Sean and Dex

BY : PencilScribbler
Category: Original - Misc > General
Dragon prints: 1130
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the authorís imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or loca

A/N: Thank you for reading my story. Chapter updates can be found on my blog at https://pj08stories.blogspot.com or you can email me at vu.cecily@gmail.com or any questions. 




Chapter One

How did this happen? How did I end up in this situation? I’ve always had the best of intentions.

At this moment I am standing in a stranger’s house and time is standing still. There is a very large gun pointed at me. That in itself is very disturbing, but what really kills me (no pun intended) is the person holding the gun. Our eyes meet, my gut twists and my heart breaks as the betrayal hits me. Our whole relationship flashed before my eyes like one of those movie montages as I stared back at the person that I loved and trusted.

My name is Sean Colin and I am a burglar. I rob from less than honest people for the greater good. My partner in crime is my best friend, Dexter Ramirez. Dex is special. He acquired some unique abilities after he almost died when we were thirteen years old. You must be wondering in what context would ‘the greater good’ include burglary.

Well, I guess I should start at the beginning.

*************

I grew up in Santa Ana in Southern California. Dex lived on the same street as me growing up but three city blocks away. Although the physical distance between our homes wasn’t far, the difference in our separate neighborhoods was drastic.

My neighborhood was called French Court, where the houses were large and the lawns were kept. As an only child I lived there with my parents, David and Patricia Colin. It was just the three of us that lived in a large two-story Spanish style house with our elderly housekeeper, Catherine. More accurately, it was just Catherine and me since my parents weren’t home very often. They owned their own financial planning business that had them traveling most of the time. I didn’t think all the traveling was necessary. I just think they like to pretend they were a childless couple and the world was their oyster. With that said, I was anything but close with my parents. I had to grow up fast since I basically had to raise myself.

Dex lived with his mother Isabel, his brother Hector and his Aunt Lula, Isabel’s sister. Isabel was in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident not long after Dex was born. His father abandoned them after the accident. Aunt Lula stayed with them since then. She worked as a nurse a few blocks away at St. Francis Hospital. She was the only one in their household who was employed. Her income along with the alimony from her ex-husband paid for their small one-story house. Dex also had to grow up fast living in that part of town.

We met when we were five years old. Catherine took me to Cosmic Comics one afternoon to get a ‘Thor’ comic. We were both searching the same the bin. He was Hispanic, my age and size. He had tanned skin, a mop of loose dark curls and friendly dark brown eyes. He was looking at the cover of a ‘Superman’ comic. I guess he was a DC guy where I was a Marvel guy myself. He was with Hector, his fifteen year old brother who looked like an older version of Dex. Dex and I got into a heated debate about Marvel vs DC. It turned out we had a lot in common such as comic books (despite the debate), video games and movies. We discovered we only lived a few blocks apart. From that day forward we were pretty much inseparable. The people in our lives could expect that when they saw a dark haired boy they would also find a green-eyed blond boy with him.

My bedroom was on the first floor of our house facing the backyard. Dex and I had an ‘open window’ policy. We always kept our windows unlocked for easy crawl-through access. We attended the same school for elementary and junior high. It wasn't like we were weirdos and didn't have other friends. We had school friends but we mostly hung out with each other outside of school.

When I was twelve, a kid in our class named Anthony started picking on me in school. I've always been slim since I was more into video games than sports. It didn't mean I was a wuss or anything. I picked up a few things about fighting from hanging out with Dex and Hector. Anthony wasn't much bigger than me but he was mean. I decided I should take care of Anthony and confront him after school one day. I knew where he lived and what route he took home. What can I say? I had trust issues. I knew at a young age how ugly the world could be from hanging out in Dex’s neighborhood and watching the news. We made it a point to know where most of our classmates lived.

I told Dex about my plan and asked for some pointers. He was about my size but he was scrappy and he learned how to fight from his brother. Hector was a gang member of Los Panteras. He had Dex be lookout and messenger for them since Dex was eight. That was back when we looked up to Hector. Like any young boy, I’ve always wanted an older brother. We should’ve known better.

I took Anthony's route home after school the next day to confront him. I had no idea why he started picking on me but I was going to find out and resolve the problem. Was I a little worried he could take me in a fight? Sure, but I wasn't going to stand by and continue to be bullied.

When I spotted him, he was already on the ground wrestling with Dex. I’d recognize that mop of dark curls anywhere. What was he doing? I thought, this was my fight.

It was always a sight to behold watching Dex fight. He knew how to fight dirty. Watching them grapple on the ground was kind of like the ones you see in cartoons. You know, when all you see is a cloud and flashes of arms and legs once in a while? Or maybe that was just how I remembered it. Anthony was trying to fend him off and get away. Dex wasn’t having any of that. Every time Anthony started pulling away, Dex would drag him back in. Needless to say, Anthony, or anyone for that matter, didn’t bother me again after that.

Dex was the tough one and I was the academic one. When he struggled in school I would tutor him. When someone bothered me, he’d take care of it. I’m not saying he wasn’t smart, he was probably the smartest person I knew. He just wasn’t interested in school. He had street smarts and an abundance of random knowledge, from where, I couldn’t tell you.

I had him help me write a poem for a girl I had a crush on in junior high. He decided we should write a sonnet. I didn't know what a sonnet was at the time. I didn't know where he even learned about it since we didn't cover that in school yet. She was in the drama club and choir so he said it would be more impressive if it was rhythmic so we wrote it in what he called iambic pentameter (okay, he wrote it but I did provide her name). Seriously, what kid knows this kind of stuff? When he liked a girl after that we recycled the poem (both girls loved it, luckily their names rhymed and they ran in different social circles). We had very different tastes in the fairer sex.

Despite our different backgrounds we understood each other and kept the other grounded. We were always there for one another which kept either of us from feeling alone in the world. Our relationship had balance. We provided a give and take and our bond solidified through the years.

I knew he had a tough life with not having his father around and knowing how grating it was on his mother being in a wheelchair. Life was hard and nothing was given easily. He got in these dark moods once in a while. He didn’t talk. I learned to give him space and not ask him questions even though I was dying to know what he was thinking or who it was that kept him from being happy. I wanted to know who I needed to battle. I was willing to face any person or demon with him. He didn’t seem to mind having me there during those times. As long as I let him be while we watched movies or played games.

*************

I will remember the night before that fateful day that changed our lives forever.

It was the summer when we were thirteen. I remember lying in bed trying to fall asleep. I heard the window open, someone climbing in and shutting it. I was about to rip into him about how unsafe it was running around this time of night alone when the distress in his voice stopped me.

“Sean? Are you awake?” I heard Dex whisper. I felt him sit on my bed next to me, leaning his back against the headboard.

“Yeah, dude. What’s wrong?” I asked. I sat up and positioned myself next to him.

“Hector left,” he replied in a defeated voice.

“What happened? I thought he was supposed to get a job and help Aunt Lula with the bills.”

I was pissed. Hector was twenty-three years old! Dex and I wised up and recognized the gang life for the horror that it was. Dex stopped helping Los Panteras a few months ago. We all tried to get Hector to leave that violent life. He finally agreed and promised to get an honest job to help support the family. Obviously, he lied. It was also our fault for believing Hector would give up that life so easily in our naivety, when it was all he ever knew.  

"I heard him argue with mom and Aunt Lula all day. They sent me to the store for milk so ‘the grown ups could talk’. I listened from outside the window for awhile before I left. The jerk left me a note," he said and hand me a folded up piece of paper.

Lil' Bro,

Had to go. Dark closets. Gotta live my own life.

You are the man of the house now. Take care of Mom and Lula.

Don't take no shit from nobody. You were right to leave Los Panteras.

Don't come looking for me.

Hector

"I can’t believe this!" I said, grinding my teeth. Anger didn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling.

"Like father like son, I guess. When I got back home he was already gone. All if his stuff was gone from our room. I found the note on my bed. Mom’s been crying for hours. I couldn't listen to her cry anymore, so I came here," he said as he banged his head against the wall.

"Dark closets? What does that mean?" I asked.

"You know how I get quiet sometimes?" he asked. He leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes.

"Uh-huh," I replied. Was he actually going to tell me what he thinks about during those times?

"I found out Hector gets that way, too. Some of the neighbor kids wanted to put together a game of basketball in Mikey’s driveway. I went to get a ball from our bedroom closet. I found Hector sitting on the closet floor hugging his legs and rocking. At first he didn’t say anything. He didn’t even acknowledge my presence. I started shutting the closet door again to leave but he started talking. He said he was thinking about our dad, why he left, why he didn't want us, all the pressure he felt to be 'the man of the house'. I knew he didn’t want to have a conversation so I didn’t say anything. I just listened. Then he stopped talking but he kept on rocking. I remembered how you always sat with me when I got like that. I never said it but it made me feel better. Thank you for that, by the way. I thought I'd do the same for him, so I sat with him. He stopped rocking after awhile," he explained.

"I had no idea. You guys have been through so much. I am so sorry, Dex. Are you guys doing okay money wise? What do you want to do? How can I help?" I asked.

"We're fine, I guess. It's been so hard on Aunt Lula. She's tired, man. I have to find him. He can't break their hearts like this. He's got responsibilities. We can't survive without his help," Dex said, rubbing his eyes.

"Yes, you can survive. They don't need Hector because they have you. I know you can't get a job right now but you guys can keep going the way you have been. When you're fifteen you can get a job. You know I have money. I know you won't accept it but never forget that option," I said.

"Thanks, dude. But I have to try to talk to Hector. At least for mom and Aunt Lula’s sake," Dex said.

"Okay. Let's wait until tomorrow, though. My parents got home tonight. We'll get my dad to come with us if we're going into Los Panteras territory. You're sleeping here so I can keep my eye on you. Don't you even think about sneaking out without me," I threatened.

"Yeah, okay, we'll talk to your dad. Thanks. I don't know what I'd do without you. Set the alarm for eight, okay?" Dex said as we got under the covers.

"Of course. Best buds ‘til the end, remember? Alarm's set for eight. We'll talk to him first thing," I promised.

****************

Dex wasn't there when the alarm went off the next morning. I knew he wasn’t in the house. I would've felt him if he was still here. I cursed myself for not staying up all night to keep watch. He didn't have a cell phone for me to call.

"God Dammit!" I shouted jumping out of bed.

I ran to his house as fast as I could. Maybe he’s still there. He had to stop there first, right?

When I got there I banged on the front door until Isabel let me in. I took in her red tear filled eyes and her disheveled appearance. She sat me down on their old couch in the living room and got Aunt Lula. They told me that Hector called them a few hours ago. Dex went to a Los Pantera house where he knew Hector would be. They were arguing in the front yard and didn’t notice when several members of a rival gang arrived in a car that parked in front of the house. The rival gang members got out of their car and started shooting at the house as approached. Dex jumped on Hector and covered Hector's larger body with his smaller one. Dex got shot with three bullets in the back.

What grown man would let their little brother shield him from harm? What big brother wouldn’t automatically protect his little brother? Hector Ramirez, that's who. Because life is unfair, Hector walked away without a scratch on him. He was okay with hiding behind his little brother. It was in Dex's nature to protect. He would’ve done it for anyone. I understood why he did it and honestly, I would have done the same thing, but I hated that he got hurt.

The paramedics arrived and took Dex to St. Francis Hospital. He was D.O.A. (dead on arrival). Aunt Lula went in, revived him and snuck him out before his information was entered in the system. He hasn't regained consciousness. They didn't have the money to pay for his hospital stay. She had help from her hospital friends to steal some equipment and medical supplies. She set him up in his old room. They removed Hector’s old bed to make room for all the machines that were hooked up to him. Aunt Lula said that he was in a coma and she didn't know when and if he would wake up. Aunt Lula walked me to his room and closed the door behind her.

I wasn't prepared to see what I saw. I’ve been in his room a million times. It was a home away from home. Now my second home had a bunch of machines that were making beeping sounds and dripping IV’s connected to my best friend who lay still on his bed. It was unnerving seeing him like that. Never in his life, even while sleeping, was he this still.

But there was something even more shocking. Standing in front of his comatose bullet filled body, leaning against the bed, was another Dex but this one was awake and looking me.

How was Dex laying in his bed in a coma and another Dex standing in front of it? That’s it, I'm losing it. I've gone crazy from my grief-stricken state.

"Hey," Awake-standing Dex said.

"Uh, hey,” I stupidly replied.

I blinked a few times, rubbed my eyes and looked again. I think I might’ve even pinched myself. Yup, Dex was still standing there.

“I've gone crazy, haven't I? You're not real."

"Of course I'm real. Duh,” he said.

“Figment of people’s imaginations never admit to it. They always claim they’re real,” I pointed out.

“I promise I’m real, Sean. 'Turns out I can astral project. Apparently, we've got some Native American in our blood. No one else can see me, though. Just you so far. Thank God you can see me," He said.

I ashamedly started crying.

"When are you gonna wake up? Can you just do it now, please?" I begged.

"I don't know. I heard Aunt Lula tell my mom she doesn't think I will for awhile. But I’m in stable condition," Dex said soothingly. It's the voice he used when he wanted to pet a stray animal that wandered on the yard.

"I don't understand. What does this mean? How is this possible?" I asked.

"I don't know. It sucks, but at least I'm still here. Someone's gotta look out for you. You didn’t think a few bullets could separate us, did you? We made a promise to each other when we were five, remember? I've got your back. It's a forever type of thing," He said and smiled, which got me crying again.

After I pulled myself together and wiped my eyes, I stopped to really get a good look at them. The Dex lying on the bed was pale and wore a green hospital gown. The other was in his typical faded black jeans and dirty converse high tops...but his t-shirt...was black with three wolves howling at the moon. I have never seen that shirt before and I knew every piece of clothing he owned.

"What are you wearing?" I asked.

"Oh, the shirt? I guess your astral form projects how you see yourself. We've always made fun of shirts like these. I must see myself as pretty dang funny," he laughed.

"Only you, Dex," I agreed and laughed with him, shaking my head. Dex, even in astral form, was a comedic smart-ass. My best friend, ladies and gentlemen, in all his glory.

I knew I should’ve been more grateful than I was. I knew I should've been happy that Dex hadn't died and he was still with me in some way. But I was really sad. Don't get me wrong, I was also very relieved.

But I mourned for the two little boys who dreamed about growing up and facing the world together.



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