Brother’s Keeper

“Hurry up!” James yells over his shoulder. He’s struggling to get his twin to follow him down the path; Gary was always such a scared-y cat.

Through the fog, he cannot see his brother. He can only hear the rustling of leaves and Gary’s incessant sniffling.  Even after ten years, James finds it unbelievable that they even came from the same fertilized egg. His “older” brother was both scared of everything and a walking allergy machine.

The snap of a stick echoes throughout the woods as Gary makes his way through the fog.  James can see the dark silhouette of his twin now.  He taps his foot, bored now and sick of waiting.

To his right, he sees a large tree. It is definitely wide enough to conceal him and with a wicked smile he decides to hide behind it. He picks at the bark and waits.

“James?” His brother is near and his voice is trembling. James mentally counts as the forest quiets around them: the birds evening chirp disappears; the predators of the woods are hidden from view, watching the two human boys.

James doesn’t have a plan, he hardly ever does. He only knows that he wants to see his twin flail and fall onto the leaves, wants to watch as he stumbles back and shrieks. He wants to kick Gary while he’s down then run up the path leaving him all alone on the foggy path.

This anger towards his brother isn’t new – if anything it’s the most consistent feeling he’s ever experienced.

A snap of a stick from the other side of the tree trunk and it’s the cue James needs to move.  In a single jump he’s in front of his brother with a roar. As if in slow motion, Gary’s face twists in fear. The shriek James expected follows but so does something he wasn’t expecting – his twin swinging his arm around, punching on instinct.

Time speeds up and James realizes that he is the one the floor, leaves crinkling under his jeans as his hands come up to cradle his face.

Gary is on his knees then, carefully trying to inspect the damage. James waits for a mocking laugh that never comes.


- Oer Wout

Photo Challenge #64, Pathway, June 09, 2015

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