I’m being carried somewhere. I open my eyes and see my father’s face. His eyes look haunted and I feel bad for him. Last time he had that look was when my mother died.
He doesn’t notice I’m awake and carries me to my bedroom. I try to move when he puts me down, but I’m too tired to even lift a finger.
“Father?” He looks at me and he seems somewhat relieved to see me awake.
“Em. What have you done to Brian. And what’s happened to you?” He looks at my bedraggled clothes.
I push down the ire and hurt my father always makes me feel. Why is it that Brian always comes first in his mind when I am his only child? I purposely ignore the question about my half-brother (mostly because I wouldn’t know how to answer it, since I haven’t a clue what I did in his room earlier) and answer his second.
“Well, father. I fell into a lake. I suppose it’s quite normal under such conditions to look like a drowned rat.”
“At least you’re alright and nothing bad happened.” He is probably sincere when he says it, but I can already see that his mind is elsewhere. Worry for my well-being has passed.
“But what about Brian? We specifically told you not to leave the house while he was under your care. But you just had to go for a swim! When Marissa and I got back from the marketplace and were greeted only by an empty house, we were worried sick. What were you thinking?”
I try to get a word in, but he doesn’t give me a chance to defend myself. Not that it’d make any difference even if I could.
“And then he comes running home all alone, like the hounds of Hell were after him, screaming something about monsters and water and you. What did you do that frightened him so badly?”
“I… Father, I’d never…” That’s all I’m able to say before he cuts in. I blink back tears and listen.
“Poor Brian’s been feverish and incoherent for most of the night. If anything happens to him, you shall be held responsible for it. I know you’re jelaous of him, but this time you have gone too far.” He paces back and forth in front of my bed, clearly agitated.
I grow angrier with every word he says and the need to cry lessens. How DARE he? I have tried to be as good a daughter as I know how to be. I have never uttered a bad word about either Marissa or Brian. At least not out loud. And I really did try to like them at the beginning. Nor have I ever complained about the fact that my own father prefers another man’s son to his own flesh and blood, simply because of the fact that I am female.
“Get out!” It came out more as a growl than actual words.
“What?” He seems surprised, and doesn’t seem to be moving.
“GET OUT!” A gust of wind suddenly blown in my room. It’s so strong that it makes my father stagger on his feet. He gives me a strange look and makes his way to the door with haste. The door bangs shut behind him without him touching it. I look at it’s wooden surface for a while and think.
By the time sleep finally claims my tired body, the candles have all burned out and I have decided on the best course of action for tomorrow.