Nicole's Brother

by William Bigos

Nicole woke up to something that she had never woken up to before. Her younger brother, Kyle, was pouring water on her head through a green watering can. Since her brother's testicles had dropped over a year ago, she had instinctively learned to target them at any time she wished to cause him pain. Once more she instinctively lashed out at her brother's most vulnerable place, causing him to crumble into the corner of her room. She never felt bad, and this time wasn't different. He had to know that he deserved what he got. What the hell did he think he was doing pouring water on her head in the middle of the night.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" She asked him.

Kyle could only sit on the floor coughing, just having had the wind knocked out of him. Nicole dragged him out of her room by his ear and left him wincing in pain in her hallway. Before she went back to bed, she grabbed the watering can and dumped it on him while he was in the hallway, and then locked him out of her room for the rest of the night.

The next morning, Kyle and Nicole's mom had laid out breakfast for them, as she usually did before school. Kyle had slept in a little later than Nicole, and was absent from the table when Nicole started eating. Their mother was busy jostling around the kitchen, cleaning up the pans she had used to make pancakes for breakfast. Nicole took this opportunity to rat on her brother.

"Kyle woke me up last night by pouring water all over my head."

"Did he really?" Nicole's mom replied, very half-heartedly. She had become slightly jaded to Kyle's antics over the years, and did not lose her temper as much when hearing of his tricks.

"Can you punish him or something?"

"You know most of the punishments I have don't even effect him anymore. What do you want me to do?" her mom replied.

"I don't know. Something." Nicole knew it was true. Kyle had been punished in so many different ways that he was unfazed whenever he got sent to his room or had his computer taken away from him. He was exceptionally good at finding ways to entertain himself until his punishment fell through, and most of the things he did to occupy himself were at Nicole's expense. She thought the best punishment for Kyle would have to be revenge. She could just pour water on him while he was sleeping, but that would be lame. She would have to think up something more creative and elaborate to get him good. Kyle came bounding down the stairs two at a time as she plotted, and then bounced into the kitchen.

"Did you finish your science homework last night honey?" Kyle was asked by his mother, as he stacked his plate with pancakes and sausages.

"I started, but someone interrupted me." Kyle said as he shot an accusatory glance towards Nicole.

Nicole thought back to yesterday, and couldn't recall doing any such thing. She had actually not seen her brother all day yesterday. Unless he was talking about when he was dumping water on her head in his sleep, she couldn't possibly be responsible for interrupting his homework. Kyles accusatory glance had dissolved almost as instantly as it had appeared, so it might have been possible that he didn't even mean her. Nicole decided to dismiss the whole idea, considering that even if she had interrupted his homework, she wouldn't have cared, considering he was such a jerk.

The next day, Nicole began to find that she was not very good at coming up with any kind of revenge. She spent most of her free time trying to think of some kind of good comeback, but came up blank every time. Her friend were of no help either, only suggesting to her that she should start rumors about him to ruin his social standing in school. Considering she was a junior and he was just a freshmen, she doubted anyone that she spread gossip about would actually get back to him. On top of that Nicole already knew for a fact that Kyle does not, and would not care what anyone thought of him. She knew already that most people in school that knew of Kyle already thought he was a freak, due to his eccentric behavior and the fact that he seemed to be a loner. He really didn't have any friends, and anyone that was foolish enough to try and be nice to him were immediately weirded out by him doing something bizarre. She continued thinking long and hard about the perfect revenge as she jumped in the shower. As she picked up her shampoo bottle, the perfect idea came to mind. She always had a separate shampoo bottle from Kyle. She could pour all the shampoo out of his bottle and replace it with Nair, or something that would make his hair fall out. It was pretty mean, and over the top, but after all the messed up pranks that he had pulled on her, without consequence, Nicole wasn't going to feel bad for him. Feeling triumphant, she poured her own shampoo in her hair. As she began to lather it in, she immediately realized that something wasn't right. Horrified, she realized that Kyle had beaten her to her own punch line. She immediately washed out the...whatever was in her hair, got dressed, and stormed through her house looking for Kyle. He was sitting calmly in his room playing video games when she found him.

"What did you put in my shampoo?" She screamed at him from his doorway.

"Miracle Grow." He replied calmly as he continued playing his game.


"Miracle Grow."

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah. Why, what's wrong."

"You put Miracle Grow in my shampoo."

"Yeah i know."

"I really hate you. Do you know that?"

"You don't mean that."

"Why did you put Miracle Grow in my shampoo?"

"It's part of my science project."

"Does your project have to do with how much you can piss off your sister?"

"Something like that."

"You need to cut it out. I'm serious."

"Ok. Sorry."

Nicole stormed away furiously. Now, more than ever, she was determined to get him back. Even though Kyle had beat her to a shampoo prank, she still wanted to carry out her own plan. Seeing his hair fall out of his head would be very satisfying. She still wanted to come up with something else though, considering she was behind one prank in their little war now.

Two days later Nicole's plan went off without a hitch. Kyle came screaming into her room in the exact same manner that Nicole had done 48 hours ago. His long shaggy hair was falling out in patches, and surprisingly, he was hysterically shedding tears.

"What did you do?" he screamed at her.

"It's called revenge. Get used to it." she replied in a very satisfied tone.

"You don't know what you've done. He loves my hair." was all Kyle could choke out through his tears. He threw his hands over his head to hide his now bald head, and slid away, truly upset. Nicole was surprised at the reaction she had garnered from her prank, but was also completely satisfied. She was not expecting to upset him as much as she did, considering Kyle didn't care all that much about his personal appearance. He was obviously upset about someone else's opinion of him. She couldn't possibly imagine who, because he didn't have any friends. The thought of Kyle leaving her alone from now on was an appealing one, and it made her forget about her unanswered questions about Kyle's personal life.

The next week seemed to go by without any more pranks being played by either side. Every other night Nicole would wake up with a damp head and the window open with the sun shining directly in her face. She couldn't be sure if Kyle was responsible, or it could just be her mother. She dismissed it as unimportant, considering there was no harm done from this.

Nicole wasn't rudely awakened again until another week had passed, on a late Saturday morning. She was half woken up by what she thought was her cat nibbling on her toes. She gently tried to brush it away with her feet for a couple of seconds, until she realized that she didn't feel the cat at all on her bed. She opened her eyes slightly, to see the sun beating down through her open window. She had to close her eyes again as she sat up. Once her eyes half adjusted to the light, she was able to half open them. She peered around the foot of her bed, and found no traces of her cat there. Figuring she just must have been dreaming, she looked back at her nightstand to see what time it was. Kyle was slowly sliding down the wall between her bed and her nightstand with a look on his face like he had just been caught red handed.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" she screamed at her little brother.

"Umm..." Kyle struggled for a response.

"KYLE?!" Nicole demanded a response.

"I'm sorry! I just wanted to see my work start to take form."

"What are you talking about?"

"The top of your head." Kyle moved his eyes to the top of Nicole's head. Nicole naturally couldn't follow his gaze, so she moved one hand to the top of her head. Her stomach turned over immediately from what she felt there. Growing from the top of her head was the front half of a foot. The toes on the foot wiggled as she touched it. She immediately withdrew her hand and ran screaming to the bathroom. After throwing up for several minutes, she eventually regained her strength enough to pull herself up to the mirror. Sure enough, a perfectly formed front half of a foot practically stared back at her. The underside of it was calloused and dirty, and the nails looked like they hadn't been trimmed in quite a while. After studying the foot for too long, Nicole began to puke again, until she eventually passed out next to the toilet seat.

When she awoke several hours later, she was feeling weak and had a splitting headache. The foot was still there, despite her almost convincing herself that it had all been a dream. It also felt like it had pushed even more out of her head, and was almost to the heel. Her first logical thought was to find a phone and call her parents to see what to do. They were both currently at work, and if neither of them answered then she was going to have to call an ambulance. She could get driven immediately to a plastic surgeon who would take care of this immediately for her. She hoped her parents insurance would be able to cover it, but if it didn't, I'm sure that they would make Kyle work the rest of his life to pay for the operation. Gaining her balance after standing up became a struggle for a few moments, but once Nicole got the hang of it, she headed immediately for her bedroom to get her cell phone. She kept her eyes open for Kyle the entire way, promising herself that if she caught sight of him she was going to strangle him half to death. She reached her room without any sign of her little brother, but was upset to find after searching around for a few moments that there was no sign of her cell phone either. The little creep might have taken it so that she couldn't call and rat on him. Luckily he wouldn't be able to hide the house phone, so she made her way down the stairs carefully to use it.

Panic set in when she got to the house phone. It was still where it should be. The only problem was that somebody took a pair of scissors to all the lines. When she picked up the receiver, she heard nothing. She didn't understand what the little creep was getting at. He must already know that he was going to punished for the rest of his life, so why would he dig himself an even deeper hole by ruining the phone lines. He was probably just scared, and acting irrationally because he wasn't ready to face the punishment that was coming his way. Nicole still felt the urge to get in touch with her parents, and lucky for her, she knew exactly where Kyle tended to hide anything that he didn't want anyone to find.

Kyle didn't know Nicole knew about his secret cabinet. She had stumbled upon it by accident one time while they were playing hide and seek when they were younger. Back when they got along much better. She had pushed her way to the back of his closet and sat against the back wall. She felt a little handle poking her in the back and when she investigated further, found a latch that opened up to a secret little compartment. At the time all that was inside were the baseball cards that Kyle collected when he was a kid, and a nice Zippo lighter that he had stolen from a convenience store.

Currently, the cabinet was filled a bit more to capacity. The baseball cards and the lighter were no longer in the hole in the wall. In their place were a couple of porn magazines and videos, a jar filled with loose bills and change, and a stack of what looked like letters. No phones were hidden away in the hole, which disappointed Nicole, but her disappointment was almost overridden by her curiosity. The letters seemed to be very out of place to her. Who could Kyle be writing letters to, and why would he hide them away where he thought no one could find them. She picked the top letter off the stack and opened it up. The letterhead indicated that the letter had come from a jail that was nearby their town. Nicole traced her mind trying to think of anyone that she or her family might have known that was in jail, but she could think of no one. She read the bottom of the page, looking for who the letter was signed by, and saw the name Patrick Horroseid. She began skimming the letter, trying to get an idea of what Kyle was writing this man about. She began to read letter after letter, until finally she began getting a clear picture of what was going on between Kyle and this Patrick Horroseid.

From what she could put together, Patrick Horroseid was some kind of geneticist, working in the field of cloning. She had not known until now, but Kyle seemed to take a keen interest in this field. He had begun writing Patrick because he admired his work. Patrick was almost some kind of celebrity to Kyle. When Patrick actually answered Kyle's letter, Kyle's excitement was evident. He had immediately written back to Patrick about all the work that he intended to do in the field of genetic research. Nicole was still amazed that she had no idea that Kyle was actually interested in this field, and that he actually frequently was experimenting and studying as much information as possible. Nicole didn't understand much of the technical lingo in the letters, but she got a rough idea of what they were having exchanges about. Kyle was interested in artificially creating human organs and body parts. Patrick had some knowledge in the area, and actually began giving him tips on the best way to go about it. One letter was sent with a toe nail from Patrick, intending Kyle to use it as a DNA sample. The most amazing thing to Nicole was that Kyle and Patrick intended to go about creating artificial human parts without a lab or anything. They frequently compared growing a body part to growing a plant which didn't make any sense to Nicole, but it seemed to make perfect sense to them, and obviously they worked out a way to make it happen, which the foot on her head was solid evidence of. The letters got stranger and stranger, starting with Patrick asking Kyle to send him a picture of himself. Kyle evidently sent the picture, as he got a letter back from Patrick describing how much he liked the picture, especially Kyle's hair. That was who Kyle was referring to when his hair fell out. The letters got even more disturbing as Kyle's fascination with Patrick seemed to turn into an infatuation. Nicole had to stop reading the letters when they got too disturbing to read.

She crawled out of Kyle's closet without finding her phone, and with a new unsettling feeling in her stomach. Kyle was sitting at the foot of his bed, and didn't seem surprised when he saw her crawl out of the closet.

"What is going on Kyle?" she asked him.

"It's nothing. I'm sorry for what I did to you." he said.

Nicole was unsure how to approach him. She was infuriated with him, but at the same time she could see that he was feeling very emotionally unstable.

"Look, if you don't give it water or sunlight for about 5 days, it will just shrivel up and fall off. Like a plant."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I've already tried several times on myself. I'm really sorry."

"It's okay. I think. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. As long as you don't tell mom or dad."

"Okay. I won't tell them."

"Okay. Good."

Their conversation ended there. Nicole went back to her room. She stayed there for the next five days waiting for the foot to shrivel up and die. Kyle brought her food and movies to keep her entertained. He didn't talk much when she saw him, and they both told their parents that she was having a severe allergic reaction and didn't want to be seen. Kyle had already seen her and wouldn't tell anyone what she looked like so it was okay for him to bring her stuff. Sure enough, the foot shriveled up and fell off. There was almost no indication that it had been there in the first place, which was truly amazing to Nicole. Her hair remained in all the same spots as it was before this all started.

Nicole and Kyle's relationship didn't suffer from the ordeal. It didn't improve either. Kyle still played the occasional joke on her. She still got angry. But it was never the end of the world. About two years after he tried growing a foot on her head, Kyle came to her room and woke her up in the middle of the night again. This time it was only to tell her something, not to play a prank on her.

"Hey. I just wanted to tell you that I'm leaving."

"What? Where are you going?"

"I'm going somewhere else. I don't really want to say where, but I'm not happy here."

"Am I ever going to see you again?"

"Yeah, you'll see me, and I'll write. I just can't stay home anymore."

"Isn't there anything I can do to stop you?"

"Not really."

"Okay. Goodbye?" Nicole didn't really know what to say. She could see he had his mind made up, and could tell that he truly wasn't happy at home. She could sense his excitement that he was leaving, and figured it would be best not to try and stop him.

"Bye. Talk to you soon."

Kyle left after that. Nicole didn't know when she was going to see him next, or where she was going, but she had a strong feeling that Patrick Horroseid was no longer in jail.

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