by A.F. Ashes
My nightmare released
Three Brothers Minus Two
Their ties were strong. Like cables in construction yards. Their parents had passed on. Their lives led forward.
Until one cable snapped and withered away. He had been the strength. The wisdom. Another cable began to thin out. Then changed back into rope. The last cable tried to stay strong. He was the restraint. The wealth. But without strength behind it restraint is easy to ignore.
The rope was caught in the current, threatened to drown. He showed up at the cables door for the twentieth time. Pleading eyes met pleading eyes. Met sad eyes. Met cold eyes. Met no eyes. The door had closed. Locks clicked. The rope sobbed and despaired away.
Inside, the cable rusted away. Revealing only stressed twine. He had never been good at making friends or meeting women. He relied on his brothers most. Perhaps too much.
Dead eyes fell on pictures. His parents ties were broken. His sister in law and nieces ties were thin and distant. And now his brothers' ties.... Were broken as well.
The twine sat limply and wrote three notes. He signed them all. Two he sent in the mail.Shaky fingers snapped his twine. The third note was found beneath his swinging feet. "I have floated away." One envelope arrived at his lawyers office. All his wealth was to be left to his sister in-law. Nothing was to be given to his brother.
His brother received the second envelope. He looked upon it with grief, but felt hope. He opened it with shaky fingers. A ton of chains fell upon his back. "You have killed me." Sea water rained in his apartment. In his despair he forgot about his fate.
Two thugs arrived at his door. "Have you got the money?"
The piece of paper fell from his hand. A thug picked up the unreadable note. "What's this?"
"From my brother."
They knew of his brother. Had heard of his demise. One thug even gave him a sympathetic look. He too had lost somebody close.
"Do you have anyone?" The last brother asked.
Both thugs had siblings and parents. One had a wife and three kids. The other had a fianc. The last brother had no one. His friends had cut their ties as his brother could not. "Will you kill me?"
That was not their task. As the thugs advanced on him he saw a truth. Their ties not only went outward. The strings twisted about their legs, arms, and torsos. They themselves were held together by their connections.
Blood began to trickle but the brother only cried for his lost threads.
The three brothers had always been close. As kids they had been the white picket fence. Always standing together, arms firmly entwined. Playing together, fighting together, and when their parents had died, crying together.
The bond grew stronger. Such a metal mankind could never hope to duplicate. Even when the first had gotten married the cable didn't weaken. It just reformed itself. Putting his wife, then his daughters under the protection of the three. Those had been proud days. Happy days.
Then the first had died and the strength waned. Even the strongest substances needed to be maintained. The second tried to keep it together, tried to help the last. But he hadn't listened, hadn't tried. He was the brave. The brash.
One of the thugs stepped back. The brother's cries were muted. His tears never stopping. The thug lifted the bruised face and looked into distant eyes. He shook the last brother and asked pointedly. "Why are we doing this?"
Focus returned to the eyes. Tears continued to pour free. "I killed my brother!" A horror filled scream.
The thug forced the brother to look at him and stated "No. You owe the boss three grand." Then waited for an acknowledgment.
"I let him drift away." A dying moan. The beating continued. "I killed my brother," the only response.
Afterward the tatters of his ropes hung from him. He started to drift apart. But broken fingers kept him from making a noose, literally. Later fear would bind his fingers figuratively. He could not do as his brother had.
The last brother found himself caught in a net of twenty-two loose strands and no matter which he pulled there was nothing good on the other end.
So he ran. Now he is the strength, the wisdom, the restraint, the wealth, the brave, and the brash. He is the only. One