Danny sat inside the dominating dark of his room, lit with only the desk lamp towering over his school work, unperturbed by the chaos and the needless devastation Mother Nature had to give. The night was cold and so was the blade he employed to mark slits into the sides of his wrist. He had hissed many times, but he had silenced himself almost
immediately, using only but a bite of his lower lip at the sight of slow crimson dribbling out the cuts. Although he had always found himself enraptured by the color clambering out of his skin, Danny would put an immediate stop to it with a thin roll of tissue, tending to his cuts as though he cared.
But in truth, his notebooks were what he had fawned over. A single drop of blood onto the paper he might have been able to lose complete hold on his dwindling sanity and eventually kill himself. And he wasn't getting out of his seat to do it elsewhere. No, no, no. Only a madman would do that.
And Danny had limited time. At best he could only waste three minutes for cutting. Any later, he'd know he'd deserve a good whooping. He rested his left wrist on his lap, letting his right hand do the work as appointed. There were three tests up his schedule for the next day, and he was not to waste another
second during his preparation. His left hand had only succumbed to numbness; cutting ought to show it when not to fall asleep, so he believed. But no, he wasn't dwelling on that, the cuts were of minority, the stung had long ago abandoned him - there was work to be done.
“Danny?” called Abel, knocking twice on his door. Immediately, Danny's hand stopped writing, ears perked up to listen, anticipating the next lines that would have to escape his younger brother's mouth from outside. How Abel's voice was able to rival the rumbling sky’s was enough fascination for the elder male. After all, it was
what had made him so uncouth, so inferior. A smile crept up Danny's face, bringing dynamics and an ominous warmth to lips usually so frozen. “Yes, Abel?” he managed to return, a voice filtered out. His tone had obviously not participated in his smile. “What is it?”
“Err, dinner's ready.” Danny grabbed for his phone. When the LED splashed light across his face, his eyes briefly scanned the screen, reading the bold numbers of 19:23 on the upper half of the glass. “Thank you for informing me,” Danny replied, grinding the chair's legs against the floor as he slid it back. “I lost track of the time. I'll be heading out in a
few." Dinner was, by far, Danny's favorite meal. The reason was simple: in contrast, it was Abel's least. Dinner was when this family of four had been able to chat, topics not ranging far from regarding their father's work, their mother's news around the neighborhood if not yet supplied by their breadwinner,
and their children's daily reports from school. Danny had loved the latter. “How was class, Danny?” their father would ask. “Same as always, Father,” Danny would bridge. “Danny ought to be bored of school by now,” their mother would remark, dissolving into fits of laughter behind her
hand. Her eyes would then drift over to Abel, who had always assumed his place next to Danny around the table, her face trying not to fall into a grimace. “You should be the same, Abel.” “I'll try, Mother,” he would say, but not tonight. He had not replied to anything their mother had said, and allowed the loop to go on without flash of his participation.
Their parents had gone along with new topics, exchanging daily reports of their own. Not that Danny minded of course. He and Abel knew this family only had one son, let alone, one child. And that was the eldest. Really, to Danny, the name Abel should have been his -
Abel, derived from the Bible, a family's favored son who had offered God only his best sheep from his herd, eventually murdered by his jealousy-brimmed brother Cain. Rightfully, he knew that name belonged to him, but alas there was nothing he could do. In truth, he pitied his younger brother; he could not at all imagine being burdened with a name he could not carry on his
shoulders. Danny's gaze flickered at Abel, quietly scrutinizing his younger brother's inanimate movements. Like the prim and perfect older brother that he was, he asked, “Is something bothering you?” “It's nothing,” he muttered, scooping half of a spoonful of food into his mouth.
“You know,” Danny cleared his voice, “you can talk to me about it any time, right?” Abel sighed through his nostrils and ran a hand through his hair. “Thank you, Dan, but,” he paused in hesitation. Danny lifted a brow. “But?” When Abel upturned his face and locked gazes with his older brother, a cold jolt raced
through him. “Shouldn't I be telling you that? Why not open up to me?” “Says the guy barely making through a quarter of his supper tonight,” Danny smirked. “If there's anyone with problems here, it's you, evidently. I'm utmost fine, Abel.” “Your wrist tells you otherwise.”
Danny's heart fell to his stomach, flickering his eyes towards his parents to check if they heard then back at his brother. His fingers itched to tug at his long sleeves although he was inwardly assured they covered his wrists just fine. How he knew, Danny never had been so desperate to find the answers regarding Abel.
It was silent between the brothers for the remaining duration of dinner time. Gratefully, their parents had been too preoccupied to notice the asphyxiating static in the air, entering but only two lungs - both of which were of the cornered Danny.