CHAPTER THIRTY TWO
“Do we know where we’re going?” Nick asked, peering over Howie’s shoulder to have a look at the map. “This is taking forever!”
“We’ve only been driving for twenty minutes!” AJ said.
“Howie, we’re coming up to a cross road – which way?” Kevin asked, slowing their rented car down.
“Um,” Howie said, scrutinising the map. “Straight on… I think.”
“You think?” Nick snapped. “We don’t have time for wrong turnings, Howie! Pete could be doing anything to Sammy and Brian!”
“Calm down, Nick! We don’t even know if they’re gonna be at this warehouse!” AJ said.
“They’d better,” Nick murmured. “I just want… them to be okay.”
“Look, if it takes another hour, or another month, we’ll find them,” AJ replied, patting Nick on the shoulder.
“Is it straight on then or what?” Kevin asked, impatiently.
“Yes,” Howie said firmly. “No! Left!”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I see it now. We go left here and then straight on.”
Suddenly, a vehicle pulled out from the left. Kevin stared through the window. “That’s Sammy!” he said.
“What?” Howie said, looking up quickly. “Where?”
“In the van!” Kevin would recognise that blond hair and cute face anywhere.
The van zoomed past them to the right.
“Follow them, Kev!” AJ yelled.
Kevin didn’t need to be told though. He was already turning right to follow the blue van. He accelerated until they were right behind it.
“Was Brian with him?” Nick asked.
“There was someone sitting next to him, I think. I’m pretty sure that Sammy didn’t see us though,” Kevin said.
“Kev, back us off a bit,” Howie said. “We don’t want them knowing that we’re following them.”
Kevin nodded and slowed down a little, but making sure that they would clearly be able to see the van if it turned off.
“Where they heading anyway?” AJ asked, looking at the map in Howie’s hands.
“Looks like the coast.”
Brian kept his eyes focused ahead and he had to fight to resist the urge to turn around to see if the other guys were still following them. He was certain that it had been them. He prayed that it was.
Sammy seemed to have calmed down a little. He had seen the red truck behind them containing Kevin and the others and he knew that help was on the way. He still kept one clammy hand clasped in Brian’s however and his face was a sickly pale. Brian was getting worried about him.
He had the feeling that he didn’t look much better than Sammy. He could feel the painful bruises on his face and he felt exhausted. His breathing and heart beat were irregular and the fear was draining the rest of his energy. He hadn’t slept properly since they had been kidnapped. Had it really only been two days since he was at home? It felt as if he had been trapped in this nightmare for eternity.
They were travelling along a narrow, windy road now. Brian could see the choppy sea below them with their great white capped waves…
“You okay there, kid?” Pete asked, but Brian noticed that there was no concern in his voice.
Sammy squeezed Brian’s hand. Sammy’s breathing had become shallower. He clearly was not all right. He said nothing.
“You’re not frightened of me are ya? I’d never hurt you. We’re buddies.”
Sammy’s hand went up to touch the cheek where Pete had smacked him.
“Well, you shouldn’t have been so fucking awkward,” Pete snapped. He reached out a grubby hand and leant over Brian to ruffle Sammy’s blond hair. Sammy winced and bowed his head to get away from the hand. He snuggled closer to Brian, trying to bury his head in his arm.
Pete’s eyes narrowed. Brian carefully slipped an arm around Sammy so that Pete wouldn’t notice. He knew he was making things worse for himself, but Sammy needed him.
“Why are you so attached to this freak? What’s he ever done for you? I did everything I could to find you! I spent years searching! I could have had you weeks ago but your bitch mother decided she’d rather let you be picked up by strangers than hand you over to me! I loved you more than she did but she decided to be spiteful and hide you from me, your own father!” Pete’s eyes grew hard as he remembered Chloe. “It took years for me to find where you were living, but when I got there, someone had tipped her off and she had done a bunk with you! I torched the entire apartment before I left! I just wish she could have been in it!” His voice grew louder with rage.
Sammy gave a squeak of fear and clutched Brian close to him. His tears were falling again. Brian couldn’t believe it. Pete was telling his own son how he wanted to kill his mother.
“I got her eventually, though. She crashed and I watched her die.”
This was too much for Sammy. He began to sob.
“I wanna go home!” He wrapped his arms about Brian tightly.
“Why the fuck do you insult me by cowering beside that fucking puff!” Pete yelled angrily. “I mean, look at him!! He’s more terrified than you are! But you still prefer him to me!” His eyes were dancing with a dangerous light.
Sammy trembled beside Brian. His sobs were muffled by Brian’s jersey. Brian felt tears come to his own eyes. How could sweet Sammy be related to this evil monster?
“You should be coming to me, you stupid brat!” Pete shouted.
Brian couldn’t take it anymore. Sammy’s wails of despair were too much for him. He couldn’t stand by and let someone make his baby cry. “It’s hard for him to trust you when you’re waving a gun about and calling him a brat!” Brian yelled.
“Shut up! Shut up!” Pete yelled. He smacked Brian across the face with the gun, making him cry out in pain as it struck one of the tender bruises.
“Bri! Daddy!” Sammy cried, between sobs.
“You keep your fucking mouth shut or next time you open it there’ll be a bullet in it! You got it!” Pete screamed at Brian. He turned to Sammy. “And you can fucking stop calling him that or I’ll put a bullet in you!”
“What kind of father threatens to shoot his own son!” Brian snapped.
“Fucking shut up!”
Sammy was still sobbing. He pressed his head against Brian’s chest. Brian put his arms around him. He didn’t care how many more times Pete hit him.
“GET OFF OF HIM!” Pete yelled, waving the gun. “He’s not your son!” He began to hit Brian around the face with the gun repeatedly.
Brian cried out as blow after blow reined down upon his face. He could taste blood in his mouth and he felt it trickling down his chin.
“He’s a better daddy than you!” Sammy screamed.
Pete froze. His dark eyes turned to Sammy. A menacing fury was evident in their malevolence. Before he could do anything more, Sammy reached out and hit the gun from his hands.
“Why you - ” Pete said, raising his fist to hit Sammy.
“LOOK OUT!” Brian screamed, staring through the windscreen in horror.
Pete had taken his hands from the wheel to begin smacking Sammy. Now, a sharp turn was coming up in the road. Pete seized the wheel frantically, but it was too late…
The van crashed through the bushes and then through the fence at the edge of the high cliff.
Brian felt Sammy clutch him as they fell.