Brother’s Keeper: The Finale

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Jay stands over Natalia, holding the bloodied hammer in his right hand. His left hand is lifeless by his side, dripping blood. He tosses the hammer and crouches to pick up the shotgun. He aims for her head and blasts it to pieces.

***

He drops the shotgun and winces in pain as he slowly unbuttons his jacket with his right hand. He opens his jacket to reveal his bulletproof vest – the same vest that saved him in Afghanistan – with several shotgun pellets embedded in it. He thankfully smacks the vest and slowly picks out the pellets.

He pulls out Natalia’s Zippo lighter from his jacket and lights it. He walks to the torture table and carefully places the lit lighter on it. He then crouches to pick up the dagger and walks to Alan.

He cuts the rope knotted tightly around Alan with one deft swing and supports Alan’s unconscious body with his before it falls to the ground. He searches Alan for the Mercedes key and pulls it out of Alan’s trouser pocket.

He slowly and carefully carries Alan over his right shoulder, picks the Desert Eagle from the table, and staggers out of the room.

He staggers into the hallway with the Desert Eagle raised and is met with the gruesome aftermath of his carnage. He steps over the henchman with a knife lodged in his throat and stops at Samuel’s corpse. He grimaces as he crouches to Samuel and picks out the Range Rover key.

He staggers along into the kitchen and stops at the doorway to scan the room. He is unaffected by the merciless result of his vengeance as he stares through the dead bodies. He staggers across the kitchen to the gas cookers and opens all the gas valves. He then staggers towards the exit as quick as he can.

He steps out of the back door with the gun raised and quickly scans the car park – it’s desolate. He tosses the gun back into the restaurant and staggers as quick as he can to Alan’s Mercedes. He unlocks the car and gently lays Alan on the back seat.

He walks briskly to the Range Rover and unlocks the car. He opens the back door and grimaces as he reaches in to pull out the duffel bag filled with money. He rushes back to the Mercedes and steps into the driver seat.

He swiftly pulls out of the car park and speeds away just as the restaurant violently explodes and the raging flames light up the night.

***

Jay parks the Mercedes indiscriminately outside the A&E Department of Epsom Hospital. He rushes out of the car and pulls open the back door. He quickly pulls out Alan’s wallet and removes Alan’s watch and tosses them onto the car mat.

He grimaces as he carries Alan over his right shoulder and rushes into the A&E department. He walks through the half empty waiting room and barges into the active major incidents ward.

‘I need help!’ he screams. ‘He’s dying!’

Two nurses immediately rush to him and they lead him towards a bed.

‘What’s the …’ the older nurse begins to ask, and abruptly stops as the extent of Alan’s injuries becomes evident to her.

She and the younger nurse assist Jay in laying Alan softly on the bed and the younger nurse purposefully runs off.

‘What happened?’ she earnestly asks Jay.

‘You need to pay attention now, okay?’

‘Sorry?’

‘Just listen. He’s 26, a heavy drinker, social smoker, marijuana as well, and he snorts cocaine. He has no allergies. Isn’t currently taking any prescribed medication. No long term conditions. Blood type is O positive. You get that?’

She takes a moment before she nods, and then asks, ‘What is his name?’

‘I don’t know,’ he says, and stares over her head to a fast approaching Trauma team, which is led by the younger nurse.

They shove him aside and begin working on Alan, and he watches them work. He soon becomes overcome with emotion and fights back tears. He grabs the older nurse’s arm and she turns to him.

‘Tell him …’ he stops; he doesn’t know what to say. He lets go of her arm and walks away.

‘Where are you going?’ she questions him. ‘You are bleeding. You …’

‘I will be back,’ he says, and turns around. ‘Tell him I will be back.’

***

Jay stands over Stephen, who is asleep with an I.V still inserted through his hand in a patient room in a different ward of the same hospital. Across the room, Stephen’s wife is asleep in a cosy sleeping bag.

Stephen’s breathing is regular and his blood pressure on the monitor beside the bed reads relatively normal.

Jay softly shoves Stephen in the shoulder, but Stephen doesn’t wake up. Jay flicks Stephen’s nose and Stephen instantly wakes up. Stephen attempts to speak, but Jay covers his mouth.

‘Quiet,’ Jay whispers.

Stephen nods and Jay uncovers his mouth. Stephen scans Jay for a moment and is visibly concerned.

‘Are you okay?’ Stephen whispers.

‘Yes,’ he says, and pauses for a beat. ‘Sincerely, no, but I’m doing better than you.’

They smile at each other.

‘I know you won’t be in this bed much longer,’ Jay continues. ‘But Alan will …’

‘Alan?’

‘Yes, he’s downstairs in A&E.’

‘Was is the …’

‘That doesn’t matter anymore. It’s sorted.’

Stephen knows exactly what Jay means and nods.

‘Is Alan alright?’

‘No, but he will be. I need you to watch him from a distance while he recuperates. I need time, a couple days, maybe more. Downstairs, they don’t know who he is, and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as I can, unless the stubborn fucker wakes up and tells them, but I think he’s going to be out for a while.’

‘He’s that bad?’

‘Yes.’

‘And you’re leaving again.’

‘Yes, I need to finish something.’

‘You don’t.’

‘I do. Tell Alan I said …’ he pauses for a beat, gathering his thoughts. He’s not at all good at voicing his emotions; he hasn’t had any practice. ‘I’m not here, but I am actually here. I’m here for him. I will return.’

‘You want me to write this down?’ Stephen teases, and they smile. ‘I’ll tell him. Take care, brother.’

‘You too, brother. Wednesday, expect a package. It’ll come every three months till I return. Sort yourself out, take care of Alan … and Derek.’ He gestures to Stephen’s wife. ‘And her.’

‘Thank you.’

‘Thank you.’

Stephen watches Jay walk away.

***

Jay steps out of the hospital and walks briskly past a couple ambulances to the Mercedes parked outside the hospital. He steps into the car and speeds off.

He pulls out his phone, scrolls to Mr Smith’s number, and calls. It’s answered immediately.

‘Hello, Captain,’ Mr Smith softly says in his distinct soothing elderly Texan accent.

‘Hello, Lieutenant General Rupert Spencer-Harington. Yes, I know your name, as you know mine.’

There is a moment of silence.

‘Very well, Captain Matthews,’ Rupert, aka Mr Smith, says in a relatively younger and very cultured English accent – his real voice and accent.

‘You got my brother killed.’

‘No. You got your brother killed. You became a loose end. Your brother was simply collateral damage.’ He pauses for effect and continues. ‘And from what I gather, your brother was well on his way to getting himself killed.’ He pauses for a beat. ‘But unsurprisingly, you survive. You, Captain Matthews, are a very special soldier. What a shame. Oh well, we won’t underestimate you again.’

‘You won’t live to make that mistake.’

There is no response from Rupert.

‘I’m coming for you,’ Jay says. ‘I’m coming for you all.’

‘We’ll be expecting you.’

Jay ends the conversation as he slows to a halt at a red light. He opens the phone and picks out the red SIM card on the battery. He tosses the phone out into the desolate road and speeds off into the night as the traffic light switches to green.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 34

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Mr Petrov stands, alert, and watches Jay step into the room with two guns raised. Jay’s face is almost entirely covered in blood splatter, but there is calmness beyond the blood of several dead men. He turns and stares at Robert and Mr Petrov.

***

Jay stares at Robert and Mr Petrov for a long quiet moment before he turns away from them to walk towards his lifeless brother.

Mr Petrov is momentarily confused by Jay’s action, but it quickly dawns on him that the Captain is in fact Alan’s brother Jay. He attempts to swiftly reach for his revolver, but Robert pulls out the M9 handgun and, without looking up from the ground, aims for his father.

Mr Petrov stops in his tracks and is taken aback. His mind is further mired in bewilderment as he ponders if Jay and his son are working together; and, if so, for how long; or maybe Jay’s employers are betraying him. Suddenly, he smiles, because he admires the move by his son – ruthless and impeccably timed; better late than ever to prove yourself the son of Sergei Petrov. He looks back to Jay as Jay approaches Alan.

Jay crouches to his brother and fights back his emotions as he checks his brother’s neck for a pulse. There is a pulse, although very low, and Jay shuts his eyes tightly in relief. He scans his brother’s wounds and, again, his rage threatens to overcome him. He cradles his brother’s head and softly kisses his brother’s forehead, like he used to do when Alan was just a baby. He turns to Roman and Mr Petrov – they will pay dearly.

Mr Petrov looks away from Jay to his son, who is still staring down to the ground – this bloody coward couldn’t have set all this inmotion; he’s just a pawn; a bloody disgrace.

‘You’ve been played, you foolish boy,’ Mr Petrov says in Russian. ‘Look at me!’ he demands.

Robert, with teary eyes, looks up to Mr Petrov, and Mr Petrov is in visible disdain at his son’s tears.

‘You bloody coward. You are …’

Robert pulls the trigger and Mr Petrov flinches, but there is no gunfire. Robert repeatedly pulls the trigger, but still no gunfire – Jay had emptied the gun clip into the back garden of the safe house.

Mr Petrov realises the gun is either jammed or out of bullets. He swiftly picks up the revolver and shoots Robert – the bullet pierces through Robert’s neck and Robert crashes unto the floor.

Mr Petrov quickly attempts to shoot at Jay, but Jay shoots him in his right shoulder and the revolver flies away from his grasp as his arm becomes limp. He attempts to clutch his severely wounded shoulder with his left hand, but Jay shoots his left shoulder and that arm becomes limp. Mr Petrov screams in pain and falls back unto his chair.

Jay walks calmly towards Mr Petrov with both guns aimed at Mr Petrov’s head. Mr Petrov attempts to speak, but Jay shoots him in the belly with both guns and he collapses unto the floor.

Jay walks around the desk to Mr Petrov, who is bleeding profusely from his belly and shoulders and wailing in pain. He aims both guns at Mr Petrov’s head, and Mr Petrov looks up at him without an ounce of fear.

‘Finish me,’ Mr Petrov says in English, through pain.

Jay slowly lowers the guns.

‘You are finished,’ Jay says, and walks away.

Mr Petrov attempts to object, but he cant muster any words as he is in too much pain and losing blood rapidly – he is dying, slowly and ever so painfully.

Jay walks away from the desk but suddenly stops and turns around to Robert.

Robert is in his last moments of life as he bleeds profusely from his neck, but his dying eyes are focused on Jay.

There is a long quiet moment as they stare at each other. Jay nods softly at Robert, and Robert struggles to nod back but he can’t and instead slowly blinks at Jay. The share a moment of acknowledgment and then Jay turns to walk back to Alan.

He scans the small table beside Alan with the torture devices neatly arranged on top. He places both guns on the table and picks up a sharp exotic dagger.

He turns back to Alan, but then a sudden shotgun blast smashes into him and drives him across the room. He crashes onto the wall and collapses to the floor. He is lifeless and blood begins oozing from him.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 32

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Robert pulls open a desk drawer, picks out Slim Charles’ knife, and hands it to Jay.

***

Natalia parks her Mini Cooper in the empty driveway of the Matthews’ home and intently scans the house, searching for any sign that anyone’s home. The lights are switched on in one of the upstairs rooms facing the street, but no other lights are visible from the house.

She opens the glove compartment and picks out a pair of black leather gloves. She takes her time to wear them as she continues to scan the house. She reaches underneath her seat and pulls out a small Walther P22 pistol. She deftly unlocks the safety and checks if there is a bullet in the chamber – there is. She places the P22 in her Givenchy shoulder bag and steps out of the car.

She confidently walks up to the door and pushes the door buzzer. She stares up at the room with the lights on and waits for a long moment before she pushes the door buzzer again and firmly knocks on the door twice. She turns around to scan the quiet upscale residential street for a moment before she turns back to the door and picks out Alan’s house key from her handbag.

She unlocks the door and quietly pushes it open. She steps into the dark hallway – there are no lights switched on downstairs and no lights are visible from upstairs either.

She gently shuts the door behind her and calls out, ‘Jay.’

There is a moment of silence.

She switches on the hallway lights and walks to the open doorway of the living room; she looks in and its dark, quiet, and empty. She walks to the kitchen doorway and looks in; it’s also dark, quiet, and empty.

She walks quietly up the stairway and then stops at the top of the stairs. She remains motionless as she stares down the hallway to Alan’s bedroom, which has its door ajar and its lights switched on, and then to the closed door leading to Jay’s old bedroom just ahead of her, and lastly to the closed door leading to Jay’s present bedroom at the other end of the hallway.

She slots her hand into her bag and clutches the P22. She walks to Alan’s room door and pushes the door further open with her foot.

She steps into the aptly lit, flamboyantly furnished, but very untidy bedroom. She scans the room and notices a small framed picture on a chest of drawers – the first picture she’s seen in the entire house. She walks to the chest of drawers and stares into the picture – teenage aged Alan and Jay in loving embrace with their parents on a sunny holiday.

Her gaze remains on the picture for a long moment, focused on the mother, and then she suddenly shuts her eyes as she fights back memories of her dead mother. She opens her eyes and turns away from the picture to walk out of the room.

She opens the door leading into Jay’s old room and briefly stares into the dark and untidy room before she shuts the door and walks to Jay’s bedroom.

She pushes open Jay’s bedroom door and, even in the darkness, notices that the room is very tidy. She switches the lights on and is utterly surprised by how meticulously clean the room is. She carefully scans the room as she walks around. She stops at his travelling bag and stares at the baggage label attached to the handle – it reads from HAV to LHR via CDG. She takes a moment to ponder, and then, suddenly, runs out of the room.

The flight was from the Havana airport in Cuba, to London Heathrow, via Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Jay is the man from Cuba.

Natalia, holding her phone to her ear, frantically races to her car.

‘Come on, ring!’ she exclaims, as she unlocks the car.

She dials another number for Robert as she steps into the car, and returns her phone to her ear as she quickly reverses out of the driveway and into the street. She speeds on, steering the speeding car with only one hand while listening to ringing tone of her call. She then loudly curses as her call is sent to voicemail.

‘Roman, be calm,’ she says frantically. ‘But as soon as you hear this, you kill the man from Cuba. He is Jay – Alan’s brother. Jay is the Captain.’

***

Robert’s Range Rover Sport parks beside Alan’s silver Mercedes in the small car park behind Sophia’s place. Robert, Samuel, and Jay step out of the car and Jay successfully hides his recognition of the Silver Mercedes, but it confirms to him that his brother is in the restaurant, and, if still alive and he dearly hopes so, gravely needs his help.

A phone begins to ring, and Robert quickly pulls out the phone – a different phone from the one he’d shattered in the butcher shop – and stares at the caller ID; it reads “Natalia”. He hisses and rejects the call and switches the phone to silent.

He leads Jay and Samuel to the back door and taps the door twice.

Gennady opens the door. He nods at Robert and steps aside to allow Robert and Samuel through, but he then stops Jay and attempts to frisk him.

‘He’s with me,’ Robert sternly says to Gennady.

Gennady hesitates for a moment before he steps aside.

Robert leads Samuel, Jay, and Gennady who is a couple steps behind, in a single file through the large kitchen full of men who don’t look at all like chefs or kitchen staff. Eight men in total, and they all look mean and readied for a fight – they are henchman, and all look of Russian descent.

Jay, with his hands in his jacket pockets and clutching Slim Charles’ gun in his right and Slim Charles’ knife is his left, keenly observes the men and his surroundings. He follows the train into a hallway and then past two sturdy henchmen, who are heartily eating, but they abruptly stop eating and follow behind Gennady.

The restaurant phone begins to ring loudly, but no one cares.

Robert leads to another large square jawed henchman, with a Desert Eagle prominently tucked in his waistband, standing in front of a sturdy door. The henchman taps the door behind him twice and steps aside as it opens.

Robert steps through the door and Samuel and Jay attempt to follow, but are stopped by the square jawed henchman. Jay stares into the room just as its doors close and his eyes light up. He saw Alan tied to a chair, lifeless, and bloodied. He becomes visibly enraged and struggles to regulate his breathing.

Gennady and the henchmen surround Jay and Samuel and slowly begin to converge. Samuel is visibly terrified, but Jay calmly shuts his eyes.

Jay takes a deep breath and slowly exhales. Suddenly, he pulls out the knife and drives it into the throat of the square jawed henchman in one swift motion. He then simultaneously grabs the henchman’s Desert Eagle with his left hand and pulls out Slim Charles’ gun through his jacket pocket with his right hand.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 30

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Natalia’s smile broadens and she scrolls through the contacts on Alan’s phone to “SUPERMAN”. She calls “SUPERMAN”.

***

Jay calmly steps into Palm Palace Shisha bar – seemingly forever busy – and walks to sit on the empty chair opposite Robert. He places the envelope – containing the M9 – on the table.

Robert gently strokes his half empty glass of gin and sprite as he stares intently at Jay. He is tipsy – he’s had four glasses of gin and sprite – and is battling severe anxiety as he questions his decision to instruct Jay to kill Fyodor – his 2 years old half brother – and ponders its unavoidable far-reaching consequences.

‘I added sprite,’ he says, gesturing to his glass. ‘It tastes much better.’ He pauses and vacantly scans the bar. ‘I like sprite.’

He downs the rest of his drink and remains silent as he continues to people watch, and Jay stoically stares at him.

He turns back to Jay and asks, ‘You want a drink?’

Jay doesn’t respond.

‘I can’t imagine it’s easy to kill a kid,’ Robert says flippantly, in an effort to disguise his true sentiment.

Jay instinctively shakes his head as a response to the comment – “it’s certainly not easy,” he’s thinking.

‘You did it, right?’ Robert earnestly asks.

Jay doesn’t respond.

‘I know,’ Robert says, hiding his resignation. ‘I got your text. Well, not me per say. I’m professional.’

Jay pulls out Cameron’s wedding ring and places it on the envelope.

Robert reaches for the envelope and drags it to himself. He stares at the ring for a moment and nods.

‘Where’s the money?’ Jay asks.

‘I don’t carry that sort of cash around. It’s very conspicuous. I like that word – conspicuous.’

‘Where is it?’ Jay sternly asks.

‘It’s in my office … back of a little butcher shop where I lay my head during the day. It’s close. Might even pack you some fucking tasty sausages to take with you.’

Jay calmly stands and says, ‘Let’s go.’

Robert leads Jay out of the bar to a black Range Rover Sport parked in front of the bar. He turns to Jay with a smile and says, ‘I didn’t think my man in the brown leather jacket needed to hide any more.’

Jay hides a smile; when he was approaching the bar, he’d noticed Samuel – the man in the brown leather jacket – sitting confidently in the driver’s seat of the car. He follows Robert’s lead and steps into the back seat.

Jay slots his hands into his jacket pockets and clutches Slim Charles’ gun – tucked in his waistband – through the large hole he’d cut in his right pocket earlier in the day.

‘Captain,’ Robert says to Jay, and gestures to Samuel. ‘Meet man in the brown leather jacket.’ He turns to Samuel. ‘Brown leather jacket man …’ He gestures to Jay. ‘Meet Captain.’

Samuel and Jay acknowledge each other through the rear-view mirror.

‘I tried to get him to wear another jacket,’ Robert says. ‘I thought it had become too conspicuous.’ He laughs for a moment. ‘But he didn’t listen. Stubborn fucker, he is.’

Samuel exaggeratedly nods.

‘To the office,’ Robert instructs.

***

They are ten minutes into the journey to the butcher shop and the car is silent; you could cut the air with a knife.

‘So, Captain, you have a family?’ Robert asks.

Jay turns to Robert, but doesn’t respond.

‘I thought so,’ Robert continues. ‘You strike me as one of the no attachment types – nothing you can’t leave in thirty seconds flat and shit. You have it right; family is fucking overrated.’

With that, the car returns to silence.

***

The Range Rover parks by the back entrance of a high-end High Street butcher shop and Jay, Robert, and Samuel step out of the car. Robert leads Samuel, and Jay, who still has his hands in his pockets and is firmly clutching the gun, to the back door.

Samuel does his best to act cool, but is evidently on edge.

Jay, on the other hand, appears absolutely calm but his mind is in overdrive working out the smoothest way of eliminating them both, disposing their bodies, cleaning up the scene, and escaping in just over an hour – which is all the time he has left from the three hours of silence he’d requested from Cameron.

Robert stops by the door and stares expectantly at Samuel, but Samuel doesn’t react.

‘The key?’ Robert asks, and gestures to the door.

Samuel pats himself, searching for the key, and then has a moment of recollection. He forces an apologetic smile and walks briskly back to the car.

Robert turns to Jay and exaggeratedly shakes his head in disappointment. Jay sees through their elaborate charade and has the urge to put a bullet through Robert’s eyes right there and then, but no, he’ll wait till he gets the money.

Samuel steps into the driver side of the car. He opens the glove compartment with one hand and surreptitiously opens a secret compartment underneath the steering wheel with the other. He quickly picks out a matte black sawed off shotgun and tucks it into his jacket before he picks out the back door key from the glove compartment.

He shuts the compartment, steps out the car, and walks briskly back towards Jay and Robert.

Samuel opens the back door and Robert leads through a small hallway into an expensively furnished office. Samuel waits at the door, and Robert walks round to the front of his desk.

Jay glances back to Samuel at the door before he walks up to the desk.

Robert picks up a duffel bag from the floor and dumps it onto the middle of the desk.

Samuel reaches into his jacket and grabs the shotgun. His nervous finger is on the trigger and he waits for Robert’s signal to shoot Jay. It’s not his first rodeo, but he has only one shot, if he misses or isn’t quick enough, he knows he won’t live to regret it.

Robert gestures at the duffel bag, which is full of money, and says with a wide smile, ‘You want to count …’

Suddenly, a loudly ringing phone interrupts him.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 29

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Jay steps through the back door into the back garden and pulls out his M9. He aims for the grass a short distance ahead of him and fires a shot into the ground. He repeatedly shoots into the grass.

***

Alan screams in pain and sobs aggressively. His eyes are deep red and heavy from sobbing. He is tied to a chair in a dimly lit and expansive backroom of the restaurant – Sophia’s Place. The entire room is covered with heavy-duty clear polythene sheets and the walls are padded – no one will hear him scream.

Vasily rises from a crouched position by Alan’s feet to tower over Alan. He cradles a bloodied hammer and stares down to Alan’s feet with glee. All the toes, apart from the little toe, on Alan’ left foot are crushed; his right foot is untouched. There are several incredibly unnerving torture devices neatly arranged on a small table beside Vasily.

Natalia stands a short distance away, with Alan’s phone to her ear. Mr Petrov is sat at a desk at the other end of the room, watching Alan’s torture with a distant gaze.

‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ Natalia cordially says into the phone. ‘You’re the wrong Jason.’ She listens briefly and replies. ‘No, I’m not his girlfriend.’ . . . ‘Do you have his brother’s number?’ . . . ‘His brother, Jason … or Jay.’ . . . ‘Yes, he has a brother.’ . . . ‘No, he’s not as much a twat as Alan. I have to go, someone’s on the other line.’

She ends the conversation with a sigh and walks to Alan. She reaches for his face, but he recoils.

‘Alan,’ she says, easily hiding her exasperation. ‘That’s a different Jay.’

‘Take my car,’ he pleads, through tears.

She is amused by his plea and smirks – showing him her true character for the first time. ‘Just give me his number … the real one. We don’t want to hurt him.’

He shakes his head vigorously. ‘I promise. I’ll get your money first thing tomorrow …’

‘Shh! It’s too late for that now, Alan.’

‘Roman gave me his word.’

‘His word is nothing!’ Mr Petrov suddenly declares in English, and continues in Russian to Natalia. ‘Enough of this talk. Why hasn’t your brother called you yet?’

‘Take it easy, dad,’ she says in Russian.

‘It’s my son!’ he snaps.

‘Yes. HE is your son,’ she says sternly, almost adding ‘too’, but she is sure he fully grasps her sentiment.

He does fully grasp and slowly leans back into his chair.

She steps away from Alan and gestures to Vasily to continue the torture.

Vasily savours the moment as he slowly crouches and slowly raises the hammer above his head. Suddenly, he smashes the little toe, and Alan screams in severe pain.

Natalia nonchalantly turns away from Alan, who’s violently screaming, to her father.

‘You really need a mobile phone of your own,’ she says to him in Russian.

‘No, that thing kills people,’ he declares.

She stoically stares at him for a long moment, hoping the stupidity of his statement will dawn on him. That doesn’t look to be forthcoming, so she turns away from her father to watch as Vasily prepares to smash the toes on Alan’s right foot.

‘Well, have an extension put in here then,’ she says to her father, without looking at him.

‘You think I want to be receiving calls when I’m in this room? And stop making excuses for your brother. He knows you’re with me. He can call you. You would.’

She can’t deny that assessment.

‘Just tell me his number, Alan. You know you can’t keep this up. You’re …’

Alan giggles between tears, and this surprises them. He soon begins to laugh enthusiastically.

Vasily turns to Natalia for a moment, mildly befuddled. She shrugs and attempts to speak, but Alan beats her to it.

‘I know,’ he says. ‘But I just want to keep it up till this BDSM motherfucker cums. It’s the least I can do. I strife to satisfy.’ He smiles widely, baring his perfect teeth.

She laughs suddenly, and Mr Petrov and Vasily turn to her with confusion. They both understand English, but their grasp of the language and popular culture isn’t enough to fully understand Alan’s comment. Vasily turns back to Alan and angrily head butts Alan in the mouth, shattering three of Alan’s front teeth.

Alan screams in pain and coughs vigorously, spitting out loose and broken teeth with blood.

Natalia is visibly enraged.

‘Did I tell you to do that?’ she scolds Vasily in Russian. ‘Idiot!’

Vasily attempts to speak, but she shuts him up with a raised hand. He angrily turns to Mr Petrov, but Mr Petrov has no reaction – he’s returned to blankly gazing at them.

She gesture to Alan’s right foot and commands, ‘Continue.’

She stoically watches Vasily smash the big toe on Alan’s right foot and watches Alan scream and quiver – he’s in desperate pain and bleeding profusely from his mouth.

She pulls out a cigarette and reaches into her jacket pocket for her lighter, but it’s not there. She ponders for a moment and smiles as she remembers she left her lighter in Jay’s jacket. She opens her mouth to speak.

‘Superman!’ Alan declares, through immense pain. ‘He’s superman.’

Her smile broadens and she scrolls through the contacts on Alan’s phone to “SUPERMAN”. She calls “SUPERMAN”.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 28

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Jay takes a deep breath and walks away – it’s on now.

***

Jay softly lands in a dark corner of the safe house back garden after deftly scaling the wall and immediately notices a motion detector light above the back door. The light is off, but any sudden movement could switch it on. He slowly pulls out the M9 pistol – now with a suppressor attached – and carefully aims for the light bulb. He pulls the trigger and there is a sharp impact sound as the bulb shatters.

He waits motionless in the darkness for almost a minute before he stands and walks quietly, in a crouched position with his M9 raised, to the back door. He slowly attempts to open the door, but its locked. He steps back and scans the building – there is a slightly open upstairs window.

***

Jay slowly sticks his head through the window into an upstairs bedroom, which is dark and empty. He carefully climbs into the room through the window. He pulls out his M9 and walks quietly to the room door.

He pushes the door open very slightly and listens – loud noises from a television across the hall, with accompanying loud banter from male voices; two distinct male voices.

He steps out of the room and remains motionless in the hallway. Across from him are two doors. One leads to the toilet, which has its lights switched on, and the other leads to the room where the television noises and banter emanate.

He quietly walks to the room door. He swiftly opens the door and steps into the room with his M9 raised. Two uniformed London Metropolitan officers are sat on a sofa a short distance away from the door, jovially watching Top Gear on the large television hung on the wall, and with their assault rifles resting by their feet. They casually turn to Jay in the doorway and instantly become motionless as they stare nervously at him.

The older officer can’t stop glancing down to his rifle. Jay focuses on him and shakes his head. In the next moment, the younger officer reaches down for his rifle. Jay charges at the officer and viciously knees him in the head as the officer grabs the rifle. The officer collapses onto the floor, unconscious, as the older officer reaches for his rifle. Jay stumps on the rifle, trapping it underneath his feet, and smashes the butt of his M9 into the officer’s head. The officer slumps onto the sofa, unconscious.

Jay drags the younger officer to the column radiator attached to the wall. He pulls out the officer’s handcuffs and cuffs the officer’s wrists to the radiator. He then drags the older officer to the other end of the radiator and handcuffs him to it.

He pulls out their phones and radios and walks across the room to the television remote control. He increases the volume of the television to a deafening level and places the phone, radio, and remote on the sofa – far out of reach for the officers.

He walks out of the room to the toilet door and softly taps on the door.

‘Yes?’ comes a frightened whisper from inside the toilet.

Jay taps the door again and aims his M9 head height. The door slowly opens until the uniformed officer inside the toilet is staring down the barrel of the gun.

‘I’m the guy,’ the officer says frantically. ‘I’m …’

Jay swings the butt of the M9 into the back of the officer’s head. The officer loses consciousness on his feet and Jay catches him before he collapses.

Jay drags the officer into the room and to the radiator. He pulls out the officer’s cuffs and cuffs him to the radiator between the other officers. He takes the officer’s phone, radio, and shoes.

He places the shoes and radio on the sofa, slots the phone in his pocket, and walks out of the room. He shuts the door gently behind him and sneaks down the stairway.

He steps off the stairway into a small but brightly lit hallway and remains in a crouched position with his M9 raised as he turns to three doors – two open and one closed. The open door to his right leads to the living room, which is dimly lit with faint noises from a television; but there are no accompanying voices or sounds of movement. The other open door, which is in the middle of the doors, leads to a dark and evidently empty kitchen.

The closed door is closest to him on his left and he sneaks to it. He listens and the room sounds empty. He quietly opens the door and pushes it open to reveal a small toilet.

He quietly steps into the living room to see Cameron – looking extremely weary and almost unrecognisable from the picture he was shown – sat on a sofa, glumly watching the television, and her toddler is asleep on the sofa beside her with his head resting on her lap. There is a female officer sat on an armchair beside them, also watching the television but with far more enthusiasm than Cameron. An automatic shotgun leans on the wall beside the armchair.

They haven’t yet noticed him – this though is always the case; his target never sees him until its too late, unless he wants it; he’s a ghost in plain sight. He slowly advances towards them with his M9 aimed at the female officer’s head.

Cameron and the female officer see him approach at the same time. Cameron instantly reaches into her blouse to grab something as the female officer attempts to reach for the shotgun.

‘Don’t,’ he commands.

Cameron and the female officer stop; the female officer sits back comfortably in her chair, as if she’d rather die in a comfortable sitting position, but Cameron stares defiantly at him, still grabbing the item in her blouse in one hand and covering her sleeping son’s eyes with the other.

‘Pull it out slow and place it on the ground,’ he commands Cameron.

To the female officer’s utter surprise, Cameron slowly pulls a sawed off shotgun out from her blouse. Cameron wields the gun with ease; like she’s held one many times, and also looks like she’s fired one before and wont hesitate to fire it again. The wife of a Russian crime lord – a toddler in one hand and a sawed off in the other, par for the course, it seems. She fights her better instincts as she carefully places the shotgun on the floor by her feet.

‘Cuff yourself to the radiator,’ he says to the officer, and gestures to the column radiator a short distance away from her.

The female officer is reluctant to stand.

He lowers his gun and calmly says, ‘Do it.’

The officer walks to the radiator and cuffs her wrists to it, but the handcuffs are evidently loose. He stares at her expectantly, and she diligently fastens the cuffs.

He calmly walks to the officer, keeping an eye on Cameron, and the officer does her best to hide her fear as she stoically watches him approach. He swings the butt of his gun into the back of her head, and she falls to the ground, unconscious.

He takes her radio and her phone and walks back to Cameron.

As he approaches, she gestures to her son and passionately declares, ‘I wont let you take my son!’ She glances at the shotgun by her feet. ‘I’ll fight you to the death.’

He blankly stares at her for a long moment, before he places the phone and radio on the coffee table.

‘You don’t think I can?’ she angrily questions. ‘I’ll do …’

‘I’m not taking him,’ he says, and tucks his gun into his waistband.

She stares at him, deeply confused. ‘What do you want?’

‘I want three hours of your silence.’

‘What?’

‘Three hours,’ he says earnestly and pauses. ‘Without alerting anyone of what’s happened here.’

‘Why?’

‘You’ll know. In time.’ He glances at the wedding ring on her finger. ‘I need the ring.’

She glances at the ring. ‘He sent you to kill me.’

He glances at the toddler. ‘He sent me to kill you all.’

She is aghast and turns to her son, and he watches as she lovingly caresses her son’s head. She turns back to him, pulls off the ring, and hands it to him.

There is a moment of silent acknowledgment between them.

‘The officers upstairs are unconscious,’ he says, and glances at the female officer. ‘They are also handcuffed to the radiator. The one without shoes let me in.’

‘Sorry?’

‘You’ll see what I mean.’

She nods. ‘Thank …’

‘No,’ he says, and instinctively raises a hand to object. ‘Three hours.’ He gestures to the female officer. ‘They might wake up before then, but they can’t do anything without you.’

‘Okay. Three hours.’

He nods and pulls out the corrupt officer’s phone. He sends the blank text to the number Robert specified and offers her the phone.

‘You might need it. It belongs to the one without shoes.’

She takes the phone, and there is another quiet moment between them as she fights the urge to thank him.

He turns and walks away towards the back door.

He steps through the back door into the back garden and pulls out his M9. He aims for the grass a distance ahead of him and fires a shot into the ground. He repeatedly shoots into the grass.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 27

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

‘Fucking hell!’ Robert mutters, and pulls out a handkerchief to wipe dry his face, but then he smiles – he’s sure going to enjoy putting a bullet through the fucker’s head.

***

A luxury taxi slows to a halt in front of the Matthew’s family home, and Alan slowly steps out of the taxi – he’s incredibly exhausted. He leans back into the car to Derek, who’s splayed out on the back seat, and says, ‘Tomorrow, 8 AM. Prompt, okay? We need to sort some shit out.’

Derek nods, and Alan closes the door and watches the taxi drive off.

Alan turns around to walk into his driveway and immediately stops in stride as he stares at his Mercedes parked ahead in the driveway. He is visibly elated and walks quickly to the car.

He strokes the car as he walks alongside it and sees the key on the bonnet. He excitedly grabs it and smiles proudly – he knows Jay got it back, but how … His phone begins to ring, interrupting his pondering. He pulls it out and stares at the caller ID – it’s an unknown number.

He answers the phone and quietly listens for a response from the other end of the line, but there is just silence.

Impatient, he questions, ‘Yes?’

‘Alan?’ is the response from Natalia’s sultry voice.

‘Yes,’ Alan says, excited. ‘Yes … Natalia?’

‘Yes. How’s Stephen?’

‘He’s doing fine,’ he answers with nonchalance, and begins to pace along the driveway.

‘That’s very good,’ she says, attempting to bury his nonchalance with evident enthusiasm. ‘Are you with him?’

‘No … I just left him actually. His wife’s with him now.’

‘Oh,’ she blurts, oozing empathy. ‘How is she? How is she handling it?’

‘Err … I dunno … good, fine … she seemed fine. He’s doing fine.’

‘That’s good, really good. What about you? Jay?’

‘I’m all right, considering.’

There is a beat of silence.

‘And Jay?’

‘Good. Although he’s not here right now.’

‘Are you alone?’

‘Yeah. Yes, I am.’

‘I could come over if you need someone right now.’

He smiles to himself and takes a moment to contemplate. He glances at the house, wondering if Jay is home, and then sniffs his armpits.

‘I’m not home. I could come to you though.’

‘That would be lovely, Alan. I’m at the restaurant. We’re just closing for the night.’

‘I’m on my way,’ he says, and unlocks his car.

‘Good. See you soon.’

He ends the call and quickly steps into the car. He quietly reverses of the driveway and slowly drives off – hoping not to alert Jay, if Jay’s home.

***

Daylight fades as Natalia walks out of the back entrance of the restaurant – Sophia’s Place – and into its small car park, where her Mini Cooper and a couple luxury cars are parked. She watches with a smile as Alan’s Silver Mercedes rounds the corner into the car park and parks beside her Mini.

Alan steps out of the car and walks to her with a gleeful smile. She reaches out for a hug as he approaches and they hug affectionately. He kisses her on the cheek, just missing her lips, and she leads him towards the back door.

‘That was fast,’ she says.

‘I know,’ he says, and gestures backwards to his car. ‘It’s pretty fast.’

She taps the back door twice and they wait. She turns to him with a soft smile and he smiles back – she’s even hotter dressed casually, he’s thinking. In the next moment, the door swiftly opens and Gennady grabs him and aggressively pulls him into the restaurant. She calmly walks in after them and shuts the door behind her.

***

A short distance away and across the street from the semi-detached safe house, Jay hides in the shadows, watching the house intently. The house is nondescript, similar in everyway to the neighbouring houses on the quiet residential street. He glances at his wristwatch – it reads “20:16”.

The signal ought to have come a minute ago, but these things are never prompt, it’s the nature of the business. He’ll give it an hour … but just then the light in one of the upstairs rooms facing the street switches on, and then immediately off. Back on. Off. On. Off. On. Off. Then it stays off.

He takes a deep breath and walks away – it’s on now.