Antagonist

“Nothing!”

“I am something. I’m the somethingest something in the world.”

“Says you.”

“Yeah, says me.”

“Nothing,” he whispered.

“I’ll show you.”

“Will you?”

“I will; and keep your voice down.”

“I will not.”

“She’ll hear.”

“Let her hear. I’ll do as I bloody well please.”

“Please.”

“You should stop whispering.”

“She’ll hear.”

“Let her hear. I’ll do as I bloody well please.”

“Stop saying that.”

“What? Bloody? Okay, how about this: I’ll do as I damn well please.”

“Now you sound like an American.”

“Damn.”

“Stop.”

“Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn.”

“I’m not listening.”

“And they swam and they swam all over the… DAM.”

“You’re nothing but annoying.”

“Boop boop dittum dattum whattum chew.”

“Stop.”

“Or what? You’ll cry to your mum? You don’t want her to hear, remember.”

“I already told you, I’m not listening.”

“That’s not going to work. Even when you’re not listening, in your heart, you know I’m right. Look at yourself.”

Peter walked to the mirror. He stared for a good sixty seconds.

“Don’t think because we share the same name that you’re anything like me.”

“I don’t want to be like you.” Peter looked at the reflection of Pete standing behind him. Tall. Handsome. Muscular. Confident.

“Look at yourself again.”

Peter stared again.

“Gravedigger.”

“It’s a job.”

“Weak”

“Humble.”

“Mummy’s boy.”

“Loving son.”

“Pathetic.”

“Y-Y-You’ve no business—”

“What yeh gonna do, mummy’s boy? Cry?”

“Watch your voice.”

“Mummy’s boy.”

“Stop it.”

Pete banged on the walls with both fists and chanted. “Mummy’s boy. Mummy’s boy. Mummy’s boy.”

Peter tried to grab him.

Pete turned around, and in a single, smooth motion, pushed Peter.

Peter flew across the room and landed on the bed. “I hate you.”

“No you don’t. You need me.”

“No.”

“I inspire you.”

“Well…”

“Admit it. I’m your motivation.”

Peter nodded.

There was a knock on the door. “Peter?”

“Yes, mum. Come in.”

Mrs. Sutcliffe entered. “Peter,” she said in her Yorkshire accent, “is Mick or Carl in here with you, son?”

Peter looked around the room and shrugged his shoulders. “No, mum.”

“Who were you talking to?”

“Eh, just m’self.”

“Go find your brothers for tea.”

“Yes, mum.”

Kathleen Sutcliffe walked out of the room and closed the door behind her.

Pete whispered in Peter’s ear, “We’re going out tonight then?”

Peter nodded.

“Get some brass then?”

He nodded again.

“And this time, you’ll do it?”

Peter opened the top drawer of the dresser. He reached in the back under several folded clothes and pulled up a rolled hand towel. He placed the towel gently on the top of the dresser and unrolled the ends to reveal a ball-peen hammer. The handle was stained in blood.

“Because I’ll do it again if yeh ain’t got the stones.”

“I’ll do it.”

“Sure?”

Peter nodded. “Time to fly.”


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