The Morelli Bros. (Chapter I, Part III)

They left their van behind, both too tired for words, as they began their search for the nearest fueling station.  Darkness had fallen over Brooklyn, and despair seeped into their hearts.  In they heat of their argument, neither had noticed when they had taken a wrong turn.  As they exchanged words built on a strong foundation of frustration, neither paid heed to scenery that slowly became something they were unfamiliar with.  Utterly alone in and unfamiliar territory, they walked with one eye cautiously scanning the shadows.

Luigi looked over at his brother, expectantly, fighting between waiting for something to be said, and saying it himself.  “Spit it out already,” Mario said with a heavy sigh. “You’ve been-a looking at me like-a you want to ask me out on a date, or something.”

“I’m-a sorry.  You know…  For what I said back there.”

“It’s nothing.  Let’s just try to get out of this mess.  We need to calm down, anyways,” Mario said with a grin.  When Luigi didn’t take the bait, only cocked a curious eyebrow, his brother only chuckled as he explained; “Our stereotypes are a-showin’.”

As the two shared a tension breaking chuckle, a high-pitched scream interrupted the serenity of the night.

“What in-a world was-a that?”  Luigi’s voice trembled and he nearly lost his footing as he ducked behind his shorter, stockier sibling.

“Someone’s in trouble!  Come on!”

Mario sped off, leaving the other behind as he rushed to the aid of the unseen caller.  As it always was, he ran much faster than Luigi, leaving him little hope of catching up.  He only hoped that he could maintain sight of him, and the direction he was heading, from few seconds he appeared beneath the streetlights ahead of him.

The scream punctured the air once again,  this time much closer than before. Mario, startled by the close vicinity of the sound, skidded several feet across loose gravel before coming to a full stop.  Seconds later, his younger brother slammed into the back of him and the two tumbled to the ground.

“Hold on,” Mario hissed.  “Did’a you see that?”  He pointed to the mouth of an alley just a dozen feet ahead of them.

Luigi nodded, his face now ghostly white, as he followed his brother’s direction. They both had been looking in that direction as they fell, searching for the source of the sound, when they saw a woman being dragged into darkness of the alley.

Mario struggled out from beneath his brother and rolled to his feet, pausing only long enough to help the latter to his feet.  “We’ve gotta help her,” he exclaimed in a panic.  His younger brother gulped, agreeing with a slight nod, and followed the other into what would be the beginning to the end of everything he ever knew or believed in.

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