|Image by Abigail Markov|
He was also broken. Anyone could see that; even if they didn't, everyone knew it. Rumor had it that his father was drunk who beat his mother on a daily basis, and she in turn blamed him; blamed his unlikely birth to a one night stand.
He was their curse, and they made sure he never forgot it.
It was in his third repeat of junior high that he met her. A lovely woman slightly taller than him, she had curly brown tresses that had hung just below her shoulders, and pale alabaster skin that made her blue eyes that much more striking.
He liked her instantly. She was a breath of fresh air in his dour life when he needed it most. They grew close very quickly, and the next few months his grades improved as did his outlook on life. She helped him in many ways; giving him somebody to talk to and a shoulder to cry on. She became so interwoven in his life that he could not imagine it without her.
Then came the suggestions. They were small at first; steal a pen, write a bad word on the back of the desk. Little things that would result, at most, in a slap on the wrist.
Then she started encouraging him to run away.
"But where would I go?"
"Anywhere you want to." She whispered back.
He said he would think about it. It was a week before anything happened; a long week while his life spiraled even more out of control. It was on the following Friday, when his stepfather had come home drunk again, that he decided she was right.
He didn't come to school that Monday. No one seemed to notice, save the teachers when they were taking attendance; even then, they just assumed he was cutting class again. It wasn't until he started showing up on the news that they began to expect otherwise.
He had stolen a car off of Main Street and had gone on an unfunded shopping spree, taking off down the road to wherever it headed; somewhere where nobody knew him. To pay for gas, and after goading us companion, he had taken to robbing small convenience stores along the way.
It all came to a head when one of the shopkeepers pulled a gun on him. They found the shopkeeper dead behind the counter, but not from an external wound; rather he had had a heart attack.
When they finally caught up with Brian, he was shocked when they showed him the security footage. In none of that was his partner to be found; rather he shouted at thin air and took orders from no one.
He was tried and found not guilty by way of insanity. Still she stayed with him; but no longer was she suggesting or whispering but rather laughing.