Opening my eyes to look around my room seeing Randy, snoring loudly enough to wake the neighbours next-door’s dog. Covering my mouth with my hand to fight the involuntarily yawn. I stretched my tired body and got up quickly to have a quick bath, having several siblings can make mornings tough to get ready for school.
Walking quietly into the bathroom, I spread toothpaste over my toothbrush and started brushing looking at my reflection, quickly spitting out the paste. I pinched my nose and looked at the acne spread over my face. Sighing in irritation I moved away from the mirror and went onwards to do my daily usual routine.
30 minutes later…
Staring into the small mirror I brushed my huge Afro for a couple of minutes.
One of these days I’m going to cut this Afro down, but Amber will surely complain if I cut it. I thought to myself chuckling quietly at the mention of her.
Placing the mirror and brush down on the small table, grabbing my bag to check for everything I needed for the day. Walking down the stairs my hands in my pockets.
My mind drifted to amber once again, I wonder how I’m going to wake her up today, maybe throw a water balloon at her?
Entering into the kitchen, I saw mother cooking something on the stove when she saw me. She greeted me good morning, gave me a kiss on the cheek and went back to the stove.
I grabbed an apple off the table, munching into the apple as I made my way to the living room and I stopped dead in my tracks on which I saw.
It was my brothers all together sitting down on the small coach, joking and bickering about some topic. Then I saw the person I hoped I would avoid at all cost was Joseph.
When he saw me enter the room, all chatter in the room ceased, in a few seconds he stood in front of me, I could feel the cold sweat trickle down my neck and I swallowed nervously staring into his hazel eyes.
Joseph’s intermediating figure stood over me; we continued to stare at each other neither of us breaking eye contact.
The room was silent as my brothers waited for who would break first; Joseph broke eye contact and smirked.
His gruff southern accent clear in his voice “Boy!, it is good to see ya, your brothers and I think it’s time for you join the family business” at that last part he patted my shoulder lightly.
My brothers all smirked in sick humour at joseph’s words, I could feel the dread sink into my stomach at hearing those words.
I shook my head in disagreement and spoke softly determined staring into Joseph’s eyes. “I won’t do it Joseph”
Joseph’s eyes narrowed in annoyance and the hold on my shoulder began to tighten unexpectedly.
I held back the sudden sensation of pain, tightening my lips to with hold the sound of pain I wanted to let out.
Joseph stared into my eyes and asked curtly “don’t you want to protect your little girlfriend boy?”
My eyes widened in shock at what he said, I didn’t expect him to know about Amber.
Joseph smirked and chuckled humourlessly answering his question “Boy, you didn’t think I didn’t know about her?, I have your brother Marlon keeping on eye on you in school, not to give our secret away isn’t that right Marlon?” hearing his name, Marlon turned his head and nodded avoiding my eyes.
Since all my brothers decided to join the business at this age and not deciding to do something about it by refusing to join, they all were willing enough to do so because of the money involved.
My trust in my brothers was already strained, I didn’t trust any of them apart from Marlon, now knowing he was with them all along made my heart clench tightly in betrayal.
It seems I can’t trust anyone apart from Amber and her mother even my own family betrayed me, but I refuse to let Randy or Janet join this horrifying business even with the last drop of innocence they have left.
I lowed my head in defeat and sighed slowly, I was only going along with this for now I already had my on-going plans to escape this dreadful nightmare.
Joseph removed his large hand from my slim shoulders and spoke to Marlon sternly saying “Marlon, make sure no-one asks any questions about Michael and look out for any suspicious behaviour in the school”
Hearing that Marlon nodded his head, grabbed his bag and left to go to school. My gaze followed him as he walked to the front door opening and closing the door quietly behind him.
I didn’t want to avoid school or amber either, she was going to worry herself sick over me and I didn’t even get a chance to tell her about this business, this is one of the reasons I have avoided telling her to protect her from the gruesome reality behind it all.
Joseph now seeing Marlon had left decided to talk once again, our combined gazes fell on him as he crossed his arms tightly.
Now frowning Joseph spoke emotionlessly, his eyes falling on me “now boys, since it is time for your little brother to join the ranks of class whether he likes it or not, we will show him what we do to bring in business, this will take a couple of weeks to do and prepare him for it, if he is lucky he might get a pretty thang in exchange for his good behaviour” at that last note he chuckled.
My brothers all snickered quietly amongst themselves at his joke, while I could feel my stomach churn anxiously.
Everyone got up all talking at once, I knew I wouldn’t need anything in my bag, walking away to my bedroom, I went upstairs and dropped everything I didn’t need in my cupboard.
Seeing the framed image of Amber and me, our arms wrapped around each other smiling at the camera happily.
Stroking the image for a few seconds smiling my mind drifting back to that memory until Jackie knocked on the door softly poking his afro covered head into my room and said “come on lil bro, we gotta go”
Nodding my head at him, he left the room and I briskly walked down the stairs to the living room where my brothers and joseph were ready to leave.
Joseph was the first to walk out, we all followed in line. Joseph went to the black covered van parked in front of the house. He started the engine and we all piled up into the small van our legs touching, as the van drove down the street.
I didn’t talk to any of my brothers as they chatted amongst themselves; I rested my head on my hand and watched the scenery outside the window as the van moved.
Eventually I closed my eyes and let my mind wonder back to Amber, I knew I will be gone for a few days, I dread what she would say to me.
We spent the morning driving around doing different errands, which I thought was not too bad, but then when the sky turned a dark shade of orange and red; I knew it was dawning to the light evening.
Joseph parked near an alleyway where a small blue house was near by. I knew something bad was going to happen. Jermaine being the closest to me in the van told me to stay and watch the van while he and the others did something.
I sat in the van twiddling my hands together waiting until I heard the screams of a woman crying near the van, I poked my head out of the van seeing my brothers holding down a pale skinned man to the floor and beating him up without any remorse on their faces.
I could see joseph holding the brunette haired woman against him who struggled to break his hold on as she watched, tears flowing freely down her face.
I felt the pain she expressed freely in her eyes as she watched my family beat her husband down. Eventually they stopped and Joseph let her go and she rushed to her husband holding his blooded head against her chest.
They all stood over him watching her hold him protectively, Joseph said lowly in a threating tone “that’s a taste of what your husband is getting unless he pays the money he owes or next time it will be worse”
Joseph shouted for me to open the back door, using my long sleeve to dry the tears from my eyes and opened the door for my brothers who all smiled deviously and we made our way home.
I didn’t want any part of this business, I had to escape at all cost even if it meant I had to bring my younger siblings along, what we did right now was wrong, how many lives had to be hurt in this kind of business?
We parked the van in front of the house and opened the door quietly to see mother waiting for us at the door. Her expression tight lipped and her angered eyes focused only on Joseph, we all shuffled into the house and went to our separate rooms.
Dropping my bag carelessly near my bed, I let the tears flow down my face, as I changed into my usual nightwear and crawled into bed. I bit my lip as I let the tears flow for the woman, my future and what it could hold. I eventually slept off hearing the woman’s screams haunt my dreams.
The next four days it all ended in the same manner, people being hurt in greed, power and pain. Finally on the fifth day after Joseph allowed it that I could go to school.
I knew it was too late to go wake Amber before school started, so this time I took my time to get ready and went to school luckily not missing the second bus.
I went to my usual classes knowing Amber helped collect all my missing homework, a few teachers asked here and there where I had been, I made excuses as usual which raised a few eyebrows in confusion.
When lunch finally came around, I saw from the distance of the door Marlon and Amber talking and joking about something.
I didn’t like it at all, why can’t I have her to myself? I thought to myself angrily as I walked towards them.
Marlon hearing my approach seeing that it was his cue to leave hugged her and kissed her on the cheek. Seeing the smirk on his face as he did so and amber’s expression made it even worse. I wanted to hit him so bad for doing that when he knew I liked her more than a friend!
As he walked away I glared at his back until amber’s crystal voice broke my attention from Marlon. I turned my head towards her and when she saw I had my full attention on her, she suddenly leaned forward so close to my face. My eyes fell on her lips for a few seconds as she spoke and I drew my gaze back to her face.