He wiped off the blood on the the pen-knife using a newspaper, cleaned his wicked hands, and headed to his mother’s house.  The mother had been sitting on a stool outside her house. she loved sewing, something she had been doing for over forty years. She enjoyed moving crotchets in between strings of wool. She would often sew sweaters for babies and give them as presents. She had sewn many sweaters for her sons; the merchant and his brother, many years back, when they were still kids.

His mother had been sewing when he arrived
His mother had been sewing when he arrived

Just like his wife, the trader’s mother was shocked when he saw him. He had two bags on his back, the pen-knife on his right hand and another bag on his left hand.

“Have you been hunting, my son?” His mother asked as he approached her.

“Look at you. Your shirt is stained.”

“Son, anything the matter?”

The merchant did not give any answer. Puzzled, the mother stopped sewing and studied her son as he approached her. The trader quickly pounced on her aging mother, and knifed her. He slit her throat and pierced her deeply. Blood.

Blood on the crotchets, blood on the unfinished sweater, blood on the old woman’s dress, blood on the merchant’s shirt, blood on the ground, red all over……

She was powerless. The crotchets could not help her defend her weak self. His son had overpowered her. She lay there, lifeless, ready to join her grand-daughter and daughter in law who had left earlier. The tradesman grinned , showing the molars of his upper jaw. Complacent, he walked away triumphantly, like a soldier whose army had just won a battle.

The next victim would be his brother. Unlike his mother, his younger brother lived quite a distance from his house. His brother’s house was located on a sparsely populated area, which was desolate. A visitor would be forgiven for thinking that the house didn’t have any occupant, for it appeared forsaken from afar.

His brother's house
The house appeared forsaken from afar.

More jolly than ever, the merchant quickened his steps as he wanted to complete his mission before dusk. In his interpretation, he had considered his brother to be the biggest threat. If anyone would take most of his fortune, it had to be his brother. He loathed the thought of anyone spending what they had not worked for, especially that which he had worked for. He knelt down, thanked the supreme one for ‘opening his eyes’ and proceeded to his brother’s abode.

“Open up brother!” shouted the merchant after getting that the front door of his brother’s house had been locked.

“Please open the door, I’m back, and I got goodies for you.”

“Brother?”

“Are you hearing me, brother?”

He shouted on and on but there came no reply.

Was his brother in there? Why was he  ignoring him?

Nothing could thwart his plans, he swore. He turned around as if to go back when he remembered something.

There was a back door. He recalled that the back door had a problem with the lock, and so it was easy to access the house through it. Even with a spoiled lock, it’s only him and his brother who knew how to operate the door.

“Brother?” He called again, hoping to hear someone reply.

He was now running out of patience. He needed to murder his brother so bad, but his absence was making it difficult for him.

“Bro…” he called one more time before breaking into the house.

Perturbed, he moved to his brother’s bedroom to see whether he was there. His heart glimmered with joy after he saw him lying on the bed. He was sleeping. He didn’t seem to be disturbed by the noises around. His was a peaceful sleep. He was facing the wall and had covered himself from head to toe with a warm woolen blanket. The merchant looked at the pen-knife. The pen-knife which had put an end to his family, the pen-knife which had been through people’s skin, the knife which had been soaked in blood so many times, that the silver part of it had now changed it’s color.

“Brotherrrrrrrrrrr….”  The trader shouted as he raised the knife up in the air and pulled over the blanket. He gripped the weapon tightly, ready to spike another of his kin,  but unexpectedly stopped.

He held the knife tightly ready to stab.
He held the knife tightly ready to stab.

The knife he was holding dropped on the bed.

Had he suddenly realized that what he was doing was not of any use? Was his dream a disaster in the making? Had he construed the whole thing erroneously?

He examined his hands and looked keenly at his brother. His brother was no more. Upon lifting the blanket, he had touched him. His body was cold. Cold, you would think you had touched the ice in Greenland. Cold that when he touched him,  he felt like the temperature in the room had gone down.

His brother had been dead. Had he come to slay a corpse?

His brother had passed on the previous night. He had some fever and having no one to aid him, he went to take a rest in bed. Hoping that by morning the fever would have gone away. He unfortunately passed away in his sleep. Without no one around, no one to talk to. No one knew his final thoughts, no individual heard his last words. He left this world a loner.

The psychotic merchant got very mad. He was so deranged that he wanted to stab the corpse lying before him. He had enjoyed squeezing the life out of his other victims. He wanted to experience the same pleasure with his brother. He could not. That made him annoyed. He had gotten rid of those he thought were his enemies. That made him happy. But his brother’s death saddened him. Not that he wished he was alive, he was irked because he had found him dead. He wanted to kill him himself. He wanted to see his brother breath last as a result of his vacuous actions. Actions which he thought were astute, but turned out to be the exact opposite.

The trader went out, took a look at his bags then came in.

“He probably is not dead.” He whispered to himself then went in to confirm that the corpse lying in the room was actually his brother’s. Eccentric character.

The death of his brother modified his plan. He had initially schemed to murder everyone and move to a far away place where he could spend his fortune without feeling threatened. He was to kill every one on his own. The demise of the other three appeased him, but not his brother’s. He had a feeling that his brother was not dead. He felt like the death was a sham. His brother had probably feigned death so he would attack him when he was not looking. He could not allow his brother attack him.

The jolly merchant was now demoralized. He was dispirited and dejected. He picked the pen-knife, went out and dug a small pit. He buried the knife, and went to look for a noose. He had to end everything there. Nothing mattered to him anymore, he had not completed his mission, he could not imagine that he was unable to terminate the life of his brother. He thought it best to end his life too.

The noose
The merchant holding a noose.

The dream brought him disaster. His brother’s corpse twisted everything. The lifeless body of his brother made him change all that he had planned. He was sentimental, that his brother was probably still a living being.

The three bags lay outside the house, as if manning the house. They had observed in amazement all of the merchant’s batty deeds. Had they been keeping a journal, they would have scribed the absorbing accounts.

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