Sash sighed as he typed the final word that he wanted to write. Panic flashed through him for a moment as he realised that he had forgotten to be discreet but, reading it back, he breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed like he hadn’t said enough to give himself or the Revolution away.
He stared at the screen as he waited for a reply.
Ten seconds, thirty, a minute. Two. Five.
He wondered if he’d sacred the woman off — it wouldn’t surprise him. After all, he’d scared his parents a million times over; his brother was terrified of him now, he knew. Even with Tom, he occasionally saw a flash of fear in his eyes. It was as if they were scared that what he had would catch.
Something came up on the screen. She was finally replying.
Aleks, it’s me. I’m sorry I lied to you; this was a mistake. A really big one. I’m coming home now — please, just wait for me to get back. Then we can talk about this. T
He read it ten times before he understood what it said. Tom had made it all up? It didn’t make any sense. Tom knew that he could ask him anything. Anything. He might have difficulty telling him, but he’d try his best.
He hadn’t felt this betrayed since Tam had locked him up on… on that day. He trusted Tom. Or at least, he had. Now… Now he didn’t.
There was a bad side of breaking down the wall inside his brain, and he was on it. He looked around desperately, not even sure what he was looking for.
Before he could find it, Tom ran through the door.
“No.” His voice was rough with suppressed tears. It felt like years since he had cried.
It’s going to be okay, Sash. Don’t cry.
“It was a mistake, Aleks, I know it was. But I’m worried about you.”
Sash shook his head. “Aren’t you always? Isn’t that what this is about? You worry about me, I mope? It goes around in circles until one day — you hope — the circle stops? After all of the things that have happened…” He looked away, unable to watch Tom realise that what he’d done was worse than he could ever imagine. “He told me that he’d make it. Annie told me he’d be fine. Lies. Everyone I love lies, and I’m sick of it.”
Tom sighed behind him. “We do it because we love you. They were trying to protect you.”
He snorted, turning back to the man that had found himself picking up the pieces from that ‘protection’. “And that went so well, didn’t it? Protecting me?”
“They tried.” Tom glanced up at Sash, his eyes showing discomfort. “Aleks, I’m just trying to protect you. What you said about the voices, I just –”
“If you’d asked me, I would have talked to you. Because I trusted you, Tom. But not now. You don’t get to tell me what to do, either,” he added, the final, crumbly bits of wall exploding outwards from the intensity of his rage. He took a moment to adjust to the idea that he’d be able to feel again and walked straight out of the flat.
This is more of a cliffhanger for me than for you, I’m afraid, since this doesn’t come with the context that Sash going out means people recognising and killing him — oh look, you have context. To be continued…