"What did you do it for, huh?!"
Brian held his brother against the rough bark of a white pine, his hands twisting Cam's shirt, his knuckles at his adam's apple. Cam breathed in the multitudinous scents of the forest--astringent pine sap, fecund leaf litter, the musk of little mammals and birds, the crispness of the tire fire from the next county. He glanced up and admired the weak winter sun shining down through the nests of needles. The sensation of his brother's fist against his neck was only at the periphery of his consciousness. The warmth of it registered more than the pressure.
"You're high, aren't you?!" screamed Brian.
He released Cam, who stood still and gazed at the sky with a broad smile.
"Yeah," whispered Cam.
Brian lurched backwards and fell into the broad chest of another pine tree.
"You should try it," said Cam. "You'll feel better."
Cam directed his gaze at his brother and felt an intense love, as if his limbs became incorporeal and reached across all of time and space to embrace his brother. Brian coughed and retched, and fell to the ground on his knees.
"No," sputtered Brian.
Cam took a few slow steps towards Brian, knelt, and put a hand on his shoulder. Brian squirmed away.
"You've sold all my best stuff," said Brian. "You had no right to do that. I want you out. Now. Don't come back."
"It's just stuff," said Cam.
"I don't know if you've noticed, but stuff is required to live in this world! Stuff costs a lot of money, and money requires work that I don't want to have to do. It's not like you've ever had to work for money, all you've done is leech off mom, and then her boyfriend, and now me. You don't know what real work is. You're a failure."
"Exactly," said Cam.
"Ugh," groaned Brian. He sat up and pressed his back into the tree. "I can't even talk to you when you're high."
"Have you seen this world?" asked Cam, suddenly as enthusiastic as a small child just told that Halloween would now be celebrated every day of the year.
"The world is burning!" spat Brian. "There is illness and poverty and corruption--"
"There is beauty and love and freedom! Can't you see it? Won't you see it?"
"Get away from me!"
Brian shoved Cam to the ground and got up, walking towards the ridge overlooking his subdivision. Cam quickly followed.
"Look at the air!" shouted Cam gleefully. He spun around with his arms outstretched.
"You can't see the air, you imbecile."
"Yes! Yes you can! And you can feel it too. It caresses your skin."
"You sound like a women's moisturizer ad."
"I do, don't I. Ha! The air is beauty. It allows everything to live. It is a loving mother to us. Just stand still, and feel it. Close your eyes--"
"I'm not closing my eyes. Stop following me."
Cam stopped, his face suddenly downcast.
"I'm sad you can't share in the love in the world."
"I'm not taking that stupid drug. I don't care how good it makes people feel, or how healthy it makes you all. It's not right to abdicate all your responsibilities just to feel good all the time."
"When everybody finally takes it, there will be no more hurt in the world, no more suffering."
"There will always be suffering," said Brian. "I'm suffering now because of your selfishness."
"Look," said Brian sternly. He stood at the top of the ridge, "come here and look out there, will you?"
Cam walked up next to Brian and looked down on the town.
"What do you see?" asked Brian.
"I see the world transforming," said Cam smiling.
"Transforming? That's what you call that? Half the buildings are gutted from fire. The asphalt has been torn up. Trees are down, and people like you have done it."
"It's to get rid of the old things, the old ways that hold us back."
"It's destructive, and I've had enough."
"You're nuts. I'm never, NEVER taking that drug. I don't care if I'm the last holdout."
Brian picked his way carefully down the steep ridge, coughing again. Cam looked at him sadly, then followed.
"Get away. Go live in the forest or wherever it is you people like to live these days."
Cam caught up to Brian and shoved him downward. Brian screamed, lost his footing, and tumbled, breaking his neck on a large stone. His limp body rolled down and became caught on a knot of brambles. Cam looked at his brother's body and smiled at the interesting arrangement of the limbs.