"What happened to him?" Nick cried, tears almost leaking out from his blue eyes as he stared through the window at Brian's unconscious body upon the hospital bed. He looked so pale, so fragile…
Kevin had found himself unable to look at that weakened face anymore. Brian looked so hopeless lying there and it broke Kevin's heart to think that this might be the last time he ever saw him alive again. He wanted to remember Brian by his smile and sparkling eyes, not by such a pale, death like face.
"He was just on the floor bleeding!" Kevin sobbed. "He called me and something didn't sound right so I went to his house straight away and found him unconscious!"
More tears feel down his face as he remembered hammering upon Brian's door and feeling the fear growing in his chest as he received no reply. He had spotted the broken window to his right and eventually he had been forced to clamber through that to reach his cousin.
It still brought an awful ball of vomit to his throat as he remembered going into the hallway and seeing Brian lying on the floor in a puddle of blood, unmoving. He had pulled the precious bundle into his arms and called for him to awaken, but Brian had not even twitched at the sound of his voice.
Now they were here at the hospital, waiting for what would happen. Over and over again Kevin cursed himself. He should have set off for Brian's house as soon as he received that first phone call instead of panicking and then calling him back. He had wasted time. He should have gone immediately. Maybe if he had reached him sooner, he would be awake.
"How did this happen?" Howie whispered. "Was he attacked?"
"T - they say…" Kevin found his voice sticking in his throat as if the words were too frightened to come out of his mouth to tell the others the awful details.
"What is it, Kev?" AJ said, gently sitting down beside his older friend on the row of seats. "What do they think happened to him?"
Kevin held his face in his hands as he thought back to what the paramedic had said when the ambulance had finally arrived. He wiped his eyes and then stared at AJ's pale face. "They say he's been stabbed!" he cried, the words coming out of his mouth in a rush.
"Stabbed?" Howie said horrified.
Kevin was aware of all of the others staring at him with wide eyes full of shock. Why had someone done this?
Kevin nodded slowly to confirm the sickening fact. He remembered seeing the deep wounds upon Brian's arms and then there was that awful, purple bruise that covered his pale face. "He was stabbed in the arm and on the shoulder and he's lost a lot of blood."
"Will he live?" Nick whispered.
Kevin hung his head as another sob burbled from his mouth. He had always felt responsible for Brian since he joined the band. Kevin had been the one who suggested the idea to him and he felt he had a duty to take care of him, but now his poor cousin was hovering between life and death.
"Will he?" Nick persisted, his voice rising in desperation as the tears began to stream from his eyes.
"They don't know," Kevin murmured.
Kevin closed his eyes as silence filled his ears. He could almost hear his words as they sank into the others. They might be losing their friend…
"Have you called Brian's parents?" Howie asked eventually.
Kevin nodded. "I called them just before you guys. They're going to get the first plane they can. Brian's mom was crying so much…"
"How could someone do this?" Nick said, trying to hold back his tears unsuccessfully. "Why would someone hurt him?"
"The police think that someone was trying to rob the place," Kevin said, wiping his eyes on the back of his hand. "There was a broken window and a lot of Brian's valuable stuff had been packed into bags."
"And they weren't too happy when Brian came home unexpectedly," Howie said. "Do the cops have any suspects?"
"No," Kevin replied, shaking his head. "They're going to question some of Brian's neighbours to see if they heard or saw anything. But if I ever get my hands on whichever sicko did this…" His eyes flickered over to the window which looked into his cousin's room and then more tears began to push their way through his eyes.
AJ placed a comforting hand upon Kevin's shoulder. "He'll make it through," he said. "He's come close to death before and he always survives."
"But he's never been stabbed before," Kevin murmured.
Kevin lost count of the hours he sat at the hospital waiting for news, but the doctors did not seem to be able to tell him anything. His friends sat with him
"Mr. Richardson?" a voice suddenly asked.
Kevin spun around expecting to see a doctor, but instead he was met by a police officer. "Yes?"
"I'm sergeant Peters," he introduced, holding out his hand for Kevin to shake. "I'm looking into the attack of your cousin."
"Have you found anything?" Kevin asked.
"A few things and we still have people speaking with other Mr. Littrell's neighbours. We searched his house though, and there was a large amount of blood on the floor."
"I know that!" Kevin said irritably. "Brian was bleeding to death! I don't know about you, but I'd expect to find blood on the floor!"
"But it didn't all come from your cousin," Peters replied, staying calm despite Kevin's tone.
"I'm saying that there is the blood of somebody else in his house and there is a hell of a lot of it."
"You think Brian attacked someone?" Kevin asked, hardly daring to believe that it might be true. How could Brian ever attack someone?
"It looks that way, unless his attacker hurt himself somehow. There might have been a fight between the two of them."
"Brian would never hurt anyone!" Kevin defended.
"The evidence we've found would disagree. There were two knives covered in blood. A carving knife, which a doctor tells me is the most probable cause of your cousin's injuries, and then a much smaller one. We think Brian used this one to defend himself with."
"Self defence," Kevin said. "It had to have been self defence! Brian wouldn't attack another person! He - "
"We don't know what happened," Peters said, holding up a hand to prevent Kevin from saying anything else. "And we won't know until Brian wakes up. What's his condition?"
"What do you think?" Kevin snapped. "He's been stabbed at least three times and he could have bled to death if I hadn't have found him!"
"I know you're upset, Mr. Richardson, but we have questions that need answering!"
"Well, you'll have to wait because the doctors don't know if Brian will ever wake up."