Brothers: A Day Soldiers Short Story

by Brandon

April 3, 2019
Two years after the darkness declared war on humanity.
Eight years before Lily Baxter joined the Day Soldiers….

Russell sat on the living room floor, legs crossed, facing the open front door.  He held a cross in one hand and a wooden stake in the other. Russell was fifteen years old. Not so long ago, someone his age would have been considered a kid.

Not anymore.

The vampire stood on the front porch. It was a male, only a few years older than Russell. He knew the vampire’s age because it was his brother.  No, Russell corrected himself as he watched creature pace back and forth. It used to be my brother.

Now it was a monster. Bald head, white skin, a web of blue veins spread across its disgusting face. It had come to his front door every night for the past three weeks. And every night, Russell met it at the door, stake in one hand, cross in the other.

“Come on, man,” the thing said. “Just let me in.”

It sickened Russell that it still spoke with his brother’s voice. “Just go away,” he said. “Damn. You’ve been a vampire for three weeks now. Go join the Legion and die in a battle against the Day Soldiers or something.”

“I don’t want to join the Legion,” it said. “I want us to be a family again.”

“You destroyed our family,” Russell said, “when you decided to go camping on unprotected land. You always were an idiot.”

“We can be a family again, Rus,” the creature said. “I know you want that. That’s why you haven’t reported me to the authorities yet.”

“I haven’t reported you because I want to be the one to kill you,” Russell said.

“Bullshit,” the vampire argued. “It’s required by law that you report any and all vampires to the authorities. You’ve known about me for three weeks now. Admit it, bro, you just don’t want to see me killed.”

“No,” Russell said. “I’m protecting Mom. She doesn’t know yet. She’s still clinging to the hope that you’ve just run off and joined the Day Soldiers. Just go away. Mom’s better off not knowing what happened to her son.”

The vampire flashed a hideous smile. “Liar,” it said. “You haven’t reported me because you don’t believe the propaganda they teach in school. You don’t believe your brother’s dead. You know I’m still in here.”

Russell stood up. “Take a step closer and I’ll show you how wrong you are.”

“Listen to me, man,” the vampire said, “I’m still me. I’ve been a vampire for three weeks and I haven’t had a drop of blood. Not a drop. I did that to prove to you that what they’ve been saying is wrong. Contrary to what the Day Soldiers claim, we can control this. Sure, it’s miserable, but we can control it.”

“Get out of here,” Russell said.

“I need you, brother,” the vampire said. “As long as one of us is human and the other is a vampire, Mom will never agree to be turned. But if we’re both vamps, she’ll do it. You know she’ll do it! And we can be a family again.”

Russell knew time was running out. According to his school books, young vampires were very reluctant to enter a house uninvited, but the longer they were vamps, the more likely it was they’d overcome that particular mental disorder. He knew his brother would eventually come inside, invited or not. When that happened, things would get… bad.

It was time to end this. It was time to kill this monster. Every night for the past three weeks, Russell had planned to kill the thing that used to be his brother. And every night, he lost his nerve.

Because it still has his damn voice!

Russell took a deep breath.

My brother is dead, he told himself.

“Russell,” the vampire urged, “just invite me in.”

You are not my brother.

“We don’t have to kill people, Rus. We can go live in the mountains together. We’ll feed on animals or something. This war won’t last forever. After it’s over, we can make peace with whoever wins.”

“Come inside,” Russell said through gritted teeth as he tightened his grip on the stake in his hand. No more games, he thought. Step inside so I can drive this stake through your damn heart.

“What?” the vampire asked.

“You heard me,” Russell said. “I’m inviting you inside.”

The vampire grinned again. “That’s all I needed to hear.”

A second later, it was gone.

At first, Russell was completely confused. Where had it gone? He stepped onto the porch and looked around. He saw only darkness.

“Where are you?” he asked. “I said you could come in.”

No answer.

“I don’t understand,” he said. “You wanted in, so I invited you. Why the hell did you run away?”

Then it hit him like a punch in the gut.

“Oh shit,” he whispered. “Mom.”

He spun around, ran through the living, then darted up the stairs. As he got to the top of the stairs, the door to his mother’s bedroom opened.

A creature that used to be his mother stepped into the hallway. The vampire with his brother’s voice was standing behind her.

“And then there was one,” his former brother said. Behind him, the window was open. “Thanks for the invite, little brother.”

With a guttural scream, Russell charged the vampires. He moved with the speed and confidence that comes with nothing to lose. He slammed the stake into his mother’s heart.

She dropped to the floor, instantly dead.

Blood dripping from his stake, he turned to face the thing that used to be his brother. It was no longer smiling.

“You killed our mother!” it screamed.

“No,” Russell said. “You killed our mother. I just stopped that thing from using her body.”

With a roar, the vampire attacked. Before Russell could do anything, the creature snatched the stake from his hand and dropped it. Russell tried to hit it with the cross in his other hand but the vampire wrapped a claw around his wrist and squeezed until Russell lost his grip.

The cross fell to the floor.

The vampire wrapped its other claw around Russell’s throat and slammed him against the wall. “I’m not going to turn you, little brother,” it said with a snarl. “I’m going to tear you apart. Slowly. I’m going to—”

“SHUT UP!” Russell screamed as he punched the vampire in the face. He knew it wouldn’t really hurt the creature, but he didn’t care. If he was going to die, he was going to die fighting.

The vampire immediately released its grip and staggered back several steps, screaming. Smoke rose from the creature’s face.

Russell didn’t waste time trying to figure out why his punch had burned the monster. He quickly picked up his stake and drove it into the thing’s heart. The vampire fell.

Russell stood over the two dead things that used to be his family. He looked at his hand. Some of the vampire’s flesh was on his knuckles.

“What the hell,” he said.

Russell sat on his couch as several police officers carried the vampires’ bodies to a van in the driveway. He held his brother’s driver’s license in his hand. He’d taken it from his brother’s wallet before the police arrived. The morning sun filtered in through the living room window.

A woman in a black Day Soldiers uniform sat beside him. “Thanks for answering my questions,” she said. “I’m very sorry you had to go through this.”

Russell didn’t reply. He just gazed at his brother’s picture on the license.

“I don’t really have anything else,” the woman went on, “but you’ll be hearing from us again. You have a rare gift. It’s something we’ll want to follow up on.”

“I burned him with my hands,” Russell said. “That’s what you’re talking about.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I’m not gonna bullshit you here, kid. You’ll be hearing from recruiters soon. We’ll give you time to grieve, of course, but the fact is, we need people like you.”

“I’ll go with you right now if you let me,” Russell said. “I can grieve later.”

“You need to wrap your brain around what happened here,” she said. “Be with your family. Cry. Scream. Whatever it takes to get you through this. We’ll be here when you’re ready.”

“I got no family,” Russell said, still staring at his brother’s driver’s license. “It was just me, my mom, and my brother.” He looked at the woman. “Take me with you. I want to be a Day Soldier. I can’t think of a better way to honor them.”

“How old are you?” she asked. “We don’t take anybody under eighteen.”

“I’m eighteen,” Russell lied. “See?” He showed her his brother’s license.

She looked at the license, then looked at Russell. After a pause, she said, “The recruiting center is about four miles from here, next to the post office. I’ll be there until six today. How about you get some rest, then come by this afternoon. Say, five?”

She bought it, Russell thought. She actually believes that’s a picture of me. “Five’s good,” he said.

“I look forward to it,” the woman said. After a pause, she leaned forward in her chair and added, “I want you to think about this decision. Think about it long and hard. We seek out people with your particular ability, but this can’t be a decision you make lightly. Joining the Day Soldiers requires you to give everything to this war.”

“I can’t think of a better life,” Russell said.

“Okay,” the woman said. She stood up. “I’ll see you at five. If you’re too tired to make it, that’s fine. I’ll be in town all week. I go back to the Columbus facility on Monday. I’m just in town to do some training for the local branch.”

“I’ll be there at five,” Russell said.

“One last thing,” the woman added. “I don’t recommend sharing what happened here last night. The part about your hands burning the vampires, I mean. If the Legion discovers it happened, your life will get very… difficult.”

“I understand,” Russell said. “Do I need to ask for you when I get there? I know you told me, but with everything going on, I don’t remember your name.”

The woman smiled. “I totally understand. I’m Reagan.”

“Reagan,” Russell said. “Got it.”

“Okay,” Reagan said. “We’ll see you at five. Again, I’m very sorry you had to endure this.”

“Thanks,” Russell said.

“It was a genuine pleasure to meet you, Cooper,” Reagan said. “I wish it had been under better circumstances.”

Russell looked at his brother’s license again. This time he looked at his brother’s first name.

Cooper.

“My friends call me Coop,” he said.

_______________________________________________

The story you just read takes place 8 years before the events of the Day Soldiers Trilogy. If you haven’t read the Day Soldiers novels, you can get them all from most major online retailers. The saga is apocalyptic, sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and always fun.  Check ‘em out. I’m pretty sure you’ll dig them.

Day Soldiers Book One

 Six things to consider before you wish for a zombie apocalypse...The Book that started it all…

Available at the following retailers. Day Soldiers is available in paperback and ebook formats:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Smashwords

 

Purging Fires:

Day Soldiers Book Two

 Six things to consider before you wish for a zombie apocalypse...

The exciting saga of the Day Soldiers continues…

Available at the following retailers. Purging Fires is available in paperback and ebook formats:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Smashwords

 

Topia:

Day Soldiers Book Three

 

 Six things to consider before you wish for a zombie apocalypse...

How does it all end? The thrilling conclusion to the Day Soldiers Trilogy.

Currently available for the at the following retailers: 

Amazon

Smashwords

iTunes

Barnes and Noble

 

The Sneaker’s Handbook:

A Day Soldiers Guide to Killing Vampires and Werewolves

 Six things to consider before you wish for a zombie apocalypse...

Your ignorance is the Legion’s most powerful weapon.

This companion piece is the manual that Lily Baxter was issued when she was assigned to the Sneakers.

Currently Available at Amazon.

 

 

 

 


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard March 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Excellent little story!!

Reply

Brandon March 22, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Thanks, Richard!

Reply

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