About a year ago, my step sister, Sascha, moved in with me. Back then she had just finished high school and had decided she wanted to attend the drama school in my area. I did not mind her moving in. We've been pretty close almost from the start. Seeing as how we've been family since childhood, that was the expected outcome of our relationship with one another. Obviously, we started off awkwardly, like most siblings do, especially kids, but the death of her, I mean, our father in a car accident that had almost ended her life bonded us rather quickly.
As far as everyone is concerned, some asshole flew into father's car from the side, flipping it over. To this day, she says she can recall the face of the driver, as apparently, he looked into the car before storming off. Hell, I don't even know if I should believe her. I mean, she had a vertebra compressed and was lying upside down next to the body of her dying father. I doubt she was in a clear state of mind.
Anyhow, she moved in, and it was all fine and dandy. We share similar interests, we were both forced to grow up quicker than usual so I could classify us both as mature enough not to do stupid shit. She had her drama studies and job and I had my job. The house chores were always taken care of and we had someone to hang around at all times.
Honestly, if it weren't for her, I think I would've lost my mind to the loneliness, you see, I'm not much of a people's person at this point.
Fast forward to three months ago, a new neighbor moved in to the house next door. A man in his early fifties I'd say, nothing strange about him, other than his overgrown, graying facial hair. He was a quite sociable fellow. He came over and introduced himself as Paul Aronson, a fit Bully male followed him calmly as we spoke. Paul told me that the pooch was his harmless best friend, I honestly had no idea why he had to mention the fact that it was harmless, perhaps due to the fact that pit bulls tend to have a bad reputation. I am a dog guy myself, so the odd dog would not bother me in the slightest.
We talked, shared a beer I had in my fridge and when the sun started setting, Paul went on his merry way. I fixed some dinner for me and my sister afterwards.
Some time later, the front door flew ajar. Sascha made her way, marching through the entrance hall and into the kitchen, her bag still draped over her shoulder. She looked as if she had seen a ghost.
"Dude… that’s him."
"That’s the guy who ran into me and dad."
I was dumbfounded, I had no idea what she was talking about, but I could tell she was having a mild panic attack. Her eyes were bulging and wide open, her breathing was quick and shallow and she seemed to be shimmering due to the stress.
I walked up to her and asked, "What? Who're you talking about?"
"The guy, next door…. With the dog… that's the guy…"
I interrupted her, "No way! You can't know what he looks like, sis, c'mon, and even if you did see him then, there's no way you could clearly remember a man's face from over a decade ago."
"I hope you're right…" she said, visibly trying to calm herself down.
She did have PTSD after the accident, but we were pretty sure that was taken care of. Sascha had been seeing a therapist for a while and eventually went on to practice martial arts and acrobatics as a part of her physical therapy.
I put my hand on her head, ruffled her hair and told her with a warm smile on my face, "You look like a mess, go get a shower."
She gritted her teeth and begrudgingly followed my advice. By the time she was back from the shower, dinner had been already served. She seemed tense for the rest of the evening, but whenever she trying changing the subject of discussion towards this idea that our neighbor was the man who almost ended her life, I would subtly avoid the topic.
Following that evening, Sascha seemed to be slipping ever so slowly back into a traumatized state. She was stressed, couldn't sleep properly and in a matter of couple of weeks she'd become easily agitated and pissy, almost lashing out at me on several occasions.
The lack of sleep, coupled with education and work, caused more stress which in turn caused more deprivation of proper rest. It had gotten so bad that she wasn't just experiencing vivid nightmares or even night terrors, she had started sleep walking.
I kept my contact with my new neighbor as minimal as possible to avoid the ire of my younger sister.
Occasionally I could hear her almost shout something in her dreams. Horrible stuff kept coming out of her mouth during her night terrors.
One night I was awoken by the sound of something crashing in the yard. I made my way cautiously to the outside just to find my sister, sitting there, in her night gown with one of my switchblades in hand.
That scene jolted me into a fully awakened state; imagine seeing your sister sat outside, in the middle of the night with a knife in hand.
She seemed confused, and I guess I did too.
I rushed up to her and helped her up, asking what she was doing.
"I don't… know…"
It seemed like she had sleep walked all the way to the yard, with a switchblade in hand, I don't even know how she got it out of my room without me noticing. I keep those things in an old drawer that should have made enough noise to raise the dead from their sleep when opened.
We sat there, silent for a few moments.
Eventually she broke the silence, saying, "Maybe I should leave… All of this… It's too much…"
I was caught off guard by that remark. I didn't want to seem like the man who couldn't keep his sister safe and sound so I retorted with, "Pff, don't be silly, you're just burnt out, we'll get you a therapist and you're having the spring break soon, aren’t you? You'll get your rest, perhaps see someone new… You don’t have to leave."
"Look at me, I'm holding a knife, who knows what I'll do next time I sleep walk."
"You'll be fine, I promise." I poked her on the head and motioned her into the house.
"Fine," she hissed as she lagged behind me.
The next day went remarkably well, she seemed more relaxed and jolly than she did in the past few weeks. However, all of that went down the drain the next night.
I went to bed like usual, she was already sound asleep by that point. I remember falling asleep, like that moment between sleeping and wakefulness. I felt something tug at me. My mind went into a half waking mode, because I was that tired after so many noisy nights courtesy of Sascha's sleep walking.
While my vision was still blurry and my hearing wasn't quite straight, I heard my sister's voice utter the words, "The dog killed father."
I straightened myself up and cleared my eyes.
Sascha was on her way out of my room, once I realized she must've been sleep walking again I got out of bed and called her name, but she wouldn't respond, so I went after her and grabbed her by the shoulder.
I wish I hadn't.
She turned her head at me.
With this hollow stare, her blue eyes shining under the moon light, as she was staring right through me, she said, "Good night," turned her head forward and kept on walking towards her room.
I froze in my tracks, that sight, that almost soulless stare.
It was so terrifying.
I told her about it the next day and she, understandably, found it hilarious, noting that sleep walkers tend to look like that when they are sleep walking.
The day went on as usual, I had come back home from work before she was done with school. Around 6pm once she was back home, I was going to fix us dinner but Paul showed up at the door, asking if we had seen his dog, claiming he couldn't find it. I asked Sascha if she had seen the Bully but she denied seeing it.
She did utter under her tongue that it serves him right to lose his dog.
This made me kind of suspicious of her having done something to the dog, mainly "setting it free" or something stupid of the sorts, but I didn't say anything. Instead I opted to help the aging man find his lost companion.
After four hours of looking around, literally, everywhere, for that damned dog, we found nothing and Paul gave up, offering me a drink at his place.
I had the feeling he called me over was so he wouldn't break apart over the possible loss of the dog. I got that and so I accepted his offer.
At his place, he started telling me about how he got this dog, Brutus, after he was starting to succumb to alcoholism almost a decade ago. He told me that this dog, this animal, had cured his alcoholic tendencies by forcing him to take responsibility of something. He kept on going and going about how he lost his wife and the custody of his children after he made a stupid decision.
That is when something in my mind snapped, as if some gears that were dormant started spinning all over.
He told me, "Years ago, man, I ran into a car, it flipped over. I stopped, peered inside and saw this man, he was done, his body was twisted in angles the human body shouldn't be, and, and, the little girl. Her eyes were barely open, just barely, they were blue, like your sister's. I was scared, I was confused, I didn't know what to do. I ran away. I should've stayed, tried to help them, I should've…" He began tearing up.
I grabbed him by shoulder and told him it was all fine, that we all make mistakes, we just have to let go.
He wiped his face and kept on going, "I couldn't let go, man, the guilt, it ate me alive. I killed two people, I killed a child. So, I turned to the bottle and sold my everything for some of that sweet burning hell." He kept on going, "If it wasn't for Brutus, I would've been done for."
At this point, I was pretty sure he was the man who ended up killing my father.
I couldn't be around him for much longer.
I could feel the rage building up inside of me, if I had stayed there for much longer, I would've killed the man. So, being polite, I excused myself and walked back home, falsely promising to help him keep on looking for that dog.
I got back home to find my sister watching TV, I set next to her, put my arm around her and said, "You were right, sleep walking monster."
She looked at me, slightly baffled. "Huh?" she uttered.
"Our neighbor just confessed to me to running into a car with a man and a young girl inside, so I guess he was the one who ran into you."
Her eyes widened and she straightened up, staring at me with a glow. "So what do we do now?"
I poked her head and said, "Well, nothing we can do, I don't have his confession recorded, so unless he turns himself in, there's nothing much we can do."
Her face radiated disappointment at me once I said that.
"But you know what, I doubt he's ever getting that dog of his back," I smiled.
She started gleaming again, curiously asking me, "What did you do?"
"Nothing… We looked for this dog in every possible hole, it's gone. I bet someone thought it's a stray dog or something and put it in their soup," I half joked.
"Eww, that's gross," she remarked at me.
We started watching the TV together and then I asked her, casually, "Hey, Sascha, you didn't do anything to that dog, did you?"
"Nope, not stupid enough," she retorted without even turning her gaze away from the TV screen.
The days flew by and Paul Aronson kept on searching desperately for his dog, and I kept avoiding his calls for help any time he'd ask. A week had gone by and the dog wasn't found. Another passed and still nothing came up. At this point he even stopped asking for help.
A couple of weeks ago, I was awoken by the sound of police sirens coming out of Paul's yard. I got up and dragged myself outside to see what the whole commotion was about.
The sight wasn't pleasant, to say the least.
Paul was crying on the floor, cuddling what appeared to be a dog's bloodied skin rug with a collar around its neck area.
I looked around for a moment or two and then noticed the Arabic inscription, "كُلّ كَلْب بِيجِي يُومُه," written on Paul's door in blood. The inscription means something along the lines of "what goes around comes around". On top of that, various bloody hand prints were smeared all over the door and walls of Paul's house.
Me, my sister, and pretty much the whole neighborhood were questioned by the police, apparently some sick fuck decided they should skin the dog. The body itself wasn't found. Sascha told them about her sleep walking issue, but the cops dismissed it as a task way too complicate to complete in a sleep walking state.
We all felt sorry for Paul and offered to help him in any way he'd like us to, but he decided that he just wanted to leave the town.
He's about to leave tomorrow morning, and the cops still haven't found anything in regards to who killed the dog. Sascha and I decided to make a farewell dinner for Paul, before he leaves.
Speaking of which, Sascha's no longer weary of him and seems to have turned to her normal, lively self.
Paul agreed to have dinner with us tonight.
I just hope he's going to like the dog steak I've prepared for him.
Written by BloodySpghetti