Chapter 13: The letter

In which more details are revealed.

Anne-Linn knew she ought to study. But the words kept swimming away; the pages of the textbook were like windows into a pond full of squirming tadpoles. They made weird patterns on the paper, but they did not tell her anything. They did not connect with her mind. And she could not blame them: Her mind was far away, and wandering. Ever since that dream in the morning, her thoughts kept returning to something she could not define. It was something that wasn't there, like when you come into a familiar room and you see at once that something is missing... but you cannot for your bare life tell what is missing.

The letter. She would have to read the letter again. She did not want to do that. Every time she read it, she would begin to cry again. He had not wanted her to cry. She did not want to cry. What she wanted was to hunt down the man and kill him slowly, cutting off piece by piece. Starting with the parts he could live without. Especially the parts he could live without but would not want to. But she could not. He was probably still doing his thing, on one of those small tropical islands where businessmen go when they want to avoid police, taxmen and spouses. And even if she found him, she could not overwhelm him. But she could die trying, and that at least would be something. Now... now she could do nothing.

No, that was not right. She could do something. She was doing something, every day, every week. She was living her own life. She was growing stronger. She was learning not to depend on anyone. She was learning to live an ordinary life, earning her own money, making her own friends among ordinary people. And as she tried to make her way to the ordinary world, she would learn to survive. She smiled. I will cry again, but I will survive. And after a while, I will smile again. This I promise... brother.

Her hands did not tremble when she opened the letter. They only barely trembled when she saw the many discolored dots were tears had hit the paper in the past. Luckily he had written with a ballpoint pen, so it was still fully legible.

Dear sister,

it is so strange to know that when you read this I am gone. It will look like an accident but you deserve to know. You always loved me more than anyone else and I love you too more than anyone and that is why I have to go because it has to stop somewhere and only I can do it. There are things I have not told you and not told anyone. Not your mom even though she has been nice to me and tried to be my mom too and I can almost not remember my other mom any more but she is always away at the job so there is really only you. I never told you and now it is too late. I have to stop this when I have the courage. I never told but dad and I did bad things together. From I started school he began to do the things to me. At first I was afraid. He said that he had learned them from his dad and I think his dad had learned them from his dad but I am not sure. This was things we cannot talk about because they are about the parts that only boys have and girls don't. If we talk about such things then bad things will happen but now when I am gone they won't. At first I thought it was bad too but after a time I learned to like some of the things myself. I guess that was okay too but the last two years things have become very bad and I cannot go on and live like this. I know it is wrong to do these things with your family except with the wife and only to have children. So dad and me have done a very bad thing and therefore it is okay that I die. Don't cry for me dear sister because God wants me to die now before I sin even more. I think I can still come to Heaven because I only sinned against myself and my dad who is also a sinner. But for every month I have become more and more afraid because I feel like I would sin with you too. Even if I go to Hell now at least I will be happy in Hell because I know that you will go to Heaven. And I will not have any boys to do this thing with either like dad did. So don't cry for me and be sure to go to Heaven. If God lets me come there I will wait for you for sure. I will ask one thing from you only that you promise and swear always to call me your brother even though I thought such things about you that I should only think of a wife. If you promise me that please take the toy ring I gave you when you was twelve and bury it on my grave so I can see it and know that you will always be my sister. I will think of you now and then I will have courage. Love you forever,

Your brother


Darn it, I'm crying again. I hope the ring reached you, because I'm gonna ask for it when we meet again.

"And this," Anne-Linn said to her school books when she got her voice back, "this is why I have to study. So I can get into the psych study at the University and help other young people before it is too late. Of course, I am the epitome of sanity myself, talking out loud to my school books!" The school books did not reply, which in light of recent events was probably the best she could hope for. She locked down the letter again and went back to reading.