Chapter 5.9Mature

Beth screamed, sitting up; practically head butting Caelan as she did.

“I told you to hold her down, Caelan!” Zeke snapped at him. He was kneeling on the floor beside her bed.

She screamed again, struggling to get away from him. She fell off the bed on the other side, her elbow hitting the floor first.

“Beth, calm down, everything’s okay,” Zeke said, standing up and moving as if he were going to come round to her.

“Get away from me!” she screeched at him, shocking all the others in the room.

Isabella was stood at the end of the bed, looking extremely worried; Liam was pacing in the centre of the room; and Elijah was leaning against the door, to stop anyone else coming in.

Zeke stopped still. “Beth, I’m only here to help you. I’m not going to hurt you.”

“I don’t believe you!”

Caelan moved towards her and she let him. He knelt down next to her, a calming hand on her wrist. Zeke seemed to take this as a sign that he could approach.

“Stay away!” she screamed again.

“Beth, what’s this about?” he asked, trying to keep his voice calm.

“I saw what you did,” she exclaimed.

“What do you mean?”

“To all those people. There was fire everywhere, all over the place. You were happy about it!”

Zeke’s face paled and his arm dropped down by his sides. Everyone turned to look at him.

“Zeke?” Caelan asked, his voice strained. “What does she mean?”

Zeke didn’t address him, instead speaking to Beth. “I’ve changed since then. I’m not like that anymore. I became a doctor because I felt guilty. I don’t want to do that again.”

“I don’t believe you,” she whispered.

He looked at her for a few moments. “Could everyone leave us, please?” he asked quietly.

After a few moments, Elijah and Liam left.

“Zeke—”

“Ibby, please. Go.”

Isabella met Beth’s eyes. “I’ll be just outside.” And then she left.

Silence settled as no one spoke or moved.

“I’m not leaving,” Caelan said decidedly.

“I didn’t expect you to.” Zeke sat down on the foot of Beth’s bed. “What did you see?”

“It started with Isabella here, telling me it was past midday and I’d only just woken up. She said that you’d gone wandering outside so I got up. I wanted to come and find you. Then I turned around and I was in a field. You were standing in the middle of it. There were bonfires all around, of people, children,” her voice cracked. She noticed Zeke’s flinch. “You were looking around and you were... proud of what you’d done. Some... thing showed up. It had been speaking to me but then it showed itself and—”

“And it looked like a walking corpse,” he finished for her, his voice flat and his eyes void of feeling.

She looked up at him. “Yeah, it did.”

He dropped his head into his hands and Beth realised for the first time that his hair was wet. And so was Caelan’s.

“This is worse than I thought,” he whispered.

The End

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