The memory is hazy. Perhaps because I was young then. Perhaps because it never really happened. Whatever the reason, I still remember the look in his eyes.
I ran down the long hall, the large Phillips screwdriver clutched tightly in my seven-year-old fist. Back and forth between the two bedrooms at the end of the hall, I ran laughing, my younger brother on my heels, tightly clutching an identical screwdriver.
I can’t remember why we ran. Looking back, years later, the reason doesn’t seem quite as important as it did at the time. What matters only is that we ran.
My sisters screamed in mock terror as we entered their room; it seems Jennie even jumped up on the bed to escape our game. They screamed as we ran in the door, and laughed as we ran out. On the other side of the wall, in the sanctity of our own room, my brother and I stopped to regroup.
Several times this scenario played out, with never a variation. Then one time, everything changed. I sensed that everything was different somehow. I turned to look over my shoulder. I couldn’t see my brother.
I stopped, turned, and walked back around the corner. There he lay, the screwdriver deeply embedded in his chest. I wanted to help, wanted to do something, anything, but the blank look in his eyes told me the truth. It was already too late.
By far the most vivid of my childhood memories, I take some comfort from the fact that this memory was only a dream.
This memoir was written in 2003 for a creative writing class and originally appeared on SpaceComCentral.com. Several years previously I also wrote a poem based on this dream, which is included in my book of poetry, Windows to the Soul:
Knives in hand,
We chased each other.
Suddenly, my brother was gone.
I found him on the ground,
Knife in his chest,
A plea in his eyes.
He knew Death knocked.
I stood and cried,
Turned my back,
And Walked away.
When I hear the world’s cries
I think of his eyes,
Ignoring their pain,
I walk away.