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At 1 a.m. on March 4 of this year, Jack Bailey was fast asleep on his bed next to his wife. At 9 p.m., he had tucked his two girls into bed after a long day at Cedar Point Amusement Park. Jack awoke abruptly from his sleep, and got the sense that there was somebody downstairs. He reached for the gun that he keeps in his nightstand and walked quietly down the stairs to check the scene. When he got to the kitchen, he noticed that somebody was in fact there.
When he was at the bottom of the stairs, he saw two men talking, both proudly wearing black gold and white on their jerseys, they were Steelers fans. As any dedicated fan, they were wearing baggy jeans and white Adidas sneakers. However, the most surprising thing Jack noticed on the arm of the two people standing in his miniature, pale yellow kitchen was identical tattoos above their elbow that said, “R.I.P. March 4th”. The same date on his arm. The day his mom died in a car accident. His only guardian when he was only eighteen years old. Therefore, than left him to take care of his two younger brothers aged sixteen and fifteen instead of heading to college on a scholarship, for football at Penn State.
“Danny, Rob, what are you two doing here?” Jack embraced his brothers with a huge smile. He was suspicious of them being in his house, but it had been awhile since he saw them because of tension over money issues. So for him to spas out on them would be ridiculous.
“Jack,” the younger named Danny one spoke, “how are you doing brother?” He smiled hugely to show sincerity but his eyes said it all, he was never good at hiding secrets. His face was an open book.
Jack sighed heavily. He knew he was in for a long night. He pulled out a wooden chair that he had painted yellow with his twin girls when they arrived in the house, the color was fading and the paint was chipping off. He was planning to paint it again with them tomorrow, well today since it was already 1 a.m., for their birthday, in their favorite color, like purple. Then he was going to paint there room. The can was in the garage. “Take a seat guys, and tell me what’s going on. I am extremely tired and I have to go to work in just six hours to feed my family, so make it quick.” The two brothers glanced at each other as if seeing if they should trust him. “Please.”
“Fine.” Danny spoke again. Rob never spoke much; he was a little slow and hated it when people noticed it in his voice. “We got in some trouble with Country.” Country was the reason people lived in fear. His drug business was noticeable, but too solid to be shut down by the police without some significant evidence that they could never get their hands on. “We owe him ten grand.” He stopped if that should explain it all, but when Jack did not reply. Jack knew there was more and like promised, Danny he kept going. “He’s looking for us right now and this was the safest place we could get in at the moment. Don’t worry we’ll leave.” Danny quickly added as he noticed the anger arising on his brothers’ face. Jack was more than angry though, he was irate. How dare they endanger his family?
“Get out, now!”
“But you don’t understand he’ll kill us.”
“I’ve taken care of you for too long, you better figure this out on your own. Running around will just make everything worse. Now you got to the count of five to be out my house. One…two…” by two they were contemplating on what to do, their brother being their safety,” … three…four…” they were up and leaving, but as soon as the word five came out of Jack’s mouth it was too late. The door burst open and in came Country himself surrounded by five beastly men draped in black clothing.
“Oh Danny and Rob, I know you’re in here. Oh there you are, do you have my money?” he glanced at the worried expressions on their faces. “I didn’t think so. You came here to warn your big brother did you not?” Jake was perplexed, tell him what. “Oh you didn’t tell him. Hey Rob why don’t you tell your brother what I’m about to do.”
Fumbling with his words Rob slowly replied, “He’s…he’s gonna’ kill ‘em.”
“You are so retarded. People like you shouldn’t exist. Boys you know what to do.” Instantly a person was on each of them trapping them down to the ground. Jake thrashed violently against the man. He was struggling so hard that a second man had to come up to pin him down. How could he stand by and let his family die. The last people he truly loved. But then he heard three shots and it was over. Jake’s muscles eased as he lay helplessly on the ground. It was over. But then he remembered the gun in his pocket and drew it out as Country and his posses were leaving. As he aimed the gun through his broken door, he shot the last man leaving, one of the men who held him down. But he wanted to get the one who was responsible for the spilled blood of his family. Country had already ducked into the black SUV. So he had to settle for the actual shooter. Country drove off.
“Jake”, Danny whispered so quietly he barely heard him, “me and Rob are going to go turn ourselves in for murder of those two men. You can live your life out here like it should be.”
Jake began to laugh. A deep rumble from the pit of his stomach, “You can live your life out here like it should be.” He mocked his brother. “How stupid are you. My wife and kids are dead. Whether I go to jail or not for the rest of my life means nothing. They’re gone. Just like mom on this same day years ago. Just leave before you can disappoint me any further.”
They did what he said obediently.
They did turn themselves in for him. Jake figured it was just one step toward him ever forgiving them.
The days came and went, and soon the funeral was held.
After the funeral, Jake sat in the kitchen in his black tuxedo. The tears flowed freely from his eyes. How would he ever survive? He knew only way to live on and do what they loved. It was better to have loved and lost than not have loved at all, right? Jake got up and went to the garage and without changing his clothes; he painted the wooden chair purple.
Raleigh, North Carolina
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