CHAPTER FORTY SEVEN
He looked so cold, lying there in the hospital bed, sleeping peacefully. He looked so cold and alone, and Jackie could feel her heart breaking. This was the third time she had asked God for help with her sickly son, and this was the third time she had been forced to sit and wait for an outcome. He always answered, the Lord, but sometimes he just took his time about it.
The surgery had gone well, and his shoulder was covered in bandages, now. He’d had a minor head injury, a blunt object causing damage before the bullet-wound, but they weren’t worried about it. His vitals were as good as could be expected.
“Open your eyes, baby. Show you Mommy those beautiful crystals of yours.”
Brian had yet to come round from surgery. The doctors had told her that it might be awhile, the painkillers they’d given him being pretty strong. His system had been flushed out beforehand. It had been drugged senseless lately, and they didn’t want to take any chances.
Brian remained asleep, and his mother kissed his head.
“I love you, baby”, she whispered.
I love you too, he thought, but he was too tired to say it, and so he drifted away into the darkness, welcomed into its loving, comforting arms.
“He’s gonna be fine”, Kevin smiled as the young girl looked on, clearly anguished.
“Are you sure?” She seemed genuinely concerned.
“Positive. He’s a fighter, B-Rockster. He’ll make it.”
This seemed to relieve her, and her mother dragged her away. She mumbled something about parents, before smiling beautifully and stumbling along with her parent. Such warmth, such love from people that didn’t even know them. It made the boys happy. It made them feel loved.
“Mr Richardson?” a voice came from behind. Kevin turned around to see a young cop, Asian, wearing a distinct bruise on his forehead.
“Yes?” Kevin asked.
“My name is Chico Kai, I was an attending officer at your cousin’s, um…”
He didn’t know how to put it. Abduction? Attempted murder?
“Sure. Right, I know. Thank you for, uh, helping him out. You did good.”
Chico sat down next to the young man and smiled gratefully. He’d needed to hear that. He was still a little insecure about his profession.
“Thanks. You know how it is? Rookie cop, high profile case…”
“Yeah, I know how High Profile feels. I live it.”
Chico laughed. He liked this young man. He wasn’t the celebrity sort. He was down to earth, and he seemed to know how to talk to people.
“I guess you want to talk to Brian, right?”
He nodded his head sadly. “I’m afraid so. Back on grunt work. I wanted to talk to him personally, because I was there…I didn’t think it was right for some stranger to be talkin’ to him, not after all he’s been through.”
A cop with a heart…My God, this WAS a revelation.
“IT’s kind of you to see it like that, Mr Kai. I’m sure Brian would appreciate a familiar face. He’s not to trusting when it comes to strangers, right now, know what I’m saying?”
Chico nodded his head. He knew how that was.
“The doc’s with him now, but he’s been awake for awhile now. You can talk to him when they’re through. I warn you now, he’s not too co-operative.”
Kevin smiled sadly. Brian had shut himself away, just as he always did. It was going to be tough breaking through the protective barrier, but he knew that the formalities had to be gone through to clear his name. Brian would want that.
“I understand. They rarely are…”
“I don’t want to be stuck here for longer than necessary, Doctor Chantler. I just want…I just want to get back to normal.”
Brian winced as he manipulated his injured shoulder, trying to get comfortable. It was an impossible feat. Every movement, be it his foot or his finger, sent waves of pain right the way through his body.
“You’ve been through an ordeal, Brian. I want to make sure you’re well. That’s all I want with any of my patients.”
Brian sighed. He knew he was being unreasonable; he’d only had surgery the previous night, and Billy…
He shuddered at the thought of the name. Billy had haunted his dreams last night, as though even in death he wished to harm him. At least he hadn’t got near his friends…
“Sure, Doc. Whatever you say.”
He just wanted to be back to normal. No more threats, no more pain, no more mental and physical torture…and right now, the only thing that was standing in the way of BOTH forms of torture was the painkillers which stopped the physical discomfort and sent him into a wave of darkness, only then the dreams took over. He couldn’t win.
“There is a police officer here to see you. He wants to ask you some questions about what happened. Is that ok with you?”
Brian nodded his head slowly. The quicker he got it out of the way the better.
CHAPTER FORTY EIGHT
“I remember you”, Brian whispered as Chico walked through the door.
“Yes, Brian, I was one of the attending officers.”
Brian suddenly felt very small. He spent his life entertaining people, whereas the young man in front of him, who was probably only a couple of years his senior, risked his life day in, day out helping people and making the world a little more live-inable.
“Thank you, Sir.”
“I’m glad I could’ve helped. I’m just sorry the outcome wasn’t more productive. The bastard got what he wanted. He didn’t deserve to get off so easy.”
Brian closed his eyes sadly. “He didn’t get off easy. He’s dead.”
He didn’t know why, and he didn’t know how, but he felt guilty. He felt responsible for Billy’s death. He’d been begging for help, but nobody had noticed. All he’d needed was some help…
“Brian, this is common. Don’t feel responsible. He was endangering lives, and it was either him or one of us.”
“He could’ve been helped.”
Chico placed a hand on Brian’s arm, moving it only when he winced. He internally kicked himself for causing this kid more pain, but he hadn’t meant to.
“Look, Brian. He didn’t want to be helped. He wanted to be brought down, and he wanted to take you with him. What would that have achieved? Nothing.”
Brian relaxed a little, knowing that the cop was right. It was all just a twisted kind of fate. Fate didn’t like him very much, it seemed.
“Did you want to ask me about what happened?”
“I will be needing an Official Statement, yes, but only when you’re up to it.”
Brian paused. “Will it clear my name? Will the world know that I’m not a criminal if I do it?”
Chico nodded. “If they don’t already.”
The stricken young man thought of the kids who looked up to him, the kids who cared enough to send money to his charity when he’d been sick. The kids and the adults who he’d touched with his music. He thought about how they were probably thinking about him…and that was the only nudge he needed.
“Where do you want to start?”
CHAPTER FORTY NINE
I need some distraction, or a beautiful release, memories seep from my veins,
that may be empty or weightless and maybe, I’ll find some peace of mind…
(Angel, Sarah McLaughlin)
He went through it all. His feelings of captivity, his feelings of depression, being threatened, being manipulated. It was hard for him, because he felt it all still.
“This will be fine, Brian”, Chico smiled, comfortingly. He shook hands with the young man who’d been through so much at a young age, and left him alone with his thoughts.
Madness. It was all madness. He was a mess, but at least he would be free, now.At least his life would be his own again.
His heart felt like porcelain. It would break if it were dropped, smashed and cracked and shattered at any sign of trouble. Delicate Brian, so meek and mild, the angst and the trouble of a child living inside of him. He felt like a child. Dependant, desperately seeking approval, but he was all alone, now, until Kevin came back.
He could be so stubborn sometimes, but that was his way of coping.
Billy was dead, now. He couldn’t hurt him anymore. He was non-existant. The only thing which remained was the memory of him…and that was strong. It breathed, it almost had substance. He could almost feel him, almost touch him.
He could almost feel his breath as he stood over him, raining blow after blow on his vulnerable body.
He closed his eyes, banishing the memory. It wasn’t his fault, Billy’s death.
It wasn’t his fault.