The day the baby was brought home was the day that life changed for Jay. At the age of 4 he knew that all the attention would now go to the baby and not to him. He had been used to lots of hugs from his mother Annie and his doting aunties Maude and Jackie were always at the house. They would bring him little toy cars and his favourite snack, those raisins in the little boxes.
Jay was a mild tempered kid by nature but he did like the attention and even in his young mind he was aware of the fact that he needed it for some reason. So when the baby was brought in ceremoniously in its carry chair and placed before him to admire, Jay threw his favourite red car across the room, stood up, stamped his foot and screamed.
Annie backed away in shock. Her son had never done this before! The baby started to cry too and soon Annie joined in, her hormones all over the place. This set Maude off (she was emotional at the best of times) and when Jackie came in from the garage carrying all sorts of baby equipment with her she was greeted by a whole room of snivelling wrecks!
Jackie sent Annie to bed and sent Maude to make a cup of tea. She swooped Jay up in her arms and hugged him tight, telling him that he was a big brother now but that he would always be Annie’s baby. He stopped his whining and snuggled into her. And for the first time he snuck a peek at the baby who was sniffling away in the carry chair.
Jackie laughed and sat Jay down in his little armchair. She unravelled the baby from the carry chair and brought him over to Jay. “Meet your brother darling. His name is Ved.”
After having a well - deserved rest, Annie ventured back downstairs and was over the moon to see Jay, Jackie and baby Ved all snuggled up on the couch together with Jay telling a story to his little brother.
When Sam walked in that night from his job as security officer at the local bank, he could see in an instant that his family was complete. Annie was feeding Ved by the fire and Jay was happily playing with his cars, keeping up a running commentary aimed at Ved about what he was doing.
Jay couldn’t help but be interested in the tiny creature with all its blonde fluffy hair and after a few days he was as happy as he had ever been, even offering to help Annie change the diapers!
Jay and Ved grew up together the best of friends. Jay was always on the lookout for his baby brother and felt the need to protect him because Ved was so small. Everyone commented on how tiny Ved was. He was a skinny kid even though he ate like a horse and he was teased at school about his height and weight. Jay got into countless fights with the bigger kids and Ved was grateful to him for keeping the bullies at bay.
Both boys did well at school and Ved was especially good at computers. As he got older he would sit for hours in the library looking at websites and creating his own programs on the computer in there.
Although a good student, Jay was more interested in sports that lessons and his favourite game was basketball. With his height and athletic build, Jay soon became the darling of the court and was noticed at the first school game he played by the gorgeous cheerleader, Rochelle.
Jay and Rochelle became an item and were often seen strolling hand in hand down the beach together. They were the perfect couple and complemented each other amazingly. They were both into sports and spent a lot of time playing squash and jogging round the park but they managed to find the time to give something back to the community.
Rochelle had suffered the tragedy of losing her older sister Sophia to leukaemia and she and Jay decided to help out in the children’s ward at the local hospital. It was here that Jay met Mega, a teenager who had big dreams but was stuck at home caring for his father who had been injured in the war.
The unlikely friendship started in the hospital canteen one day when Mega was waiting for his father to finish his physiotherapy. Jay and Mega struck up a friendship over a plate of greasy chips. Jay could sense that Mega was a needy person and Mega could tell that Jay was a good guy. And god knows he needed a friend.
Ved noticed that his brother was spending less and less time at home. He was always with that goodie goodie girlfriend of his and had no time left for Ved. They used to have a real laugh together and Jay used to look out for him at school. But now Ved had to spend all his time in the library at school just to avoid getting jumped on by the bullies. And all the time Jay was smooching his girl on the field!
When Jay was 16, tragedy struck. There was a hold-up at the bank and Sam was shot. Annie raced to the hospital and Jay and Ved were called out of class. They were sat down by the principal and told that their father was in a bad way and that they should head straight for the Emergency Room.
The boys managed to find their mother sitting in a room off to the side of the general waiting area. They had to push past drunks and druggies, screaming kids and frail old ladies to get to her.
Jay would always remember what happened next and it would haunt him for the years to come. It all happened in slow motion (like in the movies Jay thought to himself). His mother was sitting on a rigid orange plastic chair clutching a polystyrene cup of tea.
As she raised her eyes to meet those of her oldest son the cup slid from her hand and the steaming liquid washed all over her legs. She did not bat an eye and it was at this moment that Jay knew that his father was dead. And he knew that for the second time in his young life things would never be the same again.
What many people don’t realize is that when you lose someone it affects every single part of your life. And this was especially true for Jay.
He had been so close to his father. Always the golden boy, he used to go fishing and hiking and the pair could always be found on the back porch, talking about the future and the way that life could turn out.
Neither of them could ever have imagined that this would happen, that Jay and Ved would be without a father.
Jay found that the only way he could deal with his pain was to internalize it and he tried to carry on as usual, only allowing himself to cry at night when no-one could hear him. Or so he thought.
Ved’s bedroom was on the other side of the wall from where Jay lay his head and Ved could hear his older brother sobbing way into the night. Ved went to his brother at first, wanting to share the pain and talk about it all. But Jay turned his head in shame and refused to even acknowledge that there was a problem.
Ved had no choice but to start to internalize his own feelings – he had nobody to talk to about it and soon found that if he surrounded himself with things to do, people to see, places to go that his mind could block out what had happened, the pain that had torn his heart to pieces.
Ved started to stay away from home and this caused more friction in the home. Jay would get angry with Ved, how could he do this to their mother when she had enough to worry about? Now she had to stay up at night and wait for her youngest son to come home. At times she had to wait all night as Ved stayed out longer and longer, getting into more and more trouble.
Whenever Jay tried to tackle Ved about his behaviour he would get a look of disgust thrown back at him. What did Jay know anyway? Always the goodie goodie, always at home to wash up the dishes for Mom. Never putting a foot wrong.
Jay couldn’t stand the way his brother was behaving and nor could Annie.
She too had gone into herself and was literally half the woman she had once been. The eyes that had shone so brightly with good humour at one time were now dulled with the pain of loss. And not only the loss of a husband but of a son that she had no control over.
Ved developed a friendship with the guy the brothers had met at the hospital, Mega and started to hang out with him whenever Mega could get away from the small apartment he shared with his father.
Jay spent more and more time with his girlfriend and their relationship started to flourish. Jay found that he could open up to her and after the initial shame at crying in front of anyone else he discovered that with Rochelle he really could let it all go and that it was safe to do so, that someone actually understood him. She understood because she had just lost her own parents in a plane crash when she was younger and was lived with her older married sister.
Jay and Rochelle gave each other the comfort and support that both needed and they became closer and closer with each day that passed each tear that was shed.
Ved meanwhile was becoming ever more distant from the family and was getting into all sorts of trouble with the neighbours, the school and the police.
Annie grew tired of asking Ved where he had been, of talking to the police that brought him home time after time and she all but gave up on this wild child of hers. But she would always wait by the window to make sure that he got home safely at night.
One night Ved came home earlier than usual and was surprised to find that there was no one waiting for him. His ego slightly wounded he popped his head round Annie’s door to make some smart comment about her not caring any more. And he found her lying in bed, her face ashen, her mouth blistered and her eyes swollen shut. Raspy breaths escaped from between her black lips and when Ved felt for a pulse he could barely feel one at all.
Screaming for his brother, Ved found that he was all-alone in the house with his mother and as he found the phone and called an ambulance he reverted back to being a frightened young boy again.
No longer able to ignore his grief. He was staring at it in the face again and was stung by the intense pain that it brought back to him. After having swallowed the sorrow he felt over the death of his father he suddenly felt it all rising back to the surface once more. When the ambulance arrived and the officers took his mother’s pulse and pronounced her dead, Ved could not contain his grief any longer and was taken to hospital himself for sedation.
Jay was tracked down and called to the hospital. He was shown to a side ward where he found his young brother lying in the fetal position and crying silent tears. Jay couldn’t control his own sorrow at the sight of his brother, so small and alone in the big white room. He climbed on to the bed and held Ved tightly, their tears flowing together in the grief that reunited them once again.
Jay and Ved grew used to being alone in the big old house. For a while there they had visits from their auntie’s but soon the Virus grabbed a hold of them too and took them to the grave.
More and more adults were dying and the world was a dangerous place. Everything was changing so quickly. Gangs were out in force in the streets and it was fast becoming a dog eat dog world.
Ved and Jay joined a gang of guys, led by a slightly strange kid in a wheelchair and this ‘tribe’ gave the brothers some kind of focus, something to cling on to in this place where you weren’t safe unless you had a gang to back you up.
Jay and Rochelle slowly drifted apart and when she was sent away to live with some relatives in the countryside, Jay was secretly glad. Since his mother had died Jay felt it impossible to deal with other people and their pain. His own pain was so deep that he didn’t feel that he could share it with anyone other than the one person who understood him – his brother.
He grew sick of Rochelle telling him that she knew how he felt, that she had been there, that it would get better. What did she know of his pain? She had grown up not knowing her parents. But he had known both his parents. Had laughed with them, cried with them… how could Rochelle even relate her pain to his?
Jay’s feelings soon changed when the train that she was travelling in crashed and all passengers were killed in an instant.
He couldn’t live with the guilt that haunted him, how he had turned away from Rochele and ignored the help, love and support that she had so freely given him. He wanted to die. He couldn’t live with any more pain. But then he looked at his brother and realised that he was all Ved had. And that Ved needed him.
This realisation brought Jay even closer to his brother and he swore that he would always be there for Ved, through thick and thin until the end of their days.
Whenever that might be…
Jay, like others in The Tribe, has been through a great deal in his life. The virus changed the world upside down - with no adults, it was up to the teens and kids to create a New World and determine their own future. Jay was caught up in the changing times and experienced many dangers and challenges.
One thing haunts Jay - it is an event in his past that he cannot forget - and he doesn’t want to forget it either…
Here’s a scoop - before the Technos, Jay was actually the leader of his own Tribe that formed after the virus wiped out the adults. Jay had always been responsible and thoughtful of others - especially his younger brother, Ved. The two (with some friends from school) formed a Tribe and Jay was the natural leader due to his good qualities such as his determination, positive thinking, and his excellent survival skills. He was admired and respected by his Tribe members - especially a girl…
FOLLOWING THE LEADER
Before the virus, there was a girl at school who was in the same year as Jay and she had always liked him. Liked him quite a lot. To her, Jay was cute and intelligent - she soon had a crush on him but Jay never seemed to pay her too much attention.
Then the virus happened suddenly and changed the world - Jay and Ved formed their Tribe and the girl became a member. She had no family left and nowhere to go - it was natural for her to follow Jay as she put so much faith and hope in him in those dark days.
Her feelings for Jay grew stronger as Jay led his Tribe from one crisis to another successfully. Food was found. Shelter was discovered. The Tribe negotiated with others and were safe from Locos (for now). Jay had transformed from a successful kid at school and became a leader of others. The girl was now deeply in love with him.
And Jay? Jay now had more pressures on his mind than ever before - but he had developed a strong determination to protect his Tribe members. He would look after them, defend them, and safeguard their interests. He noticed the girl more and more - and soon fell in love with her. She was so innocent, good natured and kind to others. She and Jay were made for each other and soon were boyfriend and girlfriend.
FATE STEPS IN
Then one day the girl fell ill. She picked up a serious bacterial infection. She knew she was ill - and so did Jay. If only there was someone who knew about medicine, someone who could advise what to do. For so long, Jay had the answers to different problems - but he didn’t know what to do to save his love.
The Tribe panicked over the girl’s illness. Medicines were looked for - but none were found. Then Jay heard that another Tribe had some anti-bacterial medicines - some penicillin and antibiotics that they would be willing to trade with Jay’s Tribe. Jay had to do the negotiations and left the girl. She was falling to a bad state and lost consciousness. Jay knew he might have hours left to get the antibiotics before the girl slipped away forever.
After bargaining away, Jay returned to his Tribe members and he had got the medicine. But it was too late. His girlfriend had passed away.
Jay was distraught. How could someone so young fall ill that way and nothing be done for her? Then, when Jay finally found medicine that could help he arrived too late - just a few precious hours late.
THE PAST AFFECTING THE FUTURE
After the death of his girlfriend, Jqy promised he would never let that happen again. He would do all in his power to stop other people who needed help from falling into the same fate as his girlfriend. He would do everything he could - and more - to see that once again, medicines, doctors and hospitals would be set up around the city - as had been done in the days of the adults before the virus.
But how to do that? Jay needed someone with power, influence, people, equipment - and one day he met Ram and joined the Technos… Maybe Ram would help Jay build a peaceful and stable city…
For his personal life, Jay was devastated over the loss. He had found a soulmate, a once in a lifetime girl of his dreams who had been cruelly taken away from him. For months, Jay was disconsolate but channeled his sadness into a determination to make the world a better place.
Thoughts of finding another soulmate drifted out of his mind - for now, his every thought and every action was devoted to his passionate cause of helping others by changing the future… it was all he could do to make sure the tragic loss of his love from the past would not be in vain - it was a tribute to her, for this is what she would have wanted Jay to do.