Disclaimer: I don't own the Boondock Saints! I've been gone for a long time, I apologize… and even worse (or maybe better?) I decided to overhaul this whole thing and start over! This story deals with horse racing, so if you need any terms defined let me know!
She couldn't stop running. He was right there ahead of her, just within reach but it wasn't enough to catch up. The closer she got the further he moved away, with that sneering smirk on his face as though nothing was wrong, as though he wasn't in danger of being taken from her forever… The landscape was changing from the deserted hallways of some abandoned building that seemed eerily familiar to a flat open rock face. Her legs ached and her lungs burned with effort as she pushed herself faster, she couldn't let him get away, not this time. She couldn't lose him again, she was so close… With that frustrating sarcastic smile he reached his hand out towards her and with a final ragged breath she lunged forward, fingertips brushing his as the earth opened up and they plummeted over the edge of a cliff, falling effortlessly into oblivion but he was gone, swallowed up by the darkness, yet still she screamed his name.
Until she jerked awake, just as if she had dropped from the sky and landed in a plush queen sized mattress with a pile of twisted blankets, pillows, and sheets. With a deep shaky breath she tried to slow her racing heart, and remind herself that once again, it was only a dream. Almost the same as the ones she had been having since he died, becoming less frequent within the past few months, but just as awful when they did come back. She blinked owlishly, trying to rub the glowing red after image of the alarm clock numbers from her eyes. This was going to kick her ass when she had to get up for work... In three hours. Great. A pair of amber eyes peered at her from the tangled covers, annoyed at being awoken. She sighed dramatically at the big tabby cat as it hopped off the bed and stalked off into the other room, flicking its tail disdainfully at her.
"Well excuse me for waking you up," she groaned. There was no going back to sleep just lying there, and the room was unbearably hot. Only a month into the summer and it had been brutal; hot, muggy, and still every day and night. She hauled herself out of bed and followed the cat into the living room.
The reading lamp that she flicked on cast eerie shadows over everything. Other than that, the room was exactly the same as it was in broad daylight. Couch. Chair. TV. Bookshelf. Pictures.
She loved pictures, had filled her apartment with them. Snapshots of memories, framed and arranged on walls, shelves, and tables. She glanced up at the ones over the couch, placed in dark wood frames to match the décor of the room. She was a pretty good interior designer, if she said so herself.
The first one was of a horse, completely covered in mud, the mire dripping from his body and that of the jockey who sat on her, holding the reins taut. Quinn stood at the horse's bridle, trying to keep her still long enough to take the winner's circle picture, struggling mightily but grinning hugely. The typed in caption next to the photography business's logo proclaimed "Telamarkk. Owned by Quinn Smecker, Rode by Chris Hallowell Time: 1:27."
Her first win with her first horse. She wished the picture underneath it made her as happy. Especially after her dream.
It was summertime, and they were both smiling. The boy was taller and thin, his shirt plastered to his body from her wet hair, his own hair blond and shaggy, hanging in his eyes. Their grins were impossibly wide, hers train tracked with braces. It was family reunion camp, an annual necessary evil of their childhood. She had just gotten back from a swim in the lake and had decided to give her dry clothed brother a soaking wet hug. His arm was slung around her shoulders, a rare moment of sibling harmony. So long ago, she thought sadly. What was that saying about pictures? That they never changed, even when the people in them did.
Not that Paul had changed. He had died.
In school everyone had thought he was an arrogant prick. Later on, she heard the same consensus from his colleagues. He was always quick to condescendingly point out the right answer, always the smart ass, lording his intelligence over his peers with his razor sharp wit, whose comments could make family gatherings a comedy routine, or tear apart anyone who rubbed him the wrong way. Quinn was embarrassed to hear the brutally nasty things he said to people, but she understood. Behind closed doors, away from school and to some extent away from his family, Paul was the most self conscious person she had ever known. He worried constantly about his appearance, his grades, his weight.
She had always known; it seemed like everyone had. Other kids whispered and teased, trying to humiliate him in front of the class, spreading vicious rumors. People would make fun of him to her face, hissing slurs as they passed by them walking home from school.
"What's it like Quinn, havin' a brother who's a fag?" The boys would laugh. She always stood up for him. Sometimes Paul appreciated her loyalty, whispering a quiet thank you when they passed each other in the hall at home on the way to their rooms before bed. Other times he was just as much a prick to her as everyone else. She tried to understand that he was scared, and she did feel sorry she couldn't make it easier for him. And sometimes she hated him for the things he said and the way he acted.
He was convinced no one understood him, that nothing was fair. The horses that their parents bought Quinn to care for and compete with disgusted him and were a waste of money and time. The little hometown they had grown up in was too small for someone of his importance and uniqueness, and that he was destined for bigger and better things. He talked all the time of different places that were better, more exciting, more high class. Sometimes she liked to imagine travelling there with him. More often, she got sick of listening to him talk about it. He had grand plans of going away to college, someplace big and expensive and most importantly far away. He looked down on local schools that Quinn applied to, though he denied ever looking down on her for going to the community college. It didn't matter that she dropped out after a year to race horses. No matter how disappointed her parents were in her career choice, Paul had already ruined his relationship with them, even when he graduated with an impressive GPA and got a job with the FBI.
Dad had died years ago, and Mom didn't speak to Paul. Hadn't spoken to him in a year or more before he was killed.
The funeral had been surreal, some of his colleagues spoke, and she was surprised they could come up with anything nice to say. She hated herself for the thought, but she knew it was true. Mom was silent, tears slipping down her cheeks quietly, quickly wiped away by her sleeve. Regret hung heavy in the air, and it hurt almost as much as the tension that used to be there when Paul and Mom were in the same room. Quinn couldn't cry. There was nothing left.
Because no matter what had happened before and how things were now, the feeling was the same.
She missed Paul. So fucking much.
She wasn't even sure how it happened. They had told her, but nothing seemed right about it. Gunshot wound to the head, they said. Killed in the line of duty, at the scene of a crime that hadn't been cleared, some gang member still hanging around to tamper with evidence. Maybe it was because she had been denying it so vehemently that it hadn't made sense to her. Maybe it was because of the closed casket. The coroner had said the face was mutilated, and denial was better than seeing anything that terrible. Or maybe it was because a week before, he had called her.
Four a.m. and her phone had torn her out of sleep and she was instantly pissed. With a snarl she had snatched her cell off the night stand and blinked at the name flashing on the screen.
"What the fuck Paul it's four in the morning!" She had growled into the phone.
"Quinn Bee…" his voice was slurred and she had rolled her eyes. Drunk. Again.
"Yeah Paulie?" He hated his nickname, but she hated hers too. Her brother almost giggled on the other end.
"I fuckin' found religion!" he had laughed even harder at this, his voice still leering and sarcastic, though obviously inebriated.
"Yeah right. Where are you?"
"Church, I just told you, I wish you'd listen for once…" he trailed off. Quinn waited, and sure enough he had continued on. "See I had this whole problem. I like my job Quinn. Because there are bad people out there, and you don't know it, but there are. Terrible fuckin' people. But I caught them and I put them behind bars and I lived in this illusion that I was making the world a better place…" he had coughed and fumbled with his phone, then picked back up just as she thought he had passed out. "But I met these boys Quinn… and they do more good than I ever have..."
Her mind foggy from just being woken up she hadn't known what he meant and had interrupted. "Paul I really don't want to hear about you and some boys-"
"They kill people, but only bad people," he continued, apparently not having heard her interruption. "I can only get people in jail, and even then they don't end up going… bail, lesser sentences, it's bullshit Quinn. All my hard work and these murdering bastards just walk…" his voice mumbled and she strained to hear, because as soon as she heard "they kill people" she was instantly alert.
"Did they hurt you? Paul where are you? Can you get here?" Her brother made a disgusted noise in his throat.
"Never fucking listen do you..." she could almost see him sneering on the other end and she had bristled, but his voice continued to flow over the line, continuing his story.
"They've killed criminals all over Boston, because God told them too, and I'm supposed to catch them… But they're good men Quinn. They're good people, and they're doing everyone a favor…" he trailed off and she sighed.
"I don't know Paul, if they kill people, they can't be good." Might as well play along she had thought. It wasn't like he'd remember this in the morning.
"You've just never seen things Quinn… You never went out into the world and saw what's out here…do you trust me?" She sighed, because he was right, she didn't know anything about the world, had never gone far from where she was now, and even drunk off his ass, she did trust him.
"Yeah Paulie… I do."
"They're good men, wouldn't hurt any innocent person, I promise…" He had sounded startlingly sober in that last sentence, like he had realized something, but she had no idea what it was and she was already starting to fall back asleep, even before he had clicked to disconnect them.
If they were good men that her brother had been with, why was her brother dead?
She sighed and traced a finger down the edge of the frame. He looked so happy and carefree in this one, how she liked to remember him. It was a rare memory, and she quietly thanked their mother for snapping the picture. Paul, her quiet, awkward big brother, so shy and unsure of himself away from the eyes of everyone else. They had always been so close. And now he was gone.
She yelped and jumped back, legs slamming into the coffee table and making her stagger to regain balance. It was just the screen door, but try telling her jackhammering heart that…
Because the only way the screen door slammed like that was if someone was in the entryway to come up the stairs to her second floor apartment. And she couldn't think of anyone who would want to pay a visit at around 3 a.m. One of the wooden stairs creaked quietly under someone's weight. A frozen vice clamped around her stomach and her pulse roared in her ears, she could feel it surging through her and her breath came in short gasps. She needed to hide, because someone was coming.
Its feet lumbered up the steps slowly, in some attempt to be quiet. She couldn't move. It was as if every muscle in her body was numb, her mind screamed at her limbs to move, to scrabble back into the bedroom and hide, but they would not answer, and time slowed down as she tried to calm herself enough to think, how do you make your own arms and legs move? Her mouth was painfully dry, still trying to scream something, anything, but the pressure on her chest made it impossible.
It was still coming. It finally reached the top step, just in front of the door. Uncertainly it shifted back and forth, its shadow moving slowly through the detailed glass, making it impossible to see who it was.
It was knocking. Some demonic ghost or mass murderer or terrible thing on the other side of her door had the decency to knock first.
What the fuck.
The knocking stopped, and the thing traced its hand down the wood, finally grasping the handle. Every single nerve stood on end, and every sense was needle sharp, she swore she could hear it breathing, or maybe it was her own ragged gasping, still trying to make a sound. The door knob turned slowly and the door creaked out, swinging into the apartment as it opened. She whimpered, mouth still agape, trying to make a noise… Just scream, just scream and someone will come help you…
The figure stepped further into the light and the sudden ferocity of the scream ripping out of her throat terrified her even more, because this was not supposed to happen. Everything grieving families hoped and prayed and dreamed to be true did not just come walking through their doors as if nothing had ever changed. But everything had changed and she didn't know him, as she scrabbled backwards to get away, blind with terror and not understanding what was happening or where she was going, throat shredded raw with her screams as he darted across the room to her, slapping a hand over her mouth and grabbing her shoulders. He shook her and she struggled to get away because this was not real, because Paul was dead, so it couldn't be him staring her in the face, telling her to stop screaming.