Click here for previous "Royce."
"Leave him alone!" Anne-Marie shouted at a group of children surrounding Albany. Once again they were the new kids. Twice a year their father would pack all of their belongings and let them know that they were moving. There was never time to make new friends.
But there always seemed to be plenty to make new enemies.
"What are you gonna do, girly-girl? Scratch us?" one of them laughed.
"Yes" she said as she charged the boy. She swiped at him and he screamed. He covered his face and stumbled backwards until he landed on his back. The boys ran away from Albany and went to their friend.
"I'm gonna kick your butt!" he said. He lifted his hands away from his face and three long scars cut a jagged pattern across his eyes. "You are dead!" he said as he ran towards her. Suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks. Anne-Marie turned around and saw her baby brother Royce standing on the porch rubbing his eyes.
"Go back inside" Anne-Marie told Royce. He just stared at her and headed towards to boys. Even at the age of 7 he had a look that would make the Devil think twice. The boys started to run away and Royce gave chase.
"Leave us alone, you weirdo!" one of them said. Royce caught one of the boys. A tiny little guy that everyone was afraid of only because of the group he ran with. His name was Solomon. He came from a very wealthy family of Jewish immigrants. "Let me go, Dead Eyes!" he said to Royce. Royce grabbed the boy by the scruff of his neck, making him yelp in pain. "I'm telling my fath---" he said before screaming bloody murder. Royce released Solomon and walked over to Albany who was seated in the dirt holding his nose.
"What's that in your hand?" Albany asked. Royce took Albany's hand and placed what appeared to be wet meat in it. "What's this…?" he muttered before screaming and running towards their house. Anne-Marie walked over to Royce and gave him a hug. His expression stayed as blank as when he was on the porch.
"Royce, you can't go around pulling people's scalps off. They will think you're a savage", Anne-Marie said as she kissed him on the cheek. Royce gave her a look that asked "Is that a bad thing?"
"You can't be my brother!" Albany shouted as Anne-Marie and Royce entered the front door. Albany was on a step stool washing his hands furiously. He rinsed them and put more powdered bleach on them. "What kind of animal skins a man?"
"The kind that does not want to see his older brother attacked for the one hundredth time!" Anne-Marie shouted. "Why don't you ever fight back? Everyday they do this to you and you never lift a hand! If father ever saw..."
"Father isn't here!" Albany shouted. "He never is! If he were I would not even have to worry about those riff raff chasing me from school everyday! Look at us!" he said as he pointed to their surroundings. "We live like pigs! Solomon and his friends do not walk to school! They have drivers. They have parents that care about them..." he said and began to weep. Anne-Marie walked over and took a hold of his hand. "Let me be!" he roared and raised his hand to slap her.
"Don't!" Anne-Marie shouted. Albany turned around and Royce was right behind him. Albany never knew how Royce could be so silent. Even in this shack where every board in the floor had its own distinct squeak Royce never seemed to make a sound. Royce had a knife in his hand and his eyes locked on Albany.
"Never her" Royce said.
Neither Albany nor Anne-Marie had ever heard Royce speak.
"Never me" he said, pointing to himself with the knife so hard it drew blood from his chest.