This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Brothers

David eyed the youth before him; he bore the mark of perhaps eighteen years upon his body.  The malnutrition had kept his frame small and bent his legs, but his scarred face spoke of many years of determination and his long-sighted stare bespoke a hardened eye for the cruelties of the world.

When he spoke, the youth had the habit of making direct eye contact.  David admired him for his simple honesty and his brazen confidence.  The youth reminded him of himself.

“What is your name, young man?”  The youth turned quickly, startled, but recovered and look directly into David’s eyes.

“Jason, sir.”

“Heh.  You needn’t be so formal around here, we aren’t in the military, boy.  My name is David.”

“Sorry, sir, I mean, David, I just have never seen such a gathering of men.”

“Not men, kid!” Martin was grunting from under the stalled halftrack vehicle, “Mercenaries!”

A chorus of rough, quiet chuckles came from the circle of armed men around the fire beside the dirt path that masqueraded as a road.

“Aye, mercenaries.”  Jason turned to look directly into David’s eyes again.  “What I really mean is, would you be recruiting?”

Another, less jovial laugh went round the orange lighted semi-clearing.  The jungle erupted into its own chorus of barks and shrieks from beyond the shadowed vegetation – shadows that had the cruel curves of some wicked ceremonial sword and shifted like a wary enemy.

“Sir…  David…  What can I do to help you?”

David smiled slightly, relaxing his stare.  “I will find a use for you, young man.”

A genuine laugh shook the men around the clearing for as long as they could afford.  This time the jungle did not answer.

The youth was dragged away by Luther’s rough grip; he would not find rest anytime soon.

David’s desire to make all wheels spin together, to move all things forward at all times made everyone around him feel a portion of every move…  In truth, they were.

“Martin, how long?”

“At least another hour.”  Martin moved his dolly from under the vehicle.  “David, we need a more reliable vehicle.  I’m making a temporary structural fix.  This beast will lose its legs, and we will be up a creek.”

“Fine technical form, old man,” David smiled broadly.  “Take your hour and we will acquire a new mode of transportation in the city.”

Martin scowled and stretched as he went back to his dolly and slid under the broken halftrack.  “If we make it in this I will be impressed.”

“We’ll make it, Martin.  We have no choice.”  David turned to the north, deeper into the dense vegetation, no hills to provide a line of sight over the canopy, too dark to be able to use one.  Then he slowly turned to look at his men.  If we must travel blind, he thought, at least we travel prepared.

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