“Jacky? Jack? JACK!? Wake up”. Jack had this voice in his head as he lay there unconscious, it was as though Mike was trying to wake him up when they were younger… but it was an adult Mike’s voice. Even in unconsciousness, Jack was easily confused, and this was far beyond his limit. He started to wiggle his fingers; a great start to recovering full control of his body. In his mind he had a picture of Mike as an angel, “that’s who was trying to wake me up, he’s come to protect me”. A smile crept across his face, and was the first time in two years that one had done so.
After his fingers, it was his arms, as he placed his hands down on the floor to push himself up. Next, his knees reached a vital point, both supporting his frame for a timely escape from the clutches of the leaves; at last, he was standing. Jack was groggy, and could only see a splice of blur and blood, a lovely concoction to wake up to. He began to scrabble at his eyes hoping that he could clear them enough to see. The blood wiped away but the blur remained and at this point that was a win in Jack’s books.
Blurry eyed, beaten and looking like death he decided it was time to leave the woods. Although it was a noble task to recover his brother’s body, he knew he would end up dead also, and what good did that do the world. It was at this point that he heard the leaves behind him crunching and panic took over his organs again. In his head he thought of running straight, but knew he wouldn’t outrun a fully fit man in his condition. Hesitantly, he asked “Wh…Who are you?” There was no reply. “I said… I said WHO are you?” This time, a large breath was exhaled, and the man began to talk, “Well, if you didn’t recognise my voice when waking you up, who do you think I am?” Jack’s face had never looked so happy and relieved, “You mean?” “It’s me Jacky” Jack swung his entire frame around to see his brother standing… alive. “I’m so happy you are here!” Immediately his face turned from happy to worried, “I’m sorry Mike, I’m sorry I left. If I knew…” Mike interrupted him, “Don’t be silly. No one would have known I survived. I don’t know how I did. My vest must have been stronger than I thought.” His bullet proof vest had absorbed the damage of the axe, meaning that he only had a minor wound on his chest.
“I heard a gunshot in there and then someone attacked me!” Jack looked around for his attacker as he said this. “Yeah… about that.” Mike smiled cautiously, “I had to shoot the lock off the door to get out, and well, it was dark and you were standing next to this van.” Both men laughed just before they embraced each other. “You didn’t think you would get rid of me that easily, did you?” Jack looked his brother in the eye and replied, “I was scared I had Mike.” Jack started to walk away and Mike grabbed his arm and said, “I’m not finished here!” “What do you mean? You can’t go back in there!” Jack was desperate to leave the woods by this point and wanted his brother to get to safety as soon as possible.
“I know how crazy it is Jack, but I’ve got to find Liza; I promised her parents.” Mike’s faced looked quite sad as though he was about to cry. It was as this feeling gripped him that he turned back toward the cabin and said “We need to search it properly. Don’t worry there isn’t anyone in there this time.” This calmed Jack down completely, and gave him even more admiration for his brother.
The two men walked into the cabin as they had once done already, they looked toward that door once more. Mike, for obvious reasons, looked a bit sketchy when walking toward the door he had been attacked from before. He cautiously reached out his hand toward the handle and was visibly shaking to open the door. Jack placed a calming hand upon his brother’s shoulder to reassure him that everything would be fine. This seemed to spur Mike on; just the effect Jack had on him as kids. Jack’s taunting or encouragement could make Mike do anything in the world. Mike had once climbed up the drain pipe to the top of his house and jumped off just because Jack said he couldn’t do it.
With his brother behind him, Mike swung the door open to find an empty room; except from an old chest in the centre of the room. “Why would he be guarding this?” Jack asked. Mike couldn’t answer as it all seemed a bit perplexing. He moved inch by inch closer to the antique chest until he finally reached a spot where he could pull the lid open. Mike placed his shaking; dirt covered hands on the lid and after a few seconds to compose himself, lifted it off of the chest.
The chest was packed full of photos like the ones he had found before, but this time they were of all different kinds of people. There were young girls, old women, boys and men all in everyday situations… not one of them posed for. “Jack, I think we could have a serious issue on our hands here” Jack gulped and replied with, “I think there is a bigger issue at that window Mike.” Mike looked up to the window to see a face staring back at him and in the blink of an eye the face was gone. The two men worked together to barricade themselves into the room they were currently trapped in. They found some wood and wedged the door closed, while the chest acted as a nice weight against the door.
Footsteps were heard pacing toward the door and then the handle was pulled down. It seemed like an eternity for this man to get to the door of this room, but Mike was still startled when the handle moved. Jack just kept still in the corner hoping that the poor barricade was enough to send this man away. The door was tried once more, and then the footsteps seemed to be moving away from the door. Indeed they were, but only to take a run up. *THUD* The man’s shoulder collided with the door. Mike picked up another rogue piece of wood in case of needing a weapon. *THUD* the man was there once more, and this time the wooden beam had fallen, and the man was pushing the door back including the chest’s weight. The door burst open and the light from three torches pierced the eyes of Mike and Jack as they stand waiting in the dark secluded room. A voice started to bellow out “Identify yourself right now!” Mike thought he recognised this voice and replied, “Detective Michael Hoskins, and this is my brother Jack Hoskins.” The man at the door seemed relieved. “I fucking hoped it was you two. What the fuck did you think you were doing coming into these woods without backup.” Mike was right, it was his boss, and it was the only time in eighteen years that he was relieved to see him.
“Sir, I’m sorry, I had a lead that was too good to waste time, and I made a mistake.” Mike’s head dropped as he said this, but everyone else in the room raised their head in shock. “Was that the great Mike Hoskins admitting to a mistake?” “Yes sir” Mike felt humbled for once and knew there was no point arguing; he had done something stupid, and he was lucky he was still alive. On top of all this, he had put his brother at risk too. Jack stood up and walked toward the door, “Sir, Mike needed me to help him through this, that’s the only reason I’m here.” “You are two years past having to explain yourself to me Jacky” “I know, but I just thought…” this was interrupted by Mike, “GIVE him his job back… I’d be dead without him.” This of course wasn’t true at all, but Mike wanted to work alongside his brother again; he missed it.
“Alright boys, Jack can have his old job back. I’m guessing you two will want to pick up where you left off and become partners again?” Mike nodded and smiled with a thankful expression. “Dya’ know Jacky, Mike refused to have a new partner when you left, he said no one could fill your shoes.” With this the man walked away and got into a car, ushering Mike and Jack into another car behind.
© Copyright 2016 Ashley I Read. All rights reserved.
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