Brother’s Keeper: Episode 35

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Jay 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.

***

Natalia quietly parks her Mini Cooper beside her brother’s Range Rover and hurriedly steps out of the car, holding her P22 pistol firmly. She walks briskly to the back door and rummages through her bag for the key. She picks it out and quietly opens the door.

She steps into the kitchen and is immediately startled by a gunshot, and then another shot. She takes a deep breath and walks on, but is then taken aback when she sees the dead bodies spread around the kitchen, each with a bullet hole in the head and two in the chest – all clinically done.

She steps into the hallway leading to the restaurant’s back room and stops in stride when she sees Gennady, laying dead with a massive hole through his head, Samuel, on top of Gennady with a bullet hole where his ear used to be, and three other dead men from her dad’s crew, one of whom has a knife through his jaw.

It is an immensely gruesome sight and she has to fight her impulse to puke, but just then there are two simultaneous gunshots from inside the room that startle her and fill her with immense fear as to the fates of her brother and father.

She walks on, but steps on and almost trips off a sawn-off shotgun. She looks down to the shotgun as she curses underneath her breath, and then she looks to her comparatively tiny P22 pistol and back to the shotgun. She quickly places the P22 pistol in her bag and crouches to carefully pick up the shotgun.

She pumps the shotgun as quietly as is feasible and walks purposefully into the room with the gun raised. Soon as she steps into the room, she sees Jay with his back to her. She carefully aims at him as he turns towards her, and shoots him in the chest.

The gun blast drives Jay across the room into the wall and he collapses onto the floor. She watches as blood begins to ooze from his body.

She remains in the doorway and scans the room. She sees Robert, who appears dead and is bleeding out, in front of the desk and races to him.

She crouches to him and drops the shotgun to cradle his head. She passionately sobs as she attempts to stop the bleeding from his neck, but she can’t stop it.

She screams with immense grief and shakes his head as she calls out to him, ‘Roman! Roman! Please, don’t …’

Suddenly, he opens his eyes and struggles to keep it open as he stares at her.

‘Natalia!’ Mr Petrov calls out from the other side of the desk, and that startles Natalia.

She attempts to respond to her father, but Robert opens his mouth in an attempt to speak … but he can’t manage it.

‘Natalia! Help me,’ Mr Petrov pleads in Russian, through severe pain.

Again, she attempts to respond to father, but then Robert fights to speak.

‘He …’ Robert just about utters, and stops to gather strength. ‘Killed …’ he pauses again. ‘Mother.’

With that, Robert dies in her arms. She embraces him tightly and shuts her eyes for a very long moment.

She opens her eyes and out pours a flood of tears. ‘I know,’ she says to him, and kisses him softly on his lips.

‘Natalia!’ Mr Petrov desperately calls out again.

She gently sets her brother’s head on the floor and picks up the shotgun as she stands. She walks around the desk to her father.

He’s bleeding profusely, seemingly from all around his torso, and a considerable pool of his blood spreads out from him. He looks up at her with relief.

‘My darling, help me.’

She pumps the shotgun and aims for his head.

He is in visible shock and then is overcome with fear. He attempts to speak, but she blasts his head to pieces.

She lowers the gun and begins wailing. It is loud, absolutely frantic, and goes on nearing five minutes before she gathers herself and turns to Alan, who is evidently breathing, although very faintly.

She walks to Alan, pumps the shotgun, and aims for his head, but just before she pulls the trigger, Vasily’s hammer smashes into the crown of her head and she collapses to the floor.

Jay stands over her, 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.

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 33

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

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.

***

Robert struts confidently past the square jawed henchman into the back room of the restaurant. He stops momentarily to stare at Alan, who is lifeless, absolutely battered, and tied to a chair as is customary when Vasily is on the job.

He turns to glare at Vasily, but then he hears the door shut behind him. He looks behind to see that Jay and Samuel haven’t been let in. He is alone. Immediately, his demeanour changes; his confidence withers into immense fear. He turns to his father, sat behind his desk and glaring intently at him, and this only reinforces his fear.

“Fuck that,” he thinks. “Fuck him.” He attempts to strut towards the desk, but as he approaches his fear threatens to overcome him.

He stands at the desk, like a student awaiting punishment from the headmaster.

‘Sit,’ Mr Petrov says, and gestures to a chair beside Robert.

Robert diligently sits.

Faint noises of continuous semi-automatic gunfire from just beyond the thick door seep into the room.

Robert is alarmed. ‘Can you hear that?’ he asks Mr Petrov in Russian.

‘I hear nothing,’ Mr Petrov stoically replies.

The faint noise of gunfire abruptly ceases.

‘Why did you do it?’ Mr Petrov solemnly asks.

‘Do what?’

‘Why did you kill my boy?’

In that moment, Robert notices the silver revolver on the desk in front of his father. He looks up to his father and sees the quiet rage in his father’s eyes. He’s seen that look several times before, although never directed at him, as if it was he’d be long dead. Now though, the look is directed at him – his life is in the balance.

‘I didn’t,’ he says earnestly. ‘It was a mistake. I specifically told the Captain not to touch Fyodor.’

Mr Petrov is evidently agitated by Robert’s response.

There are two loud knocks on the door.

‘I’m not ready for them!’ Mr Petrov screams at Vasily.

He returns his focus to Robert and there is a moment of silence as they stare intently at each other.

‘I’d respect you more as a man if you just admit you did it,’ he says, and pauses. ‘I understand. If I were you, I’d have killed him too.’ He pauses to allow that statement to sink into Robert. ‘You think I killed your mother, don’t you?’

Robert opens his mouth to speak, but he stops and doesn’t speak.

‘You’re a man now,’ Mr Petrov continues. ‘Well, you’re of age to know this things. Yes, I killed your mother.’

Robert leaps out of his chair, fuelled with rage.

‘Why!’ he demands with a scream.

Mr Petrov stoically stares at Robert for a long moment and then shakes his head in disappointment.

‘Now that you know for sure that I killed your mother,’ Mr Petrov says, and gestures to the revolver. ‘Kill me. Be my son. Do what I would do.’

Robert’s rage is on the verge of eruption as he stares at his father and glances at the revolver.

There is a long quiet moment as Mr Petrov casually waits for Robert to act, but then Robert’s rage begins to simmer and he sits.

Mr Petrov shakes his head in disappointment.

‘Now tell me, did you kill my boy?’

Robert doesn’t respond; he looks to the ground and fights back tears.

Mr Petrov stares intently at Robert with a mixture of shame, disappointment, rage, and resignation – shame, because he had a hand in raising a coward and his blood runs through the coward’s veins; disappointment, because even though he’d given Robert more than enough chance to grow into a strong and brave man like his father, Robert is in fact nothing but a coward; rage, because this coward has killed his son, his chance at redemption; and resignation, because he will kill the coward.

Mr Petrov turns to Vasily.

‘Bring in the Captain. Maybe he will be a man and talk.’

Vasily nods and unlocks the thick door. As he pulls the door open, there is gunfire and the back of his head explodes. He collapses backwards onto the floor and there is a large bullet hole in his forehead.

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.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 31

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

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

Suddenly, a loudly ringing phone interrupts him.

***

Alan appears lifeless, but he’s still tied to the chair in the expansive backroom of Sophia’s Place. All his toes are smashed and bloodied and the fingers on his left hand are also smashed and bloodied. Vasily stands over him, cradling a bloody hammer and admiring his brutal work.

At the other end of the room, Natalia sits on the desk beside her father, who is evidently anxious and deep in thought.

‘I’m going to their house,’ she says to him in Russian.

‘You want one of the boys to accompany you?’ he asks, also in Russian.

She glares at him with a raised eyebrow, and he nods – almost apologetically.

‘Call your brother before you go,’ he says.

She nods and makes the call. It’s answered after a few rings.

‘Are you done?’ she asks Robert, through the phone.

‘No, why?’ he snaps at her.

‘What do you think, Roman?’ she replies, hiding her annoyance. ‘Alan is here. He has nothing for us.’

‘What’s he doing there?’ Robert angrily questions, and continues fuelled with anger. ‘I gave him till tomorrow.’

‘Calm down, dad wanted it this way.’

‘What the …’

‘Hold on,’ she says, and passes the phone to her father.

‘Why haven’t you called?’ Mr Petrov demands, in Russian. ‘I’ve been waiting.’

‘I was going to …’ Robert begins responding in Russian.

‘Going to?’ Mr Petrov questions with more than a hint of hostility. ‘The Captain has done it?’

Robert hesitates for a moment. ‘Yes, but …’

Natalia watches her father face fill with worry and she as well becomes incredibly worried, hoping its not what she fears.

‘But what?’ Mr Petrov demands.

‘Yes, he did, but …’ he hesitates for a beat. ‘Fyodor was killed. It …’

‘What?’ Mr Petrov screams.

Mr Petrov’s distraught startles Natalia and confirms to her that it is what she fears – Fyodor is dead.

‘It was an accident,’ Robert says. ‘Fyodor was caught …’

‘Bring the Captain to me,’ Mr Petrov sternly commands.

‘I can deal with him.’

‘You can’t deal with anything!’ he screams, and pauses for a beat. ‘Nothing, you fool! Bring him to me, NOW.’

Mr Petrov ends the conversation and stares down at his desk, seething. Natalia and Vasily watch him with deep sympathy as he struggles to fight back tears.

He slowly pulls open a desk drawer, picks out a silver revolver, and places it gently on the desk.

‘I’ll wait with you,’ she softly says.

‘No. You go,’ he says coldly.

Natalia attempts to object.

‘You go!’ he barks at her.

***

‘Fuck!’ Robert yells, and tosses his phone hard onto the ground, shattering it.

The room is silent as Jay curiously stares at the duffel bag, not at all bothered by Robert, although he is somewhat surprised that Robert can speak Russian – he isn’t entirely sure it was Russian, as Russian is one of the few major languages that he doesn’t at least have a passing understanding.

Suddenly, he recognises the bag – he’d seen it in Slim Charles’ house – and it immediately becomes apparent to him that Robert is in fact Roman and “What is he doing there? I gave him till tomorrow,” must be in reference to Alan.

He looks up to Robert and says, ‘I can help you with that.’

Robert stares intently at Jay, unsure of the exact meaning of Jay’s offer.

‘Your problem,’ Jay says, and gestures to the shattered phone. ‘I can help you with that.’

Robert takes a moment to contemplate and then looks to Samuel for approval; Samuel nods approvingly.

Robert takes a deep breath and says, ‘Okay.’

The room is silent as Jay and Robert stare intently at each other.

‘You’re going to need a weapon,’ Robert says, breaking the silence.

‘What about the M9?’ Jay asks.

‘I’ll be using that,’ Robert says, and pulls out the M9 from the brown envelope. He tucks the gun in his waistband and asks Jay, ‘Are you good with a knife.’

Jay nods.

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

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 25

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

The man in the golf attire pulls out a claw hammer from his waistband, raises it high above his head, but before he swings the hammer into Slim Charles’ head, Robert and the large white man with him at the Shisha bar burst into the room.

***

‘Vasily, stop!’ Robert commands the man in the golf attire – whose name is Vasily.

Vasily stops in the middle of his swing and looks at Robert – who’s visibly enraged – for a moment, before he turns to Mr Petrov.

Robert follows Vasily’s gaze to Mr Petrov and his visible rage is immediately dampened when he sees Mr Petrov staring at him with deathly intent. Robert opens his mouth to speak, but doesn’t.

Mr Petrov slowly turns to Vasily and nods.

Vasily turns to Slim Charles, still unconscious on the sofa, and begins to viciously smash Slim Charles’ head with the hammer.

Robert watches and struggles to restrain his rage as Vasily takes his time to savour every smash and its effects obliterating Slim Charles’ head.

Robert walks calmly to Mr Petrov and says quietly in Russian, but with a very poor Russian accent, ‘You didn’t need to do this. It makes me look bad.’

Mr Petrov instantly backhand slaps Robert in the face, and Robert begins to bleed from a cut on his bottom lip.

Natalia looks away from Mr Petrov and Robert to Vasily. It’s a grim sight watching Vasily do his thing, but she’d rather watch that; she can’t stand to watch Mr Petrov and Robert fight.

‘You’re making ME look bad,’ Mr Petrov says in Russian. ‘You can’t even handle some rich boys.’ He gestures to Slim Charles. ‘Look at what they did to your man. I’ll be handling them from …’

‘I …’ Robert begins to interrupt, but Mr Petrov backhand slaps him again in the face, and Robert bleeds more profusely from his cut lip.

Samuel – Robert’s associate; the large white man – struggles to contain himself as he watches Robert and Mr Petrov, and he’s keenly watched by Mr Petrov’s man in the adidas tracksuit – called Gennady.

Mr Petrov grabs Robert’s lavish silk blazer and uses it to wipe blood – from Robert’s cut lip – off his ring.

‘Roman, you’ve become a disgrace of a child, not to mention my first son,’ Mr Petrov says, and shakes his head – he only speaks Russian, although he understands English. ‘This country has spoilt you. And your mother too, God rest her soul, she spoilt you.’ He gestures to Natalia. ‘You are nothing compared to your sister. I raised her well.’

Robert – birth name Roman Petrov – nods and fights to hide his anger.

‘The man from Cuba agreed, yes?’ Mr Petrov asks Robert.

‘The Captain?’ Robert asks in Russian.

Mr Petrov stares stoically at Robert for a long moment.

Robert nods and continues in Russian – his father doesn’t acknowledge when he speaks English. ‘But for 200 …’

‘I don’t care about that. I just want my boy back,’ Mr Petrov says, and pauses for a moment. ‘I also want my ring back. Tell the Captain to take my ring back from the rat BEFORE he kills her.’

‘I’ll let him know.’

Mr Petrov turns to Natalia and demands, ‘Bag.’

Natalia picks up Slim Charles’ duffel bag and walks to Robert to hand him the bag. She stares lovingly into her brother’s eyes, but he looks away. She takes a step back to stand beside Mr Petrov.

Robert looks into the bag. ‘This is not 200 …’

‘I know,’ Mr Petrov interrupts. ‘It will not matter. You are going to kill the Captain.’

‘What?’ Robert exclaims in English.

Mr Petrov shakes his head in disgust.

‘His people want him dead. That is the deal,’ Mr Petrov says, and pauses for a moment to stare intently at his son. ‘You can do that, can’t you? Unless you are afraid to kill a man.’

Robert nods.

Mr Petrov turns to Vasily and commands, ‘Enough, Vasily!’

Vasily stops smashing what’s left of Slim Charles’ obliterated head. He pulls out a handkerchief from his pocket and takes his time to clean the hammer. He tosses the bloodied handkerchief onto Slim Charles’ lifeless body and turns to Mr Petrov.

Mr Petrov walks out of the room, closely followed by Vasily and Gennady.

Natalia takes a step to Robert – her younger brother – and attempts to speak, but he looks away from her, uninterested. She strokes his arm and walks out of the room.

Robert seethes as he stares at Slim Charles’ lifeless body.

Samuel watches quietly as Robert walks over to Slim Charles – who was a long time associate of Robert; both Samuel and Slim Charles had worked for Robert approaching six years and had become almost like brothers.

Robert crouches to Slim Charles and gently pulls out Slim Charles’ knife from its sheath inside Slim Charles’ jacket.

***

Jay – dressed smoothly in black – uses scissors to cut the bottom out of his trench coat right pocket. He places the coat and scissors on his bed and picks up the handgun.

He ejects the magazine of the gun to check if it’s full; it is. He reloads the magazine into the handgun and chambers a round. He tucks the gun into the right side of his waistband.

He wears the coat and buttons it up. He softly taps his left breast pocket and reaches in to pull out Natalia’s zippo lighter. He stares at it for a moment, and forces back a smile before he puts the lighter back into his pocket.

He walks to the full-length mirror in a corner of the room and stares at himself for a moment. He slots his hands into his jacket pockets and, suddenly, pulls out the gun through his jacket pocket and aims at his reflection in the mirror in one swift motion. He nods approvingly and returns the gun into his right waistband through the jacket pocket.

He grabs the bin bag, full of his bloodstained clothes, and walks out of the room.

He steps off the stairway and walks towards the front door, but stops and turns to stare at the cellar door.

***

Jay walks purposefully along a quiet residential street close to his home, and surreptitiously tosses the black bin bag into a skip he’d seen the night before, and then heads off towards Epsom railway station.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 24

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

‘I’ll do it,’ Jay says into the phone. ‘For two hundred thousand.’

***

The Mercedes slowly parks in the driveway of the Matthew’s family home. Jay steps out of the car, gently places the car key on the bonnet, and walks towards the house.

He quietly steps into the house and remains in the doorway as he keenly listens and observes. The house is quiet and everything within view is just as he left it. He shuts the door behind him and walks to the kitchen to grab a bin bag.

He walks into his room, pulls out Slim Charles’ handgun, and gently places it on the bed. He completely undresses and places all the worn clothes into the bin bag. He grabs a towel and walks out of the room, heading for the bathroom.

***

Slim Charles lay unconscious in the middle of his hallway, his wide chest enlarging and contracting with every deep breath and the blood on his battered face has congealed.

The house is silent, until the sounds from the front door being unlocked with a key pierces the silence. The door is gently pushed open, and Vera walks in. She immediately sees Slim Charles and screams.

***

Slim Charles is unconscious on a sofa in his sparsely furnished living room; the room is very tidy though, thanks solely to Vera’s cleanliness.

Natalia, dressed casually in tight jeans and a deep V-neck fitted tee shirt, and Mr Petrov, dressed sharply in gulf attire – a polo shirt and navy blue trousers – stand over Slim Charles. Two large sturdy men, one also dressed in gulf attire and the other in an adidas tracksuit, diligently stand a couple steps behind them.

Vera, doing her best to hold back tears, stands by the entrance of the living room and intently watches Natalia, Mr Petrov, and her unconscious battered boyfriend.

‘Thank you for calling us first,’ Natalia says softly to Vera, and Vera nods.

Mr Petrov gestures to the man in the gulf attire, and the man walks purposefully to Slim Charles.

Suddenly, the man slaps Slim Charles hard across the face and Slim Charles regains consciousness.

Slim Charles grimaces in pain as he regains awareness and then attempts to move, but the man holds him down.

‘Slim,’ Natalia says softly, and crouches to Slim Charles. She gently places a hand on his chest to calm him. ‘Take it easy. You’re badly hurt. Who did this to you?’

‘Alan’s brother,’ Slim Charles says through the pain.

Mr Petrov raises a finger in an inquisitive manner.

Natalia heeds the cue and asks Slim Charles, ‘Just one person?’

Slim Charles fearfully glances at Mr Petrov before he tentatively answers, ‘Yes. Yes, but he had a gun.’

Mr Petrov nods.

Natalia caresses Slim Charles’ arm and says, ‘Okay. You’ll be fine.’

‘I need the hospital,’ Slim Charles declares.

‘I know,’ she says.

Mr Petrov speaks for the first time; slowly in Russian he says to Natalia, ‘Tell him why he’s going to die.’

‘We’ll take care of you, Slim,’ she says. ‘But you really fucked up last night.’

‘I know …’

‘You actually don’t,’ she interrupts. ‘My father sent me to the club to get them.’ She glances at Vera before she continues. ‘And your actions put a stop to that.’

I’m sorry,’ Slim Charles pleads to her, and turns to Mr Petrov. ‘I’m so sorry, Mr Petrov.’

Mr Petrov nods in acceptance of the apology.

‘But, Slim,’ she continues. ‘The altercation in the restaurant – you know better than to do that.’

‘I didn’t …’ he begins to plead.

‘It’s too late for that now,’ she says sternly. ‘You know the consequences.’

‘Please, Natalia!’ Vera pleads, and hurries towards them, but as she scampers past the man in the adidas tracksuit, he swiftly pulls out a wire from his pocket, grabs her neck with it, and strongly tightens the wire around her neck – strangling her.

Vera struggles violently as life escapes her, and Natalia calmly watches her die.

Slim Charles watches Vera’s last living moments in deep anguish and struggles as hard as he can to escape from underneath the powerful grasp of the man in the golf attire, but he can’t; the man is easily holding him down.

Mr Petrov watches Vera until she dies and the man in the tracksuit gently places her lifeless body on the floor. He then turns to Natalia and says softly in Russian, ‘Invite the brothers to the restaurant. We finish this tonight.’

Natalia hesitates for a moment and then attempts to speak, but doesn’t and nods.

Mr Petrov gestures to the man in the golf attire and then he and Natalia take a deliberate step backwards.

The man drives an elbow into Slim Charles’s head and Slim Charles instantly loses consciousness. He then pulls out a claw hammer from his waistband, raises it high above his head, but before he swings the hammer into Slim Charles’ head, Robert and the large white man with him at the Shisha bar burst into the room.