Lazarus' eyes widened as Melissa cried for him not to leave her.
‘I'm not going to leave you, Melissa. I can't,' he smiled a little.
‘Hmm?' she questioned, still clinging to him like he was a life buoy.
‘I couldn't leave you, Melissa.' His voice was quiet, but his tone was penetratingly serious. ‘I love you.' He said simply.
‘Everything that loved me found a way to leave me.' She replied. He shook his head.
‘I won't.' He told her. He sat down on the edge of the bath and she sat with him. He pulled her onto his lap and tightened his arms around her waist.
‘I hope fate won't take you as well.' She cried, relaxing her grip a little, though he didn't loosen his arms around her.
‘Fate's already tried to tear us apart and we're still here.' He tried to make his voice as reassuring as possible. She simply nodded then looked at him.
‘Sorry, I'm being stupid. Aren't I?' She lifted her hand to wipe way the tears from her face, but Lazarus stopped her, cupping her face in one hand, using a thumb to push them away.
‘No. You've every right to be scared of losing me - the hunters are still out there.' He said unhappily.
‘If... if I kill them, I lose you. If I don't, I lose you.' She stuttered. He rested his head on her shoulder, staring at the tiled wall. He sighed.
‘This is why we left it to the police, so that we don't have to kill them. But I won't let them take me from you again, I won't. I can't let them do that to you.' He murmured. Melissa closed her eyes against the thought.
‘We... have the viewing tomorrow, don't we?' she muttered, trying her best to forget the empty grief she had felt when he had been taken away before. He lifted his head.
‘Yeah. I booked tickets for the Eurotunnel. All we need to do is turn up and get on the train.' He said.
‘Good. I hate planes.' She shuddered for a moment, before placing a smiling softly. ‘I suppose I'll let you get your shower. At this rate you'll never get one.' She laughed slightly, getting up from his lap. He stood with her, his grip around her loosened from the movement. He kissed her gently and dropped his hands from around her waist.
‘I'm sorry for worrying you like this I just... It haunts me sometimes.' She kissed his cheek softly. He nodded.
‘I'd be kinda worried if it didn't, to be honest.' He smiled.
‘Yeah.' She nodded in absent agreement, and then lifted her hand up to her neck, still feeling as if the cross was still there. ‘I just get scared too easily.'
‘It's okay.' Lazarus said.
‘I hope so.'
‘It is.' He smiled warmly and began to unbutton his shirt, reaching over to turn the shower on. ‘Don't mean to be rude, but I already smell enough of dog without adding to the odour.'
‘Oh it's okay. I'll be in the living room.' Melissa left the bathroom and shut the door behind her. She curled up on the sofa and for a moment replayed Lazarus' words in her mind. "I won't let them take me from you again, I won't. I can't let them do that to you." She sighed and hugged a cushion to her, turning on the TV.
‘... Hunter group that claim to protect the town from the creatures of the night. A lab has been found, abandoned, underground in...' the news reporter paused incredulously. ‘Underground in the woods.' She finished and blinked at the camera. Melissa tensed.
‘About time,' she muttered at the big screen.
‘We go now to the scene where Andrew Donaldson is exploring the abandoned lab.'
‘Thanks Faith.' Andrew said, the camera cutting to him standing outside the cottage. ‘Yes as cliché and weird as it sounds - and of course completely ridiculous - we have found an underground lab. This unassuming cottage hides what looks more like a set of torture chambers than a lab. I'll be going back down in a minute to show you what we've found, the police are taking DNA and working on what they've found as we speak and they have given us exclusive access. You may find the images distressing.' The reporter led the cameraman down into the lab. It seemed as though the cameraman was more interested in turning the report into a horror film akin to the Blair Witch Project rather than reporting the news. He pointed the camera around every room, taking in the details.
The detainee cells were bare, cleared out, but dirty and it was obvious they had been used.
‘It stinks down here,' the reporter grumbled, covering his nose. Remembering the camera could pick up his voice still he turned to the camera and explained the smell: ‘like human waste and wet dog. It's horrible.' He said leading them further through the place. The dirty white walls looked so eerie with all the fluorescent lights switched on but no one around. They came to the room where Lazarus had been held. The chair was still in the middle of the floor, a pair of handcuffs was fastened to the back of the chair. A member of the forensics team walked into view a small key in hand. He unlocked the hand cuffs and bagged them, taking them away for DNA testing. The camera swept around the room, to the table behind the chair, the dog bowl on the floor.
‘If you thought this looked more like a torture room, the cells beyond this are worse.' the reporter pushed through a door to a dimly lit corridor and pointed for the cameraman to go forwards until he came to the first cell. He showed the thick steel door and then looked inside the small room. The silver manacles on the walls needed no explaining.
‘No...' Melissa moaned. The images filled her head; she remembered Lazarus' starved, beaten form in the manacles. The memory of the smell - blood and death - flooded her. She put her hands to her head, clutching at her hair.
In the shower, Lazarus was oblivious to what was on the TV, though he heard the muffled sounds of the program through the door. He stepped out of the bath and turned the water off, scrubbing himself dry. Pulling on his boxers, he opened the door and went to the bedroom, not seeing Melissa closing her eyes against the images on screen. As he dressed in the bedroom, he heard Melissa moan and the words from the reporter as he refused to go any further into the lab. Half dressed, he straightened, his eyes wide. He walked slowly towards Melissa on the sofa, his shirt clutched tightly in his balled fist. He sat, instantly transported back as the image sat on the screen mocking them.
The woman talked to the reporter as they made their way back to the room with the chair. The camera was pointed around the room again, and the reporter talked to the woman in the studio again, now off screen. The shirt fell from his hands to the floor as he watched, dumbfounded as forensics wandered around taking samples of anything that could be sampled. He glanced away from the screen to Melissa and he leant over, wrapping his arms around her.
‘It's okay, it's okay,' he murmured.