Dan, who was a heavy drinker was told by his brother after the moon reached the highest point in the sky to meet in secret. “I really don’t want to do this… but I’ll see what my addict of a brother wants… at this godforsaken hour of the night…”  

he gets the directions where to meet and walks there as due to his drinking he no longer had a drivers license.

His twin drug addict brother Fredrick waits for him to stumble in an abandoned storage unit left behind by their dead parents before he planned his attack. That did not go well.

The door is locked behind them and there was no way out that Dan could find as his brother stalked closer to him. “Youre going to die in here with me… man… I don’t care how… you know there’s no way out… but in death…” Fredrick was ready to pounce from above and deliver a killing blow but he missed as it was pitch black.

“There’s nowhere for you to run now… brother!”

Dan started to panic as the walls seemed to be getting closer together and he was breathing heavily.

 “Why are you doing this? If you want to fight… I’ll fight you… you… bastard!”

His heart started to race like hoofbeats of a galloping horse as he felt he was being hunted and had nowhere to hide, his instincts were keen but his movements were not.

Dan got lucky, as he stumbled backwards after he felt he got several punches in and smelled the acrid scent of blood but could not see how much there was, Fredrick came crashing down where he had been just seconds ago and objects from the storage unit tumbled down on top of them burying him and his brother alive. Fredrick was annoyed that his brother survived the falling objects.

“Well… that’s just great… you’re such a loser man… No one loves you… Learn to accept it… I did… many years ago when you were kicked out… then our parents beat up on me…”

Dan found his way out and banged on the door to the storage unit as loud as he could muster and screams at the top of his lungs hoping someone could hear him.

“Let me out! Somebody help me! I’m trapped and can’t get out!”

He was trapped with his brother who might as well be dead. Was there movement in the darkness? He couldn’t tell until his brother grabbed his hand and pulled him back into the mountainous heap of objects that had fallen and taken him into the dark abyss.

“No one is coming to help you escape this place… Dan… my man…”

Dan felt he had nothing to lose or to gain so he closed his eyes and let fate decide what happened to him. He felt a wave of calmness wash over him like a gentle ocean.

He woke up in a hospital bed in a bright room that blinded him like the sun because he was in the dark for so long; bloodied, bruised and confused as to how he got there, surrounded by complete strangers looking after him and sees that his twin brother Fredrick was nowhere to be found. Dan was concerned about the whereabouts of Fredrick despite his better judgement.

“Was there anyone else in the storage unit besides me?”

he asked, and they assured him there was someone else, but he hadn’t been found yet. This made him uncomfortable as he was pretty sure that his violent brother had been there with him, and he shutters thinking about it.

“Oh… dear god… this can’t be happening! Am I going insane? I hope not…”

He says to himself. He was terrified of that very thought that perhaps he might be going in that direction.

“Where could he be? Who was it that saved me?” Dan looks around for his nemesis Fredrick or his rescuer but they are nowhere to be found. He came to the terrifying conclusion that he was indeed crazy. A crazy drunk with no friends to rely on. He felt a sudden wave of depression wash over him and he did not like feeling that way. “This is no way to feel. Pull yourself together!”

He decided to make a difference in his lifestyle. After he spent time in the hospital for a few days reminiscing about the life he led, he decided to help himself. When Dan got out of the hospital he heard the man he was fighting in the storage unit had been arrested.

“I am going to change my life to be the better man so that doesn’t happen to me anymore.”

He said to himself feeling a sense of relief about his decision and called to start his life of sobriety.

Dan went into treatment for his drinking and over time became a better man. He was much happier now than in the past due to not drinking.

“I feel pretty amazing now that I do not need to worry about Fredrick ruining my life,” Dan said to himself.

Dan did not have to worry about his drug addicted brother trying to kill him again. He was of a clearer mindset now and could focus on the greater things in life.

“I am finally on the path I was meant to follow and there are no obstacles in my way to make me relapse.”

He led a better lifestyle and made friends that he did not have before he got sober. He had grown to love the world around him more than his old drinking habits. Dan had to learn the hard way the importance of living addiction free so he wouldn’t end up rotting in jail for the rest of his life like his brother Fredrick. He was happy he made the switch, applied for a job and became successful.

One day Dan came across a will that since his brother Fredrick was extremely violent, he had been written out of. The will had been left behind by their long dead parents.

 “So that’s what this fight with my drug addict brother was all about… interesting…oh well… maybe it was for the best.”

He was surprised to read that he got everything in the storage unit he fought his brother in.

As he looked up to the sky he spoke to the heavens as he felt his parents were there even though he couldn’t see them.

“I’m sorry for not being the best older brother to Fredrick that I could have been. I thank you both for giving me this opportunity to prove how much you both mean to me.”

Dan took a few things from it that were personal to him and donated the rest of the valuables to a charity that needed it more than he did.

 “I feel as if a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders… not having to worry about what is going to happen to me at night with my drug addict of a brother behind bars now.”

This act Dan had taken made him feel like he had accomplished something great in his life by helping others rather than himself.

A beautiful woman that was head of the charitable organization he donated to walked up to him with the grace of a blond giraffe. With her elegant stride and high posture; this had caught Dan off guard as he became self-conscious how he looked but did not care as he wanted to be respectful towards this woman but also curious.

 “Who are you?” he asked in a nonthreatening tone to which the woman replied,

 “I’m the one who and called the cops who got you and the other guy out of that storage unit. The name is Klara.”

He nodded respectfully to her and smiled kindly to show he truly was grateful for the rescue.

“Thank you… Klara, I appreciate it. I’m Dan… Would you… perhaps… want to go on a date with me?”

He was surprised at his own straightforwardness and was shocked his offer was accepted by the beautiful woman who rescued him. Dan was glad someone considered talking to him and he felt like less of an outcast like he had previously been when he was a heavy drinker who could not function in the society. He was relieved he was treated like a real human being and this made him feel worthy of his rescuer Klara.

“I wish I would have made a change in my life way sooner than I did, but hey… better late than never,”

He said to himself and was able to relax without having the urge to drink. He was grateful to his drug addict of a brother for showing him where he had gone wrong so he could shift his intentions to help others rather than only himself as he used to do for his own purposes, he then hears a knock on the door and lets the police in and looks scared.

“I swear… I haven’t done anything…”

“We know… We have grave news… Your brother Fredrick is dead. He relapsed and overdosed on drugs after the two days he was released. We are sorry for your loss.”

Dan felt tears welling up in his eyes like a fountain about to overflow and spill out and shuts the door on the police who left as he did not want the officers to see him cry and reaches out to tell Klara over the phone.

“Oh goodness! I’m so sorry.” She said in a comforting tone.

“Don’t be… he was troubled in many ways… but I still cared about him… I hoped he would have gotten better so he could meet you. Now that will not happen. I could use a friend right now…”

He replied trying to keep his voice level but it was still quivering with emotion he could not control.

“Okay Dan. I’ll be at your place shortly hang in there.”

He was glad to have Klara to talk to and keep him company instead of going back to his drinking and to have her support through that trying time of mourning.

He grew lost in thought as he was thinking of his brother.

“Well Fredrick… you brought this on yourself… our parents have you back now so do not come back to haunt me. I do not need you messing things up for me again. I hope you find the light someday, you may have hated me but I could never hate you, even after the fight in the storage unit.”

Klara looks at Dan feeling concerned.

“I know you’re mourning Dan… but talking to yourself is a habit you need to break if you want to be seen as normal in the society we live in. I’m saying this as your friend to keep you from being seen as crazy when I do not think you really are that way.”

She said in a matter-of-fact tone that drew Dan away from his mind wandering and back into reality.

“I haven’t really thought of it in that way… but I will from now on… Thank you.”

“No problem.”

he looked lightly guilty for that and gets up to get water.

“Want anything to drink?”

“Beer. So that you will not have to look at it in your fridge anymore.”

“Fair enough.”

He replies and pours the last of the beer he had into a cup and gives it to Klara and drinks his water.

“I appreciate how much you care about my well-being Klara.” He smiles respectfully.

“I care because I was the same as you, a drunk. I got out of it too but I am better at controlling myself now. That is one thing we have in common Dan.” She replied smiling back. “This is the greatest experience I have had in years. Mind if I sleep on your couch?” she said sounding a little tired after talking to Dan all night.

“Not at all, go ahead and do that.” He said and gets her a blanket. “Rest well Klara I’ll see you in the morning.” He goes to his own bed and falls asleep and wakes up awhile later to see that his couch was empty as Klara had left. He walks to his radio weather forecasting job at an office building, thinking about Klara and their fascinating conversation that night. One of his co-workers finds Dan in the break room and looks curious as to how he was doing.

“Hey Dan how are you holding up? I heard about your brother.”

“My idiot drug addict brother got himself into trouble. That was his own fault and had nothing to do with me….Now can we please just drop it Georgia? I do not want to think about what more I could have done to save him!”

He sighs reflecting on what happened on that dreaded night so long ago and wanted to forget. “I’m sorry I did not mean to snap at you. It still hurts.”

“I should not have said anything to upset you… I’m sorry Dan I did not know you two were that close.” Georgia said feeling guilty. Let’s just… carry on with the day like that conversation never happened.” Georgia walked away from Dan and back to her controls to prepare for the next segment of broadcasting they needed to do. When Dan got done with his broadcast segment he went looking for Klara in the charity store but no one knew her name when he asked around. He turned around and saw Klara waving at someone but it was ignored and turns to face him.

“Dan… You’re the only one who can see me… but I am not a ghost. I am really in front of you. You are not crazy…” Klara reassured him as she hugs him.

“I appreciate that it is you who is telling me… I was worried for a second.” Dan looked relieved to feel her embrace and hugs her back, “You mysteriously disappearing without a word of explanation needs to stop… I get worried about you Klara… I consider you to be like a girlfriend to me…”

Klara looked at him in surprise. “You do? I had no idea! I am glad you do as I consider you to be like a boyfriend. That’s why I gave the call that rescued you. I am glad you went into treatment after so that the demons of your past will not cloud our future together. I apologize for leaving your place without telling you. Thank you for letting me spend the night there.” Klara said looking grateful.

“Hey, it was no problem. It was nice having you there, I spent time alone for so long because of my drinking habits… that I forgot what it felt like to have company. You could bring friends over if you like and we can all hang out!” Dan said excitedly.

“What a good idea!” Klara calls some of her friends to let them know she had a boyfriend who wanted to meet them.

Dan recognized the woman who worked the controls at their job and looked a little embarrassed. “Um hey… Georgia… sorry about snapping at you during work today…”

Georgia shrugged, “It wasn’t any of my business to pry into your personal life. I am not the one broadcasting anything. Between us I will not tell anyone about that incident in the break room. We good?”

“Yes, I suppose so.” Dan nods to dismiss the conversation before going to the living room to talk to Klara’s other friends she called and she introduces them.

“Dan, this is Benjamin and Cora. They got married recently.”

Dan nods to Benjamin and Cora. “Congratulations to you both. I’m happy for you. I want to give you something for your honeymoon.” He looks through his things and comes across some new baby clothes that were mint green that he had from before his drinking habit got the better of him and gives them to the newlyweds.

Cora looked genuinely surprised that he gave the baby clothes to them.

“How did you know we were going to have one Dan?”

“Lucky guess I suppose. I wanted to help make it easier for you. Its green so it will work if you have a boy or a girl.”

Benjamin nods. “He is right about that decision and his offer is very kind. Thank you…. Dan… this was very nice of you. Klara chose well to have you as her boyfriend… Though as I understand it you had a certain predicament solved recently… I will not ask what it was but I am glad you are better since then.”

Dan looked relieved he did not need to speak about his brother’s overdose and death by drugs with this newlywed couple Klara was friends with.

“Thank you both for understanding and not prying out of respect of my personal life that I no longer lead. I have a clean slate now and will take advantage of the second chance I was given. Perhaps the two of you could help me… as you have known Klara longer than I have… What does she like to do?”

Cora looks at Benjamin with love in her eyes. “I am afraid we cannot tell you… You must find out from her what she likes… that is how Benjamin and I bonded.”

Benjamin nods in agreement to his wife’s statement. “Cora is right… you need to talk to Klara.”

“Okay, thank you for your input. I will definitely try for that,” Dan went over to Klara who was talking to Georgia. “Hey Georgia, can I have a word with Klara for a moment?”

“Sure Dan…” She walks off leaving the two of them alone to talk.

“Georgia really does not like you, why is that?” Klara asked in genuine curiosity.

“We work together at a radio broadcast company… She was prying into my personal life regarding my now deceased brother…when I was on my break at work… and kept pestering me about it for no reason. I tried to be calm and collected but I had enough of it. I Did apologize after I snapped at her and I have the feeling she has not quite forgiven me for it yet…” Dan replied sighing. “That wasn’t the reason I wanted to pull you aside… but I suppose the question can wait as that was not what I expected to hear from you… When your friends have left my home, we can talk about it together.”

Klara looks Dan right in the eye but not in an aggressive manner. “Alright, if that is what you want me to do, I will get them out. I am sorry if it overwhelmed you.”

Dan looked her in the eye as well, “Thank you for being considerate of my feelings. I know it has not been easy… but I’m hoping your friends understand that suddenly being crowded at my place is not my idea of fun Klara…” Dan stated in a matter of fact tone of voice.

“I will remember that for next time… despite your business with Georgia, she told me she could learn to like you… I am glad the two of you made amends. I do not know what happened at the radio station where you two work, but she was irritated with you, she is not anymore though.”

Dan smiled kindly, “I’m glad to hear it, I am happy for the newlyweds. Benjamin and Cora were actually pleasant to be around. They told me that I should get to know you more than I have.”

Dan saw a glimmer in her eye that he took to be happiness but he was not sure. “Are you okay with that Klara?”

Yes I am okay with that, I would like to get to know you as well.”  She smiles like a Cheshire cat with her big grin.

“I am honored that you want to get to know me as well.” Dan nods respectfully and hugs Klara. “Let’s go get some food for dinner tonight so we can have an actual date night Klara.”

“Sounds good to me. What would you like to have Dan?” She makes a grocery list for the two of them and Dan watches her doing that in curiosity.

“I uh… don’t know how to write… my late parents did not let me go to school.” He looks uncomfortable telling her how uneducated he was and sighs.

“That is okay… I can teach you how to write, it’s not a problem. I am an English teacher. You’re lucky you can learn from me when I am not teaching the next generation Dan.”

He looked surprised that Klara was wiling to teach him how to write and looks excited.

“I will be honored if you would do that for me. Who knows, maybe when I comprehend it well enough I can help you grade the papers in return.”

Klara looks at him surprised. “You would do that?”

Dan replied, “of course I will when I am done with my own job at the radio broadcasting station.”

She nods to him and watches him walk to work.

Georgia sees him walk through the door and nods in greeting to him.

“Hey Dan, it is good to see you are well. Ready for today?”

Dan nods back to her. “I am. let’s tell the world know what’s going on today shall we?”

“Let’s do it.”

Dan spends several hours broadcasting at his job and clocks out when his time slot was up. He goes back to his house to find out that it was cleaned up and organized by Klara and smiles to himself.

“I could get used to this lifestyle now that my drug addict brother is gone from my life. I do not need to spend money where it doesn’t belong… This is the last time…”

He calls the funeral home to make the arrangements for his brother’s burial.

“Okay, I will see what I can do to pay for it. Thank you.”

Klara walks in after the call was made. “I am proud of you for making that call… I know it must have been hard… putting it off for so long…”

“To be perfectly honest Klara… being put Six feet under is too good for him… because of what he tried to do to me, but it needed to be done. May that bastard rest in peace.”

He looks away from her and holds back tears so that she would not see him cry but she sees it anyway and hugs him tightly.

“When is Fredrick’s funeral?”

“Tomorrow, apparently someone made an appointment for a member of their family as well but they came to.”

Klara smiles kindly at him, “everything happens for a reason doesn’t it?”

“Soo it would seem. I am relieved to have your support through this situation I am in.”

Dan nods smiling sadly and gets his suit ready for the funeral of Fredrick that Klara got for him.

“Klara, can you call a priest to send my brother’s spirit to wherever he is fated to go? I have stepped out of my comfort zone once already.”

He sees her nod and make the call and lets her talk to the person she called while he kept himself busy by starting up some of the meatloaf they had for their dinner the night before that Klara had got from the store.

“Dan, The arrangements for the priest have been made tomorrow. Go on and get washed up. I’ll finish with dinner.”

He nods and takes his leave to take a shower and get his pajamas on before heading to the kitchen checking on how dinner was going.

Klara sees Dan come out of the bedroom and smiles kindly at him.

“Dinner is almost ready my friend, can you set the table please?”

“Sure Klara.” He sets the table up for the two of them with silverware that glittered like moonlight and ceramic plates that had blue and red criss-cross patterns on them like the two colors were fighting for dominance. He could smell the aroma of meatloaf floating towards his nostrils making his mouth water in anticipation.

Klara sees that and smiles a little in amusement.

“I will not keep you, Dinner is ready now Dan. I will join you go get what you want and I will have the rest of it.”

“Thank you Klara, you are too kind.”

He goes to the kitchen and serves himself and leaves some food for Klara to serve herself.

Klara scrapes the last of the meatloaf onto her plate and joins Dan at his dinner table. The two of them discuss what will happen after Fredrick’s funeral the next day and goes to sleep, Dan in his own bed and Klara on his couch. At dawn they woke up with a whole new feeling of stress.

“Today is the day… I hate this had to happen but it is now…” Dan said sounding depressed as he looked at a picture of him and Fredrick before addiction impacted their lives and got ready for his brother’s funeral.

Klara is already dressed in black and waits for Dan as she drives them to the area where the funeral was taking place and sees friends of Fredrick there from before he got addicted to drugs that he had no idea about and they all surround Dan offering condolences.

“Thanks… all of you… I did not know Fredrick had this many friends.” Dan said before they all gathered to hear the priest’s spiritual departure of Fredrick’s spirit despite neither one of them having much of a church-goer’s upbringing. The whole idea made him uncomfortable but he was there anyway and watched as his brother was lowered into the ground and he was the first to put dirt on top of the box before stepping back to let the other attendees of his brother’s funeral do the same. “Wherever you go whether it is heaven like our parents or hell… I will think of you Fredrick…I will not shed a tear for you because you do not deserve it. But I do wish you luck where the afterlife takes you. Rest in Peace Fredrick in the way you never could in your life.”

Dan turns away from the others and goes for a walk by himself to organize his thoughts and think of what to do next.

Klara walks up to Dan and hugs him as a gesture of sympathy towards his situation.

“I know that was the hardest thing you had to do but you know what Dan? Making that decision makes you less of a boy and more of a man. Making more choices like that will be important for your future.”

Dan hugs her back.

“I will make that decision after I am done with this mourning process Klara… As my friend I need you to respect it.”

He looks away from her and goes to the car he and Klara came to the funeral for his brother in and he cries enough tears to fill a coffee cup with no one seeing him vulnerable. He was having some  insecurity about showing weakness to anyone and sees Klara coming and tries to pull himself together.

“I’m sorry for leaving you back there Klara… I needed some time to myself.” Dan said feeling overwhelmed with different emotions that he did not know he had until now.

“I will respect that reasoning, especially after what happened today. I will drive you home so you can have your own privacy there Dan.” Klara said as she started the car and backed out of the parking spot and onto the road to drive her crestfallen friend Dan home to mourn by himself. She gives him the privacy he needed but stays in a different room in the house in case Dan needed her to stop him from doing anything that may cause him to die himself. Dan sees her in his house in case something happened and Klara stays on his couch again. “I’ll be okay, A lot happened but I will not end my life because of it. Your concern is justified though, I will give you peace of mind Klara. You do not have to worry about me being stupid and relapsing into drinking alcohol… It sounds disgusting to me now…” Dan goes to sleep and wakes up early to find the ring box that his mother had put in the storage unit. He chose to keep it next to his bed and picks it up.

“Hey Klara? I have a question to ask you.”

“Dan? What is it that could not have waited before coffee and breakfast?”

Dan embraces Klara to back his words up and kisses her for the first time ever. “After everyone in my life has left me alone to suffer the consequences… You my dearest friend have stayed by my side… loyalty like that must be rewarded.”

Dan goes to one knee and holds up the ring box that he had from his mother and sees the surprise and excitement glittering in Klara’s eyes like the moon reflecting from the ocean.

“Klara… Will you make me the happiest man in my life and marry me?”

Klara was pleasantly surprised by the question and is speechless with joy.

“Yes, I will marry you Dan! This is much more amazing than I thought it would be! I love you so much! I can’t believe this is happening!”

Klara is crying tears of joy now that she was engaged to the man who never thought would ask that of her. She hops around the house she now could share with Dan without it feeling awkward for her. She was excited not to sleep on Dan’s couch like she had been. Klara and Dan loved each other and were always supportive of each other.

Angelika is a university student wanting to continue her writing journey. She enjoyed reading and writing since she was a young child.