L.A. Cupid was stuck hiding in the closet again. Tucked in the darkest corner where not even the light peeking through the slats could shine on him. He'd been curled up for hours now as his mother screamed in anger and pain, the tormented yells of his mother reverberating throughout his entire being.
He missed his big brother, where was he? Why isn't he home yet? The scratch wounds that his mother inflicted on him made him want to whimper in pain but he knew the moment he let out a sound his mother would pounce on him again. Ever since her mother had received word of her terminal illness, it was like she was possessed. His mother was long replaced by an erratic stranger hellbent on hurting him and his brother. The stranger might have had her face, her mannerisms at times but looking into her bluish green-tinged eyes she wasn't there. Her soul was gone.
It didn't matter to the outside world what was happening to her, to their family that was splintered and on the verge of collapse. No, the people that took notice were the vultures, circling around his mother, in their shrill voice telling lies coated in honey.
' Drink this.' They said,
'Eat that.' They uttered. Their bags filled to the brim with bottles containing labels of 'Essential Oils' and healing black salves. Books that were guides to another way of life, they proclaimed. Their crystals clinked with each boisterous gesture to entice his mom to their 'better way of life.' He could never forget the scent of bleach that lingered in their skin and as they talked. His mother's eyes glazed with kindling hope with each lie that those vultures spoke. He knew they were lying. Each method she chose, every step she followed, her body was wasting away. Her fingers decolorized white from each sip she took. Everyday while her delusions expanded further, coloring her world in a vivid sickly pink tint and her hope grew bigger, the brothers saw the reality of it all.
Their mother was being killed in front of them and there was nothing they could do. Cupid flinched as a couple of loud footsteps, cushioned by the carpeted floor. The source of the sound had been heard, near where he was hiding in the closet. The sound stilled, a soft hesitant voice called out.
Cupid perked up hearing his brother and peeked through the slats, seeing his brother's figure through the limited view, he shifted lightly and slowly peeked out of the closet.
"Eros!" Cupid cried in relief, hugging his brother, despite the throbbing pain of his bruised hands and legs. "I missed you." Eros hugged his younger brother gently, murmuring apologies and peppering kisses on his face.
"I'm so sorry, I was nominated to lead a study group and I couldn't pass the responsibilities to somebody else."
"It's okay big brother." Cupid said, smiling at his older brother. "I understand."
"Is mother still out there?" Cupid asked, worried about his mother and Eros meeting again. Once both of them were stuck in a room together, they never stopped fighting.
Eros shook his head, letting go of his brother. "Mom." he spat out as though it was a swear. "Is busy with meeting her MLM friends in another city, so it'll be just the two of us for a while." While Cupid was relieved at the news, a small part of him was heartbroken. He just wanted everything to be normal again. Back to when mother used to bake treats together for Big brother Eros when he was on his studying spree. Now his days were spent watching his mother wither and his brother slowly drifting away from him. He didn't know what to do anymore, he was lost and scared...and he was all alone.
Cupid let out a whimper of pain as he cradled his bruised arms, he made the mistake of making eye contact with his furious older brother and he unconsciously flinched at the anger lurking in his brother's eyes. Eros saw his younger brother flinch and tried harder to quell his anger, wrapping his arms gently around Cupid and muttering a string of murmured apologies. He kissed his forehead tenderly and asked for permission to inspect Cupid's bruises.
"I'm..." Eros began to say, he wanted to apologize, he was constantly busy and never at home protecting his brother. He felt like a failure but what he wanted to say was jammed in his throat never leaving past his lips. He knew that Cupid wouldn't care for useless platitudes, not when the words he said never meant anything in the face of their mother's careless hands and lackadaisical attitude.
His brother preferred to be cut by the sharp truth rather than lulled by a sweet lie. Another mark towards their mother's stellar teachings. Instead, he gathered the ruffled and slightly bloodied clothes and got a fresh new set of clothes for his brother to wear. He held his hand out, wanting Cupid to reach out to grab his hand. Soft and delicate hands wrapped around his fingers, Cupid's gaze firmly planted to the ground. Eros decided to move them to the kitchen so he could prepare a snack while cleaning and repairing Cupid's clothes.
The outfit was quite shabby but his younger brother would rather repair it thousands of times rather than throw it. It was one of the few possessions he had that was given to him by their late father, back when their family was still happy and whole. Who was Eros to deprive Cupid one of the few valuables that comforted him when not even Eros, his steadfast older brother could?
The kitchen was quiet, only the sounds of the kettle coming to a boil and their old grandfather clock ticking were audible in their shared silence. Cupid sat in the rickety chair with their father's photos with his bruised arms and a faraway look on his face.
≡ Author's Notes
I've had this in my drafts for a while now, I actually wanted to have this be a Past and Present type of one-shot but that was absolutely impossible. So here's a vignette of their past.