17. Wounds

Peter blinked into the gloom, the dark shapes slowly forming the dull hallway objects: like the soft wood end table with drawers and the shadow of the man who was getting up, looming over Peter.

“Peter…” Phillip cried thickly through his broken nose, “What happened?”

“You were sleepwalking and you fell. Here, I’ll get the lights, and we can assess the…situation.”

Peter helped himself up, and grabbed the unplugged cable. He gathered it all and could feel the heat as the lights popped back on when he reattached it back in to the plug in the attic.

Phillip moaned as he held his left hand to his face, letting the right arm flop uncontrollably back down. The blood pumped out his nose and flowed, like a river, down across his lips and chin. Phillip pulled a face as the salty copper taste gave a horrible tang to his mouth; coupled with the sharp pain of his injuries, it was ghastly. The disjointed arm hurt the most, sending sharp signals of soreness whenever Phillip tried to get his motor neurons to respond. As though it was deliberately defying him, Phillip’s arm felt heavier the more he tried to get a response from it.

“Peter, get help!” Phillip clutched at his face, but Peter was standing stock still, frozen by his fear of wounds.

“I…can’t. Ryan hates us, I’m sure of it; father won’t give me free will; mother doesn’t want to be disturbed, and neither will the other brothers.”

“Well, go to the servants. Urg.” Phillip couldn’t believe what he was saying, but the pain was clouding his mind, and animalistic tendencies told him to clear the fog quickly.

“I’m…not allowed,” Peter was surprised how much he was adhering to his father’s law. It seemed that Dr. Costello had an influence like that of the wind. Stubborn.

“And I won’t leave you alone.”

Phillip narrowed his eyes through the haze of dizziness.

“Faithful Peter.”

He spat out a globule of copper-tasting red-tinted saliva, aimed unintentionally onto the carpeted floor at Peter’s feet.

“Sorry,” Phillip mumbled, sheepishly, “But, hurry up and do something. Urg.”

Although he was a strong man, Phillip was trying, in vain, to stem the flow of blood from his broken nose with the cuff of his white and blue pinstripe shirt. It was a mess.

“Okay… Okay…” Peter stumbled and stared at his brother, gathering spirit. He stopped. “Does it…hurt?”

“Yes,” growled Phillip, “Which is why a first-aid kit would be very useful right now.”

Peter started.

“Sorry,” he muttered, and, having taken a deep breath of the thick air and coughed it back out, he closed his trembling eyes and, reluctantly taking his neat pocket handkerchief, dabbed at the blood on his brother’s face. Some of it crumbled away, dried, but most of it was soft and squishy, just like Phillip’s features. Peter abruptly shut his eyes in fear and disgust.

Once he was cleared of most of the current gore, Phillip indicated the attic and said:

“There’s a first-aid kit up there, I know. Don’t worry about leaving me alone for a few seconds; I’ll be safe.”

Peter scratched his chin and the beginnings of a stubbly beard, but after a second, did as Phillip had suggested.

Once back on firm ground, he opened the small green box and peered at the little contents: a handful of granite-coloured sticking plasters, a syringe and scalpel set, a small square of cloth, and three about-twenty-centimetres-long white strips of bandages, the latter which Peter removed and set about wrapping up Phillip’s broken arm. In his fear, he was clumsy and reluctant to handle the wounds, something that the injured Phillip did not fail to notice.

“Peter…” he said, aware of the thick trickles of blood that were beginning to run out of his nostrils again, “I know that this is hard for you.”

The End

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