When all is quiet, carefully and silently I creep up to the door of my brother's apartment and skillfully pick the lock.

I've done this so often now that it's become second nature. I know the place by heart, the familiar satisfying snick of the door yielding itself to me, proof that my brother hasn't yet decided to change his locks to try and keep me out. Even after everything that's happened, Dexter's trust in me is amusing. For someone who is almost as demented as I am, sometimes my brother can be so naive.

Or maybe he wanted it this way? Perhaps he knew that I would come back, that not even the police could keep me away from what's rightfully mine. He likes the game, and we're still playing. My turn again. Oh, Dexter, you are good. Offering your fake sister as bait, even after you went to all the trouble to save her from me, from us? How deliciously awful. Maybe I've misjudged him. Maybe he's more like me than I thought.

I enter the spotless living room, which looks the same as it always did, my feet moving softly across the carpet. The television has been left on, bathing the dark in its cool electric glow. My brother is draped across the couch, a guard dog who has fallen asleep at his vigil. I watch him for a few moments, his features so like mine even in sleep, and think about what could have been. Sighing, I slip the needle with the M99 out of my pocket and slide the pointy end into the exposed flesh of his neck. It goes in smoothly and he makes a small, irritated sound, as if at the bite of a fly, but doesn't open his eyes. So peaceful. I didn't want to do it this way, but I just can't have Dexter waking up now, and he hasn't exactly given me any other options. This will have to do.

I make less of an effort to disguise my presence as I make my way over to the bedroom, confident that the sedative has already done its work, but I still have to be quiet if I am to take dear Debra by surprise. She is a heavy sleeper, but I doubt she will be having pleasant dreams tonight. Her fiance did try to kill her, after all.

I push the door open and catch my breath as I see her there on the bed, sprawled out as if waiting for me, like she was so many nights when I could have done it but didn't, because I wanted to wait. I wanted to wait for Dexter, for the time to be right. Now my perfect plan has been ruined, perverted by Harry's fucking Code. How I hate Harry. How I want to see Debra bleed just so that I can get back at the dead man who took my brother from me. And then, then I will show my little brother who he really is.

Despite my anger I feel a smile creep up over my face at this thought, and my hand palms my knife as I savor the sensation. Then I lunge forward and bury my blade into her soft flesh.

Except my knife doesn't meet flesh, instead digging itself handle-deep into the mattress, with nothing between the two. Furious, I rip the sheet off the bed, only to find a neat pile of prosthetic limbs and a mattress with a large hole in the middle.

Dexter is good. Tag, you're it. But I tire of the game. As it turns out, I am a sore loser. And my brother won't play it my way. He's already made that clear enough. Angrily, I rush into the other room and drag my little brother's sleeping, drugged form off the couch and onto the floor of the living room. The glow of the television outlines us both. Dexter lies unresponsive on the carpet, of course.

Even though I'm angry that he's ruined it yet again, him and Harry, together, I can't help but admire Dexter for his ingenuity and sense of irony, using my own handiwork, my prosthetics, against me. I'm afraid, though, that our game is coming to an end. I see now that my brother cannot be made to understand, can never know what I want him to know. He's been too brainwashed. He's one of them.

There's really only one way this can end now, dear baby brother. You're broken, I see that now. Horrible Harry has made you into an abomination, a mockery of our divine birthright. But it's okay. I'll end your suffering. I won't let them keep you in this cage. If I can't have you, then no one will.

Straddling Dexter's limp form with the knife still in my hand and my knees on each side of him, I examine my brother's helpless position, contemplating the best way. Should I stick my knife between his ribs? Unconsciously I reach my hand - the one that isn't holding the knife - out to touch his gently rising chest, my fingers against the place where his heart is. I think about what it would be like to kill my brother. My own empty heart almost flutters at the prospect.

Dexter shifts beneath me and slurs something barely comprehensible, turns his head to one side. There is no risk of him waking up, not for at least another hour, but he's said something, a name. I lean in close so that I can hear, my full weight almost on top of him.


He is thinking of that cunt of a girlfriend of his, the one that looks so much like mom. Heh. I should have killed her, now that I think of it. Maybe the plan would have worked better if I'd chosen her instead of Deb. She wasn't connected to Harry. She would have made a more perfect victim, an easy one. Don't you agree, little brother? Wouldn't she look nice all cut up into several equal-size pieces, each one neatly frozen and drained of its blood? Wouldn't you like her that way? Or maybe you've been too castrated by Harry and everyone else to ever dream of it. Do you lie like this while she fucks you, is that it? On your back like a bitch?

As a test, I press my blade against his exposed throat. Not hard enough to cut, but my hand wavers. No. My hand with the knife moves down to the bony flesh of his wrist. Much easier to cut through. Maybe I should begin there. Or maybe I should just start lopping off fingers until he wakes up. I wouldn't want my brother to miss the fun, after all, and I do prefer for him to know when I am killing him. I want him to see how good his blood looks when it's staining the carpet. Oh, poor little Dexter. If only you'd picked door number one.

I need a good cleaver if I'm actually going to do this right. My brother deserves the best, after all. Fortunately, I know where Dexter keeps his.

I rummage through the trunk which is normally hidden in the back of the closet in the bedroom. A secret drawer, how ingeniously simple. I pick the right instrument out of my brother's exquisite set of tools, and look lovingly over the rest, over the syringes and rolls of duct tape and plastic wrap, admiring not for the first time the level of preparation taken, the care and order of it all. How great we would have been together, if only he'd done what he was supposed to. I sigh. Then, with the weight of the cleaver in my right hand, I go back to the living room.

I stand for a moment and look at him sprawled out on the floor, right where I've left him. My poor, pathetic, ugly brother. I want to make him beautiful. I imagine dotted lines along his flesh where I will make the cuts. My work on his physical body won't even be that much of a stretch. He's already in pieces, and I can't put him back together.

With his eyes closed and his face relaxed, he looks almost angelic, and for a moment I can see the face of my baby brother, the one who died long ago. I see the face of our mother. She died with her eyes open.

My hand trembles.

I only pause to look at him again for a brief moment before I slip out the door, leaving the meat cleaver unused on the kitchen counter. By the time he wakes up in the morning with only a slight headache, I will be far away.