It was getting close to midnight and they were still driving. Drake insisted on going to his cabin to save George from having to get a hotel room. He had said it was not too far from where they were. It took them nearly two hours just to walk back to where Drake had parked his pick-up truck. From there it was another two hours up the mountain before the highway ended, leaving them to traverse an old country road.
It was so rocky and rough they couldn’t drive more than 35 miles an hour. Drake had stripped all the electronics out of his truck so there wasn’t even a radio to listen to, not even a heater to keep them warm. He looked out the window hoping to see an indicator they were getting closer. All he could see was a never ending wall of trees. The trail had ended about a half a mile back and now they were off the road. George was seriously starting to worry about his brother who had forsaken his medical past to come out here to live in such a remote, isolated and desolate place. George had been through hell, yet it was nothing compared to the mental scars that his older brother had corroding away what little conscious he had left.
“So are we getting any closer? We’ve been driving an awfully long time.”
Drake just kept his focus on the road.
George was starting to get frustrated at his brothers lack of a response. George was also beginning to lose sight of why he came out here in the first place. He had to remember he was on a mission to get his life back. He knew he wanted to make things right for Ashley, but was he really ready to succumb to revenge? After listening to what Drake had been through, what he had done, George was starting to question his entire reason for living.
George never could deal with death period. It always scared him how easily Drake would handle losing a patient. Even when Linda was killed, at first it seemed like Drake was going to pull through. If it hadn’t been for his left arm being amputated in the same wreck he might have gone back to his medical practice and things would have turned out differently.
Instead he lost his arm and with that his ability to be a surgeon. He was more than qualified to take on any number of other professions but somehow the loss of his career coupled with the death of his wife, it was too much for Drake.
He had purchased this cabin ten years back, it was supposed to be a quiet little place for the couple to come when they needed to be alone. Instead it turned into a shelter where Drake became a recluse. Everyone in the family was worried about him, more so than even George who had also lost his home, family, and job.
It was as if Drake’s troubles were more important and that George was just expected to pull through. George pushed those thoughts out of his head; he was not going to dwell on how much his parents favored his older two brothers. He was just here to see if his brother would agree to help him rectify all the wrongs in his life.
Finally they pulled up to a small clearing. Drake parked the truck. The two men walked quietly up to the cabin. It was well past midnight, George was dead tired. He opened the door and the first thing he noticed was a Goldfish sitting on the table. He turned to his brother and asked,
“What’s with the fish, I thought you hated fish as pets?”
Drake quietly remarked,
“Oh Goldie is special to me. Why don’t you have a seat and I will start up the fire?”
George was too tired to really argue so he sat down on the couch as directed. It was a small cabin; the kitchen was the first thing you saw when you walked in. Going just past that was a tiny little living room with a single door leading to the bedroom off to one side. There was just a single, very tiny bathroom just to the right off the kitchen when you first walked in. The stove that would provide the heat was smack dab in the middle of the room.
Next to that was a single coffee table, although with all the newspapers strung out it was next to impossible to see that it was, in fact, a table.
There was some sort of smell coming from the couch but George didn’t really want to say anything to excite his brother. He sat there and watched Drake get the fire going. He started to look at one of the newspaper articles when Drake spoke.
“I keep the newspapers to get the fire going.” “Oh I see, where um, do they come from?” Drake turned to his brother with a smile,
“Oh you know I dig them out of dumpsters, pick them up from the streets, just anyplace I happen to find some lying around really.”
George could tell there was something about what Drake was saying that didn’t sound right. Taking a quick glance around he noticed a pattern, most of the papers were stories of women being abducted, stories of serial killers, and missing person’s reports.
George was starting to get a picture of his brother that although somewhat disturbing, was somehow comforting. This was a side of his brother he had never seen. Having recently begun experiencing his own darker side, he found it oddly comforting to know he was not alone. Drake was not the same guy George thought he was. The deeper he delved into his brother’s dark side, the closer he felt to him. George was beginning to allow thoughts creep up into the back of his head, dark thoughts that he otherwise might now have considered.
After a few minutes Drake had a full fire blazing. He offered to make George a warm cup of home brewed tea, which at this point George was not going to pass up. Drake handed him his tea.
“Why are you really here?”
Drake asked his brother. He took a sip of his tea while he gathered up his thoughts.
“I haven’t seen you since that day you came to visit me in the hospital.” Drake said. “You walked out of my life. How can you expect me to put that behind me? Am I just supposed to forget that you haven’t spoken to me in nearly six years?”
George was starting to get worried about his brothers motive for bringing him out here. He suddenly became extremely nervous.
“So Drake do you mind if I tell you my own story?” George said.
“Sure thing brother, let me get this fire going while you tell me everything that is on your mind.”
“I been losing myself these past few years. I been doing a lot of drugs, drinking and fucking hookers. You know all that sinful shit our parents warned us about.” George said.
“Listen, brother, you don’t have to explain anything to me. Trust me, I have my own sins to account for.” Drake said as he smiled over his shoulder to his brother.
“I mean, yeah sure I get it, but see, I am trying to get my life back on track but I can’t get over how much I hate that woman for ruining my life, hell I kinda blame her for ruining both our lives.” George said.
Drake just nodded as he got the fire going. “Uh huh, sure go on.” Drake said.
George was casually looking around the room as he began to gather his thoughts. He was getting an image of his brother he wasn’t sure about. The fear was swelling up in the back of his mind but at the same time he figured he would keep talking as a way to assess the situation.
“I went looking for Ashley. Do you remember her?” George said.
“Oh sure, the girl you were dating before Molly Goldfish, everyone remembers that story.”
Drake sat down on the chair across from his brother.
“Let me fix you a drink while you relax, keep talking brother.” Drake walked over to the cabinet and began preparing a coke and rum, it was George’s favorite drink.
“Well, I found out what happened to Ashley and it broke my heart. You see after she ran off and married that shit-for-brains jock apparently her life took a turn for the worse.”
“Oh you mean how she killed her husband and wound up in a mental hospital? I know all about it.”
Drake walked over to a stack of newspapers, picked one up and handed it to George. It was a picture of Molly with the headline,
“Housewife kills husband in fit of rage”
As George skimmed the article it made no mention of the abuse. That puzzled him but he tossed it aside and turned his gaze back to his brother.
“When did you learn about this? And what is up with all the newspapers?” George asked.
Drake handed George his drink and sat down.
“You know how you blamed Molly for basically ruining your life. Well you knew Linda and Ashley had been best friends right? So after Linda died I lost it. I went on my own soul-searching quest if you will.”
“What about Ashely?” George asked.
“I can’t blame Molly for Brandon’s death, that was on me. I can, however, blame myself for Jennifer’s death. As a doctor I saw a lot of people die at my own hands. I would lose my license for this, hell I could face jail time even but after a few deaths I started, well let’s just say some lives I saved and some I lost and sometimes I chose which ones to lose.” Drake said.
George glanced at his watch as if to indicate he was getting tired. He knew that move wasn’t going to work.
“George you don’t have anything to worry about, I didn’t bring you up here to kill you. I have a quote, two deaths a month I just murdered two losers in the woods a few nights ago so I got my blood lust satisfied.” Drake said.
A shiver of fear slide down George’s spine as the words sunk in, his brother admitting he was a murder, no a serial killer. How could this be? It didn’t make any sense to George.
“Relax brother, let me explain why I reached out to you. You see I know your pain man. I hate Molly Goldfish as much as you did. I too blamed her not only for the way my wife lost touch with her best friend, but also how she was able to live her life like nothing happened after Linda died while you and I both watched our lives spiral out of control.”
George just nodded along with his brother, not knowing how to proceed.
“I also visited Ashley. I looked her up right after I got out of the hospital. Do you get why I confessed my murders to you brother? Because I can see it in your eyes. You have that blood lust yourself. You want Molly dead as badly as I want to end innocent lives for no apparent reason.
The truth is once you have a kill on your hands there is no greater rush, the power it gives you knowing this person’s life was in your hands and you ended it. It’s greater than any drug. I can help you end your pain like I helped Ashley end hers. I can help you kill Molly Goldfish. I have a plan. I was waiting for you to be ready. I knew if you went to see Ashley you were getting closer to being ready for the truth.”
“What is the truth? That my brother is a cold-blooded killer? I mean I want to hurt Molly as much as you do but what you do, what you are talking about is beyond revenge.” George said.
Drake walked over to the counter and plucked his precious goldfish out of the tank. He stuck his finger in its mouth and ripped it in two.
“You haven’t learned to cope with death as I have because you never faced it as much as I. You need to learn that death is a natural part of life, brother. Killing Molly won’t end your pain. But if you let me destroy her body and soul, then you can die peacefully knowing she will suffer and you can atone for your own sins. You don’t blame Molly Goldfish for your beloved Ashley’s current predicament, you blame yourself for not standing up to that bitch.”
George wanted to stand up in anger and walk out. He knew partially that wasn’t smart considering the things his brother was telling him. He also knew Drake spoke the truth. He was not in agony anymore over losing his life, he was tearing himself up knowing he couldn’t do anything to save her. He broke down in tears and fell to his brothers feet.
“Brother, please tell me how you can take my pain away and avenge Ashley’s suffering? Tell me your plan to hurt Molly Goldfish for all the pain she inflicted on the world?”