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Brenda

Todd M. Doray

 

Brenda Fountain checked the time on her watch and pursed her bold, pistachio-red lips in disdain. Sara, her twin, should have been here by now. She scanned the cafeteria again, searching for a duplicate of herself. The motion of her eyes was barely perceivable behind her think eyeliner—the only other outstanding facial feature. The rest of her visage was pure porcelain, creating the sharp image of a cold, placid mask. Brenda hated wearing make-up like that, but it was the way Sara wore hers.

Today Brenda had to be Sara—it seemed the ironically appropriate costume to wear while killing her sister.

The seventeen-year-old girls grew up in the old section of Fort Worth, near the Stockyards. Brenda grew slowly, always in Sara’s shadow. Most people liked Sara, loved her, but had an annoying tendency to ignore Brenda. The childhood seed of jealousy spawned consummate hatred—hatred that finally demanded satisfaction.

Today Brenda would slake her hatred.

A simple plan, really.

Walk right up to her and shoot her between the eyes. In front of a hundred witnesses. Any jury would immediately pronounce her insane—and, therefore not guilty, right? At worst she might spend several years in an institution, but then be free.

Certainly better than returning home to her loving father. Where he could touch her—the way he never touched Sara, not his little angel. Brenda hated her for that, too—the way she’d pretended not to know what their father was capable of. Her teeth clenched audibly.

Checking her watch again, she ran a hand through her blonde hair and pulled it in frustration. Still no sigh on Sara.

The warning bell rang. First period in one minute.

Furious, Brenda stormed toward her classroom.

Sara ruined her plans again.

She hated her. Hated her for being who she was—and who Brenda was not. She hated her for foiling her carefully considered plot.

Brenda’s oversized sweater and baggy pants hid her abused body, but not her emotional state. A concerned-looking student approached her. She couldn’t focus on his name—Chip, Chet, or something stupid like that.

“Sara, are you okay?”

Seething, Brenda threw her weight into a shove—brute adrenaline slammed Chad in the chest and knocked him down the stairwell. Brenda fled for the restroom.

Bursting through the door, she turned, and looked up into the face of her twin. Sara looked surprised—shocked—with black lines streaking her cheeks.

Glaring through a gray haze, Brenda drew the small automatic from her purse, pointed it at Sara’s forehead, grimaced, and fired.

The next day, Channel Five’s televised report of the shooting cut the bitter silence of George and Trudy Fountain’s morning:

“A junior at Bowie High School shot herself to death today. Sara Fountain, only child of George and Trudy Fountain, fatally shot herself in a girl’s restroom after apparently shooting a mirror several times. School officials are investigating how the weapon was smuggled past their detectors. Stay tuned for more details as they become available, first on Five.”

George Fountain began the long, complicated process of sublimating the pain, grief, and guilt attendant to the sudden death of his only child.