Brothers to the End
"...I'm a soldier," Jake said in all seriousness trying to convince himself. But he could not escape the cold hard truth of the miserable world and the utter despair. He tried to shake the unsettling silence that screamed fear in his ears. He stood crouched down, in what used to be a business store of some kind. He stared intently out the dirty window. It was covered in all the kinds of dust, dirt, and mud. The city was bombed. Now it was left unstirred if it wasn't the foot steps of Jake Morb.
A firm hand was placed on Jake's trembling shoulder. The young soldier twisted his neck to look up at his only comrade left. There were dark eyes, dirt covered his face. It was his Jake's older brother, Reed Morb. If it was not for Reed being two years older, people would mistake them for twins. Both of the two had fine rich brown hair, and as of now, not looking so fine and rich. It was muddy and gloomy. Clean it would be light brown, but it was dark as dirt. Jake begun hating the mud, it was in very pore on his face.
The firm older hand of his brother filled Jake with some confidence they'll make it back to the base. They were the only ones of their unit left. A battalion of fifty highly trained soldiers were all scattered and torn apart in that single second. Reed didn't expect the city to be abandoned for such reasons, he should have knew!
A chill crept up Jake's back. His uniform was soaked from following into mud puddles. The young soldier clenched his hand tightly on the handle of his mud covered rifle; his trigger finger ready and waiting. Why did it have to rain all night? Jake asked himself. So they waited, ever watchful for a sweep team of the enemy. A sweep team to kill any survivors of the bombardment. Reed was a smart soldier, although he was never captain. He was never given the chance.
Jake stared to the sky, there were dark grayish clouds. Rain clouds, Reed found. The young soldier slumped down lower, falling into himself. He pulled his heavy boot towards him and quickly tightened and retied them, as did the other one. Jake was thankful no mud got into his heavy boots…yet. Reed kept a sharp eye for a glimpse of the enemies. He never seen or shot at one. He hoped he never does.
"This is how they break in new recruits," Reed said with spite. Yes, they were two week old recruits. Reed shook his head in dismay, as well as shaking off any thing that might bother him. Because, Reed knew, Jake was very sensitive. The young soldier could pick up on the slightliest thought or feel Reed might be going through. It was the bond, they had.
Jake sat slump, looking into the ruined business store. All gray cardboard boxes empty and laying everywhere. Dust and dirt covered everything. The walls were broken, pieces of them laid on the dusty, dirty floor. Why did we have to join the Marine Core? He asked himself. It was in the newspaper a year ago. The title: Join the New Marines now!
So the next day, Jake looked more into it and it included: All new recruits will have the new state-of-the-art weapons and devices. It would include, a much higher pay than regular soldiers. What did we have to lose? At least in the Marines, it would be great training, decent meals and beds. Reed always pictured himself being a soldier, he quickly agreed with the idea.
They were trained not to miss their mark, ever, go weeks without any food, and spend nights dirty and freezing. The Marines were what they expected. Reed always knew when something was a bad idea or not. He had that sense. But Jake was always over anxious and excited, shot first, ask questions later. What ever mess Jake got into, Reed would always bail him out, he always did. Even as kids, Reed was careful with his younger brother. They cared for each other when no one else would.
Foster parents after foster parents, Reed and Jake could never be torn apart. "Brother helps brother?" Jake would always ask when he did something so bad, he knew Reed was upset. Even though, no stranger could tell what Reed actually felt. "No matter what, Brothers forever," Reed would answer, and all the anger and worry would disappear. They would always help each other, no one could come between them; no one ever tried. It was they're meaning of the word, Brothers.
Reed locked and loaded his rifle in a second. "The Russians are here, as I expected," Reed's words tore Jake out of his deep focus. The older brother signaled to Jake that he would hide behind the door. He held to his fingers, there was three. Jake nodded. Not a sound they made, even their breathing was silent as the sky. The younger brother strapped his rifle to his self as he took hold of his small pistol. Quickly, and as quietly as he could, attached his silencer to his side arm.
Only three, but there were lots more, thousands more. The Russians wanted this poor town, San Fransisco. It be the first Russian stronghold and base of operations in America. The Marines were sent to keep it under American control. But constant bombing made it a deathtrap for infantry, Marines or not. They'll take this city, the Russians were like a virus will seep through every vein. Until, it reached the brain, and there will be nothing stopping the Russians when all the Americans were killed.
Reed snorted, Jake understood. State-of-the-art my foot. These were all standard issues to grunts. But the older brother was keen enough to keep his attention to the Russians. As they ran to corner to corner, one after the other. A standard procedure to any soldier.
Reed noticed the three wore gas-masks, their breathing was menacing. His heart began racing, and so did Jake. The sound was profound enough for both brothers to hear. Reed heard another sound. The look on his face made Jake shake even more. There were others and they were in the building! Reed quickly searched to find blood on the floor. Since to the bombardment, there was lots of. He quickly rubbed it on his muddy green heavy jacket. And he simply went limp and shut his eyes. Jake doing the same very hastily.
Not soon after, two other Russians stepped into the room. Reed heard each footstep, trying his very best not to cause any facial movements. He was suppose to be dead. He hoped that Jake too was doing his very best to play dead. There were no further footsteps, Reed could only hear chattering between the two Russian soldiers. They were speaking Russian, so Reed nor Jake could understand a word they were saying.
Moments passed, the two Russian soldiers continued talking. Reed's muscles were all tightening. It was more work to keep himself still than it was to stop himself from involuntarily kicking out a shin. Knowing he'd be shot at the sightliest sign of life. Jake too, also fought to keep still. How long will these stupid Russians talk for?
Leave already! Reed clenched his fist tightly, thankfully it was out of the Russian soldier's sights. Jake could have swore that they were talking for five long minutes. But, the Russians continued to talk and talk. The older brother wanted to get up that minute and snap both their necks. It didn't matter if the scout team learned of hostiles in the city. Reed would take his chances...if it wasn't for Jake, he would.
Soon, there were footsteps leading to the door. Reed heard the rusty hinges ringing as the door was opened. Hearing more, four pairs of feet walked on through the mud. Now one pair of feet stepped outside. Reed easily heard the lighting of a lighter and the scrambling for an item. Hearing huffing and puffing that could only come from a cigarette. Dirty Russians and their smoking. Reed awaited a few more seconds before moving.
Reed seen Jake's eyes. Jake wanted to kill that one Russian smoker. They both quietly climb to their feet, occasionally exchanging excited looks. Out the back door they went. It was simple, they merely followed the tracks that the Russians made with their boots. Jake found it extremely hard to keep quiet as the old wooden floor was prone to squeak. The colorless outdoors was a relief to the dark gloomy abandoned store.
They slowly stepped through the back alleys of the abandon store that led to the street. The two brothers were smart to keep close to the walls. He probably knows he's not alone. Jake reading Reed's face. Reed looked to Jake, Okay here is our choices. Risk open fire on our enemies and take our chances with the thousands more soldiers crawling around the city? Or, fire no gun, and avoid any and all hostile conflicts with the enemy. Jake held up two fingers, he liked choice number two. Reed grinned, so be it. This would give them chance to try out their evasion skills they were taught in their assigned regiment. Although, both knew they wouldn't keep their no gun policy.
They ran through the deserted city of San Francisco, trying to hide from the enemy. They were trying to escape the enemy's stronghold. The sounds of heavy boots stomped in deep thick mud filled the air. Splashing dirt-filled puddles as the two brothers ran on. The winds were thick, it wavered the brother's spirit with each passing blow. The younger one lagged behind, breathing heavily, so he slowed his pace. One foot after the other, Jake wanted to drop and breathe, and not move till the next day. The older one still strongly determined to find a safe place to rest for the night. He continued to beckoning his fatigued little brother to keep up.
Everything had seemed to lose its color. The clouds were almost completely black as they hung over the sky and they weren't going anywhere soon. Everything was covered in mud and dust; black and white.
The younger one's breaths became severely dry. He felt his legs fatigue. Jake stumbled. His face splashed into a mud puddle. And his spirit fell as well. His body cried, I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, we been running for hours, let me rest. Marines rest after the job was done, not before. And right now, the job was to make it to base with their lives. His heavy boots were covered in what felt like hundred pounds worth of mud. Not to mention, their wet clothes, Jake felt he was running with twice his weight. The mud seemed like it was sucking Jake into the earth. He knew wouldn't be able to pick himself up alone.
Two firm hands gripped Jake's jacket, pulling him off the ground and back on his feet. Reed could see it in Jake's eyes, that he was tired. Run now, and rest later, Jake reading his older brother's face. And the younger one was back in it. They both knew, it be harder if the Russians knew the two brothers were in the area.
It was getting darker by the minute. Reed needed to find a place, any place to rest! It be tougher to be running in the night. They will be easy targets for the Russians. The thousands of alleys they ran through. All the stores and apartments they ran past could make great hiding spots. And now, there were none. We'll run a little more then. Reed decided, Jake was not one to question his brother. Reed always knew what the right thing was that needed to be done.
As they ran a few hundred yards, the perfect two story building found Reed's eyes. A smile of relief as Jake will finally get to scrape the mud off his boots. Both knew, it would be a cold and hungry night, a very long night. The rooms were covered in black dust, bomb shelled soil. They soon found the stairs and climbed up to the second floor. It was there they finally had their long awaited rest. Now it was a matter of keeping each other from going mad of boredom.
Reed looked out the window, the dirty window. He was taking sentry duty first, he always did. All the while, Jake rested. Inside a bare floor covered in black dust, like every other room they found in the building. Slump down, lending against the wall, he clenched his mud covered rifle tightly. He regretted ditching his backpack that held all their food. Reed insisted they leave it behind. "It will get us killed if we slow down," Jake trusted that Reed was making the right decision, for them of both.
Jake shivered uncontrollably. Reed knew his little brother's spirit was hanging on by a thread.
They were cold, hungry, and tired. Running through the alleys like fugitives from the police, running for their lives. Reed's hands were numb from the cold mud, and so were his feet. His jaw tightened, as if he was planning to kill all the Russians for putting them both through hell.
Despair slowly crept and stalked the younger one, Jake. It would have devoured him long ago if it weren't for the other one, Reed. Reed was calm, confident, and very determined to stay strong, not only for himself, but for his younger brother as well. Jake was unaware. Reed drew his strength from his little brother, since he had no other source to draw strength from.
"… I am a soldier…" Jake's words used more energy than they gave. His cheeks twitched several times, like a child that can't face facts. His eyes stared down. We're not going to make it. That was the loudest voice inside his head. Shutting his eyes tightly, thinking if he shut his eyes hard enough, he would wake up from this nightmare. But he knew this was the plain cold reality of a Marine under siege.
Hard footsteps on hard wooden floors drew near to Jake. "I am your brother…" Reed said smiling faintly, leading a hand on Jake's shoulder. Suddenly, Jake was calm and relaxed finally.
The mud hid Jake's smooth face, same for Reed's rough skin. Jake's smile, cracked the mud on his face, as Reed's did also.
Only together will they make it out, Reed thought. They needed each other, more than they kow. All their life, it had been this way. Even before the war, everything was black and white, although, to others, the world was colorful and bright. To the two brothers, the world was only cold and dark. No school, no home, and no money. All there was family, family kept them going. All they ever needed was each other.
No one helped them, no one ever tried. They went to sleep with not enough food. Their stomachs growled, keeping them wide awake through the night. Cold, they had no clean or warm clothes. This was how Morb brother knew the world. And it never seemed to change for them either. Foster children never caught a break. Now they were in the middle of a war. Every second, every movement was a fight to survive. It was family to the end, brothers…to the end.