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 13

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

‘So, we were …’

***

Ten minutes later, Jay, Derek and Alan eat their main course while they watch Stephen finish the story through large mouthfuls of food.

‘And that as they say is THAT,’ Stephen concludes.

‘Finally,’ Derek says.

‘The story is a lot longer than I remember,’ Jay says.

‘Oh, it gets longer every time,’ Alan says.

‘And more embellished,’ Derek says.

‘Shut up,’ Stephen says, and turns to Jay. ‘Still have your vest?’

Jay nods.

‘Yeah,’ Alan interjects. ‘I encased that shit. Cost me shit loads too.’

‘Fucking hell,’ Stephen says, and gestures to Derek and Alan. ‘It’s all about money with you lads.’

‘That’s why we HAVE the money,’ Alan retorts.

‘Ouch!’ Stephen exclaims with amusement. ‘That was low. I’m trying.’

‘That’s not what your wife says,’ Alan jovially jabs, and turns to Derek. ‘Right?’

Derek exaggeratedly nods.

Stephen laughs softly and waves them off. ‘Speaking of, ‘ he says to Jay. ‘Can you try to get me a job where you work?’

‘You don’t want that,’ Jay says. ‘And …’

Jay stops abruptly as his phone begins to ring. He puts a hand out in apology as he pulls the phone out. He looks at the caller ID and recognises the number as Mr Smith’s.

‘I need to take this,’ Jay says, and stands.

As he walks away from the table towards the exit, Stephen says loudly, ‘Put in a word for me.’

Jay answers the call and coldly says, ‘Give me a moment.’

As he walks through the reception, he makes eye contact with Natalia, who’s stood elegantly behind the desk, and again their gaze lingers on each other, until he is bumped by a swaggering overweight man in his late twenties, who’s dressed rather very flash in an outfit that could’ve been ordered from the first page of an urban gangster catalogue, who goes by the self-given moniker “Slim Charles”.

Jay sharply turns to Slim Charles with a hint of anger, but that immediately fades to amusement as he sees Slim Charles wearing large garish sunglasses in the dark room. Jay shrugs and steps out of the restaurant.

‘Yes,’ he says into the phone.

‘Captain, have you reconsidered?’ Mr Smith asks.

‘I didn’t think I was supposed to.’

‘The company is offering double the price for your service.’

‘No.’

There is a moment of silence.

‘Okay, state your price.’

‘Price is irrelevant.’

‘I know this, Captain. You’ve never cared about the money. It’s not why you do what you do. But I know you take pride in your work. Take pride in being the best. You already are held in the highest regard by the company, as evidenced by how much we already pay for your service. Now we are giving you the chance to retire as the undisputed best, which is affirmed only by the price we pay for your service. And yes, I did say retire; after all, it will be your last job.’

There is another moment of silence as Jay ponders.

‘Captain, again, I never thought I’d have to say this to you, and I’m not one to be pedantic, but, just earlier, it was reiterated to me by the suits that your contract states you cannot refuse the last job; I know you know this.’

Silence reigns again.

Okay, Captain. You also should know that the suitor of your service is very desperate. So, if you reconsider …’

‘I won’t.’

There is silence as Mr Smith fights back to urge to commend Jay’s steadfastness.

‘If you reconsider, it will be a favour to the company,’ Mr Smith says, and continues without pause, so as not to give Jay a chance to object. ‘I will text you the details of your contact. You meet the contact, listen to the offer, and refuse it if you wish.’

‘I meet the contact?’ Jay asks, surprised – that never happens.

‘Time is of the essence, and you already are where you are needed. Plus, I don’t suppose you have any tools?’

‘I don’t.’

‘The contact will provide.’

Again, silence reigns.

‘I’ll be in touch,’ Mr Smith says, and ends the call.

Jay takes a deep breath and scans the somewhat busy high street. He switches his phone off, opens the back case, and there is a red SIM card on the battery. He swaps the SIM cards and switches the phone back on. He dials in a five-digit number and calls.

It’s answered immediately. ‘Hello,’ says an automated female voice. ‘Who is speaking?’

‘Seven, Four, Four, Four, Six, Two,’ Jays says, and waits as the voice recognition software at the other end of the line does its thing.

‘Hello, friend,’ the automated voice says. ‘How can I help you today?’

‘I need 50 thousand, ASAP.’

‘Currency?’

‘British Pounds.’

‘Would you like cash or a card?’

‘Card.’

‘What alias, and where would you like it couriered?’

‘Mr J Matthews; Epsom.’

There is silence.

‘Yes,’ Jay says. ‘I am home.’

‘Okay, friend, it will be with you on Tuesday. The card will have no withdraw limit, and only because of our long-standing relationship, not the fact that I know you are good for it, the card will also have an unlimited overdraft. You will be charged the standard fee.’

‘Okay.’

‘Would you like to know your balance?’

‘No.’

‘Okay. Be safe, friend.’

‘You too.’

Jay ends the call and switches the SIM cards.

***

Slim Charles walks to Natalia with a forced sinister swagger and dumps a filled duffel bag on the reception desk in front of her.

She stares at him for a moment, not bothering to hide her contempt, and picks the bag.

‘Wait here,’ she says, calmly but commandingly, and walks towards the restaurant.

‘Vera in?’ Slim Charles asks with a deep voice, soaked in an urban South London accent.

She stops and turns to him.

‘I’ll let her know you’re here. If any guests walk in, do not approach them, do not speak to them.’

He nods and as soon as she turns to walk away, he smirks.

She walks through the restaurant to the bar, making sure to avoid eye contact with any of the patrons. She taps Vera, who’s waiting at the bar for an order, and gestures to the reception with a disappointed expression. Vera smiles sheepishly, knowing exactly what the expression means, and nods respectfully before she walks away towards the reception.

Natalia walks through a door behind the bar.

***

Vera steps into the reception and smiles as she walks towards Slim Charles, but his eyes open wide as he sees something over her shoulder in the restaurant.

He barges past her and bursts into the restaurant.

‘Baby!’ she pleads.

He ignores and marches through the restaurant, focused on Alan with a frenzied smile.