Alan Tracy sighed as he swung his backpack over his shoulder and glared at his brother as they stepped onto the bus.

'Gordo, will you please stop whining, I don't want to get the bus any more than you do!'

The ash-blond 16 year old glared back angrily, 'yeah but that's totally different' he argued, 'you're only 15!'

The way Gordon spoke it sounded as if he was 4.

'Yes' Alan responded as they took seats at the back of the bus, 'just one year younger than you!'

'A whole year!' Stressed Gordon, who believed that being a year older, he was far superior in knowledge and life experience to his kid brother.

Alan rolled his eyes as his brother continued his over-dramatised speech.

'...I mean, in a month I'm going to drive us home, I can't wait!'

Alan knew it was probably wise to shut up but he had to say it, 'but Gordy, what if you don't pass your driving test right away? Just cos you'll be 17 doesn't mean you're going to pass.'

Gordon's fiery hazel eyes, flashed in anger. Alan had forgotton how captivating his brother's eyes were. When he was happy they were a light green but when he was angry, they became like a storm-cloud, a dark tempestuous mixture of brown and green sparks. Those sparks were shooting daggers at Alan.

'Of course I'll pass!' Gordon struggled to keep his voice restrained.

Alan had to stifle a grin, the brother closest to his age was by far the most competetive person he knew. Gordon was already the fastest under 18 swimmer in the county, training for the Olympics and woe betide anyone who challenged him. Gordon had always been competetive and as Alan had learnt on 'embarrassingly for himself' only a few occasions, a very bad loser. He recognised the same competitiveness in his eldest brother Scott. At 22, Scott was responsible and mature but he too was extremely competetive, which was why he had excelled in his studies of piloting air force planes, and had gained a scholarship.

Scott, and Alan and Gordon's other two elder brothers, Virgil and John, usually dropped them off at home, but they had stayed to watch and in John's case play in, the College soccer game, a game that lowly high- schoolers, and espescially pesky younger brothers were not invited to.

Alan guessed that this was the real root of Gordon's anger, not the fact that he had to get the bus home. Gordon hated to be left out of the loop. Alan being the baby of the family, was a lot more used to it.

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

Gordon figured if he frowned much more his face would stick like that and he'd lose his good looks forever, so he sighed slowly letting the anger disappear from him. He caught Alan sneaking an obvious glance at him and he knew that his brother knew the worst was over. Gordon was known in his family and friendship groups as having an easy-going personality, he was usually relaxed and chirpy but when he was angry,he was very angry, luckily his anger was fast and furious but soon over.

He looked down at the green card he held in his hands and felt himself feeling better, his new swimming times showed he had broken his previous personal best, boy had his coach been thrilled, now he had a real shot at the Olympics, the coach was going to give him a call later and tell him if he had been selected for the qualifiers. Gordon couldn't wait to show his older brothers.........hmmmphh Gordon thought to himself as he realised what he was thinking, he was still supposed to be angry with those three. If there was one thing Gordon hated it was being excluded, espescially based on age. He wanted to go to the game, his 'on/off ' girlfriend Emily was cheerleading there and he wanted to watch. He felt espescially steamed that Emily, a mere three months older than himself, in John's year was therefore at the college and allowed at the game.

He sighed dramatically and then turned to his younger brother, 'I'm sorry Al.' he admitted, 'I guess I'm just mad we don't get to go to the game.'

Alan smiled, 'Apology accepted Gordo, we high-schoolers have to stick together!'

Gordon returned the smile, as much as they argued, he and Alan were very close,both in age and relationship. Alan at 16 in a week and Gordon at 17 in 3 weeks were in the same school year and were therefore friends as well as brothers.

The bus began to pull away as Gordon showed Alan his swim-times.

'Wow, their brilliant!' his brother exclaimed and Gordon smiled at the obvious pride in Alan's voice, 'You're going to get into the qualifiers for sure!'

Gordon laughed, his bad mood evaporating, maybe he would show his big brothers his times, they'd sure get a kick out of them.

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

19 year old Virgil Tracy shared a weary glance with his older brother as the half time whistle blew.

The Amberleigh College soccer team were getting seriously beaten, their younger brother John had scored the only goal, but it was still 5-1 to the visiting team.

Scott started down the steps from the stands, towards the edge of the pitch. His thick dark hair blowing in the strong wind.

'Come on Virg.' he prompted, 'let's go give little brother some moral support.'

Virgil nodded and pushed his hands deeper into the pockets of his bomber jacket as he followed his older brother. He brushed strands of his own, auburn hair from his eyes as he walked, the wind was really getting strong.

Scott, already bounding ahead had already reached John and Virgil deliberately slowed his steps so he could watch them together. They made an interesting contrast, both were attractive but in very different ways, Scott ,dark, brooding,with his intense blue eyes, and dark hair with a slight wave, that he hated, but girls seemed to love and John, softer, determined, his silky blond curtains blowing into his turqouise blue eyes. Scott ruffled John's hair and then placed him in a head-lock as John laughed, before slapping the other guys on the shoulders. That was Scott, Virgil thought, making the team feel as if they were winning.

He noticed John's disappointment almost unconciously, 'uh-oh little brother needs some reassurance' Virgil thought to himself and quickened his pace towards his brothers. If Virgil had one quality, it was his ability to read people, he was a brilliant judge of character and he had an almost sixth sense when it came to his brothers, espescially John. Virgil felt that John had always been deep and from very early he had been able to realise how John felt without his brother saying a word.

Right now Virgil knew that his brother was disappointed with the game, John always pushed himself too hard, blamed himself for everything. It had taken years of convincing to finally make John accept that their mother's death wasn't his fault. 'If she hadn't been coming to pick me up, she'd still be alive.' he'd argued. 'If I hadn't asked her to pick up some ice-cream on the way there it wouldn't have happened.' Virgil had argued back. 'We can all blame ourselves John, but it'll do no-one any good.' It had finally taken Scott to drill the truth home before John finally began to accept it wasn't his fault. Virgil still didn't know if he'd ever truly believe their mother's death was not down to him.

'Hey J,' Virgil said placing an arm around his brother's shoulder, 'You did good out there.'

'Sure' John answered, Virgil knew his brother was doing the whole blame thing again.

'Sure, my ass!' he said firmly, he took his brothers face in his hands, 'look at me, YOU, did good!'

John smiled, he should have known he couldn't fool Virg.

'Hey you two, get a room' a voice shouted.

'Shut up Henderson!' John yelled back, but he was smiling.

Scott playfully punched Andy Henderson and then walked over to his brothers.

'Now Johnny.........' he said, replicating Virgil's position and placing an arm around John's other shoulder, 'this is what you need to do..........................'

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

John pretended to be interested, he really did, but frankly he wasn't interested in Scott's preferred soccer tactics, or Virgil's psychological analysis of Alex Hendry's game. Honestly John thought to himself, ever since Virg took up Psychology he's been over-analysing everything.

Finally John, had had enough, 'Stop it guys' he said cutting them off abruptly, before Scott could object he said, 'It's not that I don't appreciate being told our tactics are rubbish Scott, but...........'

'I did not say they were rubbish John, I merely stated that.................'

John interuppted him, 'and Virg, thanks for your help, but I'm sure the fact that Alex works at McDonalds has nothing to do with the fact that he's having a bad game.'

'I didn't say it was because he was working at McDonalds, I said it was cos' of his low self esteem, due to the fact that he was working at................'

'VIRG!' John shouted, this earned him some curious glances from his team mates. He swiftly grabbed both of his brother's arms and steered them towards the stands.

'Listen' he said trying to make his voice as gentle as possible, 'I really do appreciate your help guys, and I know it's an older brothers' perogative to give advice, but I'm wasting half time listening to you when i should be listening to my coach!'

Suddenly John heard a loud voice boom from a microphone behind him, 'oooh, footie fans, it seems no 7 John Tracy is looking mad about something, let's hope he puts some of that energy against his brothers into the game.'

John looked up in horror to see his mutinous face on the giant stadium television screen, 'Oh no!' he exclaimed throwing his hands over his face as a microphone was thrust in front of him.

Virgil and Scott argument forgotton were waving like fools, 'Hi Dad' Scott spoke into the microphone.

Then to John's utter horror, Virgil leaned towards the microphone, 'Ladies if you want a good time with this pretty face' he began, grabbing John's hands away from his face, 'call 077............'.

John turned a tomato kind of red as Virgil read out his mobile number, but even as he cringed with embarrassment he heard a cheer go up around the stadium.

As the giant screen finally went back to current college events, John thumped Virgil hard in the arm. Virgil only laughed harder, as did Scott who was doubled over in laughter.

John shook his head and began to walk away, when he heard the announcer continue, 'Boy these Tracy's are everywhere today aren't they..............'

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

'In the current swimming Olympic under 18 tryouts, young Gordon Tracy has been selected to take part in the Olympic qualifiers.'

A loud cheer erupted from the crowd, but no-one was as loud as Scott, John and Virgil who jumped up and hugged each other.

Scott couldn't stop smiling, they all grinned like dopes, they knew how much their little brother wanted this.

The announcer continued, 'Let's all get behind the kid and see him to the final, Boy these Tracy's are something to look out for aren't they.'

Another cheer went out and the screen again zeroed in on Virgil, John and Scott, who waved and did thumbs up signs, before it went to video footage of Gordon at try-outs.

Scott couldn't ever remember feeling so proud, he was dangerously close to welling up. When his little brother finished the swim and climbed out of the pool, flashing the camera-man a grin, numerous whistles richoched around the stadium.

'I wouldn't mind doing the breast-stroke with him!' One particularly rude woman shouted.

Scott frowned at her, 'shame on you' he shouted, 'he's only 16!' But he couldn't help grinning.

Virgil and John laughed and high-fived each other.

'Isn't it great!' A female voice sounded behind them, Gordon's 'on/off' girlfriend Emily stood behind them.'I knew he could do it!'

'Yeah it is!' Scott replied as she skipped past them back to the pitch.

While they all pretended otherwise, the eldest three Tracy boys couldn't help staring as Emily made her way back to the pitch, in her skimpy cheerleader uniform.

Virgil shook his head, 'boy Gordo's going to be sorry he missed that!'

John nodded and then said, 'Right I'd better get back out there!'

'Remember J, ' Virgil shouted as he watched his brother head back to the pitch, 'boost Alex's self esteem and you'll win the game!'

'Whatever......' John muttered and then he shouted to Scott, who already had his phone out, 'Tell Gordo I said, congratulations'.

'Will do!' Scott shouted back, 'be careful!'

'Aren't I always?' John yelled back before his blond head disappeared onto the pitch.

Scott and Virgil exchanged a doubtful look and made their way back to the seats.

Scott continued punching in his brother's number. He heard Gordon say 'hello,'

'Hey Gordo'

'I can't hear you....' his brother said

'It's me!' Scott replied

'Hahaha fool!' came Gordon's voice and then Scott realised he'd been had.

'I'm not answering right now so leave a message.'

Scott was not amused, Virgil raised his eyebrows, curious.

'Foolish answering machine' Scott replied. Then at the beep, 'Gordon it's your big brother, that answerphone message is stupid, people actually think you're on the phone, you really should grow up a little, what if I had been Emily....................'

Virgil nudged him as he realised he was rambling, 'Oh right, just wanted to say congratulations on the qualifiers, we're all really proud of you!'

'Yeah well done G!' Virgil put in.

Scott frowned at him. 'We'll see you later.' he finished and hung up, before turning a withering look on his younger brother, 'Virgil.......' he said shaking his head, 'Must you constantly refer to everyone with their initial, you'll be calling me S, soon.'

'Chill out S!' Virgil retorted, trying to annoy his brother. Scott was just too easy to wind up. Then he remembered something, 'Hey, if you can't get through to Gordo, try ringing Al.'

Scott sat down in his seat and called his baby brother as Virgil stood and the whistle blew for the second half.

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

An annoying tune filled Gordon's head as he stared out of the bus window. He couldn't quite place where he'd heard it, it was only when Alan started rummaging in his bag that he realised what it was.

'The Flintstones?' he asked shaking his head at his little brother's ring- tone, 'you couldn't find anything more mature Al?'

'Like the theme-tune from baywatch is more mature?' Alan shot back.

Gordon shut his mouth.

'Hello' Alan answered.

'Alan it's Scott!'

'Hey Scott!' Alan greeted his eldest brother as Gordon turned in interest.

'Is Gordo there, I just want to congratulate him!'

'On what?' Alan asked

'Oh my God, does he not know yet?' Scott asked in disbelief.

'Does he not know what?'

Gordon seemed to cotton on to what was going on, he hurriedly reached for his own phone and found he had left it on silent. There were 9 missed calls.

Gordon couldn't keep the excitement from his voice, 'Give me that.' he said to Alan and snatched the phone from his hands.

'Scott, it's me, are you saying what I think you're gonna say?'

'Depends what you're thinking' Scott teased.

'Oh my god, did I get selected, did I?'



'Okay, yeah, you got selected.'

Gordon whooped and hollered as Alan high-fived him.

'Congratulations Kid!' Scott said.

'Yeah congrats G!' Gordon heard from the background.

'Virgil would you stop that!' Scott sounded annoyed.

'I can't believe it' Gordon shook his head, feeling giddy with happiness, 'how'd you find out?'

'It was announced on the big screen at the game.' Scott answered.

'Oh wow!' Gordon breathed, 'here that Al, I was on the big screen?'

As Gordon spoke, Alan noticed the bus pulling over, their was just a handful of people left on, Alan was confused, this wasn't a scheduled stop, what was going on. He peered his head to see out the window and could make out another car parked infront of the bus.

He tried to get Gordon's attention, but his brother was too excited to get off the phone.

'I guess we could have broken down or something' Alan thought to himself, but as those words popped into his mind, a man in black stepped onto the bus.

'What are you doing?' the driver asked.

The man didn't speak a reply, faster than Alan could blink, he pulled out a gun and shot the driver twice.

The bus erupted in screams, Gordon fell silent as he clutched the phone to his ear.

Alan stared in amazement as the man turned the gun on the terrified teens.

Alan heard Scott's voice, from the phone,

'Gordon................GORDON! What's going on?'

'Scott, you've got to......' Gordon began, but the man turned the gun on Alan before he could finish.

'Hang up now' he told Gordon.

Gordon hung up.

'Now......' the man began, his balaclava concealing his face, 'you two.........' he gestured towards Alan and Gordon, '........follow me.'

Alan and Gordon shared a look. They were both horrified and confused, but they also knew that their lives depended on their cooperation, standing slowly, under the terrified gazes of the other passengers they were ushered off the bus.

And that is where the nightmare began.