Chapter Thirteen. Rossie
I don't know how long it was until Al came. I was shivering, my clothes stuck to my body, the dampness seeping through to my bones. You were cold too, Jack. I wanted to warm you up.
"Rossie! Rossie! Rossie! My little angel... You're alive..."
It was Al's voice. But I was fierce sure it was Himself calling me into the light. I would have gladly followed Him.
I was suddenly in his arms - Al, I mean, not God. He was holding me for dear life. He was shaking. I was shaking. I'd thought I was out of tears, but now that Al was here, they came flooding back with a vengeance. I couldn't even get the words out to tell Al what had happened.
"K-K-Killed him..." I stammered.
"Awh, pet! I thought he got you too!" said Al, and I realized he was crying too.
"What h-h-h-happened when Mink w-w-w-went back -?"
"I thought you were dead, Rossie, girl!" he sobbed. "I gave him everything we own. Even tried to give him Nibbles, but the plucky little fellow took off. I covered half the debt, but he'll no doubt be back to claim the balance. It's best if we move on."
I looked at Jack's cold body. I didn't even know who his parents were, so I couldn't tell them what had become of their son.
"We'll go to the Gardai, Rossie," said Al, as though reading my mind.
I nodded, breaking into tears again. Now that I'd started, I doubt I'd ever stop.
It was a blur, the last couple of weeks; I'd had to give an official statement to the Gardai about what had happened with Jack and Mink. I finished up with it yesterday. I never found out how Jack's parents reacted to the news. I think that's one of the worst parts.
Now we're packing up, ready to move on.
Move on. It's a weird couple of words. All I've ever had to do in life was move on; live through things, cope with them, and then move on.
I finger the bracelet on my wrist as I glance around the interior of the old courthouse one last time. There's been no sign of Nibbles since he took fright of Mink. Good for him, I suppose.
As for Mink, Al hasn't heard from him. Hopefully by the next time he pops around for a visit, we'll have something to give him to cancel out the debt.
Come to think of it, I still have to get the full story on why Al owes him money.
Oh well. Story for the road, I suppose.
"Rossie," Al calls, sticking his head through the gap in the wall. "We have to get moving, girl."
I nod. I glance down at the bracelet. It has three charms now, instead of just the original two. I don't know when Jack managed to slip the new one on. I hold it on my forefinger; a small heart-shape, with cursive letters that spell out;
"I love you."
Love you too, Jack.