A short story created in the break between two of my college classes while listening to the song Everybody's Changing by Keane and then I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 coming on right after that. Ha! Hope you enjoy!
Ethan peered around the doorframe and was awarded with a sight that would haunt his dreams forever if he ever slept again.
Brandt dangled from the rafters, the tips of his shoes ghosting across the surface of the floor, leaving smear marks through the pool of crimson that gathered underneath him. The rope around his wrists grated his skin and blood oozed from the gashes, sliding down his arms. His head hung limply on his erratically moving chest, but his facial features were still visible to the team leader. He could see that Brandt's eyes were halfway open and that his lips were moving, but he couldn't hear the words.
Ethan scanned the room for another life, but didn't see any. He quickly stood and pressed his back against the wall, before following it around the doorframe into the room. He stayed there, listening for sounds of unwanted company, then bent his knees to make his footfalls lighter and made his way over to Brandt.
The agent was not aware of his presence. Ethan figured there was a lot Brandt wasn't exactly aware of now, and in one way Ethan was grateful for it. He noticed Will's lips were still moving. He strained to hear the words, turning his head to the left and moving closer to Brandt. It was quiet but he could catch the words along with a rhythm and melody.
You say you wander your own land
But when I think about it I don't see how you can.
Ethan leaned back, his brows furrowing in confusion, as he eyed his agent. "Brandt?" He questioned, but never got a response. He met Will's eyes, but blue orbs looked through him, seeing a world that wasn't there. The agent kept singing.
You're aching, you're breaking
And I can see the pain in your eyes
"What's the word on Red Ranger?" A British voice filtered through his earpiece.
Ethan didn't answer right away as he still listened to Brandt's mumbling.
Says everybody's changing and I don't know why.
Ethan swallowed thickly, running his eyes over his friend's battered body. "Alpha, tell Yellow Ranger to meet you at the rendezvous point in 5."
"Uh, Zordon. That isn't enough time. I haven't even managed to complete the wash out."
"Alpha, forget the wash out. Get Yellow Ranger, meet at the site and follow through. Now."
"What about Red Ranger?"
"I have him. Now go." Ethan ordered. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, silently praying that the luck that they lived by would not fail them now.
So little time
Brandt's soft whispering brought him out of his thoughts and he leaned closer to hear him, thinking that maybe he was coherent though he was still singing.
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I'm trying to stay awake and remember my name but
Everybody's changing and I don't feel the same
Ethan set his jaw and closed his eyes, but knew he had to act fast. He reopened his eyes and reached up to place a gentle but firm hand against the side of Brandt's neck. He squeezed it gently, trying to rouse his agent.
He moved his hand from the agent's neck to the side of his face and tapped it.
The agent flinched, but other than that gave no reaction.
"Come on, William. I need you to come back." He tapped the side of the agent's face harder, but only caused the small flinch he had inflicted the first time.
You're gone from here
Soon you will disappear
Ethan sighed, frustration getting the best of him. He looked around the room to find something to stand on so he could reach the rope around Will's wrists. He spotted an old crate that looked like it would give under his weight, but it was the only thing he could use. As quietly as he could, he slid the crate next to his dangling agent. Carefully, he placed one leg on it to test its strength, satisfied that it wouldn't give he moved his other leg so he was standing on top of it. He looked over the knot that kept Will's wrists bound and instantly came to the realization he didn't have enough time to be as gentle as he would have liked. As if reading his mind, Benji informed him over the radio that he now had only three minutes left.
Ethan sighed. "I'm sorry, Brandt, but we have to move fast." He pulled the knife that Benji insisted he carry from his pocket and began to cut at the rope. The movement caused Brandt's body to swing back and forth with a bit more force, but the agent didn't react. He just kept singing.
Fading into beautiful light.
Cause everybody's changing and I don't feel right.
Ethan was forcefully cutting through the rope, sweat pouring from his face as he used every ounce of energy to cut it.
"I know, Brandt." Ethan grounded out through clenched teeth. He knew that Will was just singing, but he guessed the words were true. He knew he was getting close to getting his agent loose, so he carefully wrapped an arm around the analyst's waist, but he wasn't prepared for any reaction, let alone the one Brandt gave.
The agent twisted and muffled a scream through his clamped jaw. He moved his legs trying to reach the floor, to get away, but the tips off his shoes just slid through the blood and made desperate squeaking sounds in his failed attempt.
"Is everything ok?" Benji asked over the radio but Ethan couldn't answer.
He was stunned at first, unable to move and frozen with his arms encircling Will, but not touching him. Finally his mind caught up with him, and he did his best to still his agent.
"Brandt. Brandt, easy." Ethan tried to coax, as he held Will gently by his biceps. He twisted his friend so that he was facing him while he stood on the crate. Brandt's blue eyes were glazed, but desperately trying to focus. "Easy, buddy. It's me, Ethan. Okay?"
He watched as Will tried to process his words. It took a bit longer than the team leader would have hoped, but slowly but surely Will nodded his head. He patted the side of his face lightly. "Yeah. I'm going to get you down from here, alright?"
Will nodded his head after a few seconds and slacked in his bindings. Ethan slowly began cutting the rest of the rope and informed Will that he was going to ease him down to the floor. Wrapping a gentle arm around his agent he cut the remaining rope and braced himself to carry Brandt's weight to the ground. Will groaned and screwed his eyes shut, but didn't fight against the team leader as they sat on the ground.
"Well done, Agent Hunt. You saved your agent."
Ethan tore his gaze away from Brandt to see a man standing beside them with a gun.
"You saved him to watch him die."
The man lifted his gun and pulled the trigger, releasing the bullet into Brandt's head.
Ethan sat in horror, staring at the hole in Brandt's head. He was unable to move, unable to hear, unable to breathe. It felt like hours before any form of feeling, sound or coherency found its way back to him. It was Benji's voice calling out to him that brought everything back.
"Ethan? Ethan? Ethan! ETHAN!"
Agent Hunt sat up straight, gasping for air and blinking rapidly. He looked everywhere but the floor, trying his best to avoid looking at his friend's lifeless body, but as he looked around he found himself in a small two room apartment, not the warehouse where Brandt had been killed.
Benji was standing in front of him, a worried expression on his face.
"Are you okay, mate?"
Ethan opened his mouth, as if he was about to respond but furrowed his brow in confusion instead. "What..." He trailed off as his ears picked up on a familiar sound.
"What's that sound?" He asked, frantically.
"Uhh..what sound?" Agent Dunn questioned, clearly confused by his friend's strange behavior.
Ethan was breathing heavily, blinking rapidly and turning his head as if it would allow him to hear better. "Singing. Who's that singing?"
"Oh." Benji responded, feeling a bit more at ease. "That's Brandt. He's been-"
"Brandt?" Ethan asked, looking up at Benji with a hopeful look the Englishman hadn't expected.
"Yes." He answered slowly. He jumped as Ethan shot up from the couch and went into the other room. He shook his head and followed the head agent, almost running into him when the man stopped abruptly at the doorframe.
Ethan stared at Brandt who was sitting at a small table with Jane, while hunched over some files. He was bobbing his head up and down slowly while tapping his feet to the music playing through his headphones. He was also singing.
So little time
Try to understand that I
Tried to make a move just to stay in the game
I tried to stay awake and remember my own name but
"Stop." Ethan called. Making Benji and Jane, even more confused. Brandt couldn't hear him though, and kept singing.
Everybody's changing and I don't feel the same.
Ethan crossed the room in two quick strides and pulled Brandt's headphones out of his ears with one swift motion, startling the agent.
"What?" Brandt asked as his head shot up from the files and he shot up from the chair. "Ethan? What the hell man?"
Brandt now stood face to face with Ethan. For a few silent seconds, Ethan just stared back at Brandt, then let his eyes wander over the rest of him like he was checking for injuries. When he found none, he locked eyes with Brandt and forced a smile.
"Sing a different song would ya?"
Brandt blinked. He blinked again. Then, his jaw dropped. "You did all that just to tell me to quit singing?"
"No." Ethan replied.
"I didn't tell you to quit singing. I told you to sing a different song."
"Ooohkay." Brandt drug out.
"Good." Ethan responded with a smile and a light slap to the side of Will's face, before leaving the room.
Brandt plopped back down in his chair, glancing between Jane and Benji who looked equally perplexed. "What the hell was that all about?"
"No idea. He was just sleeping on the couch, then he started twitching and I woke him up and well...you know the rest."
Brandt let out a snort of laughter before shaking his head and going to the next song in his shuffled playlist. Benji sat down at the table and grabbed some files of his own, while Jane excused herself from the table.
She found Ethan standing outside on the balcony.
"You don't like Keane?"
He turned to look at her. "Like what?"
"Keane. The band Brandt was singing along with."
"Oh. I don't know." He said shaking his head, looking back at the view of the city they were in.
"I know you feel responsible for us. But we're big enough to look out for ourselves."
Ethan raised an eyebrow at her but said nothing.
"We all know the risks of this job. If one of us were unfortunate to experience one of those risks, none of us would blame you for it."
Ethan still didn't respond.
"Whatever you're dreaming about, it isn't real."
Ethan finally looked at her, and for a split second she thought she saw something along the lines of guilt and fear flash in his eyes but it was gone with one blink. She saw Ethan about to respond, but loud singing cut him off.
Ohhhh ohhh ohhh
Just let me tell ya now! MmmHmm
When I had you to myself
I didn't want you around
Those pretty faces always make you stand out in a crowd
But some one picked you from the bunch
One glance was all it took
Now it's much too late for me
To take a second look
"No, but that unfortunately is." Ethan finally replied, with a chuckle.
Jane rolled her eyes as she joined him in laughter.
"Let's go break up the Jackson 2 before they start singing ABC."
Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!