There was a pause and then all four stepped back with a shocked expression. It was Miller who fell but judging by the cursing I am guessing he wasn’t dead.

“Oh God!” Charlotte cried and all eyes turned to her as she realised that she was holding the gun. How did that happen? She stared at it and then she looked towards Mark whose lips were twisted into a smug smile. Charlotte growled and lifted the gun, pointing it at my brother.

“No!” I screamed and Player looked up from where he was kneeling by Miller and saw what was going on. He tackled Charlotte for the gun telling her that she would regret any action she might take that way. I wrested on my clothes and, masked by the general chaos of the room, ran to grab my brother by the arm and run from the house with him.

I couldn’t let Charlotte hurt him and I couldn’t watch him be arrested either. Despite everything I loved my brother and that was why I was helping him. The act made sense to me at the time because it seemed like I was left with no choice. By his side was where I was meant to be and I would protect him from everything. Even Charlotte I realised at that moment.

We ran in silence with no real direction just to put distance between us and what we had left behind. When we drew to a halt Mark shrugged off my hold on his arm. “Well runt, what was that about? You saved me!”

I shrugged. “You are my brother and... And I love you!”

“More fool you,” he retorted as he roughly grabbed my arm and started to lead me away. “Not that I blame you for saving the superior one of course. For once runt I am proud to have a brother because you did the right thing. There is so much you need punishing for but because of what you did I will go easy on you.”

You would have thought my heart would have sunk at the mention of punishment but strangely that wasn’t the case. The reason for that was simply due to the fact that he had said he was proud of me. I knew I could take whatever he wanted to give me because right now I loved him. “Thank you,” I responded, knowing that it was what he wanted to hear.

Mark didn’t even glance my way after that but just pulled me until we reached a house I hadn’t seen for a long time, our mothers. I stared at the door, wondering if she was all right or if he had hurt her. “She went away when I gave her tickets and she never questioned why I wanted to stay here when I have a house of my own,” he answered my unspoken question.

I remembered Lockley telling me that my mother was away so I nodded. Then I gasped as I realised what I had just thought. Lockley told me. Mark smiled as if he knew what I was thinking. “How do you think I knew where you were?” he said as he opened the door and pointed to an opened letter on a small table in the hall.

Mark pushed me into the small pantry where I saw all the things that I was used to seeing in the basement of the other house. It was strange though because instead of dread I was filled with a feeling not unlike happiness. It is hard to describe but I had missed this somehow and I felt like I was returning home.

I turned and as Mark advanced I got onto the table before he asked. As he let the whip lash down, tearing shirt and skin alike, I screamed but inside I was smiling. I was where I belonged and getting what I deserved. I was home.


The End

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