20. Peter's Choices [III]

Dr. Costello stood up and paced himself around Peter to Phillip. It was true: he did have more than just a little shred of respect- and possibly, love- for his son. Besides, now Phillip was his patient too.

“Okay,” Dr. Costello sighed, “Stand up. I’ll have a look to see what I need to do.”

Phillip obliged, and soon his father was poking and prodding Phillips’s injuries and making quiet observations about the wounds and the little bindings as he went. Peter stood to one side, feeling more alone than ever.

“So… What do think someone wants with the grassland? Who do you think these people are? I mean, they could be any type of person,” he remarked.

Frozen by the examination, Phillip’s eyes slid over to watch his brother.

“I don’t know, Peter. Ow.” Phillip said thickly, for his father had two fingers upon his nose, tapping the bones that might have been broken.

“Sorry… But this grassland story is nothing for you two to worry about, or even pay heed to. Peter, you aren’t even allowed to go to the grassland; it’s absolutely none of your business.”

Peter opened his mouth, but stopped, decided otherwise, and closed it. He looked around the study, at all the neat-topped ink-pens, and the leather-bound medical documents and books, and at the framed certificates that cluttered up the wall. He twiddled his short thumbs, and refrained from biting at his nails.

“About that, father…” Was all he managed to say.

“There, I’ve done my examination,” Dr. Costello said to Phillip, “I’ll need to set the bone in your arm as soon as I’ve got the materials, say, tomorrow morning, and your nose will have to heal naturally, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find something in my resources that will aid re-growth, and healthy bone restructuring. You will be as fine as the rocks once again.”

Then he turned his attention to Peter.

“What is it, Peter? You’re surely not asking me to release you from your punishment? What kind of example would that be setting, eh?”

Peter bit his dry lips, rubbing over the previous cuts that had left slight ruby grooves in the thin rose image.

“Father…I cannot say that I did what you would think as right, but yes, I am asking you to, please, let me leave the house. There are certain things…” (There Peter looked straight over to Phillip), “That I need to do.”

“What are these things that you sneak off to do, Peter? What is it that you’re concealing?”

“Father,” Phillip interrupted, “He only wants to help me.” He gestured to his wounds, “Let him go out to help with what I cannot do.”

“Hmm, I can see your dire predicament. Still, I cannot afford to let him go. Phillip, I appreciate your request, but if you are to leave our grounds, Peter stays with me. If you need any special assistance, I suggest that you take one of your other, more suitable brothers, Ryan for instance.”

Whilst Phillip’s eyes narrowed once again (he knew that his father only said such things out of spite and a mind foreign to Ryan’s malicious ways), Peter’s eyes widened. He begged the men to set him free.

“Please, Father, it has to be Phillip and I…”

“Why?” Dr. Costello challenged.

Peter faltered; his loyalties lay more with Phillip, but freedom was certainly a tempting Devil’s offer.

The End

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