Below, please find the first small portion of a story about two brothers. One looks to his elder for guidance, the other has been recent affected, gripped by some unseen stranger if you will. The original portion was meant to be longer, but the existing material will have to suffice until more of the tale can be completed.
Without further ado, the abbreviated part one...
Oliver noted David’s behavior had been different. Ever since he descended the attic stairs, David had acted less like an older brother. He didn’t challenge Oliver to contests he knew he would win. He neglected to tease. At least three days had passed since David last jumped out from around a corner to scare the living daylights out of him. To be sure, he was not himself.
During their walk to school, Oliver watched David. His head hung. His shoulders sagged to the point that Oliver thought his jacket might slide right off of them. He shuffled his feet along the nearly covered sidewalk, leaving a path in the fallen leaves behind.
“Don’t you love this weather?” Oliver asked.
“No,” David responded without looking up from his feet. As a particularly strong gust of cold wind blew, he braced himself against it and winced in discomfort.
“Oh, come on. Isn’t this your favorite time of year?” Oliver suggested. He added a bit of spring to his step and tried to walk further ahead of David to attract his eye contact. It did not work.
“Don’t the leaves look so perfect?” Oliver attempted again. “They’re like construction paper leaves. What if it was someone’s job to cut all these leaves out of paper and scatter them on the ground every year?”
David was unfazed. He looked at the ground so intently it was as if he barely heard a word his younger brother said to him. Yet Oliver knew David was paying no attention to the leaves. There was a look of something on his face that Oliver could only interpret as worry. David looked more worried than Oliver had ever seen him.
“Are you thinking about the basketball tryouts?” Oliver asked.
David stopped and finally looked at him. “What? No. Well…maybe.”
“They’re this week, aren’t they?”
“Yeah,” muttered David. He turned his eyes back to the ground and continued walking. “So what? I don’t even think I’m going to try out.”
“But…but…” stammered Oliver. “But you have to at least try out. You love basketball. All your friends are going to try out.”
And speaking of friends, that was when the two boys heard familiar voices up ahead. The group of other boys, a mixture of friends from David’s sixth grade class, the fifth grade and a few younger brothers that were in Oliver’s fourth grade class were nearing the corner up ahead where David and Oliver would normally fuse into their group and continue on with them.
“C’mon,” David said suddenly and grabbed Oliver by his sleeve. He pulled him down the gangway of one of the houses that lined the street.
“What are you doing?” Oliver resisted.
“I don’t want to walk with them today,” David said and rushed into the alley where he finally released his grip on his brother’s jacket.
“Why not?” Oliver asked and adjusted his now bunched up jacket. “We walk with them every day.”
There came no answer from his brother. Instead, he looked up from straightening his sleeve to find David looking about nervously in the alley.
“Let’s get out of here,” David said. He began to run down the alley, frantically searching for an open gate they could go through to reach the next street over.
When David rattled the gate to the Harris’ backyard, their cocker spaniel ran down the gangway, wagging its tail. It let out a yelp and David froze, staring at it. It wasn’t until Oliver had caught up with his that he let out a muffled cry and backed away.
“David!” Oliver shouted and grabbed his older sibling by his shoulders. “What are you doing? What’s wrong with you?”
David fell onto his rear and pulled his knees into his chest. Oliver noticed tears in his eyes. He looked about the alley quickly then knelt down at his brother’s side.
After he had helped him wipe the tears from his cheeks and forced him to use a balled up napkin from God knows where to blow his nose, Oliver got David to his feet and walked him out of the alley. Oliver was practically guiding him blind through the garbage cans as David refused to look up.
When the two had finally reached their school, David refused to go any closer than the opposite side of the parking lot and made Oliver remain by his side. Once the bell rang, they both rushed to the doors, David waiting behind until all the other kids had gone in before him and he could remain a safe distance behind.
Oliver turned to look at his brother behind the crowd of children. He was trembling off to the side of the entrance, hugging the brick wall.