I awoke to the smell of smoke. What in Heaven's name was going on? My neck and back ached. Bright red blood drip, drip, dripped onto the bathroom tiles. I thought I would retch at the sight of my own blood but curiosity drove me from the chilled room.
I sneaked down the long hallway and eyed the half man-half monster standing at the fireplace, ripping family photos from the walls, removing them from their frames and tossing them into the bright orange and red flames. The photos danced and curled. My father's smile disintegrated before my bloodshot eyes. Mom's bright blue eyes turned charcoal gray.
"What in the world are you doing?" The words spewed from my twisted lips before I could stop them.
The creature turned his head in my direction and I noticed, for the first time, the tears trailing down his cheeks. He grunted at me and cocked his head as if he had just seen me, had recognized me in some weird sort of way. I had no clue who he was or what he was doing in my house.
I had grown up in this house. Oh, so many childhood memories. Mom and Daddy were scientists, always working, always talking in hushed tones about their latest experiments when they were home. I was basically raised by a Nanny; Mrs. Hallerson. She was my best friend even though she was the grandmotherly type. I grew lonely being an only child but she made the long summer days fun with her cheeriness and laughter.
Somehow, my mind flitted to a sad, troubled day. "Mrs. Hallerson, do you think I will ever have a brother or sister to play with? I mean, I know that will be a lot of extra work for you, but then you won't have to play with me all the time and you can actually do other things."
The woman had clucked and cooed at me. She looked at me with eyes full of anger but she didn't allow her mannerisms to display such an emotion.
"Dear girl, as you grow older, your parents will talk with you about that."
I didn't understand her response and I never got that talk with my parents. Mom and Daddy's laboratory, just a few short days later, exploded in tragedy.
Tears leapt into my eyes as the man-beast took a step toward me. I began to shake. My mind jumbled and I stepped backward. "Please, no. I can give you money. Whatever you want. Just don't hurt me again."
He reached out but drew his claws back, thankfully not touching me. "I - I am Samuel," he said haltingly, gruffly. "Remember?"
I shook my head slowly.
"No." My lips formed the word but it came out in a tiny, almost inaudible whisper.
"I am sorry. I hurt you. I angry. I am sorry."
I stood, seeing the human side of the monster before me. How had he become this way? Why did he think he knew me or that I should remember who he was? I took another step backward.
How could he possibly know my name?
"I am your brother."