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 22

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Jay smiles and says to Natalia, ‘You’re always welcome.’

***

In a single room in the intensive care unit of the hospital, Stephen is peacefully unconscious on a bed, with IV therapy inserted through his left arm.

Alan slouches on a chair opposite the bed, compassionately watching Stephen and struggling to stay awake.

Derek is asleep on the floor beside the bed.

Jay steps quietly into the room, holding a bag of McDonald’s takeaway. He stares at Stephen for a moment, fighting back his emotions, before he walks to the bed. He stands over Stephen and stoically stares at him, as he fights to supress the violent memories of the last time he was close to losing Stephen.

Alan opens his eyes and is startled to see Jay; he quickly sits up and watches Jay for a brief moment before he says softly, ‘He’s going to be alright.’

Jay doesn’t acknowledge him, and there is silence for almost a minute before Jay quietly but authoritatively says, ‘Follow me.’

‘No,’ Alan strongly refuses.

They stare at each other intently for a quiet moment.

‘We’re not doing this here. Follow me,’ Jay quietly demands.

‘Doing what? No!’ Alan says with his voice raised.

‘Keep your voice down,’ Jay chides.

‘Don’t fucking talk to me like that!’

There is another moment of silence as they stare intently at each other, and Derek wakes up.

‘What?’ Alan angrily demands.

‘How could you possibly owe Slim 200 thousand?’

‘What the fuck?’

‘I overheard you.’

‘What?’ Alan exclaims. ‘Why the fuck were you listening to my conversations?’

‘Alan,’ Jay says commandingly, and Alan is instantly forced to calm down, although he continues to curse underneath his breath.

Derek struggles to his feet, but the struggles don’t end there, he struggles mightily as he languidly walks towards Jay – like a drunk zombie.

‘Why the fuck were you listening to my conversations?’

‘What’s wrong with you?’

‘Me?’ Jay loudly exclaims. ‘Wrong with ME? Fucking really?’

‘How did you …’

‘Fuck you! Where have you been all my life?’

Jay is taken aback.

‘Yeah,’ Alan continues loudly. ‘Where the fuck have you been?’

Jay attempts to speak, but Alan continues.

‘You think you can just waltz in after 5 years and fucking ask what’s wrong with me?’ He shakes his head violently. ‘How fucking dare you?’

Derek reaches Jay and grabs the McDonald’s bag. He stands, on unsteady legs, between Jay and Alan, with all his focus on the bag.

‘I …’ Jay begins to say, before Alan cuts him off.

‘Fuck that. Ever since they died you’ve never been around. Never was there for me … you were here, but not actually here.’

A quiet moment as Alan stares intensely at Jay, and Jay doesn’t know how to respond.

‘What?’ Alan continues. ‘You went to fight for your country? Like you give a shit about that. You fucking left me. Left me alone in that fucking house.’

Derek attempts to reach into the McDonald’s bag, but it falls to the ground. He languidly bends over to reach for it.

‘I begged you not to go,’ Alan passionately continues. ‘Not cos I was scared you’d die … Fuck no! You’re Superman. And, of course, you came back a war hero, of fucking bloody course.’

Derek rises with the bag, but it slips from his fingers and falls again. He sighs and languidly bends over to reach for it.

‘Good though, good … Cos I thought that was that. But no, fuck no. You got a job immediately in New York New York,’ Alan says, and pauses for a breath. ‘5 long hard years later …’

Alan suddenly stops and focuses on Derek, who is struggling to pick the bag.

‘What the fuck is wrong with you? Pick it up,’ he aggressively scolds Derek.

Derek rises without the bag and shrugs.

Alan gets off the chair, picks up the bag, aggressively plants Derek on the chair, and places the bag on Derek’s lap.

‘Good?’ he asks Derek.

Derek nods and reaches into the bag.

‘Jesus. No more drugs and alcohol for you. It’s not a good look.’

Jay struggles to hide a smile.

Alan turns to Jay and notices Jay struggling to hold back a smile. He then also struggles to hold back a smile, but he cant and smiles. Jay smiles too.

They smile at each other for a brief moment.

‘I made a few mistakes,’ Alan continues. ‘Firstly, being a banker.’

Jay is mildly amused.

‘I needed some quick money to plug a hole in an investment. I was high. I asked Slim. He introduced me to the guy he works for, Roman. Fucking cunt of a guy, but he gave me the hundred thousand in cash that same day. He expected 150 last weekend. That, of course, didn’t happen. The investment fucked me in the arse. Now Roman’s got me over a barrel.’

‘How are you going to pay him?’

‘I’m going to fuck someone else in the arse.’

‘Don’t do that.’

Alan is amused.

‘That’s the game, Jay. That’s what we do.’

There is a moment of silence.

‘Why does Slim have your car?’

Alan shrugs indifferently.

‘He’s my dealer. I owe him 800 pounds. He took my car till …’

‘800?’

Alan laughs softly.

‘Yeah, I know …’

‘You know where he lives?’

‘Yeah.’

Jay stares expectantly at Alan.

‘What are you going to do?’ Alan asks.

Jay doesn’t respond.

’45 Vicarage Road, Guildford,’ Derek interjects.

Jay and Alan turn to Derek, who is completely focused on eating a Big Mac.

Alan takes a step closer to Jay and they both turn to look at Stephen.

‘I’m sorry about him,’ Alan says, and Jay nods.

In the next moment, Alan smells Natalia scent oozing off Jay. He turns to Jay and attempts to speak, but Jay speaks before him.

‘Have you called his wife?’ Jay asks.

‘Well, yeah … left a voice message.’

‘Really?’ Jay questions, successfully hiding his disappointment. ‘Call her back,’ Jay says calmly. ‘And don’t leave till she gets here.’

Jay hands Alan a phone charger and walks towards the door.

‘I’ll see you tonight,’ he says.

‘Where are you going?’ Alan asks.

Jay ignores the question and steps out of the room.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 15

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Jay’s phone beeps with a text message. He pulls the phone out and reads the text – “ROBERT 07859007525”.

***

Alan and Derek lead Jay and Stephen as they walk past a long queue waiting outside ON ANON nightclub.

The slender and flamboyant club manager pompously stands at the entrance beside several large bouncers and two club hostesses. He sees Alan approach and forces a smile.

‘Toto the King!’ Alan jovially exalts Toto, the club manager, but Toto isn’t amused. Alan hugs Toto like a long lost friend, but Toto doesn’t reciprocate the sentiment.

‘You took your time,’ Toto says with a soft almost feminine voice.

‘Fashionably late, you know,’ Alan retorts.

‘Hello, Dee,’ Toto says to Derek, and Derek nods courteously at him. Toto turns back to Alan and asks, ‘Just the four of you?’

‘Yeah,’ Alan answers.

Toto turns to one of the beautifully dressed hostesses and says, ‘Take them to table three.’

Toto pulls Alan aside as the hostess leads the others past the bouncers into the club.

‘Monday, okay,’ he whispers to Alan. ‘Don’t fuck around.’

Alan chuckles and says, ‘Take it easy, Toto. Have I ever not sorted my tab?’

Toto cracks a knowing smile and says, ‘Not here you haven’t.’

Alan laughs and walks into the club.

Loud thumping dancing music electrifies the crowded dance floor as the hostess leads the guys through. Alan has made his way past Derek and Stephen, who are both visibly excited, and Jay, who doesn’t appear at all enthused as he intently scans his surroundings, to the front of the pack just behind the hostess. He is also scanning the club, but unlike his older brother who is working out the threat level and exit strategies, he’s scanning for girls, and he sees a lot of promise.

The hostess leads the guys into the VIP room, which is relatively much quieter, although the thumping bass of the music reverberates through the room. She leads them to a table full of alcohol and mixers and watches them sit around the table.

‘I’ll be back soon if you need any more drinks,’ she says to the table, and walks away.

Alan and Derek simultaneously reach for alcohol and two glasses each.

‘Oh, I’ve had enough today,’ Stephen objects. ‘Not good for me.’

‘Fuck that, you whipped fuck,’ Alan chides. ‘You can stay over at ours tonight.’

‘I don’t think so,’ Stephen replies.

Alan doesn’t acknowledge Stephen as he turns to Jay. ‘Now you are certainly having a drink, you need to loosen the fuck up.’

Alan hands Stephen a glass of whiskey and coke, and Stephen feigns reluctance for a moment before he accepts the glass.

Derek hands Jay a glass of vodka and tonic and leans in to whisper to Jay, ‘I only put a tiny bit in there.’

Jay smiles and accepts the drink.

Derek raises his glass in call for a toast and the others follow his lead.

‘To friendship …’ Stephen begins to say.

‘Fucking hell!’ Alan interrupts.

‘No!’ Derek also objects. ‘To a bloody good night.’

‘Yeah!’ Alan shouts. ‘And we are downing this shit, yeah?’

‘Yeah!’ Derek and Stephen answer, and Jay nods in agreement.

They knock their glasses together and all attempt to down their drinks, but Jay stops after a large gulp and flinches.

‘Derek!’ Jay jovially exclaims – it was straight vodka, no tonic.

Derek and Alan laugh heartily.

‘What happened?’ Stephen asks, confused.

Jay attempts to drop the half full glass on the table, but Derek and Alan loudly object.

‘You accepted the glass,’ Derek says. ‘You have to finish it.’

‘Down it, brother!’ Alan commands.

Jay laughs to himself and downs the rest of the vodka.

‘Now let’s go get war hero a girl!’ Alan shouts.

Alan, Derek, and Stephen lead a reluctant Jay through the dance floor, scouting for girls.

Alan gestures ahead to a pair of alluring girls dancing with each other and screams over the thumping music to Jay, ‘What you think?’

Jay shrugs, and Alan sighs before he leads Jay to the girls.

‘How are you girls doing?’ Alan screams at them over the music.

The girls cant make out what Alan says because of the loud music, but force smiles, as they are somewhat interested in the brothers.

Alan leans towards the taller of the girls, so she can hear him clearer, as Jay forces a reciprocating smile at the other girl, but their forced smiles very quickly become genuine as both stare desirably at each other.

‘You girls here with anyone?’ Alan asks the taller one.

She shakes her head.

He gestures to Jay and asks, ‘Want to hang with a war hero?’

‘What?’ she asks, confused.

He again gestures to Jay and says, ‘My brother; war hero! Just got back from Afghanistan!’

‘Oh, good for him,’ she says with a patronising smile.

Alan is taken aback for a moment, but he continues the pursuit.

‘Want to hang out?’ he asks. ‘I’ve got a table in …’

‘No, we’re fine!’

‘Oh, fuck off then,’ he says, more in jest than annoyance.

She is visibly enraged and attempts to speak, but Jay steps in.

‘I’m sorry about that,’ Jay says apologetically.

‘Fuck off, cunt!’ she hurls at Jay, to the surprise of her friend.

Jay nods in acceptance of the insult and leads Alan away back to Derek, who is not amused at all, and Stephen, who is laughing to himself.

‘Fuck off!’ Alan says to Stephen, and Jay joins Stephen in laughter.

Derek gets Alan’s attention with his eyes and quickly glances to a corner of the dance floor.

Alan follows Derek’s glance to a tall muscular man with a threatening demeanour who is staring intently at he and Derek.

Alan quickly turns away and says to the guys, ‘Fuck this! Let’s go back in.’

They nod and head back towards the VIP room, and this time Alan allows the others to walk ahead of him.

Alan cant help but glance back at the man, and the man smiles menacingly at him.