03 - Uniquely Normal - Claudette

Loud music blared from the speakers in the side of the room, throbbing against the black walls with great intensity. A bottle of black nail polish that was positioned next to one of the speakers on a matching black night table slowly edged its way towards the side of the stand in time with the music. Before it could crash to the floor and shatter towards sudden death, a figure dressed in dark attire reached out and grabbed it, repositioning it on a dresser. His black clothes hung off of him like drapes, a dog collar circled his kneck, and a tiny silver ring looped threw his eyebrow. His jet black, obviously dyed hair, flowed in a greasy mass down past his shoulders, and hung into his black make-up adorned face. He looked slowly from the polish to the speakers before tredding to the other side of the room to increase the volume still. As he sat down on the floor to continue reading a tattered book titled "Black Magic" a voice boomed over the music, doing the impossible.

"Mooooooooom! Jordan's listening to the devil music again!" The boy sitting on the floor rolled his eyes and got up to open the door. Standing outside, arms crossed, waiting for him, stood a smaller boy.

"Jerk off Zac." The first of the two shoved the smaller boy, Zac, hard into the hallway. He slid backwards into the wall before regaining his balance and staring down the first.

"Why do you think you're so great? Because you're a Marilyn Manson wanna be?" Zac pulled roughly on a strand of Jordan's hair.

"Atleast I don't look like Bart Simpson," seethed Jordan, running his fingers over Zac's buzz.

"Hey, stop that!" He smacked the eldest in the arm and in return recieved a sharp punch in the side of the face.

"Go play in the highway," muttered Jordan turning back into his room. Zac watched on from the floor, tossing around idea's in his head. Should he run back into the room? No, he didn't feel like getting tossed around anymore. Run to momma? No, he was thirteen, you don't do those things when you're thirteen. Instead he stood up, kicking the black door infront of him.

"I hate you! I wish you weren't my brother!" He jumped away from the door, his baggy jeans catching on a carpet tack in doing so, as Jordan opened it again and stared down at him evily.

"Beat it." Zac shivered in his brother's cold glance and struggled to get up off of the floor. As he ran away from the room, he ran almost directly into his other brother, who had become curious with the screaming.

"Ike..." His little brother was out-of-breath as he stood infront of him panting.

"He..he..hit me again." He pointed back to the door he had ran from. His brother grabbed him by the arm and dragged him into the other room.

"I told you not to mess with Jordan. You know he could really hurt you." Zac snatched his arm back to his side and stepped back.

"He's not gonna hurt me! I can deffend myself! I'm not a fucking baby!"

"Zachary, watch your language," groaned a tired woman as she ducked her head out from the kitchen. "I don't need anymore bull from any of you." She quickly disapeared from sight.

"Whatever," murmered Zac, shoving his hands into his pockets, heading for the front door.

"Zac, you really need to learn some manners," hissed Isaac as he watched his brother head for the door. He ignored him and walked threw the door, slamming it behind him. Isaac flinched.

When had his family come to this? They had started out as the picture perfect family, the people everyone looked up to, wanted there kids to play with. Then, somewhere in there things had took a turn for the worse. Maybe it was the day that the three eldest had gave up on their attempts at starting a band. That day remained clearly in the back of his mind. Jordan had kicked over his keyboard with a frustrated screech and turned to storm out of the room. Zac, all of eight years old had thrown down his drum sticks to join Jordan's shattered keyboard on the floor and with tears streaming down his cheeks had walked out the front door for what would be the first of many times. Isaac had simply stood in the middle of the garage, watching his brothers leave, wondering what exactly had happened to make them so unhappy. Soon after, Jordan had begun to listen to the same music many of his friends already did, finally getting hooked on things like Marilyn Manson, Nirvana, and Metallica. It had all been down hill from there. It transformed from trying to fit in, to a way of life. The black had started when he and his two friends had decided to start an anti-christ cult. A few days after that decision they had gone to the rough part of Tulsa and all got their eyebrows pierced. He remembered the fit his mother had thrown when she found out.

Zac was a whole different story. He had started out as a cute good mannered little kid, but as Jordan began to transform into a Satan worshipper, Zac also started to change. As a way to get away from his problems, the constant fights that had been going on between his parents and siblings, he would run away from the house and stay out for sometimes weeks at a time. He also during his excursions on the streets got caught up in the drugs that his new so-called-friends were already on. Weed, crack, even heroin had become a part of everyday life. He had seen things that Isaac couldn't even imagine exsisted in this small suburb. He had been shot, he had been in gang fights, and Isaac was surprised he had lived threw it all. It had made him into a tough street kid.

The rest of the family was pretty much in ruins. His mother and father were constantly fighting these days, mostly about things like money and his father's latest girlfriend. He had watched his younger sisters drop out of school to help at home, and his smallest brother and sister were both in poor health as it was. Wondering once more if he was actually the only sane person left in the household, Isaac slowly made his way out the front door, contemplating over whether to find Zac or knock some sense into Jordan. He found Zac first. His hands were shoved into the pockets of his jeans, which were sagging off his hips. He was leaning back against the side of the house, eyes closed, a joint dangling out of his lips.

"Zac?" He watched as his brother turned to look at him with bloodshot eyes. He coughed and removed the joint from his mouth.

"What the hell do you want?" His narrowed. Isaac knew that he had more reason to be afraid of Zac then Zac did of him, but this was going to far.

"I want you to stop." Zac's brow furrowed in confusion. He coughed again and advanced on his brother with wobbily legs.

"What? What do you want me stop?"

"I want you to stop everything. I want you to stop smoking for a start." He tore the joint from Zac's hand, throwing it over his shoulder.

"Hey! Those things cost a lot of money!" Zac ran across the yard to retrieve the joint, placing it back between his lips as he looked up to Isaac.

"And I want you to stop running out, and cussing at mom, and just being a little asshole in general." Isaac found himself frightened as Zac's eyes grew cold and he stepped towards him again.

"You can't make me do anything." He collapsed in a fit of coughs, falling to the ground, gasping for air.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." Zac gathered his breath and stood up.

"You really gotta quit this stuff."

"I told you, you can't make me do anything. What's it to you anyway?" He took another step forward so that the two brother's were eye to eye.

"Fine go ahead. Kill yourself. It would help out our financial problem a lot." Isaac almost regreted saying this for a minute. He wasn't surprised when Zac's fist flew into the side of his face, connecting with his jaw. Then another blow from the other side. He ended his attack by punching Isaac in the stomach, leaving him curled over his knees on the ground.

"Go head Ike. Fuck with me if you want. But you're gonna get hurt." Zac blew smoke into his brother's face before beginning a walk down the street. Isaac watched him walking away from his tilted angle, black spots dancing infront of his eyes, the world spinning strangely. He closed his eyes in an attempt to block it all out and reached up to feel warm blood drizzling down his chin.

"Dammit Zac, why do you always have to loose it like that." He cringed as his fingers ran over the open wound on his lip.

"Isaac? Is that you?" He closed his eyes again to stop the spinning and looked up to see a blurred vision of a girl standing over him. Her eyes held the emotion that he could only see from her. Worry.


"Who did this to you?" She reached down and offered him a hand. He looked at it, dazed for a minute as he mulled over her words and the information being sent to his brain.

"Zac." Realizing that Isaac was making no attempt to take her hand, the girl grabbed his arms and hauled him into a sitting position on the ground, kneeling down next to him.

"You can't let him do this to you Ike. You know Zac. When he gets wasted he does crazy things. If this keeps up he's gonna kill you someday." Isaac shook the fuzz from his head and craned his kneck to look his visitor in the face.

"Mandy you know how my family works. Nobody would probably even care if Zac killed me." He wiped some more blood from his chin.

"Don't say that!"

"Why shouldn't I? It's true. Zac's couldn't care less about what happens to anybody in our family, Jordan's a fuckin' freak, Jesse and Avie are the regular little parents to Josh and Zoe, always worried about money and welfare and would probably love having one less person to deal with, and Josh and Zoe have hardly even seen me because Mom and Dad keep them locked in the back room all the time. Why do I even call these people my family? We sure as hell don't act like one." Dumb struck silence filled the air. Isaac looked from his broken down house to the one person who seemed to care about him.

"Ike it can't all be as bad as you make it seem."

"Oh yeah? You really don't know me as much as you think you do. Do you want me to explain just why everything sucks so much around here? Is that what you want me to do?"

"No, I didn't mean it that way-"

"Okay fine. Mom and Dad. Dad was fired over a year ago and he would probably sell one of us kids just for the money. He could walk out of the house anytime he felt like it, only we have no car and he doesn't want to leave his lover. His lover? Not my Mom, some lady he used to work with who lives down the block. My Mom doesn't really give a shit about it. She's a--dare I even say it--whore who isn't even sure who half of her kid's fathers are!"

"Ike stop!"

"Jordan, oh he's probably the most average of all of us! He spends all day in his room, worshipping satan and blasting out his ear drums. For god sakes, he tried to kill someone because he's in this stupid cult! His friends cut themselves and have sex with animals and lord knows what else! It isn't long before he follows them. I just can't wait to see what he grows up to be! Zac, now there's a whole different story! I'm surprised that he's even still alive! He used to be the most wholesome of all of us and then all hell broke loose and I'm still not sure how! You've seen the drugs, the fights, you know how it happens! He's gotten a girl pregnant, he's been in juvinial, he's shot guns at people!"


"You should just see the way that Jesse looks at me sometimes! She glares at me, this icy, cold, I-wish-you-were-dead stare! She hates me, and I sure don't know why! The way things are heading, she's gonna be just like Zac if she doesn't stop the way she deals with things. And Avery, oh she looks up to Jesse so much, she wants to be just like her! Josh and Zoe, I don't even know what they look like anymore, and one of the two could be dead for all I know. Hey Mandy guess what? It's all gone to hell! It all went to hell a long time ago!"

"Isaac stop it NOW!" Mandy shoved Isaac hard into the ground, knocking the wind out of him. He just lay for a minute, catching his breath as he stared up at her. "Don't talk like that Ike!" Tears were rolling down her cheeks. She clenched her hands, trying to stop trembling.

"Why? It's all true!" He took a deep breath and placed his head in his hands before the world could all collapse in on him. "And you know what? I'm not any better then them. I don't try to help, because I can't. I've gone out of my way to beat Jordan before, I've just sat back and watched them all do this stuff to themselves. I'm a looser. I don't mean anything to this world." He felt Mandy sit down next to him and slide her arm over his shoulders.

"Isaac you don't know how much you really have done."

"What? What have I done? Go ahead Mandy, tell me what I mean in this place." He was greeted with what he had expected. Nothing. She wasn't saying anything. "See, that's it. I mean nothing." He shrugged her arm from around him and stood, tredding back into the house.

"Ike I'm sorry! Look you mean so much to me, don't say you don't mean anything!" She sped after him, grabbing hold of his arm. He swung her off easily, sending her sprawling to the ground.

"You're one person. You can't make a difference. I had to learn that the hard way." He turned away from her and disapeared into the house. Upon entering, he found Jordan staring directly into his face. Crowned in his full black glory, standing face to face with him. A chill went threw his body. "What do you want?" He watched Jordan pull a long gleaming knife from behind his back. "Where the hell did you get that from!" yelled Isaac jumping back into the door.

"I'm not going to hurt you. I want to help you. I saw you out there Isaac, you're world is hell. I can help you. It's fun Ike. You get to do fun things. You get to hurt people Ike, you get to feel whole." He held out the knife infront of his face. "Come with me Ike. I'll make you one of us." Isaac looked quickly from the expressionless face infront of him, the tall gleaming knife being held in his direction, then to the window in the back of the living room. It all happened in slow motion. He watched Jordan bring the knife down and cut his own arm, watching the blood seep from the cut, smiling. Then be brought out the knife towards his brother, slowly. Isaac took one look at the blood flowing from his brothers arm and ducked behind him, running towards the window. He crashed threw it and landed on the ground outside of the house with a loud thump, lying surrounded in shattered glass, his own blood blocking his vision and mixing with his tears. He couldn't take it anymore.

He found his hide-away easily. The small dugout on the side of the creek. He crept into the hole, hugging his knees to his chest as he looked at the objects surrounding him. A picture of his family back when they had been a real family. A teddy bear, his only good childhood memory. A letter from Mandy, worn and covered with fingerprints. And a hand gun. Sleek, black, shining in the sun. He ran his fingers over the cold metal, flashes of his family meeting his eyes. He slowly picked up the gun, pulling the safety. The gun was so beautiful in his hands. He raised it and aimed into the woods were nothing would be harmed, pulling back on the trigger and watching a bullet speed out into the forest. He checked to make sure it was still loaded and assured that it worked, raised the gun to his head with trembling hands. Suddenly the gun seemed so heavy, the trigger seemed so hard to pull back. With a deep breath he took one last look at the world and yanked back the trigger sending a deafening blast into the yard and a sickening splatter as the bullet lodged into his head.

Mandy had been halfway down the street when she heard the gun shot from the Hanson house. Her gut instinct had told her to run back and see what had happened even though she heard gun shots from that house all the time. She was never prepared for what she saw when she scurried into the backyard of the house. Blonde hair lying splayed on the ground just over the edge of the creek banks, blood and dirt mixing into the fluttering locks. Her heart thumping in her chest, she had run to the banks and looked over to see an image she had always prayed would never come true. Isaac, lying slumped on the ground, a gun in his hand, his finger still weighing down on the trigger. His eyes stared straight out of his head, glossy and dead. Dead. It was confirmed by the bullet hole in the side of his head, the blood still oozing from the fresh wound. It had been a clean shot, killed him instantly. It was the best way to go, she thought as she kneeled over him, pulling the gun from his hand. She was too numb to cry, there was time for that later. She already knew there would be no funeral, and the body might not even be found by his family for weeks. It was all the nightmare she had dreamed of before. She knew it was coming at some time or other. She had just tried her best to prolong the period. Running her fingers over the his cheek, his pale, still warm skin, she felt his pain. She bent over and placed a kiss on his cold lips before standing and hurling the gun as far as she could into the forest, her scream of agony drowning out the silence that filled the air. Just like everybody else. This family had been just like everyone else on the street. Perfectly normal. Her eyes took in the sight of Isaac one more time before she began to walk back towards home. Perfectly normal. Uniquely normal.