An enervated sigh escaped Charles as he stopped his horse at the top of a hill and looked out across the prairie; the grasslands never seemed to end, making the journey more wearisome and boring. The ever-present wind tossed his disheveled hair about.
His breath caught in his throat as he looked further on and could barely discern a bustling river port. The town clustered beside a large, sweeping river, hugging it fiercely as if its survival depended on it. Buildings and homes dotted the town, being separated by the streets and creating a gridded, monotonous appearance to the settlement. Steamboats floated up and down the river, coughing up billowing clouds.
His attention was diverted as Peter pulled up his gelding beside him. The brothers met weary gazes. Charles motioned to the town with a jerk of his head and said, "Looks like our luck has changed, eh?"
Peter's gaze drifted to the saddle horn. He fiddled with the reins.
"What's the matter?"
"I don't want to do this, Charles. It just feels wrong."
"I know, but we have to."
Peter looked up at the swaying prairie grass that stretched far beyond his sight. A wave of homesickness surged through him as he found himself recalling their home back in England: Peter distinctly recalled their quaint farmhouse that felt so cramped at times but remained warm and welcoming, the barn and paddock that his father built, the pastures and the fields they preened and toiled tirelessly over; he recalled herding the cattle from the pasture to the barn and milking them for the night; the long days of hard work; he thought about their parents; his father a robust man, built like a work horse with a mane of dark-brown hair atop his head and a beard as dark and thick, his mother a slender, selfless woman with golden hair that reached her waist, who loved her family with a fierceness that touched him even up to that very moment.
He flinched and looked back at Charles. "What?"
"You all right?"
"Yeah, just knackered is all," he answered as he looked back at the town.
For a time, the brothers sat silently atop their horses taking in the serene landscape. The sun was beginning to disappear past the town, splashing the world with a wonderful palette of crimson, coral, and cadmium. The clouds that flowered across the sky blossomed into beautiful violet hues. The river sparkled with the myriad of colors it absorbed and reflected.
"Right, then," Charles said. "Let's be off." He squeezed his heels to his horse's sides, and the mare walked tiredly forward.
Charles looked over his shoulder at him and reined his horse around. "What?"
"I said…no." His eyes flicked from the saddle horn to his brother and back.
"Let's just get on with it and—"
"I'm not going down there, Charles."
"Because it's just dodgy."
"Who bloody cares?"
"I do, and I'm sure the folks down there do as well! We shouldn't have to nick from them! How are they going to carry on?"
Charles glared at him cynically. "Then that's their problem, not ours. Now stop faffing about and—"
"No! I'm not going to nick from those people!"
"What choice do you think we have, Peter? We got no clothes but what we got on, no food or water, and no money! How else do you think we're gonna get all these things?" He pointed to the town with one steely finger. "Either we nick the things we need now or we don't survive! We don't have a choice, Peter! Whether you like it or not, this is our lifestyle now. Now let's just bash on, get it over with, and get the hell out of here." With that, he turned his horse back around and nudged her into a trot down the hill.
Peter bowed his head and sighed bitterly. He urged his gelding after the mare, and together the brothers rode at a brisk lope across the plains towards the town.
The moon smothered the world with a blanket of milky light that night as the brothers rode into town. As their horses slopped through the muddied, well-trodden streets of Nebraska City, the young men took in their new surroundings with a mixture of awe and anxiety. The settlement was far different than the towns they'd come upon in their mother land; the bustling port city was littered with a myriad of buildings, stores, and homes. Everything they could possibly think of was there: warm, home-cooked meals and baths, cheap liquor and women, supply stores for both horse and human, and every store in-between. They weaved their way tiredly through the mud and manure. Many a wary, puzzled eye settled upon the newcomers as they rode on deeper into town, around the gridded sections of land and houses towards what they assumed would be the center of town. The townspeople stared at them as they rode past, causing the brothers to hasten their horses into a trot. When he could take it no longer, Charles reined his paint mare down an alleyway and slowed her to a calm walk. Peter immediately followed, and they rode on in silence save for the sloshing and plodding of their mounts' hooves.
Suddenly, a voice materialized from the darkness, enrapturing Charles with an unshakable curiosity. He urged his horse on, following the sound of a woman humming a nameless tune. A yellow orb began to bloom in the dark above him as he approached. He looked up and could make out an oil lamp through a partially-opened window on the second story of an inn. The shutters were opened just wide enough for the cool night air to float in and for Charles to see the illuminated bare back and buttocks of a young woman bathing in front of a vanity with a wash basin. Charles gasped and pulled his horse to a stop.
Peter halted his horse behind him. "Oi! What are you…" He trailed off as he followed his brother's gaze. His face flushed a deep scarlet, and he jerked his head down and stared at the saddle horn.
Charles didn't notice his sibling's discomfort as he continued to gawk at the bathing beauty. He grew hard for her as his virgin eyes explored her body; they snagged on her small breasts and backside. The curvature of her slim body was pleasing to see, and he fantasized caressing her pale flesh with his calloused, inexperienced hands; he yearned to run his fingers through her waist-length raven hair that she draped over her left shoulder. He watched closely as her delicate fingers gripped the cloth as she slid it up her right arm, across her chest, and up her graceful neck. She looked no older than he, perhaps even younger, and was completely oblivious to the ogler below as she hummed to herself in contentment.
Peter cleared his throat. "Let's be off then, eh?"
Charles blinked in rapid succession, drawn out of his lascivious revere. As much as he ached to stay and watch the spectacle he'd stumbled upon, he turned his gaze down to his horse's brown and white mane. He had more pressing matters to attend to. He adjusted his seat in the saddle and said, "Right." He squeezed his heels to his mare's sides, and the paint carried on down the alley, with the black and white gelding bringing up the rear.
When at last they came upon the main street, their anxiety worsened as they gazed at the many horses, carts, and people that populated the street. The road was a dark sloppy mess, making it difficult for their horses to make their way through the mud without slipping. They rode past several banks, a couple saloons, the city hall, the sheriff's office, and as they came upon a general store, Charles turned his mare down the alleyway between the store and a gunsmith's store. His brother was quick to follow, and once they were reunited, they stopped their horses and dismounted without saying a word. They tied their horses behind a large wood shed to avoid them being seen by wanton eyes.
Once they were out of sight, Charles looked around to make sure they weren't being watched or followed. The horses and people passed by unknowingly. He shivered from the cool evening breeze that blew down the alley and rustled his soiled clothing and hair.
"Damn that bloody wind," he swore under his breath.
His words caught his sibling off-guard. "Eh? What's wrong?"
"Keep your voice down!"
Like an abused animal, Peter flinched at his sharp command. "Sorry."
"Sorry won't do us any good if we get caught," Charles said as he stepped around him and walked down the alleyway. He stood in front of the middle window in the store, peered inside, and nodded in approval. He inspected the windowsill for a moment before feeling around on the bottom for a grip. He grunted as he tried to open the window. "Goddamn it, it's locked." He straightened from his bent stance and stepped back from the window, panting and glowering at it like its sole mission was to make him off as a weak fool.
"Brilliant." Peter sighed as he put his hands on his hips. "So what now?"
Charles stomped back over to his horse and took out two burlap sacks from his saddlebags. "There's bound to be a back door. Come on." He handed a bag to his brother, beckoned him to follow, and made his way to the back of the store. The brothers slunk up against the side of the building, one on each side of the threshold. It took Charles two tense minutes to pick the lock with his pocket knife.
"Right," Charles breathed. "We get in, grab what we need, and get out, got it?"
The hinges squeaked as Charles opened the door wide enough for him and his sibling to slip through. Rows of racks were set up throughout the store, so they didn't have trouble finding what they needed as they went about snatching as many valuable things they saw fit to survive off for the next few weeks. They seized fruits and vegetables, bags of flour and coffee beans, jars of butter, tea bags, spoons and forks, plates and cups, shirts and trousers, boots and wool socks. Along the east side of the building stretched a long wooden counter with a cash register sitting atop it. With a sly sneer, Charles strode over to it, opened the drawer, and beamed with delight as he seized handfuls of dollar bills. He held up the wad of cash and smiled.
Peter beamed back at him, but as Charles turned his back to him to take a revolver from the display case, it faded into a sad frown. Mum and Dad would be so disappointed, he thought as he went to the nearest rack and grabbed a handful of shirts he didn't know would fit him or his brother.
Charles stuffed the revolver in his bag, along with a Winchester repeater from the display case and several boxes of ammunition. With a grunt, he hefted it over his shoulder and strolled up to his brother.
"What all you got?"
"Odds and sods, really. Food, clothes, some booze…"
"What kind?" He dug through Peter's bag with a sudden frenzy. When he straightened up from his bent stance, he held up a medium-sized bottle and grinned.
Peter cocked an eyebrow. "Whiskey?"
"Put that in your bag, along with this." He hastened over to a rack of alcohol and grabbed two more bottles.
Peter shook his head as he took the bottles from his brother, wrapped them with rags, and placed them gently into his bag. Standing up from his packing, he reached for another bottle, but his hand accidentally brushed the edge of the rack instead, causing a bottle nearest the edge to teeter. He couldn't react in time to stop it from falling off and shattering on the floor at his feet. He froze with his arm still outstretched as he stared down at the mess.
Charles flinched and whirled around, eyes wide with terror. "You git! Watch what you're doing!"
Peter carefully withdrew his hand from the rack. "I didn't mean to!"
The brothers froze in their spots as a slight thump sounded in the night.
Suddenly, the back door creaked open. The loud clunking of boots across creaking floorboards pierced the silence. Charles dropped to the floor, and when he saw his brother was still standing, he reached up and yanked him down beside him. They hid behind the rack on their hands and knees.
Peter looked at Charles, who put a finger to his lips and looked through the lowest shelf on the rack. Peter did the same. From what the racks could allow, they saw the torso of a burly, middle-age man wearing trousers and a half-tucked-in shirt underneath suspenders. In his monstrous hands sat a gleaming Winchester repeater.
Peter looked to his brother and breathed, "What do we do?"
They looked back through the shelves as the shopkeeper started forward, his gun at the ready and his index finger hugging the trigger. He slowly walked past the first two rows of racks, searching for the trespassers.
"Oi!" Peter whispered. "What do we do?"
Charles frowned and bit his lip as he hastily devised a ruse. "Right. I'll distract him while you get the horses ready." He handed him his bulging bag.
"But what if you get hurt…or worse?"
"I'll be fine. Just go when I tell you, alright?"
With trembling hands, Peter accepted it from his brother. "Don't get cheeky with him."
Charles peaked through the racks once more; the shopkeeper crept around with his rifle poised. Without turning around, he whispered, "Give me something to throw." He beckoned with his hand, and from what he felt, Peter gave him one of the bottles of whiskey. He frowned at the soon-to-be loss. "Get ready to run."
He leaned around the rack and threw the bottle to the opposite side of the shop away from where they hid; glass shattered and alcohol sprayed. The man swung his rifle around and fired. Charles whipped back around the rack and beckoned his brother to run. As his brother grabbed the bags and dashed to the back door, he stood up and yelled, "Oi, you daft fucker, I'm right here!"
The shopkeeper reloaded, aimed at him, and fired. Charles shied to the right and ran behind the nearest rack. He flinched when he heard the rifle fire off again: out of the corner of his eye, he saw a bullet embed itself in the doorway, barely missing Peter's head as he ran through the door.
Charles relinquished his protection and charged. He struck the man in the face with all the power he could summon in his right arm. The man dropped the rifle as he stumbled back into the display case. Charles strode after him, grabbed him by the collar, and slammed him down on top of the case. The blood that thundered through his veins burned with renewed vigor as he repeatedly punched the shopkeeper. As he raised his fist for another blow, he paused at the sound of hooves sliding across dirt.
"Charles! Get the hell out of there!"
He looked over his shoulder at the door and saw Peter atop his horse with his mare in tow. His brother beckoned frantically and yelled, "Come on! Let's go!"
Charles gave the shopkeeper one last punch before dropping him and sprinting for the back door. There was a pained grunt, a loud click, and then a deafening blast. Charles screamed as he felt something hot rip through his left bicep, and he fell to the floor.
Peter watched helplessly from atop his horse as the man rose and stumbled over to Charles, who lay on the ground clutching his upper left arm and groaning. The shopkeeper reloaded the rifle and pointed the gun down at Charles' head. From the light of the moon, Peter could see the whites of his brother's eyes as he looked up at the man.
"No! Don't kill him!"
The man flinched and looked up at him, startled for a moment, before aiming the rifle at Peter's head.
From the ground, Charles kicked the shopkeeper's legs out from under him. The man howled as he fell to his knees. Charles got to his feet, wretched the gun out of the man's grasp with his right hand, raised the rifle to his shoulder, and pulled the trigger. A flash of light and a jarring boom took him by surprise, just as much as the explosion of blood and gore as the bullet tore through the shopkeeper's chest and out his back. The man dropped to the floor. Charles froze and stared at the ragged hole in the man's chest.
Peter stared down at the body from atop his horse. "You… You killed him, Charles… Jesus bloody Christ, you killed him!"
Charles dropped the rifle as he stumbled to the back door. He leaned heavily against the threshold, quivering and panting.
Muffled voices and footfalls resonated from outside the store. Through the front windows, the brothers could see the silhouettes of curious people rushing for the front door. Charles turned his head and stared at the approaching people with an agape mouth.
When his brother didn't move, Peter jumped off his horse, seized him by the sleeve, and yanked him out of the building. Charles staggered over to his horse and mounted up. The second Peter mounted his horse, he and his brother spurred their horses into a frenzied gallop down the alley, their mounts slipping and hastily gathering their hooves from underneath them in their rush to escape. As the townsfolk neared the front door and peered inside, the brothers had ridden down another alleyway, down one of the streets, and out of town, disappearing into the prairie grass.
By the time they felt they'd made plenty of distance, their horses were lathered with sweat and Charles' sleeve was drenched in blood. As Charles stopped his horse and went to dismount, he slid out of the saddle and collapsed on the ground. The mare side-stepped and peered down at him with her ears pricked and nostrils flaring.
Peter dismounted and rushed to his brother's aid. "Blimey, Charles," he grunted as he pulled him up into a sitting position.
Charles' head wobbled on his shoulders; he blinked his half-lidded eyes and gawked down at his left arm. The sleeve was covered with dark red streaks. He grumbled incoherent curses as he attempted to gather his legs from underneath him. His knees buckled, and were it not for Peter's quick hands snatching his arms, he would've fallen face-first to the ground. Peter tried helping him back up on his feet, but his body shook from exertion and famine, and he could barely lift him off the ground.
Charles shrugged his hands off and waved him away. "Leave me be, goddamn it," he growled as he folded his legs underneath him.
"Don't get cheeky with me. I'm trying to help you; you're done over."
"Shut up, Peter. I'm fine."
"Like hell! Look at your arm! You need help!"
"And just where do you reckon we go? We can't go back to town after what just happened."
"Well, what else are we going to do?"
Charles nodded to their bulging burlap sacks slung across their horses' rumps. "Fetch the bags."
"What the hell for?"
"You're going to stitch up me arm, that's what."
Peter blinked. "But…I don't know how…"
"It's just like how Mum used to stitch up our clothes. She was always mending our things, remember?"
"Well, yeah, but that was cloth, and Mum never taught us how to sew. How do you expect me to do this when I don't know what the hell I'm doing?"
"Come off it. It can't be that hard."
"Peter, just shut up and get the bags."
With a grumble, he brought the bags to his brother and knelt beside him. As he rummaged through them, he asked, "So what am I fetching?"
The glint of a whiskey bottle in the moonlight caught Charles' eye. He snapped his fingers and pointed at it. "That. Give me that."
He frowned as he passed it to him.
"Don't you give me that look," Charles grumbled as he took the cork out with his teeth. He spat it out onto his lap and lifted the bottle to his lips. The whiskey burned down his throat and splashed into his gut; he sighed deeply.
"Don't you be getting aled up, now."
"Piss off," he said and took another drink.
Peter gaped at him. "You've got a lot of bottle speaking to me like that, especially in your state."
"And you've got a lot of bottle telling me what to do, so just shut your yap and leave me be. I'm already in enough pain as it is without you mollycoddling me." He glared off into the darkness and lifted the bottle to his lips, taking a mighty draught of it. He held up the bottle against the glow of the moon and frowned—it was a quarter of the way gone. He took one more drink before setting the bottle down next to him and looked expectantly at Peter.
"Well? Get on with it."
Peter blinked. "You're mad if you think I can do this."
"Well, who else is going to do it? We can't go back to that town and find a doctor." He fumbled as he unbuttoned his shirt with his right hand. He shrugged off the sleeve with ease but was careful to peel the left sleeve off with his right hand. As his soiled shirt tumbled to the ground behind him, his injury was revealed in all its repulsive glory.
Peter scooted closer to him and studied the injury. The entry wound was relatively small, although ragged and bleeding. He reckoned the bullet had passed through, for when he glanced at the back of Charles' bicep, the exit wound was larger and there was nothing lodged inside. Though he couldn't see clear through it, it looked like nothing serious was hit.
Peter sucked in air through clenched teeth. "Bloody hell."
Charles snorted. "Bloody hell, indeed."
"So…what do you reckon I do?"
"Maybe take some of the whiskey and pour it on there? Hell, I don't know."
Peter picked up the bottle beside his brother and poured a small amount of it on the wound.
"Son of a bitch!" Charles exclaimed. He punched the ground with his right fist so hard Peter felt the force of his blow in his knees.
"I'm sorry, but it's the best I can do!"
"Quick, wash it off!"
Peter rinsed off the alcohol with what little water he had left in his canteen, then scooted back a few feet and watched his brother simmer at a safe distance.
As his breathing slowed, Charles opened his eyes from their tight grimace. His wound stung from the alcohol. Blood trickled down his shaking arm.
"You all right?" Peter asked.
"Do I bloody look like it?"
"I reckon not," he snorted as he dug through his bag and fetched a needle and catgut.
Charles eyed the needle with distaste. "Right, then. Carry on."
Peter leaned forward and, as carefully as he could, pushed the needle into the right side of the ripped flesh. Charles sucked in air through clenched teeth and clawed at the dirt as he pushed the needle through the skin and into the other side of the wound, then pulled the catgut through until it was taut.
"Fuckin' Christ, Peter! Hurry up!"
"I would if you'd sit still!"
Peter bit his lip as he pushed the needle into the skin on the other side of the wound and hastily pulled the catgut through. Charles gasped and groaned with each stitch, trembling and panting through the pain. His excruciation was elevated when his brother switched to the back of his wound and painstakingly sewn the torn flesh back together. When at last he was done, Peter tied the catgut into a knot and cut the excess with his knife. He scooted away from his brother to give him some room.
Charles' chest heaved and his face was scrunched into an excruciated visage. A fresh stream of crimson ran down his arm. "Well?" he grunted, "how is it? Will it be all right?"
"How in God's name am I supposed to know? I'm no doctor."
He sulked as he surveyed his brother's handiwork—or lack thereof. "Good enough, I reckon."
Peter was silent for a time as he eyed his brother with pity. "So, what now?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, what are we going to do, now that we're…well, you know…"
Charles' eyes narrowed as he picked up the bottle of whiskey and lifted it to his lips. "Nothing's going happen to us, so don't worry about it."
"You have to worry about it! What are we going to do when they catch us? They'll hang us for sure!"
He paused in-between swigs to shoot his brother an admonishing sneer. "Peter, need I remind you that someone has to see us commit something before they can blame it on us?"
"Yes, but they could still catch us and bring us in, and even then, we're screwed because they'll know we did it!"
"They're not going to find us, nor will they ever! They'd have to ride just as hard as we did and cover all those miles we've put behind us. They'll likely give up after the first ten miles or so and go home." He took another hearty draught of the whiskey. "They'll give him a proper burial, but then, you know what they'll do? They'll carry on. You can't expect them to mourn forever, Peter. That's what you do when something like that happens."
Disbelief held his little brother speechless for a brief second before he exclaimed, "How can you say that, Charles? You know what you've done is wrong! You shouldn't have–"
"I saved your life, goddamn it! I had to do something, Peter! You're my brother, for Christ's sake!"
"But you committed a cri–"
"I did not!" His chest caved as he exhaled deeply and ran his right hand over his face. His palm came to rest over his mouth. The glow of the fire reflected in the whites of his eyes as he stared into the flames.
"Are you scared?"
Charles lowered his hand and looked down at it. Gradually, his breathing slowed and his expression morphed into a taciturn visage. He snatched up the bottle of whiskey and threw back three large gulps. As he sat the bottle down, he exhaled deeply and looked his brother in the eyes. "No. I'm not scared, and I'm not sorry for what I did. I saved your life, Peter. I did what I had to do, and that's that."
"You killed someone, Charles! Aren't you afraid of going to hell?"
He rolled his eyes. "Hell doesn't exist, and neither does Heaven. That damn Bible of Mum's has you believing in codswallop! I don't know why you read that fucking thing—all it does is twists your mind and makes you believe in shit. What's the sense in believing in something that doesn't exist?"
"What's the sense in not believing, Charles? Believing is all we've got left. Mum and Dad are gone, so we must turn to G—"
"DON'T say it! Stop with this foolishness!"
Peter slammed his fist to the ground. "No! I'll not be coerced into silence, not when you've committed a crime and a sin. You've broken the Sixth Commandment, Charles! What do you think happens to sinners like you?"
"Nothing's going to happen to me, you git. Now shut your gob and let's eat something."
Peter shook his head and glared him down. "No, not until I'm done with this!"
Charles returned the glare. "I'll say when we're done with this, and we're done now. Shut up about the bloody Bible. That shit doesn't matter. What does matter is that we get some food in our gullets before we starve to death." He gestured to their bags with a curt nod.
In the scalding silence, Peter dug through the bags and fetched the fruits and vegetables he'd stolen; he and his brother divvied them up and tore into the produce like emaciated coyotes at a buffalo carcass. "I'd kill to have some meat," he grumbled after a while. He eyed the half-eaten apple in his hand with disappointment. His gut still ached from hunger, however, and he bit into the fruit with gusto and chewed hastily.
"Well, we've got guns now," Charles said through a mouthful of carrot. "What say we go looking for some game tomorrow, eh?"
"With that arm of yours? I reckon we ought to find help first."
"What we ought to do is buy us a piece of land and start up a farm. Then we'd never go hungry again."
Peter snorted. "That'll be the day, if we can ever get any money saved up."
"Well, we've got some now."
He clamped his mouth shut and glared down at the ground in front of him, chewing and debating whether to continue the argument. After another bite, he thought better of it and finished the apple, tossing aside the core and picking up another. He looked off to the side at the sound of one of their horses blowing—their mounts grazed ten yards away, still saddled and sweating but eating their fill of the endless prairie grass.
Charles nodded to their mounts and said, "Let's unsaddle them." He gathered his legs underneath him and attempted to stand, but he realized the chances of him walking on a stomach full of whiskey and a body low on blood and food were slim. He barely reacted in time to catch himself from falling on his face with his good arm. Grumbling under his breath, he sluggishly pushed himself back up into a sitting position, and as he sat cross-legged and panting, he glared down at his stitched wound.
"I can take care of the horses, if you like," Peter suggested.
"I'm not worthless, if that's what you're playing at."
"Oi! I never said that!"
"You sure as hell were thinking it, you little cheeky bastard."
In an angry flare, Peter stood up and stomped over to the horses. He unsaddled and ground-tied them in record time, and when he came back to his brother, he scoffed as Charles lifted the half-empty bottle to his lips. "How's your arm, you tosspot?" he asked as he sat back down.
Charles sluggishly glanced at the haphazardly-stitched wound and half-shrugged with his right shoulder. "It'll do for now." He reached into his brother's bag and took out one of the shirts he'd stolen. He temporarily set the bottle down beside him as he slipped on the tawny cotton shirt, easily able to stick his right arm into the sleeve. He shrugged on the shirt and grunted as he struggled to slip his left arm in the other sleeve.
Peter rose to one knee and extended a hand to help, but the glare his brother shot him immediately made him recoil.
"Leave well enough alone, Peter."
"Look at you, Charles."
"What about me?"
He gestured to his injured arm sticking half-way out of the sleeve. "You can't get dressed with one arm. You want me to––"
Charles slashed his right hand through the air in front of him. "Don't even think about helping me. I'm just fine."
"Let me just—"
"You so much as touch me and I'll stove your face in! I still have one good arm, you know."
"There's no need for such malarkey," Peter admonished. "Now stow your pride and let me help you." He stood and walked closer to his brother. He grabbed the left sleeve of the shirt and held it up.
"Come away from me, you—"
"Bugger that, Charles! Now put your arm through."
Grumbling and grunting in pain, he did as his little brother commanded. Once the shirt was completely on, Peter stepped around and knelt in front of him to help button it. He was quick to avoid Charles' right fist from striking the left side of his face, and he backed away and sat glaring at him from a safe distance.
"You sure know how to throw a conniption fit, eh?"
"Piss off," Charles rumbled as he struggled to button up the clean shirt with one hand. One by one, he succeeded, albeit after a long while.
"So what now?"
Charles glanced up at his sibling. "We sleep."
"And what then? What about your arm? Are you keen on us looking for help?"
"That's not an answer."