“The guy’s a psycho. And he’s turning you into one.”
Perched on the edge of the sofa, fists on his knees, Kane moved his gaze from the Dylan on the TV screen to the one kneeling on the carpet next to him. They looked identical: skinny frame, pale face, blue eyes, long black hair. They were dressed the same: in Dylan’s characteristic black long-sleeved top, black jeans and black boots. The main difference was that one Dylan was smiling, the other frowning. It was like his brother had been split into the opposing sides of his personality: the angel and the devil.
The serious Dylan, the one on TV, nodded at a microphone. “I got there after it happened,” he explained in a deeper-than-normal voice.
The reporter, a young woman in a cream chiffon shirt and grey woollen pants, seemed disappointed. “You can’t tell us anything about the attack?”
“All I saw was a beat-up car and lotsa blood and stuff.”
“You didn’t see a flying dragon?” she coaxed.
Dylan shook his head, his eyes wide with innocence. “Looked to me like a case of car versus sheep. They broke through the fence and escaped onto the road, you know. It was a fat mess.”
The reporter, nodding, turned to the camera. “Dragon or simple car accident? You decide. This is Kyleen Jenkins, reporting for GTV Nightly News.”
Snatching up the remote, Kane switched off the TV. He glared at the back of his brother’s head. “Christ, Dylan! What did you do?”
Dylan placed two playing cards together on the coffee table. He was building a house of cards, listening to the news but not watching it. He hated seeing images of himself.
He picked up a ten of spades, held it above two sets of joined cards, then slowly lowered it to form a bridge. He picked up another. “Don’t knock the table,” he warned.
“You almost killed someone.”
“Don’t be melodramatic.”
“I saw what happened … the car … the –”
“Nothing happened to them. I had the reversal spell. It was all under control.”
Kane shook with anger. He’d always known Dylan was stubborn and uncaring, but this was verging on psychopathy. “I saw the car,” he said again, trying not to yell. “That thing almost got them.”
“Almost. But didn’t. So what’s your problem?”
“You need to stop this.”
Dylan poked out his tongue. “We’ve – only – just – begun,” he said as he carefully placed two more cards together on top of the bridge.
Unable to sit still any longer, Kane jumped up and paced the room. He couldn’t stop thinking about how close Dylan had come to being a murderer. And he was telling him it was nothing to worry about. He’d been planning to save his trump card until he had more evidence, but his brother’s blasé attitude was scaring him.
“I checked into that creep you’ve been hanging out with,” he said from the other side of the room. “There’s records of a Wilfred Waite going back to the eighteen-hundreds.”
“Told you he was old.”
“You’re not trying to tell me it’s the same dude?”
“Dude?” He fell back with laughter.
Kane went up and stood over him. “Grow up, Dylan. This isn’t a joke. I think that guy had something to do with what happened to our parents.”
At last Dylan sat up and took notice. His face twisted into a scowl. “That’s a lie.”
“You may not believe it, but the police might.”
His brother stared up at him, trying to read if he was serious or not. Kane held his gaze.
“Hey, look,” Dylan said: “don’t go doing anything stupid. Wilfred has the Necromonicon, the most powerful book on the planet. You think he can’t defend himself?”
“Stay away from him then.”
He returned to the cards. “I can’t do that.”
He glanced up. “Why would you think Wilfred had something to do with … with the murders?”
“I went to his shop. Looked around. He had the name of the restaurant written down.”
“Which one do you think?”
Dylan stared into space. “Is that it?” he asked at last.
“Isn’t that enough?”
“He went to a restaurant. That doesn’t mean he murdered anyone.”
Kane resisted the urge to tell him his own name was written below the name of the restaurant. It wasn’t only that it creeped him out; he was also concerned it might have the opposite effect to what he intended. It might make Dylan think he was more important to Waite than he really was.
“The guy’s a psycho. And he’s turning you into one.”
Dylan crossed his eyes and wobbled his head.
“Don’t be a child.”
When his brother ignored him, Kane bumped the table with his leg, demolishing the house of cards.
“Hey!” cried Dylan. “What did you go and do that for?”
Leaning over, he began collecting the scattered cards.
Kane fell into the chair opposite. He didn’t know what else to say. He had no authority over Dylan. All he could do was yell and argue and then watch his train-wreck of a brother throw his life away.
“What would Dad say if he was here? – if he knew you nearly killed someone?”
Dylan went on picking up the playing cards. “He’s not here. And we won’t be either in a few weeks.”
“So that’s it. You’re acting out cos we’re losing the house?”
He slammed the cards down on the table. “If that’s what you think of me, maybe I’ll move out right now!”
“And go where?” asked Kane, leaning forward. “To the farmhouse? To live with a creepy old man who might have had something to do with our parents getting killed?”
Dylan shook his head. He looked spooked, bewildered, out of smart-alec retorts. Time to go easy on him.
“Listen, Dylan: we got a couple more months on the house.”
He glanced up. “How?”
“I sold Mum’s jewellery. And … my bikes. And followed up some of Dad’s unpaid accounts.”
“Really? Your precious BMX bikes?”
“I kept one. You can only ride one at a time, hey?”
Dylan stared at him, his face unreadable.
“So let’s sit down and work out a plan. A proper plan … that suits both of us.”
Dylan didn’t look convinced.
“You’ve gotta give it time, bro. Things’ll get better.”
Dylan sat up on the sofa. He picked up the remote. “Good things happen to good people,” he said, switching on the TV. “That’s the last thing Mum said to me, you know.” He placed the remote on the coffee table, next to the pile of cards. “So I guess I won’t hold my breath.”