My Own Desert Places, Pt. 33 (GPT-3 fueled short)


When it would only take Oleksiy three strides to reach me, I snapped out of my paralysis, jumped back into the hall of my house and I closed the door. The last image of Kateryna’s older brother remains in my mind: the downward diagonal of his eyebrows, the reddened sclera, the rouge pink bags under his eyes as if he has barely slept a few hours a night during the last week, the creases in his stubbly cheeks as he grits his teeth.
I have leaned my back against the front door for a second when Oleksiy bangs on it, making it tremble through my bones.
“Come out here to talk this out like men,” Oleksiy growls.
“No, thank you,” I answer. “I’d rather hide. I’m sure you intend to let your baseball bat speak for you.”
He says something in Ukrainian. I had forgotten that Alazne was standing in front of me, and when I lift my gaze to her face, I wish I had never brought her to Asier’s house. She has turned slightly sideways, her eyes have gone wide, she has narrowed her shoulders and she’s holding her hands over her chest as if she wished she could turn invisible.
“W-what’s happening…?” Alazne says in a low, high-pitched voice.
“These are the brothers who punched me in the guts the day before we left for Asturias,” I answer with a thin voice. “The whole reason we left. They must have followed us home some day.”
Alazne blinks, then straightens her back. She raises her voice to address the two brothers through the door.
“Please stop this. Whatever you’re fighting about, just… talk it out! We don’t have to fight.”
The brothers stop squabbling in Ukrainian.
“What Asier has done to our sister can’t be resolved by talking,” Oleksiy says harshly. “Your boyfriend knows this.”
“I wouldn’t do it anyway,” I add, “because I don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
My heart is beating too fast. I try to project confidence to Alazne through my steady gaze, but she can tell how serious this has become.
“Alazne, where have you left your bike? Go grab it, throw it over the backyard fence, and climb it. Ride out of here.”
Alazne gulps. Her eyes are glistening in fear.
“I will not leave you alone.”
I open my mouth to answer her, but Oleksiy either punches the door again or hits it with the end of his baseball bat. In either case, I wonder how long he can keep doing this until some of our neighbors peek out from their doors and windows.
“Yes, you will,” I say, lowering my voice. “I intend to keep you safe. I can’t do it here anymore. Just go, and I’ll call you later.”
Alazne begins to weep silently, her shoulders heaving. I want to hold her in my arms, but I feel that the moment I stop putting all of my weight in the door, Oleksiy will manage to burst through it.
“I won’t go anywhere,” she says.
“Alazne, this is no time for–“
“You still don’t understand? When you met me I was already dead. This new life you gave it to me.”
My girlfriend’s voice is like honey, and I can’t help but weep a little too. I have no doubt that those two intend to kill me. Dying would mean severing the only bright thread of hope in the dark tapestry of Alazne’s life. I have to survive if only for her, but I can’t bear the thought of her getting hurt.
“Y-you’ve only had a taste of what being dead is like, just a few days out of the month, at worst most days out of a given week, but not every single hour of your existence. You can’t sleep, so you can’t escape from that nightmare for a second.”
Oleksiy hits the door again. It felt like the whole house shook. My girl’s lips are trembling.
“Damn it, Alazne,” I whisper. “There’s no pride among ghosts. Every one of them wishes they could live again.”
“I-I don’t. N-not if it means I have to lose you.”
She furrows her brow as she steps back and pulls out the phone from a pocket of her sweatpants.
“What are you doing…?” I whisper. “Ah, I guess we can call the police.”
I realize that I haven’t heard the brothers talking for a few seconds. Almost at the same time I spot some movement on one of the windows of the hall, which face the wall that encloses our community. The blinds are lowering themselves awkwardly, falling a little from one end and then the other, as if trying to shield the window from something happening behind it.
With a spine-chilling crash, the glass from that window shatters inwards, and the sharp pieces scatter across the hardwood floor. Half of the baseball, held sideways, lingers in the empty window frame until it jerks out of view.
Oleksiy’s tall and wide figure appears in the window. He hits with his hand the fragments of glass stuck in the frame so they fall onto the hardwood, clearing a path for him to climb through. I push myself away from the front door. Alazne is paralyzed, the phone halfway to her ear as she stares wide-eyed at the imposing intruder who has bent over to step on the window frame.
“Alazne, run!” I say in a stern whisper.
Oleksiy’s head snaps towards us as his foot lands on the wooden floor, crunching some glass. Some embedded piece of glass on the frame has scratched the man’s forearm, and the wound is beading with blood. He lunges at Alazne and snatches her phone from her trembling hand.
“The police has nothing to do with this,” Oleksiy says while she glowers at me.
He drops the phone to the floor, and as soon at it hits the ground, Oleksiy crushes it with his heel. Behind him, the baseball bat plunges through the empty window frame, hits the hardwood loudly and rolls over the pieces of glass. Hadeon appears in the window, and as he supports himself on the sill he tries awkwardly to pass a leg through the empty frame.
“Don’t move,” Oleksiy says as he takes a step towards me, as if daring me to try something.
Alazne stutters before she manages to speak.
“A-are you Ainhoa’s brothers?” she asks with a faltering voice.
My beloved girlfriend must be losing it. There’s no genetic combination that would have produced Ainhoa’s raven-haired self as well as these two blonde bastards, let alone their respective eye colors.
Oleksiy relaxes his brow slightly as he looks at Alazne.
“I guess we could have been some Ainhoa’s brothers, or the brothers of many other women this son of a bitch has screwed over,” he stabs his finger in my direction without turning his head. “But no, I don’t know any Ainhoa.”
Hadeon jumps into the house and drops gently on the floor, crunching glass under his heels. He hurries up to pick up the baseball from the floor, which had rolled close to the doorway into the living room. Once Kateryna’s scrawny brother straightens his back, he taps his other palm with the end of the baseball as if imitating some threatening behavior he recalls from movies. The bags under his eyes are even more pronounced than Oleksiy’s, and the scar with the shape of a slim crescent moon almost blends with the darkened skin. He’s breathing through his mouth, showing that most of his lower teeth are misaligned.
As Alazne wrings her hands, she takes a step back towards the console table.
“W-what happened to your sister that you hate my boyfriend so much?”
Oleksiy shakes his head slightly at Alazne.
“You poor woman. You can’t see that your man has done nothing but bring dirt to many women’s houses.”
“W-what does that mean…?”
Oleksiy sighs.
“He brings dirt and shame on their houses. He’s an adulterer, a cheater. But that’s the least of it.”
Hadeon holds the baseball with his left hand while he points at the chest of my girlfriend’s hoodie with his right.
“Do you even know what that is?”
Alazne looks down at the prominent logo on the grey fabric.
“T-the Wings of Freedom from ‘Attack on Titan’…”
Hadeon raises his eyebrows, and his face lightens up as if he has forgotten why he and his brother have invaded my house.
“Really? What’s your favorite character?”
Alazne looks at both brothers before answering.
“Uh… A-annie…”
Hadeon purses his lips and nods enthusiastically.
“Good choice, but I prefer Erwin. He’s just so cool, the perfect mix of a soldier and a scholar.”
Oleksiy rolls his eyes as he grits his teeth, and then pats his brother on the shoulder with the back of his hand.
“What the fuck are you going on about now?”
Hadeon shrugs at his brother’s outburst.
“I wouldn’t have expected any woman that bastard dates to be interested in high culture.” Hadeon turns his attention back to my girlfriend. “You know what else I like about ‘Attack on Titan’? The intrigue. It’s a war show, but what sets it apart from other war shows is the mystery and intrigue.”
Alazne tilts her head to the side while her expression suggests she’s anticipating getting punched. Oleksiy groans. He grabs his brother by the shoulder.
“We don’t need to know about Asian cartoons now,” he mutters through his teeth.
“I’m just saying that the lore of ‘Attack on Titan’ is really interesting. It’s a shame that you’re not interested in such things, Oleksiy.”
Hadeon pats his brother on the chest with his open palm.
“Let’s deal with this.”
Hadeon nods towards my girlfriend.
“But she’s cool, right?”
Alazne shudders under the big brother’s gaze. Oleksiy seems to be considering her role.
“It’s good that Asier’s new piece is present, because we get to teach her a lesson.”
My muscles tense up, my eyes twitch, I feel spines shooting through my skin. I ball my hands into fists and shout.
“Hey! If you hurt her, Oleksiy, in this life or the next, I will fucking wreck you!”
Oleksiy turns his head sharply towards me, but his expression is one of stunned confusion, as if he had expected me to try to sacrifice Alazne to save myself. I suppose that Asier would have done it. The big brother barks out a laugh and turns to Hadeon.
“You see what I have to put up with? He threatens us.”
“I threatened you in particular,” I growl.
“She doesn’t know you like we do, Asier,” Hadeon mutters. “She thinks hurting you is a big mistake.”
Oleksiy glares at me. His expression darkens and his nostrils dilate as if allowing me to keep breathing means insulting his ancestors.
“Why would I hurt this woman? She’s not at fault for anything. She will end up suffering like all the others. What she will get is a lesson on the kind of devil you are. A lesson that our sister should have gotten before you ruined her.”
What is Kateryna doing right now? Is she merely standing nearby, witnessing the scene as if it belonged to a reality show? Seeing her brothers again must have shocked her. I have no doubt that if some random men broke into our house, Kateryna would rain hell upon them with her poltergeist powers, but these two goons are her brothers, no matter how much Kat claimed that she didn’t give a shit about them. No, I can’t rely on my ghost friend to survive what’s coming for Asier.
Alazne sniffles.
“Y-you intend to beat my boyfriend, the love of my life, because he cheated on your sister before his car accident…?”
Hadeon rubs his eyes, as if the reality of his sister’s death is hitting him again.
“You don’t know what kind of monster Asier is. He ruined our sister’s life. He drove her to kill herself.”
“I bet he hasn’t told you that,” Oleksiy says while smirking bitterly.
Alazne snaps her head back, and shoots me a shocked look.
“A-asier, do you remember any of that?”
“Makes no difference whether he remembers it,” Oleksiy growls. “He did it.”
“I wouldn’t remember it,” I say, “because I didn’t do it.”
Oleksiy shudders in rage as his eyes show the reddened sclera over his irises. He balls his hands into fists, cracking his knuckles, and walks towards me. I remain stone-faced, and don’t budge an inch. Kateryna’s big brother stands in front of me while his big chest raises and falls. Then he pulls his right fist back and launches it at my face.
Oleksiy’s big fist hits my cheek with a solid thunk, snapping my head back. I felt the bones in his hand impacting my skull. I black out for a split second as my legs tremble, and the next thing I hear is Alazne yelping. Oleksiy had drawn his fist back to hit me again, but my girlfriend runs to me and hugs me from the side, grabbing the chest of my tracksuit as if she doesn’t want to let go. She’s sobbing.
“L-leave him alone!” she cries, her voice reflecting her terror.
Oleksiy stands to the side, breathing heavily. He looks as if he wants to kill me. He hugs his right hand with his left.
“Woman,” he says in a cold voice, “get out of the way.”
Alazne shakes her head.
“No. I’m not letting you hurt Asier anymore.”
My left cheek is burning up, and red splinters are ringing the vision coming from that eye. It’s okay, it’s just pain. It can’t compare to what I have done, to what I’m doing to Alazne, the love of my life. She’s sobbing in terror because I couldn’t deal with Asier’s responsibilities well enough, and the consequences ended up involving her. If it wasn’t because I can’t die and leave Alazne alone, I would welcome getting beaten to death. I do deserve it.
Oleksiy shoots me a hateful look, then his gaze flicks over to Hadeon.
“Hadeon, grab her.”
The scrawny brother hesitates, as if he doesn’t want to hurt or even inconvenience Alazne, but Hadeon relies on his brother, so he nods grimly and grabs my girlfriend by her wrist. My ears ring as I hear her muffled complaints and feel her lose her grip on my tracksuit. My stomach feels hollow.
Out of the corner of my eye I see Alazne getting dragged towards the doorway to the living room, but I am staring straight into Oleksiy’s vengeful, pale blue eyes.
“You need to blame Asier entirely, but you read your sister’s suicide note. She considers you both pieces of shit. She knew she couldn’t return home nor rely on you both because she would get hurt again.”
Oleksiy’s face twitches. It pains him. He must have chastised himself for allowing Kateryna to think that of her brothers. He takes a deep breath.
“None of that business of speaking about yourself in the third person. You are Asier. You don’t remember it, but you did it. People don’t change that much. And our sister was just… confused. We are her brothers! Family is the only thing that lasts for a lifetime. We were there for her, she just needed to reach out for us.”
I feel sick.
“What, so you could go back to telling her what to wear, when she should come home, what boys she’s allowed to date? You would tell her again to cover up because every man would want to fuck her? Would you slap her again if she contradicted you?”
Oleksiy lowers his head as he covers his face with his palm. When he composes himself, he shouts at me, showering me with spittle.
“We would die for our little Katya!” Oleksiy’s voice risks breaking, as if he’s holding back tears. “She was the best thing in our lives! She… she…”
“Everybody failed her,” I say somberly. “It’s too late for any of this.”
The big brother grunts and grabs me by the collar. I can see the pores on his nose. His warm breath touches my face.
“You motherfucker. You were lying. Maybe not about all of it, but you do remember her. You know what you did to her.”
“No, I wouldn’t remember it, because I wasn’t there. Your sister told me after my accident.”
Oleksiy’s eyes narrow as the skin around them twitches.
“After your accident…? When she was already dead…?”
“That’s right,” I answer with a thin voice.
Oleksiy pushes me hard against the front door, rattling it, and then he strikes me in the mouth without holding back. My head bounces against the door. My legs fail me, and if Oleksiy hadn’t been holding me up, I would have slid down to the hardwood floor. Warm blood is mixing with my saliva. Without thinking I probe my lower lip with my tongue where it hurts the most, and when it touches the raw, burning flesh of my lip, I can tell that the punch has split it. My upper lip feels swollen over my teeth. I can’t tell if I have lost any.
Oleksiy snarls at my face.
“You do nothing but lie. That’s how you broke all those women, how you took our sister from us.”
Oleksiy holds me up by the collar with one hand and slaps me hard across the face with the other, which snaps my head to the side. Half of my face is burning up, I feel those pores pulsating. I’m getting dizzy. I slump in his grip and find myself coughing up blood, which is trickling down my chin. I’m twitching like a worm on a hook.
The big brother slams me against the door one more time for good measure before tossing me aside. I nearly hit my head on the console table. The impact knocked the wind out of me, and I gasp for air as I prop one elbow on the console table to keep my torso upright. Blood is dripping down my throat. The hall is starting to spin, and I close my eyes for a moment. Then I hear Alazne bawling. My mind must have blocked it out so I could face Oleksiy while remaining sane. I can’t take her pain. I want to tear out my nerves.
I wish I got through this without daring to look at my girlfriend, but I dare. Her torso is convulsing, her eyes are narrowed as if squeezing out those constant streams of tears, her mouth is locked in an upside down smile of terrified impotence. The pained noises coming out from her throat don’t resemble those of a human being, but those of a weeks old wild animal who has witnessed her mother die and now has to be alone in this world.
I can feel her agony in every fiber of my body. I need to run up to her and hold her, but I stand paralyzed not because of I’m scared of how Oleksiy would react, but because I deserve to touch her. Ever since I bumped into Alazne so I could save her from the noose, I have grappled with doubts and guilt and the belief that my new life would come crumbling down if I confessed to Alazne about who I truly am. I wanted to love Alazne and keep her safe, give her a place where she could be herself, but if I had confessed, Alazne would have been so disgusted that she would have left me, so she wouldn’t have been here to suffer even more. I had only been thinking about what would benefit me.
“It’s true, I have been lying the whole time,” I say while I stare at Oleksiy’s murderous eyes, but then I force myself to hold my girlfriend’s gaze. “Alazne, I haven’t suffered any memory loss. I lied to the doctors, who just bought it. But I also don’t remember anything about Asier’s life before the accident, because I have never been him. I’m only wearing his body and living his life.”
Alazne’s face loses all signs of life, just like it had when I saw her when she was about to hang herself. Her body keeps shuddering with dry sobs. She is falling apart right before my eyes, and there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.
“What the fuck does that mean?” Oleksiy grumbles, too bewildered to be angry.
I don’t stop looking straight into Alazne’s eyes, and I keep talking even though I have to push the words through my tightened throat.
“I had gotten on a bus headed to Donostia when Asier veered his car into our lane to kill himself. He hit his head hard enough that his ghost was temporarily ejected, so I got to meet him on my plane, what breathing people call the afterlife. I informed him that he remained attached to his body, that he could still return, but he must have pictured the mess he made of his life, because he turned tail and ran. He dissolved into the aether. Not once in my twenty years of experience I thought of taking over a living person’s body right after the original owner’s ghost left, but I did, because I wanted, needed, to meet you, Alazne.”
“Are you saying that you were a ghost?” Hadeon demands to know in a low rumble as he restrains my girlfriend.
Alazne’s facial muscles are paralyzed, her eyes open wide although they keep pouring tears. I can’t read what’s going through her mind.
“I was a ghost,” I affirm without shame in my voice. “I am still a ghost, I just happen to be permanently possessing someone else’s corpse. I can’t get out of it even if I wanted to. Just as Kateryna has poltergeist powers, a few ghosts have the ability to possess breathing people. I always thought I had gotten the short end of the stick, because possessing a living person under normal circumstances only annoyed and disturbed me. It felt as if every cell of those bodies attempted to push me out. But now I’ve found out that I can return to life if I steal someone’s fresh corpse. That’s who I am, Alazne. I’m someone originally smaller trapped inside this big, manly beast. That concept should be easy to grasp for you.”
“You’re a monster,” Hadeon declares.
I don’t want to look at his face, so I can’t tell if he believes me, if he considers me monstrous for making this up, or if he’s just alluding to Asier’s involvement in his sister’s suicide.
“A monster? Why? Because I didn’t want to be dead? I’m not the one who killed myself because he had done nothing but ruin other people’s life. Ever since I took control of Asier’s life I’ve tried my best to solve the messes he caused. But I only did that because I intended to use Asier’s body to meet you,” I say while staring into Alazne’s watery eyes. “It wasn’t a coincidence that we bumped into each other. One day I was roaming through Belaskoenea as I would have done anywhere around, just to ease the unending nightmare of being trapped in the afterlife by checking out the sights and snooping into the affairs of breathing people, when I heard your song. You were playing the guitar in your bedroom, and the music flowed from the window as if you were sitting on the sill. I remember it as the most momentous instance of my strange existence. You were playing Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’, hitting the chords as if you wished to break your hand, and singing with a despairing voice as if you didn’t believe anyone could hear you anymore and you wished to learn how to see the beauty that the song promised. I pictured a tiny, defenseless creature trapped at the bottom of a murky well it had fallen into, and the creature had learned a long time ago that it wouldn’t be able to climb out.”
“You… you were there?” Alazne murmurs, faint for my decaying ears as a ghost’s loudest scream.
I smile, which feels like I’m about to tear my split lower lip further. My girlfriend remains here. She can listen to me.
“Yes,” I answer her. “I followed the music until I reached your apartment on the third floor, and I passed straight through the door. My first sight of the love of my life was you sitting on the edge of your bed, undressed down to your panties, your hair disheveled, the guitar wobbling against your thigh given how hard you were playing. From then on I haunted your house as much as I could bear it. Many times I watched you return exhausted from another worthless day at the office and then collapse onto your sheets. I heard you breaking your silence from time to time just to declare to the universe that you wanted to die. I loved watching you sit on your shower stool under the warm water and pleasure yourself slowly. I stood behind you as you watched one YouTube video after another, or opened incognito mode on the browser to look up porn videos, even though nobody else entered your apartment. I learned from your favorite videos that you yearned for some big, imposing man to treat you like his little girl and hold you in place with his strong arms as he plunged his thick cock into you. I watched you rolling in bed for hours at night, some of them only getting an hour or two of sleep, the rest of the time curled up and crying, having no clue that I was lying next to you and wishing with my entire being that I could hold you in my arms. I was waiting for you at your apartment the day your lost your last job and you slid down the door until your ass hit the floor, and then begged for some invisible presence to help you. I had to witness you searching painless ways to kill yourself on Google. I saw you making a rope out of an old sheet, tie one end around the doorknob of your bedroom door, pass your head through the noose and lie face down to test which positions would allow you to choke to death even if you fell unconscious. From then on I knew I had to save you. I would drink your tears and give you a place to be in this world.”
It seems like the four of us are holding our breaths, and I break the silence by laughing as if forty years worth of pain, suffering and worry are spurting out of me.
“What in the fuck…” Oleksiy mutters.
“You said Kateryna has poltergeist powers?” Hadeon asks with disbelief.
The brothers have turned into background noise for Alazne and I. She’s holding my gaze firmly as if trying to read in my expression how much of my confession is true, coming from a liar. But I have revealed many details about her private life that nobody else could have known, so she understands that however unlikely as it may sound, I must have been a ghost just like Kateryna.
“T-then who are you…?” Alazne asks in a vulnerable, teary voice.
I want to confess. I would just need to say the five letters of my name, of my original name as a woman, and I would witness my beloved girlfriend’s eyes lighting up with the epiphany that Irene kept popping up everywhere in our relationship because she’s the person that Alazne fell in love with. But maybe I would end up facing her disgust.
“If you fell in love with this tall, big, decaying body, with its already greying hair and its thick cock, and my personality is just an accessory, then I’m fucked, but if you love me because of my words and my actions, then just see this new body of mine as a permanent Halloween costume.”
“Like a trick or treat fuck?” Hadeon asks.
Alazne’s face has loosened into a resigned sadness, as if she woke up from a beautiful dream only to realize that her brain had hallucinated it.
“Is our love even real?”
A sudden anguish makes me tremble. I can’t bear that she doubts that. I swallow so I can push the words through my throat.
“It’s the only true thing. The column on which the rest of this mess has grown.”
“In your Asier body. In your Asier life,” she says. “I wanted to be with the real you, not some weird imposter. I thought we had opened up fully to one another.”
“I wanted to confess everything, but I was terrified of losing you!”
“I feel like I’m losing myself. You say you want to have a family with me… How am I supposed to trust that? You’ve been lying to me from the start. You’re not who you’ve shown to me.”
“I mean, I literally cannot show you who I am because I’m trapped inside this man-body!”
Alazne shakes her head. She sniffs, then bites her lips as if she is trying to hold back tears.
“Let me come with you.”
I struggle to understand what she means.
“Where?”
“Whatever there is when this life ends.”
The hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
“Don’t say shit like that, Alazne,” I want to say firmly, but it comes out breathless. “You need to live a long life.”
“If we are to love one another we should meet face to face.”
“You truly do not understand how the afterlife is.”
“Asier’s dead, and a monster. He didn’t deserve us loving each other through him.”
My head is buzzing. I’m not sure of what Alazne is trying to accomplish. Even though I can’t figure out what to say, I open my mouth, but a sudden movement from Oleksiy makes me look up at him. He has rolled his eyes and is covering his face with one hand. He looks fed up with everything.
“What the fuck did I do to deserve getting tangled in this crazy shit,” he mutters.
He walks calmly up to the console table and grabs the baseball bat that his brother had left there. Alazne yelps.
“H-hey, you two guys can just leave,” I say as the big brother examines the length of his bat as if suspecting it had gotten damaged. “We won’t call the police or anything. I would be that murderously angry at Asier as well, but he’s already dead. You could say I’m spitting in his rotting face every day by wearing his body.”
Oleksiy gives me a dark look.
“You think I fear the police, huh? The local policemen are wimps. And we live so close to the border that we can just drive away into France. By the time the police or the politicians or whoever gives out the order to the French police to go after us too, we will have reached our home already. And I mean our real home, not this shit place that couldn’t keep our sister safe.”
“With all due respect, your sister should have picked a better man,” I say meekly.
Oleksiy waves the bat menacingly.
“She was only twenty four years old, and she got tricked into submission by a lying sociopath like yourself,” he roars.
“It was your fault she killed herself,” Hadeon says nervously and as if he might break into tears. “Our beautiful Kateryna… You had no business being inside her in the first place.”
“You shut it now, Hade. And don’t you fucking cry.”
“W-wait, Kateryna is your sister?” Alazne asks, startled. “Our Kateryna?”
“Yes,” I say somberly. “These are Kateryna’s siblings.”
Oleksiy frowns at Alazne.
“What do you mean ‘our’? What do you know Kateryna from? I thought Asier would have kept the previous women he ruined a secret.”
“You already know I’m not Asier,” I say, but Oleksiy just frowns harder without tearing his gaze away from my girlfriend.
“Kat is our g-ghost,” Alazne says. “I mean, she’s our roommate. She lives here. She’s likely witnessing this right now.”
“She’s a ghost, and she’s your roommate…” Oleksiy trails off as his hands start trembling. He squints. “How the fuck did you people come to be this crazy? Do they put something in the water?”
Hadeon frees one of the hands he was restraining my Alazne with, and raises a palm towards his brother.
“W-wait a second. If Kateryna, our beloved sister, is still here, it should be easy to prove, right?”
“Don’t fucking start,” Oleksiy says. “This is just craziness!”
“K-kateryna, if you can hear us, please give us a sign,” Hadeon whispers, closing his eyes.
I swallow the blood pooling in my mouth. The pain is making me dizzy.
“Yeah, Kat. If you intended to interrupt us at any point, please do so now.”
Hadeon retracts his free hand but instead holds it in front of him as if offering it for a handshake.
“Kateryna, if you’re here, please take my hand.”
She wouldn’t want to do that, not Hadeon’s. The guy might not have washed it since he last touched her panties. As I was wondering what the hell Kateryna was busying herself with, all four of us hear the living room call bell ringing insistently.

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