CHAPTER THIRTY EIGHT
“No… please no,” Brian begged as he realised.
So this was where they wanted to put him…
Brian could already feel the sickness forcing it’s way up his throat and his soul was shuddering at the nightmare.
They said this place would be safe and in a way it would be safe, probably the safest place he could be… but he didn’t want to be here. He’d rather be anywhere than here.
“No, don’t lock me up!” he begged as he stared at the prison cell before him.
A prison cell… This was their idea of keeping him safe? He couldn’t bear it. What sanity he had would fly away in terror if he was forced to be locked up in here.
“Brian, we’re not locking you up!” Peters said. “This will just be where you sleep at night and there will be no danger for you! You may not be able to get out, but nobody can get in!”
“But criminals get locked up and I’m not a criminal!” he wailed. He turned back to Fren and Peters and shook his head, but there was no escape and he knew it.
“No you’re not, but criminals are locked up to keep people safe and now we’re going to put you in one of these cells to keep you safe. Your friends weren’t happy either but they agree hat it would be safe for you.”
“No,” Brian said. He was already beginning to tremble at the thought of being locked in that tiny room with bars separating him from the world as if he were some murderous animal. Maybe this was right… maybe he deserved this because he was a murderer.
“In the day, you can wander about the police station and your friends can come and see you. This is just for nightly purposes when there are less people about. You’ll be safe here.”
“I don’t want to be locked up!”
“It’s only while you sleep!”
“I don’t want to be locked up!”
“Do you want to be killed?” Fren asked bluntly.
“It would solve a lot of problems,” Brian replied. Then people like Nick and Harry wouldn’t be hurt.
His eyes stung slightly. He should be with Nick now, supporting him and waiting for him to awaken. He didn’t care what Kevin said. Nick would want him by his side.
And Brian didn’t want to be locked up.
“Brian, come on. It’s not that bad and we have plenty of sheets and pillows so that you can make yourself comfortable. This will just be where you sleep.”
But it was important where Brian slept. He suffered from nightmares about murder and jail enough as it was, how would it be when he woke up from a dream where he had been sentenced to jail and actually found himself in a prison cell.
“No,” he begged. He felt like crying.
“Brian, you don’t have a choice. We’re going to protect you and we’re going to find out who’s responsible. You want that don’t you? You want whoever shot Nick to be found? Your cousin has already signed a form. He thinks you’ll be much safer here.” Peters slipped the key into the lock and then opened the door. “There’s books and CD’s for you, but try and sleep. It’s not so bad at all and in the morning we’ll fetch you and call your friends.”
Brian was whimpering as he was half pushed into the cell. He turned around and stood staring at the two police officers, like a puppy begging it’s owners to let him come into the house and out of the cold.
“You’ll be all right. You’re no prisoner. It’s just a room,” Peters said gently as Brian’s blue eyes burrowed into his mind, causing the guilt to surface. He slowly shut the door.
Brian felt himself turn cold as the door was locked and he ran to it and attempted to prise it open.
“You’ll be okay, don’t worry!”
Brian backed away and sat down upon the hard bed. He slowly watched as Fren and Peters left and then he pulled a pillow to his chest to cuddle as he began to cry.
Brian sat with his knees clutched to his chest upon the hard wooden bench in the corner of the cell. The bars before him seemed to cast dark shadows upon his pale face making it look as if the entire cell was composed of dull, iron bars that slowly crept closer towards him.
He shuddered and closed his eyes to try and block out the claustrophobia that suddenly seemed to be pulling at his stomach, but he knew that the bars were still there trapping him.
Peters and Fren had given him a duvet and several pillows to make himself more comfortable during his stay. He had been given books and a CD walkman to help keep him occupied if he couldn’t sleep at night. They kept insisting that he wasn’t a prisoner, but he felt like one. It didn’t matter how many warm pillows they gave to him, he was still locked up.
He had wrapped the duvet tightly about his body to keep the bitter cold away from him and his arms had wrapped themselves about the pillows.
He pressed his tear streaked face into the pillow as he thought of Nick. What was happening to him now? Would he drift away from this world without Brian close to him praying? What if Nick needed Brian to get better?
Peters had assured him that if anybody called about Nick then he would tell him right away and Kevin had promised that he would take Brian’s place outside Nick’s ward and say the prayers to keep him alive. Tomorrow, one of them would come and spend the day with Brian at the police station. Brian only wished that he had accepted Kevin’s offer to stay with him tonight, but surely Nick needed their friends more than Brian did? When Peters had told him that he would be staying at the police station, Brian had not realised that they had wanted to lock him up in a cell.
“How are you doing, Brian?” a voice asked suddenly.
Brian looked up and saw Fren’s blond head and dark, beady eyes scrutinising him through the bars. He was probably loving this. He had wanted to lock a Backstreet Boy away right from the beginning. Even now he was still suspicious of Brian and his eyes seemed to permanently contain a glimmer of malice that unnerved Brian’s soul.
Brian stared back at him and tried not to allow his voice to tremble as he spoke. “I’m locked in a prison cell away from my family and friends. How do you think I feel?”
Fren shrugged. “It’s for your own safety. At least nobody can get you in here. The only people with keys are me, Peters and then there’s a master key the main jailer has.”
“I guess,” Brian replied miserably. He stared about him at the cracked walls and shuddered slightly.
“Peters got called out but he asked me if I’d come and see you. Perhaps you would like to have a walk before you go to sleep? You’re not a prisoner here after all,” he hissed.
Hissed? Why did that word come to Brian’s mind?
He wasn’t a prisoner, but then why was he locked up like a murderer?
‘Because I am a murderer.’
He nodded slowly and untangled himself from the thick, warm duvet. He stood up, his legs feeling sore and cramped after sitting still for so long with tensed muscles, and then stumbled the two steps towards the barred door. He had only been in here a few hours but it already felt as if the walls were closing in about him and crushing him out of existence until everybody forgot about him.
He stretched his ams out as Fren pulled the key from his pocket and inserted it into the lock. Brian yawned and glanced at the clock. 1: 30 am. After this walk, he would try his hardest to get some sleep.
He heard the clink as the key turned in the rusty lock and he couldn’t help but wonder how often the door had opened for the cell’s former occupent.
‘No, this isn’t a proper jail cell. It’s only a holding cell. I’m not in a real prison.’
But it felt real enough.
“There you go,” Fren said as he pushed the door open.
“Thanks,” Brian said, his face flushing with relief as the door swung open and he stepped out the gloomy cell and into freedom. It felt so much better not to be confined anymore. He could feel the relief flowing through his blood like a cool, calming wind rustling gently through the trees.
Fren slammed the barred door shut behind him and Brian winced slightly as the sharp sound echoed about the empty cellblock and made him jump.
Fren turned back to him and smiled slightly, but something about the way his thin lips curled upwards sent a chill up Brian’s soul.
Why did he suddenly not feel safe anymore?
Slowly Fren reached a hand into his pocket and pulled out a pair of silver handcuffs. He smiled at Brian and swung them round his fingers. “Hands,” he ordered.
Brian frowned slightly. “But I’m not a prisoner.”
Fren locked the cuffs about his wrists and then seized the chain in the middle to pull Brian closer to him.
“You are now.”