Little bit longer. Like always comment, like. Thank you for your support.
The scenery changed again it was now ten years later and both brothers were sitting in a fifth grade class.
“Excuse me Mrs. McGrath is it true there is no gravity in space?” a large freckled child asked.
“Why yes Connor, that is why human float in space,” The elderly teacher responded.
Erick scoffed aloud at her answer, “No you’re wrong there is gravity in space,”
“Really then explain,” Mrs. McGrath challenged.
“The reason people float is because they fall at the speed of earth’s gravity which is 9.81m/s2. Thus making the astronauts appear weightless. In fact, NASA uses free-falling aircraft to simulate that effect here on earth. Seriously, to be oblivious of something a third rate physicist could tell you is truly pathetic,” sighing he rolled his eyes.
“Thank you, Erick,” Mrs. McGrath said pursing her lips.
Around the room, he received the death glare only Alex, sitting in front of him, was smiling with his arm crossed.
“Ok children it’s time for P.E. let’s go,” everyone got up walked out the classroom to the fields.
“So how ya’ll doing,” Coach Hank proclaimed with his bolstering voice. “Everyone line up your gonna give me four laps around the track so a mile, okay. Ready, set go.
Erick detested ‘trivial’ things such as exercise in all form, as he, along with majority of the class, finished his second lap Alex ran past him running effortlessly.
“6mn30s, Alex that’s amazing. Are you still going to refuse joining the basketball team?” coach Hank said looking at his time watch.
“Yes sir,” not even breaking a sweat nor gasping for air.
It was now Erick’s turn to smile as the students glared at his brother.
A few hours later at recess both sat on a corner at the yard ostracized by the rest of the school. As often were the case these two were cast aside because they were different, their abilities superseded the norm, thus they were frequently ‘bullied’. Connor and his band of merry friends came over to say hi to them.
“So you must think you’re hot right, making everyone feel inferior,” his friends behind him nodding in agreement. Other students around the yards began noticing what was happening wanting to see the new kids taught a lesson they grouped around them.
“It is not my burden that you all are substandard and inept,” Erick quipped.
“See this is the problem right there. You never know when to keep your mouth shut,” a furious Connor remarked.
“So you want me to reserve these concerns to myself. That is intolerable for without realizing one’s miscue one cannot develop. Hence not shedding lights on these issues would be negligence on my part,” Erick responded.
Then an angry Connor formed a fist with his right hand and launched it at his head.
A hand shot up grabbing his fist, “I suggest you stop while you still can,” Alex said.
“Let go of my hand,” pulling away from him. “You like his dog or something always tailing him, listening to him obediently.”
“Your words towards my brother are unwarranted. Thus I would like for you to repent yourself, less I should force you to,” Erick threatened.
“What is happening here,” Mrs. McGrath yelled attracted by the crowd.
“Nothing which should concern you,” Erick said.
“Who do you think you are talking to me like that,” she began.
“If you utter another word you shall yourself jobless by the end of the day,” he cut in. “Now like I said before, nothing you should worry about.”
Mrs. McGrath meekly walked away scared of what the boy told her.
“See this is why we hate both you’re guts, you walk around no matter what you two you never get punish. The rest of us we look at you wrong and bam detention,” Connor stated.
“Most people your age like you Connor are neophyte in understanding how the world works, let me explain it to you all. The strong conquer while the weak serve. Because we are special, we are superior and you as the lesser ones should serve us. How about if you get on your knees and beg for your trespasses I will forgive you,” he said haughtily.
“How ‘bout I give a knuckle sandwich.”
Connor swung at him, in a flash Alex intercepted the punch replying with an elbow to the nose.
“Guess we have to go see the principal now. We’re done here Alex,” casually stepping over Connor.
“So you two have been in the school for about four months and the complains have piled in, now let’s review your files,” principal lee said.
“First Erick a child prodigy it seems that Harvard, Stanford, Yale and many others have given you scholarships. You seem to have perfect eidetic memory, vast knowledge of math, sciences and computers,” Erick nodded agreeing with him.
“Now Alex another prodigy scholarships from college with great sports program, you have something called photo-reflective memory. Meaning you can replicate anything you see someone do, also you are in peak human form with perfect hand eye coordination and cat-like reflexes.”
Just as he was done Connor, his father and their mom, Mrs. Smith walked in the room. The stare their mother gave them spoke for miles.
“I want an explanation for what happened to my son,” Connor’s father demanded.
“Yes an explanation will be given, so please seat Mr. Jones,” Mr. Jones sat near Connor, who was still clutching his nose.
“Allow me to explain sir,” Erick peaked up. “Your son had the audacity that a peon like him was on equal footing with geniuses such as us. So in order for such thing not to repeat itself we put him back on his place.”
“How dare you insult my son in that manner,” Mr. Jones bellowed.
“Just pointing out the obvious sir,” Alex said.
Their mom cleared out her throat and both dropped their head down.
“Well it seems that Connor is the one in the wrong here so he’s suspended for two days,” The principal decided.
“What about them? They insulted my son, they receive nothing,” a beat red Mr. Jones yelled.
“No, it was only self-defense no rules were broken, if all is done here have a nice day,”
“Bye,” Erick and Alex said in unison waving at Connor.
“You know I will come to this school and make you pay principal, and when I’m done with this school I shall bring my army to make you two mongrels lives a living hell.” Mr. Jones threatened
“Excuse me, but watch your tongue Mr. Jones,” Mrs. Smith asked curiously.
“Oh well these two SOB’s think they’re so high and mighty. I was putting them in their place,” Mr. Jones ranted.
“What do you do for a living Mr. Jones?” she asked.
“Well I am a sport agent. What does it matter?”
“Your name sounds familiar, do you work for Derek Jeter?” looking through her purse.
“Yes I do, in fact he’s coming here this Saturday to meet with some sports guru,” he said proudly.
As soon as he said the last part, Mrs. Smith courteously, picked up her cell phone.
“Hello Derek how are you doing… Yes, a Mr. Jones says he’s your agent… about that, you will have to cancel your meeting with Alex for the weekend… well he insulted my family so I do not want him anywhere near my them… Sure that goes for everyone he’s signed on to… tell them they have by midnight to do so if they wish to receive training from him… thank you have a nice day,” politely she smiled at him.
Bewildered Mr. Jones looked at her, his cell phone rung he picked it up. Erick watched his whole face drained of color. For about thirty minutes his phone kept ranging nonstop, as he lost all his clients.
“Mr. Jones, it seems that it is you who do not know their place, ” her hand resting on her twins.
“Principal Lee, I would like to withdraw these two from your clearly subpar establishment this instant please,”
“Is there a reason for that Mrs. Smith,” he uttered.
“My sons have told me of all the trouble they caused in your school, yet you refuse to punish them. I sent them to school to be instructed, if I wanted them to be cajoled I would have sent at a zoo to be taught by monkeys. We are done here let’s go boys,” she exited the room.
“This is why we consider her to be the scariest person in the world,” Erick added before leaving the three of them dumbfounded in the room.
“How many times do I keep telling you two not to cause so much trouble at school. I understand you’re bored but this is the sixth school in four years,” she scolded.
“We’re sorry mom. Next time we’ll act normal,” Erick said.
“If I had a dollar for every time you told me that,” she mumbled.
“Mommy, do you ever wish we were normal,” Alex asked putting his seat belt in the back of the minivan.
“Aw, sweetie never you two are perfect the way you are,” she responded, pulling out of the parking lot.
“Please don’t lie to us mom,” Erick said.
“You two pulling stunts like that does not help the cause; but, your dad and I we made our choices and we are happy with them. Speaking of which your father came home today,” she answered.
“Really, when?” they exclaimed in the back seat.
“Before principal Lee called,”
“Can he take us for a ride?” Alex asked
“Gonna have to ask him for an answer,” she replied.
Their parents were the perfect example of opposites attracts physically and temperamentally. Mrs. Smith full name was Joan Smith had a scar on her cheek although she was a couple inches below five feet, her feisty tongue made up for it. Edward Smith on the other hand was tall easily surpassing the six feet barrier, he was soft-spoken and extremely playful. Mrs. Smith was a very intimidating and stubborn woman and Mr. Smith usually the more reasonable, somehow more often than not he changed her mind on things.
“Daddy, Daddy,” the two young boys yelled jumping out the van and into the giant man’s arm.
As soon as he came near him Alex jump a flying kick aimed at his dad’s temple, which the later blocked. Mr. Smith countered with a jab. With his right hand Alex grabbed the hand, twisting his small body into the larger man’s frame, he countered with an elbow to the kidney.
“Enough you two, I will not have broken bones the day you come back home Eddie,”
“Yes mom,” Mr. Smith groan.
“Hey grandma,” Erick kissed her.
“Hello sweetie I hear there was trouble at school again,” she replied.
“You know Evelyn same old stuff,” Mrs. Said.
“Daddy did you see uncle Miles in California?” Alex questioned.
“Yes, in fact both he and his partner gave me presents for you two,” he said.
“And that is why they’re our favorite uncles,” Erick said.
“They are your only uncles,” Mrs. Smith pointed out.
Evelyn was a mature woman with twinkling blues eyes, which never let on the hardship she faced of being a single white mother raising a black son.
“Can I make dinner tonight mom,” Erick asked.
“Woohhooo,” Alex screamed as he ran in the house, Erick trailed him equally excited.
At dinner, Mr. Smith was told of the events that transpired earlier that day.
“So another incompetent principal huh, just because you two are exceptional they want to use you in order to advance in the world,” he sighed.
“Wow Erick dinner was great” Alex said happily.
“Thank you,” he responded.
Mr. Smith chuckled
“What is so funny Ed,” Mrs. Smith asked.
“Guys did I ever tell you guys about the first time your mom cooked for me?” he turned towards his sons.
“Psshh what’s the point of cooking when I have you and Erick around,” she quipped.
“So you don’t send good natured folks in bed, for two days straight,” he responded smiling from ear to ear.
“It didn’t stop you from kidnapping a young helpless girl from her village now didn’t it,” she added slyly.
All three rolled their eyes having heard that story so many times. The story dates back to 1989 Edward a young soldier wandered into a small village in Zimbabwe while on duty. There he saw the daughter of the village elder Joan, it was love at first sight. Since he couldn’t marry her because of the laws he forcefully kidnapped her bringing her to the States where the two tied the knots.
“Your version of the story has a lot of holes in it. I don’t remember you ever being helpless,” finishing his meal.
“Dad, I know we have asked you that so many times but shouldn’t they be repercussion for kidnapping royalty, like a war for example,” Erick asked.
“They were, I just crushed them all,” he smiled coldly sending chill down Erick’s spine.
“Can we go for a ride now Daddy,” Alex asked.
“Hey who do you think is going to clean the table?”
“Let them go Joan I’ll do it,” Evelyn said.
In no time they were outside in front of the covered car. The energetic twin removed the cover unveiling the shining black car with white racing strips. They piled in the car, Mr. Smith turned the key, the engine roared.
“Ahh, nothing beats good old American muscle,” he exclaimed Alex nodded agreeing with him.
“Once again you are wrong Dad, German engineering has trumped every other. In front of the pack is the BMW M3 which will flat out beat this car in a race” Erick replied.
“Now now, boys stop this, beside the BMW has a more stylish interior,” Mrs. Smith said.
“Et tu Joan you’re in the beamer fan club. Well Alex and I will stay true to our American roots,”
“Dear, I’m not American, so my allegiance is to the one that has the cutter interior. Plus Erick is never wrong,” smiling at her husband.
“I got it,” he yelled switching turning at the intersection.
“What that you were wrong all this time,” Erick said.
“No, I was trying to make nicknames for the both of you for a while. Zero and X how do you like it,” he beamed.
“Why Zero and X daddy,” Alex asked.
“Well there is not a problem in the world that Erick can’t solve right so Zero. And you’re a mystery because your shyness a puzzle that everyone wants to solve thus X,”
“That has to be the dumb…” Mrs. Smith began
“I like it,” Alex cut in.
“Yeah, no never don’t call me that, the nickname is moronic,” Erick affirmed.
“See and that’s why your my boy,” Mrs. Smith smiled.
Mrs. Smith pointed up to the green light, putting the car in first he sped through the light. They drove around town passing by the beach, illuminated buildings and different shops. By the time they came home it was already late.
“No T.V’s kids go straight to bed,” Mr. Smith announced.
“But there’s no school tomorrow,” Erick whined.
“Yes but we have to look for a new one now don’t we,” Mr. Smith explained.
“Oh yeah dad,” Alex began.
“It’s okay I’ll do some damage control with the Jones’, everything should be fine by tomorrow,” Mr. Smith reassured him.
“He called us SOB’s,” Erick pointed out.
“Okay, it may take a few more days. Goodnight you two,”
They both kissed him and their mom good before they retreated to their room, with adjacent beds.
“We wouldn’t need to be looking for school if you just skipped grades and went to college,” Alex said.
“Yeah I don’t see you going to Toronto to that gifted athlete school,”
“If I leave you who’s gonna protect you from bullies,” Alex added.
“And who’s gonna protect you from parents lashing out at you after you bloodied up their kids,”
“Alex why do you always ask dad to do these things,”
“Because it’s not right,”
“They deserved it though.”
“Even if they did, we should always forgive and forget you know,”
Erick chuckled, “you know I can’t forget. I remember everything since we were two years old. All I can remember is the look they give us looking at us as if we were monsters because of our skills. I am sick of it already, it would be better if we just ruled over them.”
“Because we are the strong and the strong has the duty to rule over the weak.”
“But shouldn’t the strong protect the weak instead.”
“If you cannot, by your own power, rise to the top, then you do not deserve the privileges.”
“What if you created a company? One that could cure cancer, solve the problem for world hunger, end disparities between groups. This company would create true peace in this planet,” Alex said.
“Does a lion help an antelope, does a wolf cuddle a rabbit. No, then why should I myself a lion care for an antelope,” Erick responded.
They both laid there in silence for a little while.
“Do you think mommy and daddy would be happier if we were normal?”
“What did mom tell us this afternoon?”
“That it didn’t matter, she loved us just the same.”
“Exactly besides we have each other right.”
“Yup, together we can conquer the world,” Alex giggled.
“We’re brothers, we’ll always have each other’s back,” Erick confirmed.
“Good night Zero,”
“It is still dumb.”
They both knew the reason they stayed was to protect and support one another, for it has always been the two of them versus the onslaughts of bullies, parents, teachers and the rest. Them alone understood the misfortune of being a cut above the rest.
Two years had passed and this incident wasn’t the first nor was it the last as the two young boys kept hoping from school to school, until they received a letter about Mother Theresa Academy in Big lake Texas.
“Make sure you call us when you get there,”
“Yes mom,” Erick said.
“Alex make sure you brush your teeth every night,”
“MOM,” he screamed
“My babies are leaving me,” bursting into tears.
“Don’t worry mom I’ll take care of Alex,” he said
“That doesn’t make me feel any better that you’ve said that,” Mr. Smith pointed out.
“Dad I’ll make sure Erick stays out of trouble,” he smiled.
“Haha, that makes it a little better then,” Mr. Smith said.
“Oh we gotta go now bye mom bye dad. Hurry Alex,” embracing their parents both took off to their flight from Atlanta to San Angelo.
They boarded the plane sitting in first class enjoying luxurious seats. The 2hr:30mn flight time passed quickly, passing through security with no problem they reclaimed their baggage. Seeing the sing for MTA they headed towards it.
“Hello,” said the young woman holding the sign. “My name is Janice, and I assume you are the Smith twins,” she asked.
“Yes, I’m Erick and this is my brother Alex.”
If Pocahontas were to ever be adapted to live action film Janice would be the best option to play the main heroine of the story. From her long jet black hair, high cheekbones, copper skin, down to her slight athletic frame. Her almond shaped eyes held two glittering eyes, shining like black diamonds; she was about as tall as the twins who stood at 5’5”.
“Well glad to meet you two, the car is waiting for us. I’m sorry that we couldn’t get anyone more appropriate for this, but since this is the summer we are a little short on staff,” she walked to them outside.
“It’s okay it’s not a big deal,” replied Erick.
She walked toward a limo where the chauffeur hurriedly relieved them of their luggage ushering them into the car.
“So you two have taken an interest in MTA, why?” she asked.
“We were tired of moving around from school to school,” Erick answered.
“Were their curriculums not demanding?”
“Try the greedy principals, incompetent teachers,”
“Also, want to be toughs guys,” Alex added.
“Enough about us, what are you exactly Janice you look too young to be a be a teacher,” Erick said.
“No I’m only an intern at the moment.”
“So what is MTA exactly?”
“MTA is a school for the gifted and elites. We covert all the area’s looking for gift were others do not. Before coming here I read your files I’m surprised it took you this long to contact us,” she said.
“Mom wanted to find someplace we could still be at home and not live in a boarding school,” Alex said looking out the window.
“Ah, so this was a last option,” a nod confirmed her theory. “The school is state of the art with many of our students considered geniuses in one area or another.”
“What about you what do you teach,” Erick requested.
“Arts more specifically painting,” she responded.
“Can you draw us,” Alex inquired.
“Sure, let me my pad,” she said enthusiastically.
“You carry you instrument with you?” Erick inquired bemused.
“Well yes never know when inspiration will strike,” digging through her purse for her drawing pad and pencils.
“Umm, if it’s okay with you can I also have pencil and paper?” Alex questioned.
“Sure,” ripping out a leaf she gave it to him along with the pencil.
He moved to her side of the limo preparing to imitate her. For thirty painstaking minutes, Erick sat there motionless.
“Done,” Janice, exclaimed.
Handing her sketch to Erick, “Confident, young, smart those are the things I’m picking up from your drawing. Are those what you think of me?”
“Yes, wow you have good eyes,” complimenting him.
“Now your turn Alex. Hmm, can you see what’s wrong with this,” giving Janice the paper.
“What wrong with it?” Alex asked
“It’s exactly like mines,” she pointed out
“Precisely, the sketch that she drew shows what she thinks of me. Yours is an exact replicate, which highlights the characteristics she thinks of what she sees. Signifying that your drawing is no better than a picture,” Erick explained.
“You see Alex drawing is to express your thinking in a piece of paper, so you can’t copy mines you have to come up with it for yourself,” she added.
“So copying you is no good,” after thinking a while he smiled. “Janice can I take a drawing class,” he enquired.
“Yes I don’t see why not,” she replied confused.
“Finally another thing you can’t duplicate huh,” he said.
“Yup, after dad’s martial arts and cooking this is it,” he answered.
“Well Janice you now have a new student in your class,” Erick said.
“Why can’t he copy cooking, it just mixing ingredients together?” Janice asked.
“Normally one would think that but with him even something like a bowl of cereal is questionable,” Erick explained.
“Who cooks for you guys at home your mom?” she asked.
“No I inherited mom’s cooking skills, so usually Erick, dad or grandma when she comes for a visit.”
They continued the ride as Janice filled them in on what MTA had to offer and tried to understand the quirky brothers. The limo entered what looked like to be a ranch with the sign Mother Theresa Academy.
Passing by several buildings, the driver stopped in front of a simple two stories ranch house. Janice ushered them out and gave the driver the direction for their dorms. They entered to the office, with a nun seated behind the desk. She was wearing the usual black gown and coif covering her hair.
“Excuse me mother Agnes these are the new students,” Janice announced.
“Hello, I’ve heard so much about you two. Janice dear please wait outside till were done,” she said. “From fighting to insulting the principal in a public setting you’ve done it all, and here you are at MTA.”
“Well there wasn’t really much choices as soon as schools saw our records they backed out. Since my mom insist on us receiving a formal education here we are,” Erick said.
“Hahaha, the genius half I am guessing Erick. I am sure you are going to be pleased to find that our teachers are not inept,” she added. “And you the strong half Alex our sports program are at the top of the world with athlete all over coming to help.”
“Actually Mother Agnes I am more interested in the arts department,” Alex uttered.
“Oh, no problem at MTA we don’t have a classic classroom structure,” she explained. “For example, Erick you will be taking classes with people from fourteen all the way to eighteen all of them follow an advanced curriculum. I don’t believe that age should matter in how capable a person is. However, PE is mandatory for all so you will probably take beginner in the various sports we offer here. Alex you are the exact opposite with advanced PE and beginner academic classes. One elective class is required per student and this were arts would fit in. MTA is similar to college if you like your elective you can make it your specialty. All who graduate here have at least an AA degree and access to any college in the world,” she explained.
“Seems reasonable enough,” Erick said.
“Make no mistake MTA is a school for minors, so there such things as curfew, lunch time etc… breaking these will result in detention. In detention, which I personally supervise, you two will have first-hand experience in how the school is kept clean. Don’t even bother threatening me with your parents because most of the kids here have parents with high connections too. On that note I have to inform you,” she went on pulling out a map. “This map shows several location where they are panic rooms for security reasons.”
“Hmm, I like this place already,” Erick smiled.
“Janice you can come in now. Show these two around the campus,” she said.
Leaving the office, they went outside to where the golf carts are they sat with Janice, Alex up front, and Erick in the back. The hot humid Texas summer made the ride more tedious than it had to be. As Janice was talking Erick zoned out, gazing at how the wind caressed the green pastures.
“… This is our outdoor pool mostly used in the summer. I think it’s open let’s go visit” she said.
They parked near it, entering by a small gate. Inside were multiple pools, used for various reasons, in the middle was an Olympic sized pool with boards of different heights. A young lean Asian man wearing a speedo stepped on the ten meters platform. He propelled himself in the air twisting beautifully, he dived in gracefully in the water seeing them there he swam towards them.
“Hello Sam, these two are coming here this year,” Janice said
“Wow good to meet you both,” shaking their hands.
“Erick is going to be in your groups,” she added.
“Oh great, how about this I can take him to the science department and introduce him to everyone,” he proposed.
“Thank you that would be fantastic,” with that she left with Alex.
“Gimme ten minutes to take a quick shower and change.”
Erick sat outside replaying in his mind how smoothly Peter sliced the water. Upon thinking about it, he decided to take up diving.
“So where are you two from,” Peter asked locking exiting the premises.
“All around, bouncing from school to school,” Erick replied.
“So your brother is in the sports program.”
“That is his area of expertise.”
“What sport exactly?”
“A little bit of everything,” he answered.
“Word of advice make sure to watch out for a guy named Jim,” Peter warned.
“He’s one of those guys who appear innocent but is actually quite devious. He has a little black book, containing every dirty secret on all the students, faculties and staff on campus. If you owe him a favor, your name gets marked in pen until the favor is repaid in full. If not,” he shuddered.
“Is he a computer hacker? How does he get these info on people?”
“He is not a hacker. In fact, his computer skills are no better than the average person. It’s the persona he puts up, which makes people drop their guards and trust him. All I know for a fact is that no matter who you are on campus you will need him. He can get you anything for the right price. Another thing you must know, the black book never lies. What is written is there are the terms, which both parties agreed upon.”
“Basically try not to end up on his bad side, pay my debt,” Erick said.
Peter nodded, he showed
“Here we are the science department. We are going to have our biology, chemistry and physics classes. As this is an advanced class we will mostly be in group of ten trying to prove something.”
“Are there no teachers?” Erick inquired.
“Most of us could teach at universities, thus we try to find the solution to some problem. Right now we are trying to prove Einstein mass-energy equivalent,”
They place they walked was an auditorium sized room with boards that had multiple equation written in them.
“Hey Petey, who’s the new guy,” said a sweet voice in an Irish accent.
“My name is Erick.”
“I’m Lara, no I do not want to hear any Lucky charms jokes,” she said.
Lara was a sight to behold from her pale skin, to her fiery red head, ending with hypnotizing emerald green eyes.
“Lara is the computer expert on campus. We recruited her so she could create a super computer. Trust me when I say this NASA is jealous of her work. She is also the head of the security department,” Peter explained
“Head of security, do you get paid for that,” Erick asked aloud.
“No, I get service hours. Child labor laws, though in four years Mother Agnes said she’ll start paying me. Can’t wait for it,” she said. “So you’re a fellow hacker too? What’d they get you for breaking to air force one, cause that’s why I’m here,” she asked him
“No I have terrible hand eye coordination. I’m even bad at most video games. So did the calculator figure this all out,” pointing at the boards.
“Yup,” she said proudly.
“There’s an error in your calculation then,” he pointed out to one of the boards.
“That’s impossible, you’re wrong. I made sure to verify everything,” Peter said looking at the correct area, while Lara’s finger danced on the keyboard double-checking it.
Erick sighed, “If you want to infer about what is possible or not consider the fact that Bush is President as a stepping stone. Now instead of it being v3 it is supposed to be v2,”
“He’s right,” Lara vouched, “can’t believe the computer made a mistake.”
“Erick I’m happy to have you on our team,” Peter said, extending his hand to which Erick shook back.
“I see you all are getting acquainted with one another,” Janice exclaimed walking in the room with Alex in tow.
“Hey bro, you’ve already met Peter at the pool. This is Lara,”
“Bloody hell, you’re twins. Are you also joining our group?” Lara said.
“No, I’m not as smart as Erick but I’m decent at sports,” Alex replied.
“Decent, decent, you wiped the floor with Jim before coming here,” Janice remarked.
Both Lara and Peter looked at Alex with wide eyes. The reason for the shocked expression was because Jim was a martial arts prodigy. He had at least the equivalent of a black belt in several disciplines.
“Let’s go boys time to show you where you’re gonna sleep tonight,” Janice announced.
After saying goodbye to Peter and Lara they left. The trio crammed back in the golf car, heading towards the dorms.
“Janice I have a question. How come there students here, doesn’t school start in another two weeks?” Erick asked from the back.
“Well these students live here. This school has about 400 students. Out these only 20-30 are selected and given scholarships from the advanced program. A great number of these students come from impoverished households, who most of the times do not have the resources to buy a plane ticket for here and back. Since the scholarship doesn’t cover summer fees, students have to do work for service hours if they are under 16. Which is how I got this job, I was working under Mr. Good, the arts teacher, and now I’m his intern.”
“Wow, when was the last you’ve seen your family?” Alex questioned.
“Last year, I finally saved up enough to return to the reservation,” she answered.
The main road branched off, and they entered a beaten path. Plains of grass aligned both sides of the path. They continued until they arrived a circular area. Two mansions faced each other, a circular building was in the middle. Another square building with float glass lining one side, was at the north edge of the circular space.
“These are the dorms. The left is for women right one for men. It is forbidden to go to the other sex’s dorm. Curfew is from 12:00-6:00am, during that time you cannot leave your dorm. The building in the middle in the Rec Center, where we have multiple game consoles and games; the other one with the glass is the Cafeteria, which is open from 7:00am-10:00 pm. Now this is for me it is getting late your room number is 305. Here is my phone number call me if you have any question,” she dropped them off in front of their dorm and drove away waving at them.
“So Alex how was the tour?” he asked him at the dorm later on.
The room in question was normal sized with two parallel beds, two windows next to them, plus a small fridge. Two closets with enough space to put their closes and a small bathroom.
“Amazing, I meant this guy name Jim who was amazing in martial arts, I almost lost the bout. But the thing was when we visited the arts department, you know I’ve never been this excited for a first day of school before,”
“Yeah, I know how you feel same here. It’s going to be fun here,”
“You know what I also saw?”
“What?” Alex asked.
“The one’s we met they understand what it feels like to be ostracized. To be called monsters and never have friends,” Erick said
“Yeah it’s true, good night man,”
“Good night Zero,”
“When are you ever going to stop calling that,” he yelled.
No response came as Alex feigned snoring.
The air was humid, the sun just rising bathing the school with its golden rays. Alone he stood on the platform, gazing at everything beneath him. Reaching the edge of the platform, he turned backward. One swift intake of breath he sprung in the air. As he spun counter-clockwise, he heard whistling in his ears. In one smooth motion, he went from spinning to a flip as he grabbed his legs. The world was a blur, with sharp eyes, he saw the water and straightened out, splash, he dove in it.
“Wow perfect,” he heard a voice exclaim. He turned and saw Lara standing near the platforms. She was wearing running shorts, sports bra, and had a backpack.
“Come on now we both know it wasn’t. My back was at a 170o angle. Thus making it so the splash area exceeded the four meter marks,” getting out of the pool, getting the towel to dry himself.
“You’ve been improving steadily these four years birthday boy.”
“Already that long huh,” he walked to the locker room with Lara tailing him.
He closed the door, pinning Lara to the wall inserting his tongue down her throat.
“Stop, what if someone walks in,” pushing him away.
“It’s 8:00 in the morning, this area is supposed to be locked. The only ones allowed access are Peter and I. To enforce this rule all the doors have electronic locks on them. Which I might add were installed by head of the security department, who just happens to be you.”
“Well what about the cameras they’ll still see me on my way here.”
“Fitted by the same head of security department who knows their blind spots.” He smiled, his hand brushing her scarlet hair of her face. “No need to be coy about this, not when you bring this to the equation,” opening her palm revealing the condom she had in it.
Half an hour later, they were done and headed toward Erick’s room.
“I can tell Alex hasn’t been here for a bit. This place is dirty,” she exclaimed upon arriving at the dorm.
“Yeah, he’s been at Jim’s the past few days,” digging through the pile of clothes he left around the room. “Oh I almost forgot. You got the things ready for tonight.”
“Everything is order. You and Peterhave to leave here at exactly 10:00pm, that’s when I’ll do the ‘camera maintenance.’ Make sure to be back at 4:50am as the guards change to the morning shifts. Your fake IDs are in the glove compartment of the car along with the keys. Still can’t believe you’re going to go gambling,” opening her backpack and fishing out her change of clothes.
“Gambling is for greenhorns who do not understand how numbers work. For Peterand I it’s assurance in which we will come back richer,” finally deciding on the appropriate combination to wear.
“The only reason you’re taking Petey with you is because you can’t drive. I swear you think of us as nothing but pawns on a chessboard,” she rebuked him.
“No my dear you are not a mere paw, but the queen. A queen who I would offer the whole in a heartbeat if you so wishes it to be so.” She knew in her heart that he was telling the truth regarding.
“So you’re the king then, needing to be protected from all of us,” staring at him.
“Me I am the player which controls the pawns nothing more nothing less. Ready to go the party now,” he asked her.
“I-I don’t know what you talking about,” struggling zipping her dress.
He sighed walked behind her and zipped it up. “It’s obvious actually with all hush, hush, the weird stares, the giggles, that’s just from Peter and Jim. I don’t even want to go with the rest of the group.”
“And here I thought we finally got you well at least Alex will be surprised,” she told him.
“He knows, he figured it out too.”
He looked at Lara as they exited the dorms and admired the lime green sundress she was wearing. Her untied hair glowed red illuminated by the sun. She skipped along almost dragging him to the cafeteria.
I front of the cafeteria, they saw Alex and Janice, now a full time teacher called Ms. Imaino, chatting excitedly. In his hand, Alex had his drawing notebook, and was showing her his latest sketches. He looked up seeing the both of them walking he smiled.
“Hey bro,” he waved.
“Happy birthday Alex,” Lara said hugging him.
“Thanks, so how surprised should we act,” he addressed Ms. Imaino.
“Wait you both know,” Ms. Imaino inquired. They both nodded. “And we thought we were going to finally surprise you two,” she sighed.
“Shall we go in,” Erick asked.
“I don’t see why not,” Alex replied.
They both marched in the cafeteria where most of their classmates, stood up and yelled “HAPPY BIRTHDAY.”
There was a huge banner congratulating them for their sixtieth birthdays. Peterand Jim were the first to come and personally shake their hands. After all the best wishes were told, it was time to eat.
“Dam can’t believe Pete’s gonna leave us after this year,” Jim exclaimed scarfing down his food. His large frame surpassed only by his loud voice.
“There’s a time for everything I guess,” Peter said. He grew taller an inch or so under six feet, he was lean and more quiet.
“Aww, I’m gonna miss this little group,” Ms. Imaino pouted.
“So where are you going to college?” Erick asked.
“Harvard, Stanford one of the ivy leagues,” he replied.
“Eww, not all the way up there, it freaking snows,” Alex shivered.
“I agree with my brother on this one. I despise the cold.”
“Gasp, what about playing snowball fights, or snuggling in front of a warm fire sipping some hot cocoa,” Lara explained.
“I prefer the weather in South Florida. When I go to college I’ll go to UM or something. The hot humid summers I missed them,” Erick fantasized.
“Tell me your plans after school,” Ms. Imainocut in tired of hearing the same argument repeatedly.
“Me you know find a nice lady, marry, and as long as Alex doesn’t partake in it a few Olympic medals in Karate,” Jim answered.
“Umm, work as a scientist and find discover something,” Peter followed.
“Make an unhackable computer,” Lara said.
“Win three peats in the NBA finals, super bowl, World championship and the world cup,” Alex told them.
“Quite a lofty goal you have there,” Ms. Imainopointed out.
“Well gotta dream big right.”
“Pray do tell how you plan on doing that,” Lara questioned.
“Erick helped me figure it out. First I start with baseball since they accept players right out of high school, then football and finish it off with basketball. Because the world cup is every four years I can do soccer in between. Who knows when I’m done I could just stick to the sport I like the most or try other things like boxing, hockey even the Olympics,” he went on.
“You are probably the only person I know that could possibly pull this off,” Peter said amazed.
“What about you Erick, what are gonna do?” Jim asked.
“Create a company and conquer the world,” he responded.
Alex glared at him expecting him to back down he did not. They both stared down each other, the others on the table.
“Still want to teach the world respect,” Alex said venomously.
“Oh yeah, tonight we can play some COD. I’ll finally beat that bloody xxCherryxx and take the number one spot,” Lara cut in.
“Pshh first you have to get the number two spot from,” Alex replied.
“I am number two lad,”
“When’s the last time you checked,” he smiled.
“Oh crud, you ass hat, sneaking a quick one by me,” Lara yelled.
“Huh, COD always bring out the Irish in her,” Erick joked.
She grew as red as her hair after the last comment, and silently at her food.
Knock, knock. Erick got up the bed and opened the door.
“It’s time,” Peter told him through the crack.
Silently they got out the dorms, staying near the bushes and trees for cover.
“So you’re doing it huh,” a voice said as they approached the car, causing them both to jump. They turned around to see Alex coming around the corner.
Erick motioned Peter to stay put, “How’d you know I was going to be here. Did Lara rat us out?”
“Brother I’ve known you my whole life. Plus do you think I’ll you do something as stupid as going to the Mexican mafia just to gamble.”
“Stupid if you want to talk about stupid let’s have a chat with your relationship with Jim.”
“How’d you,” he stuttered.
“Like you said I’ve known you my whole life. Therefore, you let us go and my lips will be sealed,” Erick proposed.
“Fine, make sure you come back in one piece though,” holding up his fist.
“As surely as you will take care of the present Jim gave this morning,” he bumped Alex’s fist and walked away.
They got in the jeep wrangler and drove west. The dirt road was empty with nothing in sights for at least half an hour. Finally they arrived at their destination, a shack with a window to which they pulled up to.
“IDs,” the clerk asked.
Reaching to the glove compartment Erick handed him the IDs. The clerk checked everything up on a computer seeing as everything was okay he gave it back.
“Pull around the back and step out of the vehicle. Let the valet park the vehicle,” the clerk told them.
They did just as he instructed. The valet came passed Peter a piece of paper and drove off. The clerk opened the door for them. Inside the shack was an elevator, which they got in and descended underground. After being groped multiple times, go through every metal detector west of the Mississippi they were allowed on the game floor. The casino looked like the ones in the movies with slot machines, multiples tables for roulette, craps, baccarat, poker and others. The two looked at each other, with a big smile and went to have fun. The night went great without a hitch; they even made it back to MTA on time avoiding getting caught. They both thought they had gotten away with it if not for the event that happened three days later.
It was Tuesday, hot as usual. They were in the Rec room with Lara and Ms. Imainoplaying air hockey. Alex munching on an apple slice, while annihilating Sam at Street fighter. Erick along with Jim, enjoying some Pokémon PvP. Erick’s Nintendo DS low battery light lit up. Excusing himself, he hurried to his room to retrieve the charger. On his way, he saw a large man dressed in black with a ski mask on.
The man saw him and yelled, “Jerome Miles.”
Erich thought, “Oh crap. How’d they find me.” knowing that was the name on the fake ID he used three nights ago.
The man pulled a big hunting knife that flashed the sun’s ray. He did what any brave soul would have done, he ran. He heard screams coming from the Rec center and decided to act. Quickly he turned around facing his assailant, who stood under a tree, aiming at his face he threw his DS at him. However, there was a reason that he was not in the baseball team the DS went wide left into the apple tree. It hit a loosed branch, which fell on top of the masked man head knocking him out.
“I’ll take it,” he said.
He ran towards the Rec center only to find Jim and Alex back to back looking down on two more masked men on the ground unconscious.
“Can somebody please explain to me, what the hell is going on,” Ms. Imainoyelled.
“Yeah, I may have made a slight miscalculation,” Erick regretfully admitted.
“You know, if wasn’t for the fact that I almost got killed, I would have recorded this moment. After knowing you for four years you finally admit to fucking up. Ain’t life grand,” Lara retorted.
“Now’s not the time to argue, I’ll repeat it when this blows over. Lara get to the camera room make help security. Ms. Imaino get everyone to safety and alert the cops,” he instructed.
“What about you?” Alex asked.
“I’ll distract them since they seem to be after me and Peter,” he replied.
“Like hell you will I’m coming with you,” Alex said.
“No, it’s too dangerous. Stay with the rest.”
“What if you’re cornered can you take care of yourself.”
“Just before coming here I threw my DS and knocked one of them,” he said.
“I’ve seen you throw… Ms. Imaino has better aim than you. Besides I’ve already made up my mind, so lead I’ll follow.”
“So now that you two young lad are done arguing how about we start moving,” Lara yelled.
“Promise me one thing. That you both will come back alive okay,” Ms. Imaino said tearing up.
Before they could respond, more of the masked men appeared in the doorway and the group split up. Erick and Alex ran making sure that all the men had seen their faces. The brothers proceeded to the shop room.
“Let me ask you this, Do you know why they’re after you?” Alex asked sprinting.
“No, the plan worked flawlessly,” Erick huffed.
The room was large with various instruments laying around. Erick picked up the first thing he saw, a 2X4. They decided on a quick plan, Alex would stand in the middle of the room drawing all attention to him, whereas Erick would hide behind the door and knock hit them behind the head. The Idea worked marvelously, even if he wasn’t as strong as his brother, Erick managed to K.O. the first three goons who walked in.
Nevertheless, good things never last. As another goon walked in Erick slammed the 2X4 on his head, crack, the wood broke. This goon was different to begin with, he was wearing a bike helmet, with padded leather jacket, black jeans and combat boots. He was about average height and had a slight muscular built.
“You’ve been causing us some problem Mr. Miles,” he punched Erick in the chest knocking the air out him.
“Oh so you’re twins. No matter I’ll just kill you both.” He approached Alex who stood ready to fight him.
Alex met him with a high kick, which he brushed aside. The attacker tried a low kick with his left leg. Alex automatically planted his left foot forward, with his right leg he attacked the back of the biker’s knee. Thus they continued each countering each other’s moves this went on for a good twenty minutes. Both never relented, but Erick knew the stranger because of his padded leather jacket, biker helmet and combat boots, had the clear advantage over Alex’s shirt, shorts and feet.
Erick tried to stand up his lungs were on fire, holding on the side of the table he got up once and for all. He grabbed a piece of the 2x4 he had previously and rushed the assailant.
“Ahhh,” he yelled. Running at full speed, his chest ready to burst, he swung at him.
The biker startled by noise turned around to block, which gave Alex enough time to deliver a devastating haymaker to the liver and kick him in the crotch. Seeing as he was now doubled over in pain, the two used that time to escape. They hid inside the locker room by the pool. Erick’s chest burned more and more by the second as he struggle to gasp for air. They sat on the floor shaking in fear.
Bang, bang gunshots rang throughout the school, “Now you fuckers have done it.”
They heard the biker outside, both of them held their breath.
“How about this, I know the one I punched first is the one were looking for. If you come out I’ll kill you quickly and leave the school and promise not to hurt you brother,” the biker said.
Erick’s mind was racing; he knew the man was lying. He also knew that 0.1 mile away was a panic room that all students had access to. If he went out it would give Alex enough time to reach it, lock the door and be safe.
“Alex listen,” he told him his plan.
“No, nu uh. I got this far didn’t I,” Alex said.
“That’s the only idea that will work.” He stood back up.
“No it’s not,” Alex said facing him.
“What do you have…” in a blur Alex moved behind him, he sensed a sharp pain behind his neck and everything went black.
Erick woke up in bright room. He looked around and saw that he was hooked up to various machines with his parents in a corner crying.
“Alex,” he croaked.
“Take it easy son,” Mrs. Smith said.
“How’re you feeling?” Mr. Smith asked tears in his eyes.
“I’m okay. How’s everybody, where’s Alex,” he demanded.
Mrs. Smith burst in tears after hearing his question.
“Everyone is fine. Except for your friend Peter, who ended up with a few broken bones. Alex… is in a better place at the moment,” Mr. Smith answered sniffling.
“What? No?” he felt like throwing up. He swallowed trying to understand the news. “How did it…” he couldn’t finished his sentence.
“Two bullets to the left and right atrium,” Mr. Smith told.
All of a sudden he understood, he broke down sobbing on the hospital bed.
“It’s all my fault,” as his parents embraced him.
“Don’t cry sweetie. You’ll see him again someday,” Mrs. Smith tried to comfort him.
A week later, they had the funeral, which was like all other funerals, sad and full of regrets.
“Is it true what I saw, are you really leaving?” Lara asked alone in his room a few days after the funeral service.
“Yes, there’s nothing for me here,” sitting on his bed.
“You’re gonna quit, just like that,”
“I played the game and got check mate,”
“So what if you lost your king. You know what you do put the pieces back on the board and start all over,” she implored.
“No, I made a mistake, one that cost me more than I’ll ever realize. Better to learn my lesson now and call it quits. Move somewhere, live like the average person.”
“If he was alive he wouldn’t want that for you,” she said chocking up.
“Well it was my smart self who got him killed,” raising his voice.
“I thought you were different, what happened to the man I loved,” tear coming out of her eyes.
“Life,” he responded solemnly.
Lara shook her head slowly and walked out of the room slamming the door.
“I never realized how big this room was without you here bro,” Erick said tears streaming down his eyes.
Bella saw what she needed to see.
“You lost your brother,” she said.
“Yes,” he replied, walking out of the limo and into the cemetery.
“Do not suffer alone, share the pain with me,” Bella told him.
He stood in front of a grave marked:
Died a hero
He nodded at Bella’s request closing his eyes he exhaled. Bella sensed his pain and helped him with it. She knew in order for his brain to return to the way it was she was going to accept it all. As his brain started lighting up in areas, which were long lost and forgotten something dark came along with it. Anger, hatred, revenge against the person who took away his brother, she knew as long as she was with him she could tame those emotions.
Erick was rejuvenated, his brain processing several piece of data a second.
He dropped down a bouquet in front of the grave, “I will make you dream come true bro.” He promised.
He paced back to the limo, staying by a nearby hotel.
“Remind to make an appointment with Ms. Gonzalez.”
“If everything works out we can go meet Jim’s birthday present[/i],” he told her.
“Wait what was the present,” she asked curiously.
“Ohh, that’s a surprise. Lord I got, that killer headache again. Good night.”