For some, family is a group of people you love but can't stand.

But in the Gutter, blood is always thicker than water.

Stolen by Cal Marcius

Dean makes the guy eat shit. A whole bowl full. He takes him into the field, finds the biggest pile of sheep shit, and tells him to fill the bowl up. My brother has come prepared, from the clothes down to the camping equipment, unlike me. I’m wearing £300 shoes and Givenchy trousers, stepping into shit, cussing up a storm.

None of this would’ve happened if Tessie had stayed home like she was supposed to. Dad had grounded her for helping herself to his wallet. Spending almost a thousand pound on new clothes, and a night out with her friends. Wasn’t the first time she’d taken things that didn’t belong to her, and it won’t be the last.

She’s been playing up ever since mum left a year ago. When she decided she liked girls and had no time to be a mother anymore. And while dad was off jetting from one business trip to another, we were in charge. As if Tessie would listen to us. Try arguing with a nineteen-year-old rich girl who knows it all. I’ve got scratch marks to prove it. 

I knew as soon as she walked in the next morning that something was off. Maybe it was the look in her eyes, or the dishevelled clothes, the bruises on her arms.

“What the fuck happened to you?” I said.


Tessie tried to push past me.

“Yeah, I can see that. So, what’s up?”

Tessie looked up at me and burst into tears. Slowly started telling me about her night out. When she finished I went into the kitchen and grabbed the biggest knife I could find.

Dean walked in, looked from me to Tessie.

“What’s with the knife?” he said.

“Some fucker hurt Tessie.”

Tessie started crying again. And I told him what Tessie had told me.

Now we’re standing over the guy, watching him gag down pellet after pellet. Every time he drops one we make him pick it up. Dean tells him if he pukes he’ll make him eat it all over again.

Dean has more imagination than me. He’s always been a bit of a psycho. Watches the sickest horror films, and laughs all the way through. As far as I know we had the same parents, but sometimes I have my doubts. Me, I just wanted to get the little cunt and teach him a lesson. But Dean said that wasn’t good enough. Not for someone like him. No, he was in for a whole lot of hurt.

After the guy finishes his meal of shit Dean makes him walk farther into the field. On the other side are the woods. It’s a full moon and we walk without the flash light my brother brought along. The guy keeps tripping and retching. He’s crying, and keeps asking us to let him go home.

“No,” Dean says.

“Please, I won’t tell anyone.”


“I’m sorry. Okay. I didn’t-”

“NO,” Dean shouts. “See how it works? If someone says no, you don’t keep going. You crossed that line. Now you pay for it.”

In the woods Dean tells the guy to strip, but he’s reluctant and just stands there, shaking his head.

“Strip,” I say. “He’ll cut off your balls if you don’t.”

The guy gets to it, takes off his clothes, starting with the top. One by one it all comes off, until he’s standing there in his boxers.

“All of it,” Dean says.

The guy shakes his head again, and Dean punches him in the gut. He doubles over and Dean knees him in the face, sends him sprawling.

My brother takes a Stanley knife out of his pocket. The guy’s eyes go wide, and he starts sobbing. I turn away. I don’t want to watch Dean snuff out another man’s life, as much as I wanted to do it myself after Tessie had told me.

I hear the guy scream, and Dean shouting, “Stay the fuck down.”

More screaming and sobbing and then all is quiet.

“Is he dead?” I say. I can’t even look, just stare at my £300 shoes, smeared in shit.

“No, passed out. Fucker pissed all over me.”

Dean comes up beside me and puts his arm around my shoulder. I can smell the guy’s piss on him.

“Like my work?”

I turn around, step closer. Dean’s carved ‘I’M A RAPIST’ on the guy’s chest.

“Got a lighter?” he says.

“He’s had enough.”

Dean holds out his hand. “Give me the lighter.”

“I thought we-”

“Give me the fucking lighter.”

I hand him my Zippo, the one Tessie’d bought me for my birthday. The one that has the word Stolen printed on the front.

Dean leans in, puts the flame to the letters. The guy never moves, but I can smell the burnt flesh.

“You sure he isn’t dead?” I say.

“He’ll wish he was.”

Dean gets up and gives the guy another kick for good measure. He throws the lighter into the dirt next to him.

“He can have it,” he says. “As a reminder.”

Cal Marcius is a freelance writer who lives in the frozen wastes of of northern England. He has been published in Yellow Mama, Spelk, Shotgun Honey and Near to the Knuckle. He also has a story in Near to the Knuckle's "Rogue" anthology and Aidan Thorn's "Paladins" anthology. You can find Cal on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.