I dedicate these short stories to the love of my life, and the first person that taught me about the wonders writing does for your soul. That
is, of course, a wonderful gift.

Brothers

He sees the scene unfold itself slowly before his eyes, sees it like a
blind man who suddenly can see again, overwhelmed by the power to see,
taking everything in once at a time.

The wheelchair, which lay there turned over to it's side, the chrome of
the wheel shining in the soft moonlight that peaks through the half
closed curtains, the empty whiskey bottles that lie shattered around the
room and the undisturbed bed with dirty, stained sheets are all an
obvious sign that something is wrong.

Because he knows that the man in the wheelchair couldn't make it too far
without any help. Because the heavy, sour, almost sweet scent that hung
in the flat wasn't normal. Not normal at all.

He realises that something is wrong. No, he feels it. Feels it deep in
his veins, where his dark blood runs without end, feels it in the dark
pits of his stomach, but mostly feels it deep in his heart. It feels like
there is something missing, like that an important part of him is gone.
It feels . empty.

That is why he came here. Out of fear. Fright. Just a mere feeling that
something is wrong.

He sniffs once, as to make out where the scent comes from. It hangs like
a heavy curtain in the room and he knows that he'll be damned if there
isn't any blood involved. Suddenly his heart is filled evermore with
fear. This room isn't normal, doesn't feel normal. The 'air' doesn't feel
right.

Then his eyes fall upon a door, barely visible in the darkness of the
room, specially enhanced for wheelchair patients, with a wide door and
low handle. Light shines through it, weakly, as if there is something
blocking it from coming into this room. He knows that this is where he
should be. And he knows what he shall find.

He didn't know before, but suddenly he just knows. He just knows that he
is dead. With one hand he pushes the door open, and sees what he has
feared. A shadow is cast upon the floor, coming from the figure in the
bath cup, while blood still runs slowly from cut open wrists upon the
once white, but now pinkish tiles. He does not run, he does not fall down
on his knees; he doesn't do all of that. Instead he closes the door
behind him, turns off the heat and pulls the plug from the bath, so that
the red water is freed. Making sure that his brother looks decent is the
last thing he can do for him. So he heaves him from the tub, with great
difficulty, because dead bodies simply do not help.

As he lays him down on the bed, he notices the many wounds that cover
this pale body. To some of them he can rely, marks from needles and much
older scars from their childhood, others are much newer; such as those
wounds that cuts this beautiful skin of his in two at the height of his
wrists. There are many others, too much to count; and he feels guilty
because he could have done at least something. Just something. Well, he
is doing it now.

On their wrists and forearm, they share the same scars, self-inflicted
during their so seemingly hard childhoods. Right now, it seems a sin to
think any wrong of his brother, his poor twin, and the other part of his
soul.

He leaves the body alone for only a few seconds to retrieve a towel from
the bathroom, to dry the poor body of his brother dry, so that he can
dress him into the clothes in which everybody remembers him; dark, sexy
and mysterious.

And in that way they shall keep on remembering him.

A torn net T-shirt is pulled over his chest, arms pulled through the thin
sleeves with difficulty because dead limb and muscle will no longer bend
when required to do so, decorates his wrists with bracelets with metal
spikes, and fastens something similar around his neck. To find a black
jeans that will fit his skinny legs snugly in his cupboard, is hard. Then
he finally opts for black stretch pants.

Shoes are not hard to find. The lower shelf of his cupboard is littered
with all kind of shoes, going from black to black, the only constant
shade that is in his cupboard. He chooses a pair of black Doctor Martens,
simply because his feet will go inside the shoes easily without breaking
any bones. He does not want to mutilate his brother's corpse even more.
This corpse is holy. Cannot be touched. Cannot be hurt. As he has been
hurt too often.

His rest should be undisturbed. For he has never been left alone all his
life.

But he cannot ensure that. The media will fly upon the news of his death
like fat cats upon skinny mouse. His fans, both male and female, will
mourn like helpless children who have lost a father and mother, and the
popularity of his grave is likely to match the one of Jim Morrison or
Elvis. For his fans are with many.

When his hair has been combed, he looks towards the telephone, a device
that he has always distrusted. For he must ring the police, the hospital
or whatever is involved with suicide. He is sure that they will come
quickly, because a famous name like his or his brother's will never be
ignored. He rings the number, and as he waits for connection, he stares
at the peaceful face of his brother.

So peaceful and so dead. All the songs he sings about death suddenly make
no sense. Death can be peaceful, but it can also be deceiving.

"Hello? Is there anybody there? Operator here."

He quickly looks away from that beautiful, white, serene face and speaks.

"Yes. Please come quickly. I think my brother committed suicide."

The police officer that sits before him on a hard plastic chair doesn't
have a friendly face. It is a hard face, with wrinkles etched deep into
his skin, with the corners of his mouth hanging down like he hasn't got
anything to be happy about. He can believe that, as he heaved his brother
out of the bath and dried him dry, dressed him and let the water
disappear. His fingerprints are probably all over his body. It means more
paperwork for the police officer and it is just a nuisance for him.
Because he is Noah Kennedy, the singer of a known music band. He has
dealt with people like this before.

For now, only the police and the hospital know that the famous Jordan
Kennedy is dead. But it won't be long before the press will be told the
news. It isn't hard to imagine for him what will happen next.

In front of him, upon the wooden table, which looks like it had to endure
a couple of hits, stands two brown plastic cups filled with black coffee
to the rim. On the table lies also the file upon Jordan, with some shots
from his dead body stretched out on the bed, with pictures from the
bathroom that Noah didn't bother to clean up, and a picture of Jordan
from when he was still with the band. How different he had looked back
then.

He wonders or if they really believe that he would kill his very own
brother. The officer is talking to him; Noah can see his mouth move like
a pantomime or in some silent film.

"Think it's funny, heh?"

"What is funny? The fact that my brother is dead?" He replies with

what is most certainly not a smile on his face.

"Why did you carry him out of the bath, put him on the bed, and dressed
him, so far destroying all evidence?"

"I wanted him to look good." A short answer. He does not want to make it
easy for him. No way.

"It all rather sounds suspicious. Do you realise that, Mr. Kennedy?"

"Would you kill your own brother; Mr?"

"Shaunessy. There are times I could."

"But you don't."

" No, I don't."

" Why is that?"

"Because I love them, I guess."

"That makes my statement clear."

There is a silence for a couple of seconds, as the police officer must
think the next step out.

"Thinking you're a smart ass, heh?"

Noah's eyes grow wide as he hears this bold statement coming out of the
officer's mouth. He is aware of the fist that he is making, and feels
anger boil inside him. He has never liked it that people called him a
smart ass. Jordan might have taken that for a compliment, but not him.

The officer must know that he said something right, because he is smiling
now. All the wrinkles suddenly go up and down, creating an unique
mountain ridge. Hear now, hear now, an unique mountain ridge in the
middle of Boston in a police office.

"You killed your brother."

It is the final line. He will not hear more.

"No, I didn't."

Noah's lips are a hard, white line right now, while his eyes burn with
hatred. He can't believe what happened. His knuckles are white, and his
fingers red. His is grinding his teeth, in an effort to keep calm. But he
knows that if this officer continues like this, he might do a thing that
he will most certainly regret.

Nervous and angry, with shaking hands, he picks up the cup and drinks the
steaming coffee, but it doesn't calm him down, it is merely a distraction
from his anger.

But then he hears the familiar voice of Brett, the guitarist of the band.
His voice is loud and deep, and there is a hint of sadness in it too, as
he desperately cries out his name. He must be sad, Brett, for the death
of Jordan. Everybody liked Jordan. There wasn't anyone who didn't fall
for his charms.

The door opens and there stands the tall figure of Brett, in his black
jeans and combats, with his unkempt blonde hair and black polish on his
nails.

Noah notices the bewildered look in his eyes. He knows that Brett, dear
Brett, is worried. Not about Jordan, because he got what he wanted since
he was a teenager. Jordan is dead. And he is the one who must live with
the consequences of that deed. No, Brett is worried about him, Noah
Kennedy. Worried that he might do something wrong. Worried that he might
do something stupid that cannot be justified anymore. For Jordan, the man
he once used to love is now gone for good.

Two police officers stand behind Brett, one a blonde female with a big
bust and the other one a black male, as if they want to stop him, but for
one reason or another, they don't and stand there as heavy, stone
statues. Even Shaunessy, who sits in front him, does nothing but look at
that wonderful creature that must not have come from hell, and most
certainly not come from heaven.

"Noah." he whispers, his eyes full of despair, sadness and hope. That
sole whisper is enough to calm down Noah, who sets down the hot cup of
coffee back upon the table and slowly, unclenches his fist.

Through the matted glass Noah sees three more dark figures and he knows
for sure that this is the rest of the band, as they act like they were
dead drunk before they heard of Jordan's dead. Noah has seen this many
times before. Before gigs, during parties, during recordings. They
aren't sober, but not as drunk as they would want to be.

Jordan. Brett. Jeff. Tom. Patrick.

Noah whispers these names, as it is a mantra, the names of the persons
that he loves, as to calm him down. But the presence of Brett is more
than enough.

Finally Brett speaks. "He is coming with me. He is not staying here any
longer. You want to speak with him, call his lawyer."

And Noah is all too happy to get up from that chair, away from that
police officer. For he is mourning. For he hates this shit that he has to
face right now.

'See you sucker' would not be an appropriate thing to say to the hand of
the law. So Noah wisely keeps his mouth shut as he leaves the office,
with Brett next to him, the rest of the band following.

"Sorry, pal, that it took us this long to come over and get ya out of
there.'"

A small grin comes over Noah's face, for Brett has never managed to keep
the southern touch out of his language. It reminds him of the obvious
fact that the band still exists, that nothing in the band has changed,
except for the fact that the original lead singer is dead.

He looks at the houses, flats, bars, and offices, hookers that flash away
before his window, everything blurred into a lucid game full of color.
Boston used to be his city, but now, after ten years of touring Boston
has just become one of those cities where he has gigs to perform; to him
Boston is just a place full of bad memories and tonight has added another
one.

And Noah is silent and even the rest of the band keep their mouth shut.
The only noise in the cab is a cheesy song from the fifties. And it
suffices to fill the silence.