CHAPTER FORTY FIVE
“Can we go any faster?” Kevin asked Peters as he anxiously stared down at his watch and it’s fast ticking hands. “We’re not going to make it!”
Every second was slipping away so fast and every minute was slowing them down while it raced Brian on towards his death. Tick tock. Tick tock.
“I’m going as fast as I can,” Peters replied as he turned them onto a narrow road overhung with trees. “This is the wood Fren was talking about.”
Kevin glanced through the window at the shadowy wood that leered at him. Almost all of the trees were bare and dead and looked like dim, ghostly skeletons on the boundaries of hell. “Where’s the railway bridge?” he asked nervously, trying to see if he could glimpse it between the grim trees.
“Just on the other side. You can get to it via another road, but that will take longer. The other units I called will probably come from there though.”
“I hope they make it in time,” Kevin murmured. ‘Hold on, Brian. We’re coming.’
Peters nodded grimly. He glanced down at the clock readout and then out of the window again, biting his lip as he did. “I’m not too sure where we should stop.”
“How about there?” Kevin suggested, his heart lurching as he saw the sleek black BMW parked by the very edge of the road and almost invisible within the shadows.
Peters swiftly drew them to a halt and Kevin immediately leapt out and dashed to the car. “Brian!” he yelled. “Brian!”
“He’s not in there,” peters replied. He pointed down at the muddy ground to a trail of footprints. “They got out here.”
“Let’s go,” Kevin said as he stepped into the woods to be rewarded with a muddy squelch.
Peters placed an arm on his shoulder. “No, you stay here and I’ll get after them.”
“What?” Kevin exclaimed. “That’s my cousin out there! My cousin who is about to get flung in front of a train!”
“So I suggest you wait here and let me get on with it! I cannot let you come, Liam is too dangerous and you are too much of a target! Wait here! They might come back this way when Liam releases the police are here!”
“But - ”
“There is no time for arguments!” peters snapped. “Now remain here because I do not want to deal with rescuing you as well as Brian!”
Peters was already ducking through the trees as he shouted his last sentence at Kevin. Kevin glanced at the woods agonisingly, wanting nothing more than to rush in there and find his cousin.
But Peters was right. Liam had proved himself to be highly dangerous and he didn’t want to get in the way in case it hindered Brian’s chances of survival. He glanced down at his watch and the sickness bubbled up inside of him as he saw the minute hand slide down to twenty seven minutes past two. The train would be arriving now.
Kevin took a step into the forest and strained his ears and to his horror he thought he could hear a slight whooping noise of a train.
“God no please…” he whispered.
What would Nick do when he was told that Brian was dead? Kevin’s heart couldn’t cope with Nick’s pale, weak face crumpling as he was forced to accept brian’s death…
Did Brian even know that he was alive and asking for him in hospital?
“Uh….” The ghost on the bed had said.
“He’s not here, but he’s safe…”
But Brian wasn’t safe at all and Kevin had lied when those words came out of his mouth. He remembered how Nick’s lips had curved into a smile before he fell back to sleep. He had been so worried about his older friend. Everyone had been since they realised how fragile he had become… how could he cope with what was happening to him now?
They had all wanted to protect Brian from everything that was happening to him, but they could do nothing. They could only stand by and watch as one hideous event after another unfolded and Brian kept growing weaker and weaker as his mind goggled and overflowed with the harshness that whirled about him.
Brian couldn’t live in a world like that. He shouldn’t have to live in a world like that. A world of fear, tears and danger… No one should be forced into that hole.
He stared down a his watch which now read two thirty. He closed his eyes and wondered if his cousin still breathed upon this Earth. Had Peters even made it in time?
Why had Liam done this? Couldn’t he see that Adam’s death had been an accident? Brian wasn’t to blame, he had done nothing but try to protect himself and no Brian could possibly commit a willing murder.
He thought of Brian and what was happening to him now. He was a brother to Kevin, a beloved brother just like AJ and the others. Like Liam, Kevin wanted to look after his brother but he was powerless to do anything…
He leaned against the front of the police car and wiped his face with his hand. He could feel sweat accumulating upon his skin and there was a threatening wetness in his eyes. For a second his thoughts filled with the monstrous vision of a train and Brian screaming as it bore down upon him…
Suddenly he realised that he was hearing screams… real screams.
His head snapped up as he recognised Brian’s cries of fear and he turned his head to stare into the woods. He could hear something crashing through the trees, something heavy and hurrying.
He stood away from the car and leant down beside the woods, watching in case Liam should appear, but praying that it would be only his cousin.
He saw two dark shapes stagger out of the woods and head for the black car by the edge of the road and his fists clenched in anger as he heard the terrified voice of Brian.
“No!” he screamed. “Let me go! Please!”
His face was pale, but his eyes were red and mud covered his once light hair. He was sobbing and it wrenched Kevin’s heart as the despair bubbled out of Brian. He was fighting and struggling to get away from a dark haired, hugely built man but he seemed determined that Brian was coming with him.
Kevin crept closer, careful to keep the shadows and out of sight of who he presumed was Liam. He could hear Brian crying clearly now and his fingers balled into fists of rage at the torture he was enduring.
“Leave my cousin alone!” he yelled as e flew into Liam.
He had hoped to be able to knock the huge man down, but he only succeeded in causing him to stumble. He quickly balled his fingers and smacked Liam about the face, not even wincing as his knuckles were crushed in the process.
The beast below him roared in annoyance and then Kevin found himself flung to the ground before a heavy boot connected with his groin. He gave a cry of pain and his hands sunk down to protect himself. Tears forced their way from his eyes as he rolled upon the ground moaning in pain. He tried to force himself up, but his limbs wouldn’t move and were determined that he stay cowering upon the muddy ground.
“Kevin!” Brian sobbed from somewhere above, as the world misted over with pain. “Kevin!”
Kevin slowly wrenched his eyes open and gasped as he saw a gun pointing at his face and Liam grinning down at him. Suddenly Brian leapt forwards with a cry of retaliation and his hand smacked the gun away from Liam.
Liam cried out, but then he suddenly lashed out and slapped Brian hard across his already blackened face. The younger man cried out and Liam caught him in his arms before he could sink to the floor. Brian gave his captor a kick on the shin as he finally broke away from Liam.
“Kevin!” Brian screamed, leaning down beside him.
Kevin smiled slightly and reached a hand out towards his cousin. “You’re not dead,” he murmured. He tried to clasp his hand, but suddenly his cousin was jerked away from him.
“No!” Brian wailed.
Kevin turned on his side and saw Liam angrily pushing Brian into the front passenger seat of the black car and tears filled his eyes as he saw Brian’s pale, muddy face and his wide blue eyes which were almost glazed over with fear.
“Brian!” he called. “Let him go!” he begged to Liam.
But Liam didn’t listen to him. He climbed into the driver’s seat and then Kevin groaned as the headlights lit up, dazzling his face and stinging his eyes.
“Brian,” he murmured.
He heard the roar of the car’s engine and it rolled forward a few metres. Kevin’s eyes widened as he saw the car heading towards him and he rolled until he was safely inside the woods, where Liam couldn’t possibly crush him with his tires. He staggered to his feet, hands reaching out to seize branches to steady himself.
“Brian!” he screamed as he saw the car back up and then roar off down the black road. “BRIAN!”
He slumped down to the ground in despair, pain still radiating from the lower part of his body and his knees hit the cold mud below him.
“Are you okay sir?” a voice asked suddenly, it’s bearer clearly out of breath.
Kevin turned and saw another police officer’s face staring down at him. Peters’ backup had finally arrived it seemed. He nodded and pulled himself to his feet with the help of the cop, trying not to scream at the burning sensation that enflamed his groin. “I’m all right,” he said. “But that man still has my cousin!” He pointed in the direction the car had gone.
“How did you get here?” the cop asked.
“With Peters,” Kevin replied. He glanced about and saw three other officers approaching them, but none of them wore the familiar face of Peters. “Where is he?”
The officers stared at one another uncertainly and Kevin hung his head as he sensed the dread and tension within the air.
“He’s dead,” a female officer said gently. “He was shot.”
“We have to get after them,” The cop beside Kevin said. He gestured towards Peters’ car. “Terris and I will take that. You two head back to the other cars!”
“What about me?” Kevin asked faintly.
“You come with us, sir,” the first cop said.
Kevin nodded as he was helped towards the police car by the side of the road. The back door was open and he clambered in quickly. As soon as the door slammed, the police were jumping into the front seats.
Kevin glanced out of the window as they pulled away with a squeal of brakes. He wiped away the tears and prayed that they would find Brian before Liam could hurt him even more.