The Pact

The Pact

A Story by JDM

He thinks he's being funny. The sound gradually increases on the iPod deck, the rhythmic bass of Steeler's Wheel echo off the bare walls. My brother turns to me and grins. He's got two left feet and a spastic hip, completely off-beat. I feel a chill. It settles deep within my bones as my flesh and blood, my brother, my twin, my best friend, awkwardly dances towards me with a knife clenched tightly in his hand.

 

I'm not as tough as I think I am. The tears start before I can stop them. For both of oursakes, I'd demanded that Dominic to duct tape me to the chair. I can't help but squirm. Gotta get rid of these pesky tears before Dom sees them. My hands are bound tightly and for the first time I curse at my brother for doing something right, as usual.

 

"Oh, s**t, Sissy," Dom mutters. He rushes over and cuts away at my wrists and feet before I can protest. He just wasted perfectly good duct tape. He's just going to have to wrap me up again. Dom is unusually gentle with me as he tears the sticky gray tape from my skin. "We can find another way, you know?"

 

Our eyes lock. We do that twin mind-meld sync thing where we can have an entire conversation without our lips parting. Dominic knows better. It's too late now. We've gone too far. There's no going back.

 

And he knows it.

 

I stand up for the first time, having been anchored to a metal chair for hours. I stretch my limbs, languidly making my way over to the the television. It's already on but it's muted. Dominic must've had the remote in his pocket. The music abruptly comes to a halt and the room is immediately dominated by an insensed Nancy Grace.

 

Her blond head takes up most of the screen, but at the top right hand corner inside a tiny little box is a picture of me. Me in my cap and gown, my smile wide, my eyes shining. That was the last good day. The last time I felt safe, secure, and loved by someone other than Dominic. Because that day, graduation day, our parents dumped me, cut me off, left me to fend for myself. They stopped taking my calls, standing me up for meals, paying me no attention, showing me no love. All the while, building my brother up, grooming him to become sole heir to the family business. I'm thought of now, if at all, as the useless one. Just a pretty girl with a pointless Art History degree who didn't have enough sense to find a husband while at University.

 

Too quickly my face disappears and is replaced by that of a stern, condescending, hateful face. Ms. Grace is kind enough to share a split-screen with my father. I'm the one who's technically "missing" and still my father manages to upstage me. For a while there Nancy was talking all about me, making the world think about me, making it sound like someone out there cares about me, but slap the word "congressman" in front of someone's name and now it's all about him.

 

The news is funny. It's amazing to watch the headlines change from "MISSING: Diana Westfield, 24, Smithsonian Intern" to "Daughter of Congressman Charles H. Westfield(R-VA)--Missing". I mean, the moment they found out who my father was the press practically dropped my name. Yesterday in The Examiner I counted--four sentences before they even mentioned "Diana". I'm pretty enough that my picture is still splashed across front pages across the country, but now my father's cold, calculated, practiced grin is plastered right next to mine.

 

So it's time to up the stakes. Ask for a little money. I'm not greedy. I just want what I'm owed. What I deserve. What I would have gotten had I been born with a dick between my legs instead of this useless, cumbersome vagina. Or maybe if I had bowed down an gotten an insufferable degree in Political Science like Dom or showed the slightest hint in wanting anything to do with politics. Heaven forbid I should have my own mind and think for myself.

 

It was Dominic who suggested the ransom demand. Initially, I was against it. Not because I didn't want or need the money, but because I was secretly scared that my father wouldn't pay. True to form, he doesn't disappoint.

 

"Nancy, I'm going to say this to you and I'm going to say this to these alleged kidnappers out there--"

 

"I'm going to have to stop you there Congressman Westfield. Are you saying that you don't believe your daughter was actually kidnapped?" Nancy interjects. Huh. That's the closest anyone has come to the truth.

 

"With all due respect, Ms. Grace, all we know is that my daughter stopped showing up for work. She doesn't answer a few phone calls--which I have to say isn't odd for her. Now all of a sudden there's this million dollar demand once the world knows who I am. For all I know she could be on vacation with a boyfriend in the Bahamas. This ransom demand could have come from anyone." He's slick, his icy words slide off his tongue. Still he manages to come across as the victim, making me out to be some careless harlot who blows off responsibility with some random boyfriend.

 

My father looks straight into the camera and leans forward in his seat. "Ms. Grace, I am confident that my daughter will be found, safely, in one piece. But I will not shell out one red cent. Not a damn penny."

 

Dominic shuts the television off. We're both silent for a long time. My breathing is shallow, making me dizzy. I stumble back to the aluminum chair and place my hands behind my back. "Tape me up, Dom."

 

The look he shoots me is incredulous. "Di, you heard what he just said? He's not going to pay. This is over!"

 

I shake my head vehemently, a smile stretched across my face. "No, Dom, didn't you hear? He wants me whole." I nod to the iPod deck. "Turn the music back on. Pick up the knife. Do it." When he doesn't move I scream, "DO IT!"

 

Dom shakes his head, throws his hands up in the air and walks away. For the first time in my life, my brother fails me. He abandons me as he disappears out of the room, the door closing softly behind him. I scream his name in futility because he doesn't come back. He's always thought of this as a game. Dom never really understood our father's preference for him over me. He reaped the benefits, sure, and when can shares the spoils with me. But he doesn't realize that this isn't a game to me. This is my life. And it's time I take control.

 

I stomp over to the wooden desk that holds the iPod deck, remote control and the object that I truly desire. It's a hunting knife, a gift from a former President to my father: one of his most cherished possessions. The silver-plated gem is heavier in my palm than I thought it would be, but it molds comfortably in my hand. In an almost trance-like state I turn the iPod back on. Steeler's Wheel is begging, "Pleeeease," as I make my way to the bathroom.

 

The rhythmic thumping bass begins again as I stare down my reflection in the mirror. I knew Dom would never do it; that he'd never take it this far. I always knew I'd have to do this part on my own. I smile at myself, tears streaming down my cheeks, blurring my vision. I don't put down the knife. I don't want to lose my nerve. I cut my hands several times while tying my hair into a messy ponytail. My hands won't stop shaking. That could be a problem.

 

I don't scream. I can't. It hurts too much. But Dom knows. Maybe it's that twin mind-meld sync thing. Maybe he can feel it, because right now I can't. My mouth is open, my breaths coming out in short, hot bursts. I'm hyperventilating. I know it but I can't stop it. I can't stop shaking. Oh, my God it hurts so much.

 

He finds me on the floor, blood flowing freely down my neck, my mangled left ear clutched tightly in my hand. I'm shaking as he pulls me into his arms, rocking me back and forth, cussing me out for doing "such a stupid thing".

 

I push away from him and hold out the bloody ear, my hand trembling, my voice hoarse. Dom's eyes meet mine. He knows what I'm thinking but says it out loud anyway. "How much should I ask for, this time?"

© 2013 JDM


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I had to read that twice. I enjoy how you let the reader be confused and then dole out the explanation. You're good at that. I guess I really am sick, because I thought this one was funny too.

Posted 6 Years Ago



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Added on May 1, 2013
Last Updated on May 1, 2013

Author

JDM
JDM

Washington, DC



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