You’ve met Raphael. He wasn’t always a monster. Once, he was just my twin brother. Once, he was a happy, carefree, wonderful kid and my best friend. We are fraternal twins, as evidenced by the physical differences between us. But until his endocrine gland began working double time, everyone thought we were paternal twins.

We were both red heads. And if you look at pictures of us, it’s hard to tell which of us is which, until Raphael was four. He was the bigger twin, but he wasn’t abnormally big. He was 24 inches long and 7.5 pounds. I was 18 inches long and 6.7 pounds. And unlike most twin births, my mom didn’t deliver us early nor was it a rough labor. We were actually about two weeks past our due date before we decided to exit.

Raphael was born without vocal cords and what most people don’t know is that I was born without a left kidney. It were these missing organs and Raphael’s gigantism that made doctors decide we were fraternal twins. But Xavier has proven this is incorrect. Once Raphael was in custody, Xavier took DNA from both of us to study and he came back with shocking news. Our DNA is identical except for a few small differences. And if he’s correct about the genes he’s labeled as necessary to become a psychopath, I carry all but two of them. Raphael does carry these two. I thought that was the end of the shocking news. We had identical DNA except a few genes, which Xavier referred to as pseudo-mutations.

But I was wrong. There was more to come. Like most kids with gigantism, Raphael had had a tumor removed from his endocrine gland as a teen. The tumor was long gone, but Xavier said he could still see scarring where it had once been. He got Raphael’s permission to cut into a second time. And found hair had grown in that tumor. It wasn’t a regular tumor. It was a third infant, one that had been absorbed by my brother in the womb.

Parasitic twins aren’t that rare. Often times, one twin will absorb another while still in embryo stage. There was enough to DNA in the hair to test. It wasn’t a twin, it was another fraternal triplet and that DNA matched mine perfectly. The tumor that had turned Raphael into a giant was a third twin, one who carried all but 2 of the genes Xavier’s labelled psychopathic genes.

It answered a lot of questions; paternal triplets are more prone to birth defects like not having vocal cords or missing a kidney than normal twins. It is also more likely they will have slight variations in their DNA even though they shouldn’t. Hence, Xavier’s use of the term pseudo-mutations.

Science aside, Raphael and I had normal childhoods until we were about 6. Yes, he was a lot bigger than me and he couldn’t talk, but we were inseparable. He was my best friend. I thought we had no secrets. It was the last year of innocence for me and Raphael. That was the year the sexual abuse began.

Discovering one of your uncles is a violent pedophile is traumatic. Learning your violent pedophiliac uncle is also a sadist and he’s been torturing your brother makes you feel awful. I attempted suicide when I was just nine years old. I wanted to die. I felt I had let Raphael get hurt and I couldn’t bear the guilt anymore. And I had obviously hurt him in some other way, since he hadn’t told me about the abuse.

Most nine year olds don’t really try to commit suicide. I was not most 9 year olds. I didn’t try slitting my wrists or hanging myself. I found a bottle of pills marked diazepam in my parents’ medicine cabinet and I took every pill in it. I was saved because it wasn’t Valium used to control anxiety, it was used to control vertigo. The tablets were 2 milligrams each and my mom’s bottle was nearly empty, because it had been a stormy fall and she’d had to use a lot of them to keep from having it all the time, some days she was taking three a day and meclizine to stop the world from spinning.

I was found by our mom. She forced me to throw up, while having my little sister call 911. Raphael had already gone to live with our grandparents and begun living a different life, far away from the trauma in Texas. I felt guilty for that as well, but a sexually abused psychopath can become a quickly dangerous person and Raphael had begun acting out violently. And that was my fault too. It was the summer after I tried to kill myself that Raphael decided to kill me too. Even with therapy, I still felt like I deserved it. I still felt like it was within Raphael’s rights to kill me for what had happened to him.

Therapy helped some, but in reality, even at 45, I still feel like at least some of what Raphael endured and became, is my fault. Why hadn’t I realized there was something going on with him? Why hadn’t I guessed that my uncle’s excessive attention to Raphael wasn’t just because Raphael was different and in need of extra attention? Why hadn’t Raphael told me or at least given me some indication that he didn’t want to go with our uncle. There are still so many whys in my life.

Our uncle was convicted of multiple charges involving the molestation of a minor among other horrible things. He’d been in prison for just 7 months when some inmate got hold of the evidence presented at his trial. Him and two other inmates killed my uncle in the cafeteria. They kicked and stomped him so many times and so hard that his skull broke open like an egg, spilling out his brains. They found teeth lodged in the roof of his mouth where they’d become imbedded during the brutal assault. My parents called it justice. But my uncle died after only the second or third kick, it ruptured the carotid artery in his neck, he bled to death internally long before the skull fracture and before he was kicked in the mouth so hard it knocked out his teeth and caused them to become embedded in is palate. No, if there’d been justice, he would have lived long enough to feel at least half those kicks and stomps.

None of us mourned his death. No one has ever petitioned to get him moved from the prison graveyard where he’s buried. And I slept a little better knowing that he was dead.

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