Copyright © 2014 - 2015 by Roland and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
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"Come on Kevin! We gotta go!" Brett called out as he rushed around the lower part of the place they'd called home for the last three months.
Thundering down the stairs, Kevin almost forgot to jump over the third to last stair, the one that was broken, and had been broken since they'd started to stay here. While the house may have been abandoned, it was still in pretty decent shape. At least it kept the warm in, mostly, and the water out, again mostly. "Any idea where we're going yet?" He asked as he sailed off the steps, skipping the last all together.
"Away. That's all I know. Dix said we gotta go now." Brett threw a worn backpack stuffed full of supplies towards his little brother, and then shouldered his. "He gave us an address in some place called Kettle Falls, Washington, that we need to get to."
"Washington! That's like on the other side of the country!" The twelve-year-old said as he, too, slipped his backpack on. "How the hell we gonna get there?"
"I don't know yet." Brett said softly, as he looked out toward the street. It was dark and quiet, something that it never was before. "I don't know, but we're gonna hafta." The sixteen-year-old looked over at his brother and forced a smile. Then he reached out, ruffled Kevin's hair and laughed. "It's just like when we left Dad. You and me. It's a new adventure."
Brett winced at the adoring look his brother gave him, but forced the smile to remain. Kevin mustn't see how scared he was. His brother trusted him to take care of him, something he failed at once, but wouldn't again. "Let's go. Maybe we can meet up with some of the others." With that, he took one last look at the deserted street, then the house around him, sighed, opened the door, and slipped out into the night.
They'd only gotten about two blocks down the road when they had to duck into an alley as a vehicle came toward them. Both let out a sigh as the military style Humvee, complete with machine gun on the back, slowly rolled past them, then turned down the next street.
"Holy shit!" Kevin said with wide eyes after it had left. "You think it's true... They'll shoot people if they find them out after dark?"
"Yeah, Kev. Yeah I do." What Kevin didn't know is that Brett knew they would. He saw them do it.
They started their journey again, to where, Kevin didn't know but he had full trust in his big brother. After all, his brother had saved him twice already and Kevin knew he'd be able to do it again. There wasn't anything Brett couldn't do. "So what do you think this place in Washington's gonna be like?"
"No idea, but I hear there's lots of nice people there and maybe even some way we can get back into school." The older boy said somewhat distractedly.
Normally Kevin would have groaned at hearing about school, but it'd been so long since he'd gone, he actually got somewhat excited to hear about it. "Really? You think we could go back to school?"
"Yeah, I do little man. Yeah, I do."
"I wonder if they'll like me there." Kevin said after a few minutes of silence.
Brett actually laughed at what his brother said. "Of course they will little man. Who couldn't like you?"
Kevin felt his heart warm at his brother's words as they continued to sneak through the darkness towards wherever Brett was taking them. Unfortunately, this was not something they were unused to. They'd been on the streets for almost a year and a half now. Right after Kevin turned eleven, their father said it was time for Kevin to become a man. The next night, he tried to rape Kevin. He would have, had Brett not gotten home early and saw what was going on.
Brett and their father fought, and for a while it looked like their father was going to beat Brett to death. That was until Kevin grabbed his baseball bat and hit him as hard as he could over the head. The two brothers then grabbed everything they could carry and left. Kevin still had nightmares from that night, but whenever he did, Brett would pull the boy close and cuddle with his younger brother. That would always make the nightmares go away.
"We're here." Brett said, finally bringing Kevin out of his own thoughts. He looked around and didn't have a clue where they were. But Brett seemed to know, as he walked up to a house and knocked on the door, with Kevin right on his heels. When the door opened he saw a huge Mexican man with a gun standing there. The man seemed to relax as he opened the door wider, allowing the brothers in.
"What the fuck, Brett?" The man said as he looked around outside, before he shut the door. "You insane or something?"
Brett ignored the comment as he looked the huge man up and down. "You still got plans to leave?"
"Yeah..." The man drawled out not liking where this was going.
"We're going with you." Brett said in a steady voice.
"We ain't got the room."
"Diego, make the room. And we gotta go tonight." The teen said as he met eyes with the man. His ice blue eyes shining with an intensity that Kevin had never seen before.
"It's happening?" Diego breathed, his voice now having a bit of a shake to it.
"As we speak." Was the simple reply.
"FUCK!" Diego said, then started to pace around thinking. Finally he nodded to himself. "We ain't ready, but I guess we ain't got a choice"... he said, not looking towards them. He walked over to a table, and picked up a huge cell phone and punched in a long string of numbers. He had to wait almost twenty seconds before someone answered, and all he said was. "We're going." Then a pause. "Now. It's happening now." Another pause, and then Diego sighed. "Yeah, it's too early to start now. We go tomorrow night." Pause. "Keep your head down and your ass hidden. We'll meet up with you at midnight." He then turned the phone off and turned back to the brothers. "We sleep today, then pack. It's too early to head out now. We'd never get out of the city before the sun's up."
Brett thought about it for a moment, then nodded. "I just hope we're safe till then."
"We will be. No one knows about this place. At least, no one that'll talk." Diego said confidently, then he looked at Brett with a smirk. "You know this is gonna cost ya."
Brett laughed, and nodded. "Yeah, I know. And hell, it might be fun."
Diego let out a loud rumbling chuckle then walked up and patted Brett on the shoulder. "It just might be. Get you and your brother cleaned up and bedded down. It just might be the last chance for a while that you guys'll be able to shower and sleep in a real bed."
Brett nodded, turned and started towards the stairs. "Come on Kevin, let's get cleaned up."
The young boy obediently followed his brother up the stairs and then into a bedroom. Kevin was surprised by how nice it was. There was a nice gray carpet on the floor, a huge desk complete with computer, and books on the shelves. A huge king sized bed, and a couple of handmade antique dressers. Kevin followed Brett to another door in the room, and was shocked to see a private bathroom, two sinks, tiled floor, and big fluffy towels hanging. Not only did it have a huge shower stall, but also a sunken tub that looked like it might have actually been a spa.
"Damn, bro..." Kevin breathed out. "This ain't nothing like the trailer we grew up in."
Brett laughed out loud as he reached out and ruffled Kevin's hair. "No, little bro, no it ain't. This is the good life. Something that we'll have when this is all over." Kevin so wanted to ask what was going on, but knew his brother well enough to know that he couldn't or wouldn't tell him. For now, he would just trust his brother. He always had, and always would. "Now let's get cleaned up. I got some clothes stashed here for us, so we'll be all set for the trip."
Brett stripped, and turned on the water in the huge shower. Kevin stripped down, too, not at all embarrassed about being naked with his brother, or seeing him naked. Over the last two years, they'd had to shower together many times... it's just what it was.
"Damn, little man, I think you're starting to grow some down there!" Brett said as he looked his naked twelve-year-old brother over.
"Really?" Kevin said in surprise. He always admired his brother's body. While Brett was never a bodybuilder, he did run track, and swim when they were in school. Now, though, he looked down at his own slim body, not because he was as active as his brother was, but because they had so little extra food over the last two years. As he looked at his own equipment, he thought that maybe Brett was right. He looked closer, and reached down. To his amazement, he could even see a few sparse hairs at the base of his boyhood.
"Come on, little bro, you can play with your toy later. We gotta get cleaned up, then sleep." Brett laughed as he slapped Kevin's hand away from his crotch, then pushed the boy into the shower. They took a long time cleaning themselves, just relishing the hot water that was flowing out of the three different shower heads. Kevin knew then that he really could get used to this.
He loved it when Brett turned him around and proceeded to wash his longish dirty blond hair. "We gotta get your haircut, dude. It's getting as long as mine!" Brett laughed as he massaged his younger brother's scalp, rubbing in the shampoo. Kevin couldn't help but purr in contentment.
All too quickly it was over and Brett was turning him around to rinse out the shampoo. "Hey there!" Brett laughed out. "Watch where you point that thing!" Kevin giggled as he knew he had boned up, but he just couldn't help it. Brett washing his hair made his little soldier stand tall.
When they were done, the two boys walked out into the room naked and Bret went right to the dresser. He opened up a drawer and pulled out a pair of boxers. He tossed them to Kevin who grabbed them with a smile. He always wanted to wear boxers, just like Brett did, but they never had the money for them, especially recently.
Brett then pulled out his own pair, and pulled them on. Walking over to the bed, he pulled back the big comforter, and patted the bed. "Come on, Kevin, enjoy it while you can."
Kevin couldn't help himself. He jumped up on the bed and started to bounce around some. Even when they were at home, neither of them had such a nice bed. Hell, the last bed that Kevin had was simply an old mattress on the floor. Brett laughed, grabbed Kevin, and then wrestled him to the bed. For the next five minutes, the room was filled with laughter as the brothers wrestled around on the king size bed.
Finally, Brett called a stop to it, and looked at his brother seriously. "Come on, little man, we need to get some sleep." As if on cue, Kevin let out a loud, long yawn, which caused Brett to bust up laughing again.
A few moments later, Kevin pushed his back into his brother, and felt Brett wrap his arms around him. Kevin sighed with contentment, and allowed his eyes to close, sleep was not far behind.
At some point, he felt his brother untangle himself, and leave the room. Kevin was out of it and just fell back asleep, at least until he felt the bed move again, and strong familiar arms wrap around him again. In his sleeping state, Kevin smelled something strange coming from his brother, but soon forgot about it. His dreams that night were not interrupted by the nightmares he had from the night they left home.
"FUCK! They found us!" Diego cursed as the military vehicles screamed around the corner, and headed right for them. "Scatter!"
With that proclamation, the group started to split up and run. Brett grabbed onto Kevin and started to run down an alleyway. They had just made it out to the next street when they saw even more vehicles tear around that corner, and start down the road. The brothers, as well as five others, including Diego, turned and ran down the street towards the next alley. They were almost there when Kevin heard the worst sound he'd ever heard. It sounded almost like a chainsaw, but louder. Instinctively he knew they were being shot at. All around them the sidewalk started to get chewed up, and he was sure he heard something whizz by his head before he turned the corner into the small alley.
They made it down to the end, when Diego threw up his hand and the group stopped. The man peeked around the corner and studied the road for several moments. Brett turned Kevin so they were looking at each other, then squatted down to look the boy in his eyes. Without losing eye contact, he pulled a CD from his pocket and thrust it into the boy's hands. "If anything happens, I need you to get to Washington state, however you can. When you get there, find someone in charge and give them this. They'll know what to do."
"No Brett, you gotta come with me!" Kevin protested, tears starting to fall.
"I'm gonna try, little man, but you gotta do this for me. Can you? Please?" Brett implored still holding the disk out to his little brother.
Never before had Brett asked him something like this. Even though he had tears flowing, he nodded and grabbed the disk. "COME ON!" They heard Diego cry out, and then they were running again. They ran for close to five minutes, and Kevin thought they may have been clear, when they heard the sound of machine gun fire again and another vehicle came charging towards them. "FUCK!" Diego said as he turned down a side street, the group hot on his heels.
Most of them were wiped out by now, but fear and pure adrenaline pushed them on. They ran and ran hard, but this time they couldn't seem to lose the vehicle. Finally, Diego made a wrong turn, and they were at a dead end. Just as they started to turn back, the Humvee drove into the alley cutting off all escape.
It slowly rolled towards them as the group all put their hands in the air. When the Humvee came to a stop four men got out of it, with a fifth still up on the machine gun. They really couldn't see any details, since the lights from the vehicle were blinding them. The men walked to the front of the Humvee and stopped. "Okay Mr. Gibson, you gave us a hell of a run, but it's over. Now hand over the disc."
Kevin gasped in shock. How did these men know his last name, and what about a disc. Suddenly he remembered about the disc his brother gave him. "General Connors. I'm surprised to see you out here actually slumming it like a working man." Brett said in a confident voice as he took a step forward.
"Watch it, Brett. You wouldn't want my man on the machine gun to get an itchy finger would you?" The same man spoke up, amusement thick in his voice.
Brett actually laughed a little bit, which shocked Kevin to no end. "I'm not too worried about Corporal Todd... Let's just say I know he's not exactly a 'crack shot' if you know what I mean. Of course you were good, General, as long as you had the little blue pill handy."
"Watch it you little shit. Keep your mouth running, and I'll kill the lot of you and just take the disc." The amusement was gone, now the general was pissed.
"You don't wanna do that, General." Brett said as he continued to walk towards the men. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a CD in a jewel case. "You might accidentally hit the disc, you wouldn't wanna destroy it would you?"
"Hand it over Brett, and we'll let your little group go. You know me, I'm a man of my word." The general said in a softening tone.
"No offense, General.... but bullshit. You let my friends go first, and then I'll give you the disc." By now Brett was only about five feet from the military men.
Kevin was so focused on what was going on, that he didn't notice Diego until the man placed a hand on his shoulder. He looked up in confusion and saw the man nod towards the side of the alley. Kevin looked and saw that one of the other guys had somehow gotten a door open. "When I tell you to, run through the door." Diego said in a whisper.
"What about Brett?" Kevin asked softly.
"Don't worry about Brett, he knows what he's doing. He'll meet up with us later." Diego said as he forced Kevin to take a step towards the door.
"We ain't playin here, Brett. Hand over the disc or I'll have the Corporal open up on your friends." The general demanded.
Brett turned his head to look back at the group, then back to the general and seemed to slump in defeat. He waived the disc a bit as if trying to decide what to do, that action kept the military men's eyes focused on the disc, and allowed Brett to slip his hand into his other pocket. He took a deep breath, turned one more time to look at his friends, and his eyes met Kevin's. He had tears falling down his face, but Kevin couldn't understand what was really going on. "Time's up, Brett." The general said in a harsh voice.
Brett turned back and nodded. He tossed the disc towards the general, and at the same time tossed something else under the Humvee. "RUN!" He cried out, as he ran head long into the General, knocking the man back into the vehicle.
"BRETT!" Kevin screamed as he saw the other three men start to grab at his older brother, while at the same time Diego grabbed him and threw him towards the open door. Kevin stumbled but got his feet back, and was able to turn and look just as Brett was thrown to the ground. Kevin stopped and watched as Brett got kicked by the men. Their eyes locked for another moment, and Kevin could hear himself screaming. His eyes met Brett's and saw his older brother scream one last time. "RUN, KEVIN!" Then the world exploded.
Kevin didn't notice the run to the airport, the hurried boarding of the small plane, nor the low level, no light, flight across the Eastern US. He didn't realize that they had changed planes in a small town, or how they had to stay on the plane till the sun went down the next day before they started the last leg of the flight. He didn't hear Diego trying hard to talk to him. When he ate, it wasn't because he wanted to, it was because food was put in front of him and Diego started off, all but forcing him to eat and drink.
All Kevin knew was that Brett was dead. He saw the explosion, and even saw Brett get thrown away from the Humvee. When he landed, his body was twisted in impossible ways. That was all Kevin saw, over and over again. He didn't feel them land on some strange airstrip, nor the fact that they got a ride in some ATV towards a huge house with lots of people milling about. Nor did he hear Diego tell him to sit tight as he sat him down on a sofa inside a very nice, huge house. He didn't see, hear, or notice anything till a young boy sat down next to him.
At first he wasn't aware of the boy, as he was reliving the explosion, over and over again. It always ended the same way: Kevin was screaming, as he fell to the ground. Big hands picked him up, and started to run, but Kevin's eyes were locked onto the twisted mangled body of Brett. The only person he loved and trusted. His will to live died the same time that Brett did.
Kevin just sat there, with the boy next to him for a few minutes before he felt something cold and metallic pushed into his hand. Even though he had never held one before he instinctively knew what it was, as his finger was curled around a small piece of metal. Slowly he looked down at what was in his hand, at the same time that the boy spoke to him. "So, who do you want to kill?"
"What?" He heard himself say slowly, as if waking from a dream. He looked up at the boy and saw a small boy looking back at him, the large dark eyes seem to drill deep into his soul. Kevin couldn't look away for almost a minute, before the boy looked down, causing Kevin to also look down at what was in his hand. A gun.
"So... Who do you want to kill? You have a gun, who would you like to kill."
It was like a dam burst inside Kevin, suddenly all he could think about was the military men that had cornered them. He was still staring down at the gun when he started to speak, it all came out so fast, that he couldn't stop himself. He started with running when the first Humvee spotted them, then how they were cornered in the alley. To Brett walking up to the men, and then the explosion. Finally how he saw Brett's lifeless eyes staring at him.
"Tell me more about your brother? Why were you guys running?" The boy asked, and the dam stayed open. Kevin still stared at the gun as his life story came tumbling out. The hell hole he lived in before he and Brett left. The fight with his father, then the running. How Brett had protected him several times from gangs and other lowlifes. How Brett had made sure that Kevin had food, even when he heard Brett's stomach growling. Then they got to the running. That's when Kevin got angry.
"Then those... the military guys found us. Why the hell did they have to try and get us. We weren't doing anything wrong! Brett never hurt no one! Why'd he have to die?" Kevin cried out. All this time, Kevin didn't realize that the room had filled up with people. More than once, someone tried to come over to either give Kevin a hug, or some other way to help the boy out, but Bryan stopped them. All he had to do was point to the gun the boy had in his hand, and they would back off. Of course Bryan knew the gun was unloaded, but they didn't know that. "Why'd he have to die?" Kevin screamed out, almost as if challenging God to answer his question.
"Because he had to make sure you were safe." Bryan said in a soft voice, and all the anger melted out of Kevin's body. "It's something that all good big brothers are willing to do for their little brothers." Kevin looked over, and met the boy's deep dark eyes, and saw there the pain that meant that Bryan knew exactly what he was talking about. "Your brother sacrificed himself so that you could escape, so that you could survive, but mostly, I think, so that you could fulfill all those dreams that the two of you had." He held Kevin's ice blue eyes for several seconds before he spoke again. "I never was one that believed in God, at least not until recently. I still believe that the worst crimes in history were perpetrated because of religion, but some of the things that are said, do make sense. The book of John, chapter 15, verse 13, 'Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends'. Brett laid down his life so that you could live. The choice you have to make now, the hardest choice you have had to face so far, and maybe the hardest choice you will ever face: Do you betray his sacrifice by allowing your life to be over, or do you honor what he did by living your life the best that you can, and doing whatever it is that you can to pay back the sons of bitches that took your brother from you. Do you roll over and let his death mean nothing, or do you pick yourself up by the balls, put one foot in front of the other, and make those assholes pay for what they stole from you?"
Kevin held Bryan's eyes for several seconds, tears rolling down his face. Then he started to smile, although it was a small smile. "Weep not for those who have gone before, weep for those that remain behind." Bryan looked at him and smiled. "Brett said that to me when my dog died. I was eight. I have no idea why, but it always stuck with me." He paused for a moment. "Now... I think I know what he meant. I'm not really crying for him, but for me." Even though his tears were still streaming from his eyes, he looked solidly into Bryan's eyes. "He's gone, and there's nothing I can do to change that. But now it's up to me to keep going like I know he would want, or... let his death stop me from living. He wouldn't want that. He always told me we had to push through when things got rough. If we stop then we fail. But if we keep pushing, no matter how bad it is, the only choice is winning."
"Wise words." Bryan said softly, while reaching up and gently wiping the tears away from the boy's eyes. "So you have decided what you are going to do?"
After a few moments, Kevin nodded. "First thing I need to do is find Diego." He said, then started when he heard the deep rumbling voice speak from the other side of the room.
"I'm right here." Kevin spun and then blushed when he saw the room was full of people. Kevin paused for a moment to wipe the tears away from his face with the sleeve of his shirt. That's when he realized he was still wearing the same clothes from that night, and he still had the gun in his hand. He stood up on somewhat shaky feet, handed the gun to Bryan, then walked over to Diego.
Looking up into the big man's eyes, he reached into his pocket. "I don't know you, Diego. But Brett seemed to. If you had something important... Something that Brett died for, something that he wanted to get here, um, who would you see? Who do you trust here?" Kevin looked up at the big man, "What should I do with this?" Kevin asked, as he pulled out the disk that had cost his brother's life.
Diego's eyes went wide as he saw the disc in his hand. "Is that..." He asked in shock.
"I don't know what's on it. But Brett... he gave it to me... in case anything happened." Everyone saw he was trying to be strong, even as his lip trembled and he fought back the tears.
Diego reached out his hand to take it but Kevin pulled it back. "No. Brett told me to make sure it got to someone in charge. I.. I have to do this."
Diego smiled sadly and nodded before turning to a man that was standing a little ways away. Kevin turned and looked at a man that was standing there in a suit. The main thing that Kevin saw was the kind eyes, and the tears stains on his cheeks. He took a step forward, but Kevin was the one who walked over to stand in front of the man. He looked at the CD, then looked up into the man's eyes. "Sir, I don't know what's on this, but... well my brother died to make sure this got to someone in charge. I... I assume you're someone in charge?"
The man nodded. Instead of reaching for the disc, he held his hand out to the boy. "My name is Mike Reynolds. I'm the Vice President of the United States."
The boy started to tremble some but he bit his lip and held his head high. "Sir. Please see what's on this disc and use it however you can. Brett... Brett said that you'd know what to do with it."
As soon as Mike took the disc, he had to quickly jump forward as the boy collapsed in heart wrenching sobs. His duty done, Kevin needed to mourn.