[TBS] Methuselahs

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Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: The Boondock Saints

Rating: Teens and up

Pairing: Connor MacManus x Murphy MacManus (yeah, it’s incest, or twincest)

Genre: fanfiction

Characters: Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus, Romeo, mentions of others

Warnings: incest/twincest, vampirism

Preview:

“Ya emit fear, Rom,” Murphy lazily cut him. “We smell it. One of tha many perks…”

“… of being vampires,” Connor finished for him. “Can’t blame ya though. We’re afraid of ourselves too.”

“But the priests all call you guys the Methuselahs. The long-lived ones, not some bloodsucking shits!”

Murphy sniggered. “Vampires,” he corrected. Let’s not bullshit it an’ call it like it is.”

The Lord had spoken to them thrice during their long lifetime.

The first time happened right after they had killed the two Russian thugs, turned themselves in and not been convicted. Their powerful awakening. Thunders from the dry, clear sky roared and deep understanding seared through their consciousness. His voice boomed and it resonated in their eardrums as their bodies sprang forth from the rickety beds, every muscle taut like a bow string, every fiber fiercely alive. A spiritual orgasm it seemed. In that dark, damp cell reeking of moss and old-timed filth they saw more than they ever had under the hot, glaring sun. Their eyes had been sewn shut and now they were cut open and staring at the ultimate truth.

“Destroy all that which is evil…” Connor began.

“… so all that which is good may flourish,” Murphy finished, flawlessly, not missing a beat.

And thus they faithfully heeded His command, picking up loaded guns and shedding blood in His name. Never once had they doubted the merit of each successful job.

Even when they were surrounded by God-fearing men, firearms raised and eyes behind plastic visors warily following the slightest move of their limbs. He was silent the whole time, giving them none of His guidance. They could do nothing more than dropping their guns to their feet. Executioners by the law of God surrendered to the law of man and put behind steel bars. Steel bars that could rust and turn to dust but never their faith. Together they prayed every night in their shared cell, hands clapped and faces lifted toward the tiny hole served as the window, bathed luxuriously in the thin stream of moonlight. After that they sought to comfort each other in the only way they knew since they were old enough to be aware of their heart’s desires and give in instead of fighting to suppress them. Sweaty skin on sweaty skin, ragged breath on ragged breath and naked limbs tangled on top of the rigid cement surface making a lame excuse for beds. With nothing to smoothen the passionate thrusts, they made do with what their own bodies produced and learned to grow accustomed to pains that would sting for days, barely faded until the next encounter. This was the only heaven they could reach, confined between closed walls without His guidance. Their refuge in difficult time. The Lord had not condemned them when they first did, and He sure wasn’t doing it now.

Neither did He speak to them, not in this sealed place, in this stale air. He would not speak to them in this place so stained with human faults although the last time he had reached them inside a cell. But that time was different. They understood and so they waited for the next sign, however long it might take. They even told Romeo such, when they saw one another during the brief break in the yard. Patience was a virtue rare that one had to fight to attain.

The second time the Lord raised His voice, it was in the secret cellar embedded deep in the bowel of the earth, under the holy foundation of an ancient church, mostly isolated from urbanization. Smecker and Eunice had busted them out of the Hoag by the skin of their teeth – not so bad for former FBI agents who had been classified ‘deceased’ for a couple of years. Then they had taken the brothers on an extraordinarily bumpy ride out of the city and into the road less ventured, till they reached this tomb of a Catholic church. It must have been glorious in its old days, but now all remained was layer and layer of dust piled up on the pews and altars like snow from yesteryear. The statue of Jesus Christ had been removed, leaving behind a glaring empty space. The basin for the holy water was filled with cobwebs. Neglected. Deserted. Lifeless. Void. Murphy, always the first to open his mouth while Connor was busy contemplating their new location, voiced their collective concern of where they were and why.

Smecker and Eunice, unable to answer, exchanged a look.

“Because the Lord has spoken,” said a voice behind the closed door of the confessional, “His voice loud and clear. And we obey.”

Connor and Murphy instantly reached for the guns hooked by their belts, given to them by their rescuers for self-defense. As they stared at the wrinkled but benign face, the well-worn rosary hung in front of the faded robe, they lowered their weapons, crossing themselves as they spoke at once, “Forgive us our impudence, Father.”

Wordlessly they followed the servant of God like sheep did their shepherd; Smecker and Eunice and Romeo trailed after them, also in silence. Down the stone steps they descended into the earth, the light going weaker and weaker until the candle in the aged priest’s hand became the only source of light.

Up until now, Connor and Murphy had never forgotten the moment they reached the end of the stairs and were graced with the blinding light from a thousand candles carefully arranged into a circle whose center was the statue of Jesus on the crucifix. His bronze skin was polished and glistened as if there was potent life moving underneath it. As they gazed at Him, speechless and awed, the Lord’s voice was a tidal wave crashing down on their consciousness, washing away the vestiges of their three years in prison so that their sand was pristine for His words to be etched on, bold and clear. Smecker, Eunice and Romeo watched them step in the circle and sink to their knees at the feet of Jesus Christ, all their movements synchronized like a machine, and they all realized they had never truly seen the brothers till now. They had seen the boys fool around, had witnessed they kill, but they had never looked at Connor and Murphy like this: solemn and faithful as they knelt in the presence of God, awaiting His command with their heads held high and their absolute belief illuminating their skin better than a thousand candles.

The old priest presented to them a wooden cup, or should they called it a ‘grail’ as it was rather distinct and bore a striking resemblance to the holy object described in the Holy scripture. No explanation needed to be given; the Lord had passed it down to them in their previous trance. It was Connor who took the grail and sipped its dark contents. Connor who always called the shots in whatever situation they were in. Connor went and Murphy flowed. Connor began the sentence and Murphy finished it. Connor drank from the grail and soon Murphy did too. It was salty, coppery and thick, what they drank, and it burnt through their throat like liquid flame. Images flashed like a film fast-forwarded: the supper, the crucifix, the crown of thorns, the unforgiving sun, flesh smoldering and the falling of bones, blood boiling… The final confirmation of what they just consumed. They felt themselves die, their flesh rot and their bones withered. Turned to dust, and dust to nothing. A thousand dawns condensed in a few seconds. From nothingness they were reborn, different and yet the same. They were Connor and Murphy MacManus and also they were not. They felt that they could understand the truth of the universe and also their knowledge did not amount to a grain of sand.

They opened their eyes and saw everything in a new light. The old priest, Smecker, Eunice, Romeo and a handful of other priests standing in the shadowed corner, hands clasping in mute prayers. Their surroundings were sacrilege beyond their vocabulary. Their senses flared and not only could the brothers make out every single detail on their features, they could also hear their heartbeats and the flow of blood singing in their veins. They had never heard more captivating music.

With their new eyes they looked at the statue of Jesus. In a split of a second his visage was altered – morphed into the face in their visions, one with the clouds of treachery in the fathomless depth of his eyes – before it returned to Jesus’s.

“Perhaps he too wished for redemption,” the old priest whispered, probably to himself but Connor and Murphy heard him all the same. A look of understanding crossed their faces: the dark-colored liquid they had consumed was blood and they didn’t have to ask whose; they just knew.

Nonetheless, their transformation was both complete and incomplete. In order for them to become what He willed them to become and serve Him, the brothers needed to be ‘baptized’. A seemingly abandoned eastbound warehouse, a storage and transiting place for one Asian gang’s heroine. Imagine the poison spread to Boston and all the state, countless lives festered and rot.

The old, stern priest gave them the location and they needed info but no weapon. The church was never in possession of firearm; it was against the principle of God. They wouldn’t be in need of guns and bullets anyway, the priest informed them, and they knew without any experience that he was right. Still, Connor and Murphy took the guns Smecker and Eunice had provided, meager as they were; otherwise their hands would feel empty without the cold, sleek metal. With their rosaries snuggled against their chests, giving their skin a burned imprint, they ascended the stairs and disappeared into the night.

“So…” trailed Romeo, lost for words as he was looking warily at the brothers, with their blood-soaked faces and clothes and silver eyes shining brighter than the fluorescent lights in their humble, temporary hideout.

They were on the move most of these days: slumbering by day and moving and hunting by night. The sun did little harm to them given the protection they had, but they both agreed their nature and activities were more appropriately confined to the cloak of night. Because in the night, the evils stirred, and so did they.

Connor and Murphy flopped down on opposite ends of the grease-stained couch in the middle of the place, never minding that their long limbs tangled uncomfortably. Although they were brimming with fresh blood, having fed on a whole branch of an Italian mafia organization, they were weary to the bones. They did not find the effort to peel themselves off the couch and wipe the blood, starting to congeal on their turtlenecks and pea coats.

Blood was a nasty thing. Hard to wash off and more often than not ruined the whole article. They found themselves out-wearing clothes at alarming rate these days.

“You guys alright?” Romeo found his voice at last. He had been feeling pretty useless these days. Redundant. Un-needed. Retreated to snooping on gangs in the local area and reporting to the brothers, but actually being on the ‘field’? Scarce as the Mexican desserts’ rain. Though neither of them said it out loud, it showed in their eyes that they’d rather go by themselves, just the two of them. Romeo found himself uncomplaining about this arrangement; he wasn’t sure he was after having witnessed the boys hobble back to the threshold of the abandoned church, their faces red like the Devil’s.

“Aye, Rom,” Murphy replied, “we just had an all-you-can-eat buffet. Why aren’t we?”

They weren’t. At all. Not after they had managed to drag each other back to the abandoned church drenched in blood. An unorthodox form of baptism and oh-so fitting to this new existence they had been bestowed. For the good to flourish the blood of evils should flow like a river and in it they would swim and bathe and drink. It was the Lord’s will and He was always right, therefore it was right and it should feel right. But somehow it didn’t. Not when bits of human flesh scattered in their mouths and human blood fouled their breath and clung to their skin. Weren’t going for the flesh but it got stuck in between their teeth all the same. Felt like fucking cannibals although they had to constantly remind themselves that they were literally of another species merely masquerading as humans.

“You guys need a towel or something… to wipe the-the…” Romeo stuttered, using clumsy gestures to make up for his verbal inadequacy.

It was always like this after the boys came back, an awkward, heavy silence engulfing the confined space between the three of them until Connor and Murphy snapped out of whatever occupying their mind, which could take hours, even days, each time stretching just a little longer than the last. Back then it was never like this. Back then they would have scotch or tacos or sometimes both after a mission well done because good food and alcohol were best companion to their raging adrenaline. All of that felt like once upon a time.

“Yer afraid of us, Romeo.”

It was Connor who spoke, his voice bordering on fatigue. Not physically, of course. Never physically.

“No—yes—no, I mean—”

“Ya emit fear, Rom,” Murphy lazily cut him. “We smell it. One of tha many perks…”

“… of being vampires,” Connor finished for him. “Can’t blame ya though. We’re afraid of ourselves too.”

“But the priests all call you guys the Methuselahs. The long-lived ones, not some bloodsucking shits!”

Murphy sniggered. “Vampires,” he corrected. Let’s not bullshit it an’ call it like it is.”

“For tha record, we drink blood,” Connor said, his forefinger raised. “Shitton of it an’ we still want more. A lot more. Never enough. Never satisfied. Even as yer standin’ there, we see ya as a talkin’ blood bag. No offense ta yer person. It’s just the way we’re.”

Romeo dug and dug and found no humor in Connor’s joke. The truth was glaring too hard that any halfhearted attempt at humor dried up instantly.

He and the boys were different. They had been before but their difference could be effortlessly brushed aside due to their faith, their views and their purpose, due to their being humans. Now it wasn’t so easy to overlook their difference as it’d grown into a fucking ravine.

“Don’t worry, we keep our teeth in check,” Murphy assured him. “Barely, but we try. Moreover, these serve as our muzzles, ta make sure we won’t sink our canine into undeserving jugulars.” His finger tapped unrhythmically at the bangle around his left wrist, nail on metal creating a unique tone.

Around Connor’s right an identical bangle gleamed. Each one was carved with a cross and then filled with crimson liquid, which had crystallized and now looked like dark ruby. The old priest told them it was Jesus’s life essence collected from his crown of thorn. It served both as a protection and a reminder, a safety lock should their guns ever get out of control. To wear Jesus’s blood on their hands while Judas’ was flowing in their veins, they thought it the biggest irony to ever happen in their life.

“And if we take them off, well… tha sun, tha flame, wooden stakes, garlic, holy objects… ya name it, it’ll work wonder on us. Before ya know, ya’ll be scoopin’ up our fuckin’ ash from tha floor.”

“For how long?”

Connor reached into his pocket for his crumpled pack of cigarette. He gave one to his brother, bit one between his lips and lit them both. “Till there’s no evil left…” he replied, inhaling and blowing a ring of smoke, a far cry from the perfect circle his brother could produce with ease.

“… which is probably when humanity ceases ta exist,” Murphy murmured. He held the fume in his lungs, enjoying the burns since he knew it couldn’t do him any lasting harm. “Maybe then we’re finally be able ta retire from our job.”

Romeo’s gaze was transfixed on the tendrils of smoke curling around the boys’ fingers. The ‘Veritas’ and ‘Aéquitas’ inks only they knew how long they’d had glimmered on marmoreal skin. Their peculiar blood bleached and smoothened their skin – Connor’s lost its golden tint while Murphy’s became pure snow – so much so that they resembled a pair of marble sculptures if they remained immobile. The inks on their hands seemed even more alive than them at times. It didn’t help that they had developed a habit of lapsing into catatonic state when immersed in thought, which was unsettling to the only human in this odd trio.

“What would become of you guys then?” Romeo asked, feeling a shudder creeping his spine. Somehow he was afraid to hear their answer. He knew by then he would have already been long gone; not only him though, everyone they knew, Doc, Smecker, Eunice, Duffy and Dolly, would have been long gone and the boys would be left alone on their path. Such thought pained him so much he almost choked on his breath.

Murphy finally exhaled the smoke, having been able to hold it in longer than he could as human because he only breathed out of habit rather than necessity. His eyes on the plume of white smoke escaping his twin’s lips, Connor whispered, “And as the Almighty God created you…”

Murphy’s lips curved into the smallest of a smile. “… Now he calleth you home.”

Romeo could only hope that would be the case.

So he prayed for that every night before going to sleep, from that day to the day he left this realm.

The Lord had not spoken to them for a long while, and the brothers felt safe to assume He was pleased with their job; otherwise He would have them known by one biblical reference or another. The MacManus twins roamed from state to state and even went abroad, leaving in their wake a series of bizarre and gruesome murders where the victims’ throats were mangled and their blood mostly drained. They still saved their signature offing method to the one of the highest rank at the scene, more often than not having already shat himself after witness the carnage they’d engineered, to leave a nod for the human law enforcers and for the world at large that it was truly them and not copycats. On the other hand, they thrived on anonymity, drifting from one major city to another like shadows and keeping the lowest profile. Not once had they turned their heads upon hearing their names and deeds.

Romeo stuck with them through and through despite the fear still inaudibly present in his dark pupils, at times feeble as a dying cigarette tip and at times a vivid torrent threatening to manifest into something unsightly that could break their bonds for good. As a matter of fact, Romeo was the one to stay with them the longest, after the others had heeded His calling. Doc was the first, naturally, expectedly. His death descended upon him on a humid summer afternoon, swiftly and soundlessly. In the incessant cicadas’ cries he collapsed onto the floor, the glass he was cleaning slipping from his dotted hands and shattering into pieces. Connor and Murphy attended his small funeral from afar, wanting nothing more than to approach Doc’s coffin so that they could bid proper farewell to the old man who had become their family besides their Da and Ma. They couldn’t in apprehension that their presence would probably crush the solemn peace old dear Doc deserved. That and the fact they were failing to contain their tears, red and shining as they drew stark crimson streaks on their pallid skin. They no longer cried tear; when their heightened emotions became too overwhelmed, it was their victims’ blood that spilled instead.

Duffy’s and Dolly’s deaths came next, unexpectedly. Two years after Doc – the twins had been counting so they could remember – the news hit them on a crispy dawn in a modest B&B that two of their few friends had departed from this world. The TV was small and occasionally shown a static screen, and on top of it were the small, unphotogenic pictures of dear old Duffy and Dolly. Perished on the line of duty the news said. They had uncovered a cocaine-distributing lair of a Chinese gang, and as the Asian mafias paid a high price, the two brave detectives paid with their lives.

Despite their immortal bodies crying for a needed rest when the sun peaked through the clouds, they raced to the airport and caught the earliest flight to Boston, the blood of their recent kills buzzing in their systems. In the same week the two law enforcers died, the Chinese gangs supposedly responsible for their demises were wiped from the map in a manner that could only be described by the evening news later as ‘gratuitously brutal’.

They prayed and asked for His forgiveness as they, His hammer, had struck down with a personal cause.

Smecker’s and Eunice’s deaths were, fortunately, thankfully, a couple of decades later, when the two former-FBI-agents-turn-vigilantes reached their ripe old age. The brothers attended both funerals, lying about being the deceased’s old friends’ children coming to pay respect on behalf of their parents every time a curious person raised a question. They managed to keep a solemn and dry face throughout the service, saving their tears for later, when they were back in their hideout, which was usually a cheap motel where no receptionist would ask for their IDs as long as they had enough cash. Only then were they allowed to mourn their old friends, sobbing their blood tears into each other’s shoulder in both sadness and relief that Smecker and Eunice would be welcomed to the Silver City and joined by Greenly, Duffy and Dolly.

When it was finally Romeo’s turn, they were in a dingy motel somewhere near the border. The brothers had spent a few years in Mexico partly because Mexican soil was a futile bed for cartels and all sorts of wayward souls, and partly because they knew their friend’s time was near. It wasn’t a guess or a hunch but rather a hidden power they had discovered within themselves not too long after their turning. They had never told Romeo once that every time they sank their fangs into a human being’s vein, it was not only blood that they drew; it was the soul of that individual they drank, every flaw and every sin they had committed up until the moment of their death rolling on the brothers’ tastebuds – scrumptious if they were asked about the taste. The Lord was unmerciful to sinners and there was simply no redemption for those who found themselves at the ends of His Methuselahs’ teeth; their souls were torn apart, consumed and completely eradicated altogether so that they would never again soil the earth with their sins. So as not to pass wrong judgement Connor and Murphy were bestowed the ability to penetrate a human soul and obtain everything there was to know about that human, including their exact time of death. They kept that bit from Romeo, not intending to add more reasons for their friend to be afraid of them than he already had.

The brothers sat by Romeo’s deathbed, Connor to hold his shaking, bony right hand and Murphy the other. The couple last few years had robbed Romeo of his eyesight, and their friend no longer saw with his eyes but with his hands instead. He could tell with astounding precision which brother by merely a touch of his shriveled skin, and his occasional seizures could be calmed by Connor and Murphy holding his hands. How a simple gesture could do such wonder was beyond them, but it gave them huge relief that they were able to relieve their last friend of his pain, even just a little. Maybe there’s something holy in you that you never realize after all, Romeo said in one of his rare lucid moments, temporarily free from the clutch of painkillers.

“It’s been one hell of a ride, and I’m glad I’ve stayed with you guys as long as I could.”

With those words Romeo used up his last breath, his hands gone limp and slipping from Connor’s and Murphy’s grips. Their last friend, no more.

They didn’t shed a tear before, during and after Romeo’s Mexican funeral because if they did, Romeo would no doubt rise from his coffin only to laugh his ass off at their ‘being pussies’. Instead the twins brought whiskey and tacos to his grave, pretending for a night that time had rewound a couple of decades, their friend was with them and they could actually taste the delicious burn of chili sauce. Every kind of food tasted like ash on their tongues; only the blood and souls of the sinned possessed flavors. Being blood suckers had its perks like that.

The MacManus twins had started this mission by themselves and from now on they would carry on by themselves; no helpers, no friends, and the least connection to the human world if they could help it. No more blood tears and gut-wrenching pain in the inevitable loss of yet another mortal they’d outlived. Day after day the brothers battled loneliness with their cool skin gliding smoothly against the other’ and with their cold, hard arms wrapped around each other’s lithe form until they were thoroughly washed and cleansed again and again by their powerful twin climaxes. This was the only heaven they could reach as they lay curling around each other like the time they had shared their mother’s womb, and they found solace in their thought that their Da and Ma and their few but precious friends were enjoying eternal peace in the Silver City. One day, they hoped, when it was all over, the Lord would allow them to be reunited with their family and friends.

Without a short notice, apocalypse descended like God’s wrath, only it wasn’t the Beast that brought it but rather an outbreak. No one knew its exact cause, what with numerous unbacked theories floating around, but everyone knew it was deadly and it spread faster than an asteroid plunging into the earth’s atmosphere, and the damage it wrecked was nothing but awe-striking. One day it was peaceful and fine with people swarming the bustling streets just like any other day and the next, the same people were ripping their friends, their family apart with their bare hands, their eyes veiled by an opaque milky sheen, their skin falling off their flesh and soon, their flesh off their bones, and the single force driving their entire being was chomping as much meat, organs and brain as possible, preferably from their own kind. Those who miraculously didn’t get infected by the lethal disease soon found themselves slaughtered and devoured, and what remained of them would join the rapid-growing legion of mindless cannibals.

It was utter chaos that made Lucifer’s domain pale in comparison.

Connor and Murphy had slept over a day, bone-tired after a large-scaled mission, and when they rubbed their cold, sleep-laden eyelids and rose from their shared bed, the world outside their apartment had spiraled into absolute hell. Electricity was cut and the water supply soon followed while the waters in the lakes and river surrounding the city were already contaminated with blood and body parts. Everywhere the brothers went it was practically the same scenario: the buildings burnt and destroyed, the streets littered with bodies piled up, the dead roaming the earth, hunting the few surviving humans. Connor and Murphy managed to save some of them, but even those they’d saved soon succumbed to either the lethal virus lurking in their bloodstream or the severely degraded living conditions of no water and scarce food. Before long the brothers found themselves the only remaining proof of the human society. Oh the irony.

They had prayed to Him the very night the world turned upside down, beseeching His signs, His guidance. Their prayers went unanswered; around them only the incoherent snarling and hissing of the once-humans pervaded the air, His voice unheard, unspoken.

They began to think the Lord had forgotten them, and the human race in general; why else would He allow this catastrophe to happen? Even if there were a second coming of Christ, what would the savior do when there was no one left to save but a pair of God-blessed bloodsuckers? Then after some time, that thought had slowly warped into a belief made more and more concrete with each night passed that it was the Lord’s beckoning them home. They were supposed to destroy evil so that the good may flourish right? Well, take a look around. Was there any evil left? Any good? Everywhere it was the putrefying stench of dead minds that was alienated from both good and evil. Good and evil had both been flung into oblivion, alongside civilization, religion, the human society. They hadn’t seen a soul for such a long, long time they didn’t think they would be able to see through one if they happened to meet one. Starvation couldn’t kill them; no, that would be too generous of it. It gnawed at their insides, sapping their life force, sucking the marrow out of their bones and making them truly feel their age. They became sluggish, lifeless, the ‘Methuselahs’ not much different from the moving corpses surrounding them. They were worn out, body and soul, their faith as dry as their mouths. Hour and hour they asked each other when He would finally allow them their long-awaited retirement.

“If ya ask me,” Connor said, running his right hand absent-mindedly up and down his brother’s forearm, “the flame has certain poetry in it. Imagine our ash scattered in the wind. We could be everywhere. And as a plus, we won’t be worryin’ about our remains becomin’ zombies’ snacks.”

Murphy laughed, feebly. “Now ya wanna build a fuckin’ pyre or somethin’. For all I know, we can barely move our arses from this fuckin’ spot, let alone stand up and gather twigs. Hungrier than Bobby fuckin’ Sands here.”

Connor smacked his twin’s head without any real force, not that he had any left. “Yer fuckin’ retarded when yer hungry, ya know. ‘M not talkin’ about the fuckin’ pyre; ‘m talkin’ about the sun, man.” He flicked a glance at his right wrist, the ornament piece around which glinting as it caught the moonlight. He lifted his other hand, fumbled with the clasp for some seconds before he succeeded. The silver thing dropped to the ground with a clank. “If ya get what I mean.”

Murphy breathed a small laughed and did the same with his own bangle. It landed next to its brother. “The sun it is,” Murphy said. “I wish we had a joint right now. Wouldn’t it be heavenly ta have our last smoke before we’re crisped?”

Connor tsked but he laughed too. “Ya remind me the last time ya fought a horde of zombies fer a pack of cigarette.”

“Fuckin’ worth it. Literally the last pack on earth.” He took a short pause. “Ya think they have cigarette there, where we’re goin’?”

“Smoking might be a sin condemned, depends on where we’re goin’.”

“I hope Ma an’ Da are there,” Murphy whispered, after a while. “An’ Rocco, an’ Greenly, an’ Doc…”

Connor continued, seamlessly, “an’ Dolly, an’ Duffy, Smecker, Eunice, an’ Romeo. I miss them, Murphy. Really miss them.”

“Aye, so do I.”

Connor pulled Murphy’s head down so that his brother’s chin rested on his shoulder while he enveloped Murphy with his body.

“What’re ya doin’?” Murphy bleated, his voice muffled by the thick, coarse material of Connor’s jacket.

“Holdin’ ya like any big brother does.”

“Who appointed ya big brother?”

“C’mon Murph, we both know ‘m tha older one; just look at our sizes. We came ta this world intertwined, we’ll leave it the same, don’ ya think?”

Murphy huffed indignantly but protested no more. “Aye,” he said, clinging to Connor and burying his nose in the crook of his brother’s neck. His twin smelled old. He betted he had the same smell.

“Hey, want me sing ya a lullaby?”

“Fuck that.”

Connor’s frame shook with a laugh. He did not sing though; instead he was humming an old tune they used to hear their Ma singing to herself as she was preparing dinner in the kitchen. Murphy could almost sniff at the aroma of her stew dangling in the air. He had loved it and always asked for second.

With Connor’s humming in this ears, Murphy was lulled into the familiar dream of lush green Irish field, where he and Connor used to run barefooted, sun beams dancing across their naked, sweat-glistening backs.

It was almost comfortable when the first sun ray hit them, like reliving good childhood memories; nonetheless, it didn’t last long. It was hot, unpleasantly hot, and after a couple minutes, it became agonizingly hot. There was smoke rising through their outfits, then the fire started and their intertwined bodies were engulfed in white-hot flame. If they weren’t too busy trying to hold onto each other as they writhed in tremendous pain, they would be amused by how very much they resembled meat on a barbecue. Their skin sizzled, blackened and then burst, revealing the pinkish flesh inside, only to be cooked to a deep brown. The smell was hinting toward charcoal.

Still, the brothers made not a noise. Despite their being roasted alive, their minds were crystal-clear and they felt an odd sense of peace and content spreading along the flame, for they knew their suffering would be short-lived, and what awaited them once they were reduced to ash were the familiar faces of their loved ones, radiating with warmth welcome.

Or so they hoped.

It was as if someone switched the only neon bulb in the room off and darkness instantly took over. One blink ago it was a sun-lit midsummer day and the next, the sky was a solid black. Moonless, starless black. The flame died like a dying ember dumped into water before it finished its job on them. Connor and Murphy looked at each other and if their heavily disfigured faces were still capable of expression, they would both be painted with a look of bewilderment.

A single pillar of light penetrated darkness to bathe their bodies, or what remains of them when the skin and flesh had been melted off. Confused, they tried to crane their necks and looked up, yet it was so blinding that even with their enhanced vision, they saw nothing beside white.

And then His voice poured down on them. They were literally bathing in His words, His command.

Their path had not ended. He still had a mission for them, His Methuselahs.

They hadn’t felt the tears until they stared at each other’s face and noticed the shining red streaks, a stark contrast against their marmoreal skin. Their faces had healed. The light felt like warm liquid, gently submerged them, cradled them. They were in their Ma’s womb again, warm and safe and whole. Their bodies had been restored as they had been on the very night of this immortal existence. As they rose to their feet and stood with their backs straight, their heads up, they were two angels freshly descending on earth: pristine, mighty, divine. His power were coursing through their veins like electricity, changing them, rewiring them, renewing them so that they were once more His chosen servants, fitting to carrying out His assigned task. Not only their flesh but also their minds were revitalized with a flooding sense of purpose, of worth, of hope. Torching like this single pillar penetrating through the eclipsed sky. A hundred years of doubt, of uncertainty, of starvation and fatigue and despair from seeing the world doomed beyond save, washed off, clean. Just like the time in the secret underground church the twins were reborn a second time. From the very threshold of death they came back, stronger than ever, and they were ready to begin their journey anew.

The boys picked up their own bangle and clasped it around their respective wrist. The metal was unmarred, unsoiled and its cool, firm grip gave off reassurance and promise. This time, the Lord had shown them a glimpse of their longed peace. As long as they kept up their good work, the gate of His home would never close for them.

The sun had come up again, promising a humid day. The boys looked at each other and they burst into laughter.

“At least He shouldn’t leave us naked like this,” Connor said. “It’s symbolic, I guess, the rising from ash an’ all, but indecent.”

“Aye,” Murphy agreed, brushing off tiny spots of ash from his shoulders and arms. There was no telling if it was Connor’s ash or his. “Especially when we’re surrounded by such a large audience. Not a really fan of naturalism.”

Connor glanced at the mass of undead forming a tight circle around them but shying from approaching or attacking. Perhaps they were awed by what they had witnessed with their milky eyes, soulless as they were, or they were cautious merely out of primal instinct.

“Remember when I said I’d tell ya when we’re gettin’ low?” Connor asked. “Now we’re really gettin’ low, robbin’ tha dead of their clothes.”

Murphy wrinkled his nose, not trying to mask his disgust. “Jus’ wash ‘em first.” Taking a pause, he then added, “Then we’re goin’ south. Let’s hope one of those junks still work.” He glanced at the abandoned vehicles by the side, paying attention to one particular chopper; he hoped against hope that it wasn’t too broken because he really wanted to ride it. “I’d hate to walk; it’d be a long, long way.”

“Aye, ta south.”

To deep in the south, where the Lord had shown them, where a small yet persevering tribe of humans resided. Those survivalists had banded together to form a community of sort. And that was all the twins needed to know.

Where there were humans, there was good and there was evil.

Where there was evil, there were them. The Saints, the Methuselahs, the Shepherds of God.

Ready to obliterate the bad seeds so that the good may flourish.

End

Note:

Please excuse my attempt to write dialogues with the Irish accent.

I was inspired by the Trinity Blood manga in which vampires are called ‘Methuselahs’. The vampiric traits like silver eyes, pale skin and blood tears are my own inventions though.

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