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Excerpt of Novel: 'The River'
“Well then, now that we’ve gotten that bastard out of our hairs…” Jainus lounged over to the wicker chair their father had sat on and sprawled himself all over it. One spidery black leg of his kicked upwards and downwards as his deep blue, cunning eyes looked cockily to his pale brother.
“That!” he said suddenly and sharply, after eyeing his bereft brother for some time, making sure he didn’t act on any sudden mad emotion. Not spying any madness, he continued in his bitter crisp voice. “…means I own half of this very house.” he finished, a strangely gleeful tone to his voice as his brother looked to him in a surprised agony, cupping his hands as if grasping his dead father’s arms again. A grimace spread on his clean-cut, good-boy face.
John’s cheeks began to pucker as they always did before releasing some emotion. He fell to his knees.
Jainus lolled his eyes off to the orange and red light seeping upwards on the horizon. “Here we go again,” he thought wearily.
“Have you not even acknowledged what I have done?! I have killed our father! My father! Your father!” John’s body wrenched and rolled a couple times as he collapsed on the grass, and Jainus thought to himself.
“And glad is I, that you be the one who done it, too.”
Jonathon lifted himself up partially from the threads of grass that remained.
“Are you drunk?!” he spat, unbelieving and unblinking.
Jainus eyed him with the slightly bigger eyes he used during poker to try and con the other to make a wrong move. Bet more than they were supposed to.
Rolling around his aching neck, Jainus exclaimed, “Well, how was it that I alone was supposed to know that this very night would happen to be the one you offed him on! Am I supposed to keep track of your little temper tantrums?” he asked, posting an incredulous look on his face, as he flicked a bug off the wicker table by the chair.
John made a choked noise as though twenty mosquitoes had just swarmed him and were trying to fly their way into his mouth and nose. He rolled over onto the grass again.
“Funny anyhow…” Jainus got up, circling around the deck and looked down on John, still weeping in the grass and yelling at himself sporadically.
Lips parted in thought, Jainus continued; “That you should be that one to do it. I always thought that when I made my last appearance as a rich game boy with a lady on each arm, he would attempt to strangle me…” Jainus waved his hand as if getting to a point. “Which, of course would have resulted in the ‘offing’ of him, but nonetheless…never pegged you for the killer.” he ended it on a thoughtful note, looking off into the trees, thinking of the other situations in which he’d imagined his father’s death.
“I had plans!” John wailed.
At this Jainus got a little stunned.
‘The ‘good boy’ had actually planned father’s death?’ thought Jainus.
“Plans I tell you, I wanted none of his money, I-Rhia and I, when I got accepted, were going to move to New York, there I’d get a job and we’d live happily-NOT WITH THIS!”
He grabbed a big jagged rock and hocked it at the house, leaving a big gash in the woodwork. Jainus raised his neat, slanted eyebrows at his brother’s madness. He pointed at the side of the house that was now marred by the chipped off piece of wood.
“That sides yours, you know,”
John just sobbed some more.
“You mean to tell me you never wanted this grand old place,” Jainus gestured to the big, Victorian mansion. “And whatever money he had?”
“No! Rhia and I would leave, and I would provide her with my own money!”
Jainus shook his head belatedly. “Well then, brother you should have told me that long ago, so I could have done it for you and you could have left with your precious Rhia…and with that of course, leaving it all to me…there is still hope for that, you know?”
John shook his head, “To leave with her and have death hang over our heads…how could I?”
“Well,” Jainus took long, impatient strides towards his brother, “That I tell you, is just plain easy,” he lifted him up and put John’s arm around his shoulders. As they made their way up the steps and stumbling into the mansion, he continued.
“Get up there, get all fancied up and ready to leave with Rhia, write a quick note-no, no! An official letter, bequeathing all your inheritance to your only brother, then pack some things, make your way down to Rhia’s farm and take her off her feet!”
With that Jainus lurched his brother onto the staircase leading up to their rooms-in Jainus’s case his destroyed one, and waited for John to get up from his jaggy impact and make the next move. But all was still.
Jainus realized he had been a bit too rough when he threw him on the stairs.
“…John?” he asked, unfamiliar to speaking his brother’s name.
“Errrr…” John moaned.
Jainus rapped his thighs with his hands in impatience. “Now what?” he growled.
John put one hand in front of the other and slowly started pawing his way up to the rooms in a silent and slow way, as if thinking about his actions every step he crawled up.
Good, Jainus concluded at John’s progress. The sooner he’s gone-the better.
He remembered Rhia’s glowing eyes in the night as it rained. Those beautiful, glittering droplets of water that clung and fell to her loose, dark hair.
“That sooner you’re both gone the better,” he murmured raggedly as he locked up the house and settled on the couch to sleep.
Missouri City, Texas
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