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••• The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes Fiction

Too close for comfort
• Andrew Lee-Hart
Whilst I don’t agree with killing people as a rule, particularly not close family, sometimes it is the best solution to an awkward problem. You do the deed and then move on with your life.

girl in bed

I had not seen my brother Donald for twenty-five years, not since I was carted away by social services as my mother, an occasional prostitute and constant drug user, was struggling to deal with a new born baby. For some reason Donald stayed with our mother, he was five and seemed to be happy enough and there were no problems with nursery. I asked him later if he minded being left whilst I was taken to enjoy a new life, but he said that he was pleased that I was going to be properly looked after, also he did not want to leave his mother, who for all her faults he felt loved him and despite his young age, probably needed him.

Social Services soon found parents to adopt me; Mr and Mrs Heath who lived in a far pleasanter part of Sheffield than where my birth mother and half-brother were living their fractured lives. Tom and Frances were probably not ideal parents for me; they were loving I think, at least to start with but when they realised, around aged ten, that I had a mind of my own they began to lose some of that love. Tom was not so bad, he quite liked the fact that I was a tomboy and he enjoyed taking me to see Sheffield Wednesday play, but I grew out of it and then he got bored of me. But my adopted mother Frances found me impossible to deal with full stop, and whilst she never said that she regretted adopting me it was obvious that she did.

I managed to live with them throughout most of my teenage years without doing either of them any serious damage, and then moved in with my then boyfriend Lee. We shared a small flat that Tom and Frances paid for, and in between lots of sex and lots of rows, I did my ‘A’ Levels and did very well actually. One of the things that Tom and Frances resented about me was that despite my bad behaviour I was actually rather clever; they associated being clever with being good, and I was rarely good. I decided not to go to university but get a job, and I chucked Lee out, I was eighteen and could do what I wanted and I did not want to be saddled with a loser like Lee for the rest of my life.

After a few dead end jobs, I managed to find work in Sheffield city library. The pay was not great but the work was fun and the rest of the staff were pretty cool. I even began a sexual relationship with my handsome and funny colleague Mark, but then his wife found out and he left the library. Later he sent me a couple of tear stained emails asking me to run away with him, but I ignored them. Some men do not understand when to quit.

I had not really been told much about my real family; Frances seemed embarrassed about the whole thing and my social worker was more interested in my so-called bad behaviour. But I found out a little about my mother and that I had an older half-brother called Donald. I did occasionally think about what they could be like; at times I thought a friendly and loving network of family and friends, but then I thought it was more likely that they were living in a squalid bedsit eating beans out of a tin, in between getting stoned and fighting.

And then, a couple of years after I had started working at the library, there was a knock at the door of my bedsit, and a rather good looking man was standing there with a half-smile on his face. He said that he was Donald and he was my elder brother….

I was going through a bad patch at the time; a relationship with a guy called Peter had just ended and what made it worse was that he had finished it, something that had never happened to me before. In the past I was the one to bring a relationship to its close, probably because I hate being rejected, but I was happy with Peter and he seemed happy with me. He had mentioned his previous girlfriend Chloe in passing, but unbeknownst to me she contacted him, they met up and decided to make another go of it; apparently this Chloe was the love of his life. Peter was apologetic and sorry but already his mind was with Chloe. I trashed a lot of his stuff and slapped his face, but it did not bring him back.

My relationship with Tom and Frances was almost non-existent now; I would often wait to see how long it would be before they contacted me but I always gave up and picked up the phone, because if I didn’t I would never hear from them. I would visit every two or three months; but there would be lots of embarrassed silences and I would be as relieved to go as I they would be to see me leave. They clearly did not care about me and did not even bother going through the motions of parental concern. So I was at a low ebb, feeling unloved and friendless when Donald came knocking.

Apparently Donald had spent the last six months trying to trace me; he had a friend in the police force who had helped considerably, and he spied on me, visiting the library a couple of times, although I had not spotted him. He soon realised I was the little baby he remembered being taken from the flat one sunny Wednesday morning all those years ago, and he decided to pay me a visit.

I invited him in, and we sat and chatted for ages. He did look like me, not so that if you met us together you would assume that we were related, but once someone was told they would see the similarities. We both had light brown hair, were slim and had blue eyes. I also caught some of my mannerisms whilst he talked to me. I asked after our mother, apparently she was still alive living in a flat above a newsagent. Donald visited her most weeks but clearly had a complex relationship with her. She had no idea that Donald was looking for me, and in recent years she had stopped mentioning me.

As for Donald, he seemed to have done okay; he worked in Tesco, had done since leaving school and had some lower management position. He was married to somebody called Marie but they did not have any children, so I wasn’t an Aunt alas. I felt a real connection with him, and I did think him very attractive which is weird I know, but when I set out to write this piece I promised myself that I would be honest; after all there is no point in just telling half the story.

It carried on from there; that Saturday I spent the day with Donald and Marie in their terrace on the edge of the Manor Estate where Donald had grown up. Perhaps I see every woman I meet as a potential rival, but really I did not like Marie and I get the impression that Donald did not like her that much either. They did not argue a great deal on that first visit, I think that Marie was on her best behaviour; but on subsequent occasions they would row at some point at least once and often one of them would storm off leaving me and whoever was left, rather embarrassed, particularly if it was Marie.

She was a tall lady, with black hair and pale skin, she always smelt well-groomed and I can see why people would find her attractive, well until she opened her mouth; she was from Barnsley and that accent just grates on me. And she was so negative about everything; Sheffield, the weather, her job (she worked in the industrial museum over in Abbeydale) and most of all Donald. Moaning about his not doing his share of the housework, the fact that she thought he dressed like a tramp (he really didn’t), his unhealthy diet and a million more little gripes.

I thought he was so patient with her, if it had been me I would have decked her a long time ago. It begged the question why he stayed with her; they had been together for eight years and were clearly unhappy, and Donald could certainly have found someone else, someone better. He was good looking, funny and clever. Any woman would be lucky to have him in her life. I asked him why he stayed with her, and he said that she had helped him onto the straight and narrow.
“I was quite bad growing up” he told me, “mixing with some really unpleasant people. You wouldn’t have liked me then, and she straightened me out, got me to settle down and it was she encouraged me to work hard at my job and get promoted. I know she can be a cow but I owe her a lot. And at times she can be lovely, she really can.”

I suspect that he over did it a bit; I think he would have pulled himself together anyway, but if he wanted to regard Marie as his saving angel so be it. Personally I thought she was a manipulative bitch, and that he should leave her, but it was his life. I did not hide what I felt about her from Donald, and I think he felt that I was someone he could be honest with about the state of his marriage, and we often talked or texted about her.

However it was lovely to have a brother, Marie notwithstanding. I began to spend a lot of time with him. I had been very lonely at that time, probably did not realise how much. I had casual friendships, as with the people at the library, but most evenings I was on my own watching television and unless I was at work I often did not speak to anybody all day. Nobody rang or visited me to see how I was and I knew that if I was hit by a bus nobody would greatly mourn my demise, but now things had changed, at least one person cared about whether I lived or died.

Donald started taking me out places, sometimes with Marie, but if she was at work we would go on our own. We went to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park. I enjoyed this sort of thing but they are not the sort of place that you would go to unaccompanied, so I was grateful that he took me, and it was good that we had such similar tastes. I remember him and me sat next to each other on the roller coaster at Blackpool whilst Marie waited below licking an ice cream. I screamed with joy and he grabbed hold of my hand, only letting go when we reached the bottom.

He had friends, and I soon got to know them as well; going to the pub to watch football or to play pool a game at which I am rather good. Donald clearly had not totally left his past behind, because most of his friends seemed to live either outside the law, or barely within its dubious embrace, but they weren’t bad lads on the whole and I enjoyed their company. I became particularly close to a man called Mark, and we shared a passionate kiss in the yard outside Donald’s house. It led to nothing as Mark stopped socialising with us as much after that and when he did rather avoided me. I was a bit annoyed even though it had not been anything serious.

It was clear that Donald’s relationship with Marie was getting worse. They rowed more often, and then one night there was a banging on my door late at night and a rather drunk Donald stormed in and fell asleep on my couch. We chatted the next morning; apparently he and Marie had started fighting as soon as he had got home from work, and he had had enough and left. I had work to go to so had to leave, but said that he could stay at mine for a few days, but by the time I returned home he had gone.

A few days later the same thing happened and but this time I was woken by Donald coming out of my front room and into my bedroom. He crept into my bed and we started to kiss. I would like to say that he forced himself on me, but actually we both turned to each other. The kissing got passionate; I was only wearing knickers, and soon we were both naked and having sex. Of course it was strange; at times I was letting go, and going elsewhere but then I was brought back down to ground by realising that it was brother whose penis was inside me and who was kissing me so hard. It was my brother I could smell, whose grunts I could hear so close to me.

He was gone when I woke up, but I was due to see them later that day. I almost called it off, but didn’t. We went to the cinema to see some loud thriller; Donald sitting between Marie and me, occasionally and then not so occasionally our knees brushed. He drove me home and we shared a kiss in the car, and it felt better that time, as if I was just with any boy.

It soon became part of our relationship; him popping round either at night after a row or if we were both off work. It was very loving sex; he was not the best lover I have ever had, but he knew what he was doing and it was when he was inside me that I felt the closest that I have ever felt to someone. Clearly it was weird and I tried not to think about it most of the time, but when it happened it just felt okay. Anything, however strange, can seem normal if you do it often enough, and it was not like he was real my brother as we had grown up so far apart.

And then I met somebody called Oliver; he came into the library to try and find some books on Goya and we got talking. He was an art teacher at a comprehensive school in the posh Hallam district of the city. He was handsome, with dark straight hair and dressed well; with an appearance of nonchalance but actually he chose his clothes well and went to the best shops. I suspected he was rich, and as it turned out he did have wealthy parents.

Working in a library you get used to talking to members of the public, and on occasion there is a bit of flirtation. But with Oliver it became more serious; we chatted about this and that at the enquiry desk; fortunately we were very quiet and my bitch of a manager Wendy was elsewhere (probably sucking off the library attendant Carl, but that is another, rather sordid story which I have no intention of going into).

Anyway we were able to chat uninterrupted for ages and at then he asked me out. I don’t know why he found me so attractive; he was clever, an intellectual and very handsome and although I am clever I do not speak the language of academia. I am okay looks wise but again nothing special. But anyway, I met him the following night in an unpretentious pub not far from the library, and the chemistry continued, although it wasn’t until our third meeting that we ended up in bed together, and then it was as good as I could have hoped it would be.

I did not tell Donald about Oliver, I just knew that he would try to wreck it, would get jealous and I felt that Oliver was special and I wanted to hold onto him. I doubted that I would meet somebody so lovely again. It was probably inevitable that the two men in my life would meet; Sheffield maybe a city but at times it feels like a village. Oliver and I were in a pub one Sunday afternoon and Donald came in with a couple of friends, who I did not recognise. Donald did not see me at first, and sat down in a far corner, but when he got up to get his round in he saw us and came over. I introduced Oliver as a friend and he and Donald chatted amicably enough for a couple of minutes and then Donald rejoined his friends.

“You are sleeping together, aren’t you?”
“Having sex, yes”, as I was naked and astride Donald at the time, he had hardly got room to talk. He had come round later that evening cross but also lustful. Despite my relationship with Oliver, Donald and I continued to also “sleep together”, although at times I wished we would stop, but I did not have the strength to call it off, and Oliver and I only tended to do it once or twice a week, and I do like my sex.

Later as I came out of the bathroom and I caught him fiddling with my phone.
“What are you doing?” I asked him.
He said nothing and left my flat, looking purposeful.
I knew it was something to do with Oliver. I rang him the following morning but he did not reply, nor did he reply to my texts. I had been to his house a few times, a house share, so I went there that evening, but his friend Gary answered the door and said that Oliver was out, which was odd because his light was on. I never did hear from him again, I suppose I could have hung outside his house until he made an appearance, but that is not me, and what is the point. But I cried bitterly that night, and I really hated Donald.

I never found out what Donald had said or done to Oliver but clearly he had done something and I despised him for it. I realised how creepy he was; the only person that he could have an affair with was his sister, a sister who was vulnerable and who he was taking advantage of. He was a freak. I continued to let him make love to me, or have sex would be more correct, but I lay there hating him as he pushed himself inside me. I wanted his penis to shrivel up and fall off.

He began to talk about running away with me; to somewhere where nobody would know that we were brother and sister.
“What about Marie?” I asked.
“Oh you know how things are with Marie and me. It is over. It is you I love, since I met you nobody else has mattered.”
I tried to talk him out of it; even praising his awful incubus, but to no avail. He admitted that she had helped him in the past, but that was over and so was their love, if it had ever been there in the first place.

How to get rid of this weirdo, I thought to myself. My worry was that he would tell the whole story to Marie. I desperately did not want anybody to know that I had sex with my brother, but I suspected that Donald would be less careful. He clearly did love me and was an idiot, it was not a combination that left me feeling confident. Sure I had loved him, but the love had become weird; why had he gone to bed with me? Couldn’t he have been my brother? Why does love always have to end up in bed, even with your brother?

Marie rang me one evening.
“I am worried about Donald.” She told me. “He keeps leaving the house, and I am sure that he has got someone else. He keeps hinting that he is going to leave me.”
It showed how desperate she was by the fact that she was speaking to me of all people. Donald had been lying beside me, on the sofa, when the telephone rang. I smiled at him, mouthed that it was my mother, and went to carry on the conversation in my bedroom. I explained to Marie that he had mentioned a friend called Sophie who he liked, but that I knew very little about her, and that “it might be nothing. I am sure that he loves you really.”

Funnily enough she did not seem reassured, but at least she did not suspect it was me that her husband was running to which was something. But for how long, fortunately she was not terribly bright and had little imagination, but give her time and the unspeakable would occur to her. I knew now that I would have to kill him, it was the only way to get rid of him; it was not something that I particularly wanted to do, but needs must and by god he was getting irritating.

He rang me a couple of nights later, and said he was coming over. I suggested we meet at Denbigh Park, which lay just outside of the city. I was fed up of him coming over to my flat and I really did not want to have any more drunken sex with him; his touch was beginning to revolt me. He was reluctant but I gave him no choice. At the last moment, as I left my flat I grabbed a sharp knife from my kitchen and put it in my jacket.

It wasn’t really a park, but some sports fields, a large lake and some hills. It always looked desolate and bleak; even in the summer apart from the occasional sweating athlete. I knew that at night it was deathly quiet because on occasion I had driven here and just sat thinking about by my past.

We lay on the hill overlooking the lake. It was a surprisingly cold and dark night for March, and we were both shivering slightly.
“I have told her I am not coming back. Told her that I have met somebody else. My bags are in the car.”
“Did you tell her it was me?”
He seemed a bit worried but answered “no, it is nobody else’s business but ours.”

I leant over and stabbed him quickly in the tummy twice and then the chest. There was barely a sound either from the knife going in and out of his body nor from him; just a groan and then his body shuddered as if he had reached his orgasm. I studied him briefly and then kissed him on the forehead; he felt clammy, quite disgusting.

It was a steep hill, so I pushed him once and he rolled down to the bottom, gaining speed, he only needed kicking once, when he was held up by some stones. I undid his coat, grabbed his car keys, and put some rocks inside and then did it up again, put some more in his pockets and then rolled him into the lake. I sat for a while but he did not come back up so I left. I did not feel anything but relief that I had had the courage to do the deed. I was rather proud of myself.

I got in his car and drove up the motorway to Leeds, with one of his c.ds playing loudly. I could smell him in the car; all that was left of him was a body in a lake and a smell in a car. I left his car on a side street by the railway station. As he had said there were two cases in the back with his stuff in. I left them there, being not sure what to do with them, and I hurried away, not looking back. I spent the day in Leeds before catching a train home and then went to bed.

The police did question me a couple of weeks later; Marie had not reported his disappearance at first but his work were getting anxious and kept ringing her so she eventually contacted them. Two young policemen came and visited me. Very nice men who were very kind and sympathetic; I admitted that we were close and that he was not happy with Marie; I wanted to hint that she might perhaps have killed him, but thought that might seem to suspicious. I said that he had mentioned someone else once but it was nothing definite, and they left me alone, I doubted that they suspected anything.

They found the car soon afterwards, some local youths had done me a favour and taken it for a joyride, leaving it partially burnt out by the football ground. The two cases had disappeared. But now, a year later they still have not found the body, clearly the council do not clean the lake in Denbigh Park and his body has not floated to the top. Apparently Donald had “underworld connections” so it is those the police are concentrating on, rather than Marie which is a shame.

I left Sheffield recently; well I had nothing here to keep me, and I want to make a fresh start, away from family and particularly away from long lost brothers.

© Andrew Lee-Hart May 2016
fridge2 at

Andrew Lee-Hart

It was weeks until I heard him speak more than a couple of words, and by then I had probably told him my whole life story, which he had swallowed whole like a whale eating plankton, with only the occasional “yes” or “hmm” to encourage me in.

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