This is my brother, Wyatt:

1 Those who visit regularly may notice that my already poor drawing skills have regressed somewhat in this post. You are correct. I got a new computer, and this was the first story I wrote on a new paint program. Apologies.

Women fall for his red hair and his curls. His smile melts the hearts of all who see it. Don’t let it fool you, for he is a demon in disguise. 2 It started when he was a child. I really think he was born in the wrong century. Had he been around during the Age of Exploration, he probably would have discovered America YEARS before Columbus. 3 Wyatt had a fondness for exploration. One day Mom let Wyatt outside (he was two) to play in the sandbox with my brother Clayton. That in and of itself was a mistake. Clayton’s inability to focus on anything for longer than five seconds is something out of legend. Unnoticed by him, Wyatt slowly slunk away from the the sandbox…and vanished.

456 My brother really did use to talk like this. Sometimes he still does when he thinks no one is listening.

Mom checked on them a half hour later. There was Clayton, eating sand and giggling to himself…and Wyatt was nowhere to be found. My mom does not ever panic. She is remarkably level-headed in a crisis. She wasn’t freaking out, but she was concerned. The rest of us were rounded up to search for him in the yard. We weren’t very good. After a cursory look around, most of us wound up in the sandbox, building small empires and enclosures for toy horses. Just about the time Mom was going to get in the car and start driving around town looking for him, Wyatt reappeared. He was disheveled, covered in dust, and quite upset. 7 The neighbors were keeping a bad-tempered mule in the lot next to us, and Wyatt had long been fascinated with the swishing of its tail. I think you can figure out what happened. Wyatt went to see the horsey’s pretty brown tail, but the “horsey” was not amused. 8 That was a Friday. Nothing terrible occurred Saturday, so we let our guard down. Sunday morning dawned with Mom and Dad fighting with Clayton over the correct usage of a tie. 9 I often try very hard to act like I am not related when I sit next to him in church. Wyatt had quietly and calmly put on his nice Sunday clothes, and was sitting placidly on the couch reading his scriptures. As I said, his appearance was a lie. Once the ruckus with Clayton started up, he snuck out the front door. We didn’t realize he was gone for another half hour when we were climbing in the car to go to church. A frantic search began again, but we couldn’t find him. Clayton used this opportunity to disrobe and go back to bed. 10 Dad took one car and Mom took another, driving up and down the roads hoping to see him. We were very grateful that everyone else had gone to church, since driving really slowly around the neighborhood and peering into backyards is not exactly socially acceptable.

11 It certainly doesn’t help that Dad keeps a stash of candy in every vehicle for his “diabetes.”

My mom found him a block away, climbing out of a pasture containing a very territorial bull. His clothes were a mess, and he was caked with mud from the neck down. 12 He hadn’t just been in the pasture, he had walked across it-including the deep and muddy creek that ran through it. You would think at that point Mom would have wrapped the kid in a rope and tied it to something sturdy so he couldn’t ever leave the house. But she didn’t, so this next one is her fault. It certainly isn’t MINE. The following Saturday my parents went on a date night. I was left in charge. I was usually a good babysitter, 13 so I don’t understand what happened. I was nuking the French on one of my computer games…and he just vanished! Poof! The kid was like a sorcerer. I organized a search with my siblings. We searched the yard and looked down several roads. Clayton personally led a search of the sandpile, and became so upset that Wyatt wasn’t there that he didn’t come tell me. 14 I couldn’t drive, so I was forced to call my Grandma Joy. She came at once. 22 She rounded up neighbors and we began looking around town. After another half hour of fruitless searching, we gave up. Mom and Dad had cut short their date and were zooming home. Grandma was reaching for the phone to dial 911 (presumably to arrest my parents for neglect-it certainly wasn’t MY fault) when it rang. It was a neighbor a block and a half away. Wyatt was in their sandbox. 15 Wyatt’s birthday was the following month. This was the cake Mom made for him. IMG_2631.JPG He hasn’t wandered too far since. My family thinks it’s because he’s matured. I know better. Wyatt is a demon. He’s just biding his time until he can get a driver’s license. At that point, the siren call of unknown lands will beckon and Wyatt will drive off into the sunset, his softly demonic laughter echoing off the hills. 16