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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.

Weeping Lily - 7. Chapter 7

For more than three hours Cal sat and stared at Jayden, replaying memories inside his head. At some point Rik left and first Ashton, then Jeff came and went and, in between, doctors and nurses checked on Jayden, surreptitiously checking on both of them. After a while they stopped talking to Cal and left him alone.


He didn’t care. He didn’t even notice. He was numb. There was nothing that anyone could say that would reach him, not unless it was the one thing that no one was able to say. The whole situation felt surreal and he was strangely disconnected from it all. The life he had led up to this moment had faded and seemed nothing but a dream and the only thing that was real was the still figure on the bed, the face as familiar as his own and so much more...




Every now and then the sound of the monitors faltered and skipped and Cal held his breath until it settled back into a steady rhythm. He noticed that the numbers were constantly changing and he knew that wasn’t a good thing.




Abruptly he caught himself thinking... uncomfortable thoughts and he pulled himself away from the brink of damnation. He could not allow himself to think of a world without Jayden... it was too big a concept... to dark... too painful. And yet... to think of a world with Jayden so changed that he was no longer himself... that was perhaps even harder.




“Jay... I don’t know if you can hear me but... I want you to know that ... that it’s okay with me for you to let go. I know... I know you’re fighting and that’s good. You know I love you bro. You know I want you back, that I’d gladly die for you. I’d give my right arm to see you open your eyes but... but I know... I know how much you would hate it if you were... not yourself, so...” He paused to wipe away tears and swipe his hand across his nose. “...so I will understand... we all will... if you don’t want that. It’s okay if you want to go Jayden. It’s okay to leave, to let go. It... it’s okay. It’s up to you, whatever you want to do. I won’t... I’ll understand.”




There was no response, he hadn’t expected any. By now he was sobbing, breathless with the effort of suppressing tears. When the door opened he didn’t look up, assuming it would be the nurse who would just check on Jayden and then leave. He did, however, drag a sleeve across his face. He didn’t care about what anyone thought but the mere presence of someone else steadied him.




In a while he realised that the person hadn’t moved for a long time and he looked up. He froze.




“Hello Cal.”




“What the hell are you doing here?”




“Cal... I...”




“No... no you can’t be here. You... you... you weren’t there for him when he needed you, when he cried for you... when he lay awake at night worrying about you... you weren’t there then and you can’t be here now. When he reached for you, you ran away. When he said he loved you, you told him you hated him. You spat at him, you hit him... you said you wished he would die... well... it looks like you’re getting your wish. Are you happy now Kelly? Are you?”




The young woman winced at his words and bit her lip, trying to stop it from trembling. “Cal I... I know... I know I let him down. I know and I’m sorry. I was unfair, I was cruel... but I was afraid. I was a child and I was afraid. My mother and father... I knew... I knew how they were with him, what they were doing to him. I knew and I could have done something... I should have done something but... I was a child and I was afraid... they were my parents, my place of safety. I was fifteen years old and I did hate him.




“It's only since I got older, had a relationship, a child of my own... It’s only now that I’ve really understood. I’ve wanted to contact him for such a long time. I wanted to say sorry, that I made a mistake but... but... I was still afraid.




“And then I heard about... this... and.... and I was still afraid, Cal, I was terrified of coming here but... but I was even more frightened that Jayden might... that he might... that I might never have the chance to tell him how much I love him.”




Cal opened his mouth to speak and she knew from the expression on his face what he was about to say so she pressed on before he had a chance.




“I know Cal... I know I don’t really have the right to be here but he is my brother and I love him, I swear I do. I love him Cal, please don’t send me away.”




For a moment Cal stared at her, open accusation in his eyes, then he just shook his head and lowered his eyes.




“It’s not my place to send you away Kelly. You don’t need my permission to be here. It's not up to me to dictate who is here and who isn’t, not at a time like this.”




“Thank you.”




Kelly moved to the other side of the bed and took Jayden’s hand.




“He’s changed, grown up.”




“That’s what happens in six years.”




“Yeah... I... I...” she paused, stroking Jayden’s face. “Cal, I spoke to the doctor but he was in a rush. He didn’t really tell me much.”




“What do you want me to say? Do you want me to reassure you? To tell you he’s going to be alright, that you will get your chance to make it up to him, to go back to playing happy families?”




“I want you to tell me the truth”




“The truth? The truth is... he’s dying. Jayden is... dying. He is going to die.”




“No. No... I... I can’t... Please Cal, don’t say that. There must be something... there must be....”




“Maybe. Yeah, you’re right. There is a chance, a chance that he won’t die, that he’ll live with a permanent disability, on dialysis on the waiting list for a transplant, or with brain damage. He’d be in a wheelchair or bed bound. To be frank Kelly, he’d be better dead.”




“No. Don’t say that.”




“Why? Because you want your chance to make everything alright with him? Because you want to make yourself feel better, to get rid of your guilt? Think of him for once.”




“Think of him? Think of him and hope he dies? I can’t do that. I’m sorry Cal, maybe I am selfish but I can’t do that.”




“I know. That’s how we’re different, because I can.” His voice was so bitter that Kelly had to drop her eyes and look away, struggling with her emotions. They were both silent for a time.




Kelly looked up, her eyes filled with tears. “I know you hate me and I suppose you have a right to but... it’s not all down to me. He never made it easy. He was always so aloof, so distant. I tried to like him, I really did. I tried to love him but... he wouldn’t let me get close.”




For an instant Kelly drew back as Cal raised eyes that burned and she thought he was going to go for her. However, when he spoke, his voice was controlled, if bitter.




“Distant? Aloof? Kelly he was getting beaten every day, abused, told he wasn't as good as you, that he was a freak, different, not part of the family, not belonging. Can you honestly say that you are remotely surprised that he withdrew from that? When he did try to reach out he was punished for it.”




Kelly’s eyes widened, genuinely shocked. “What do you mean?”




“It happened all the time Kelly. The only reason you didn’t see it was because you didn’t want to.”




“Maybe...”




Cal shook his head at the reserved defensiveness in her voice. Then he thought for a moment and blurted.




“Just before your 14th birthday we did a gig, just a silly little thing but we got paid for it. Jayden used the money to buy you a silver charm bracelet and he was really excited about giving it to you. He got this charm in the shape of a K with little diamonds on it.”




“But... but... He never gave it to me.”




“I know. Your mother found it. I was there when she ripped off every charm and stamped on them. She said he couldn’t buy you, that no matter how hard he tried he could never be good enough for you, never fit in so he may as well give up trying... so he did.”




“I didn’t know.” She whispered, tears brimming in her eyes.




“You knew Kelly, maybe not about that but you knew.” He sounded tired now, drained and hopeless. He turned away from her and let his eyes return to where they most wanted to be.




She was silent for a long time, staring at Jayden, lost in memories.




“I’m sorry Cal, I really am sorry. I wish I had done something, that I had stood up for him, or even that I had taken the time, made the effort to know him. But I was a child and I knew what would happen if I did.”




“Do you know what they did to him?” Cal’s voice was soft but dangerous and Kelly paused for a long time before she responded.




“I never saw it but... we knew, both of us. We... found the room.”




“And you still turned on him, when he went to the police.”




“We were afraid, Cal. We were kids, our world torn apart. We were sent to a children’s home. We were separated, alone... It was hell.”




“Hell? What do you know about hell? You have no idea what it’s like to be in hell. Jayden is the one who went to hell. Do you have ANY idea what they did to him at that hospital?”




“No. No I don’t. I have no idea about anything to do with him. He lived with us for fourteen years but I never knew him... he didn’t let us.”




“You never let him.” His voice was rising and his hands knotted the sheets on the bed. He glanced at Jayden and made a profound effort to lower his voice and hissed. “You never cared for him, never loved him. None of you. If you had you would have found a way. All you ever did was hurt him.”




“Not like you huh?”




“What?” Cal’s eyes and voice snapped and his lip twisted into a snarl. Kelly recoiled but pressed on, her voice dripping ice.




“Oh come on Cal, be honest for once. Everyone knew it wasn’t just us who hurt him.”




“What the hell are you talking about? What are you trying to imply?”




“I am not implying anything. I’m just telling you that before you start throwing stones at me you want to start thinking about how fragile your own house is.”




“My house is just fine.”




“Really? Well, think again. Have you ever wondered what happened that last day? Didn’t he ever tell you?”




“Tell me what Kelly?” His voice dropped and became dangerously calm. “ I have to tell you that you are walking on very thin ice right now.”




“Yeah well... you should know, you’ve been doing it for years... or have you told him?”




“Told him what?” His voice was soft but deadly and suddenly Kelly realised what she was saying and her eyes widened.




“I... nothing... don’t worry about it. I was out of line, it’s just...”




“No Kelly, you’re not worming out of it this time. You’ve as good as implied that I was somehow responsible for what happened to Jayden and I am not going to let it go. What happened? What does it have to do with me? What am I supposed to have told Jayden?”




Kelly stared at him, her eyes wide, biting her lip.




“What Kelly? What are you trying to say? What was I supposed to have told Jayden?”




She hesitated for a moment, her mind racing. In the end she shook her head and looked him straight in the eyes. “That you love him.”




“What?”




“Everyone knows it Cal, at least my parents did.”




His eyes were wide, shocked and he was trembling but she couldn’t tell why and he didn’t care. “You’re insane.”




“Am I? Then why did he never deny it?”




Cal went very still, his eyes enormous, his face suddenly very pale. “What?”




“My father taunted him about it all the time, accused him of being gay, called him a fag and worse. He referred to you as Jayden’s ‘fuck butty’ and he... he said terrible things... things that he said you did together... He used to go right in Jayden’s face and ask him if he liked fucking you... he said bad things about you and Jayden stood up for you every single time, even though he knew it would get him a beating.”




“You’re insane. That never happened. He would have told me. He would have said something. Why are you saying these things? It’s vile.”




“Is it? On the last day my father was taunting him, calling him pretty boy and fag and... well a lot even worse names He took it all... just sat there looking down. And then he started on you... and Jayden freaked. We... we were scared. No one stands up to my father and Jayden was like a crazy person, shouting at him, telling him that you were a better person than he could ever hope to be... that you were a man and he was just a bully, a coward who only felt like a man when he was terrorising children.”




“Oh my god! He said that? He... he did that... for me?”




“No. He did it because of the anger and pain that had been building up in him for ages. What Dad said about you was the trigger but not the reason, although if... if... if Dad hadn’t started on you I don’t think he would have said anything.”




“What happened?” His voice was flat, his eyes filled with pure horror.




“Dad hit him... he hit him hard and went on hitting him long after he was unconscious... and then he dragged him away and I never saw him again... except at the trial and... you know... on TV and stuff.”




“You saw that. You saw what they did to him and you still stood up for them? Lied for them? Said those terrible things about Jayden?”




“Yes. Yes I did and I’m sorry... I’m so sorry. I’m ashamed of myself and I’m sorry.... I’m so sorry.”




Cal stared at her, his face tormented. “It was my fault? What happened to Jayden was my fault?”




“No... no I never said that. I never... On that last occasion he stood up for you... he did it, not you... and before that... well, it happened anyway... it always happened whether he fought back or not.”




“I... I don’t know what to say... how to feel... I...”




“So... did you... did you ever tell him?”




“Tell him? Tell him what? Oh... no... no I never ... never... How could I ever have told him something like that, especially after... after what happened to him?”




“He loved you too, I’m sure of it. Whether... whether it was in the same way or not... I don’t know but... but he loved you.”




“I know. That’s why I could never tell him. He needed a friend not a complication.”




“What about after? When he was okay again?”




“Okay? He’s never been okay? When he... when he came out of the hospital he was terrible. He was so high on the drugs they were giving him he didn’t know who he was half the time and then... then when he started to come down my mother got him in to see a friend of hers, a psychiatrist who specialises in abuse victims. She helped him a lot but she only taught him how to bury it, not to deal with it.




“I’m sure that’s not what she meant to do but it’s what happened. He buried the memories deep and rebuilt himself but they were like an abscess festering inside him and every now and again it erupted.”




“What do you mean?”




“Jayden’s always been fragile, ever since it happened, well since they fucked him up at the hospital. It was ages before he was anywhere near stable and even then there were times... he would go into this really strange mood and everyone just had to leave him alone. He was struggling and he’d go through phases from morose to manic. He would always end up a shivering, feverish wreck and I’d have to sit up all night just holding him. Then he’d go to sleep and when he woke up he’d be... he could cope again for a while... until the next time.”




“I didn’t know.”




“Of course you didn’t. You weren’t there, no one was there. No one knew except us... the boys. We were there... we were always there.”




“I know... and I wasn’t. I regret that but... but it’s too late now. It’s too late for regrets. All I can do now is the best I can do. At least I can be here for him now.”




“Yeah... like you said... when it’s too late.”




“It’s never too late to show someone you care.”




“Do you think? Why are you here? I mean now... now you know. Why are you still standing here? For Jayden? I don’t think so... it’s too late for him... far too late. He doesn’t know you’re here. He’ll never know you’re here... so why are you here?”




“It’s not as simple as that and you know it. For one thing no one can say for sure what he knows, what he is aware of. Maybe he does know I’m here. Maybe now he will know that I always loved him, even when I was saying that I hated him, when I was believing it... I always loved him.”




“You had a fucking weird way of showing it.”




“I made mistakes. How many times can I tell you, how many ways can I explain it? I was a child. I was afraid. I was confused and he pushed us all away.”




“It’s been six years. You could have come back at any time, said these things to him. Why haven’t you?”




“Well... it’s not that easy, is it? Especially after you started taking off, getting famous. How could I have come to him then, suddenly turned up in his life? He would have thought I was just looking for a slice of his fame.”




“That’s just an excuse. If you were sincere he would have listened.”




“Maybe.”




“At least you would have given him the chance ... the opportunity to hear it, to make up his own mind about it.”




“You fucking hypocrite. You say that to me and you have been lying to him for half his life.”




“I have never lied to him.”




“Oh no? You’ve lied to him Cal... not by what you’ve said but by what you haven’t said. All those times you held him in your arms... what were you thinking about Cal? What was in your mind when you held him close to you? Did you ever tell him? Did you give him the opportunity to make up his own mind?”




Cal opened and closed his mouth, his face ashen. “I’m sorry Cal. I got mad. I shouldn’t have said that. It’s a different situation. I’m sorry. I really am. But, seriously I think you should tell him.”




“Tell him? Now? You are entirely insane. What the hell good would it do now, for either of us?”




“What good would it do him? I don’t know. I don’t now if he can hear you, understand what you say to him. What good would it do you? It would be out there Cal. It wouldn’t be eating away inside you any more.”




“What the fuck do you know about how I feel?”




“I know that life is short and brutal. There is no time for pride, no time for principles or fear. We have to fight for whatever happiness we can get, every moment of it, and love... well, love is as rare and fragile as the rarest flower. If it comes to you then you have to grab it with both hands and never, ever let it go. Tell him Cal, or you will regret it for the rest of your life.”




For a moment Cal stared at her, his eyes wide, then he shook his head. “You’re insane. Now, of all the times... now more than ever I can’t say that to him. I can’t let it out because if I do I won’t be able to let him go.”




“Then don’t let him go.”




“Haven’t you listened to a word I’ve said? He’s dead. The Jayden we knew is dead. Even if this body survives it won’t be Jayden. It will just be someone who looks like him, just a lump of damaged clay, trapping his spirit inside and I... I can’t... I can’t bear...”




“You say that I’m selfish! You don’t know that Cal. It’s just your fear... you are doing this... you are taking away his choices, his chances.”




“Choices? Chances? What choice does he have? He can’t choose whether he lives or dies. He can’t choose whether he ever gets to wake up or not, or if he does whether his body will be broken or his mind destroyed.”




“How do you know?”




“Kelly, listen to yourself. You are so far in denial you are not even making contact with reality. Look at him. Jayden’s dying. He is going to die and there is nothing NOTHING that we can do about it. Nothing that anyone can do about it.”




“Cal... you don’t know that... you just don’t know that.”




“Yes I do Kelly. I do... because... because...”




“Because you are afraid to hope? You are afraid that if you allow yourself to hope you won’t be able to cope if the worst happens. But what you are really doing is wasting time, wasting chances.




“None of us know how long we have, none of us. We have to make the most of every moment. And at this moment Jayden is not dead. He’s alive. He’s here and for all we know he’s hearing every word. And whether he lives or dies then isn’t it better that the time you spend with him is precious? Isn’t it better that the words he hears from you, that you fill the moments with, are words of love and promise and not of fear?”




Cal looked like a cornered animal. He rubbed his face with his hands then got to his feet and shook his head. “I can’t do this... I just can’t.”




“Cal...”




But he was gone. Kelly sat down heavily in the chair he had vacated and took her brother’s hand. “Don’t worry... he’ll be back. He loves you. You know that don’t you? You’ve always known, haven’t you, always?”




Leaning forward slightly she stroked the hair away from his face, then wished she hadn’t. The long, silky sweep of hair was his security blanket, his way of dealing with the world... by hiding from it.




She lifted the thick, soft locks and let them flow through her fingers like a shower of dark rain. Smoothing it into place it suddenly hit her that the face under her fingers, the face that had haunted her dreams for six years was still and cold and the incredible, expressive eyes, that had burned into her soul, watching over her the whole of her life might never, ever look into hers again.




Burying her face in her hands she wept.

Copyright © 2010 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.
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