harry and his lies.
"You are trapped in a lie, little brother", and I'll set you free. "The same lie they tried forcing me into."
"They?", that's right, he doesn't know what happened to me after mother died.
"Doctors, therapists, group leader. What a family they were..." I was robbed of my family. How I hate them all for their lies. They claimed to love me, to care for me and want to help me. They wanted their money. Their money and to tell me what is right and wrong. They told me that I was sick, and that I needed help.
"You were never put up for adoption", it's a statement, not a question. A brutal, cold, mean statement. I was locked up and forgotten. I thought they even threw away the keys sometimes.
"Afraid not. You were three. A little bird with a broken wing. First cop on the scene; Harry Morgan. There to make you all better..." to take you away from me, to lie to you, brainwash you. "But me. I could see it in his eyes. All he saw was a fucked up kid. They all did. Something about me...", I whisper softy at the end.
"I didn't even know you existed", That was all part of the lie Harry fed you.
"Course you didn't. Harry wanted to keep you all to himself", to lie to you so you could be manageable. All part of taming the lion. "And while you were being raised by the Morgan family, I only had a memory of a family", you.
"Me", and how synchronized we are. Our minds work almost exactly the same, even after years apart and completely different childhoods.
"Mom always told me to look after you", even though she never had to. I always did anyway. Even if she told me not to, I'd still make sure you were alright. "Imagine how I felt when I tracked you down and found out you were exactly like me", just think about it for a moment Dex. Embrace and understand how I felt.
"I don't have to imagine", he states with a smile. I lean back and smile. This is going perfectly. He knows, he understands. We are united as brothers once more. It's time for a little bit of celebration.
I get up and grab a knife off the table. His eyes widen briefly and I feel like scolding him. Doesn't he get it yet? I'm his big brother. I'll never hurt him. Instead I cut the tape, freeing him. That's what I'll do. Free him. I kneel down right next to him so we are at eye level with each other. Equals.
"I know what you've been going through all those years. The isolation, the otherness, the hunger that is never satisfied.", I grab his hand with both of mine, glad when he doesn't pull back. "But you are not alone anymore. You can be yourself. With me. Your real, genuine self. " his eyes are unfocused as he thinks about it. Sees the beauty of it. "Takes the breath away, doesn't it?" He doesn't say anything, but he looks over to the cracked door leading to the hallway. His eyes are distant again, and I wonder if he is remembering. I hope so. Remember me Dexter. That is where we would play cars.
He turns his look back to me, and he has the look of awe and wonder. With something new this time. Affection. He places his free hand on my hands. An agreement. Understanding. The very embodiment of our Reunion. And how it feels great.
I let go of his hand and gently place mine on the knife. I slide it over to him and put it in his hand, my other hand still resting on his. "I think we are ready for Debra", I whisper. He doesn't understand, but he trusts me. I can see it in his eyes. Brotherly trust. I stand up, leaving the knife in his hands. I trust him too.
He stays seated though. Things are moving fast for him, I know. I hate to rush things, but we can't leave Deb waiting forever. Especially with the cops after us. So I grab his shoulders and start to caringly pull him up. He gets the idea and lifts himself out of the chair, the blade twinkling in the artificial light. Begging for the blood to come. I put a hand on his back and guide him out back. I'm glad he doesn't shy away from my touch. It says a lot about his trust for me.
We exit our old home together, and head for the shed. How symbolic. Leaving our old home together to enter our new, bloody world.
We enter the shed, and I close the door behind him. It's time. Our first kill together. He walks towards her, amazed at my work. His style, just not his hands. "I prepared her just the way you like." and I can tell he likes. The way he walks around the table staring, amazed at how intimate I am with the way he kills. With him. "This time we'll do it together", I explain my plan. He is still holding the knife. It'll have his finger prints on it. Everything will have both our finger prints. They'll find Deb and the tools, dust them, and realize that Dexter wasn't a victim, but an accomplice. Then the news will be blaring about two armed and dangerous killers on the loose.
"Does it have to be Deb?", he asks softy, uncertain about cutting his ties with Harry. But he already knows the answer. Yes, it does.
"It's the only way", I tell him honestly.
"But she's my-"
"Fake sister. I know" He needs more help breaking that last hold Harry has on him. "Tell me something." I push the cart of tools against the table. "Your victims; are they all killers?"
"Yes." Just as I always knew.
"Harry teach you that?" And I already know the answer to that too. But this is for Dexter, so he'll realize how ridiculous this is.
"He taught me a code. To survive." For survival? Survival was only half of it. The other half was Harry's own selfish needs.
"So you're an avenger?" I ask as I walk around the table. Like it or not, that is what Harry turned him into. But it's still not him, just what he was taught. He needs to see that now.
"That's not why I kill." Of course it isn't. You kill because you are like me.
"You can be yourself around me", I remind him. He doesn't say anything, not sure what to do. "Who am I?", I need him to understand that Harry lied. That the code that Dexter clings to means nothing. Just some words spoken over a decade ago. It has nothing to do with survival anymore.
"A killer." he states plainly. I motion for him to continue. To elaborate on that thought. "Without reason or regret. Free", there we go. I survive without Harry's code. That code is just another lie.
"You can be that way too", and he will. We will.
"But the code...", as though that code means anything. I thought we were getting past that.
"Dex, you don't have a code. Harry did", I remind him as I walk up to him. "And he's been dead for ten years." I put my hand on his back and guide him back to Deb. She's waiting. "You can't keep him sitting on your shoulder like Jiminy fucking Cricket.", I laugh at how absurd the whole thing is. He laughs too. Good. Progress. "You need to embrace who you are now" He thinks about this, all of what I said, and looks down at Deb. She's ready. The code means nothing Dex, and you need to know that.
He turns back to me. "I don't know who I am", damn Harry and what he has done.
"Of course you don't. You've been away from your family since you were three. But I'm here now. I can help you. We can take this journey together." He looks down at Deb. Of course he doesn't know who he is. Harry has locked away what Dexter truly is. A mental cage, opened just often enough to keep the inner beast satisfied. But I'll let the beast out into full freedom. I'll show him the way.
"I can't. Not Deb." No. No, he can't be saying that.
"Oh, no, no, no. Don't say that", of course he can kill Deb. Deb is his fake sister. I'm his real brother. There's hardly a choice even to be made.
"I'm very...fond of her" A cold wave of fear washes through me, followed by a hot tremor of sheer anger. Anger of what Harry has done to Dexter. My little brother.
"You can't be both a killer and a hero." My angry rises at what Harry has done to my brother. The level of brainwashing that goes so far deeper than I first thought. Down to his very core. "It doesn't work that way!", I yell. I'm lost in my anger. My plan is shattering and my mind won't work. Hate coils tightly in my gut.
Harry. That fucking bastard. My anger focuses at him. The one who took my brother from me, and did this to him. He has to die. But he is already dead. I look down at his daughter, still half his blood. And Deb has messed with me enough to warrant being killed a dozen times over. I grab the knife out of Dexter's hand and get ready to stab Deb. Right in the heart. I raise my hand, gathering strength into my hand, tightly wrapped around the handle. I swing it down. But Dexter catches my hand right as Deb's eyes open. A hand pushes me back and against the wall. I drop the knife.
I see red. All affection and sanity leaves my body. I feel the need to hurt, to kill, something. I have Dexter in a head lock before I even know what I'm doing. Some part of my mind whines at hurting my brother, but then I hear the sirens. How did they find me so soon? My plan falls apart right and left. This is now life and death. Dexter wouldn't be found guilty of anything, he has the excuse of rescuing his sister.
With that thought in mind, the part of me that feels the need to protect Dexter at all costs gives way to my own selfish need to survive. I slam my knee against Dexter's face. My fear has taken over now. I need out. I go for the door to the outside, but then I hear voices. "Fuck...", I say as I leave through the back door. I lock it behind me and run, the last sight of the shed being Dexter crawling towards Deb, still on the ground. Hurt goes through me, but I don't give it the chance to take over. I run through the back and down into the tunnel leading out of the area. Something I put in place years ago for just such an occasion.
I'm torn. I'm running for my life. The cops are near, I can hear their yells. I run faster, my body giving into the fear. But my mind seethes. How dare Harry do that to my brother? Turn him against me like that! They think I'm a monster, but isn't Harry so much worse? He created the monsters in the first place. And then there is Deb. A little piece of Harry that took my place next to Dexter. How long I have waited to kill her, and in the last second she slips through my fingers. Harry instilled Dexter with the need to protect Deb. It was selfish, no doubt. Give your daughter her own personal body guard. Who gives a fuck about the body guard himself?
But underneath the anger is more. Hurt, at Dexter's rejection. Regret at hurting him, pushing him from me. I'm his big brother, yet I hit him. He was brainwashed by Harry, it isn't his fault he is living the lie. It's my fault. I failed in freeing him. And now look at me, running through the suburbs in the middle of the night. I look back at the blue and red lights in the distance. I slow to a walk. Less suspicious. That's become almost automatic for me.
I walk away from Dexter a failure.
I can't let Deb live. After all the failed plans, she needs to die. I need some sense of victory. Besides, after what I saw, Deb is in the way of my brotherhood. I can't expect Dexter to kill her. I have to kill her myself. I have to remove the rock from the path of brotherhood. I know where she'll stay too. With Dexter, of course. I go there, to his apartment. I still feel bad about the way I treated him. And I need a new plan. I pushed him away, and I know that. I take the blame. So I'm not the perfect big brother. But I still want to be a good big brother, and that means I can't give up on Dexter. I'll show him the way.
But first, Deb. She's a complication. I underestimated how deep Harry got into Dexter's mind. I thought I could pull Dexter free enough to kill Deb. I was wrong. She needs to be killed, and I'll have to do it myself.
So I watch Dexter as he walks around his bed room, making everything comfortable for Deb. She is sleeping in his bed, face down as she does. Dexter's lips are moving, but I can't hear him through the glass of his window. He is adjusting the curtains though. He sits on the bed and strokes her hair after he is done. Anger rises. He strokes her hair the way I stroked his.
It's Brian and Dexter, not Debra and Dexter. We are the siblings, don't you see, Dex? He turns the lamp off and leaves the room. He goes to his living room and falls asleep watching cheesy Christmas specials.
It's time for Deb to die.
I pick the lock easily. I walk over to Dexter. He sleeps peacefully on the couch. My brother. What has Harry done to you? I'm sorry I pushed you too hard and too fast. I understand. Everything happened too quickly. You didn't have enough time to sever the bonds, to break free of the lies. I wanted to give you more time, but I was rushed too. The best things in life take time, and our Reunion was suppose to be the best thing in either of our lives. But then it got rushed and spoiled. I'll make it up to you little brother. I'm tempted to hug him, touch him, show some sign of affection. But I don't. He's not drugged this time, he's just asleep. Easily woken.
So I move onto Deb. She is asleep in his room. She hasn't moved since my last visit. Soon she won't ever move again. I take a last glance back at Dexter and rush into the bedroom, anger rising yet again. How dare that bitch take Dexter from me?
I plunge the knife into her back as deep as I can. Only it's not a back. Too soft. I reach down and pull off the blanket. A dummy. Fake arms and legs. I spent my whole life making them, I should have known.
A trap, I realize with horror. Dexter isn't asleep. A sharp pressure rings around my neck and a warm body stands behind me. "Shit", I mutter, grasping at the cord around my neck. The knife falls to the ground. Not that it would do any good, I would never go so far as to stab Dexter.
"I stopped by your prosthetics lab after I left Deb at the hospital." Dexter whispers in my ear. Why, Dexter? Why? I try to get the cord off my neck, but it's unwavering. I fall to my knees. My world is starting to get fuzzy. My thoughts slow. "You do such great work, you even fooled yourself", Dexter whispers in my ear as I hit the ground. I whimper. "Sweet dreams Biney", drifts into my ear, but I don't have time to process it. My world has gone black.
The next time I wake up, it's cold. I like it. The cold. I stare up at the ceiling of my freezer, and I wonder if I fell asleep while working. But it's wrong. I'm shackled to the table. Not a good place to be. The sound of the door opening draws my attention to Dexter. He just walked in carrying a box. He has a look on his face. Affection, sorrow. As emotional as Dexter's face ever gets. "Hey", he says, a weak attempt at being casual.
My mind comes to focus, but the world around me just doesn't make sense, no matter how hard I try. He looks up, and almost looks sad. "You weren't suppose to wake up"
"I guess not", I whisper back. I can relate to Deb now. The way she tried so hard to pretend the truth wasn't real. Reality is hitting me. I just can't accept it. The world has come to clarity, I know what is happening. But I refuse to understand what is happening. I wish I didn't wake up.
"Sorry. Police recorded all your knives as evidence. Took a while to find your dinner flatware."
"Sterling", I say. I grasp for sense of causality. So this is how it ends. I refuse to be like Deb, fighting back reality. This is how I'll die. By my brother's hands. I hate the thought of death, but if I had to pick a way to be killed, this is it. I can't think of a better way, but that doesn't make this way hurt any less. "I keep it for special occasions." I tell Dexter, adding more to the conversation. I want to talk to him. At least grant me your companionship with your fury. If you do, then the Reunion was a success. That's all I wanted after all. Your companionship. Being by my side till the day I die.
"But you are", he moves back to the matter of my conciseness. "I can give you more tranquilizer if you want. It's a service I don't usually offer." He offers, and I laugh at that thought. At this scenario. At how hard I worked, how much I planned, and just how badly it all blew up in my face.
He looks confused by my laughter. Doesn't he get the joke? How things just fell apart. Maybe there is a God. Maybe the reason he let me live all these years is so that I can live through this hell. "Am I one of your victims now? Are you going to collect a little sample of Biney's blood for your slide collection?" I ask him, because I lost. Harry's hold on him is tighter than I could pull.
"You're not a trophy" and I take pleasure in the fact that at least he doesn't enjoy this. That he doesn't want to hurt me. "But you need to be put down"
"Why? Because of your code?", how Harry has poisoned you mind?
He opens the container of flatware. "For the safety of my sister.", he corrects. Doesn't he know? Whether or not Harry put 'Protect Deb' down as part of the code doesn't change the fact that it is part of the code. A lesson taught by Harry.
And I realize how little I did help. I showed him the truth about his past with me, but not the truth about his past with Harry. I did nothing to set him free. Instead I just blew it. I lost my temper when I should have been patient and understanding. A lifetime of brainwashing is not fixed with a good chat.
I deserve this. I've been a bad brother Dexter. I'm sorry. "She's not your real sister", I try vainly one more time to break him free of the lies. He picks up a knife, and I know what is coming. "She's a stranger to you and she'll always be one", I don't understand how Harry taught him that. To give up a real connection in favor of a fake one. Like Deb would accept Dexter like I do. For who he really is. He stops and stares sorrowfully at the blade in his hand. Maybe it's not over yet. If he can forgive me, I can forgive him. We're brothers after all. "I tried to help you by killing her"
"I know that!" He yells, and I realize it was vain hopes of a possible success. I'm going to die now, and Dexter will continue to live his lie. Harry's lie. How deeply has Harry gotten into him? How badly have I failed as a brother? It took me too many years to find him. I didn't even start looking as the first thing I did out of the institution. I had waited a few years first, living selfishly.
I should have broken out of the institution. I could have saved Dexter from all this brainwashing while it was going on. We could have been together, free, years ago. A tear escapes my eye. How messed up is all of this? "You should know how this isn't easy for me" he whispers. I do know, Dex, I do know. And I hate how Harry, even ten years after his death, is forcing you to do this. He's too deep in your mind. I can't take him out Dexter, you have to do it yourself. He leans in close and continues. "You've done more to deserve my knife than anyone", only it's not your knife. It's Harry's, don't you see? Don't you understand?
But I can't bring myself to say that. It won't do any good. Because I can't fix you, Dex. And I'm sorry for that. He leans in all the way and presses his forehead against mine. It feels good, this contact. I remember the days of our childhood. How he would get scared of the dark and come into my bed. He'd say that the monster will get him. I'd tell him I won't let any monster ever get him. And then he'd be a warm presence in my bed for the rest of the night. But I lied. I did let a monster get him. Harry got him.
I'm glad, though, that I can feel his warmth one last time. My little brother. "You're the only one I ever wanted to set free." He tells me. He just doesn't understand. Like a hamster running around and around in it's wheel. I'm so sorry Dex...
If this whole game is to go to naught, to be wasted effort, I want to at least leave him one last thing. Perhaps one day he'll realize what I mean. "You're the one who needs setting free little brother", he sobs. Please don't cry Dexter. I don't like it when my little brother cries. "You're like a butterfly. You can be what-" and all I see is a flash of silver before my throat is cut open.
I love you little brother.