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Brother of the Sniper

As the sniper looked into the face of his brother, all the pain, sorrow, and remorse of the world shot through him. His eyes searched the bedraggled face for any signs of life or mistake. But he knew he could not, for what he saw there was his own face, the face of his twin. He went over in his mind again and again at what he had done.

He had been sitting on a rooftop in Dublin, Ireland and had lodged a bullet into the drivers of an enemy vehicle, when another sniper shot him in the arm. He had to use a ruse to get the opposing sniper into thinking he was dead. It worked and he got his chance to kill the other sniper. As the body lay lifeless on the street, the sniper felt a sudden urge to know the identity of the man he had killed. He might know him since it was a Civil War. Shirking the machine guns of the enemy, he had reached the man and rolled him over, only to find his own brother.

And now, as he kneeled there on the stone cold street, in that little light the sun gave him as it struggled to rise, he heard the soldiers climbing over the debris towards his position. The sniper knew he had little time to escape, but he could not leave his twin there to rot. Jumping to
his feet, he dragged the mutilated corpse to an alley out of sight to anyone who dared not venture in.

The alley was covered with unmentionable slime, and it was rank with garbage and rotting bodies dumped here to clear the roads. The only thing keeping the sniper from turning tail and running was his brother. The sniper sat on the ground and closed his eyes, letting out a deep sigh.

Suddenly, he was 12 years old again, in a green, grassy field running around, stick in hand. He dives behind a rock and his brother is already there.

“What’s your status?” he asks.

The younger sniper peeks over the rocks, “Recon was a success, enemy positioned to attack the corner sides.”

“Good, prepare the weapons. As soon as we see them we go to war!”

Four boys burst through the undergrowth waving sticks and making gun noises. The older brother throws a rock up in the air towards them, “Grenade!” Three boys jump in the air spasmodically and pretend to die. But one still keeps running. The young sniper yells, “I’ll get him!”

He starts running, stick raised while his twin hollers at him to stop. Before he can make a machine gun sound, the other boy picks up a log and calls out, “Bazooka!” The young sniper falls to the ground in mock agony. “No!” his twin yells and runs out shooting the other boy and drops to the young sniper’s side. “Please, please don’t leave me!” He pretends to cry. But the young sniper can’t help it and starts to laugh. His brother laughs too and so do all the other boys.

Back in the present, instead of laughing the sniper is sniffling, looking down at his brother. He desperately wishes that his brother would start laughing and his revolver is a stick. He wished this whole war was pretend. As he hears sounds approaching, he rushes off down the alley towards his own side with a last look at the dead soldier. He disappears into his own territory as the sun rises.





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