MoboReader> Fantasy > The Ones Who were Chosen

   Chapter 3 Tin Miners

The Ones Who were Chosen By Lady Lilium Characters: 30507

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:04


Lucas' forehead began to hurt somewhat as he rested it against the solid, unforgiving concrete. His hip and shoulder hurt too as he lay uncomfortably, but no more than his new injury, which now became nothing more than a dull throb. The strange being was running his hands along his bare waist, having lifted his shirt up to see the injury. The stranger examined the flesh where Lucas had been cut, slowly healing him.

It didn't hurt so much anymore, in fact he felt ok.

The man, if he could be called that, ordered Lucas to sit up. His tone was short and sharp. Lucas obeyed before he realised he had, kneeling now. He removed his shirt on command and the stranger began to wrap around Lucas' waist a roll of bandage. He wound it around and around his torso until he came to the end of the roll, where he tied it off. Lucas' shirt, torn and bloodied was discarded. Reuben waited nervously nearby, pacing back and forth.

'How do you feel?' Culture asked.

'Surprisingly good' Lucas replied rising gingerly.

The stranger grunted.

'I would have done a better job at healing the wound, but I don't have a lot of strength right now….I am weak.' Culture rose to a stand. 'The injury is mostly healed. I suggest you keep discrete about it until it's healed fully. You would have a hard time I'm sure explaining to others how you got it.' He sent a thin jet of fire towards Lucas' shirt which lay on the floor nearby, completely destroying it in the blaze and leaving behind only ash.

Lucas stared wordlessly up at him. His glaze slid past the stranger and to the skate park around them. Despite all that had happened in the last few minutes, the scene around them, had not changed.

Bizarre Lucas thought to himself.

'You're very young' the aberrant noted. 'I've not often met a guardian so young.' He glanced at Reuben, who continued his pacing.

'Brothers I assume' he said.

Lucas examined himself; the bandages looked clean and new, as if they had only just left the hospital. He studied the black skinned man before him, and saw that his wings were folded neatly back, now looking so much smaller than they had before. They reminded Lucas of a bat.

'Thanks' Lucas said awkwardly. 'Where did you get these?' he indicated the bandages.

'I can summon objects from afar' Culture said.

'It was good of you to help me.'

Reuben quickened his pace, continuing back and forth.

'Any good man would have done the same' Culture purred.

'But you are not a man are you?' Lucas said. 'You're an aberrant.'

The aberrant paused.

'There are many different kinds of aberrant that exist' he said. 'Some of them look a lot like myself, like a human. Others look like beasts, like the one you just saw. They are not intelligent. For the most part.'

'There are many aberrants?' Lucas asked.

'Oh yes' Culture replied slyly.

'Lucas I'm so sorry' Reuben cut in huskily, suddenly interrupting them. 'I froze up, it was weak of me…you got hurt because of me…it was stupid I'm sorry…!'

'Hey' Lucas smiled gently, speaking in a calming tone. 'It's not your fault.'

'I was stupid' Reuben repeated.

'Everybody makes mistakes' his brother told him.

'A mistake that could have killed you.'

It sounded more than he intended like a verbal attack. Reuben forced himself to relax and took a slow, deep breath.

'Are you going to be ok?' he asked.

'He's going to be fine' Culture told Reuben. 'Just take it easy' he said to Lucas, 'and don't do anything too strenuous.'

Culture turned away.

'I had better be going now; I've got to find the others.'

'The others? Lucas rounded on him. 'You mean there are more of you?'

'The rest of my group' the aberrant replied.

Lucas and Reuben exchanged a glance uncertainly.

'How many are there?' Reuben asked.

'Four of my group including myself' Culture answered. 'And more.'

'More?' Lucas echoed.

He took off without warning, flying away before Lucas had another chance to toss him a new question.

I don't understand Lucas thought.

The aberrant moved through the sky with the ease of any bird, he soared over the town, quickly growing smaller until he vanished from sight entirely.

'I forgot to ask his name' Lucas trailed off in the following silence.

'It doesn't matter.' Reuben turned to him. 'Are you sure you're going to be ok?'

'I'll be fine. And don't keep asking.'

Reuben took another slow breath. 'We should go home.'

'I think so.'

Reuben moved close to his brother, helping to support him as he walked.

'I'll be fine.'

'That's not what he said' Reuben retorted. 'You have to take it easy from now on.'

Lucas groaned with the effort, moving slowly and carefully, and putting most of his weight on Reuben as he did so.

'You know you're really heavy.'

Lucas smirked. He hunched over suddenly, throwing back his head and laughing. His mirth quickly subsided into tense moans as he clutched at his side. He relaxed, and straightened up again.

'What the hell do you find so amusing?' Reuben asked, giving him a strange look as if he were mad.

'There are abnormal magical creatures in this world now, and we're worrying about finding food?'

Lucas sighed shaking his head.

Reuben looked to the nearest group of people; they were doing wheelies on their skateboards and spinning in the air as they took off from the ramps.

'Blind fools' Reuben cursed them with a glare. 'After all that and they're all completely oblivious.'

'It's better they don't see anything' Lucas replied. 'We wouldn't want that kind of attention anyway.'

'It makes you think though doesn't it?'

'Does it?'

'How can they not see a guardian's magic or aberrants?' Reuben voiced aloud. 'They must have a spell of some sort put on all of them.'

'I guess we're not going to meet Drake and Lauralie after all' Lucas sighed as they shuffled along, sounding not in the least bit disappointed about it.

'I guess not.'

Lucas slouched tentatively forwards, supported by his brother. He felt uncomfortable without his shirt, reluctant to be seen with these bandages on, especially by somebody he knew. Looking down at himself he could see spots of blood were already seeping through the bandages.

'Give me your hoodie' Lucas said suddenly, 'I don't want to be seen walking around bleeding everywhere…wouldn't want that kind of attention.'

Reuben immediately complied, and they walked very slowly back home. Reuben supported his brother the entire way.

Once Kreas and Li had gone, having deemed their quarry lost and the trail gone cold, Siren turned back. Retracing her footsteps, she soon found her red haired companion, who was now with the aberrant and the mother. All four of the guardians were present now. The aberrant seemed to be telling the other two a strange story, of two young guardians he had met, brothers. He had healed one of them after he had become injured by a strike from another aberrant. Siren heard as she approached them, that he would likely make a full recovery.

'Did you find her?' Indigo asked the second he noticed Siren. The mother and the aberrant turned simultaneously at her arrival.

Siren shook her head reluctantly.

'I'm sorry' she spoke in a gentle voice. 'I lost her.'

'It's ok' Culture reassured her. 'We have her trapped here. There is nowhere for her to go.'

'Don't you feel bad for it though?' Siren asked Culture.

'Bad for what?'

'When I ran after her, she stopped for a moment……she had the saddest look in her eyes.'

'How did she escape?' Culture asked her.

'I don't quite remember. It was a trick of some kind; she used some of her magic on me. I remember seeing a dragonfly, but it looked mechanical, not living.'

'I thought she couldn't use her magic' Culture said.

'They can' the mother spoke up. 'But only in very small amounts compared to the magic they posses.'

'What a joke' Culture laughed shaking his head without mirth. 'Having so much power and not even being able to use it, the gods must really have a sense of humour.'

'She is trapped here now' Indigo declared. 'She will be caught. It's only a matter of time. Let's just try to make sure we get her before they do.'

It was packed in the centre of town when Lauralie and Drake arrived. The market was open today and there were many attractions and sights to take in. Money exchanged hands at stalls which had been set up outside the regular shops, stalls selling all kinds of things. One sold interestingly shaped helium balloons, another sold take-away snacks as well as little gifts and trinkets, and one was selling masks made of the most fabulous and colourful designs. Lauralie danced past stall after stall, eyeing up its merchandise, skipping past a figure wearing a plague mask, and sparing it only a glance. There were dream catchers and candles on one stall, another that sold all bags, one garden accessories, another did engravings. Lauralie fussed and hurried around the market, picking up everything she could get her hands on. She reached the end of the row of stalls, then turned back and started all over again. Trailing after her Drake followed patiently, feigning interest in the things she tried to show him.

'Hey look a Ferris wheel!' Lauralie suddenly called out excitedly.

Drake glanced at it, amazed by her short attention span.

'That wheel is there every year' he said in an exasperated tone.

'I know. But I get so excited.' She moved away from Drake and towards the Ferris wheel, weaving in and out of the crowd of people. 'I keep forgetting how busy it gets' Lauralie said to Drake, who was struggling not to lose her in the crowd as he followed behind.

The wheel was located very close to the town centre where the brothers would perform, but Lauralie and Drake's progress moving through the ever thickening crowd was slow and tedious, especially when Lauralie stopped at every opportunity to look at everything. Her excuse was that she was attracted to things that shine. Little trinkets, cut glass in the shape of tiny animals, earrings with too many digits, she even found a silk scarf that sadly didn't match her hair colour. Drake in turn would occasionally risk going off on his own to look at things that interested him, watches, shirts with brand names, she would find him soon enough as he never wandered far. It was easy enough to get lost with so many people around.

'I told Alice I would meet her in the town centre' Lauralie was saying. 'She should be there somewhere. But we might need to get to higher ground to find her.'

The scene in the town was wonderful in all its bright colours. Closer to the centre near the Ferris wheel were tents of red and yellow, blue and white, and green and white. Some of them were hosting sideshows and stalls which featured games like the coconut shy, and others which involved rubber duckies.

Lauralie and Drake passed a merry go round on their way, with its insufferable and repetitive music. They paused again briefly and Drake bought each of them a toffee apple.

We'd better go meet your friend' he said at last when they had finished. 'She must be wondering where we are.'

'Well' Lauralie winked at him. 'We would get a better view of the town from the Ferris wheel. She would be easier to find.'

'How did I know you'd say that' Drake smiled wearily.

From the Ferris wheel, they finally caught sight of Alice who was waiting for them at the edge of the crowd within the town centre. When the ride had finished, Lauralie leapt from the carriage and ran to meet her. She was greeted by several other friends that Alice had brought with her. And once he had caught up again, Lauralie introduced Drake to the others, causing many of them to immediately swoon over him. Drake was very handsome.

Once the formalities and introductions were over, Alice led the group quickly to the front of the crowd.

'Come over here, the show's nearly started' she told them.

They made their way forwards though the mass of people with smiles and winks. Drake came after them, moving slowly and politely so as not to intrude upon anyone.

They eventually reached the front and stood in a row side by side as the performance began, with Lauralie in the middle.

They waited for the performance to begin.

The first brother almost had an aggressive look about him, a look of attitude. He was tall, wearing torn jeans and a blue coat with an upturned black collar. His ears were pierced and on the left side of his neck, was a tattoo of a beautiful rose with its petals unfurled. His hair was spiked downwards and was pure white, streaked in vivid red. His expression was calculated, and he had freakishly unnatural bright blue eyes that pierced the very soul.

The music started simple, only one brother was there, he moved in time with the tunes, dancing with his shoulders first, head perfectly still. Then as the second beat came in he moved to the side, sliding his whole body, arms and legs and head and neck in perfectly graceful motions, moves perfectly co-ordinated. Then he suddenly turned stiff, robotic. He pushed himself to the ground, impossibly low; then with no effort at all rose to a volley of cheering and clapping. People laughed as he impersonated a robot, a car, moved closer, winked at a girl.

Drake chuckled, clapping his hands.

'He's pretty good' he admitted to Lauralie. 'What do you think?'

The dancing brother shuffled to the side in a crouched position, holding a comical face, his body slowed in time with the music. His robot self shut down.

'He's very good' Lauralie smiled back, not entirely impressed as the routine came to an end.

His first dance was quite simple, the music not too fast or lively.

The second brother stepped in. Lauralie gasped in awe as they began, it was at that moment; her heart was taken, beating faster as she watched utterly mesmerized as they moved.

The second brother had a gentler appearance and a softer expression. There was almost a boy-Lolita look about him. He had blonde highlights in his light brown hair, which was medium in length, and he was dressed more casually than his older brother.

Throwing his head back he marched forwards, his dancing was just as aggressive as his brothers. Lauralie was fixated on him, taking in his every feature. He was shorter than the other brother, but had eyes just like his.

Dancing side by side, occasionally changing positions to hide behind the others, using their arms, using their legs and moving their heads, they twisted their bodies. Locking and popping, they danced in various styles.

It was fast, it was beautiful, but all too soon it was over.

Lauralie let out a breath that didn't know she had been holding. She gathered herself again, only to see Drake giving her a teasing look.

'Fallen in love have we?'

'What are you talking about?' Lauralie flushed in a sharp tone.

'Oh don't give me that' he nudged at her arm playfully. 'Do you think I'm blind?'

She was a lot angrier and irritated with herself than she expected, and was surprised at what she felt. Was it perhaps because someone had caught her off-guard? That had never happened before.

But before she could say a

nything else to Drake he had mumbled something to her that she didn't quite hear; then he left her side. Lauralie craned her head, trying to find him in the crowd, wondering what he was up to. But he was gone.

'That sneaky little devil.'

Alice cut her thoughts.

'They should be taking a break now' she said as the brothers moved away. 'So? What did you think?'

'They were really good' Lauralie answered, composing herself.

'Come on' Alice said. 'Let's go look at some of the stalls.'

It was beginning to get dark by the time the group decided to split up and go home. Drake had found Lauralie walking with Alice before they had left the town. He didn't say where he went or why, which annoyed Lauralie even more, and no matter how much she nagged him he remained silent. But the glint in his eye still remained.

After nearly an hour she gave up asking.

'It's really pretty here when it's dark' Lauralie sighed, sitting on a low wall with Alice and Drake either side of her.

The town was quietening as people returned to their homes, and the funfair was winding down, only a few people still trailed back and forth now. And yet it grew more beautiful by night. Multicoloured electric lights on strings, the dim lights of the stalls, the tents now silent and desolate for the most part sat with their darkening colours. The entire town square glowed with magnificence and the aftermath of the joy the day had brought to so many people. It was all so peaceful.

'You're right' Alice replied to Lauralie, rising and pulling her with her as they walked side by side. 'It is really nice here.'

Drake pushed himself off the wall, following after the two girls.

The three of them wandered through the empty town square, heading slowly towards the Ferris wheel.

Alice twirled and took a seat on a flight of steps that led up to the base of the Ferris wheel, which now sat still and silent, but with its lights still burning bright.

'It's a shame Reuben and Lucas didn't come' Lauralie said glumly, taking a seat beside Alice. 'It would have been nice. I wonder why they didn't in the end.'

'There's always tomorrow' Alice chimed in.

'Come on' Drake said to the both of them. 'It's getting late, we had better be going. I'll take you both home now.'

'Oooooh he's such a gentleman' Alice teased nudging Lauralie's arm. 'I don't know why do you don't go with him.'

'I'm ready to go home now' Lauralie said in a deliberate voice sharper than she intended. She had had quite enough annoyance for today. 'Take me home Drake.'

'How do you feel?' Reuben asked Lucas.

'Alright I guess.'

They had just arrived home safely; Lucas was lying down on the sofa with his feet up and several pillows behind his head. It was the first place he chose to rest as soon as they got back. Reuben proceeded to bombard him with questions as to how comfortable he was and if there was anything else he could do to help.

'You really shouldn't fuss so much Reuben' Lucas tittered, taking the bowl of steaming soup his brother handed him. A readymade sachet found at the back of one of the cupboard.

'I can't help it, I'm sorry I just feel so bad.'

'Just forget it' Lucas drawled.

'But you could have died because of me.'

'Well I could have, but I didn't.'

Reuben sat and stared at Lucas as he sipped the soup from his bowl. After a while Lucas began feeling uncomfortable under the glare.

'I'm fine. You know you don't have to stare at me for the rest of the day.' Lucas began to laugh. He tensed suddenly, holding his side. Immediately Reuben rushed forwards the grab the bowl before it spilled.

Lucas gave him a disapproving frown, taking the bowl back. The two of them relaxed, Lucas more than Reuben.

'We could spent our whole lives saying but what if'' Lucas began. 'Nothing was ever gained from regret.'

'I know.'

'Tell you what' Lucas began as a sudden thought hit him. 'If you want to do something for me why don't you go find this girl Rhian?'

'I could do that' Reuben nodded eagerly. 'Where would I find her?'

'Jeez I don't know…just look around.'

'Ok.'

'We guardians should stick together' Lucas went on. 'I think it's important that you find her.'

'But why did she run off, I mean fly off…she's got wings!'

Lucas gave Reuben a sceptical look.

'Wings aren't anything new Reuben.'

'I know.'

'She may resent being a guardian' Lucas continued. 'It's not easy being different and living half a life in secret. We need to convince her how great the gift we've been given really is. We can help her.'

'Alright, I'll try my best' Reuben said rising. 'Are you sure you don't need anything else?'

'Just go' Lucas droned in a bored voice.

Reuben nodded, hesitated; and then made for the door.

'Ok then…um…bye…'

He hesitated again; then left.

Lucas smiled to himself, thinking fondly of his brother's foolishness. He sat back against the pillows, sighing and closing his eyes content.

Here he rested for several minutes, until he received a call on his mobile. Not recognising the number, he answered anyway.

'Hello?'

'Hey' came a female voice. 'It's me.'

'Hey Sian' Lucas smiled, grateful to hear his girlfriends voice. 'I don't recognise this number.'

'My phone broke' Sian explained. 'I'm using another. Anyway I just thought I'd check on you. I would hate for you to forget about me.'

'I could never forget about you.'

'I should think not' she answered. 'So, how are you?'

'I'm fine.'

'Anything to report?'

'Nope.'

'Ok good. So when are you coming to see me next?'

'I don't know' Lucas admitted. 'I haven't got much money.'

'Ok, well how about I come down to see you.'

'Maybe.'

'You don't like that idea?'

'I'm feeling a bit unwell.'

'If you say so' Sian dismissed. 'I'll speak to you later then. Don't strain yourself.' She hung up.

Lucas stared at the mobile. His girlfriend had never been the clingy type, most of the time if anything she was distant. But there was nothing she wouldn't do for him.

He closed the mobile, slipping it back into his pocket and becoming still.

It was several hours later when it began to get dark, and Reuben had still not returned. Lucas sat there growing bored, sitting in complete silence. He began to get worried.

About another hour or so later the phone rang, catching Lucas by surprise. Its call was loud and persistent breaking the silence.

Lucas heaved himself up. He slouched his way over towards the phone, holding his side and moving gingerly. Lucas wondered who would call at this time.

He stopped before it, and picked up the phone.

'Hello?'

'Is this Lucas?' a female voice said quickly.

'Yes?'

'I'm a district nurse from Golden Heart Hospital, your brothers been hit by a car.'

Reuben spent many minutes scanning the whole town, walking in random directions and feeling hopeless. Things had begun to wind down now, and even the crowd in the town centre had begun to break itself up. He wandered now through one of the parks on the edges of the town, thinking he would never find her. But by a phenomenal piece of luck, he actually did. Leaning against a wall she was throwing chunks of bread at the ducks in the pond before her.

There were no streetlights here, though the road next to the pond was still fairly busy. The sun was beginning to dip, and the park was growing dark. By the time Reuben reached her, she had already seen him.

'I can't believe I actually found you.'

'I can't believe you were stupid enough to try' she retorted.

Rhian threw the last piece of bread and turned on her heel, storming away.

'Hey wait where are you going?' Reuben called after her.

She didn't answer but continued to walk, her pace quickened.

'Wait!'

Reuben ran to catch up.

'Leave me alone!'

'Hey don't be like that, I just want to talk to you.'

'Talk to this, ' she said, pausing only briefly and giving him the finger.

Reuben hesitated. 'Well there's no need for that.'

He ran to catch up with her again.

'Why are you being like this' Reuben demanded, 'I just want to talk?'

'Yeah well I don't.'

Growing increasingly more irritated; he struggled to keep up with her now, almost jogging.

'Listen, I understand if you're upset and confused, it's not an easy thing.'

She stopped, swinging her head towards him in a sarcastic gesture.

'Oh and I'm sure you know everything.'

She continued her marching pace.

'Ok, you're annoyed, I get that. You don't have to talk just listen ok, we guardians should stick together.'

'Guardians' she laughed tutting. 'I'm perfectly fine on my own, and don't use that word.'

'You're lonely? That's ok you can stick with us, my brother is a guardian as well, like I said our kind should stick together.'

Rhian stopped again, confronting him.

'Stop talking like I'm a different species' she shouted.

'You know I didn't mean it like that.'

'I don't need anybody.' She made to walk away.

'Everybody needs someone.'

She spun around again, fuming and puffing her chest out, fists balled.

'Look stop talking like you know who I am! I don't need you, I don't need anyone else and I certainly don't need these worthless powers! You think it's so great being a guardian…then do it on your own!'

She shoved him back as hard as she could.

The car running along the road had no time to stop, and Reuben has not time to protect himself.

The vehicle steamed right into him, screeching its wheels to a halt.

Sterilized to a sickening degree, the hospital smelt of disinfectant and emptiness. Its hallways and floor were white and bland with bored-looking nurses at the desk.

Lucas made his enquiries to a lady sitting at her computer; she was pleasant but stiff in her words, pointing him in the right direction. Lucas took the lift.

It was painfully slow.

Lucas tried his best to compose himself as he moved through the building of sickness, keeping his head straight and not looking either side of him. He heard snoring, crying, moaning.

He was made to wash his hands before entering the next room, the push-device on the wall extracted a tiny squirt of some strange soap that required no water. He was reluctant to touch it, though did so anyway.

The room Reuben was in was large, with four beds on one side, and four on the other. Many were occupied, most of which were elderly. Lucas felt apprehensive as he approached Reuben, who lifted his head as he came closer. A few of the other people around had visitors also. Lucas glanced at the bland design of a clock on the wall.

08.15 PM

'Visiting hours end at half-past' Lucas told him. 'I've only got fifteen minutes.'

'I'm just glad you came' Reuben smiled.

Reuben was sitting up in his bed, pillows stuffed behind him to prop him up.

He looked in bad shape.

He had bruising on one side of his face, under his eye and on his cheek, and all over his left shoulder. His left arm was in a cast up past his elbow, and he had heavy bandages around his head.

'Don't be stupid' Lucas replied, 'of course I came.'

'I mean, during visiting hours, they wouldn't let you in otherwise.'

'Do you think I'd let a bunch of pansy nurses and doctors stop me from seeing my brother?'

Reuben smiled gratefully at him. He could always count on his brother. Lucas had always been there for him, no matter what.

Lucas sat on the edge of the bed, watching his brother closely. 'How do you feel?'

'Bloody awful.'

Reuben pushed himself higher up on the bed.

'They think I broke a rib, and my wrist is broken, but I don't know why they cast it all the way up to where it is.' He touched his cheek tenderly, then his bandaged head. 'And I've got a concussion; they've given me some drugs that made me throw up. And they said I was lucky not to break my leg too.'

'What happened?' Lucas asked.

'That girl pushed me into the road.'

Lucas diverted his attention. 'This bed isn't very comfortable is it?'

'What are you going to do?' Reuben asked.

'I'm going to find her, tonight.'

Reuben didn't ask why.

'Here' Lucas said taking something out of his pocket. 'I got you this.'

He handed Reuben a partially squashed, stone-cold pasty.

'Thanks….what is it?'

'It's called a Tin-Miners. It's like a normal pasty but it's got desert on one end, its apple. Miners apparently used to take it down when they worked. It's like a whole meal in one, meat at one end, and desert on the other, or at least that's what the picture in the shop told me.'

'What did you get for yourself?'

'Nothing' Lucas shrugged.

'But you've hardly eaten today' Reuben protested.

'And you haven't eaten anything at all' Lucas replied.

Reuben nodded. 'Thanks for bringing me this. I'd offer you something from here, but all the food just takes like air…sorry.'

'Don't worry, I'd rather go hungry than eat from this place.' Lucas sighed. 'Do you know when you'll be out?'

'Hopefully tomorrow, the doctor said if the tingling in my fingers stops I can leave. It was only a minor break.'

'Great.'

'Can you open this for me?'

Lucas took the pasty and tore the packet open, handing it back to him.

'I told Drake' Lucas said as Reuben began to eat. 'He said he'll be here tomorrow.'

'Great, does anybody else know?'

'No.'

'Good' Reuben sighed with relief. 'I'd hate to have to explain myself.'

'Well good luck explaining why you have a cast on Monday morning.'

Reuben fell silent as a feeling of dread slowly descended upon him.

'You'll be fine' Lucas reassured, 'don't worry about it.'

'Did you bring me something to read?'

'Sorry I forgot.'

'That's ok, ' Reuben shrugged. 'It's just that it's terribly boring in here.'

'I'll be back tomorrow.'

There was the sudden sound of a mobile buzzing.

'That must be Drake' Lucas said rising from the bed, 'I'll tell him you're ok.'

Lucas flipped the mobile open and quickly began to text.

'You'd better go now' Reuben said. 'Visiting hours are almost over and the nurses get really ratty if you hang around, and I don't want to making a scene.'

Lucas hit the 'send' button and snapped the phone shut again.

'Fine' he said smiling confidently at his brother. 'I'll be back again tomorrow, what time am I allowed to visit?'

'Two till five in the afternoon, then after that six thirty till eight thirty.'

'I'll see you then' Lucas clicked his fingers at him. 'I'm going to sell the TV tomorrow morning for some cash. You get some sleep.'

'See you tomorrow.'

Lucas fought the urge to turn and look back as he walked away, aching in his heart at the hurt of his brother, and the thought of having to leave him here. He realised how Reuben must have felt when he himself had been injured earlier that day. And the guilt.

I shouldn't have asked him to go.

Once home, Lucas spent the remainder of that night drinking whisky until he fell asleep, waking several hours later in the early hours of the morning, he decided to begin searching for Rhian. However, she could not be found.

He returned home and fell asleep again on the sofa, waking this time when Drake rang at one o'clock in the afternoon.

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