It's late at night. Me and my brother are both safely tucked in bed, miles from the war grounds-where sounds of explosions and guns made it's way other to our ears. Ralph, my twin brother, and I, Jemima, loved to hear those sounds right before bed, though sometimes they got a little close and startled the other children in the safehouse. I never could understand why. This was the safest area on the field. If anything, they should fear for their parents lives. Their parents where out in that mess.
I laid next to Ralph, trying not to cuddle, though I felt so complied. We were both thirteen now, and cuddling was prohibited, seeing as though both of us where maturing. I missed the days, when I would get these bouts of loneliness-even though I knew my brother was right there-and I would hug him close. He wouldn't mind. Sometimes he would hug back. I miss those times dearly.
I felt myself drift into a deep sleep, all the explosions fading into the distance. I didn't hesitate to grab it. I rarely got any sleep. I would always close my eyes and see bloody faces of solders that had been killed in battle. I was one of the girls who helped in the small hospital tent, so I saw death and suffering everyday. You think, when I mention this, that I'm feeling queasy or light-headed from the visual, correct? Oh, but you are mistaken. I am not exactly sure how to describe what I feel. My stomach twists, and I feel adrenaline pour into my veins, my heart begins to race, I begin to feel like I'm flying... I don't know why, but seeing dead and injured... Excites me.
I know, I have gone mad. I took this explanation into account many months ago. To speak the truth, I didn't know what to make of the situation, and I had tried then to take my life. My brother found me, and saved me. He insisted that I have not been the same since. I agree. I just want to sink my hands into someones chest, and rip their heart out, an feel it pulsate in my hands. I want to make someone die. I want to murder.
Ralph doesn't understand this part of me. He thinks it is but a phase that I will grow out of. He believes I gained it from watching our father fight, and from working in the retched hospital for so long. I think not. I think that I was manufactured for war, for death.
I remember seeing our mother being killed before us, by a mad man. Well, he is not a mad man to me. I honour him for being able to actually kill. But I do not honour his choice. He killed my mother, the only mother Ralph and I had. I still loathe that man with my every being.
"Jemima, wake up. Your day at the tent is about to start." I could hear Ralph say. I did not want to get up. I felt so at peace, so calm, I just didn't want to let go. But I knew that they would need me. And I wanted today's fix. Ever since I had found my obsession with death, I loved working in the hospital tent. The days that I did not... I felt empty and torn inside. Sometimes I would injure myself just to smell the blood, and watch the crimson roll down my leg.
"Jemima.." Ralph said, shaking me a little. I rolled my closed eyes. He really wanted me up. There was more then just tent duty to be made today.
"I am getting up." I mumbled, noticing that my voice was a little rough. Did I snore last night? Normally Ralph would have kicked me in my sleep if I had. Maybe he slept just a deeply as I had last night.
"Hurry! They said that we may watch them set off the cannon if we hurry!" Ralph said. He was already wearing his simple top-hat, jacket, and dress-pants. I wished some days, like today, that I was a male, so I could just throw clothing on like that.
I forced myself up, and out of the regular sized bed. I let out a long yawn and stretched my arms above my head.
"Jemima!" I turned to look at my brother, who pointed at my leg. I directed my eyes to where he was pointing and sighed. There was a deep gash there, from where I hadn't had tent duty yesterday. It was larger then a lot of my others, because I had been in a particularly bad mood.
"It's nothing." I said, turning away to go into a draw on my side of the bed. I pulled out a plain gray dress. Then, I reached for my undergarments. I did not care what Ralph saw of me. We where twins, and had never really stayed for from each other, not even to change. Though that had been a little different lately, because I was always trying to hide my obsession.
"That is something. What-? How-? When-?" he couldn't exactly find the right words. I wasn't going to lie to him. He was my brother and best friend, after all.
"I used that big pocket knife dad gave you for your twelfth birthday. I just put it my leg and cut. And it was around dinner time, when you where in the dining hall, I told you I needed to use the restroom. I came here instead." I shrugged it off. It was really nothing. I knew how to care for my obsession. If I had not have done this, someone might have been dead this morning. I took off my nightwear, and began to slip on a white under top. "Help me put this on." I said, handing him a corset.
"You mustn't do this anymore, Jemima. What would father say if he found out?" Ralph said, as he wrapped the corset around me and began to lace it. He pulled tightly, making me cough.
"Just.. Just a little too tight, Ralphy." I said, trying to breathe. I was arched a little, trying not to cough up a lung.
"Promise you will stop this nonsense, I will let it loose." So now he was torturing me to promise something I could not... Clever boy.
I let out a puff of air, and nodded, "Fine. I promise." I said, my face starting to break out in a sweat from lack of oxygen.
"If I catch another wound on your legs, Jemima, I'm turning you in to father." he said, letting the corset loose.
"Fine." I said again, bitterness lacing every aspect of my voice. He could not tell father. Father would order me dead. Ralph knew that. He tightened the corset again, and let it loose, trying to find where to tighten it and leave it. He was the only one the knew how to dress me in a corset.
"Good girl." he commented, after tying the corset, and stepping away. I sighed a little. It was a little tighter then usual but I knew why. He wanted to play games with me to get me to stop. I wasn't going to stop. Unless he wanted blood on my hands, I wasn't going to stop. But I could make him think I would for the time being.
I took the dress and slipped it over my head, getting myself as situated as I could in the dress. I, in all honesty, hated these dresses. I hated dresses at all. I wanted to be able to break every unwritten rule and not get in trouble for it. But didn't every child?
"Here." Ralph came up behind me, and helped me get the dress to lay on my shoulders. He tugged at the skirt a little, making some of the ruff lay it's self out.
"Thank you." I said, nodding a little. "Now, shall we go watch that cannon shoot off?" I suggested. Anything to get away from this awkward atmosphere.
"We shall." Ralph said, letting a big smile write it's self on his face. He offered his hand and I took it. Like always, his hand felt like ice. Ralph was always a few degrees colder then normal, and I really wished I knew why. That would be a great discovery.
As we approached the cannon, Ralph's face lit up more and more. "Let us both stand on either side of it, so we can both get twin experiences!" Ralph said, excitement challenging his voice.
"Alright. But remember, don't stand too close. Anything could happen." I warned him. I had seen solders that had stood just a bit to close to the cannon, and had their whole face deformed. Just the mental pictures made me squirm with excitement. I loved when we would get those idiots in the tent.
Ralph nodded in excitement, and paced to the other side of the cannon. I walked close to the cannon and back-stepped fifteen paces. That should be enough.
"Three!" I could hear a solder yell. "Two!" he pulled something on the cannon down. "One!" he aimed it up, and from what I could tell, it was right at the other side's hospital tent. "Fire!" he exclaimed.
All in a few seconds, many things happened. One; my ears aches severely from the sound of the cannon being shot off. Two; I wasn't standing anymore. Three; my whole right side felt like the cannon had hit it. I don't remember much about before this pain, but there was one thing I knew was running through my mind 'Is Ralph okay?'.
I could see black, and all I could hear was ringing. "Someone help." I tried to at least whisper, but I felt nothing move. I was injured. I knew that. And somewhere deep inside, I knew Ralph was too.
"Jemima? Jemima? Can you hear me?" I heard. 'Yes I can hear you.' I attempted to reply, though I still felt nothing move.
"She'll be fine. It's mainly shock from the explosion. Her brother came too quite quickly though..." I could hear one of the nurses that I normally work with. So I must be in the hospital tent. Hmm. What exactly happened? I forced my eyes open, and looked around. My whole right side was still aching, and whenever I looked around, my right eye burned. From what I could tell, I wasn't seeing from my right eye.
"Jemima!" I heard my brother exclaim. I turned my head a little, and I saw him. His face was extremely battered, bruises decorating all of his face and neck. He had an eye patch on his left eye, and there was gauze and tissue taped to his left cheek. I gave him a confused look.
"Wh...What happened?" I murmured, my voice coming out nearly silent.
"We were both bonkers for standing that close to that cannon. I should have not been that air-headed. It's my fault... We are both injured..." Ralph looked away, I could see self-anger in his eye.
I took in a deep breath and pushed myself up. My head throbbed, but I ignored it. "It's no one's fault, Ralphy.." I whispered, reaching out, and putting my hand on his shoulder. He flinched, but didn't move away. That must have been the damaged shoulder. I felt sick now. I wanted to see the damage. I wanted to make the wounds bleed. On him and me. I bit my lip, and tried to ignore the impulse.
"Thank you, Jemima." Ralph said, leaning forward and hugging me lightly. I flinched, but tried to stay calm.
I looked at my brother and then gasped. "Dad..." I said, as I saw my father come barging into the tent. He had anger written on his face, and he looked like he could kill.
"Huh?" Ralph said, just in time to turn and meet our father's hand. Ralph fell back, cowering against the bed I was on.
"You two worthless pieces of flesh! I cannot believe that you two let this happen!" my father exclaimed, right to my face.
"We... We didn't mean.. We didn't mean for this... to happen..." I stammered. I was so frightened of my father. He had always pushed me and Ralph around, ever since our mother had died. He blaims us for letting that man kill her in front of us. We didn't want that either... But Father never thought what way..
"Shut your damned mouth." he said, crossing his arms. He looked at me, and gave a scowl. "I think this makes you look better. Before you where nothing. Now at least you have battle scars. Even if they were all from being an imbecile." I was extremely taken aback. I had plenty of battle scars. Some from injured patients that freaked out and hit me, or from my own obsession with blood and injury.
"Excuse me!" I nearly yelled. "I have plenty of scars!" I felt rage pulse through my veins. I pushed the blanket off of me, and I leaned forward for my tattered skirt. I pulled it up to reveal my mutilated legs. I narrowed my eyes at him, "If anything, I have more scars then you could even count."
"Jemima!" Ralph exclaimed. It took me only a moment to realize what I had done.
"You slimy bitch! You want to die! That has to be it!" my father's eyes where red with furry, and it made me flinch. He looked around for all by a second, grabbing a scalpel off of the stand next to the bed I was resting on only moments prier. "I'll show you death!" he said, charging at me with the sharp scalpel.
I yelped, and leaned back, somehow flipping and landing on my feet. My head throbbed heavily on my shoulders, but I ignored it. 'Time to put your obsession in action, Jemima dear.' I said to myself. I grabbed the first thing my hand laid on, which happened to be one of the blades left by a slain solder. I grinned. "I'll kill you!" I yelled, getting up, and running toward my father.
He didn't look scared at all. My craving to kill at this point was so powerful, I could almost feel my movements as if I was not doing it. "Ralph! Get out of the way!" I commanded, as I charged for our father.
My father pushed my blade sideways, and aimed at my face. I ducked and he managed to nick my shoulder. "Tsk." I rolled on the floor, and started at him again. I swung the blade at my father's hand, knocking the surgical tool out of his hand. I then watched as he desperately searched for another weapon. When he couldn't find one, his eyes met with mine.
"Jemima... Would you really kill the only parent you have left? Without me, you and your brother have nothing." he said, trying to scare me out of my decision.
"You are nothing to me. All you have done is make Ralph's and my life hell. Why should I let you live? To you, Ralph and I are just your puppets. I'm tired of it." I put the blade on my father's chest, and watched as terror welled up in his eyes.
"Jemima.. Please.. Don't.." he plead. It was music to my ears. I could hear as he began to cry. That made my heart race.
I then smiled, and took a step away from him.
"Oh, thank you so much." he said, beginning to sit up.
I let out a cackle. "You insolent little twit. I would never let someone go that easily." I turned much quicker then I thought I could, and within milliseconds, I heard a cry of pain, and I felt warm liquid run down my leg. "Ahh." I said, my heart racing, my hands shaking with excitement.
"Jemima!" Ralph said, fear ran across his pale face, making the bruises more noticeable. "You... You killed him."
"I did it." A huge smile was painted across my face as I pulled the blade from my father's chest. More blood poured out, and puddled around my feet. I turned to face Ralph. "He... He deserved it. He ruined us. We are much better without him. You know that." I said, nodded softly. I could feel blood seeping through my dress, staining it. I didn't care. The warmth made me feel high.
"But... You just... You just committed murder!" he exclaimed.
I looked around the room. There were four or five nurses that had been watching the whole thing. "It was self defense. He charged at me first." I said, holding my head high, my bangs sticking to my sweating forehead.
Ralph watched my face intensely. He sighed loudly. "Let... Let's go get washed up.." he said softly, trying to ignore all that had just happened. "Thank you, ladies, for caring for us earlier." he nodded a little, before grabbing my bloodied hand, and pulling me out of the tent.
I felt great. Like I'd just had sex, if this is what sex felt like. No. Nothing felt better then killing. Not sex, not getting high, not anything. Killing was my sex. I felt another smile appear on my face.
"Jemima..." He stopped and turned to face me. "Why..?" he asked softly. "Why do you like death...? Why do you like to hurt yourself? Why?" he asked, looking right into my eyes.
I thought for a moment. "It makes me feel like I am flying... I get a high when I feel the warmth of blood rolling down my skin. My heart races when I smell blood. When I hear shrill screams of pain, I can feel my blood boil. I do not know why I feel this way.. I just do." I watched my brother's face, as his expression changed from anger, to confusion, to disgust, back to confusion.
"Show me." Ralph said, no humour in his eyes. My eyes widened a little. "Show me your high. Let's go back to the safehouse, and you can show me right now."
"No... No, Ralph.. I cannot do that.." I shook my head, watching his face intensely.
"Yes, Jemima! I want to see it. I want to feel that. Please...? I am your twin, you other half... How could you let me be, confused and alone...?" Ralph had a pout on his face that reminded me of when we were younger.
"Fine." I hissed. I really did not want to do this, but Ralph did have a valid argument.
He grinned, and began running, quickly, to the safehouse. Once more, there was no one left in the building until the dinner bell chimed. So, we where safe.
He took off his shirt, and pulled his pocket knife out from under our pillow. He flipped it open. He looked at the blade, then at me. "Here." he offered the blade to me. It took me only a few seconds to realize what he was implying. He wanted me to cut him. He wanted to see the excitement this would give me. But right now, it struck me with fear.
"I cannot, Ralph... I might cut too deep. I cannot feel my work on you... I cannot tell when to stop.." I said,watching the blade glimmer in his hand.
"Please, Jemima... Just once. I want to see how you feel. I want to play victim." he said, holding the blade closer to me. He was not going to give up, huh?
"Fine... But please tell me if you begin to feel lightheaded, or dizzy." I said, watching his face carefully as the blade from his hand to mine. I leaned forward a little. I could see as he took breaths in and out. I put the cold blade on his bruised left shoulder. I pushed down and dragged the blade slowly down his chest, letting blood slowly ooze out, into the stainless steel, and drip onto my hand. He made a small groan in pain, but didn't pull away. He watched my expression change from regret to happiness. He watched as my hand went from fearful to confident.
I stopped at the bottom of his ribcage, on the right side. I had blood coating my hands and the blade I was holding. I had forgotten all about Ralph. I was so pleasured by the smell, the feel, the sight, all of the feelings on the blood. I pulled the blade away and put it to my lips. I licked the thick liquid off of the blade and smiled at the taste.
Suddenly, I was knocked out of my little world by the feeling of Ralph's hand on top of mine. "May I?" he asked, before slipping the wet blade from my grip. He hugged me close, and used this opportunity to loosen the lace of my dress in the back a bit. He tugged on the left shoulder on my dress, letting it fall to my elbow. He disregarded the fact that now I only had a white undershirt on.
He put the blade on the start of my collar bone, and pushed down, dragging it down to the middle of my chest. He watched my face as he did this. He made sure I did not mind, which I had not. I was letting him get acquainted with whatever he may have been feeling.
He copied what I had done, licking the blood off the blade. He had a flash of three or four emotions all mixed, on his face. I know I saw confusing, and pleasure. I couldn't really figure the rest.
"Hmm." he said, leaning back. Both of us where now cut and bloody, neither really minding it at this point.
"What are you thinking?" I said, watching his face.
"It... It felt amazing... To see the damage... To feel the pain. To hear your breathing roughen as I dragged the blade across your skin. The feeling mine and your blood mixing.. It was all so overwhelming... Amazing.. I.. I understand now, Jemima... I'm sorry I doubted you." Ralph looked at me, with apologetic eyes.
"It's okay. Now, let us get washed up and changed. We cannot let anyone know this happened. We would be shunned upon. I know I must already be for what I did to father.. He was one of the best solders on the field." I sighed, and got up. I let my dress slide off my hips, and I picked up the laced mess, and pushed it outside, in the trash bucket. I hissed a little when I had jerked my right arm forward to throw it, it locked up, and ached. I had completely forgotten about the cannon accident by now.
I reached up, and felt the patches on my face. They felt foreign I was not used to be patched after being wounded. It was extremely odd.
I moved my hand away from my face, and started to my drawers. I pulled at a smaller, more comfortable dress, that I could put on myself, seeing as though it didn't have lace all throughout the top of it. It was just a simple dress that I could slide over my head. It hid my collar bone, and it also hid most of the bruising on my right shoulder and neck.
Ralph had disposed of his shirt, and had already cleaned his wound up, and was putting on another dress shirt.
I had completely forgotten about the blood til this moment. I dropped the dress I was holding and scurried to the washbasin. I took the washrag, and dipped it in the water. I washed the cut, being very careful not to irritate it.
When I was done, Ralph had my dress, and was ready to assist me in putting it on. Just as I had situated myself in the new attire, I heard the door to the safehouse open.
Both mine and Ralph's head turned to see who it was. There was a large man, maybe about thirty or so in age, and he looked like a warrior. Ralph had a glimmer of respect in his eyes for the man, even though he knew nothing of him.
"You two. The hospital told me where you were." He said, his voice low, frightening almost.
"What do you want?" I spouted, even though, deep inside, I knew that if he wanted to, he could kill me right here.
"I heard that you-" he pointed right at me. I felt a shiver make it's way down my spine, "-had the spine to murder your own father. Is this correct?" he asked, watching me with threatening eyes.
"Yes, sir, it is." Ralph commented. "I watched her." he said, nodding lightly.
"Great!" the man's eyes brightened and a smile appeared on his face. "I have an offer that you cannot refuse." he said, already implying that if they did not comply to what he asked that they would die.
"What is that?" I said, crossing my arms, my eyes not leaving his. I would not let him know that I was scared of every aspect of him. I was thirteen, not even five feet tall, and skinny. He could break me in half the same way he could a twig.
"Come with me, and being my executioners." he said, watching Ralph's face.
Ralph looked at me the same time my gaze snapped to him. We both nodded simultaneously. "Absolutely!"
We both loved the thrill of injury, and I know I love the feeling of killing someone... Executioners did just that! Tortured people and killed them.
"And I will, of course, provide you with room and board. No more living in tents, in danger of being bombed. I own a large clock tower about an hour from right here, It's not as large as Big Ben, but it does compete." he said. "So you two shale pack your things, and I will assist you to my travelers cart. You both will love it. I just know it." He gave a grin. I almost smiled back.
"And before we leave, shale I introduce myself, I am Darcy Burroughs. You may call me Lord Burroughs. And you are?" he pointed at me first.
I curtsied and smiled, "Jemima, at your service." I said, trying to hold as much respect as I could.
"You?" he pointed at Ralph.
I turned my head to my brother, who bowed and replied, "I am Ralph, her older twin." I resisted the urge to hit him. In all honesty, we never figured out who was born first, and Ralph just decided one day, that since he was taller and had a deeper voice, that he was older. I won't put it past him, sometimes he did hone leadership that I lacked.
"Well, Ralph, Jemima, get packing." he said, turning to the door. "I will be back soon to escort you to the cart." was the last thing he said, before disappearing.
I had a great smile on my face. "This is brilliant!" I said, as a pulled a few of my best dresses out of the drawer. I pulled out one of my bags, and began filling it with all of the clothing I owned that was not tattered. Ralph was copying me, packing only the best quality of his collection of clothing.
"Well, brother, I think this is a start to a new beginning." I said, clasping my luggage closed.
"Agreed!" Ralph said, closing his luggage as well. "It's show time!"
I hope you liked it! It took me all morning to write, and I still don't think it really made up to much. Review please? I want to know how I did and what I can do next time to make it better. I am sorry if the facts are wrong. I am an idiot. But I couldn't write it any other way... Well, I'm off. Please please tell me what you think!
Hugs and kisses for reading!