I woke up with a start. Last night’s event became a dream flitting across my brain. I groaned as I turned my head from the sunlight pouring into the windows. I went outside to look for her but it seemed she just vanished into the wind. I'd felt chills on my back, as if I was speaking to a ghost. In the end, I packed my food and took them home.
I rubbed my face, my skin prickled from my unshaven jaw. I groaned. I needed a good shave and a shower. I hoisted myself from my bed and slung a small towel over my shoulder.
After cleaning up in the bathroom, I emerged with faded jeans and a plain, olive green shirt. I went downstairs to grab something to eat. Jonathan was already sitting on a stool with his coffee on the island.
“So?” I said as I picked up some burnt toast and spread butter on it.
“Straight to business?” Jonathan raised his eyebrow.
“Get on with it,” I growled under my breath. I took a sip from his mug and chewed the toast mechanically in my mouth.
Jonathan snorted but slipped a manila envelope on the island. I ripped open the envelope and poured out the contents on the island. I picked up some documents, showing a copy of her birth certificate, her adoption letters and yada yada.
“Phoenix Kane?” I whistled at the name. My sister had a lovely name. I imagined her to be fiery and stubborn. The name packed a powerful punch.
“Yep. Phoenix was adopted by an old, married couple. She attended girls school nearby and her records are very clean. She got straight A-grades throughout the year. People says she’s quiet but an exemplary student,” Jonathan said.
“She’s happy?” I asked as I read her records.
“Seems like it. Everybody says good things about her parents. Her mom is a doting housewife, her dad works as a stockbroker. They live in a nice, semi-detached house; neat lawns, flower beds and the lot. It’s a perfect cookie cutter family.”
My shoulders sagged in relief. I felt a lot better knowing she had a wonderful life and parents who loved her after everything that had happened. Maybe it was a bad idea to ask her to live with me. She seemed happy with her current life. Maybe I could visit her every weekends and she could have sleepovers at my place. How do brothers treat their younger sister? By spoiling her rotten, right? I couldn’t wait to buy her presents, listen to her talking about her boyfriends and be with her whenever she needed me. I would be the perfect brother.
“Look what I got here?” Jonathan said playfully as he held something in his hands. My eyes widened.
“Is that… her photos? Let me see!” I reached out to grab them but he moved them out of reach.
“Na uh, brother. Where are your manners? Where is your please and thank you's? Mom taught you better than this, bro. Say ‘you’re the most awesome brother I ever had and thank you for doing this for me. I luuuuurve you so much, brovah!’”
I rolled my eyes.
“I rather puke my guts out than saying all that. Just give me the damn photos. I want to see my adorable sister.”
“Suit yourself, brother. You owe me one, you know that?” Jonathan said as he threw the photos on the table.
I picked one of them up and flipped it backwards. My heart dropped as soon as I saw the girl in that photo. My eyes boggled in shock. Bile threatened to rise up my throat and I felt sick in my stomach. No, it couldn’t be!
I pushed my stool back, ignoring the loud crash as it fell on the kitchen tiles. I grabbed each and every one of those photos and looked until her faces burned inside my head. The images blurred as I held those photos in my trembling hands.
Oh God, Phoenix… My sister.
Every one of those photos showed me a certain blonde. Her eyes always gazed at a distance, completely unaware that someone was snapping her photos. They were soulfully sad. She looked beautifully broken. I recognised the girl in the photos.
The girl who attempted suicide was my sister.