Rachel was the kind of child that cried when bubbles popped, when their dad cracked and ate the eggs they dyed for Easter, when a worm was half-squished on the sidewalk, she cried and she felt bad. Everything had feelings and how dare other people hurt them? She was raw emotion. She couldn’t understand why Abel didn’t care, why he didn’t cry unless he was bleeding and even then he hid his eyes behind his elbow, grit his teeth and pulled a noise deep from his belly until he could blink back the liquid, pretend like it had never been there.
They joked that she had gotten all of the feelings, they’d skipped over him at birth and she felt enough for the both of them. But Abel still felt. With sharp and painful clarity, he felt when Rachel died and it took the breath right out of his chest. He walked in a fog for days after her death because it was easier and hurt less than to think about what they’d lost.
It didn’t get easier once he’d killed the woman responsible for Rachel’s death. His sister was still gone.
The day he left home, put Salem to his back and never looked behind himself, he drove out of the city with his sister’s ashes on his passenger seat and her cigarettes in the cup holder at his side. He set her to the wind near Mount Rainer because she’d always liked the mountains and it was the closest to home, to him, and on a clear day, he could see her from the city. As her ashes hit the wind, Abel covered his eyes with his elbow and lit a cigarette to ease the tremble in his hands.