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Author's note: What inspired me to write this is that there are a lot of kids who have lost a parent in the war. and they are left lost in a challenging world.
Jesse Carter wasn’t your normal teenage boy. He didn’t go out and hang with his friends on the weekends. He didn’t care about anything or anybody. Well, not since his dad passed away. Jesse is the son of a fallen war hero. His father was Sergeant Major Tim Carter, or as he was known as in the marines, Vector. Tim and his unit were trapped behind enemy lines fighting for their lives waiting for the rescue chopper. They had been fighting for almost an hour before it finally got there. When it did, Tim gave his men the signal, and they fell back to the LZ. Tim stayed back and provided cover fire for his men. Once they got there, they yelled for him to hurry. He started running when out of the corner of his eye he say someone on the ridge 40 ft to his right. He turned and realized it was a man with an RPG. He radioed the pilot and told him to take off. The pilot told him that he wasn’t going to leave him behind. Tim said that there’s no other option. The pilot agreed and took flight. As the chopper rose, the man with RPG raised his weapon. Tim shot at him and barely missed, hitting the ridge right in front of the man. The shot surprised him and he fell back. The RPG flew into the sky wildly before hitting the ground and exploding two hundred yards away. The pilot flew off quickly into the distance. Tim started running back to the LZ trying to find more cover until he could figure out a plan. While he was running, he continued to fire at the militia. As he fired, someone he didn’t see before raised his weapon and fired. It hit Tim right in the heart. Tim’s family received the Medal of Honor award for his actions and self sacrifice.
Jesse was very close to his dad as a child. They used to play catch in the yard when his dad was home. And they would talk on video chat whenever his dad could get on. Jesse spent most of his time on the computer waiting for his dad to get on. Jesse used to be very outgoing and friendly. But he always had a bit of a dark side that showed. It was nothing bad really. But when his father died, Jesse’s dark side grew deeper and deeper. Soon Jesse began isolating himself in his room, away from the world, more specifically his old friends and his family. He barely talked to his mom. He only came out for dinner or for school. The rest of the time, he was in his room listening to music and writing in his journal that he kept. He never let anyone look in his journal, never let anyone in his room. Jesse started cutting himself to cope with the death of his dad. He got his ears and bottom lip pierced. He got a tattoo of his father’s name on his back. No one knew he had it. Now he is seventeen, and has saved up money ever since he was a little kid. Now he has saved over ten thousand dollars. He is waiting to turn eighteen so he can move out and get his own place. But for now, he continues his daily life.
Jesse was sitting in his room listening to music and was on his laptop. He was reading his emails when he came upon one that caught his eye. The email read that Jesse should come to 142 North Hindle Street. It didn’t say what it was for. But Jesse figured that it was probably nothing. He deleted it and continued reading through his emails. As he continued reading through them, he got a new message. Again it read that he should go to 142 North Hindle Street. Jesse was freaked out by the fact that he had just deleted this message, and not even 3 minutes later it was sent to him again. Jesse wrote down the address and logged off his computer.
Jesse grabbed his jacket, which was once his father’s military jacket, and went out the door.
As Jesse drove down the street, he couldn’t help but to wonder how this place got his email, or how they knew who he was for that matter. He didn’t know what to think about it. When he got to the address that was on the email, he pulled into the parking lot and parked his car. As he got out, he looked at the building. It seemed very familiar. But Jesse just couldn’t put his finger on it. “What is this place?” he thought. He walked up to the door and noticed that there was very little light coming from around corner of the hallway. As he looked inside, he noticed a shady figure walking towards him. He knew he should have left, but curiosity got the best of him and he walked toward the figure. When he got close to the mysterious figure, he noticed it was a man in a hooded robe. “Hello Jesse. Yes, we know who you are.” The man said in a hushed tone. “Who are you and how do you know who I am?” Jesse asked. “You will find out very shortly. For now, follow me.” The man replied. The man turned around and started walking to the end of the hallway. When he reached the end. He turned around and looked at Jesse and motioned for him to come with him. Jesse, against the feeling in his heart, walked with the man. As they rounded the corner, the light that was dim was growing brighter. They walked down a long hallway with doors lining each side. They turned another corner, and again the light got brighter. Jesse was very nervous about the situation he was in. He knew that he could easily turn around and run. But he wanted to know who this man was, and why this place was so familiar. So he continued to walk with the man. They came to the end of the hallway, and at the end was a single door, with light coming from underneath it. Jesse’s nervousness grew. The man stepped aside and told him to open the door. Jesse reached for the doorknob cautiously. Just as he was getting ready to open the door, he stopped himself and turned to the man. “I’m not opening the door until you tell me who you are, how you know me, and what this place is.” Jesse said with a nervous tone. For the first time in what seemed like forever, Jesse was scared. “In due time child. For now, please open the door.” The man replied in an eased tone. Jesse, against his better judgment, grabbed the doorknob and opened the door. When he opened the door, he saw 9 other hooded figures standing in a circle around a chair in the middle of the room. Jesse began to back up. The man, standing behind him, stopped him and urged to step in. Jesse and this mysterious man stepped inside. Jesse took 4 steps in, and he hear the door shut and the lock latch. He turned around, and saw that the man had locked the door behind him. “Ok, I’m in here. Now tell me what I want to know.” Jesse said with anger and nervousness in his voice. “Yes. I suppose now I can tell you who we are.” The man said in a louder tone than he had previously talked. “We are a brotherhood….” “So you’re a cult?” Jesse interrupted. “Think of us not as a cult. More of a family. We have been watching you child. We know everything about you. Every happy moment, every heartbreak………..every meaning behind the cuts on your arms.” The man explained. “So why me? Why have you taken such an interest in me?” Jesse asked. “Because child, we were like you once. Lost and alone in a world so cruel and cold.” He replied. “Bulls***. You’re nothing like me. You don’t know anything about me. Who are you?!” Jesse’s anger started to build.
“Calm yourself child. We are here to help you.” The man said in a calm voice. “It is understandable why you don’t trust us yet. But once you hear what we are offering, I think you’ll find that we are not as bad as you think.” “Oh yea, how can you say that? You don’t know me.” Jesse replied. “We know about your father. How he died. We know that that is where the anger and pain comes from.” The man replied “How…….how do you know that?” Jesse stuttered. “As I said before my child, we know everything about you. And we can tell you things about your father that nobody, not even your dear mother, knows.” The man replied. “You’re crazy, I want out of here, I want to go home.” Jesse said. “Oh but child, now that you’re here. You can never leave.” The man replied. “Wh…….what?” Jesse started to run toward the door. The mysterious man grabbed him and threw Jesse to the ground. Jesse grunted as he hit the ground. “What the hell man?” Jesse said holding his side. “I am sorry Jesse; it’s either join us…..or die.” The man replied. Jesse looked up at the mysterious man, his eyes fixed upon him; Jesse then stood up and reached into his pocket. He pulled out his dad’s old combat knife. He always carried it with him, no matter where he went. “Let me leave NOW!, I know how to use this.” Jesse said. The mysterious people didn’t budge. The mysterious man that had thrown Jesse to the walked up to him and spread his arms out. “If you have the guts to do it, then do it now.” The man said. Jesse, surprised, lowered the knife. “DO IT! I DARE YOU!” the mysterious man yelled. The suddenness of the anger made Jesse jump a little bit. Jesse looked at the others in the room. No expressions were on their faces. They stood perfectly still and stayed quiet. He looked back at the man. “Who are you people?” tears came to Jesse’s eyes. He was scared, and there was no way he could get out of this. “I already told you that.” The man replied. “No you didn’t! All you told me is that you’re a brotherhood. What the hell does that mean? Show your faces!” Jesse said out of anger and fear. The man backed up from Jesse and looked at his companions. He then nodded and his companions took their hoods off. Jesse didn’t recognize any of them. He had never seen them before in his life. Jesse looked at the mysterious man. “Yours too!” he said. The man hesitated, and then took his hood off as well. Jesse was shocked and confused. He stumbled backwards and fell to the floor. He couldn’t believe it. “d…….dad?”
Jesse didn’t know how this was possible. “No! It’s not possible, you……you were shot.” Jesse’s dad started toward him. Jesse backed up, still in fear and confusion. Jesse began sobbing. He still couldn’t believe that his dad was alive. “Why do you think we know so much about you? You’re my son. I’ve been watching you since I’ve been back.” Tim said. “How……….how did you survive?” Jesse asked. “Leave us” he said to his companions. They bowed their heads and left the room. Tim helped his son up from the floor and motioned for Jesse to follow him. They walked over to a couch and sat. “Son, what I am telling you can never be mentioned to anyone.” He said. “Yes, I was shot, but not severely wounded. I was able to get away from the people that were after me. I took shelter in a small cave in the side of a mountain for about three days. I patched myself up a little bit and set out to find the nearest town I could get to. I searched for a few days with no luck. One day I came upon a small group of people, those who I just told to leave, their helicopter had been shot down and no one had even searched for them. They offered me food and water that they had savaged from the wreck. After resting we set out for the nearest town. The next day finally had a stroke of luck. We came upon a town you’ve probably heard of…..Pakistan. We were in dangerous territory. But at least we could get food and shelter. We stayed for a couple days before we went to the nearest airport. We looked for the earliest flight back to the states. The earliest one wasn’t until the next day. That night, while we were sitting in our hotel room, we got to talking. We decided that we weren’t going to tell anyone that we were alive. We were all presumed dead. So we kept it that way. We got fake IDs and new names. We got all the paperwork and we got birth certificates with our new names. Nobody knows who we are.” After hearing his dad’s story, Jesse was astonished by his dad’s actions. Tim scooted closer toward Jesse. Jesse stood up and backed away. He couldn’t believe his dad’s actions. “You let me and mom believe you were dead for all these years? Why would you do that? You had a wife and kids. What the hell is wrong with you?” Jesse said in anger. “Look, your anger is perfectly understandable. But you still cannot leave. You either join us or die.” Tim said.
“But dad, I’m your son, would you seriously kill me if I didn’t join you?” he asked.
“Yes son, I would. I would do anything to protect the brotherhood.” Tim replied. Jesse was shocked. He ran for the door. When he opened the door, his dad’s companions grabbed him by the arms and dragged him back to the middle of the room and dropped him on the floor. Jesse’s dad walked up to him. “I’m sorry son. But since you won’t join us, this has to be done…….for the brotherhood.” He motioned for two of his companions to pick his son up. Jesse unable to move stood in fear. His dad grabbed his old combat knife from Jesse’s pocket. “Remember that I love you” He thrusted the blade into Jesse’s stomach. Jesse let out a cry of pain and fell to the ground holding his stomach. Tim told his companions to leave and go to bed. After they had all left and the door was closed. He went over to his son, who was still alive, but bleeding out stroked his hair. “I’m sorry Jesse.” He turned around and started toward the door. Jesse grabbed the knife and pulled it out of his stomach. The pain caused him to gasp a bit. He got up slowly. “D…..dad” he stuttered. When Tim turned around Jesse jumped up and forced the knife into his father’s heart. Tim stumbled back and fell against the wall. As he slid down into a sitting position, blood smeared down the wall. He looked at Jesse with distant eyes “I’m sorry.” Tim said. He took a couple more gasps for air and then went limp. Jesse fell to his knees a put his hands on his stomach. He gasped for air. And fell to the floor. Laying beside his father, Jesse took his last breath and died.
A few days passed, and Jesse’s mom was worried about him. He hadn’t been out for dinner and he hadn’t been going to school. So she went to his room and found that he wasn’t in there. She sensed something was wrong so she called the police. They told her that they would look for him. After a couple hours had passed before they found Jesse’s car at the place where the events occurred. They searched the building and found both Jesse and his father’s body laying on the floor in a pool of blood. Tim’s companions were found throughout the building in separate rooms. They were all arrested and taken to jail. They covered up Jesse and his dad’s bodies and put them in the ambulance and left. Tim’s companions were interrogated for hours before any of them said anything. They all broke and told the cops what happened. The news of Jesse’s death was delivered to his mother that evening. The new was unbearable for him mom. She fell to her knees and cover her eyes with her hands and cried for hours. But there was something that Jesse had said once, “There is life after death, so do not mourn, but rejoice in the life we have after this.” Though saddened by her son’s death, she also felt a sense of happiness.