AN: Normally I wouldn't submit such a short story, but the CT section of FF has been so sad and lonely that I figured I could put this up. It has to do with my own backstory dealing with the Scissor Twins- two orphans trying to survive on the streets of London. In my headcanon, Jemima happened to be a severely ill child, and that's why it mentions a segment about 'her sickness.' This story is also in her perspective.
I've also been working on a Ralph x Annabel short story for the past few months. Hopefully I can find the inspiration to finish that in the near future. Until then, have this;
I have never believed in their God— certainly my brother and I have walked upon sacred ground, to partake in what the churches had to offer the 'poor, miserable' children of the Lord, but I was hardly convinced in thinking that The Father existed at all.
Even if He did attain some form of factual integrity, none of His grace or light was ever spent on an orphan like me. To Him, I could only be seen as that sick, dying girl, who had seen no more of the earth than constant struggle and hardship. We were not only the poor and miserable, but the children raised in the dirt and grime—filthy, leeching maggots in the eyes of the higher classes, and seen as nothing more than nuisances when we were merely trying to survive, to try and salvage any semblance comparable to a lifein this world. My brother's attempts in finding us proper food, shelter, and warmth almost always proved a struggle in a society that refused to open its arms. Numerous nights were spent with him returning home with nothing but meager scraps, and on the worst occasions, he'd come back covered in blood—beaten mercilessly over a single peach or apple, nothing more. It made my stomach churn to see him like that, and not just because of his physical condition, but because of the forlorn look in his eyes, worn and tired and unremarkably defeated.
My sickness never helped ease his conscious either. As far back as I could remember, things had always been this way; too weak, too worthlessto actually help my brother. He could hardly stand leaving my side for long—even if he didn't admit it out loud, he was terrified. Whenever I found myself overcome by coughing fits that left blood in my mouth, I could see that fear in the way he looked at me, and in the way every muscle in his body tensed as if preparing itself to handle the worst of outcomes. We never brought up the subject out loud, but he and I were well aware that I was to die, and probably in the near future. Although he was stubborn, and persistent on trying to keep me with him and long as he could, perhaps in the event that I would one day find myself well again. There were days when I wished I could be as optimistic as he tended to be, … but maybe his entire look upon the situation was not held with any optimism at all—underneath his false cheer, my brother comprised himself of relentless negativity, a deep sorrow that always reminded him that the end was near, and that he would be alone.
The loss of our parents had never struck me as hard as it did to him. Truthfully, I never could bring up any actual memories of them, … only dreams, which varied between fond and scornful of the two people who had left my brother so miserable. He remembered them, though, if only vaguely—he preferred to keep them off of his mind, resent scoring over any happiness that they'd ever brought him. He wanted so terribly to forget that he would lose himself in that hate boiling underneath the smile he wore, that I awoke most nights to him crying. Yet it wasn't normal—he'd shriek and yell and curse, beating his fists against the walls of our already broken shelter, ripping the skin on his hands until his knuckles were caked red with blood. He broke things in his rage; anything he got a hold of would be destroyed in his fury, and would only end when he had nothing more to break. I never told him that I had been a witness to any of his tantrums, but the ends of all of them never failed to leave an imprint on my conscious—for the boy who always tried to be so strong would curl up in the dirt and weep, his jaw working soundlessly, emitting the sounds of his agony too overwhelming to hear.
Surely if there was a God, He'd have heard my brother's pain and done something to resolve it!
Instead, society seemed intent on punishing him—the orphans were civilization's scapegoat, and my brother was nothing more than a device of torture, stripping away not only his sanity, but his innocence and a child's ability to dream. He adorned mirth to lie to himself.Every smile, every laugh was veil held taut over his bitterness and cold personality. Somewhere along the way, I lost my twin. I lost the boy he used to be, with his warm, honest smiles and an actual sense of joy. His humor twisted, becoming more dark and crude, without remorse for any crimes he committed or any pain he gave back to those who'd done him wrong—and in my brother's eyes, everyonehad failed him, … thinking back, he probably even found enough hate in his heart to find me repulsive, for having to be ill, and for taking that chance from him to stay young, immature, and without responsibility. Even though he loved me enough not to say so, I knew that some of his anger had to have been reserved especially for me.
He replaced the crying with killing, and the hate with laughter that didn't even belong to him. My brother eventually forgot himself. By the time I got better, (only by the chance that the entity got to me before I died), even I could not save him.
Ralph was gone, replaced by the monster that did nothing but amplify my brother's scorn for the society who raised him to be so hateful.