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 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 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.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 26

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

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; he then heads off towards Epsom railway station.

***

It’s early evening as Jay steps out of Guilford Railway Station and walks briskly towards Palm Palace Shisha Bar – about 15 minutes walk away.

***

Jay stands across the street from the shisha bar, observing the bar and its surroundings for almost a minute before he chuckles and walks across the street towards the bar.

He walks into the busy bar and immediately sees Robert sitting at the same table as the night before. He walks to the table and sits opposite Robert.

Robert solemnly stares at Jay as he strokes his half empty glass of double gin and soda. There is a thick brown envelope on the table beside the glass.

Jay notices Robert’s bloody lip and makes sure to make it apparent to Robert that he’d noticed it – that usually elicits a verbal acknowledgement; although most times the acknowledgements are tall tales or blatant lies, but he can detect that and it helps him further analyse the person.

Robert forces a smile. ‘You should see the other guy,’ he says.

Jay forces a smile; he knows Robert lied.

‘Want a drink?’ Robert asks.

Jay softly shakes his head.

‘I usually don’t drink, you know,’ Robert says, and glances at the glass. ‘It tastes fucking horrible.’

Jay doesn’t respond.

Robert stares at Jay for a long moment and then laughs softly to himself.

‘Okay,’ he says. ‘Details. You know the TARGET. The address for the safe house is …’ He pauses for a moment to look through his phone. ’23 Westcroft Close.’

He stares at Jay expectantly, but Jay doesn’t react.

‘Want to write that down?’ he asks.

Jay softly shakes his head.

‘Right,’ Robert continues. ‘I don’t know how many officers are in the house. I don’t care. For what I’m paying, it shouldn’t matter.’ He pauses for a moment, expecting a reaction from Jay, but there is none forthcoming. ‘We have a man in the house. At 8:15 – or 20:15 as you military boys say it – our man will disable the alarm. The moment he does that, he’ll fuck with the lights …’

‘Fuck with the lights?’ Jay asks with a raised eyebrow.

‘Switch em on and off a few times, you know. The upstairs bathroom … facing the street, I suppose … I’d hope.’

Jay nods.

‘He thinks you’re going to let him live, shoot him in the arm or something. You kill him.’

‘Okay.’

Robert pulls out a small piece of paper from his pocket and slides it across the table to Jay. Jay looks down to the paper, which has “07776543983” boldly written on it.

‘Send a blank text to that number with the man’s phone when it’s all done.’

‘I hope this isn’t one of your numbers?’

Robert chuckles. ‘No, it’s not. I am a professional too. But thanks for caring.’

Jay slides the paper back across to Robert.

‘You don’t want it?’ Robert asks.

‘I’ve seen it. I’m good.’

‘If you forget it though …’

‘I won’t.’

‘Okay then,’ Robert says with a hint of sarcasm. ‘Anyway, Cameron has a wedding ring. I want it.’

‘Okay.’

‘And the kid,’ Robert says, and pauses to consider the gravity of his next words. ‘You kill the kid too.’

‘That wasn’t …’

‘That is the deal. For the price you’re asking, I’m sure you can do it.’

There is a long moment of silence before Jay nods.

‘Thought so,’ Robert smugly says.

He pushes the thick brown envelope to Jay.

‘I was told the M9 is your weapon of choice,’ he says. ‘With hollow point bullets.’

‘Suppressor?’

‘Yes. I was told that too.’

Jay nods, and there is silence as both stare at each other.

‘Anything else?’ Jay asks.

‘No. We’ll meet here when you’re done.’

‘You’ll have the money?’

‘I always do.’

Robert cracks a distant smile and stares intently at Jay.

‘So, is your dad proud of you?’ Robert asks. ‘Being a serial killer and all.’

Jay doesn’t respond.

‘Not much of a talker, are you?’

‘I listen,’ Jay answers softly. ‘And it seems to me like you want to talk.’

Robert is pleasantly surprised and leans back into his seat with a smile. He opens his mouth to speak, but Jay stands and picks up the envelope.

Jay gestures out the window and says, ‘Talk to your man in the brown leather jacket waiting in the black Range Rover parked outside. I’ve got things to do.’

Robert’s genuine smile transforms into seething rage, but he fights to maintain a forced smile as he watches Jay walk out of the bar. He then slowly takes a sip from his glass and suddenly slams the bottom of the glass onto the table and all the gin and soda left in the glass splashes over him.

‘Fucking hell!’ he 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.

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.