I remember the day I learned that my family was made up of bad people.
I mean, I always knew my father was bad to my mom. He hurt here, which was why he was never at our house when I was growing up, which was why I hadn’t met the man until I was ten years old, and that was only because I lied and snuck out of the house to be able to see him from afar. But I guess I never thought of him as bad per se. After all, what little girl wants to think that half of her genes are bad?
But my brother, Malcolm, convinced me. He was sixteen when I was born—and he and mom never really got along. Not that I can remember. I know he left a lot—and I didn’t really know where he went—but he always came back to me. He knew if he didn’t keep coming back to me, then I would go to find him. Neither he, nor my mother, wanted me to go looking for him. I didn’t know why, and I didn’t really care why—as long as my brother kept coming to see me.
But one day, Malcolm lost his temper with me. I was asking too much, I suppose, pushing his buttons, getting too close to the truth of things. I guess I’d asked, or implied, that I wanted to go with him one day—to meet our father properly or just to see what Malcolm’s world was like off our little farm.
Malcolm threw something hard to the floor, startling me to silence. “Our father is the devil, Agatha. I am Devil’s spawn. I was raised by this man, and there is nothing I can do but follow his footprints. You are good, Aggie. You’re so good. Please, please don’t ask for Dad. Please, please, please don’t let us corrupt you. Please, don’t dream that you want to be like him.”
Silence spread between us for a while—a long while. Finally, I got the courage to ask: “Is he really that bad? Are you really that bad?”
Malcolm waited a moment, collecting his thoughts before he answered me quietly. “We’re even worse. We are worse than you could possibly imagine, Agatha.”