Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Perfect Sister

I am not the sort of writer who can write on demand. Either I feel like writing or I don't. I have to work at training and "getting the bucks out" of the rebellious wild horse that is the talented writer inside of me.

Once I get her whipped into shape then its easier to ask her to write daily or even on demand.

This story is from my days in college. I had been bucked out and writing regularly. The assignment was an easy one....."write a love story."

Now I threw myself into the assignment and intended it to be a sickly sappy love story between two sisters...honestly I did. What it evolved into become, well...a dazzling story that brilliantly reflects that I was 26 and pre-therapy and quite a fooked up mess. But beyond that, a talented writer. It spooked my creative writing class. When I sprung this on them they were not prepared and it was wonderful. There reactions have forever sealed some small part of me that always doubted my talent and ability to make my readers react.

All writers should get the chance to read there stuff live and hear/see  their readers reactions. This story gave me that chance. And that unanimous verbal reaction to this story from the entire class is something I will never forget.

( I am getting multiple checks in my gut to add a trigger warning to this specifically for Blogzilly and Rax456 - this might hit a bit too close to home, please use caution if you choose to read it)

The Perfect Sister

I was eight years old the chaotic night Jeenie was taken away. Mother slumped over the table wailing into a white linen napkin. Father fidgeted on the porch anquishly awaiting the ambulance. Jeenie screamed hateful things while she chased me from room to room waving her bloody wrists at me. The viscous chase went on until father and the attendants subdued her. Wrapped in their burly arms, Jeenie calmed down and raised her hands, sending dark rivulets of blood racing down her arms.

"Let me say goodbye to my sister" she pleaded, "please."

Like a pale noodle she limply slithered from their grasp and lunged at me. Her bloody fingers pressed into my neck. Her dark eyes were and endless abyss of mayhem and madness.

"You are not really my sister!" she screamed, spraying flecks of saliva on my face. "The Dasuwahs sent you here to get me!"

She has always hated me. The demons that taunted her to the edges of her sanity, she called "Dasuwahs", and it seemed somehow I had gotten tangled up with them. I hated Jeenie and her Dasuwahs for what they had done to me.

Jeenie had been four when I was born, and at first her dislike of me was taken as jealousy. It wasn't until she ran the potato peeler over my tiny legs and removed large strips of my flesh, that mother finally admitted there might be a problem.

I grew up hearing that Jeenie was different and gifted and that we had to be tolerant of her. The almost daily beatings form Jeenie began when I was five and mother just smiled and said that Jeenie was expressing her love for me. She nearly loved me to death.

Two days after she was removed from our house, our family met with the psychiatrists of Damina Hills to discuss Jeenie. The doctors spoke of a long term treatment for her unspecified psychosis. They generally agreed that a possible cure lay in convincing her that all the Dasuwahs had been destroyed. It had never occurred to me that Jeenie could be cured. I suddenly became intrigued with the idea of having a real sister for the first time.

With all the technical language begin used, I did not fully comprehend what the doctors were saying. I heard my name mentioned several times, and when at last they all turned to me, I balled up in the maroon swivel chair, and listened patiently while it was explained to me that Jeenie would be told I was dead. Safe from her frequent physical attacks I suddenly found myself being exterminated along with the Dasuwahs. It seemed that the doctors mistakenly believed that Jeenie felt that I was a Dasuwah. Would the reign of her madness never cease?

After Jeenie's commitment was finalized, our family fell apart. Father spent endless hours in his dilapidated workshop, pounding and sawing, making nothing. Mother set sail on the sea of depression and drifted aimlessly on the rolling waves. Without Jeenie to weekly replenish the bruises on my skin they faded away. When all that covered me was pale flesh, I felt ghostly naked and took to hiding in my room. My nightmares lessened with the passage of time, and the realization grew that I was dead as far as Jeenie was concerned.

Each week a purple envelope from Damina Hills would arrive. At first they were eagerly opened and devoured in hopes of good news. But it was always the same jargon... resistant to treatment... unresponsive to drug signs of improvement. After a while they were placed on fathers desk unopened and twice a year the faded stack would be tossed out unopened. This cycle went on uninterrupted, three years, five years, eight years, ten years...until the letter came addressed to me. I was warily annoyed to find myself ten years later being summons to Damina Hills like a dog.

I sat quietly in Dr Inuchi's office, cluttered with dusty trinkets and grotesquely mounted animals, awaiting his arrival. His blob of a secretary had barely paused in her chore of picking her teeth with a metal nail file to usher me to my seat.

His voice, tedious and dry almost dissolves in the gloomy atmosphere. "I'm Dr Inuchi, staff psychiatrist here at Damina Hills." the greasy black vinyl chair squeals as he settles his bulk into its lap. He eyes me like a disapproving adult. "Our primary concern is Jeenie's mental health, and quite frankly we're disappointed in the lack of family involvement. Often times the encouragement from family can be the influencing factor that helps a patient recover. We asked you here today because we feel your resistance to be involved in Jeenie's treatment greatly hinders her recovery."

I stare blankly at him as if I had not heard his ludicrous charge. My mind stagnant from years of this sort of mangled sanity debates slowly whether or not it feels compelled to answer. Perhaps Jeenie had been right years ago when she pinned me down on the withered brown lawn and hissed in my face that the Dasuwahs would come for me someday.

On my lap my hands form into the signs for O.K. I raise them slightly as mirrored images O to O, finger to finger. When his hazel eyes catch sight of them, I raise them higher. His eyebrows twitch with restrained excitement.

"Jeenie makes that same sign, what does it represent?"

My laughter sounds bitter in the silence which follows his question. I gather my purse and rise nimbly from my chair. "Jeenie has been under your care ten years and never shared the meaning with you? She HATED me...and still made sure I knew what it meant." Unable to force my lips into the smug smile I feel he deserves, I again make the sign to ward off Dasuwahs and leave the office.

It isn't hard to locate her. She sits alone on a ratty sofa combing her sunny hair. My insides tell me to run, but I'm compelled to stay by a voice in my head that is excitedly chanting, there is my sister - there is my sister!

It seems like two life times ago when she last struck me. The letter which brought me here said that Jeenie would soon be moving to a half-way house as she begins her readjustment back into society. Damina Hills and the the newly legalized medication AAtkin were after ten long years, presenting me with a sister. Like it or not.

She licks her woody lips. "They told me you died."

"They told me I died too, I didn't believe them though." I respond joining her on the couch.

Tears suddenly wash her face, "Oh sister...I'm so sorry! I don't hate you. I - I have a mental illness, I understand it now. There never where any demons after me. I'm taking a new medication and I'm okay now. Oh sis can you ever forgive me for all the hurt I caused you?"

My face softens into a smile, here is the perfect sister I have dreampt of. The sister I can love and be loved by. I don't want her. I want Jeenie, but I know what I must do. Gently I take up her hand.

"Of course I can forgive you Jeenie" I whisper leaning closer, my nails digging into her tender flesh, "Because that is what the Dasuwahs have told me to do."

Jeenie's frightened eyes dilate into liquid pools of madness, in which I see my own reflection and hear the sharp chattery laughter of the Dasuwahs.


(c) 1991 PR


  1. To answer the question, no this isn't true.
    ("It spooked my creative writing class.")

    The only thing that is true is this line: "Father spent endless hours in his dilapidated workshop, pounding and sawing, making nothing."

    My Daddy used to do this. We would fall asleep to the sounds of his saws. The next day we would go into the workshop to see what he made to find nothing, not even sawdust! it was creepy.

  2. That was the only question I had. Was it a true story and did you really do that to her at the end there to cancel out her treatment? That was the only thing that might have really bothered me, but thanks for the pre-warning anyway. Appreciate it. ;)

  3. Wow that was a good, well written story. Shocked me at the end as well. That could easily be a book of horror short stories.

    1. What was great about this story was it was for a creative writing class, and as I mentioned the assignment was to write a "love story" so that is what the class was expecting to here.

      When I read it the ending just jerked the rug out from under their feet and there was a collective loud gasping. Up until that point I wasn't sure the story worked.

      I actually did send this one out and still have the rejection slip from that submission.

      Ah,the power of blogs you can publish all the assorted riffraff in your writing folders.

      Thanks Kevin for the feed back. Nice to know this old dusty story hasn't lost its kick.