where neither seraphim nor raindrops go

"Heaven's just a thin blue line
If God's up there he's in a cold dark room
The heavenly host are just the cold dark moons
He bent down and made the world in seven days
And ever since he's been a'walking away
Mixing with nitrogen in lonely holes
Where neither seraphim or raindrops go"
Thin Blue Flame by Josh Ritter

chapter last edited April 26, 2009

My brother is buried on a Tuesday. He died a week ago, by his own hand.

His roommate was staying at his girlfriend's place for a few days, and when he came back to their shared dorm, it was to the smell of death, an empty bed, and floor covered in dead Vincent.

I refuse to go to the funeral, holed up in my dark, silent room. I turned one of my bookshelves on its side in front of the door, so that my parents wouldn't be able to get in. I closed the window, even though the heat of the waning summer was still high and we don't have air conditioning. The stuffiness makes it harder for me to think, which is a welcome handicap at the moment.

In my tiny, not-yet-formed sixteen year-old heart, I feel emptiness. The pain hasn't been there. I haven't cried once, not since seeing my parents' distraught faces after that phone call.

I'm mad, though. That's something that's becoming increasingly apparent to me. I'm sitting in my room, a blanket draped over the curtain rod in an attempt to block out the sunlight completely. None of this "allowing the natural light to brighten up your room" bullshit, like I see in the home improvement magazines my mom reads. I want dark, I want quiet.

I feel anger.

The darkness and the stifling warmth feeds the anger, and my eyes burn from omitting so many tears. But I didn't cry because I was sad- I was angry. Angry. The most I ever cry is when I'm angry. So angry I might break a window. If I wanted to.

Right now I want to break my brother.

I can hear people on the other side of the door. The relatives are here, for the reception after the funeral. I stand up shakily on two feet, and make my way over to my dresser, where my stereo stands. I turn it on, inserting my At the Drive-In CD with shaky fingers. The first track begins, and I turn the volume dial until it can't go any further.

The music shakes in my bones, reverberating in my skull. I'm aware that I might be deaf by the end of the day.

I step across the book-littered floor to my bed, falling across the worn-out mattress. I can't hear the springs squealing in protest, but I can hear them. My big blue comforter smells like sweat and sour milk, but I pull it over my head anyway, listening as the guitar of the album wears a hole in my eardrum, the beats pumping out one after one. The vocalist yells out the lyrics in a choked, desperate wail.

I close my eyes. It's easy to block it out. It's easy to not feel.

I imagine my family, parents and otherwise, gathered in the living room or out on the patio, spilling into the kitchen or the hallway, since our house is too small to hold all of the people my parents know, my brother knew… They're talking, quietly, in hushed tones, trying but failing not to pay attention to the strains of music sliding out from beneath my door and through the paper-thin walls.

I'm still angry.

My brother. Vincent. Is an idiot.

It's the only thing I allow myself to think. For the moment, I'm safe. From the pain.

As long as I stay angry. I'll be fine.

A/N: This is not based on a true story, though I based Vincent's character off of my own brother, who is enough of an asshole that I don't miss him now that he's gone away to college. Means I get the house all to myself.

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