" Brent? " Claire called him once from downstairs, but he didn’t respond.
" Brent? " she shouted this time.
In his bedroom, Brent was sitting on the balcony deck with his legs close to his chest and hands on them, sobbing.
Getting no response from Brent, Claire decided to have a look at him. She barged inside the room without knocking on the door and found Brent sitting on the deck.
She walked up to him and sat down beside him, with her right arm around his neck, and trying to console him.
“ Brent, It was just an accident. Not your fault, “ Claire said with few tears rolling down her eyes.
Brent leaned his head on his mom’s shoulder and kept weeping.
It had been almost 4 months since Brent haven’t spoken to anyone, or to say precisely, haven’t responded to anyone or anything.
The trip he had been to back then, haunted him again and again. It was not so easy to forget.
4 MONTHS BACK………..
Brent was excited to go on this trip to Clambstone Tropical Forest as he would be having a gala time in studying and learning about the plants, the subject that had fascinated him always.
He stuffed his belongings in the backpack and turned around with a bright smile on his face. Smith, his brother, had the headphones on and was listening to his favourite rock band, least bothered what Brent was doing.
Brent waved his hand at Smith with the excitement still evident on the face.
Smith looked at Brent and paused the song.
“ All set? “ Brent asked. Smith shook his head and continued with his songs.
Brent showed an expression of disappointment because he wanted Smith to come along.
Just then, Claire broke into the room, “ Packed everything guys? “ she asked, looking at Brent with a smile.
Brent pointed out at a lazy Smith.
“ Smith? “ Claire shouted.
Smith made a weak eye contact with her. “ Start Packing, you are going with Brent, “ she ordered.
He lazily threw his headphones aside and got off the bed to pack his things, but not before throwing a glare at Brent.
IN THE FOREST
“ Mike, coming with me? “ Brent shouted at him who was standing alone near the water stream, admiring its beauty.
“ Yup, in a minute, “ he replied.
Brent looked around and took a deep breath, inhaling the gentle and refreshing breeze that was running through the forest.
He looked on to his right. Rest of the students were walking ahead under the guidance of the tour guide. Brent turned his head around to other directions, but found Smith nowhere.
“ Shall we? “ Mike asked, putting his arm around Brent’s shoulder.
Brent nodded with a smile.
Students were really having a gala time. Few just enjoyed the beauty of the nature, few captured the moments in their camera while few scratched their heads hard to understand or study the concept of nature.
It was getting dark but not before the entire group was back to the camp area. A bonfire was lit.
Brent walked into his tent and saw Smith lying with his mobile phone in hands. Brent was amused a bit to see him after a long time.
“ Where have you been all the day? “ Brent asked anxiously. As usual, Smith ignored to answer.
Brent went mad for a second, “ You are just impossible, “ he said, before grabbing his coat and storming out of the tent.
It was a mixed time, a point of junction were the two faces of day met. Dark was trying to hide and the light was desperate to greet the world. Far away on the trees, few owls were gearing up to retire for their nocturnal day.
Smith walked out of the tent and looked around. Extinguished bonfire, few snores from the tents and one or two birds flying above in the sky.
Smith again walked in and got busy searching for something in his bag. The thin sounds woke up Brent.
“ Where are you going? “ he asked, rubbing his eyes.
Smith stared at Brent with a torch in his hands and moved out of the tent.
Brent was suspicious of Smith that he was up to something. He immediately stood up and started following Smith.
following day, Brent, his mom Claire, his friends, relatives and well wishers
were at the funeral of Smith. Brent tried hard not to weep. Claire was
inconsolable from inside, but contained her emotions by hiding them with just
few tears off the eyes.
BACK TO PRESENT
“ Come on, get up, “ Claire said, kissing Brent on his forehead, “ Come down, I’ll make some pizza for you. “
Brent lazily stood up. Claire left him alone and went downstairs.
Brent made slow steps towards the mirror and stood in front of it, just gazing at himself.
He couldn’t overcome what he had gone through all these months. He made his way to the kitchen where his mom was slicing the veggies to prepare pizza for him.
He just stood at the dining counter without any word. She turned around and saw him, “ Hey honey, you’re here? Just wait for few minutes baby, “ she said.
She knew the pain what Brent was feeling from inside since she too was feeling the pain as she lost her another son. But she did not let those emotions display themselves to the world. It was hard for her, but for Brent, she swallowed the pain, otherwise she knew that this could turn worse for Brent as he would be left alone.
“ Mom? “ Brent spoke for the first time in 4 months.
Claire raised her head off the Pizza baking and looked at him. Tears started rolling off her eyes slowly.
“ I have something to say, “ Brent said, reluctantly.
Claire ran up to him and hugged him hard, crying. She let him go after a couple of minutes.
“ What? “ She asked as they both settled in the seats at the counter.
“ That day, “ and he started.
THE EARLY MORNING INCIDENT
Smith paved his way towards the cliff, right through the bushes and plants. Stepping on and off the rocks, on the sand trail filled with dried leaves and tiny twigs.
After walking some distance, he heard some noise and turned around to inspect. But no one was there and he continued with his short journey.
By this time, even few people woke up and started wandering outside but close to the tents.
Smith again heard the noise of the crushing of dried leaves. This time he made no mistake and turned around fast.
Brent tried to hide behind a rock, but he was spotted.
“ I saw you, come out, “ Smith said, and resumed walking.
Brent heard that. He slowly came into proper visibility and hurriedly joined Smith in his walk, but just three and a half steps behind.
“ Where’re you going to? “ Brent asked, curiously and anxiously.
“ None of your business, “ Smith replied rudely. This attitude of his infuriated Brent.
“ Why do you have to behave so cold with me? “
Smith did not feel like responding to it.
By this time, they both reached on to the cliff and were standing almost on the first edge, where a minor wrong step can open the gates for anyone to death.
And since it was foggy, not everything ahead was visible properly.
Brent caught Smith’s hand and pulled him back.
“ Answer me. Why do you hate me so much? “
“ Don’t you dare question me again, “ Smith raised his finger with an angry facial expression at Brent and brushed off Brent’s hand off his arm.
Little was he aware that turning around from that spot could change their lives forever.
His body turned towards his onward path, but his right leg failed to catch up with the ground. Ultimately, Smith slipped and started rolling down the hill slope, almost getting bruised here and there on his body.
Brent went running behind Smith, but carefully.
The final edge of the cliff was evidently visible. Smith lost hope that he might survive, but fate tried hard and succeeded in thwarting off his death.
A half broken stem naturally dug deep inside the ground caught his attention. He was successful in gripping it firmly, just in time.
But unfortunately, the stem was only few metres away from the edge. So only Smith’s chest was touching the ground, legs hanging down in the air, left hand tightly held to the stem while the right hand struggled to help him grab something to hike up.
The foot of the hill was full of hard rocks. Smith could not muster courage to look down. Meanwhile, Brent came down as fast as his legs could take him and caught Smith’s right hand.
Brent was so immersed in helping Smith that he totally forgot about calling for some help. It took numerous attempts and struggle, Smith managed to climb up holding Brent’s hand and the stem with both hands firmly and walked few metres away from the end.
“ So?“ Claire asked.
Brent did not utter a word but was just sobbing.
Claire repeated her question another three times, but the young guy could not gather energy to speak.
Claire was getting impatient. She placed her hands on either side of his shoulders and shook him, “ I am asking you something Brent. So what now? “
Brent raised his head and revealed something that shocked Claire. The news sent shivers in her, chilled her spine. She felt dizzy for a second.
“ I did not mean to hurt him mom, “ he said, holding his mom’s hands and crying.
Claire blanked out.
She came back to senses and with tears in her eyes and fury in the looks, she slapped him hard. So hard that he fell from the chair.
Claire stood up and asked him with a high tone in her voice, “ How could you do this Smith? “
Smith gathered himself.
BACK ON THE HILL
Brent slapped Smith hard. “ You idiot, you could have lost your life. Why are you so careless about it? “
This provoked Smith and a fight sparked off. Both the guys wrestled each other for some time, but Smith could not hold back his emotions and pushed Brent.
But the moment of misfortune banged their doors. Brent tripped and the next moment, he was in the air. Smith saw him flying down the hill. He ran to the edge, but disaster had struck by then.
Brent was lying on the rocks without any movement with blood spread around. Someone from the camp saw Brent falling although that person wasn’t sure who the victim was.
Within 4-5 minutes, people surrounded the body of Brent. Smith got terrified.
They all looked up, but were not in the state to come to conclusion who was who.
And the reason was the striking resemblance between Smith and Brent since both were twins.
Smith understood that everyone knew how much he hates Brent. So this incident turn up against him.
He rushed down the hill, to the spot and started screaming, “ Smith? Smith? “
The spectators were convinced that the victim was indeed Smith.
Everyone tried consoling Smith as he managed to come up with a story.
Since childhood, their mother never discriminated between the brothers. Both looked same with same facial features, same hairstyle, same mannerisms and similar habits except for the attitude. He took it as an advantage and presented himself as Brent.
Another advantage was that, that while retiring to the sleep, no one saw what Smith and Brent wore. His friends could not recognize this fact, so this misconception too added fuel to his plan.
PRESENT…………….. AT HOME
“ So you took your brother’s place? You pretended to be him? “ Claire started shooting questions at him, “ But Why? “
“ I hate him mom, “ Smith shouted.
“ Every time he was the one who was loved the most, who was pampered all the time. I was always alone. You never thought about me, never cared about me. What would I do then? “
“ Even I longed for that love from you, from dad and my friends. But nobody cared, “ he replied with a heavy heart and started crying.
He continued, “ I intentionally did not push him. I never thought of killing him. But when it happened accidentally, I just took the chance of living his life. “
Tears rolled out of Claire’s eyes heavily. She fell on her knees and embraced him into a tight hug.
“ Why did you not tell this all this while and why now? “ Claire asked.
“ I was scared, “ he replied, still sobbing, “ but how long could I hold it? “
“ I started feeling guilty and I was also fed up every time you called me Brent in these 4 months. Had to give up. “ He poured out his emotions.
was speechless. She thought to herself, “ I had always loved you baby, it’s
just that, you misunderstood it. “
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