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Blood is Thicker Than Water

Slightly fictionalized true event. Names were changed.

Reader discretion advised. 

The story you are about to read contains language that some readers may find offensive. By choosing to read this piece, you agree that you do not object to reading content that may be considered racial prejudice. 

Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the fictional characters portrayed in the story and do not reflect the views and opinions of either the writer or the staff at Stories Space. 


Thursday evening, just about four o’clock, the sun still gleaming brightly on the horizon. Me and my backpack and my empty thoughts that spun into nothing. A lonely heart searching for its match, a perfect match, if one existed. Constantly alert.

My ears are far from supersonic, but even I could hear the screams coming from a block and a half away. I could feel the ground yearning to save her child and begging to know what caused her baby pain. The air, agitated, swirling around in anger and sorrow. And the howling, like a dying star, like the rebirth of sorrow, like an apology that stayed in throats and never made it out. It burned me. I felt the searing of the terror in my stomach, acidic liquid threatening to sizzle through my flesh and show the world how empty I really was.

I listened closer. That scream, I knew that scream. Not well, but well enough to add that extra mile to my already persistent conscience. It was Davy, Davy the baby! Davy who had never hurt a fly, never even cheated on a test, always said please and thank you and universe, this is how you killed him? By shanking him in the back of some alleyway where nobody cared who he was?

I ran like my wings were on fire. When I looked into the alleyway, preparing myself for blood and gore and death, I saw something infinitely worse. Davy on the ground his face bleeding and smashed. My brother above him, anger contorting his features into something monstrous, his hand already swinging down for another punch. Davy’s friend listening to his screams with a broken wrist and a gray face.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I yelled, terror burning through me, my heart beating so rapidly it should beat out of my chest. I was afraid. This was not my brother. This was not the guy who brought me chocolate ice cream even when it was 4º out, and played PS3 with me until the sun woke us out of our daze. Would he turn on me as well?

“Stay out of this, Jacob,” he said, a warning note in his voice, but he dropped his hand from its clenched position. I could see the realization beginning to dawn on him, and his face turned white with horror at what he’d wrought. He leaned over and was sick. I had no love to comfort him with. I rushed to Davy’s side and almost started crying when he flinched.

I called 911 first, and then leaned down to talk to him. “I’m so sorry Davy, I have no idea what he was thinking, where does it hurt? Don’t talk if you can’t!”

“Everywhere,” he whimpered quietly. “Jake – I deserved it.”

“No. No,” I said, shaking my head vehemently. “You didn’t. Our parents raised us better than this. We were not taught to kill people in back alleys.”

“I wouldn’t have killed him,” my brother whispered. “I wasn’t going to–“ he gulped here and did not say anymore.

I shoved him against the wall. “What the fucking hell were you thinking?!” I screamed. “You fucking nearly killed Davy and his friend! Why the fuck did you do that?”

“He deserved it,” said my brother, his eyes turning empty as my stomach and colder than my own heart.

“What did he do, James? What did he do?” I pleaded.

“You would hit him too, and you would kill him,” he told me.

“I am not as hot-headed as you are. Just tell me what he said or did!”

“You really want to know?”

“Yes.”
“He said the reason–" Davy whimpered and cringed here. He was embarrassed of whatever he had said.

“Well?” I said impatiently.

“He said we were illegal niggers and we should go back to the South and work in the cotton fields because that’s all we’d ever amount to. He took a swing at Mom and asked if we were sure our father was really our father, or if our mom had just blackmailed him into staying, because why would a perfectly good white person stay with a nigger otherwise?”

I saw red. Nothing for millions of miles except the color of crimson blood. I could hear the screams in my ears. Nobody insulted my heritage. Nobody made fun of my mother. It was a fact. It was a fucking law. I had another brother ­and we were the fucking terror trio when anyone took a dig at our mother. Nobody fucked with us.

I screamed the same blood-curling howl that had brought me running, but mine was born of rage.

But just then the ambulance came, its sirens blaring. They picked up Steven – Davy’s friend – and Davy. They asked me how it had happened.

And God help me, may He save my soul if I ever need to get to that point, and I will apologize for eternity until I have no breath left to scream my repentance, I said, “I don’t know.”

And I said it again at the police station. I was never a suspect, because, albeit muscular, I was not very strong. I could not have performed such atrocities. I said it for months and I say it again today. “I don’t know, Mr. Policeman, the alley was empty except for Davy and Steven [and my brother.]. No, I didn’t see anyone running [except him.] No, I have no idea who caused this [I don’t have an idea, I know.]”

Is blood thicker than water? Yes. Yes, blood is thicker than water and it will always prevail. I could never harm James and live with myself, though I’m having a pretty god-awful time of it now as well. Davy and Steven never told. Why? God, I wish I had all the answers. Perhaps because Davy and I were friends once upon a summer star, or because Davy thought that we were from the same family so my brother must have some of me in him, or perhaps he thought he really deserved it. Consciences are so strange! If I had sold out my brother, if I had said what I had seen, I would have been standing at the same cliff right now, looking down a hundred feet. Except James would not have been there to pull me back from the edge. Maybe he shouldn’t have.

They survived, both of them, but a piece of me died.

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