Peaceful quietness enveloped the young man’s small lab as his hands made small movements, working with vials and tinctures that condemned he was up to no good. A wall of strange creatures that ranged from snakes, frogs, and scorpions down to the most minuscule of things like insects made muffled sounds behind their extra barrier of thick glass. Not because he was afraid of them, but because he enjoyed silence. It was the frogs that bothered him the most, usually. He set the vial he was working with aside while moving his left hand up to reset his glasses, and turned in his stool to view the monitor for results.
“Ahh—” His breath would sound relieved, but a crashing from the hallway pulled his attention away from what could have been an amazing discovery. Widened pupils were fixated on the doorway briefly before they frantically began to search around the pristine corners of the lab. So white. So clean. Everything so neatly organized. With his hands now shaking violently, he hurriedly tried to preserve the sample he had just created, capping the vial before the monstrosity outside would come barging in. The freezer, the door—he was starting to panic awfully and couldn’t place himself in his own lab—had disappeared altogether.
A battering at the door. A crazed shouting. He froze to watch the locked handle shake itself near off its screws. Vial still clutched in his gloved hands, all he could do now was stare mindlessly and wait. He didn’t have flight or fight. He only had freeze.
Finally, the door caved to the strength of the beast outside.
“Lárus! Why do you lock the door? I live here too, dammit!” She screamed at him as she burst in, glaring at his frozen figure like she wanted to say more but also wanted to hear his retort. Her fists clenched as if to say she was waiting for him to speak or she’d beat his ass, or both… probably both.
The fire in those icy blue eyes could burn down his whole lab, but he couldn’t look away from them. His lab was in the basement, and she didn’t live in the basement. He wanted to clarify that, but he couldn’t. He still simply just stood there, shock holding him in place. Right hand still gripping the vial, his left moved to push up on his glasses again. His mind began to process once more and move through her words. Lárus. He was Lárus. Eyes moving down her body, it was clear now why she was acting so urgent. She was covered in blood.
“Why did you come here—” but his question would never be finished. Curled over himself, Lárus threw up all and any remains of his lunch that remained in his stomach. He was a delicate being with a sensitive case of hemophobia, and he was sure his sister had no regard for him or his ailments.
“Gods, Lárus,” she snarled, slamming a fist on one of his tables, “I need your help. Come on. Get it together. I need you to take me to our moms’ house.”
“What?” Why in Gods’ names did she want to go there? “A hospital can see to you.” His eyes dare not to look back up to her. They studied his previous lunch that now lay in a foamed mass on the floor.
“Gods, Lárus, don’t be difficult. I’m not asking. I’ll be waiting outside.” With that, she turned and left. She didn’t even close the door. He listened specifically for it, but she didn’t close it.
He made a weak effort to stand and put the vial away, moving next to clean the mess on the floor. While putting the equipment he was working with back in their proper places, he began to move more sluggish. He wanted to cry—he wanted to stay and just work on his concoctions—but she’d beat him silly if she saw he had been crying. He was such a fragile, simple soul. He kept to himself. He was a quiet man. He made his poisons and did as he was told by his family. Everything for his family. The more he detached to kill, the less of himself remained.
As he exited, he turned the main lights of the lab off and closed the door, locking it from the outside. There were many reasons he locked the door. It didn’t matter who lived there. Much of what he did was very lethal, and he was very attached to the companions who provided his venom and toxins. He wasn’t attached to much anymore, but those creatures led very spoiled lives. Everything in his lab did.
Lárus approached his car cautiously, hoping she hadn’t bled all over the interior and that maybe it didn’t smell completely awful by now. It was a sleek and gunmetal in design, always clean and shining. The inside was also steel in color, and he was glad for this now. If she had bled all over, at least it wouldn’t show as clearly. When he opened the driver-side door, his sister was slumped in the passenger seat of his car, and for a moment, he thought maybe she had died while she had been waiting for him.
“Siberian?” He whispered, a quiet call-out as he held back the urge to vomit into his vehicle. The dome light dimly illuminated her bloody figure, but he could smell it more than anything. He wished she had put a towel down. Now he’d have to replace the seat. Despite his sister probably bleeding out, his most urgent thought was how much blood was soaking into the cushion and fabric.
“Can you fucking drive or not?” She hissed without moving, eyes dully opening to give him that murder-like glare of hers.
“I’m going to need the windows down,” he warned as he got in, fumbling with the keys.
“Not mine.” Siberian groaned, her eyes looking lazily out of it.
He wasn’t in a position to protest. He was the most submissive of the siblings. There was Siberian, their spitfire sister and the firstborn; Dádýr, a brute of a ladies man who was honest and reliable, most times; and Lárus, the quiet and weird little brother. He was sure she didn’t ask Dádýr because she couldn’t find him. Their brother was probably out on the town, with the night being early as it was. The car started with a soft growl and purred as Lárus accelerated out of the garage, the large door closing behind them as they set course toward the mountains.
* * * * *
The trio lived on the edge of the city, but their mothers lived in the middle of nowhere. Both of them were fond of Siberian, but Lárus only felt connected to Constance. Vigdís was cold and stern, much like Siberian could be, which was only natural as Vigdís raised her that way. To be powerful, unforgiving, and ambitious. Truly, the legacy of their house. Dádýr wasn’t much different either, and spent a great deal growing up with Vigdís, too; but Lárus spent a lot of his childhood with Constance who learned early on about his hemophobia and was glad to share her experiences with him. She had always been a master in toxicology, and it was something they grew to share over the years.
The ocean became visible in the distance as a flat sheet against the moonlight, icebergs dotting it here and there like glimmering masses. They were descending the mountains but had a long and boring drive through the tundra now. Siberian had either been asleep or unconscious for most of the winding roads, but as the ocean came into view on her side, she roused dully with a slurred voice.
“Ahh, sea,” she groaned, thumping a limp hand onto the passenger-side window where it slid down slowly, leaving thin bloody streaks. Lárus had glanced over in time to see just that, quivering at the sound. “Almost home.”
“Almost home.” Repeating it meant nothing, but he was starting to wonder what kind of state she was truly in. Should he have given her something? He still could. He had a supply bag in the trunk for emergencies, but he doubted she’d let him touch her with a needle or give her any kind of medicine. He was practiced in medicine, too; but Siberian was stubborn. If she wanted Constance to see to her instead of a hospital—and Lárus was lower on her list than a hospital—then it was for a reason.
“Siberian? Are you in any pain?” As he glanced over, she was still in the same slumped position, but the question made her flash those icy eyes his way and he turned his attention back toward the road as quickly as possible. He didn’t think she could spook him in her half-dead state as badly as that.
“Don’t you… give me anythin’ Lárus. I’ll know.” She tried to make a hand gesture but her movements were sluggish. Her head had lolled his way as she tried to be serious.
“Okay,” he said, half trying not to laugh and half starting to really worry. At this point, she would have lost a lot of blood. He was surprised she was still conscious enough to coherently respond. “You’d really know? Are you sure?” Would she put up with him teasing her? He never got away with that.
“Larus,” she was trying to raise her voice and throw her hands in the air, but it was all rather hysterical from his perspective. “Don’yu try this shit wi’me ry’now! Sth—Gods!” With a final frustrated noise, she thrusted her hands back into her lap and turned her head back toward the window. “Fuck off. Kick’yr fuckin’ ass later.”
He readjusted his glasses while stifling laughter. If she was coherent enough to manage all of that, she’d definitely make it to their destination. He’d probably need therapy and some professional cleaning done to his car, but whatever happened to her was the top priority.
“Y’fuckin laughin’?” Siberian had half-turned her head toward him, eyes ablaze.
“No, no,” he reassured, biting a lip as he tried to maintain a cool composure.
“Kick’yr fuckin’ ass twice.” It was a promise. A sealed fate.
“Okay, it’s a date.” Lárus grinned her way but she was having none of it right now.
“Fuck you, y’smart ass.” She went back to staring out at the ocean.
It would probably be his only time to get the better of her. Maybe she wouldn’t remember it. Any other time and it would have been immediate repercussions. Anyone outside of the trio would probably think they had horrible relationships with each other, but really, they were closer than anything. Lárus wouldn’t be anywhere close to a bloody subject if it wasn’t someone he cared about, let alone drive them halfway across the tundra. The only reason he could still stomach the drive was because he was worried for her, more worried and more concerned for her wellbeing than his overwhelming hemophobia could beat.
“I wanna stop an’ see the ocean,” came her voice suddenly, and when he looked over, she was more slumped than usual.
“No.” Lárus said softly, checking landmarks that were becoming familiar. “We’re almost there.”
“You suck.” She thumped her hand against the window again. “I wanna say hi to afi (grandfather).”
Lárus sighed, taking the next small side-road that came up which lead them down to the beach. It wasn’t far from the main road and Siberian was quiet the whole way; but when they did finally reach the end of the access road, she struggled to open her window and groaned an almost non-verbal plea for help. From his side of the car, Lárus opened her window so she could feel the ocean breeze and stare out at the shore and icebergs in the distance.
“Hi afi,” she said simply, laying her limp hand over the edge. “Hi amma (grandmother).” When Lárus didn’t say anything, she added, “Lárus is bein’ a big fuck today. He’s not gonna say hi.”
“What?” He was leaning back, watching her do something more coherent than throw rude, slurred words at him, but that was totally uncalled for. “I’m just—”
“Always excuses,” Siberian teased, rolling back into her seat with a huge, wasted grin.
“Hi afi, hi amma. Siberian got into probably her last fight. She’ll probably die before we reach moms’ house. See, say goodbye. Here we go. Bye afi, amma.” He waved toward the ocean and rolled up Siberian’s window. She stuck her tongue out at him as best as she could.
“Yer gonna upset him,” she warned, but they both grinned as Lárus pulled away from the beach.
* * * * *
They arrived at the quaint house shortly after, and it occurred to Lárus then that maybe they should have called. Vigdís was out to greet them before Lárus could turn the car off. For a moment, he thought she was going to murder them, but when she saw he wasn’t a random stranger, her temper seemed to cool.
“What are you doing here?” Vigdís snarled toward him as he closed his door, and that’s when Constance had a chance to come outside as well.
“Siberian requested we come here,” he explained.
“What’s happened?” Constance asked, always the first to smell blood where Vigdís was the first to shed it.
“I don’t know. She wouldn’t tell me.” Lárus gestured to the passenger side of his car.
“Ah, dear. You survived the drive I see,” Constance teased, then opened the door to get a look at the wild child of the bunch. “Oh, so did this one. Gee, what a shame.”
“Ye’fuckin— I heard that, I’m awake!” Siberian grumbled from the inside, nearly falling from the seat.
Vigdís was the only one not amused by the situation. Her first target was Lárus. She rounded on him with vicious claws that a human shouldn’t have, and nearly scared the life right out of him if he hadn’t been so used to living with Siberian.
“The hell happened? You didn’t give her anything? She’s nearly bled dry! The fuck do you think is gonna happen to you if she dies? You want to know? You want to see?” The matriarch of their family was nothing to be trifled with, and Lárus had his hands up submissively.
“Ey, I didn’t want him givin’ me anythin’ okay? Don’t trust him what with his killin’ tendi… tendi… sssies… eh? You guys… different?” Siberian was trying to back her brother up, but Constance had slipped something into her shoulder without her realizing it and the bloodied girl slumped in her mother’s arms.
“There. Now we can get her on a table and get her all patched up. The story will have to wait.” Constance gestured for Vigdís to come help her, and the two of them carried Siberian inside. Larus closed up the car but left the windows down, and followed the women inside. A fun night was ahead of him and he was absolutely thrilled.