A Pair of Brothers


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I knew what a fugitive life meant for my dad and me. I just never imagined my baby brother would ever get dragged into it. Not this shit. Never this.

Robbing banks was good, in theory. Easy, even. It was never the same in practice. We had extraordinary luck, and I was good with on-the-fly backup plans. We got out intact every time, somehow. Maybe we'd have stayed intact had it ended at robbery.

Murder was not the plan. We'd never intended on it, to take someone's life. I tussled with a guard. It felt good to fight. It felt good to fire rounds into something solid instead of air, for once. Dad pulled me away and we made it out. It didn't end there, either. The cops never let up.

It was always me, while Dad got a head start. He knew I'd be too hard to catch on my own. We got crafty. My girlfriend managed to keep my little brother out of our messes. I'll be grateful 'til my time runs out. However soon that is...

I made a mistake. God, Brady... I made a mistake.

I wanted the cop to see my face before he died. I wanted the thrill. He had a POV camera and I didn't notice. My face was plastered on the news.

I tried visiting Brady and Alice one last time before Dad and I went into hiding. They saw. They attacked. They shot Alice. There was no time to say goodbye. Her eyes were glass as I rushed my brother out of the back door. They didn't pursue. Not right away.

There was no time to tell her I loved her.

Now, Brady was in the mix. He was on the news, too. They thought he was my son, blamed me for her death. The bastards.
Being clever didn't come so easily anymore. Brady slowed Dad's plans down. We  argued. We fought. He didn't care about Brady.

We ran more. Barely slept.

Dad said one more heist. Then he'd leave us most of the money and get out of our lives. Then we could go underground. I agreed. Anything to keep my little brother safe.
We made a mistake.

Not enough ammo. Outnumbered even before the cops came. I don't know how many i took down with perfect aim. Enough to slip past them. We bolted around a corner. We were chased.

We gathered everything we could, as much of our money as we could carry in a couple bags. Dad tried to keep it and run. We fought again while Brady hid in the fridge. I broke his jaw. The police were outside. I tied my father's hands, put a gun to his head, and used him as a shield.

The police tried to bargain with me. I said I'd turn my dad in alive if it meant Brady and I went free, at least for a while. They could catch me, later, when I knew he was safe. Blood from a cut dripped into my eye. The front cop took a chance. Shot my dad. Shot my arm. I spun around a corner, yelled at Brady.

I emptied the clip through the walls and grabbed another gun. We ran, jumped out the motel window. I was hit in my thigh as I turned to face the last cop following us. I dropped and shielded my little brother with my body. Another round hit my back before Brady screamed and the gunfire stopped. Blood found its way into my mouth. I was dying.

I turned slightly. One last shot and the cop was down, clutching his leg instead of his gun. Even the playing field. I could speak now and he had to listen. My gun aimed at his head.

I'd turn myself in, if my little brother got to live his life out of this mess. If a good man or woman took him in and gave him a better life. And if Brady wasn't taken care of, I would escape from prison and kill every cop I came across in search of this one. And then I would make him suffer worse than I was. He looked me in the eyes.

Reinforcements came. The cop stopped them. I dropped the gun, but Brady and I clung to each other, my bloodied shirt in his fist. I shouldn't have involved him in this shit.

Brady begged them to let me go, but I didn't fight as they cuffed me. I spat up blood as they dragged me. My shortened lifespan didn't matter as long as my brother had a better one.

The cop said he would take care of Brady. I looked him in the eyes and said I would burn him if he didn't.

He knew I'd meant every word.

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