I never really believed in the stories. Never really thought about them. Of course I heard them as a kid but never, ever believed them. The Snatcher is what they call him. Too right, he snatches the life from you. Just like clicking your fingers. Thats how I lost my little brother. He took him now he's gone forever and I'm the only one who remembers him.
It was three years ago when my parents decided to go out for the night. I was fifteen. The eldest of my 3 year old brother and 12 year old sister. Lily her name is and James was his. It was nine o' clock when I was trying to get James to sleep but Lily was restless and wouldn't go to bed. I was telling James the story of the ugly duckling when Lily started moaning.
"Awww Chris please can you tell another story. This is booooring!!" she whined. Then she started jumping up and down on James' bed.
"Lilly stop it your making it harder for him to get to sleep!" I said firmly. "Anyway so the ugly little duckling felt so-"
"Bored because his sad little life wasn't getting any better and he wished someone would tell him a good story to cheer him up." Lily butted in.
"LILY! I am not going to start shouting at you if thats what you want. If you don't like it then leave the room." I mumbled trying to stay calm for James sake. He used to hate it when me and Lily argued.
"No I want to sit here and listen to you tell another story." she cried.
"Well you tell one then because I'm not telling any other than fairytales." I replied.
"Ok well I know one. It's called The Snatcher."
"No Lily that'll scare him. It's not fair to scare him and lie to him." I gasped.
"What? I'm not lying it's a true story. Grandma told us it when we were little and she never lied to us."
"Oh so I suppose you believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy as well. Lily, Grandma only told us that story to warn us about bad people in the world. The snatcher though is not real. For the last time." I explained.
"If it's not real then let me tell it. So The snatcher is a cruel, dark being who steals the life from you the song goes
"Along comes the Snatcher looking for you,
He'll come to the door looking for you.
He finds you and when he does,
You'll be doing nothing but missing being loved,
Because when the snatcher snatches you from life,
He doesn't kill you, or uses a knife.
But all traces of your life will be erased
No one will know you, lets just stay put and wait."
Lily was doing impressions of the snatcher using a halloween costume as a cloak. She put it over her head and edged towards James. James started whimpering, images of the snatcher flashing through his mind.
"Great! Look you've upset him now. James it's ok he doesn't really exist now go to sleep and don't worry because your in your room safe and sound. Mum and dad will be home soon. Then you can ask them if your still scared and they'll even tell you he isn't real ok." I said softly. "Get downstairs now." I said nastily to Lily.
"Fine by me." she replied. It was as if she didn't even care.
"Goodnight James. Remember it's just a story." I reminded him. I gave hima little kiss on the forehead and walked out pulling up the door behind me. When I reached the living room Lily was sat eating popcorn and watching T.V quite satisfied with herself.
"Why did you have to do that? Thanks to you James will be probably be haunted by that story for the rest of his childhood." I told her.
"Whatever if it's not true then he'll learn won't he."
"Don't be so harsh he's only three!" I said raising my voice.
"Ok! God I only told him a story!" she shouted.
"Stop shouting, I wish the snatcher came and took you away for a bit then I wouldn't have to deal with your stupidness all the time!"
Then the lights blacked out. All I could see was blackness apart from the few times some lightening flashed. It started raining and Lily got up and ran to me. She held me around the waist in a huge hug.
"I'm scared Chris do something!" Lily screeched.
"Ok just let me find the fuse box." I said calmly. I walked to the door under the stairs and put the switch back on. All the lights flickered and returned to normal .
"Don't panic. Think of James who had been upstairs all alone in the dark." I told Lily. "I'm going to check on him."
Suddenly we heard a thump and I legged it to James' room. I saw a dark figure disappear out the window and I was going to go after him when I noticed something strange. I saw James was missing and I panicked and started messing his room up looking for him when I saw the pictures on the wall. James on his first birthday, first christmas, him and mum, dad, me and Lily on holiday. Slowly he started to disappear from each photo.
"NO!!" I screamed. I took the photo's off the wall and held them to my chest. Tears were welling up in my eyes. I looked at them again expecting him to be there but no, he had gone.
"No!" I said again but quieter. I collapsed into a heap on the floor crying. To see someone you love so much disappear before your eyes is like someone punching you in the chest. I couldn't breath and I wanted to be sick. Lily came up staring at me.
"Chris what are you doing?" she asked. I looked up. James' bed had gone, replaced by cardboard boxes. His blue wallpaper had gone, replaced by yellow painted walls.
"James. He's gone." I managed to say.
"James? Who's James? Chris whats going on." she asked perplexed by my behaviour.
"Our little brother. James. This was his room. He was here about thirty seconds ago." I cried.
"Chris we don't have a little brother. This has always been the box room. We were just watching T.V remember." she said. I knew she wouldn't believe me because I had only just realised that my brother never existed apart from in my mind. From that night on I cried myself to sleep memories of James as a baby, his gorgeous smile appearing in my dreams. He had his whole life ahead of him and he would never know what friendship was like, falling in love, growing up. He is no longer loved by anyone but me. I'm the only one who remembers him. If you hadn't guessed, my parents don't know James either. Don't remember him. I never showed them the photo's which James was gone because I knew they wouldn't have any explaination to go with them. Empty photos.
I now live in my own house. With no-one but myself. James will always be in my heart and I have given it my word that the Snatcher will never take anyone from me again. He ruined my life and James', and I will remember that night my little brother was stolen, forever until I die.