I stood looking across at the bus stop where my brother was last seen. I was outside the shop on the other side of the street. I often thought about who may have been walking past that early hour on the late bus. Someone had to have seen my brother. The driver of the bus remembered him getting on and off and he said he was in no way drunk or looked like he had taken any drugs. There had only been one other girl on the bus who sat three seats behind my brother and she had come forward to tell the police that she had seen him. The girl said that he had seemed perfectly fine and that he had sat in silence with his arms folded just looking out of the window. There was a chance that she and the driver were the last people to see him alive.
The worse part for me was when we went out with a team from the police and searched the wooded areas around where we live. I thought that if my brother had been murdered than this was the likely place that someone would leave his body. All day long I kept waiting for the shout that something had been found, it never came. The dogs didn't even pick up a scent. I could see the pain double in my mothers eyes as people started to head for home. The evening sky was darkening and she just stood with her arms folded looking over at the woods. A part of me was wishing we had found something because this pain on my mothers face was so hard to bare. MY father had taken my mother home that day, she didn't refuse but she told me they hardly spoke on the way.
Barry Locker was my brothers best mate. They had been through school together and even ended up getting a job at the same factory for a while. I had spoken to him on several occasions. He told me that on new years eve he had been contacted by text message and my brother had asked him if he wanted to come to the club. He told him that I had to let him down and so they had one spare ticket. Barry was originally going to his in laws but they had decided last minute to go away for the new year. The only thing that was strange to Barry was that my brother would always call him and not usually text. Barry had text him back to tell him that he would meet him outside the club.
Barry had confirmed what everybody else had said. My brother had been in a good mood and had not taken any drugs. He had a few drinks, but wasn't intoxicated. It seemed that he had no trouble with anybody at the club and that it had been a noisy but calm night until the count down when they all went outside to watch the fire works. Barry had gone over and over that night in his mind to try and think if my brother had spoken to anyone besides the barmen and anyone in the group of friends. The only time he could think of was when my brother went to the toilet, that was the only time he could have spoken to anyone outside of his friends.
"I would tell you if he contacted me, right away." Barry assured us and I knew that he was telling the truth.
My brother wasn't a very big social network fan. He couldn't see the point in telling all a sundry your business. People were so busy looking down at the phone in their hands that they just didn't speak to each other anymore. My brother was a big believer in the fact that you should engage with a person and not just send texts. If anyone would visit it didn't matter if he waited all week for the programme he was watching, the television would go off so he could give the person his full attention. That is the kind of friend that you wanted in your life.
When we were younger my brother would always stick up for the underdog. He would .other put up with someone being picked on for being smaller than someone else or because they didn't have the right clothing on. My brother wore smart clothes but he wasn't a slave to fashion. It didn't make him popular with the bullies but they left him alone.
My mother had told me that when I was very little my brother was very protective of me and was always looking out for me. She told me that it was like me having my own bodyguard. I was always a lot smaller than he was but I would still have done the same for him.
"Hello! How are you?" The woman's voice broke my thoughts and I turned to see Shelly, my brothers old friend. She gave me a smile and a hug.
"What are you doing back here?" I asked her.
"Well it was strange when I spoke to your brother he told me I should come see you."
I think in that moment that the whole world went into slow motion and I wasn't sure if my legs were about to give way. I took a deep breath and asked her when she had spoken to my brother.
"It was about three months ago. I told him.I was moving back this way and he said I should look you.up."
"He has been missing for three years!"
"What! He didn't say..... My god if I had known."
"Where did you last see him?"
"It was in Ailsa street, In Poplar."
"Did he say anything else, did he look well?"
"Look I've got some spare time. Let's go to yours and I will tell you everything I know."