CHAPTER FORTY FOUR
“Let me go!” Brian screamed as Liam picked the smaller man up again.
“I’m not letting you go anywhere!” Liam spat. “You just tried to fucking kill me! You think you’re still the innocent one now?”
Brian was sobbing, the tears a non-stop rainfall down his face. What had he been thinking when he squeezed that trigger?
“You do it once, then you’re a murderer for the rest of your life. You’re like me now.”
“No, I’m not!” Brian wailed.
“You wanted to kill me a minute ago and you would have done if you hadn’t have missed! You are a murderer!” As he said that, Liam flung him down to the ground and Brian felt sick as he smacked into the bridge below him.
He rolled onto his side and then sat up on his knees. He stared down at his own hands and for a second he saw the thick mud transforming into the blood that had covered his fingers after he had murdered Adam. He couldn’t escape from it anymore. He was a killer and he had just proved it by almost shooting Liam. He had been that desperate to escape and return to his own family that he had been willing to kill another.
What had he become?
'What have I done? What have I done!'
He’d turned himself into a murderer. It wasn’t anybody else’s fault: it was his.
‘But Liam threatened my family,’ the tiny slice of sanity that still remained whispered.
“You’re a murderer,” Liam said, emphasising each individual word to hammer it down into Brian’s frail mind.
Brian shook his head. Liam was messing with his head, which had already been screwed up with fear recently. “I’m not.” He looked up at Liam. “You’re the killer. Your brother wanted to kill me! You threatened me! You threatened my family!” Brian screamed.
“You ramble like a madman,” Liam said, slowly shaking his head. “Wouldn’t you like to believe what you’re saying, but you know what you did and you now know what you’re capable of. Your life is doomed.”
He had condemned his soul to hell the second he had murdered and he had confirmed his place by firing at Liam. What kind of life did he have left? How could he say his prayers of loyalty now?
“What will your mother say?” Liam whispered. “What will she say when she finds out you tried to shoot someone?”
Brian closed his eyes as the tears slid down. What would she say to him. Hey probably disown him. His mother was a good woman and how would she feel when her baby duck turned out to have the mind of a murderer?
He bowed his head as he thought of the tears on her face and the red rimmed eyes as she watched him be led away into the dark prison cell that would lock him away for all eternity.
Everything was his fault. This entire situation had been caused by him. Him and his murderous soul. It had all began with the murder of Adam. He could have ran, escaped, but he chose to kill…
‘No, it wasn’t like that!’
His mind was a jumble of images. He had suffered from dozens of nightmares about turning into a murderer with a stone heart and now they jumbled together with the real event, blinding him to all sense. All he knew was that it was his fault. He thought back to AJ’s stabbing and the drugs that could have ruined all of the boys’ lives. Then there was his sweet brother who had been almost beaten to death because he wanted to defend his little sibling. Finally, there was Nick… and Brian didn’t even know if he was alive or not.
“And what will everybody else think of Brian Littrell? I’ll tell you, they’ll hate you.”
Brian sobbed and buried his head in his hands, his tears mingling with the filthy mud upon his hands. He had lost everything and there was nothing he could do to change events. He couldn’t even have his own life back because he had been so transformed that one night.
Suddenly Brian heard a faint noise in the distance. He picked himself up from the grubby floor and staggered over to the edge of the bridge. He felt the cold wind blowing his tears away as he stared out into the darkness, and out of the darkness a bright beam of light was heading towards them.
No, a train.
He watched the dazzling headlights speed along the track as Liam came to stand beside him. He tilted his head to stare at Brian’s soiled face.
“You’re not scared anymore.”
Brian fought the sob that burbled up in his throat and gulped as he took in a deep breath of air. “You made it clear that I can’t go back.”
He couldn’t go back from being a murderer.
“I know what you want to do?” Liam whispered in his ear, so close that Brian shivered unpleasantly as his cold breath prickled the skin of his neck.
In one moment, he could end everything. There would be no more guilt, no more pain, no more fear… There would be nothing the second his body hit the train and smashed.
Numbly, his mind becoming blank, he stepped up onto one of the first bars of the railings and watched as the train began to round the bend ahead, before it would make a straight run for the bridge.
‘Brian, don’t!’ a voice screamed inside of him. It wasn’t a single voice, but many and he could almost distinguish certain individuals. His mother, Nick, Kevin, Harry…
Would they want him to do this?
Did Brian really want to do this?
He closed his eyes and was suddenly faced with Adam’s malevolent eyes, like the night he had been at Brian’s house. He suddenly remembered the agony as the carving knife pieced his flesh and spilt blood upon his shirt. He remembered the laughter that had followed…
Adam was going to kill him… and he would have done if his own knife hadn’t accidentally slipped into Adam’s chest.
It had only been an accident. Everybody had known that, Everybody but Brian. They all forgave him because they knew it hadn’t been his fault. Nothing had been. Liam was the one who had tried to kill Brian’s friends and Brian could not have stopped that. He hadn’t meant to start of this chain of events.
Brian shook his head. “No,” he whispered as he stepped down form the rail.
Liam visibly tensed and his face began to turn red. “What?” he said his voice quiet but filled with repressed anger.
Brian turned to him. “I’m not a murderer! Adam was going to kill me and I know it was an accident! And you, you were threatening my family!” Brian stepped clearly away from the rails. “I’m not going to let you screw with my head anymore and I am not going to kill myself!”
“If you won’t then I fucking will!”
The train was almost at the bridge now and Liam seized hold of Brian’s waist and lifted him over the rails.
“No!” Brian screamed as he saw the demon below him, whooping and cackling as it prepared to hit him. “I didn’t do anything!” He struggled frantically and screamed as he felt Liam’s hands loosening around him. He desperately reached out with his legs and hooked one of them about the rails of the bridge while one of his hands firmly seized a rail as well.
Liam grabbed hold of his fingers and began to try and pry them away from their safe hold. “It’s over,” he muttered. “You deserve this!”
“No!” Brian said as the train came ever closer.
“Say goodbye, Brian,” Liam hissed as he freed the last finger. He began to slowly push him forwards.
“Liam!” a voice yelled suddenly. “Liam, don’t!”
Liam turned, his hands still gripping Brian’s shoulders. Brian watched as the train rumbled under the bridge below and then it was gone.
He stared down at the plain tracks below him and sobbed in desperate relief, his hands reaching out behind to grab onto the rails.
“You’re not getting him back!” Liam yelled hatefully.
Brian turned his head to see who had distracted Liam and saved his life. He blinked away the tears and saw a tall man standing just beyond the bridge.
“Liam, we’ve caught you, it’s over!” a familiar voice called.
Peters. Brian smiled at the sight of him. He had found him. He hadn’t believed Brian was a murderer. He had come to save him.
Liam grabbed hold of Brian and Brian cried out startled at the fierce grasp that pinched the bruises upon his arms. He thought Liam was going to push him to the ground below, which would surely break at least one bone in his body, but instead he swung Brian back over the railings and placed him down in front of him.
Brian was about to try and fight his way over to Peters, but Liam grabbed his arms and held them behind his back so tightly that Brian had to bite down on his lip to prevent himself from screaming as the bruises throbbed painfully. However, when the gun was pressed against his head he couldn’t help but let out a faint whimper.
“Stand back or I will kill him!” Liam threatened.
“What do you want?” Peters asked. “Do you want to kill him for Adam’s death? It wasn’t his fault, you were going to kill him!”
“Shut up! He’s mine!” Liam yelled. “Now step aside and let us go or I’ll shoot the fucking brains out of him!”
Brian closed his eyes, sweat trickling down his mud streaked face as the cold metal of the gun pressed into his skin.
‘Don’t let me die now,’ he prayed. He had survived everything so far and now he wanted to see it through and live to see his friends again.
“All right, all right, take it easy,” Peters said. He dropped his arms down by his side and Brian realised that he had been aiming a gun at them. “Don’t do anything you’ll regret. I’m only worried about Brian’s safety?”
“Really?” Liam replied. “Isn’t that nice. Well if you want him to live a little longer, then I suggest that you let us go.”
Brian was begging for Peters to do something, anything. He wanted this to stop. Liam had wanted to kill him by throwing him in front of a train and Brian didn’t want to be exposed to that man’s sick mind again.
“There are more men on the way,” Peters said. “You won’t get away.”
“Yes I will! And this is my guarantee!” Liam shook Brian beside him and pressed the gun closer to his head and Brian whimpered at the pressure.
“Why don’t you let him go?” Peters suggested.
“No way in fucking hell! He dies!”
Brian tensed himself, expecting to feel his head explode as the bullet connected with his skull but Liam did not fire.
“Then why should I let you go if you’re going to kill him anyway?” Peters said.
“Because…” Liam turned the gun away from Brian’s head and then fired.
Brian screamed in horror as the bang filled the air beside him and then he was sobbing as he saw Peters stumbling back and falling to the ground.
“No! No!” Brian screamed frantically. He desperately tried to push Liam away, even though he knew an attempt to get past the bigger, stronger man was futile. Sure enough, Liam clapped a hand upon his arm and dragged him back laughing.
“Stupid cop,” he muttered. “Now come on!”
His fingers squeezed about Brian’s arms and then he began to drag him towards the woods again.
Brian sobbed again as they past Peters’ unmoving body, a small trail of blood was slowly leaking out to mingle with the mud. He froze and tried to dig his fete in the ground. “Peters!” he cried, begging for the man to be alive. He had done so much for Brian… and now he was dead because of that. “How could you do that?” he screamed hatefully at Liam.
“He’s a fucking cop! What did you expect me to do, kiss him?”
“You didn’t need to kill him, murderer!”
“Look who’s talking.”
“I didn’t kill your brother, it was your fault! It was your idea to rob my home and you sent him in there alone! It was your fault he died!”
The smirk from Liam’s face faded and his face paled instantly. His hand began to grip Brian’s arm tighter as his muscles flexed all over his body.
All of a sudden, Brian realised. Brian blamed himself for AJ, Harry, Nick and now Peters. Liam had been blaming himself for Adam, even though he had been indirectly responsible for his death.
Liam’s face began to contort and he opened his mouth to scream at Brian, but nothing came out. He removed his hand from Brian’s arm and then balled it into a fist. Brian ducked and Liam’s hand hit only air, but he quickly grabbed Brian’s arm before h could slip away and escape.
“You’ll pay for that remark, Brian!” he hissed.
“Liam Baker, you are under arrest!” a sharp voiced said.
Brian turned his head and to his joy he saw several police officers approaching them from the opposite side of the bridge.
Liam saw them too and he snarled before ducking into the woods and dragging Brian with him. Brian cried out as the sound of a gun being fired chased after them and instinctively tried to run faster, but his chest hurt when he breathed and his legs ached. Liam was pulling him along so fast and Brian moaned in pain as sharp, burning sensations shot through his arms and legs.
Behind them he could people following as twigs snapped and curses indicated that the police were finding the wood treacherous and slippery as well. Brian bit his lip and the next time he felt a tree root beneath him he locked his foot about it and fell heavily to the ground.
“Get up now!” Liam screamed.
Brian groaned and then closed his hands about his ankle, praying that Liam would fall for the trick. The bigger man nervously glanced behind them, but to Brian’s dismay he didn’t just decide to abandon his revenge attempt. He reached down, pulled Brian back up and continued to run.
Anxiously Brian glanced behind them, but the police had not caught up with them. He prayed that they hadn’t gone in the wrong direction.
Suddenly Liam was pulling him out onto the road and Brian began to sob as he saw Liam’s sleek, black car awaiting them.
“No!” he screamed. “Let me go! Please!”
Liam ignored him as he unlocked the door and as hard as Brian tried, no amount of twisting or struggling could release him from Liam’s grasp. He was helpless as he cried in vain.
Suddenly a shadow sprang out of the darkness and onto Liam. “Let my cousin go!”