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Talking to Walls (standard:drama, 6094 words)
Author: T.A. ParmaleeAdded: Oct 07 2008Views/Reads: 2964/2079Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A boy's brothers all keep dying. His father is convinced their shadows are to blame. Could it be true?
 



My father Mark was the sort of man who sat in the dark a lot. 

He raised six of us, all boys. My brothers are all dead, but Mark still
talked about them quite a bit. That's about all he did, really, was 
talk about dead people. Besides sitting in the dark that was. The 
shades were drawn at all times, as if that were a set condition of 
mourning. 

It was that way as long as I can remember. Even before the last one
died, when I was 13, the lights were never on. What is even more 
bizarre is that Mark insisted on walking around the house wearing 
sunglasses, even though the dimness hardly enabled you to see anything. 
Sometimes, I had trouble figuring out if even I was still there. I 
patted myself on the face, squeezed my own cheeks and often looked in 
the mirror to make sure. 

My father never looked in mirrors, though. He just pushed his sunglasses
further up his nose every once in awhile. 

“Better to protect the eyes,” he always was saying. 

“Better than what?” I'd ask. 

But he never answered. He'd just say something about how it was wise for
a boy to mind his father, whatever that meant. Then he'd rub his 
oversized stomach, or play with one of the rips in his shirt. 

I'd like to say that all my brothers dying horribly upset me, but that
wasn't really the case. My two oldest siblings, who I can hardly even 
remember, both passed away when I was five. After that, the other ones 
started dropping like flies. My father never spoke of them. To him, 
they were as insignificant as insects. Every once in awhile I reminded 
him that bugs had once ruled the earth, but he never paid me any mind. 
He ignored me just like my dead brothers. 

John was the last one to die. He fell off the rooftop when I was 17. He
was right next to the antennae trying to fix a leak at high noon. My 
father had instructed him to go up there at night, “when it wasn't so 
light out,” but my brother always was the sort to do things his own 
way. 

I still remember how it happened. I was going outside to get the mail
when I stumbled across him bleeding all over the driveway, the red 
fluid looking like a colorful oil spill next to my pickup truck. I was 
hungry and he reminded me of a hot dog because you could still see the 
mustard color of his shirt underneath all the blood—him sprawled out 
like that. 

I ran to get my father and told him. 

“You got to come out,” I said. “It's John.” 

But my father just scoffed at me and said something about it being light
outside. 

“He should have minded what I told him,” my father said. 

Then he pushed his sunglasses further up his nose and sauntered into the
kitchen to dial 911. The ambulance came and pronounced my brother dead 
right there in my driveway. 

The paramedic came into our house so he could meet with my father. “I'm
sorry,” he said. 

“You don't know what sorry is,” my father replied, not quite arguing
with him, saying this merely as if he were stating a fact. 

The paramedic nodded an apology. He kept on tapping his hands against
his stethoscope, as though he could annoy my brother, who was still 
sprawled outside, into breathing again. Finally, the paramedic walked 
outside and the ambulance left. 

The funeral was held three days later. 

There weren't too many people at the funeral, though. Maybe that was


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