Raphael and Nicholas

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Just some historical fiction I whipped up…you can probably expect more out of this random story.

     Raphael looked up at his older brother, Nicholas, from where he sat on a short bed.  The springs of the poorly-cushioned mattress could be felt beneath Raphael, providing an uncomfortable seat, and under his feet he could feel the coolness of the russet wooden floor, which was growing black with age.  The white walls of the room were chipped and dirty, and the color had faded, such that instead of a refreshing, pristine coating of paint, all that remained now was an ugly and unworthy imitation.  The apartment was dark, with deep shadows lingering in the corners of the room, and only a fragment of gray light made it past Nicholas as he stood peering out of the lone window in the wall facing the street.  The glass of the window was framed with cobwebs, and dust clung to the window-sill, enough of it so that it created a light, fuzzy blanket.  Outside the sky was white near the horizon, but elsewhere it was covered with a group of dark gray clouds.  Nicholas stirred by the window, “Here they come.”

     Raphael’s chest tightened and he breathed deeply, clenching the mattress with his hands.  A wave of fear washed over him.  He tried not to breathe in—lest he drown—the anxiety that so persistently endeavored to control him, but he couldn’t help accepting the harsh reality that he faced with Nicholas.  He sighed again, attempting to find his calm.  Raphael had been in London with his brother for only two weeks after leaving Ireland, and it had become obvious that the effects of war had heavily induced the city with a feeling of terror and uncertainty.  The Germans had been on Great Britain’s doorstep for quite some time, and now they were striking.  In the distance, Raphael could hear the hum of planes as the enemy approached.  “What have we gotten ourselves into?” he thought, referring to their decision to come to London.

     Raphael was fifteen, while Nicholas was twenty.  As Raphael stared after his brother, trying to determine what was going on outside by the expressions of Nicholas’s face, he looked with admiration.  Nicholas was a tall, well-built young man, with broad shoulders that were rounded with muscle, and chest and back muscles that gave his body a fit, manly shape.  His square chin was covered with a well-kept beard below a pair of full lips, a broad nose, attentive blue eyes, and a head of brown hair which was just as orderly as his beard.  His appearance was worth coveting.  More importantly, however, Raphael sought to emulate Nicholas because he was an understanding, compassionate, and heedful person.  Nicholas took his role as an older brother seriously and used all of his past experiences to guide Raphael with his wisdom.  Raphael, despite the danger at hand, felt secure in his brother’s presence, and the level of trust that bonded him with his sibling enabled him to be confident that, no matter what happened, Nicholas would be able to ensure his safety.

     “We should be moving,” said Nicholas.

      Raphael rose from the bed and joined him at the window.  “Nick,” he said, “do you think there will be any Nazis in the city…on the ground?”

     “I don’t know,” answered Nicholas, “but if there are, we’ll be ready.”  Reaching into his coat pocket, the young man presented to Raphael a pistol.

     Regarding the weapon with an air of maturity, responsibility, and casualness, Raphael accepted the weapon.  As he held it, his heart beat quickened, and, as always he realized that, in a sense, he held someone’s life in his hand. And because of the weapon, he had the power to take that person’s life.  Nonetheless, he also had the ability to defend someone’s life, and the gun, when viewed in the light of that perspective, urged him to be careful, controlled, and manly.  “Is it loaded?” asked Raphael.

     Nicholas said sarcastically, “No it’s not loaded.  Throw it at a Nazis if you see one.”  The brother’s smiled at each other.  When Raphael’s gaze returned to the pistol, Nicholas continued, “Remember what I told you: respect the weapon, but don’t be afraid of it.  You can’t be afraid of your own weapon, or it will control you.  You are its master.  It is a tool, and all tools are created for benefit of mankind.  If the tools serve a different purpose, then the person using the tools has behaved irresponsible.”  The way Nicholas ended on a note of warning prompted thoughts of extreme caution and tension in Raphael.  Yet then Nicholas patted Raphael on the arm and said gently and encouragingly, “Come on, now.  I don’t need to be saying this.  It’s not like guns are old to you.”

     Raphael curved into a small grin, and it was slightly out of deviousness, in the sense that he knew something an enemy opponent wouldn’t know, and that he possessed an advantage that none would expect.  Both Raphael and Nicholas were highly skilled gunmen; not highly trained, but born with a keen instinct for handling weapons with proficiency.

     Suddenly a loud boom sounded in the distance, and the room seemed to shake a little, and sirens could be heard.  The buzzing of planes in the air grew louder.  Another bomb explosion rocked the city, this time closer, such that the brothers were almost thrown from their feet.  Nicholas approached the window and muttered, “Shit.  Time to go!”

     Out on the streets they hastily made their way down an alley.  For a week it had been raining, so puddles were about the ground here and there, and ripples appeared each time a bomb landed on the city, like an electric shock pulsating.  The sky looked gloomy and sad, and as if it wanted to rain again, to shed tears, but it could cry no more, so no more precipitation occurred.  Overhead, the sound of fighter-jets clashing, British and German, could be heard.  People were screaming and crying out, dashing for cover.  One family that Raphael saw was rushing for their underground bunker, when one boy exclaimed, “Wait, Dad!” and rushed back into his demolished home.  An older boy called after him, “Edmund!”

     Raphael shook his head; some people were dumb.

     As the brothers entered into one of the main boulevards of the city, people running hither and thither, a motorcycle zoomed towards the fighting in the city.  On the vehicle sat a man dressed in tights that bore the colors of the United States.  The clothing stood out against the bleak day so much, and looked so bizarre, Raphael’s mouth fell open.  The man wore a cheesy looking mask and a round shield on his back, which also possessed the red, white and blue of the United States.  As the man zipped by on his motorcycle, Raphael thought to himself, “Americans are idiots.” 





2 thoughts on “Raphael and Nicholas

    Elizabeth M said:
    April 5, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    I like it, Dom! Are you going to continue the story? Elizabeth

      Aul responded:
      April 5, 2014 at 7:39 PM

      Yeah, but I’ll skip large periods of time. Thanks for the compliment!

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