“Hate my own twin brother?” his voice came gruffly, deep-throated like a caged animal as he fought to control the rage a lifetime of pain and mistreatment caused by his brother stirred in him. “If there were a word stronger than hate, I would use that word to tell you what I feel for him! He is one of the most detestable human beings the devil has ever nurtured on God’s green earth!”
Simon’s voice was shaking now as it rose and broke the restraints he had tried to still himself with, frightening Leigha so badly that she rose quickly from her seat and backed away from him. ~~~~~~~
“Have you seen him since that day when you left your home?” she asked, putting aside the questions she had about his hidden adventure.
“Oh yes, that I have!” he answered almost savagely, his brows drawing together in anger. “I had worked my way up through the ranks and was a lieutenant when the news came to me that my parents had been killed by highwaymen while traveling to London. I took leave and went back home as quickly as I could only to find Stephen living it up, not even mourning their deaths at all! I was angry and became suspicious because I didn’t believe he even cared that they were dead, and I wanted to know why.” Simon stopped and raised his hand to his head for support as his pain threatened to engulf him. Drawing a deep breath, he continued, “When I confronted him with his callousness, he tried to kick me off of our estate ~~~~~~~
“Stephen killed her, he killed them both!” he shouted, stunning Leigha with his accusation. Spinning on his heel, he saw her shock, and though his features remained contorted by his great anger, he continued in somewhat calmer though still loud tones, “I returned to the estate and spent a great deal of time there, where I soon discovered that just before my parents died, Stephen had been gambling and had lost so heavily that his own life was in danger. He was desperate and had to do something. I found some documents locked away in his desk and did some checking on the men they were made out to. These men were known criminals! So I started investigating further into Stephen’s connections with them and began to suspect what his dealings with them were. I’m certain that he hired them to masquerade as highwaymen and kill our parents!”
“Oh Simon, that’s so terrible, so evil! Why would he do such a wicked thing?”
“Why? To save his own skin! I told you that he’s the devil’s own!” Simon answered in a low, gravelly voice. “I could find no absolute proof of his involvement in the act so I couldn’t send him to the gallows as he deserves. I was so frustrated and angry that I felt it would be best for me to leave rather than be around him any longer. I confronted him with my knowledge the night I left, and all he could do was snarl and laugh because I couldn’t prove a thing! He threw it into my face that I was the black sheep of the family and that no one would ever take my word over his! He owned everything, and I was just a pauper that could do nothing against him and his great wealth. He made me so very angry that I hit him! We fought harder than we had ever done before, and though I wanted to kill him, I found that I couldn’t! I cut his cheek open as we were fighting, and it was then when I saw his blood that I took control of my anger and hatred for him and stopped the fight. I left him kneeling on the floor, his hands to his bleeding face and have never returned to Evansworth since.”
Leigha sat in shocked silence, her eyes wide and fastened on Simon’s pacing form as he moved about the small cabin in frustrated rage. She knew not what to do to calm or comfort him and relied on her instincts that warned her to be quiet and still until he settled down. She moved not and spoke not a word as her wide green eyes followed him helplessly around the room. Shortly, his pacing slowed and then stopped as he stood before the table and placed his fists hard upon it, leaning heavily as he bent his head down. His rage was spent for the moment, for he knew it to be a useless waste.
“Stephen’s persona is that of a well-mannered, soft-spoken gentleman, so that is how I acted when I was pretending to be him.” Simon’s voice was calm when he finally broke the icy silence that hung heavily in the small, darkened room. His next words made Leigha flinch as he growled, “It is the mask that he uses to cover the evil darkness of his soul! He’s a good actor and only those who have crossed him know what he is truly like underneath his fine veneer!”