These days, when people ask me if I have any siblings, I just say no. But I used to. Just for a while.

Tommy was my little brother, and by the time he was three, we were best buddies. I remember how we used to wake up at about 5 a.m. on Saturdays to watch cartoons and kick up a Hell of a raucous until Mom and Dad booted us out of the house. Then we'd go play on our swing set, or maybe try to skip stones at the creek, or just run around.

But he got sick that next fall. It wasn't anything too bad, just a common cold, or so we thought. My parents didn't really do anything about it, they just figured they'd let it run its course.

Poor kid probably went through a pack and a half of Kleenex a day, but that didn't help any. He was sneezing every other minute, spewing his snot all over the place, and I wouldn't have spent much time around him if my parents didn't make me.

That's how we ended up in the garage that day. We went out to run around, but because of his cold, Tommy got tired after just a few minutes. We were heading back inside when he sneezed on me.

Call it the straw that broke the camel's back. All of a sudden, he started yelling about his cold and how gross it was to sneeze on everything, and everyone. He sneezed on me again, and that's when he really lost it.

My dad had a pegboard of tools on the wall. Tommy reached up and grabbed a hammer. Then he hit himself in the face with it a good four or five times, smack, smack, smack, smack, until he was down. Then he hit himself again, and again, and again. Smack, smack, smack, crunch.

I think I was in shock until then. I literally couldn't believe what had just happened. When I did, I went to help Tommy, but I stopped when I got closer to him.

I tried to write about what his face looked like a few times. Couldn't do it. All I can say is that his nose was smashed, along with his teeth and the front of his face. His skull was basically...opened up.

But something was moving there. Something moved past a part of his skull, and for a while, I thought it was a huge, living booger. And in a way, it was. It was a slug. The first of a few that the doctors said were living in his nasal cavity. All the slime they were producing... that's what was making him sneeze so much.

Because of the way it happened, I think my parents told everyone that Tommy died in an accident. I'm not really sure and they're not around for me to ask them what they said. My friends from school didn't buy that, so when they asked me how Tommy really died, I told them the same thing that I told the cops, which is the crap that I just wrote. But that's not how Tommy really, really died.

See, Tommy couldn't have reached Dad's hammer. But I could.

Written by Alex_Ross_Writer
Content is available under CC BY-NC