Brothers

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Something binds brothers, something stronger than the earth and sky, and something far stronger than words can say. This is why, in the lasts hours of his little brother's life, it was only fitting that the big brother should appear.

In the dim prison lights, over the card table that sufficed for both interview and "persuasion", the big brother sat with his milling head cradled in his hands, and the younger sat with calm repose in his chair to which he was heavily chained. The older stood, and wild-eyed, began to pace about the small room, always running into walls that nearly made him cry. The naked bulb flickered. His sneakers made a scratchy rubbing sound against the plain cement floor.

"Why?" shouted out the elder. "Why would you do this?!"

The younger brother remained dispassionate. "I did what I thought was right. For all of us."

"Well, you were wrong!"

"I've realized that now...quite a while ago."

"But how could you think it right in the first place?! Did I teach you anything?!"

"This isn't anyone's fault but mine. I fell for what anyone would fall for, and many people have."

"YOU KILLED A FIVE YEAR OLD!"

The younger finally winced. The older looked ashamed for a moment, but it passed like a shadow over his face, and his anger returned.

"You joined the Taliban, Nazir. And they told you to snipe down your own nephew, and you did it!"

"You're the one suffering the consequences right now...but soon I will be the one suffering. That is the only thing I am good for now." The younger looked up, and his eyes were empty.

"No, Nazir. I will always be the one suffering the consequences!"

Both the younger and the older were now silently crying. The bulb flickered again. The younger would no longer raise his head, and the older could no longer bear to look down on his brother. The pacing resumed.

"This is why you came, to reinforce all the guilt you know must have been festering inside me since all those years ago?"

"I don't know anything about you anymore?!?!" the older shouted crazily. "You're a mass murderer, a killer of your own flesh and blood, a traitor to our home, to our people, to our nation. To your own brother!!! No true brother of mine would do such a thing, and certainly no one I could ever truly understand, sympathize with, or care about! Nazir has been dead a long time!"

"He was asleep for a very long time..." said the younger thoughtfully.

The elder chuckled. "Let the Americans take care of you now."

The door slammed.





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