This year’s Fictory is for a cause. We donate P100 to a chosen beneficiary for every fic submitted. This is the last of the final batch of release. Enjoy this one, and see you again soon!
Prompt: A story told from the perspective of someone who thinks the protagonist is evil and must be stopped at any cost.
Content warning: mental disorder, abuse
Note: This story has multiple endings. Choose your own adventure!
I let my footsteps be heavy on the wooden stairs and slammed the door to my room. When that didn’t feel enough, I flipped my desk and repeatedly punched the adjacent wall. I would’ve continued until my knuckles bled but I noticed the doorknob turn and Bell’s tiny figure cautiously peeked through the slight opening. I looked at him apologetically and sighed.
A while ago, I went to the kitchen to wash the dishes from lunch only to find them in pieces. My parents walked in on me by the kitchen sink. “Why?” they asked but couldn’t let themselves yell in anger.
I told them it wasn’t me and that it was Rosie. But just as her name escaped my lips, the devil appeared behind them, wearing a look of concern asking me what I’ve done. Recognizing defeat, I grudgingly went to my room.
That became our routine. Rosie would do her tricks and I’d tell my parents it was her, not me, but they’d just look at me like I was crazy; they wouldn’t believe me because I was the difficult child and Rosie’s the perfect daughter.
“Dad, do you want a back massage?” “Mom, let me help you cook.” “The teacher said I got the highest grade in our class.” “Yesterday, I helped a grandma cross the street.” UGH. She acted so sickeningly sweet but she was really wicked.
Rosie’s not my sister, Bell wasn’t my brother, and my parents weren’t really mine. They adopted me in 2018, a year after Bell. They thought Bell was lonely, and I happened to be another broken child they wanted to fix. Since I’m years older than Bell and they thought I’d be lonely, so they adopted Rosie who also came from an abusive household. Beatrice and Patrick, our adoptive parents, both grew up in loving families so now they’re collecting trauma through us. Of course, Rosie was their favorite child because they felt so accomplished that she overcame her past and turned out faultless.
At first, I was happy to have a sister who was the same age. But Rosie didn’t feel the same way. Ever since she got here, she has been trying to get rid of me and Bell. It started with small “accidents”—she burned my hair with a flat iron after she insisted on straightening my curls. I cried and Mom heard me.
“I’m really sorry, Dawn. I’ll cut my hair too so we’re the same.” Rosie offered and she did it in front of Mom so she’d appear to be considerate.
Once, she baked cupcakes and let Bell and I have them all. I took one bite and felt something pierce my palate and my tongue. I swatted the cupcake from Bell’s hand immediately. When Rosie heard Dad coming to the kitchen, she ran. Dad found me bleeding in my mouth. It was agony and I couldn’t speak or eat much for a week.
When I was finally able to do so, I told them it was Rosie’s doing but they thought I was just acting up and wanted all the attention to myself. I never ate anything she helped cook—I’d rather starve than have my tongue mutilated. Between Bell and me, there had to be at least one who could speak up.
Nobody believed me except Bell and he literally didn’t speak—he was apparently beaten by his mother whenever he made a noise. He had also developed a knack for hiding in cabinets, beneath floorboards, and behind walls. I loved him like a real brother though.
Even though I was still seething with anger, I plumped on the bed and patted the space next to me.
Bell climbed to the spot and I cuddled him like a life-size teddy bear. I didn’t notice myself falling asleep. Rage is, after all, exhausting and most days, I am tired.
I was woken by heat against my eyelids. I opened my eyes and was stunned to see a lit match just centimeters away from my eye. I jolted up but fell onto the floor. I saw Bell hiding under my bed.
“What the f*ck are you doing?” I yelled at my Rosie as I picked myself up.
“You’re finally awake,” Rosie smiled as if she wasn’t just about to burn my eyes seconds ago.
“Mom and Dad called for dinner. We should eat.”
“No,” I said sternly. “I’m not going to sit and pretend this is a happy family.”
“We’re not a happy family?” Rosie tilted her head and twirled her straight hair.
“We would’ve been if you hadn’t come along,” I replied with spite.
“Hmm. We’d really be happy if you and this stupid little sh*t weren’t here,” Rosie ducked and dragged Bell out from under the bed. She grabbed him by his hair; on her other hand was a pencil she picked up on the floor. Bell whimpered.
“Let him go! Don’t hurt him,” I commanded and pleaded.
“We are going to have supper with Mom and Dad,” Rosie said firmly, implying that I had no choice. When she knew she won, she dropped Bell, dusted and straightened her dress then donned her nauseating grin before leaving.
I instantly ran to Bell and consoled him in an embrace.
At the dining table, Bell and I sat across Rosie. Bell was too busy muffling his sobs to eat. Rosie stared me down when I declined to even touch the silverware. I knew she wouldn’t do anything in front of Beatrice and Patrick so I glared at her.
“Honey, please eat,” Beatrice begged. I glanced at her but still refused to take a bite.
“Why won’t you eat?” Patrick probed, slight annoyance evident in his tone but not enough to show on his kind face.
“Why won’t you believe me?” I snapped. Before I could hold my leash, I lashed out at them. “You keep collecting abused children because you want to be f*cking saviors. Well, guess what? You can’t fix us! You’re not even fit to be parents at all! You keep on tiptoeing around us, too scared to scold, to say the wrong thing, so you just chose to ignore the bad things. But that doesn’t make it go away.”
“Dawn, stop it! You’re upsetting Mom and Dad,” Rosie whispered, acting as if she’s gentle.
“Shut up, you b*tch!” I yelled at her and slammed the table.
Beatrice and Patrick gaped at me as if I’d lost my mind. “Stop looking at me like that and start actually listening!” I yell at them.
The pain on my palms and Bell’s tiny hand pulled me back to my seat.
The rest of dinner was silent—Rosie fake-cried while comforting Beatrice, I glared at her, and Bell whimpered. After that went on for about half an hour, Rosie stood and said she’s going to make tea for us. She went to the kitchen then instantaneously went back to the table. Beatrice, obviously upset, excused herself to go to the bathroom; Patrick followed suit.
The shrill of the kettle broke the silence between me and Rosie.
“Look what you’ve done,” Rosie said, the high-pitched whistle still ringing in the background, but her seemingly calm voice filled my ears. She stood up once again, went into the kitchen, and out of my sight.
I turned to Bell and apologized for my outburst. Bell shook his head and leaned his forehead against mine. Without a single word, I felt comfort from a six-year-old more than my parents.
I didn’t notice Rosie standing behind Bell until I saw the kettle above him, tilted in an angle to pour. Unfortunately, gravity, like my sister, was a force I couldn’t beat. The hot water scalded Bell’s left shoulder and arm before I could pull him away; he opened his mouth to scream in pain but no sound escaped.
“Mom!” I yelped as if I was Bell. This made Rosie drop the kettle as if she too was scalded.
Bell ran out of the room and towards our pool. I went after him—Rosie a few feet behind me. When I was within her reach, she pushed me into the pool. I surface and gasp for air but she forced me down. I struggled to resurface.
I saw Bell’s silhouette headed towards the shed, Rosie holding me down—her smirk interrupted when she saw Beatrice and Patrick coming from inside the house. I heard Beatrice call “Denise! Baby, no!” before Patrick jumped to the pool to save me.
They finally saw Rosie’s true color.
The scent of disinfectants and a soft squeeze on my hand woke me up. I felt cold and there was a sharp pain on my left limb. I slowly opened my eyes, blinking hard to adjust to the blindingly white surroundings. I looked around and realized I was in a hospital. Beatrice and Patrick were at my bedside. I groaned to call their attention.
“Where’s Bell?” I mumbled.
Realizing I had woken, Beatrice stood and kissed me on the forehead.
“How are you feeling?” Patrick asked me, genuine concern painted on his face.
I repeated my question and they looked at me again with uneasiness. “Where’s my brother?”
They didn’t answer. Beatrice let out a stifled cry and buried her face on Patrick’s chest. I fear the worst. “I told you over and over again Rosie was trying to hurt us.”
“Sweetheart, no,” Patrick spoke gently.
“What the f*ck do you mean no? You saw Rosie drowning me. Before that, she poured hot water over Bell! Why won’t you believe me?” I wailed.
“You were alone in the pool,” Beatrice whispered through her sobs.
“No!” I cry out of anger and frustration.
“You were, Denise. You’ve always been,” Patrick explained.
“What? Wait, what did you call me?” I felt so confused. What were they saying? Who’s Denise? That was not my name. My name was…
My jumbled thoughts were interrupted when Beatrice said something that made me question my reality.
“You’re our only child,” Beatrice said. “You don’t have any siblings,” she continued.