The Tomb of the Phoenix

Chapter 1

Jacob

 

Everyone has secrets.

My secret is that I hate my brother. I can’t help it. Other siblings fight all the time, they have the luxury of hating each other, at least in short bursts. Connor broke his sister’s arm the other day by pushing her off a table, no one even knows why they got on the table in the first place.

Problem is I don’t only hate him, like other siblings do, I want him gone, out of mine and my parent’s lives forever.

But I’m not supposed to hate my brother, my sick and dying, little brother, Jacob. I’m not allowed to. If I pushed Jacob off a table it might kill him. He’s fragile and no-one is sure what might push him over the edge. Jacob is at home at the moment, breaking my games, eating my food and now he’s stolen my phone. Mum and dad don’t get it. They only see their precious little boy, the one they are so afraid will break. So I am the one who always gets the blame, even when I’m the victim, Jacob always gets away with everything.

Well, today I won’t let him.

‘Jacob!’

I know he’s got my phone. He’s spent the last three days hiding it around the house. Jumping the final couple of steps down to the hallway I come face-to-face with Jacob.

‘Where’s my phone?’ I glare into my brother’s cherub face. Adults are always saying how similar we look, as if it’s a compliment. I don’t see it. We’ve both got dark skin and tight curls of black hair but that’s the extent of it. Jacob has got chubby cheeks and large, puppy dog eyes which he uses all the time on mum. I’m fourteen and have grown out of all that. Maybe I’m no chiselled, Greek god yet, but give me a few years I reckon I could get there.

‘I don’t have it,’ says Jacob. He smiles and blinks his large eyes in an attempt to appear innocent, but that rubbish doesn’t work on me.

My head feels rough and scratchy as I run my hand over the crown, where my hair used to be. I shaved it last week in an attempt to show everyone how different me and my brother really are. It didn’t work. ‘Jacob, I know you do. Tell me where it is?’

Jacob folds his arms. He knows he’s caught. ‘I’m trying to protect you.’

As far as excuses go, that was not one of his best. Jacob’s clearly just trying to bug me and unfortunately it’s working. ‘Protect me from what? Give me back my phone. Now!’

Jacob ignores me, instead walking to the other side of the table to take a gasp of oxygen. He has a big can of the stuff attached to a mask he can suck the air out. When he does that I feel anger bubbling up in my chest. He can’t get away with this.

‘Give me my phone. Or else.’ I hope my threatening tone will get my fury across. I want to teach Jacob a lesson for messing with me, but I’m not sure how. How can I get him back without getting myself in trouble?

‘Or else what?’

I have no idea so I stare at Jacob and stand a bit straighter, hoping to tower over him. He’s five years younger so it’s not hard.

Jacob just grinned up at me then, using his vast knowledge on how to annoy me, he announced the word, ‘farts!’

I rolled my eyes, I know exactly what was coming and can’t believe he’s acting so childish. As I expected he begins repeating himself. Over and over. It’s an old game, at least he pretended it was a game. I knew better. It was an excuse to avoid the subject and, even better, win the argument. How can I argue with ‘farts’?

‘Farts, farty- farts!’ said Jacob.

‘Farts. Smelly farts. Big, wet farts.’

‘Jacob, shut up!’ I walk away. That’s what you’re supposed to do right? No use. He follows me down the stairs, blowing raspberries between his hands. I find mum sat in the kitchen pulling on her shoes. We’re about to leave for the Fire Festival. It happens every year on the night of Red Reason, the sky is filled with fireworks so that it looks like the sky is on fire. Brow Burrow has the best firework display on the whole of Body. Last year it was two tigers chasing each other and I could have sworn one looked straight at me, I can’t wait to see this year. I’ve got everything I need for it except my phone.

* * *

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