"Brian! Brian!" Kevin screamed fearfully as he pounded his fists against his cousin's front door. "Brian, are you in there?"
He had quickly driven here as soon as Brian had ceased to answer him on the phone anymore. The terror and confusion in Brian's voice had made him want to cry for him. He should have already been here when Brian first arrived home. How could he have been stupid enough to let Brian spend his first night home alone? The house obviously contained bad memories for him and they were bound to surface when he set foot back in his home.
He hammered his fists upon the door a second time and tried to peer through the window, but he could see nothing.
Coming up the road, Kevin suddenly heard the wail of police sirens. He turned and watched as the flashing lights pulled up in front of the house. He had decided to call them as well, but he prayed to God that they would not be needed.
"Brian!" he turned back to the door and pounded upon it once more. Something was wrong…
"You, stay where you are!" a voice ordered.
Kevin spun back around and his heart lurched slightly within his chest as he saw a dark haired man directing a gun at him. He slowly raised his hands and his brow furrowed in recognition as he took in the police officer's dark hair. "Peters?" he asked.
"Oh it's you Mr. Richardson," Peters said, lowering the gun. "Where's your cousin?"
"Inside I think. Thank God you got here so quickly! He sounded terrified on the phone! Someone had been in his house!" Kevin wrung his hands nervously and he could feel his eyes rapidly growing wetter. He remembered when he arrived before and found Brian helpless and bleeding upon the floor. Ever since he had been plagued by nightmares of finding him dead.
Peters hammered upon the door. "Mr. Littrell!" he called. "It's the police! Open the door!"
"Brian, it's all right!" Kevin added. "Just let us in!" He waited anxiously for a response and attempted to peer through the window beside the door, but the house was dark and deserted. 'Why isn't he answering?'
Peters turned to Kevin. "Have you tried calling him?"
"He called me to say he was scared, but then he just went silent! I tried hanging up and then calling him back, but the phone was engaged. It must still be off the hook. We've got to get to him! He was so frightened and he said someone had written something on his wall!"
"Have you considered the fact that he might already have left the house to come to you?" a cool voice said.
Kevin turned to find another cop leaning against the steps that led up to Brian's house. His eyes narrowed as he recognised the greasy blond hair that stuck to his face and the way his dark eyes glimmered with their own light. It was Peter's partner, Fren. He remembered his suspicious attitude towards Brian before and the way that he had succeeded in terrifying his cousin.
He tried his hardest not to snap at the insensitive man before him. "His car is still here which means that he hasn't gone anywhere unless he was planning to walk," he said, gesturing to the car in the driveway. 'And I hope to God that he hasn't run off on his own,' he added silently.
Fren shrugged. "He left his house before when he was scared, maybe he's done the same thing this time." He turned to Peters. "Do you want me to start driving around the area, see if I can spot him?"
Peters looked across at Kevin. "It's your choice, Mr. Richardson. If you want we can break in here to see if your cousin is inside, or we can search the area. I'll need your permission if we need to break in."
Kevin glanced back at the dark house behind him and nodded slowly. "Break in first because I think he's still in there. If he isn't, then I guess we'll have to start searching for him." He closed his eyes briefly and imagined poor Brian shivering upon the road. He had sounded so scared… Kevin should have stayed here with him the night or Nick should have done…
Peters nodded. "That sounds like the best idea. We'll have to smash a window from the looks of things."
Fren moodily nodded and bent down to seize a large stone from the side of the path. He held it in his hand for a moment and stared at the window, as if judging if it was heavy enough. "This should do," he said eventually to Peters.
Peters took the stone from him and clutched it in his hand. "Feels heavy enough," he said. He positioned himself in front of the largest window on the ground floor. "Ready?" he asked Kevin.
Kevin nodded slowly and wiped his eyes, which were beginning to become wet with tears. He stared up at the dark windows on the second floor. What if something had happened to him? Or what if he wasn't in there anymore?
Kevin shuddered as he imagined Brian roaming the streets. He was clearly still unnerved after Liam's attack and how would he cope alone on the streets?
'Please Brian, just be okay,' he prayed.
He stood back a few steps as Peters raised a stone to throw at the window. He looked to Kevin again who slowly nodded to give him permission. This could be the only way to get at Brian and he would pay for the damage himself.
There was a loud tinkling sound as the glass splintered under the heavy blow of the stone and Kevin watched as the shards of glass glittered onto the steps.
Peters broke away the remaining shards that clung to the frame and then clambered inside. Kevin immediately followed him, desperate to find Brian.
Clumsily he clambered through the broken window, gritting his teeth as a few pieces of glass ripped into his arms. He flicked the light switch on and anxiously glanced about for any sign of Brian, but he was no where in sight. Peters stood in front of the far wall.
"Look," the cop said, pointing at the wall.
Kevin turned and almost choked in horror as his eyes took in the far wall and the huge, red letters that had been scratched across it in red.
"Brian said there was a message," Kevin whispered.
He stared at the wall for a moment more and then tore his gaze away from it's terrible message. He had more important things to do.
"Brian!" he called, dashing into the hallway and stumbling up the stairs. "Brian!"
He remembered Brian's frail voice upon the phone. 'I'm in my bedroom.'
Kevin quickly reached the door that led to Brian's room, but to his despair the door refused to open the way as he turned the handle. He banged upon it furiously and threw his entire weight against the door, but it still remained firmly closed.
"Brian! It's Kevin! Open the door!" he screamed frantically.
'What's happened to him?'
There was a loud thumping noise that began to drag Brian from his thick cloak of unconsciousness. He heard it calling to him and as he drifted further away from the realm of darkness, he began to realise that the sound was not just a part of his mind.
Slowly his eyes flickered open, but the room around him was dark safely concealing him from whatever horror that was lurking inside of his home. He rolled onto his side and found that he had been lying upon his bed. He placed a hand to his head in confusion and then he heard a huge crack from downstairs. The sound of a window breaking… the sound of someone entering his house…
He pulled himself up into a protective ball and then his hand brushed against something hard. He turned his head and could just figure out the shape of the phone beside him. He remembered now, he had been speaking with Kevin and then…. And then everything faded into blackness.
He heard a muffled thump from below and his heart quivered fearfully in his chest. He gulped as his fingers grasped the phone and placed it to his mouth. He weakly attempted to wet his dry mouth and he cleared his throat while his fat, parched tongue tried to form something intelligible.
"Kevin?" he whispered, praying that somehow his cousin was still there. How long had he been unconscious for? "Kevin?" he asked again, this time louder. He closed his eyes as his ears took in the eerie tone of the dead bleeps that indicated that Kevin had hung up on him.
He heard loud feet upon the stairs and he gasped and dropped the phone, immediately burying his head in his arms.
Brian slowly raised his tearful face. Someone knew his name… was it Liam returning to kill him? Or perhaps the mysterious message writer was here to give him his punishment?
"Brian!" the scream was louder now and more anxious, and then there was a sudden banging upon the door.
Brian pulled his knees up to his chest and covered his head with a pillow, as if he could somehow make everything disappear by blotting it from his mind. His fingers grasped the bedcovers beneath him desperately and he wrapped himself safely in the thick duvet, careful to make sure it concealed his entire body.
He trembled beneath he covers as the monster continued it's brutal barrage upon the door.
"Brian! It's Kevin! Open the door!"
Brian slowly peeped out from beneath his duvet and stared at the door, as if he could somehow see through it to ascertain that it was indeed his cousin who had come to save him.
"Kevin?" he whispered, his hand still gripping the covers tightly.
"Brian, please open the door!" There was another fierce thump that made Brian jump slightly.
Kevin, Kevin was here to save him from whoever it was that was stalking him.
"Kevin!" he called, his cracked voice turning into a sob.
"Brian? Brian, let me in!"
Brian clambered out of bed and sobbed again as he lurched forward to wrench the chair away from the door. His clammy fingers fumbled with the lock until it finally turned.
Immediately the door was pushed open and Brian sobbed again as he found himself being wrapped in Kevin's arms. He choked back a cry as the strong arms safely held him. Nobody would dare to come and hurt him when his cousin was with him.
He felt his entire body trembling and he knew that without Kevin's support he would sink to his knees. The terror that had consumed him before he passed out began to return to his mind. Someone knew about Liam and someone knew that Brian was the cause of his death. What was going to happen to him now? What if they returned?
"Brian, thank God," Kevin murmured. "I was worried sick. Are you okay?" He pulled away from the embrace to inspect his cousin.
Brian nodded slightly but he guessed from the concern in Kevin's eyes that he did not look too well.
"Is he all right?" another voice asked.
Brian peered over Kevin's shoulder and spotted Peters at the top of the stairs.
"Yeah, he's okay," Kevin replied "But pretty shaken." He turned back to Brian. "Let's get you out of here."
Brian nodded and allowed Kevin to help him stumble and limp down the stairs. He wanted to get away from this place. this place was no longer his home. Home was a safe place, but now Brian's house seemed to be cursed.
"Sit down here a moment," Kevin said, gently pressing Brian's shoulders down to make him sit upon the stairs. "I'm going to get you a blanket."
Brian nodded again, feeling stupid about his earlier fears where he had childishly hid beneath the bed covers as he had done as a tiny boy. He leaned his head against the wall while trying to piece together what had happened.
He remembered the message. That was the clearest memory. The red letters had burned themselves painfully into the back of his head where he could see them every time his eyes drifted closed. The rest of the events were hazy as if his mind found them too disturbing to remember.
He glanced up and noticed that his front door had been opened and that a blond haired man was scrutinising him. He turned his own eyes away from Fren's grimacing slightly inside. He had hoped he would never have to see that man again.
"Here you go." Kevin was suddenly beside him and wrapping him securely in a thick, warm blanket.
Brian shivered in the cold wind that blew through the door and gratefully pulled the blanket closer to his shoulders.
"What happened, Brian?" another voice asked.
Brian turned and saw Peters standing just behind Kevin. He wiped his eyes and face for a moment to try and calm himself and tried to avoid the cold glare of Fren that burrowed into his back fiercely.
"I came home," he whispered. "And I saw the message. I was scared and I called Kevin and there was somebody outside the window. I was frightened and I guess… I guess I passed out," he murmured, thinking himself to be foolish. Kevin had called the police and they found that the only problem was that Brian was too much of a baby to handle graffiti upon the walls. "I'm sorry. I think you've wasted your time in coming here," he said.
Peters shook his head. "No, we haven't. That message needs to be dealt with. What happened between you and Liam is confidential and should not be known by anybody…" He paused for a moment as a thought seemed to cross over his mind.
"What is it?" Brian asked.
Peters shook his head. "Nothing… at the moment, just a thought." He frowned slightly and then shook his head again. "Mr. Richardson, I think you'd better get Brian to the hospital to get him checked out, he's looks real pale. Fren and I will deal with the message."
"You think someone wants to hurt me?" Brian asked, his lips quivering slightly.
"I don't know," Peters said. "But it's not the most friendliest of messages. Leave it to us and we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I suggest you stay with a friend Brian. I don't like the look of this." He looked up at Kevin. "I'll call you at the hospital later."
"I'll be fine, I don't need a doctor," Brian protested.
"I don't care," Kevin replied. "You fainted and I want to check that you're okay."
"There's no compromise here Brian," Kevin stated. "It won't be for long and that you can get some sleep and calm down a little."
Calm down? How would he ever be calm again after tonight?
Brian's fingers grasped the blanket tighter as Kevin gently ushered him out of the door. Before he left, he glanced back and through the open lounge door he could see the grim red letters laughing at him and threatening him. He knew what they meant. It was a warning. A warning that somebody knew and that somebody was going to punish him…