CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT
Brian stared out of his parents’ back window out onto the playing field beyond. Dusk had settled upon the world and had bathed everything in a purple light. The last few children were now scurrying home to have their tea.
He was mostly hidden behind the curtains, not daring to stand openly in front of the window after last night. He was not even sure if the person had been looking up at him, but it had felt that way. He had yet to tell his parents or his brother about the strange watcher, worried in case they would think him paranoid and try to take him to a councillor like Kevin and Kristen had anted. He knew that they were only trying to help, but he did not want another person’s nose sticking into his business. He could deal with this in his own way with his family and friends helping him, like he knew they would.
“You’ve been really quiet since you got here, Brian,” Harry said appearing beside Brian from the kitchen. “Are you feeling okay? Mom told me about everything that happened at the concert…”
“Yeah, it was kinda freaky…” Brian confessed, tearing his eyes from the window to face his brother.
Harry sighed slightly. “Brian, I have to apologise. I didn’t come to see you after you got stabbed and I felt so guilty…”
“You were working! By the time you found out, I was already out of the woods.”
“But still - ”
“You saw me when I stayed at mom’s after I got out,” Brian said, thinking back to the time he had flown down to see his parents after being discharged from hospital the first time.
“I should have made a bit more of an effort though.”
“No, you should have stayed with your daughter and wife like you did,” Brian replied. He’s already worried Nick, Kevin and the others half to death with his stalker business and the last thing he needed was for his family to find out how extreme it was. His mother knew that he did have a stalker, but she had no idea how psychopathic he or she was. He did not want her or anyone else in his family to worry about it.
“How is my adorable niece anyway?” Brian asked, smiling as he thought of his brother’s sweet baby. “Why didn’t you bring her?”
Harry’s face melted as it always did when he thought of his family. “She’s fine. She’s walking really well now. I would have brought her but she’s with her mother and grandmother. While they were gone, I thought I’d come down here. I’ll join them on Saturday.”
“Give her a big kiss from me,” Brian said. “A nice sloppy one from her uncle Brian.”
Harry grinned. “Will do and she’ll get a big one from me as well when I see her. You really should get married bro and have your own family.”
Brian smiled. “Yeah.” More than anything he wanted a family and a loving wife, but he had too many more frightening things happening in his life to think about finding a girlfriend. Imagine what the effects would have been on a relationship if he’d had a girlfriend now… But it would be nice to meet someone perfect and marry. He would love to have a child. A boy would be nice seeing that Harry already had a girl…
“Hey, how about me and you go to the mall tomorrow? We haven’t been there in ages together.” He grinned. “It’ll be just like it was when we were kids!”
“We’re a little big to e kids now,” Brian pointed out, smiling. “You have a kid off your own!”
“Gives me all the more reason to be a kid! I can play with her toys!”
Brian laughed slightly and glanced out of the window again. He had been fond of this place before. As a child he had sat upon the small window sill and watched as his mother walked across the playing field from her visit to the shops or watched his brother and father play soccer when he was too ill to leave the house. He was a little too large to squeeze onto the window sill now but he still enjoyed to stand here and look out onto the fields.
Normally they would be full of kids, but now the field was devoid of laughing children. He craned his head and could just make out a solitary person walking along the path in the rapidly diminishing light.
He turned back to his brother. “Do you remember that snowman you made for me one year?” he asked, imagining the one time when the field had filled with snow, but Brian had been too poorly to make the most of the odd weather.
“Yeah, I used your clothes didn’t I?” Harry replied. “You’d been crying because mom wouldn’t let you out, so I made you one for you to look at.”
“Pity it never snows down here. I feel like building a snowman.”
“It’s too hot,” Harry replied. He grinned at Brian. “Now who’s behaving like a kid?”
“I’m younger and more immature, I’m allowed to be a kid!” Brian replied cheekily.
Harry nudged him playfully, but then the smile vanished abruptly from his face. It disappeared so suddenly that Brian felt the heat from his body disappear in a cold rush of fear.
“Get down!” Harry screamed. He suddenly gave Brian a fierce shove and the tow of them fell down onto the carpet.
Brian cried out in shock as he hit the floor and then he heard a terrible crashing noise, followed by a splintering crack. He tried to look up to see what was happening, but Harry pushed his face back down as something rained down upon them and something heavier thumped down upon the carpet.
Brian felt the weight from his back lifted as his brother moved, but Brian stayed where he was. What had just happened to the window? What had just happened to him?
“Brian are you okay!” Someone screamed at him frantically. “Brian!”
Brian tired to move his face but winced as something cut into his cheek. He felt dazed and everything about him was a blur as if it were a distorted dream… or nightmare. There were voices about him, screaming frantically and gripping his shoulders.
“Uh…” Brian replied uncertainly. He could hear a rasping noise and feel his ragged breathing coming from his mouth as he stared down at the carpet below him, seemingly incapable of moving.
“He’s all right, it didn’t hit him thank God!” his father said, pressing a hand against his face.
Hit him? What hadn’t hit him? Had something come through the window?
“I’ll get the punk!” he heard Harry’s voice call.
“Harry, be careful!” his mother screamed.
“M – mom?” Brian whispered, his mouth having trouble to even form the one word. What had just happened?
“Brian honey! Are you all right?” She leant down beside him and clasped his hand. Brian weakly gripped it with his own shaking fingers but could hardly feel the warmth of her he was so cold and trembling.
He glanced about him and saw that the carpet was covered in cruel shards of glass. One jagged piece had embedded itself in the palm of his hand and he slowly released his mother’s hand to pull it away.
“Did you hit your head?” his father asked him anxiously. “Does anywhere hurt?”
“I don’t think so,” Brian replied nervously. It was hard to tell what parts of him hurt and what parts didn’t because of the numbness that had seized a vicious hold on him. He was feeling distinctly nauseous though and shivers prickled along his skin sending a trail of goose pimples throughout him.
“Brian you’re shaking,” his mother said urgently.
“He’s in shock,” Harold replied, placing an arm about Brian. “Do you want to go to the hospital?”
Brian shook his head fiercely. Hospitals only reminded him of the recent events and the blood… and why did he need to go to hospital anyway? Had he been hurt? What had happened to him?
“What happened?” he asked, feeling stupid for asking such a question. It was hard to re call. There was a crack and a splinter and smashing of something fragile… he remembered hearing that and then someone had pushed him to the floor.
“Just rest, son,” Harold said gently. “You don’t seem to be too badly hurt. I’ll find your brother.”
“Harry?” Brian said faintly. His brother had been standing beside him when the window had broken. “Where’d he go?” He glanced about him but could only see his mother and father.
Harold slowly let Brian go and Jackie took over her husband’s job of protection and wrapped her arms about her youngest son. Brian watched as his father placed something on the table and then rush out of the front door. Where had Harry gone?
His mother gently kissed him on the head and Brian heard her sniff slightly. He raised his head and saw that tears were beginning to slide down her face.
“Mom?” he whispered.
“It’s going to be all right Brian,” she said, holding him close rubbing his back soothingly.
“What happened?” Brian asked faintly.
His mother sniffed again and said nothing, only continuing to rock him in her arms like a baby. “Ssh Brian. It’ll be okay.”
“Where’s dad gone?”
“He’s gone to find your brother and Harry went to see who did this to you.”
Did what to him?
Vaguely Brian’s eyes slid about the room and alighted upon the splinters of glass that twinkled in the electric light overhead. Then he saw the brick upon the table with something white strapped around it. A brick…
“What’s that?” he whispered, tilting his head to stare at the brick. His stomach shivered inside of him and contracted unpleasantly as the food sloshed about it. Brian gulped back the vomit within his throat as his eyes traced the corners of the brick. If that had have hit his head… “Someone threw a brick at us?”
Brian tried to push his mother’s arms away, but she refused to release him and only held him tighter. Brian turned his head to gaze at the white paper that had been attached to it by an elastic band.
No… not another note…
‘Please no. Let this be over!’
“Mom, is that a note on the brick?”
She did not reply, but Brian knew the answer from the sob that bubbled out of her mouth and from the way she clung to him possessively. Brian buried his head upon her shoulder and closed his eyes in horror. Nothing was ever going to stop haunting his mind because there was a person determined to drag it all back so that he would never have peace. By closing his eyes, he pretended that there was no note. He pretended that the brick had not been hurled through the window at him and that he was perfectly safe…
That is the danger with dreams though. They are not real and they cannot protect you from the cutting blades of reality when they come slicing through that thin veil. They can only hide you while reality and the world stay away, but they were not going to let Brian take refuge in his own mind.
He stayed for what felt like hours just in his mother’s arms, but he would have given anything for it to be an eternity. He wanted to stay somewhere where bricks couldn’t hurt him.
His eyes opened again and fixed upon the note. He could feel his arms aching to reach over and read it’s terrifying words, but another part of him was crying to be left innocence of its horror.
What if it was another note about him being a killer? What would his family think of him? Or what if it was a threat to one of his friends?
Slowly he found himself pushing his mother away from him, although she fought to keep him in her arms. Tears slid down Brian’s face as he observed the droplets leaking from her eyes and he could see the desperation to keep him away from that note on her face. Eventually he had to roughly push her arms away and almost sobbing he crept over to the brick.
“Brian leave it!” Jackie cried. “The police might not want you to touch it!”
Brian had no intention of touching it. There was some instinctive fear in him that prevented him from touching anything his dangerous and perverted stalker had touched with his own sweaty palms.
On all fours he crept towards the table where his father or someone must have placed it. He sat up and peered down at it to see what its words would say.
BRIAN, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE VERY, VERY SOON. I PROMISE YOU THIS. YOU WILL DIE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.
Brian gripped the edge of the table tightly with his fingers, so tightly that it hurt, but he needed to cling onto something for support. His eyes were wide and saw only the red lettering that had been scrawled in a child’s hand writing which only made it appear more sinister and eerie.
The brick had been meant for his head… or had it been meant for Harry?
Harry… Harry. Harry had gone to chase after whoever had done this. What if something happened to him?
‘Brian, you are going to die.’
Brian, or was Harry an intended victim as well?
The words spun about his head again and again and he could Liam rasping them in his mind.
He barely heard the ringing of the phone and it was on the fourth ring that his ears finally seemed to tune into his surroundings and hear the strange noise. He jerked slightly and then gasped as he realised what it was. He stared across at the phone and then he looked back down at the note, the writing still staring up at him.
His mother touched him on the shoulders and then slid her hands up to his face to turn his head away from the message. Brian complied by kneeling down upon the floor, his head bowed and facing the blue carpet. He could feel the glass cutting into his knees, but the sensation was nothing compared to the fear that coursed through his body.
‘When the cool breath blows against your neck,
And you feel the trembles from within
That is the sign of your death,’
“Hello?” his mother said tentatively as she placed the phone to her mouth.
‘Going to die.’
“What?” she whispered.
‘I promise you.’
“What happened? How?”
‘Die for what you have done.’
Brian turned as he heard his mother’s terrible sobs. The tears still falling numbly down his cheeks, he crawled to her and she immediately wrapped her arms about his neck and sobbed onto his shoulder.
“Jackie?” his father’s voice said through he phone. “Jackie?”
His mother was still crying and Brian stared at the phone as if it were a venomous serpent. Something was telling him that this was more frightening than the note.
With clammy fingers he grasped the pone. “Dad, it’s me,” he whispered. “Mom’s crying, what - ”
“Brian, Harry’s been attacked. I’ve called the ambulance, but…” Brian’s heart crumpled at the words and a sob caught in his throat. He heard it mirrored in his father’s voice over the phone and his mother’s wails of grief from beside him.
“How?” he sobbed, tears falling from his cheeks to the carpet below.
“I don’t know!” his father cried and Brian could hear how he was desperately trying to hold back his fear for his older son, but Brian could still tell that he was crying. “And… I’m not sure if the ambulance will make it in time!”
The phone slid from Brian’s hands and he found himself trembling and sobbing as he dropped to the carpet to wrap his arms about his mother.
The brick had been aimed at Harry… and now something had happened to him and his father had been too late to stop it.
His mother held him tightly and Brian rested his head on her shoulder. Both of them cried, neither of them able to rid themselves of the awful images of poor Harry that they had conjured up in their minds.
Both mother and son crying for what could be a lost family member.