The Story

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My brother is a demon. Mind you, some say he's my alter ego. At any rate, destiny has interfered and I cannot ignore him as he is my twin.

When we were five, our parakeet escaped from its cage. We found it because we heard it singing. If only our ears had not been so keen to its sound. With mother at our heels, we raced through the door to the back porch were the lithe, yellow bird was perched on the wood rail. Freedom just a hop and flutter away. My brother snatched it in one swift sweep—like a spider to a fly caught in its web. Before I could yell stop, brother took a hammer from a pile of neglected tools and hit the poor unsuspecting songbird on the head.

"Dust to dust," he screamed. "You'll never run away again."

I cried inconsolably for an hour.

My mother, always one to look for sunshine in a raging storm, suggested we three go to St. Michael's Cathedral and pray. She wrapped the fractured bird in one of her fine linen napkins and insisted my brother carry it as we made our way down the aisle, closer to the priest who offered us a blessing each Sunday.

An innocent bystander, his hand on the pew, said, "An offering at the altar." He smiled and brought a hand to his heart. "Our father in heaven will welcome your gift."

"It's penance," my mother said.

I nor my brother understood what she meant. So we kept silent as she kneeled to pray. I sat close to my brother with tears on my face. His eyes were on the door and as dark as coal ash.

So here I am, in the midst of this story, with blue lights flashing, sirens wailing. My foot heavy on the accelerator. Twenty-five years later and chasing the enemy.

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