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    Nephylim
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

My Brother Daniel - 2. Chapter 2

The week dragged on. I shared two more shifts with Sara, and nothing was said about Daniel and the trip to Wales.

The weekend is my time to relax. No schoolwork and no ‘getting money to live’ work. I usually spend some time in the gym, some time in the park, and on Saturdays drink at a little bar not too far from where I live. Just about everyone who goes there knows me, and it’s a pleasant place to unwind. This weekend, I stayed there for less than an hour then went home. I spent the whole weekend researching Henllys to find interesting facts I could tell Daniel.

The following week dragged even more, and I threw myself into schoolwork to try to pass the time. Many times I was tempted to call on Sara… no, on Daniel, but I resisted. I don’t want there to be any chance he might call off the trip.

So now it’s Saturday morning at last. I’ve rented a car, because I would die of embarrassment if we had to take mine. I can just imagine the scene. We call into a service station for a coffee. I open the car door and so does he. His falls off. I explain that he just has to re-hang it on the hinges and he gives me that look. The one everyone gives me sooner or later. It says…you’re pathetic. No, I don’t want to see that look in Daniel’s eyes, and maybe one of the reasons I like him is that I don’t think I ever will.

I’m as nervous as a schoolgirl on a first date, and I’ve gone through every stitch of clothing I own before choosing what to wear. It’s a beautiful day, so I eventually choose a pair of faded jeans and a blue and white striped, long sleeved t-shirt, with canvas shoes to match. I look pretty good. Fresh and clean. I brush my hair until it glows mahogany, and even buff my fingernails.

Glancing in the mirror on my way out of the bathroom, I pause. Something doesn’t look right. Oh. I’m smiling. Not just smiling but beaming and boy, doesn’t that make a difference? I look quite nice when I smile. My eyes are hazel and it makes the green glow and the flecks of brown dance like motes of gold. I quite like my eyes. They’re the only part of me I do like and recently they haven’t been looking too good. Probably because I haven’t been smiling very much.

Sara scowls at me when she answers the door. “I was hoping you’d have changed your mind,” she says and my heart plummets.

“Why? Doesn’t Daniel want to go?”

“Oh Daniel wants to go. Daniel wants to go a lot. It’s all he’s talked about since the day you made the stupid promise. He nearly made himself sick last night, he was so excited. Our mother came to visit on Thursday and he wouldn’t stop talking about you. She wasn’t any happier about it than I am. She’s not too keen on Daniel living here with me in the first place.”

“She isn’t? Why not?”

Sara rolls her eyes. “Because he needs a lot of care. He couldn’t live independently, and as it is, I’m barely able to manage.”

“He seems capable enough to me. He makes great sandwiches so he wouldn’t starve.”

Sara turns on me. “There’s more to life than making sandwiches, Rayn. He can’t handle money, can barely count to a hundred, let alone handle anything financial. He can’t make decisions. I have to lay his clothes out in the morning or God knows what he’ll end up dressed in. He reads everything in sight but he can’t write. He leaves the cooker on and goes out. If he leaves the house he sometimes forgets how to get back. You’ve no idea, Rayn. There are a million and one reasons he can’t manage on his own.”

Sara sighs and her eyes turn soft. She must see something redeeming in my shocked expression. “Daniel’s a lot of things, Rayn – adorable, sweet, bright, intelligent in his own way, but think of him as a child of six or seven. Keep a close eye on him and don’t let him wander off. If he does, he’ll get upset and panic, and likely won’t remember where you are. Please, Rayn, please take care of him. I’m scared to death.”

“Scared? You don’t need to be scared, Sara. I promised I’d take care of him and I will. All I want is to give Daniel a nice day out, doing something he’ll really enjoy. I’ll bring him back safe at the end. Safe and unsullied, with his virtue intact. I promise.”

She eyes me for another few moments, then laughs. “Alright, I’ll trust you. I have to I suppose.” She stands aside and motions for me to enter. “Daniel’s in the kitchen,” she says as I brush past her.

Daniel’s packing what appears to be a huge amount of food into a picnic basket that looks as if it was meant for a family of ten. He glances up when we enter and abandons what he’s doing to literally throw himself at me.

“Th…thank you…Rayn,” he says as he hugs me tight. “Th…thank you…so…much. I’m so excited. I can’t believe you…you’re he…re. I thought…that you…might…not come.”

“Of course I’ve come. I don’t make promises and break them, Daniel. What on earth have you got in the basket? Enough to feed a small army.”

“I di…didn’t know…what…you like. So I…I made it…all.”

“So I can see. Can you carry it?”

“Yes. I…I’m…strong.”

I take a moment to look at Daniel and wish to God I hadn’t. How am I going to concentrate on the basket, and more importantly convince Sara I’m not going to jump his bones as soon as the car’s out of sight, when he looks like this. He’s dressed fairly simply in jeans and t-shirt, but on him they’re something special. The jeans are stonewash, fitting his form perfectly, and the t-shirt is crisp and fresh, a brilliant blue that matches the colour of his eyes. He has his hair tied back today, but strands are breaking free already, curling around cheeks that are flushed with excitement. Oh God he’s beautiful.

I swallow hard and catch Sara’s eye. She scowls and me and narrows her eyes. I sigh inwardly. I can’t wait to get out of here.

Daniel, true to his word, is strong as a horse and easily manages to carry the basket and stow it in the boot of the car. I would have struggled with it, if I could have done it at all.

Finally the picnic is stored, Daniel’s in the car, Sara’s struggling to decide whether to smile or scowl and the car’s pulling away from the kerb. We’re on our way.

 

WE’VE BEEN travelling for almost an hour and Daniel hasn’t said a word. He’s been giving me shy glances and those quick, bright smiles that turn my guts to goo, but not a single word has passed his lips. Having said that, I haven’t opened my mouth either. The silence is a good silence, a companionable silence and I don’t want to spoil it by engaging in meaningless babble which is what I suspect will issue forth from my mouth whenever I’m in range of his smile… or those eyes.

“Rayn,” Daniel says at last. His voice is low and he pronounces my name very carefully.

“Uh huh?” I glance at him and goddamn it, I almost crash the car. He’s so fucking adorable.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, buddy. I know how much you want this. I’ve been there.”

“Is it…very good? The…place we’re….going? Does it…does it have…many houses? Does it have…swords and spears? Clothes? Does it have artefacts? I…I was reading about a mirror. It was beautiful. There are not very many Iron Age digs but… What?” He falters to a stop and stares at me.

The sound of frantic beeping from behind launches me out of my stupor and through the traffic light, which is now green.

“Nothing. I just… I’ve never heard you say so much without…”

Daniel blushes beautifully, ducking his head and biting his lip. “I’m sorry,” he murmurs.

“Sorry for what? I don’t get it.” And I don’t.

“I know I…I can’t… I can’t…and I…I don’t…want to sp…spoil any…thing so I… don’t… but it… hard because… because….”

“Whoa there. Let’s get one thing straight right off. I don’t have a problem with the way you speak. You don’t have to not talk to me because you think it’s going to spoil the day. You’re excited. I’m excited. Go for it. When you were talking just now, about the mirror, you barely stammered at all. Just go with it. No pressure. No hassle.”

“Really?”

“Of course. Isn’t that how it is at home?”

Daniel thinks carefully. “No,” he says thoughtfully. “Well…. No one says anything, but… but they… they look.”

“They look?”

“Yes. They look sad.”

“Oh. I see.” I think I see. Now, that is sad. They ‘re so concerned about him, so sorry for him they’re making it harder for him without even realizing. I make a vow to myself – right here and now – I will never feel sorry for Daniel. From my point of view there’s nothing to feel sorry for.

“I’ve… been reading.”

“You have? About what?”

“Th…the place we’re going. I…I can’t…say the word.”

“Castell Henllys? It’s Welsh. My mother was Welsh. I spent half my life in Carmarthen. I can’t speak Welsh but I’ve picked up enough to be able to pronounce the names at least.”

“What does it mean?”

“Well, Castell means Castle. I’m not sure about Henllys. The two components ‘hen’ and ‘llys’ mean ‘old court’ so I guess that makes sense.

“Old court? Yes, I suppose so. If it’s an important site.”

“I hope you’re fit. It’s quite a climb. It’s at the top of a steep hill.”

“I’m fit,” Daniel says smiling and I believe him. I totally believe him.

Daniel lapses into silence again. He’s smiling and I like that. I like it a lot.

 

 

I FEEL the same thrill as always when I pull into the car park. Castell Henllys is a beautiful place in its own right. Added to that, the reconstructed village has always thrilled me. Today, there’s a whole new dimension, as Daniel is as excited as a child.

“Where…are the…houses, Rayn? I want to…see a roundhouse. Where…are they?”

“At the top of the hill. Wait here and I’ll go pay the entrance fee.”

“We have to…pay? I didn’t…didn’t bring any…m…money.”

Daniel looks crushed and it makes me smile. “You don’t need any. This is my treat, Daniel, all of it. Wait here.”

When I come out of the little office cum gift shop after paying our entrance fees, Daniel has vanished. I panic. I’ve only been five minutes. Where could he have gone in five minutes? I head back to the car but there’s no one around, then return to the cabin at a dead run, but Daniel isn’t there. The only other place I can think to go is up.

The entrance to the site is up a steep, shady road that crosses a stream and follows its course for the first part of the journey. As I enter the cool tunnel I hear laughter and my legs go weak as I recognise the sweetness of Daniel’s voice as it cries out. “I se…see it. I see it.”

I hurry towards the sound of voices, which takes me off the path to the banks of the stream. Daniel is bending over the water at the side of what I can only describe as an imposing character. The man is enormous, at least six feet four, and built like the side of a barn, with a bushy beard that reaches to mid chest. To add to his intimidating aura, he’s dressed like an Iron Age warrior, down to the woad designs painted on his face, arms and bald head. And if that wasn’t enough he has a three foot long sword strapped to his belt.

“Rayn,” Daniel yells, frantically motioning me over. “I…I can…can see…see…” He turns back and his body sags. “Oh,” he says, disappointment evident in his voice. “It…it’s…gone.”

“What was it?” I ask sliding down the bank and very nearly into the water.

“A…a…an…o…tter,” Daniel says sadly. It breaks my heart to hear such sadness in his voice.

The big man puts a comforting hand on his shoulder. “There aren’t many people who can say they’ve seen one at all. You were very lucky. Maybe if you come back later you’ll see it again. Remember, you have to be very quiet.”

“I can be quiet,” Daniel says, brightening instantly and treating us both to his beautiful smile. “I was…quiet most…of the…way. Wasn’t I Rayn?”

“Absolutely.”

The big man grins at me and hold out a hand. “Alex, otherwise known as Cadfael, warrior of the chief’s personal warband. I welcome you to our humble settlement. May I show you around?”

“Would…would…you?” Daniel asks excitedly, pretty much bouncing.

“Of course. Come this way young warrior and we’ll see what you look like with a sword in your hand.”

“A…sword? A… a real…sword?”

“As real as it gets. Maybe some chain mail and a helmet too?”

Daniel’s eyes are round as saucers when he looks at me. “Oh Rayn,” is all he says but it speaks volumes.

Alex…er Cadfael helps us up the bank and onto the road. Daniel links his arm with mine and dances along at my side. I’m pretty sure that if he could, he would be chattering ten to the dozen. Cadfael fills the silence with information about the site and the re-enactment society that’s taken over for the day— The Children of Albion.

“Albion’s what they used to call Britain in the old days,” Daniel tells me. “The really old days. Before…well almost anything.”

“Not quite,” Cadfael says with a smile. “We already had lots of things, as you’ll see. There it is,” he says, his voice rich with prise, and opens his arms expansively. We both turn to look where he’s pointing and gasp. Just across the track is a fence and on the other side of the fence, up a slight incline is a field full of conical structures.

Daniel has stopped. Literally stopped. I’m not even entirely sure he’s still breathing. He’s staring at the roundhouses as if they’re spaceships. Then, suddenly, he turns to me and hugs me.

“Roundhouses,” he says with such awe in his voice and wonder in his eyes it takes my breath away. “Real ones.”

“As real as you’re going to find these days,” Cadfael says. Something in the way he’s looking at Daniel tells me he understands. He really understands. “Come on then, what are you waiting for?” He jerks his head towards the houses and strides away, with Daniel skipping to keep up.

As we get to the top of the incline, we see a huge field with a number of roundhouses dotted around. There’s an open space in the middle, where a large fire pit has been dug and a group of children are sitting around, as a woman in costume, perched on the edge of the fire pit, tells a story.

“Can I?” Daniel asks with eyes of wonder and I laugh at him.

“Of course you can. You don’t need my permission, Daniel. I’m just your ride, remember?”

Daniel stops and gazes at me without smiling. “No, Rayn. Not…just…a…ride. You’re my…my…friend.” He grins and runs across the field, his hair flying behind him like the mane of a wild pony.

“He’s something special isn’t he?”

“He’s not as special as he seems. I mean he is as special, but he’s not…. He’s not….”

Cadfael grips my shoulder and squeezes gently. “Don’t worry about it, boy. It ain’t my job to judge.”

“Judge? What? No. He’s my…friend. That’s all.”

“Right. Whatever you say. But the eyes don’t lie, man.”

“What?”

Cadfael squeezes again. “You’ve been hurt, any fool can see that. And he’s like a ray of sunshine. Enough to touch the coldest heart. I see the way he looks at you, too. Let him in and he’s yours. All you need to work out is whether you want him, and to hell with whatever anyone else might think.”

“Jesus, what are you, a matchmaker.”

“For my sins, I’m a behavioural psychologist and part time poet. Not that you could tell.” He grins at me as he strokes his beard. It looks as if there might be a family of field mice camping out in it.

“Oh. Well. There’s nothing going on, and there won’t be. I promised his sister to take care of him and that’s what I’ll do if it kills me.” I wonder why I’m being so fierce. I have nothing to prove to this man and neither is he asking me to.

Cadfael laughs and thumps me on the back so hard I almost fall over. “That boy has more life in him than anyone I’ve ever met. He won’t be easy to take care of, although I have a feeling he’ll neither want nor need too much of it. Don’t let anyone else define what you have.” He gives me the strangest look, and it makes me shiver. “And that includes people who aren’t around you anymore.”

“How…?” I shake myself. Of course he doesn’t know. He’s only saying what he thinks he knows, that I’ve had a bad experience, that I’m running away from a bad relationship or…. Well I guess he’s right…in a way.

“Go have fun with your friend. Let him teach you.”

“Teach me what?”

“How to live, boy. How to live.”

Cadfael strides away across the field and disappears into one of the roundhouses, leaving me to look around.

I can’t deny that I’m feeling weird. What Cadfael said has disturbed me. I’m not really sure why. It’s not that that he’s figured out the way I feel about Daniel. I guess it’s more that he’s seen something in Daniel that makes him think Daniel’s having those feelings for me. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Fantasizing about this amazing creature who fills my life with sunshine, is one thing. Actually having a relationship with him is another.

Daniel’s certainly not what I’ve ever looked for in a man before, and he isn’t someone I would have pictured myself being with. If I’m honest, after what happened, once I allowed myself to acknowledge the possibility of finding myself with anyone at all, I’ve been rather hoping for someone to take care of me. I’d never have imagined being with someone I’d need to take care of, but now the possibility’s out there I can’t say it isn’t appealing.

Copyright © 2016 Nephylim; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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These first 2 chapters of this story are very engaging. It will be interesting to see how you develop and grow these characters as the story line progresses.

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Wow. What an interesting two chapters. My Grandson is autistic and seems similar. Looking forward to more. Thanks.

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On 12/21/2015 11:27 AM, JimP said:

These first 2 chapters of this story are very engaging. It will be interesting to see how you develop and grow these characters as the story line progresses.

Thank you. I hope you like the way the story goes

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On 12/21/2015 11:27 AM, JimP said:

These first 2 chapters of this story are very engaging. It will be interesting to see how you develop and grow these characters as the story line progresses.

Thank you. I hope you like the way the story goes

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On 12/21/2015 04:35 PM, Gandalf said:

Wow. What an interesting two chapters. My Grandson is autistic and seems similar. Looking forward to more. Thanks.

Thank you. My son is autistic and Daniel has many similar traits, although his problems have a different cause. I hope you like him. I think I've treated him with respect, and Rayne certainly does.

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I fully understand Sara's protective warnings to Rayne concerning Daniel.....I am constantly battling those same thoughts while being blown away by my own grandson's abilities and absolute purity of spirit....He is like Daniel in that he reminds me a warm natural sunshine....No one will ever hurt this child if I can help it.....but I can't shelter him completely from the world...........I GET IT
Great story so far, character development is spot on............:)Mike

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On 01/20/2016 09:04 PM, flamingo136 said:

I fully understand Sara's protective warnings to Rayne concerning Daniel.....I am constantly battling those same thoughts while being blown away by my own grandson's abilities and absolute purity of spirit....He is like Daniel in that he reminds me a warm natural sunshine....No one will ever hurt this child if I can help it.....but I can't shelter him completely from the world...........I GET IT

Great story so far, character development is spot on............:)Mike

Thank you. That means a lot. I hope Daniel remains true to his character. I think so because I loosely based him on my son.

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So far I am enthralled by your story and your characters. Love your humour too. The nest of field mice conjured up a lovely picture. So delightful. And Daniel is wonderful. I can understand being totally captivated by his beauty which I guess is not just outward either.

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On 04/08/2016 10:48 PM, Jaro_423 said:

So far I am enthralled by your story and your characters. Love your humour too. The nest of field mice conjured up a lovely picture. So delightful. And Daniel is wonderful. I can understand being totally captivated by his beauty which I guess is not just outward either.

Oh heck no. Daniel's innocent joy is even more beautiful than his outward appearance. At least, I have always found innocence to be attractive.

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