My brother

My brother

A Story by HadesRising


Something woke me at 3:00am.

My room was dark, with just the faintest slither of moonlight shining in through the curtains. It was quiet, too. I could hear a soft rain drumming against the window, and the sound of my own heartbeat. Nothing else.

I was about to turn over and settle back down on my pillow when I saw the figure in my doorway. Someone standing in the shadows. If I hadn’t immediately recognised who it was, I think I might have screamed.

"Jesus, Danny. It’s the middle of the f*****g night. You scared the s**t out of me."

Danny’s my little brother. Only 10, but he’s pretty cool for his age. A good kid. The two of us have always got on well, and last night he’d helped me out by agreeing not to tell our parents I’d had some friends over for drinks. They’re away for their anniversary at the moment. Left me in charge for the night. And when I asked Danny to hang out in his room so I could get people round for a drunken board game session, he’d said okay.

Which was why, even though I was annoyed to find him in my room at this time, I didn’t get angry.

"What’s up, mate?" I asked him now. "How come you’re out of bed?"

As I spoke, two possibilities were already in my mind. The first was that Danny had overheard me and my friends drinking downstairs. It had gotten a little loud. There were only eight of us, but Charlie Jacobs managed to bring a litre bottle of vodka he’d swiped from his dad’s cabinet. The whole evening had very quickly descended.

It was meant to be just board games and casual drinks �" people brought s**t like Monopoly over to play, and Jenga, and Haley Matthews even brought round her sister’s f*****g Ouija board �" but we barely touched them in the end. Just stuck with the vodka. And the drinking games.

So option one was that Danny had heard us making some dumb joke, or talking about something he didn’t understand, and now he wanted to ask me about it. That wouldn’t have been too out of character �" the kid is curious, and he asks a lot of questions. I used to share a room with him, and I know his habit of lying awake and turning stuff over when he can’t sleep.

The other option was that I’d caught him sneaking into my room to prank me. This seemed less likely, but still possible. Over the past year, Danny and I have been playing a game. It involves taking turns to hide notes in each other’s bedrooms. Sounds dumb, but we enjoy it. The note can be anything: a warning in soap on the mirror, a post-it tacked to the wardrobe. Has to be hidden during the night, so the other person only finds it when they wake up. Something scary, or some stupid joke. Anything. And the most popular version of this game �" the holy grail, if you like �" is getting a note under the other person’s pillow. That one requires serious stealth.

Sat up against my own pillow now, head still pounding from vodka, I wondered if this was what Danny had been going for. If maybe I’d caught him in the act.

But so far, he still hadn’t said anything. He was just standing in the doorway, staring in my direction. The shadows hiding his face.

"Danny? You gonna talk to me or you just gonna stand there and watch me sleep?"

"Mikey." Danny’s voice was soft. Although the house was silent I could hardly hear him. "Mikey."

That was when I felt the first hint of fear. I didn’t know what was making me feel it at the time. Maybe just something in Danny’s voice.

"What is it, mate?"

"Mikey. Cold. Feel. Hands."

What the f**k? I stared at the kid’s shadow, unsure I’d heard him correctly. "What did you say, mate?"

"Mikey. Cold. I’m."

"What the hell are you on about? Is that meant to be a bad Yoda impression or something?"

The kid seemed to be talking backwards. Swapping his sentences round the other way. Was he sleepwalking? Playing a joke on me? My mind reeled through different possibilities, none of which made much sense. I’d never known Danny to sleepwalk, for one. And he simply wasn’t a good enough actor to pull a joke like this off without cracking up.

No -- something else was going on. Maybe the kid was ill and feeling delirious?

"Me. Inside. Something. There’s." Danny’s voice had a hollow quality to it. Like every word was an effort to get out. I played back what he’d just said, reversing the word order. And I felt fear creeping along my back like damp rising up a wall.

"What’s going on, mate? What happened?"

Danny’s silhouette twitched. He’d been standing completely still before, and the movement was sudden. Unmistakable. When he next spoke, his voice sounded different. Still not 100% normal, but better. And he was suddenly talking the right way round again.

"Sorry for waking you up. I guess I’m just not feeling well."

Before I had a chance to reply, Danny twitched again. He twitched and took a step forward, out of the doorway. As his face became visible in the moonlight, I felt a shiver run up my back.

Danny was crying. Or at least, he’d been crying recently. His eyes were red and his cheeks glistened with tears. He opened his mouth, then closed it. Opened it again. When he next spoke he’d reverted back to the same stilted, backwards speech he was using before. The sound of it put my teeth on edge.

"Game. Board. Black. That. Played. And. Downstairs. Snuck. I."

This one took longer for me to play back. And even when I had, it still took me a few moments to understand what Danny meant.

I got there eventually. And when I finally did, I actually felt a tiny bit better.

The only black board game downstairs was Haley’s sister’s Ouija board. She must have forgotten to take it with her when she left. In my mind, I could already see what had to have happened. Danny had woken in the night and gone downstairs �" maybe to see what we were up to, maybe just to check if I was still awake. But by then everyone had gone, and I was in bed. So maybe Danny was about to head back upstairs too, only before he did he spotted the Ouija board. Its box is sort of eye-catching. If Danny noticed it, it made sense that he might have gone over for a closer look.

From there, the rest was pretty obvious. The kid must have spooked himself. The game is full of references to spirits and other planes of reality. All that s**t. He’d probably just read something that freaked him out and now he was having nightmares.

Which all made sense, but there was still one big question: why the f**k was the kid talking backwards?

It’s nothing, I told myself. He’s probably just half asleep and a little delirious. That’s all.

The explanation didn’t really make sense, and a part of me knew it. But I ignored that part. I was tired, and my head ached. I wanted to go back to sleep.

So I pushed the nagging doubts to one side and I beckoned Danny over. Did what any good brother would do. I pulled back the covers and shuffled to one side, then patted the space next to me.

"Don’t worry, mate," I said. "You’ve just been having bad dreams, I reckon. You need to sleep it off."

Danny didn’t say anything. Just padded over to the bed. Lay down next to me. Soon, the only sound I could hear in the room was his breathing.

I’d almost drifted off when he said something that half stirred me.

"Fading. Myself. Feel. Can. Help. Need."

I was half asleep by then, though, and his words seemed to be coming from a long way away.


I woke early this morning.

The moonlight from the night before had been replaced by bright sunshine. It shone through the curtains and made me squint as I opened my eyes.

Memories from the previous night flooded back to me. I turned over, planning to check on Danny, but his side of the bed was empty.

I raised myself up on one elbow, rubbing sleep from my eyes, and almost screamed.

Danny was standing in the doorway. Completely still in last night’s pyjamas. His face an unreadable mask as he stared at me.

Despite the daylight streaming in through the curtains, I felt the same fear I’d felt before.

But it disappeared when Danny smiled at me.

"Morning," he said. "I’m sorry I woke you up last night. I must have been having some bad dreams."

He was speaking normally again. Thank God. Danny was speaking the right way round. As I squinted over at him, I felt relief wash over me.

"That’s okay mate. How are you feeling now?"

"Much better, thank you."

"You really freaked me out for a moment there. Talking weird and s**t. I thought I might have to call mum and dad. Can you imagine how pissed they’d have been if they’d had to cut their anniversary short?"

I grinned, expecting Danny to grin back. But he didn’t. He just kept staring at me with the same smile fixed on his face.

"Well, I’m much better now," he said after a moment. "I’m actually going to go and get some toast. Would you like some?"

I frowned for a moment, unsure I’d heard him correctly. Danny has never offered to make me breakfast before. Not once. But I guessed at the time that he maybe just felt bad about waking me up. That it was his way of saying sorry.

"Okay, sure. Toast sounds great. Thanks, buddy."

"You’re welcome, Mike."

With that, he turned and left. I lay there in bed, the frown back on my face. It took me a moment to realise what it was that felt off. And then I played back the last thing Danny had said to me.

You’re welcome, Mike.


The kid never calls me Mike. It’s always Mikey.

I pushed myself up into a sitting position. And as I did, I heard something scrunch beneath my pillow. I reached a hand under it and pulled out a piece of paper. A note. It only took me a second to recognise Danny’s scrawled handwriting.

And when I read what he’d written, I felt myself grow cold.

It was a short note. Just a couple of lines. But it was written backwards, in the same way that Danny had been speaking last night.

Out. Me. Let. Won’t. He. Smaller. Getting. Keeps. It. Head. My. In. Room. A. In. Trapped. I’m.

As soon as I read that note, I stuffed it back under the pillow. Tried to act as normal as I could. But inside, I felt ill.

Danny brought me breakfast a short while later. He smiled as he put it on my bedside table. I noticed that he didn’t blink once while he was setting down the plate, but I smiled right back.

And now, I’m waiting. Now I'm counting down the hours until my parents get home. Watching the clock.

Danny has been in his room for most of the day. Keeping to himself. A couple of times I’ve heard noises coming from it. Strange sounds I can't place. Dull thumps, like furniture being knocked over. Low whispers, as if he’s in there talking to himself.

I’ve stayed hidden in my own room.

I know I should go and check on him. I know I should. He’s my little brother, after all.

But I keep thinking of his blank face, and the note he left under my pillow, and I just can’t bring myself to.

© 2019 HadesRising

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Impressive. Really deep and intriguing writting.

Posted 8 Months Ago

💓💓💓💓💓 loved that loads

Posted 8 Months Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on July 9, 2019
Last Updated on July 9, 2019
Tags: Horror



London, United Kingdom

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