Deceive Me Not

by Siobhan Finck

“It’s him, Mom! It really is!” I can’t stop squealing with excitement. I hadn’t stopped since I opened the letter.

“I don’t think so, Sarah. I’m sorry, but someone is just trying to fool you dear.” My mom replies dryly.

My mother can be as pessimistic as she wants. Nothing will ruin my excitement at this point, for today, at 11:26 a.m., I received the greatest thing of all time. A letter from my long-lost brother.

Precisely thirteen years ago around this time, my brother went missing. I was only six years old, but I remember it like it was yesterday. My parents went to wake my brother Pierce, who was fifteen at the time, for school one morning. When they found his bed empty, they of course did not immediately assume he had been taken. I remember my dad saying something about “teaching Pierce a lesson if he’s staying at his ‘little whore’s house.’” Then he saw me in the doorway and apologized for saying “whore,” and explained that grownups sometimes use filthy words when they’re frustrated or upset.

My mom tried to call his cell phone, only to find it vibrating under Pierce’s pillow. It is strange to think that Pierce would willingly leave his phone behind. After contacting all of Pierce’s friends and even calling the school, nobody could find Pierce. My parents became worried sick and contacted the police, who set up missing person posters all over in a desperate attempt to find my brother. Days, weeks, and months went by, each day sadder than the last. As a six-year-old girl, I don’t think I was fully aware of what was happening. I knew that Pierce was missing, but I never thought it was going to last that long. My parents tried to distract me, so I could have a somewhat normal childhood, but their sadness was too obvious. I could tell they were not doing well and on top of that I missed my brother. My brother was always fairly kind to me, despite picking on me a bit, but that’s why God made big brothers in the first place. Pierce would watch me on Saturday afternoons when our parents were at work, and occasionally he would let me paint his fingernails.


Deceive Me Not

by Siobhan Finck

Reality set in on my seventh birthday, my first birthday without Pierce. Prior to this year we always made a big deal out of birthdays. Our family usually spent one night in a hotel: swimming, ordering pizza to the room, watching cartoons, and staying up extra late (especially for me). On my seventh birthday however, my parents told me that it wouldn’t be the same without Pierce, and we didn’t go to a hotel. In fact, we barely did anything to celebrate. My mother made me a white cake with pink frosting and seven pink candles; I blew them out and wished for my brother back.

My wish didn’t come true that year.

It was really difficult to grow up, always wondering where Pierce was. My parents were super uplifting and positive for the longest time, always insisting, “You will be okay, Sarah.” and “Everything happens for a reason.” Somewhere along the way however, they lost their optimism. They stopped talking about Pierce, and if anyone talked about him, they would just cry and not say anything.

I on the other hand, have not given up. As soon as I was old enough to operate a computer I created a website: The website was incredibly popular at first; many people left comforting messages, saying they hoped I found my brother soon. As thoughtful as it was, it wasn’t helpful. I longed for someone to leave some useful information, an address or phone number where I could reach my brother. But it never came. And as the years progressed, the website saw less and less views, less messages and people seemed to stop caring.

Every day, at 11:26 the mailman pulls down our driveway and delivers the daily newspaper, whatever bills my parents have, and usually some form of junk catalog. It has always been my task to gather the mail, although I don’t know why, because there is rarely mail addressed to me. Today, just like every day, at 11:26 I rode my bicycle down the quarter-mile driveway to gather the mail.

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Deceive Me Not

by Siobhan Finck

“You got a letter today Sarah” Eunice told me. Eunice was our ancient mail-truck driver. She has been driving that mail truck long before I was even conceived.
“Wow, really!? Thanks Eunice.” I replied and took the mail from her hands. She reeled down the driveway before I could even say goodbye. I was far too eager to see who wrote me, so I opened it right there in the driveway.

My heart stopped beating when I opened the letter, it read:

Dearest sister Sarah,

If you are reading this, I am safe, and that is good news. I hope that you, Mom, and Dad are doing well. I cannot believe you are nineteen now. It’s hard for me to fathom it, since I have not seen you since you were six. It is not practical for me to tell you my whereabouts. You will never be able to reach me. If I tell you where I am and you decide to come for me, they will kill you. I am putting myself at risk to send you this letter, but I feel you are worth the risk. I miss you like crazy Sarah, and I love you.

With love, your brother, Pierce.

I read the letter over and over, trying to make sense of it. Who is “they?” and why would they want to kill me? I have a hunch that whoever “they” are, are the same people who abducted my brother in the first place. Many crazy thoughts race through my head, but the most overpowering thought was “my brother is alive and well, just like I thought!”

I bike back to the house as fast as I can and run inside to tell my parents. I make them stop what they are doing immediately and read the letter. After they both read the letter, my parents look at each other and smile, but they don’t seem as excited as I expected.

“It’s him, Mom! It really is!” I can’t stop squealing with excitement. I hadn’t stopped since I opened the letter.

“That’s great, Sarah. He’s alive and well and now you can stop worrying.” My mom tries to convince me.

“Dad, you’ll help me find him right?” I question, trying to stay positive.

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Deceive Me Not

by Siobhan Finck

My father stood like a coward and shook his head. I want to slap him, but I know that would get me in big trouble. Instead, I begin to walk toward the front door.

“I’m sorry darling, it just isn’t practical.” my mom slowly explains.

I say nothing and keep walking to the door.

“Where are you going Sarah?” my dad finally speaks up. “We need to talk about this.”

I still say nothing. I know that I am going to find my brother and I’m going to have to do it alone.

“Look at your father when he talks to you, Sarah!” my mom steps in firmly.

I stop walking, turn around, and face my parents.

“All I want is to have Pierce back,” I try to stay calm while I explain. “A piece of me went missing over a decade ago, a piece of this family.”

My parents’ faces are completely blank, as if I’m not even speaking to them. They don’t care. They don’t believe me.


“Honey, sit down. There’s something you deserve to know.” My mom tries to comfort me.

Annoyed, I take a seat on the couch next to my father.

“Sarah..” my dad begins, “You will never see Pierce again.”

“What are you saying? You don’t make any se…”

My mother cuts me off abruptly, “Stop, Sarah. Just listen to your father.”

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Deceive Me Not

by Siobhan Finck

The next thing I know, my father is telling me the most horrific bit of information I could ever imagine. I feel sick to my stomach as I sit and listen; I can’t even come up with any words to say.

“Two weeks after your brother disappeared, his body was found on the riverbank up north. Police did an investigation to see if he had gone there by himself, or if someone took him there and…. drowned him.” My mother started to cry.

My father continues, “We wanted to tell you, but at the time you were only six years old. Your mother and I thought it was better if you didn’t know; you were so young and hopeful, we wanted you to believe he was out there somewhere. Our plan was to tell you the truth when you grew up, but I guess we had lied about it for so long, it was hard to tell you. I am really sorry Sarah. I don’t even know what to say to comfort you.”

“I don’t want your comfort!” I scoff.

“Excuse me!?” my dad is surprised by my response.

“You’re a liar. You and mom both.”

“Sarah, sweetheart, please listen to reason; you have to understand.” my mom always tries to make everything seem like less of a big deal than it really is.

“Wait,” I start to think about the mail this morning, “What about…”

“We wrote that letter, your mother and I. We wanted to give you a little hope. We simply thought if you thought Pierce was okay, you would stop your search and delete your website and…” My dad cannot be serious.

I fly off the couch and out the door before my parents can even blink. I hop in my car and squeal down the driveway. I don’t know where I’m going, but I will not be around these people. These LIARS. These TRICKSTERS. I am sick to my stomach. Now that I know my brother is dead, there is nothing for me to be hopeful for. I check the gas gauge, a full tank. I turn on the radio, set my cruise, and begin my… journey- destination unknown.