After speaking with the police, Donovan brought Percy back to his house so he would not be alone while his parents traveled back from New York on the next available flight.
As they walked away from the scene, Percy seemed to slip deeper inside himself. Donovan understood what he was going through yet could not find the words he thought might bring him some small comfort. Lousy boyfriend I am. Instead, he simply walked with his arm around him in silence.
He remembered again the emptiness he felt after Asa’s murder and needed to figure out to make it less painful for Percy. If that’s even possible. How do I make him feel better when he just lost someone irreplaceable? He felt his determination wane and was ready to yell at himself for sucking at relationships when he noticed Cameron sitting on his front porch. He did it. He made me feel less shitty even if I didn’t bother showing it. He turned and looked at Percy and just wanted to see him smile.
So he pulled him close and kissed his cheek, breathed the words, “I love you” into his skin.
Percy smiled, if only a bit, before dropping expression from his face. “Love you, too.”
“Anything I can do?”
“Hey, guys.” Cameron waved from the porch.
“Hey.” Donovan flashed him a quick, weak smile as they walked up the steps. “Thanks for coming.”
“No problem. What happened?”
“Donny, um, mind if I go upstairs and lay down?”
“Sure, man, g’head. If you need anything, just let me know.”
“Thanks.” He stumbled inside without looking at him and disappeared up the stairs.
Donovan looked at Cameron and frowned. “I have no idea what to do for him.”
* * *
There was barbed wire wrapped around Marie’s arms. She had been kept standing there so long, the pain had numbed but the blood continued to run. She did not remember how she ended up in the damp basement with heavy metal playing overhead; the last thing she recalled was turning on the shower and grabbing a towel.
Her face to the wall, she could not see much aside from the cement walls and floors but could hear chains swinging into each other, creating a creepy clanking noise that sent goosebumps along her skin. She also heard leaves rustle though she felt no wind. Animals growled and howled; she felt the wet breath on her flesh but did not see them.
She had been there for what felt like hours and prayed to wake up from what she hoped was a nightmare.
Footsteps approached. She closed her eyes and tightened her jaw. She did not know what was coming but knew it was something to fear.
How right you are, girl. We are worth the fear that grips you. We shall devour that fear same as we shall devour your very soul.
“This can’t be real. This can’t be real.”
Oh, but it is.
A crack and pain sliced through her back. She screamed, pulled against the barbed wire and screamed again. Another crack and another slice. She screamed again, cried as she was struck over and over.
She felt as chunks of skin were torn away and blood ran to the floor, pooled at her feet.
“Please,” she said through tears, “stop.”
When we tire of your screams.
She was struck again and slumped down. The barbed wire holding her up dug deep into her, tore at her flesh. She tried to stand but had no strength left in her. She tried to scream but only a whimper came.
A pity. We were not finished.
A hand grabbed her hair, twisted it, and pulled, bent her head back. She saw the blade as it sliced open her throat. The hand released her, left her to bleed out.
* * *
Cameron sat beside Donovan at the kitchen table, am arm across his shoulders. He was at a loss for words, barely able to make sense of what had happened. He had seen Peter and Donna hours before; what had happened in such a short time?
Donovan had let go once Percy was gone. Cameron was amazed he had kept it locked up as long as he did; Donovan had always been sensitive but since Asa’s murder, he had found it difficult to handle his stronger emotions.
“He’ll be okay.”
“Sure about that?”
“Maybe you’re right. Maybe he’s stronger than me.”
Shit. “You’re okay, too.” He squeezed Donovan’s shoulder. “I know you don’t think so but you are.”
“Maybe. Shit, Cam, I couldn’t do anything for him. Just… I couldn’t way anything to help.”
“You were… are there for him. That’s all you really can do.”
“Will it really help?”
“Did it help you?”
Donovan looked at him and smiled. “Yeah, actually, it did.”
“There you go. Just give him time and space, if he needs it, and he will put the pieces back together.”
TO BE CONTINUED