Beware of Those You Mourn
Two brothers are separated at birth under violent circumstances. Caleb grew up with a loving mother and Holly, a friend since elementary school. Seth had to live with foster parents who only cared for the money. He moved out at the age of eighteen to pursue a life of crime.
The two men, now twenty-one, are learning how to use supernatural powers they were born with. Seth hones his gifts, enhanced by Luke, a demon, while Caleb has his world turned upside down. His mother tells him the story of how the boys were separated.
With the help of a mysterious woman and over the objection of Holly, he sets out to find his brother. When the two finally meet, will morality win, or will evil take over?
“Sorry, it’s the smallest I’ve got.” This statement came from the mouth of Seth Bracken.
“The price is six ninety-two,” said the shop clerk. “Your five is hardly enough.”
“Five? You better look a little closer.”
The clerk glanced at the bill again. His eyes grew wide and apologetic. “I’m sorry. I must be blind today.” He rang up the amount tendered and counted out Seth’s change from the fifty. He then placed the large bill under the change holder in the drawer of the register.
Seth picked up the bag and thanked the clerk before leaving.
“Man, dude. What’s with the nice routine?” Ace asked once they were out of earshot.
“I didn’t want to burn this bridge. We may want to return sometime.”
“We ain’t nowheres near our turf, Seth.”
“That’s the whole idea. By the end of his shift, he won’t remember us. And when he pulls that fiver out, we’ll be farthest from his mind. We’ve got the chips, now we grab the booze.”
“Where we stoppin’ for that?”
“We’ll get it from our neck of the woods and use the change we got from the shop we just left.”
“Ain’t no one gonna be the wiser.”
“Exactly. And we support our local establishments.”
“Man, ya sure do talk proper like.”
“That’s what happens when you grow up in the burbs.”
Since moving to this part of New York City a year ago, Seth had slid right in with the local youth organization. That was his term for it. The rest of the world would call it a gang. In an extremely short period of time, he was able to go from greenhorn peon to the self-titled Minister of Finance. In other words, he held the purse strings for the leader. His position didn’t require stealing, protection money, or even drug dealing. Those activities were the responsibility of others. Seth had the ability to use his mind. He’d found early in life that he had a gift. He was able to sense things. He knew what those around him thought. Not physically, as the word implied, but he could tell with ninety-eight percent accuracy what a person was about to do, based on the situation. But his talents didn’t stop there. He hadn’t really tried to see where they ended once he found he could temporarily alter a person’s perception of reality. It was a quick way to make a buck without the slightest possibility of getting caught. That was how the store clerk mistook a five dollar bill for a fifty. Anything beyond that ability didn’t seem important. He was able to get what he wanted. That was all he cared about.
Once he proved his value to the leader of the Guardians of Purgatory, he became an integral part of the gang. The ability to provide a steady stream of cash without any proof that a law was broken had definite advantages. This was especially important, given Seth’s appearance. He wasn’t a runt by today’s standards. However, he was several sizes removed from that of a bouncer. At five ten, he was ever so slightly above average height but had a healthy weight of around 165 pounds. He had hazel eyes and sported a thin mustache with the ends trailing down below his lips and ending in a neatly trimmed goatee. He kept his brown hair parted on the side and sideburns cut at the middle of his ear. To a gang member, he could pass as a businessman. He was the only one who used his real name, too. The handle of his current companion, Ace, stood for Alan Cummings. That was the trademark of this gang. The names were some sort of abbreviation of their real names. Seth had convinced Jack Downs, better known as Jade, that someone needed to be spokesperson, and their real name was required when the situation warranted it. Jade agreed, given the additional incentive that only one person’s real name in the gang would be out there for the police. And with Seth’s gift, the name could easily be erased from the memory of any official.
Back in Purgatory, also known as the lower west portion of the Bronx, Seth walked into the local liquor store and grabbed a large, economy size bottle of whiskey and brought it to the counter.
“ID, please,” the young man behind the cash register requested.
“You don’t know me by now?”
“Look. I have to ask. If I don’t, the camera will give me away.”
“No problem.” Seth pulled out his wallet and removed his driver’s license, handing it to the clerk. A few months before, he would have had to use his mind to make the clerk believe his license said he was twenty-one.
The man behind the counter examined it and gave it back. After ringing up the item, Seth handed him the required funds to cover the purchase.
On the way back to meet the others, Ace asked, “How come you paid full price?”
“I told you. I support our people. If we take care of them, they’ll return the favor. If they don’t…well, then they become fair game. I don’t want to place a bulls-eye on my back.”
“Yeah, we don’t need no cops on us.”
“Especially unnecessarily. As long as the locals think we’re their friends, they’ll never turn us in.”
The two returned to meet the other gang members in the basement of an abandoned house on Boynton Avenue. The front entrance to the home was boarded up tightly. It remained undisturbed except for the condemned sign that had been removed from it. They’d also kept the plywood intact over the windows. For all intents and purposes, the building was deserted.