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In recent weeks I have begun to remember the details of my brother’s death. I was only seven years old when it happened, and I never truly remembered it, till now. I guess I should tell you about the days preceding the killing, or at least the unusual things. My brother and I were a good thirteen years apart in age, don’t ask. And our parents were getting a divorce so I lived with him so either way I wasn’t pulled to one side or the other.
The judge wanted the most impartial decision I could give, so that’s why I lived with my brother in the weeks before his death. His girlfriend was pregnant then, and she thought of me as practice for being a good mother, so of course, she was a tad clingy but I loved the attention I was getting.
I slept in what was going to be the nursery and then I simply passed the thought, but now I’m thinking that what I saw those nights were a… premonition of sorts to what was yet to come. Every night, like clockwork I’d see a tall, ominous shadow pass over the window. I never saw a face, or any real details at all, just the shadow. I can only describe it as tall, thin, and wearing a top hat, like Abraham Lincoln wore, actually just like he wore.
Sometimes I would hear laughing, like a deep voice, far deeper than my brother’s laugh. Other times I would hear sounds like muffled screams, but I’d cover my head with my blanket and plug my ears, eventually I’d fall asleep. I never told my brother about it, but once I told his girlfriend, she passed it off as a nightmare. I recently looked at some of my better drawings and one consistent thing in them was the shadow, most of the time the shadow appeared as much, but not as its own essence, but as the main object’s shadow, except for one time. It was during the time period I was writing this, I woke up at my drawing table with an art piece finished. It was him. The dream, or memory, of the night I drew it was the first time I saw the shadow’s face.
I can only call him by one name, Puppeteer. The night is still a blur but I do remember for the first time since I saw the shadow, he stopped at my window. I guess I can’t trust this memory because I was seven and it’s been years, but still. I now remember the shadow disappearing then appearing above me. Puppeteer was bent down because he was so tall, his face was like a mask, yet I touched his face and it felt like skin. I knew it wasn’t makeup, it was his skin. His face looked like large scales, except for his mouth, which was like a nutcracker’s. One eye showed past the dark blue scales, it danced with insanity, yet with hurt and sorrow as well. He didn’t hurt me, in fact I don’t recall being scared at all, he spoke a language I couldn’t quite make out but as soon as he understood I didn’t know the language he disappeared.
The next time I saw him was when he killed my brother. I didn’t even see the shadows after that night. But I remember that night now like it was yesterday. I finally saw Puppeteer’s shadow, so I ran into my brother’s room. Puppeteer was standing over him, bent at the waist with his nutcracker mouth sucking a black essence from my brother. That was how my brother died. Now and then since I recovered my memories I have seen Puppeteer on occasion, always before the death of a murderer. I know he did something to me, because my nephew, Jason, is nearly ninety, and yet, I am younger than one of his great-grandchildren.
I stopped aging once I hit the age of twenty; I never am bothered by this, since I only wanted knowledge, not love or money. Jason told his children, and their children, and their children, about Puppeteer, he has become the symbol of my family. Whether it is a good symbol or bad, I know not of yet, but I do believe it is good. No one in my family since my brother’s death has ever had bad deaths, they have all died peacefully.
My sister, or my late brother’s girlfriend, died peacefully. Her last words were, “Thank you for bringing him and me both to heaven.”
Then she died. I can only imagine that out of guilt Puppeteer took my brother’s soul to heaven. I saw him once, fifty years ago, Puppeteer came to in the dead of night and spoke a phrase and disappeared, “I knocked on Death’s door, I wish he answered.”