Blood Brothers

November 14, 2016

Thorns grabbed at Frankie's ankles as he sprinted by. His gun held tightly against his chest. The plastic pellets shook around inside the magazine. A few yards away, Frankie heard a few mechanical clicks followed by pellets bouncing off the trees around him. He threw himself to the ground beside a thick fallen tree. He peeked over to see his younger brother sheltered behind a shrub. His mask- made to look like a crying porcelain doll with a single tear on its cheek- eerily peered at him. Frankie envied him. Even though he was there when he bought the mask at the air soft arena, it still gave him a chills when he saw him wearing it. He wouldn't admit it to his brother, but he thought it was badass.

"Nice shot, Jeremy! You couldn't hit me if I stood right in front of your face!" Frankie shouted.

"I'll get you, you can't hide!" More laughter rang out into the woods, muffled behind their plastic masks.

As Frankie lay prone in the cover of the tree, he held his breath and listened for snapping branches. There wasn't any sound beside the occasional squawk of an overhead bird or the rustling of red and orange leafs. As quietly as Frankie could, he crawled along the length of the tree until he got to the long, dirt covered roots. He sat up with his gun ready in his hands and his back against the tree. His eyes scanned the leaf covered forest floor around him and waited. After a few minutes, he let his muscles relax, but was still too afraid to stand up. Eventually, he dozed off in the cool autumn breeze.

Frankie bolted upright and scanned his surroundings. For a moment he forgot where he was. When he remembered, he realized that it was significantly darker than when he dropped off. He ripped his mask off and bolted out into the trees.

"Jeremy!" He cried out. He slung his air rifle over his should and darted into the woods. He called out his brother's name with every breath. Fear sunk deeper and deeper into his chest with every passing moment. He reduced his pace to slow his breathing. Gasping for air, he surveyed the woods for any sign of his brother. In the rustling of the breeze, he heard the sound of pellets bouncing off the trees around him.

"Jeremy, you little brat! Game's over! We need to go home now before mom beats my ass!" Frankie followed the sound of the mechanic gun clicking in the bushes. He pushed through the foliage. "Jesus Christ, you scared the s*** outta me-"Frankie stopped short, his breath stuck in his throat. Jeremy was nowhere to be seen, his gun sat in the bush with a zip-tie around the trigger, making the gun dry-fire. Blood reflected off the plastic grip.

Frankie stood speechless for a moment. His thoughts jammed together in a solid line of fear. He debated on going out in search for Jeremy, or running back to town for help. Before he could decide, a violent ringing snapped into his ears. Once again, Frankie found himself unable to breathe. He stumbled forwards and fell down onto Jeremy's gun. His brother's blood soaked through Frankie's shirt and onto his stomach, mixing with his own. He rolled over onto his back, propping himself up on his shoulders. His vision was growing darker, but he made out a tall man dressed in black standing above him. He was wearing Jeremy's mask, and he had blazing green eye's that shone out behind the face of the doll. The man lowered his gun. His looked metal, and very much real. The man appeared to speak, but his words were lost in the ringing in Frankie's ears. Before he blacked out, Frankie was sure he saw a real tear rolling down the dirty face of the man behind the mask. Sobs began to choke out of Frankie's throat.

Frankie, lying in a pool of his blood and the blood of his brother, cried with the porcelain doll and the man behind it until the blackness finally closed around him.

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