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She hurried through the streets hoping no one would notice her trembling. Not that it would have mattered anymore. There was no undoing to the events that have transpired. She sent a quick text to her sister hoping she would call back and help her out of the situation. Suddenly her phone vibrated in her jean’s pockets. The cold winds of December made her hands shake even more.

“He- hello?”, she answered. Her voice was breathy. Her vocal cords vibrated and her words sounded like she was wheezing.

“Izzy? Where are you? Where is Mom?”, her older sister said into the phone; her words laced with worry.

“Mom isn’t here. She, uh, she is with Auntie Amy”, she replied back, her eyes dancing around the busy sidewalk. She didn’t want anyone to see her, yet.

“Where are you?”, her sister pressed.

“I… I am outside”, she stammered.

“Outside where?”

“Near the… library. I am in front of the City Library. Can you pick me up?”, she answered looking around.

“Yeah… I am coming. Wait right there”, her sister answered after a pause. Her silence was enough to make Izzy realize that her sister had already apprehended something.

Fifteen minutes later, her elder sister’s black Mustang stopped in front of the library and she hurried toward the car. She pulled down her hood to blend with the people exiting the library. Her sister got out of the car but she hurried past her and settled in the passenger seat giving her sister little time to analyze the situation.

“What on earth is going on?”, her sister whisper-yelled slamming the car door shut.

“Just drive. I don’t think I have enough time and I cannot do this in a car, Lexi”, she didn’t make eye contact with her sister but her tone was enough hint for Lexi to start driving.

The entire drive to Lexi’s place was silent. The rain drops hitting the hood were not enough to break the soundless tension in the car. Izzy almost felt like suffocating from all the things she had planned to tell her sister. Her trembling hadn’t stopped. She breathed hard as she felt the sands of time slipping out of her hands rapidly. She was not ready to talk about this just yet. She needed time. But she didn’t want to run away from it. She didn’t want to sugarcoat it. She just wanted it out and the more she was keeping it inside herself, the more it was killing her like a slow poison.

“Okay, now we are here. Nobody is here to watch us. We are alone here. No more interruptions. Now, can you tell me what has gotten you all scared?”, Lexi asked dropping her keys on the coffee table and taking a seat on the couch. She had a faint scowl between her eyebrows and she was trying very hard to not sound worried or even scared.

Taking a long breath, Izzy stepped inside her sister’s living room. Taking in every detail of her Sister’s home she felt a sense of calm wash over her. She smiled, touching a picture of herself with her sister, the last picture that was taken before Lexi left. Running her hands through other pictures, most of which were paintings either bought or made by Lexi herself, she asked, “Do you remember your fifteenth birthday, Lexi?”

“What?”, Lexi’s frown became visible as she couldn’t comprehend the reason for bringing up one of the worst days of their lives.

“Mom left after a fight with dad. She didn’t come back for the entire night. All the while Dad vented out the remnants of his rage on you. You couldn’t walk for two days straight”, she sighed observing flowers arranged nicely in a vase.

“Why are you bringing this up now?”, Lexi asked again but Izzy was somewhere else as if her soul was sucked back in time while her body was still in the present.

“And the day when dad broke my ankle because I had wanted a pair of new shoes? How old was I? Five? Six?”, she kept asking questions that were now only a distant memory. More than ever.

“Izzy?”, Lexi’s voice had suddenly lost its volume. There was a tremble in her voice. She slowly stood up and walked closer to her sister. Lexi’s every step sounded like a rumble that reverberated through the walls of the house.

“Or the time when dad came home drunk and beat mom so badly she wouldn’t stop bleeding. That was such a bloody night”, Izzy laughed weakly as her sister placed a hand on her shoulder urging her to look at her.

“What happened, Izzy?”, Lexi asked with a gulp.

“It is over, Lexi. It is all over now. Mom is finally free. Although she didn’t get to see it first-hand but by now, she must have”, Izzy could feel herself easing up. She could feel a weight lifting off her shoulders. She knows her sister might despise her if she said the full gory tale of her actions but she chose to keep it rather subtle.

“What? What do you mean by that?”, Lexi asked. Her tone sent a shiver down Izzy’s spine. She pictured the last two hours before coming to her sister’s place and all she could think of was the red tint she had left behind in her childhood home.

“You know what I mean, Lexi”, Izzy said laughing. Her voice danced with agony of what was yet to come.

“You are scaring me, Izzy”, Lexi said worriedly.

“That is a genetic disorder, sis”, Izzy smiled at her sister.

“You said you would talk once we reached my place. So, talk. I have had enough of your blabbering. Did you drink something?”

“I know what I said but I don’t think you will be able to handle it. So better to leave it to them for the explanation”, Izzy said, shaking her head.

“Them? Who is ‘them’?”, Lexi asked at the same time her doorbell rang with an angry volume.

“They are quick”, Izzy whispered. Lexi went to answer the door glancing behind to watch her sister.

Opening the door, Lexi’s eyes popped out of their sockets. Police cars littered the front of her house and two officers stood at the door staring at her. She wanted to ask so many questions to them, to Izzy but she felt like a cinder block was attached to her tongue.

“Lexi Whitehead?”, one of the officers asked and Lexi stammered a yes.

“How… how may I help you, Officers?”, she finally managed to speak.

“We are looking for Isabel Whitehead. Has she come here?”, the female officer at the door asked Lexi. Lexi’s heart lurched in fear. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

Why are they looking for Izzy? What has she done?

Lexi thought to herself. She didn’t want to lie to the officers but she also didn’t want her sister to come any closer to these people. She wanted to believe that this could be because of Izzy’s rash driving but somewhere in her heart, she had this dark feeling that said there was more than just that. This was more.

“Miss, can you answer our question?”, the other officer asked in an authoritative tone. Lexi blinked, bringing herself back to the present.

“Izzy is-”

“Right here!”, Izzy cut her sister off as she strolled towards the crowd. She was smiling like none of these was having any effect on her.

“I am right here, Officer. I am Isabel Whitehead”, Izzy spoke like she was meeting an old friend. Her body language was so composed, it was giving Lexi goosebumps.

“Oh, I am sorry it took me so long. I would have come myself but I had to see my sister one last time”, Izzy added as three pairs of eyes stared at her.

“Miss Whitehead, are you aware of the reason why we are here?”, the female officer asked Izzy in a rather disappointed way.

“Why, yes! I know exactly why you are here. I am surprised you found the right person so quickly seeing as nobody else was there in the house. I think the neighbors heard the screaming. Ah, no worries. Where are the cuffs?”, Izzy said in her cheerful voice and as much as Lexi enjoyed her sounding happy, she was worried that her Sister had lost her mind completely if she was asking for handcuffs.

“What are you talking about?”, Lexi said through gritted teeth.

“Cuff her”, the male officer murmured. They too seemed to have been shocked by all these as well.

“Officer, can you please tell my sister what is going on”. Another officer turned her around and cuffed her hands, “Easy there”, Izzy hissed while the female officer tied up her hands and walked her out of the house.

“Is your sister alright?”, the other officer asked Lexi. She stood there frozen to her spot.

“Why are you arresting my sister? What has she done?”, Lexi asked, staring into the distance. Red and blue lights reflected in her eyes as she saw Izzy being manhandled into a police car.

“She is charged of Murder, Miss Whitehead”, the officer answered glumly. Lexi’s eyes instantly met the officer’s.

“What? Whose murder? This must be some kind of a misunderstanding”, she asked, hope wound around her words.

“I am afraid there is no misunderstanding. Mr. Kevin Whitehead was found dead in his own house. The neighbors have confirmed that it was only the two of them since evening after Mrs. Whitehead left. Miss. Isabel was seen getting out of the house seconds later the screaming stopped. The door was left open. And didn’t you notice her hands? We have been tracking her cell phone once we got the intel but-”,

“Wait. I don’t understand”, Lexi cut off the officer mid-sentence and dashed towards the car Izzy was being shoved into.

“Izzy!”, she yelled.

“They are telling the truth, sis. If you think that you can get me out of this by coming up with ideas like it could have been anyone. Anyone could have just entered the house, killed dad and left with the door open, then you are delusional. It was me. I did it. You can ask Adam from next door. He probably saw the whole thing”, saying that she lifted her cuffed wrists.

“See? They are painted red. I don’t want your help this time. I am free. Mom is free. You are finally free”, she continued.

“Only you are not free. Why did you have to ruin your life like this?”, Lexi cried holding her sister’s cuffed hands.

“Oh, the prison? Any place in this world other than that household would feel like a paradise. And besides, that monster wouldn’t be haunting me in my nightmares anymore. I’ve slain him. I shall now have dreams where I am a hero”

“You killed a man, Isabel”, Lexi screamed. Her eyes were rimmed with unshed tears.

“I killed a man who tried to kill me even before I was born. I killed a man who broke all my fingers when I was eight. I killed a man who broke my ankle when I was five. I killed a man who whipped me when I was twelve because he enjoyed it. I killed a man who came home drunk every night and tortured us. I killed a man who used my mother- our mother- as a punching bag”, Izzy paused breathing hard, her nostrils flaring with rage.

“Yes, I killed a man who happens to be our biological father, my - our- worst nightmare. I killed a man who was a monster in disguise”.

“You were not there for the last five years. You never visited anymore. You were happy with your own life. Mom would just pack a bag and leave after a fight. Me? I had no place to run to. You practically cut off ties with us. I faced him. Every day. Every other night. I don’t regret this, Lex. I saved myself from a life time of pain. I am not like you or mom. I’d fought. I did not run away. Go back, Lex. Go back to your life. This shouldn’t concern you anymore. Goodbye, sis”, she let out a dark chuckle followed by a heavy sigh as she settled inside the car sandwiched between two other officers.

The cars left with Izzy. The sirens faded into the night. Lights blurred into the distance. Lexi stood at her porch. The icy winds of winter hit her face like icicles. She stood there like a statue until her phone rang in her hand making her wince.

“Is everything okay? The police station called me. Said they have some questions”, her mother’s voice drifted into her ears from the other side. Lexi took a huge breath as she turned around pulling the door closed behind her.

“Yeah, everything is fine now. Izzy killed dad. Everything should be fine now”, and she hung up.