Why is everything so dark? It's so cold. Was it snowing? It shouldn't be this cold. It hurts to shiver... My chest hurts so bad. Please. Someone make this pain go away.
Footsteps are getting closer. Someone is trying to lift me up; it hurts to move. I'm pulled to someone's chest. "God, no, Donnie. Stay with me, buddy." Jesus, it's Mikey. I can feel him press a hand to my plastron, the only place burning despite the freezing cold.
"What-" I try to ask, but something catches in my throat and I cough heavily, spitting up onto the ground. My mouth is filled with the sharp taste of metal. I just coughed up blood. He wipes my chin gently. "Come on, Don. Just a little longer. The guys will be here soon," he urges. His voice is choked. He must be crying.
A strangely out of place ringing chimes in. Mikey picks up his shell cell. "Guys, you gotta hurry... Yeah, it's bad... Over on Third and Maple. Just north of the bakery... Yeah..." Mikey chokes again, pleading to our brothers over the phone. "I don't know if he's... Just hurry." A faint click tells me the call is done.
"Mikey," I try to tell him not to worry. My voice doesn't seem to want to work though, and I just end up grunting.
His distraction is broken, and he presses hard on my chest, right where the burning is hottest. "Don't talk, Don. Just rest." He takes a deep breath and exhales haltingly, trying to calm himself. "I'm sorry. This shouldn't have happened; it's my fault. If I had just watched behind me, you..." I feel him shake.
The scene comes flooding back.
"Mikey, you and Don take the north side, Raph and I will take the south. We'll meet up in two hours."
Mike and I set off across the rooftops at a leisurely pace. Neither of us really had any plans of getting into any trouble, so we stuck to the shadows and behaved like good little ninjas. It was a warm night, but a constant breeze kept our activities bearable. It was a rather nice night to be outside.
Apparently, the local Purple Dragons were in agreement. Hearing a scuffle in a nearby alley, Mikey and I peeked over the ledge cautiously. An young businessman struggled with three neighborhood punks, who harassed him tirelessly. A glance at Mikey for agreement was all I needed to head down before matters got violent.
Landing with a soft thud behind a punk with green spiked hair, I unsheathed my trusty bo-staff and made quick work of him. He was sprawled on the ground before he even knew I was behind him.
Mikey struck hard and fast on the remaining two. They made the effort to run towards the street, but only made a few steps before they felt the hard crack of Mikey's nunchucks on the back of their heads.
The businessman was gone; he must have booked during the scuffle. Smart guy. Mikey was all smiles, excited to have done another good deed and saved one more citizen. He walked back and slapped my hand in victory. It was great to see him smile so cheerfully.
A movement behind him distracted me. A fourth thug, the lookout? He flashed a familiar weapon and my heart seized in my chest. Mikey still hadn't noticed. The attacker aimed. There was no time. I grabbed Mikey's shoulders and threw him to the side roughly. A flash. A deafening bang. And a burning pain in my chest. Then things got dark. And my body got cold.
It hits me. I've been shot. So that's it.
Mikey shakes me. I wince from the motion. "Stay awake, Don. I need you to stay with me. Leo and Raph'll be here any second now. We'll get you out of here."
I shake my head weakly. It's getting harder to breath; I can feel it now. My lung has been pierced. I'm drowning in my own blood. "Don't...cry...Mike..."
He's sobbing now. I raise a hand and he takes it, squeezing tightly. He pulls it to his cheek. I can feel the tears warm in my hand. I turn to face him. I wish I could see him. Just to see him smile again. My processes are shutting down fast. Each breath grows more labored.
Mike shakes his head against my hand. "I'm sorry, bro. I'm so sorry. Please don't go," he begs.
I knew I was done. So did he. My brother pulled me into a tight embrace. "I love you, bro," he whispered.
It was so hard to breathe. To speak was unbearable, but he needed to know. "...love...you...Mike..."
He sniffed loudly and nodded through the tears. "I know, Don."
The pain was fading. My body felt lighter. It no longer felt like a chore to breathe. It felt as if I did not even need to breath. I knew my time had come to an end. But at that point, I didn't mind so much. I would watch over my brothers from a different plane, and I would watch them smile another time. Because I knew we would meet again, and the wait wouldn't be so bad.
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