The Following is an excerpt from the book, The Everlasting Brotherhood. Click the link for more details.
By Adam Lynch
The sun rose high the following morning. The wind from the clouds was ever so soothing as the hums of the birds followed in its current. I watched as the earth’s wildlife carried on their daily lives without a stress in the world—everything was as it should be, and somehow they knew everything would carry on as it always had. From birth, they had been given everything they would ever need to survive throughout the years of their lives. They had not gone a single day fretting over the world that nearly every human being had believed to be coming to an end.
It could not be denied that our world was finding itself to be more flawed every day, but I’d still like to believe it could change. This was one of the few things where Jamie and I hadn’t ever been able to see eye to eye. The way I saw it was this: what would be the point in prolonging existence if one believed there was no hope for its future? It just seemed senseless to me for others to believe the world to be hopeless and yet continue living with no purpose.
However, not all people in the world contributed to its flawlessness. In the morning for instance, Jamie and I managed to come across a few church folks giving away some food for the homeless—homeless people like us.
Jamie and I had been serving as associates for Captain Magma for a while now, but only as interns. They wanted newbies to prove their dedication to the business before they started paying them. It was because of this that Jamie and I had been struggling to survive. Luckily for us, there were kind people in the world looking to catch us a break. I just wished Jamie could see it that way.
As he and I sat down at a table the church folks provided us, we turned our attention to the television that broadcast today’s news. As all days, they featured super-powered heroes as their main headline. Like Captain Magma, there existed a select number of people in the world who possessed supernatural abilities, some greater than others. Some used them to help people. Some used them to control people, and others hadn’t used them at all.
“It amazes me how many supers allow their powers to go elapsed,” said Jamie as we watched the statistics of how many individuals lived their lives hindering their abilities.
“Huh?” I asked.
“All I’m saying is if I had powers, I would definitely use them.”
“For what exactly?”
“To secure anything you and I would ever need to survive.”
I reserved a moment to think about what he said. “But do you really believe having powers is necessary to make a difference? Here’s an interesting thought: do powers make as much of a difference in the world as normal people doing simple things such as feeding the poor? Take these church folk for instance. Doesn’t it seem like they’re doing more to help the world than people with supernatural abilities?”
Jamie smirked after I had said this. “Don’t let these church folk fool you, Isaac. They’ll do anything to look good in the eyes of the public, but behind closed doors, they’re all monsters just like the rest of us. Anybody who doesn’t already appear as a monster is a master manipulator.”
“So you don’t believe there’s good in people?”
“No, I just don’t think we should trust anyone, not unless they’re family. People will take advantage of everything within their disposal to establish security, and I’m sure you know as well as I the only way to do this is to control other people’s perceptions. The world views the church as a place of love and redemption. Therefore, the ministers are given the power to influence the public any way they like. Morality is a very convenient way of getting people to do what you want, don’t you think, Isaac?”
“Well, whatever you think they’re doing for themselves, at least they’re feeding us in the process.”
“Indeed, Isaac. Like everybody else, we’re taking advantage of other people’s schemes to help meet our own needs. Any smart person such as you and I knows the church has to do what it’s got to in order to make a good impression—so in the meantime, why not take advantage of its luxuries?” He studied my reaction, indicating whether or not he had me convinced yet. “In the end, when it all comes down to it, it’s every man for himself. I’m surprised that with everything you and I had been through, you haven’t figured that out yet.”
Shaking my head, I rose from my seat and went somewhere alone to think. I needed time to reflect upon some lingering thoughts—in order to figure some things out.
Jamie always had an interesting perspective over the way of life, but I disagreed with his theories. I believed there were good people who were trying to do good things for our world—selfless things. However, the problem was I hadn’t yet understood enough of the world to conduct a counterargument. Actually, once I thought about it, Jamie hadn’t had enough time to fully understand the world either—but I supposed he was just better at expressing himself than I was.
As I sat and thought to myself for a while, I suddenly heard a cry in the dark alley next to me.
“Please, somebody help me!”
The sound of the voice was loud and clear. There’s no way someone in the area couldn’t have heard that! Yet, I watched as approximately twenty individuals walked right past the scene, pretending they hadn’t heard a thing. Some of them stopped to catch a quick glimpse, but then they carried on their own way. Unbelievable! Not one person called for help, told anybody else nearby, or stepped up to help—not a single soul!
“Please! Don’t let them do this to me!” she shouted out again.
Reserving no further time for thought, I decided that I was going to be the man I wanted to see step up. I figured that if I wanted to see the world become a certain way, then I should be the one to demonstrate its example. After all, how could I expect someone else to make a move if I was not willing to do so myself?
“Hey, stop this right now!” I shouted to the three men stripping down the woman in distress. “You leave her alone!”
Startled by my sudden appearance, the three men turned to study my face. “Hey,” said one of the men. “Don’t I know you?” I hadn’t answered, shamed by the fact that these men actually worked for the same man I did. “Oh yeah, that’s right. You’re one of Magma’s drug dealers!”
“Not anymore!” I declared that very moment.
“I don’t think you want to do that.” Leaving one man to hold the terrified girl, two of the men approached me, attempting to intimidate my resolve with their confident stature. “Listen—how about you go do your work, and you leave us here to do ours?”
I traded an equally hostile gaze, expressing my lack of fear of them. “Hmp, well I don’t remember stripping helpless women being part of your job description!”
“Well, I don’t remember you telling us what to do being part of yours!” He shoved me with notable force. “Be gone from this place, little man. This line of work doesn’t suite you.”
As I gazed into the woman’s eyes, it was then that I suddenly felt ashamed of everything I had become. How could I let myself work for a psycho like Magma, or worse, help promote activity such as this, turning the world we all already despise into an even greater hell?!
“You going to leave, or am I going to have to escort you?”
The sound of their voices brought my mind back from its wondering trances as I realigned my eyes with theirs. “No, I’m not going anywhere! I told you, I’m done serving Magma. I will no longer participate in the contamination of our world.”
The three men looked at each other and laughed. “That’s fine by us, man, but if you’re no longer an employee, then that makes you an enemy.”
“So it doesn’t bother you then? Waking up each morning knowing you will be contributing to the world’s despair?”
“What are you talking about, man?! You need to quit smoking all that dope, bro! Save some for the customers!”
As they laughed and snickered at my expense, I knew my efforts of reasoning were pointless—these simple minds were not the type to ask questions. “Alright, then let me put this in terms you can understand. I--am not leaving--without the girl!”
The laughter of the three boys instantly came to a halt as they scrutinized me like animals feeling threatened. “Oh, is that so?” I hadn’t answered, letting my eyes do the talking instead. “What, you think you’re going to play hero and take down three men? Come on boys. Let’s bring this dope head back into reality!”
The two men charged at me from opposite sides, both bats in hand, but instead of dodging their first blows, I took this opportunity to land a furious right punch onto the man closest to me.
The hit was successful, but then it went down from there…
The opposite man, who I had regrettably neglected to lend my attention on, smashed his weapon on my spine, damaging my body great enough for the man in front of me to jab his right fist onto my cheek, following with an uppercut which knocked me to the ground.
Unwilling to back down, I thrashed my fist onto one of the men’s knee caps, dislocating it and sending him to the ground with me. He cried out in anguish as I decked my elbow onto his face three times before his friend pulled me off of him.
“This guy’s crazy!” said the other man as he attempted to flatten my face with his bat. I barely managed to dodge in the nick of time, countering with the grapple of his wrists.
“Oh no you don’t!” he said as he shook free from my grasp and countered with a strong kick to my hip.
The kick was strong enough to paralyze my movement as I groaned from the pain, only to receive an even stronger kick—followed by another and then another.
“What, you really thought you could take us all?” he mocked as he continued kicking my helpless body. “This is what happens to people who try to play hero! Why do you think me and the boys joined up with Magma? It’s all about subsistence! You can’t make this world into a better place. You can only survive in it!”
He kicked me again and again until my pain receptors were no longer responsive. It was at that time when he knew I’d be too injured to dodge his next deadly attack—an attack that would accompany his weapon…
“I’m sorry it has to end this way for you,” he said. “But like I said, man, it’s all about subsistence.”
He wound his bat as far back as he could, taking one last glance at me before he’d take my life. There wasn’t even a smidge of hesitation in his eyes. To think that people in this world could get so frightened for their own lives that they could end another’s without ever looking back. How sad it was for this world to become what it was this day… and I was partly to blame for it all.
“Then I feel even more sorry for you!” said a familiar voice in the distance suddenly, smashing a shovel on my victor’s head and shifting my fate instantly. “Sorry for what I’m about to do to you!”
The man fell to the ground after the first blow, but Jamie persisted in the assault anyway, slamming the shovel on his body multiple times until it finally broke it half.
“Well it appears fate had mercy on you,” said Jamie as he gazed disapprovingly at his broken weapon. “Shame the fun had to come at such an early end, but I suppose I’ll be finishing you now!”
“Magma will have your heads for this!” warned the other man with the dislocated knee.
Noticing his presence suddenly, Jamie sneered at the man before walking over to kick his hip and stomp on his head. “Yeah? Well, if you live past this day, you can tell Magma that he’s next!”
“You’re a dead man! You’re both dead men, you hear?!”
Jamie stomped on his head again before stepping off to prepare a finishing kick. “My, my,” he said, looking into the man’s eyes, the same way another man once did me. “What a sad choice of final words.”
It felt almost as if time had slowed down. The milliseconds of this man’s life were quickly ticking by. All it took was one final kick of Jamie’s foot for this man’s heart to stop beating—his soul would be erased from this world forever—never to be allowed the opportunity of influencing it again.
The man’s life had vanished in an instant!
Terrified from what was demonstrated, the third man freed the girl and fled from the scene, hoping to hold onto his life a while longer.
“You okay, Isaac?” Jamie asked me as we watched the girl escape the alley without uttering a word to us. “What exactly were you thinking? We were already in big enough trouble with Magma, but now we’re going to have to leave the city!”
“She needed my help.”
“What? Who? That girl?! Are you serious?! That’s why you picked a fight with these guys?!”
“Somebody had to do something. They were going to rape her.”
Jamie shook his head. “Isaac, Isaac, Isaac. What does that girl have to do with us? You think she would have done the same thing for you? She didn’t even thank you for saving her!”
“That’s not the point.”
“Listen to me, Isaac. Strangers—such as that girl—should not exist within our area of concern. Strangers do not love you as family does. Strangers would not fight for you as a brother would. Strangers use one another, Isaac. They use one another and then back-stab others to secure their own ascension. Family such as us would never do that, Isaac. Family shares a powerful unison and possesses no desire to betray one another. I am not speaking of distant blood, however, but of brotherhood. The everlasting brotherhood--such as the bond that you and I share!”
After he said this, the rain began to pour from the sky.
“You and I are brothers, Isaac, not by blood, but by bond,” he said. “I love you, man! I love you with all my heart! You’re the only one I trust! I just want you to remember that no matter what happens, I’m always going to have your back because that’s what brothers do!”
I reserved a few seconds to study the loving sincerity marked on his face… that love… that sense of peace… why couldn’t everyone see each other like this?
Jamie and I firmly clasped our hands together as we pressed our foreheads against each other’s. This was our signature handshake reminding us of our dedication to the everlasting brotherhood we established—the brotherhood where love would be eternally present. Jamie was my brother, not by blood, but by something much deeper. We were family. We were the family I had always wished to see the world become. Unfortunately, however, Jamie had never been able to imagine that reality…