Krisstopher looked at his brother with stern eyes.
"Ok listen Isaak, do you remember what to do?"
The young boy stiffened, insulted that he was even asked.
"Of course I know. Why do you always treat me as if this were my first time? I'm not a kid anymore."
"Shut up Isaak, yes you are. And I will keep treating you like one until you get your damn job done."
Enfeebled by his brother's words, Isaak looked down, careful to avoid eye contact.
"It's just a stupid watch."
The two boys sat inside the dark alley space, waiting for their heist. The sun was already down and they had not yet eaten since the morning. Isaak's nose was becoming irritated by the stench emerging from the dumpster beside them.
"I hate it here, it smells."
"Well deal with it, this whole city smells."
"Yeah but it smells even worse here." Isaak used both of his hands to cover his nose and puffed out his cheeks to simulate holding his breath.
Krisstopher was unresponsive, his eyes focused out of the alley and towards the streets.
Where is he?
"Are you sure he walks down this street?"
"Yes I'm sure, I see this man everyday walking past the street checking his stupid watch, like anyone with that much money would really care what time it was."
"How do you know he has a lot of money?"
"You can tell by the way he walks. He isn't mad to be walking around in this god-forsaken city. No, in fact, it's the damn opposite, he walks like he is proud of it." Krisstopher's teeth tightened. It wasn't fair that someone could be that content with their life.
"Well it is pretty dark, are you sure you didn't miss him?"
"I didn't miss him,"
"Really? Because last time you told me-"
"Isaak, shut up! I didn't miss him." Krisstopher glared straight at his brother, completely ignoring the fear that was on the young boy's face. Sympathizing was not an action Krisstopher did well, especially when he had not eaten since morning. His stomach grumbled.
"It's ok Kriss, I'm hungry too," Isaak whispered with a soft smile, trying to hide any evidence of his watery eyes in front of his brother.
Krisstopher looked back out into the streets and jumped to his feet.
"Yes, now don't forget what you're supposed to do, hurry up and go."
The younger brother was pushed towards the street. There he saw the man his brother was speaking of, a tall middle-aged man, walking high with no caution to the beggars around him. Krisstopher was right, however it wasn't the man's attitude that caught Isaak's attention, but rather his suit.
What is he doing out here?
The man stopped in his tracks and raised his right arm; a golden shine was displayed on his wrist. He stared intently towards the beautiful artifact.
How could something be so stunning, just to tell time?
"His right arm," Isaak told himself as he quickly shuffled through the human traffic, subtracting distance between him and his objective. Over and over Isaak played out the situation in his head, "Don't mess this up Isaak, Kriss is watching."
The young boy then proceeded to throw himself on top of the man, colliding firmly against his right side. Only jolting the man enough to throw him off balance. Young Isaak hit the cement pavement with excessive force, he lay on the ground writhing in pain.
"What in the hell is the matter with you," The man interrogated as he firmly pulled the young boy off the ground.
"No- Please- " Isaak tried to shake his way out of the man's grasp, his body was under no condition to speak. It was only a matter of time before the man would find the golden watch hanging out from the back of his pocket, he had let his brother down again.
"Quit squirming boy, your going to open up whatever scratches you have even further." The man brushed the dirt off from Isaak's back. "You shouldn't be running this fast out here. You could really hurt someone other than yourself you know."
"I- I'm sorry sir" Isaak's face flushed, he was not expecting such a reaction from the man he was stealing from.
Does he even know what I've done?
Isaak put his hand on his back pocket, assuring that his objective was still with him.
"It's fine, no damage was done. Now you be careful, people out in these streets don't normally take kind to strangers." The man padded the last bit of dust from the boy's shoulders and smiled.
Isaak smiled back, comforted by the man's actions. Never before had he witnessed compassion from a stranger. He looked at the man's eyes, they appeared sad, almost hurt. After a few more seconds he realized that the man was looking at his side, the watch was hanging out from his pocket.
"Hey, is that my-"
"Isaak Run!" Krisstopher shouted, holding his knife deep within the man's side. His eyes were filled with panic as he tried to convince his brother to move.
Isaak's heart was racing, his body stood paralyzed by the event he had just witnessed. Not even a single blink, he watched the man fall down to his knees holding his side. He had never seen that much blood before.
Krisstopher dashed towards his brother and lifted him off the ground, carrying him away. Isaak's eyes stared at the man the entire time, watching his body lay on the floor, getting smaller and smaller until it was no longer visible past the crowds of careless people continuing on with their lives. Then, everything went black.
Isaak awoke to find his brother watching over him. They were back home, at Seventh Slums. The wind was blowing hard, and they had no shelter other than the pile of blankets stored over the years. Composed entirely of alleys where the homeless slept, Seventh Slums did not hold any values other than a resting place for those who didn't have a place to stay.
"What happened?" Isaak whispered.
"Nothing, everything is going to be fine now."
"What about the man?" Isaak looked at his brother, hoping to see a change of expression, perhaps even remorse.
"He is fine Isaak, stop worrying." Krisstopher replied with an affirming tone. This saddened his brother.
"Kriss, I- I saw what you did to him"
"I did it to protect you,"
"He wasn't a bad man Kriss."
"I don't care who he was, I wasn't going to risk letting you get hurt."
Isaak looked at his brother, he didn't know what else to expect from him.
He really was watching over me.
His eyes then went down to Krisstopher's wrist. A golden shine stole his attention. "Is- is that the man's watch? Why are you wearing it?" a sharp pain struck Isaak's heart, looking at the watch displayed too much for him.
"We worked hard for this, I wasn't going to let everything that happened today just go to waste."
"But why are you wearing it!" Isaak repeated.
"It's a watch Isaak, that's what you do with them,"
"Is it some kind of prize to you? Are you actually proud of it?"
"Isaak, you're just tired, you need to rest."
"How could you even look at that thing?" Isaak's eyes began to tear, his voice cracking after every other word. "That watch holds another man's blood!"
"This watch is going to give us another week in this city and you're complaining-"
"I'm complaining about what you- about what we did to get it. We hurt someone Kriss."
"We did what we had to survive Isaak, we don't live in your bedtime stories anymore. We live in the damn gates of hell. The world isn't about happy endings Isaak, it's about growing up and learning to survive, to out-survive others. Yes it's disgusting, yes it's sad, and yes Isaak, people will get hurt. And if those people mean that we get another day to breath, then I have no remorse for my actions, because that means we get to survive Isaak. That will always come first before everything else."
Isaak sat in his pile of blankets. He stared blankly at the torn sheets and the stained covers. His head felt heavy, and he cried. "I hate it here Kriss, why can't we just be happy."
"I'm sorry Isaak, this world just wasn't made for that."
To be continued...