Last Meal

     The two brothers sat across from each other. The small, round table barely capable of accommodating the two along with their crude meals. Though the food lacked the class they had grown accustomed to, the taste was more pleasant given the circumstances they were now in.
     “What a twisted web Fate has weaved for us, wouldn’t you say, brother,” the older brother said.
     “A net would be a more suitable term for it. We were caught together in her plans, and only those she chooses to release will survive,” replied the younger brother, playing with a pea on his plate.
     The older brother watched as his guest’s fork danced around the food, his lack of appetite apparent, “Still, it pains me to stand before you as an enemy. Were there any other alternative, I would gladly chase it.”
     The younger brother stopped teasing his food, looked his brother in the eyes, and said, “We may stand in opposition of each other, but we are still blood. I will love you - no matter the pain it may cause.”
     “Should we meet on that field tomorrow, I have made peace with whatever may happen,” the older brother said, his voice betraying him.
     The younger brother finally took a bite of his food and a tear came to his eye. Though he found the meal to be the most delicious he had ever tasted, he knew it was because of what was to come. If it were any other day, the meal would have been bland, and he could rest easy knowing tomorrow would be a regular day in battle. Now, the meal tasted as though it were his last, or at least, the last he would enjoy with his beloved brother. Still, he tried his best to hide his disgust of the delicious food and said, “Let us enjoy this meal together as brothers, and tomorrow, we hand the reigns of our lives to Fate.”
     “Maybe she will be kind enough to set two brothers free,” the older brother chuckled.
     “Only Death could free us now,” the younger brother replied, not finding the situation the least bit humorous.
     The older brother thought back to past battles and sighed, “How many times have we been brushed by Death's hand-”
     “-And yet, here we stand,” the younger brother finished.
     The older brother had never been one for theatrics, but he had been tempted to take the path of his late friend who found himself in a similar situation, but he knew there was too much at stake.
     “They play a cruel game with us. Our lives in each other’s hands. If only we could end it now, on our terms,” he said, taking up the actions of his brother and playing with his food.
     The younger brother knew running was out of the question and he took it upon himself to remind his brother, “You’ve said it before: 'Destiny chooses the path of resistance,' We knew she promised great things in exchange for great trials. Whatever the outcome, we have helped each other move closer toward her.”
     The two sat in silence the rest of the night with reluctance as they enjoyed their last meal together. When the candles had at last burned out, the younger brother stood to leave.
     “I suppose this –“
     The younger brother’s goodbye was cut short by a commotion outside, and the two of them rushed to see what it was. On the outskirts, a form could be seen walking towards the encampment. The figure seemed familiar to the brothers, but they bother witnessed something different.
     “Looks like Death has come to set us free,” the younger brother said.
     The older brother laughed, relief rushing over him and said, “That’s not Death; that’s Destiny.”

Published by Paul Schembri

I'm a writer living in Australia.

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