The boundaries of mental and physical turmoil were thinning and coalescing. Yet, after all that had transpired, Ruben found himself almost apathetic. Rather, unconcerned. How could she be dead? He still saw his dear sister, Laura. Every now and then she would appear, wearing her favorite crimson dress, her ebony hair neatly drawn forward to frame her pale features. Just as he had remembered.
Though he saw her often her visits were brief, for she left suddenly. Gone like she had never been there to begin with. Every time she seized to be there, that was when he remembered. She had perished after all. Just an apparition there to torment him. Then the pain would consume him anew. Whether it was the chronic agony of pains in his head, the seizures, the burns beneath his bandages, or the thought of never seeing his sister again, he had deemed irrelevant. It was all beginning to be the same thing to him.
Though he had always had unsteady relations with his father, what had been done to him had never before been conceivable within what bounds there had once been. After the fire that claimed Laura and left Ruben maimed, Ernesto had locked his son in a makeshift cell in the basement; Beatriz, Ruben’s mother, having no knowledge of her son’s survival. Even if she suspected it.
The cell was small, scarcely furnished besides a bed that lacked a mattress, an old worn wheelchair, an overhanging light bulb that flickered more often than it produced a steady light, and a wooden table that had been left to rats and termites prior to finding a use once more. With every waking hour, having lost track of night and day, Ruben felt the walls had grown closer together and the room was ever so slightly smaller. He had occupied his time between his journal and scratching medical notes and etches into the walls with a shard of metal spared from the bare bed frame until his hands bled from their unhealed wounds. When he did rest, it was fitful and agonizing. And so it was with shifty and restless silver hues he regarded the locked door.
Ever so lightly, as if echoing in the recesses of his mind, there was a light scratching seemingly sourcing from the outside. His brow line dipped as he struggled to determine if it was actually real. His bandaged digits spread slowly over the rough table surface as he braced himself to stand. The scratching seized and a trembling sigh left his raw and burned lips as he concluded it to be his mind failing once more. Just as his discolored eyes fell to the table surface once more the scratching returned. It was as if a small object was jabbing at the lock of the wooden door.
Ruben stood painfully, his gate stumbling and slow as he used his charred limbs before they were ready. He placed both hands on the door to steady himself, and the ear he still had intact up ever so lightly to the face of the door. He could now hear the soft trembling sobs of a familiar voice; that of his mother. A nail dropped with a loud clatter to the cedar floor. His eyes fell to regard the long pointed strip of metal, an idea already articulating itself in his mind. He waited for the scratching to break once more, figuring his mother kept sparing long moments to watch over her shoulder, and he stooped to palm the nail as his predictions proved correct.
Suddenly voices were raised and angry steps descended the stairs. He cared little for what they were saying. He had since failed to care about either of them. All he craved for was a sight other than of that horrid cell. Though his hands had lost much of their former dexterity, his mind never failed him. His body only delayed to keep up with him. He began digging at the lock with the nail, caring little that his fingertips were slicking the delicate operation in flaying burned and dead skin as well as blood. The voices heightened into a fever pitched symphony of profanity and confusion as Ruben finally got the lock to click open. The door slid open with a whine of rusted hinges against the weight of his body and the argument behind it seized.
His mother’s widened eyes batted wildly as her hands went to her mouth in shock, tears welled in her eyes and her porcelain complexion had been turned rosy due to the onset of sudden intense emotion. The knife she had been using to open the door clattered to the steps. “Oh, dear Lord in Heaven?!”
Her muffled cry failed to stir anything within Ruben, who regarded his father with a wild look. In that moment, as he stared up at the man and woman who brought him in to existence, who were meant to protect him and his sister, he felt nothing. Something in him had snapped as he regarded their disgusted and shocked faces. Quickly they fled up the stairs, leaving their son.
Anger washed over the broken boy, and a shout left his fire battered body as he lunged for the knife. He ascended the stairs in pursuit, traversing the dark halls of the mansion to his parents’ room. He shoved the door open and they both turned in shock at the sudden intrusion.
“Ruben?! Put the knife down, boy!”
He ignored his father, he simply lurched forward, the knife brought up to bear. His eyes flashed wildly, as did the blade, as he succumbed to his torment. The knife embedded itself deep within his father’s throat. As the warm sensation of blood washed over him he felt a certain relief. A certain satisfaction. With both hands now planted on the handle of the knife, he tore open his father from clavicle to the lower sternum. Crimson gushed and spurted from the gnarly wound violently as the body slumped at the foot of the grand bed. He tore the knife free with an enraged grunt before turning the knife on his mother, driving it deep into her eye socket.
The endeavor had exhausted Ruben. He pulled out the knife and the flesh it had been embedded in made a sickening sucking noise as air replaced where the blade had been. His posture was slouched as he took a step back to regard his work.
“Oh, father, if you only knew how satisfying that look on your face is.” His voiced trembled as he spoke, bordering between emotion and insanity. “Did you actually think if you locked me away I would just seize to exist? “out of sight, out of mind.” You did… You did, didn’t you.” His voice shook more, and his fingers trembled as they clutched the dripping knife. Whether it was the rush of murder, the broken feeling that loomed in his chest, or the unsteadiness of his unhealed injuries remained an enigma, even to him. “Well you were never out of my mind. I hope you’re proud of yourselves.” As his last sentence left his lips he looked up and in the reflection of a framed picture he saw his sister looming down the hall, and a shaking gasp left him.