It was storming when my mother left us on the doorstep of the orphanage. My little brother and I. Our tears mixed with the rain as she disappeared into the taxi, never to be seen again.
I was sixteen. My brother was six.
His night terrors would wake up the whole floor. The headmistress would scold us. Beat us. Our mother used to sing to him until he calmed down, but I guess she couldn’t take it anymore. Maybe that’s why she left us. She never did say. Even through the bruises from the belt, I was able to keep a smile for my brother, Lucas.
“Something is wrong with your brother, Aaron,” the headmistress always used to tell me. She would pull me aside and dig her long, crimson-painted nails into the skin in my arm. My name is Alex, but whatever. I was going to be out of this horrible place as soon as I turned eighteen. She would be stuck with my brother anyway.
I never wanted to leave him, but the more nights I spent awake, cradling his wailing silhouette, the less I liked my brother. There were countless times that I wanted to smother him. Put him out of his misery. But I never did. Something always stopped me, and it wasn’t the fact that I was his older brother. It’s hard to describe, but it felt like a force was pushing me as I neared him.
Every. Single. Night.
Two years later, I was out of that god-forsaken place. Just like my mother, I left at dusk. It wasn’t raining at first, but a strong storm exploded out of the sky. Out of nowhere. My brother stood on the porch and watched me disappear into the taxi. Something was off, though, as I turned back to meet his gaze. His face was different. By the time I realized what it was, my ride had already entered the highway.
Unlike my mother, there would be a time when I saw Lucas again. But when I did, he would be on the news with a “WANTED” sign above his photo.
I almost didn’t recognize him. I was twenty-eight, he had just turned eighteen. He grew a beard and his nose had been broken at some point in the twelve years that I hadn’t seen him. Did someone finally try and kill him but failed? My body found itself nearer to the television while the story unfolded before my eyes.
“…Unknown threat,” the female news reporter stated. “Reynold County Police asks that you do not approach the subject. He is considered dangerous. But from what we understand, he does not carry a single weapon.”
“What?” I breathed. The news reporter’s peer spoke the same question simultaneously. “How is that possible?”
“We have no more information than this,” she said. “The Investigators just ask that you contact them immediately if you see Lucas Smith.”
I made a split second decision. “I have to find him before they do. He must have just left the orphanage not too long ago. He could be looking for me.”
Once I turned off the television and locked the door, I heard a familiar crash of thunder. A barrage of rain pelted down onto my garage as I backed my car out into the driveway. Why did it storm so often? As I looked up into the graying clouds overhead, I saw a bolt of lightning scatter across the sky, but it was the shape of a forked arrow, pointing North. Something drew me that direction, so North I headed.
Hours later, I found Lucas in a deserted foundation of an old building. He was sobbing violently on his knees. But the weirdest thing was the bubble that formed around him. It looked like an invisible umbrella stood over him, keeping the weather from touching him.
“What the hell is going on?”
“Oh good,” a familiar, but more baritone voice said. A sullen smile spread across his face as he turned to me with tears in his eyes. “Alex… You followed my lightning.”
“YOUR lightning?” I said and took a step backward. A gust of wind pushed me closer to my brother. “What the hell is going on?” I repeated.
He stood up. “You’re drenched, brother.” Suddenly, a bubble similar to his formed over my head.
“Lucas…” I put my hands up. “What is going on? Tell me.”
“I’m a monster,” he whispered, barely audible to my own ears. “Alex… I. AM. A. MONSTER. And I can’t control it anymore.”
“What do you mean anymore?” I was panicking. I had no clue how to respond. Was my little brother truly controlling the weather? Were these horrible storms a result of an unknown ability that he had?
A shaky breath and Lucas explained why the weather was so dangerous overhead. “Mother sent a note to the orphanage. She left us because she was like this too. Says its some stupid gift or some shit. But NOTHING in that letter to say how to control it. I… I can’t. It’s too late for me. I can’t anymore…”
“I’ll take you to my home,” I pleaded. I thought I knew what he was planning, but he shook his head.
“I’m going off by myself,” he said. “To find mom if she is still alive. Perhaps you will see two storms colliding soon. But you should not be standing here anymore. It’s about to get deadly dangerous.”
“What are you talking about?” Part of me still refused to comprehend the situation. How could both my brother AND my mother have these otherworldly powers and I not know anything about it. And how was I so normal?
My brother did not respond at first. When he did, it was only three words. “Run, my brother.”
Another gust of wind nearly knocked me off my feet backwards. I wasted no time. By the look on his face, he was about to unleash havoc from above. Sirens wailed in the distance, closing in around him. Black veins crawled across his face and blackened his eyes as he let out a heart-stopping scream. It was the most terrifying thing I ever experienced.
I had just gotten back into my car when I saw it. A massive bolt of lightning careened down from the darkest cloud to the very spot where Lucas had stood. The explosion was so loud, it shook my car violently. I could feel the electricity through the hairs sticking straight up on the back of my neck, all down my arms, and into the floor. At first, I thought that I had been struck, but it couldn’t be. I was untouched. When no one appeared on the horizon, I drove home, shaking from the ordeal.
Every time a storm rolls in from the bay, I watch it pass through my city, hoping to see Lucas again. Sometimes, I can hear him screaming like he had all those years ago. I picture a taxi, leaving us in the rain. An Orphanage. A crimson-nailed headmistress. I wonder if my brother ever found our mother… and if he did, who won?
I hope you enjoyed, as usual! 🙂 Enjoy a Writing Prompt of my own making!