Brothers

The two men embraced briefly and then sat down across from one another in the diner.

“Brother.  It’s good to see you.”

“And you.”

“Thank you for coming.”

“Of course.  I am glad you are ready to listen to reason.”

The other man frowned.  “No.  I was hoping you were.”

“Me?  I am not the one waging a pointless campaign.”

“What do you mean?  Don’t you want to wrest our freedom back from these butchers?”

He leaned forward and lowered his voice.  “Quiet.  There are ears everywhere.  If you are arrested for treason, even I cannot save you.”

“You see?  We can’t even speak openly in public.  How can you still support them?”

He shook his head.  “I do not think arresting you would be wrong.  But I do not wish that fate to befall my only family.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I am.  And I wish you would be, too.  What do you want that you do not now have?  You must recognize that their rule is better than the chaos that was rampant before they arrived.”

“Yes, there is less chaos.  But at what cost?  Loss of self-rule?  Harsh policies that abridge free expression?  And how many people have died since they took over?”

“You sound like the conspiracy theorists you have allied yourself with.  I beg you, give up this folly.”

“I won’t.  Not ever.  Not until they are driven out.”

He sighed.  “Very well.  I have told no one about you, but they may stumble upon us at any time.  You should leave.”

“And I can’t convince you?”

“No.  But I wish you well.”

“Hmph.  Just . . . just stay out of our way.”

“I love you, too, brother.  Do not get caught.”

His brother stood and left.  He stared for several minutes at the door, hoping to see him return.

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