Burning Rage, Part 2

Burning Rage—Part 2

“I don’t know much about people, Savine,” he said, his voice low. “Don’t understand them most of the time. It’s the nuances, the subtleties of the words they say that make it hard for me to know what they’re really telling me.” He paused and sniffed. “And most of the time I misread them, get the message wrong.”

The knock on the apartment door startled her. Savine was not expecting anyone. She peered through the peephole and opened the door, stunned that Skip Denton stood there.

“Hi,” she said hesitantly as she motioned him in.

Skip flashed her an amiable smile. “Seeing you and Wallace in town yesterday reminded me of Shipton. It made me a tad bit homesick.” He handed her a bottle of Merlot. Château Sté Noémie. “I thought y’all might like a nightcap.”

“Wallace isn’t here. He has class now.”

“Okay if it’s just you and me, then? You drink wine, right?”

He stood close to Savine. Her legs trembled and her fingers felt thick and clumsy. His proximity consumed her, sucked up all the oxygen in her vicinity and left her heart racing and her lungs gasping for air. She inhaled to clear her mind, and instead detected his fragrance—freshly showered and woodsy, like the scented green soap her father used.

Skip wandered into the kitchen and rummaged through the cabinets. He brought out two wine glasses, along with a corkscrew, and sat on the couch. Savine pulled over the ottoman that doubled as a coffee table, then perched beside him and opened the wine bottle.

“Wallace is your twin, right?” he asked as he poured wine into both glasses. “I know about him.”

“Know what?”

“You know. That he’s different.”

Savine clutched her wineglass with clenched fingers. Many people reacted the same way to Wallace—assumed he was aloof and preferred to be alone because of a darkness that lurked within him. But they were wrong. Savine believed Wallace perceived the world through a different reality plane, which made it difficult for him to relate to others. He was brilliant, but people often misinterpreted his ideas and comments and responded with negativism. As a result, he withdrew from social interaction.

Wallace was younger than her by thirty-five minutes. Complications after her birth forced his delivery by cesarean section. Savine often wondered what he experienced after she left him in the womb alone for the first time, to be lifted into this world without her by his side. She took full responsibility for any fallout from being the first-born twin. She loved her brother, cared for him, and defended him—with whatever means she deemed necessary.

“So,” Skip continued, “y’all have any classes together?”


He sipped his merlot, oblivious to her indignation. “Too bad. He’d make a great study partner. He’s, like, the smartest person in our class.”


“Maybe he’d tutor me in math? I could use the help.” Skip glanced at her, then surveyed the living room.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “That’s not what he does. You’ll have to ask him.”

Skip didn’t acknowledge her comment. The pewter sculpture that hung on the far wall distracted him. The piece, about four feet wide by two feet tall, featured a waning crescent moon on the left, a waxing crescent moon on the right, and a hollow full moon in the center with a pentagram nestled within it. Skip stood and walked over for a closer examination.

“Wow. What’s this?”

“It’s a sigil of Hecate. I found it at Mr. Jenson’s antique shop in Shipton.”

He studied the symbol for several minutes. “I like it. Has a mystical appearance. What’s it mean?”

“Mr. Jenson told me what it was, so I researched it. Hecate is the ancient Greek goddess of magic, witchcraft, the moon, and the night. This is her sigil, which is an emblem that represents her. Some say the triple moon symbolizes her rule over earth, sea, and sky. Essentially, it means she rules over the entire universe.”

As Skip moved back toward the couch, his eyes met hers. “Magic? Witchcraft?” He laughed. “Don’t tell me you believe in that hocus pocus stuff?”

“I believe Hecate is a guardian. She protects the vulnerable. And to those who violate them, she brings vengeance.”

Skip sipped his wine and rejoined her on the couch. “I get it. So, who’s vulnerable? Is it Wallace? You?” Then he winked at her. “Or… maybe it’s both of you.”

The voice on the loudspeaker signaled the fire starters. Wallace shifted away from Savine and moved closer to the aggregation of scrap. “It’s time,” he said, then squirted lighter fluid onto the wooden jumble. He squeezed the plastic bottle until it yielded no more liquid, then tossed it onto the pile.

Someone threw a lighted torch and the benign stockpile flared as the conflagration consumed the timber. Several minutes later, the effigy ignited. People shouted the mantra—beat Brazoria—while the flames scourged the straw man that represented the Brazoria football players. The crowd, frantic, shrieked and danced around the burning column.

Savine pulled out the parchment and unfolded it. She turned to Wallace. “Draw the blood.”

Wallace dug into his pocket and retrieved a lancet, then pricked his left index finger. Savine touched the parchment to the drop of blood on his finger, which sealed the petition with her brother’s life force.

Savine refolded the paper and handed it to her brother, then lit a solitary match. While Wallace held the petition steady, she waved the flickering flame underneath it. As the small steady blaze consumed the paper, Savine nodded at Wallace. “Cast the petition.”

Wallace’s dark eyes reflected the vacillating inferno as he stood in front of the bonfire. Sweat beads broke out on his forehead, and his mouth twitched and his body swayed as he held the burning paper.

“This is for you, Skip, you bastard,” he screamed. Then he threw the flaming parchment onto the heap.

The week after Skip first visited their apartment, Savine returned home from her evening class and found Wallace sitting on the couch, still and silent. His eyes were bloodshot and swollen. An empty bottle of Château Sté Noémie and two wine glasses littered the ottoman. Tiny pools of red liquid remained in the bottoms of the goblets.

She sat next to him. “Hey, you okay?”

Wallace turned his head away from her and said nothing.

She persisted. “Wallace? What’s wrong?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he mumbled, still looking away from his sister.

Savine went into the kitchen and brewed a pot of coffee. Ten minutes later, she returned to the living room with a mug for each of them.

“You need to talk about whatever’s wrong, Wallace. It’ll help, and I’m here to listen.”

Still scrutinizing the wall, he took a deep breath and spoke. “Skip came over tonight for a tutoring session. He brought that bottle of wine and poured some for each of us.”

Savine waited for Wallace to continue. After several minutes, he spoke again.

“I’m not much of a drinker.”

“I know.”

“We worked on his math problems and talked about school. He poured more wine, and we both kept drinking and talking. Something about him made me feel comfortable, at ease. He was always the popular guy, but he talked to me like I was… someone special, someone he wanted to be friends with. I was elated.”

“Yeah, he makes me feel special, too.”

“We started talking about relationships. He asked me if I was dating anyone. I told him no, I wasn’t. I admitted I didn’t date much… that I’ve never had a girlfriend.” Wallace paused. Savine heard him swallow down a quiet sob.

“I don’t know much about people, Savine,” he said, his voice low. “Don’t understand them most of the time. It’s the nuances, the subtleties of the words they say that make it hard for me to know what they’re really telling me.” He paused and sniffed. “And most of the time I misread them, get the message wrong.”

“It’s easy to do,” she acknowledged. “People are afraid to say exactly what they’re thinking. They dance around their deepest thoughts and reveal only the fringes. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism to keep their true self from being rejected.”

Both sat on the couch in silence, lost in the moment. When Wallace spoke again, the coffee mugs were empty.

“Skip said he was searching for new experiences.” He stared straight ahead, his expression impassive. “I didn’t know what he meant.”

“I wouldn’t know, either,” Savine whispered.

She observed a fresh tear run down Wallace’s cheek. Her chest constricted; a stabbing sensation that made her want to cry out. But she remained silent, waiting for her brother to continue.

“He leaned over and touched my face. He smelled good. Reminded me of the way Dad smells. Then… he kissed me.” Wallace took a breath and swiped his eyes with his forearm. “It shocked me. I wasn’t expecting it. But it was nice. I didn’t know what to do, so I kissed him back. I’ve never kissed like that before. You know, romantically.”

Savine breathed in and wiped her eyes. “I know.”

“We kissed for a while. And…” Wallace’s voice shook. “He pulled off my shirt, then his. I didn’t think it meant anything. But after kissing me again, he said he wanted more.” He stopped and broke into a sob.

“I told him I didn’t want to do that. But it was like he didn’t hear me, like it didn’t matter that I said no. He was so focused, I don’t think he even saw me. All he saw was a body, a toy for his pleasure.”

Wallace paused and gulped in air. “He grabbed me and pinned me. He’s so much stronger than I am. I tried to make him stop, to get away from him. But I couldn’t… I wasn’t able to break free.”

She slid closer to her brother. As he wept, she put her arms around his shoulders. To keep from crying, Savine clenched her fists and dug her fingernails into the flesh of her palms. Wallace needed her to be strong. As she held her brother, the focus of her gaze shifted to the sigil of Hecate on the far wall. Determined that Skip Denton would suffer consequences for his actions, a plan for retaliation took shape as Savine studied the goddess’s symbol.

The bonfire burned brighter as the parchment shriveled into black ash. A shimmering orange and yellow aura, throbbing with energy and power, formed around Savine and Wallace. Its luminance lit their features with golden light. In unison, they repeated the incantation that would launch the curse and forever damn Skip Denton.

You have betrayed us, the evidence true. Our rage is just, and reprisal due.

Your crime of flesh into others’ thrust stems from your darkened soul. Though, lust

and desire burn deep and hot, the flames will die and passion naught.

A flaccid phallus, no longer strong. Your masculine pleasure will be gone

On this earth ‘til your last day. For sins against us, this you’ll pay.

As they watched the flames engulf the effigy of the Brazoria football player, rage burned hot within Savine. Skip had taken what he wanted from Wallace, defiled her brother without hesitation, as though it was his birthright. Savine wanted to report the rape to the local police, Brazoria University and the football coaches there, and anyone else who could command justice for her brother. Wallace, however, refused to file a complaint. He said it would force him to relive the experience again and again.

Savine couldn’t let Wallace’s molestation go without redress. The encounter almost destroyed him. He barely spoke for two days after that night. A week passed before he could step out of their apartment.

After a month, Wallace sought to inflict his own revenge and described a physical penalty to Savine that sent a chill straight to her core. She begged him to reconsider, to realize any pain he inflicted to Skip would make him a monster, too. Savine convinced him to rely on their protectress, Hecate, to avenge the abuse he suffered. They petitioned her once before, she argued, and the aggressor was bewitched. Although Savine knew this ritual would never assuage her brother’s anguish from the assault, she hoped it would bring him closure.

They stayed with the flickering inferno until the bonfire’s flames dwindled into a pile of red cinders, and Savine’s furor subsided into a bitter ache. It was late when they returned to their apartment. Savine opened a bottle of Château Sté Noémie, purchased for this occasion. They poured the red wine into goblets and sunk into the couch.

“I suppose we should acknowledge Hecate,” Wallace commented. He lifted his wine glass and held it toward Savine. “To our protectress. May she give us strength to walk unafraid upon this earth, safeguard us against the pain others would inflict, and provide us sanctuary when we need to recover from our wounds.”

Savine raised her goblet in return and smiled at her twin.

Check out Part 2 of Burning Rage. “I don’t know much about people, Savine,” he said, his voice low. “Don’t understand them most of the time.”

Written by Allorianna Matsourani
Copyright 2022

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