Even through his growing doubts, he stood there considering the matter, one hand remaining placed to the growing tree, the other resting gently on his brother's arm.
“I don’t know,” Peter finally said, without much conviction. He wandered away from the tree, and began to scour the area, lifting up filthy boulders of rubble and tossing them aside without care, and squinting down into the cobwebbed corners to look for signs of a projection system, similar to those used at the pictures.
“What?” Phillip swiftly turned to the hole that Peter had left beside him, and starting at the lack of his brother. “What are you doing?”
“Hmm?” Peter lifted up his head from inspecting a tear in the fabric of the chaise longue, his face displaying a taunting smear of dirt across it. His face also displayed the hints of guilt about his being caught.
“What are you doing, Peter? We won’t find out where she’s gone by searching through old relics of the home. Actually…we might. Good idea, Peter!”
And Phillip followed his brother’s path across the remnants of the living room.
Peter brushed the dirt off his face and scowled. Since he had been forced to leave Beth, it was a regular addition to his features.
“Well, no, Phillip. Don’t you think that this fantasy has gone on long enough?”
“What do you mean ‘fantasy’? You saw my fiancée, flesh and blood, same as I did.”
“But was it ‘flesh and blood’, Phillip? Really?”
Phillip took a shocked step backwards.
“You doubt that which our eyes saw here, don’t you? You of all people think that I am wrong. I trusted you…I thought that you were the one who cared, who understood, because of the link you have to otherworldly things; but there you were, leading me on all this time.”
“That’s not what I-” was all Peter managed to say, before Phillip pounced on him, clumsily tackling him to the ground, and swiping at him with one fist as viciously as the sudden stabbing pains in his crushed arm would let him.
“I went to war!” he yelled, “Painful war, and now I am enduring a war of the heart that they, that family of mine, created. When will it end?”
Peter spluttered words as he tried to shield himself from his brother’s accurate blows. The hits were fierce and passionate, and soon the young man felt what would soon be bruises. Nevertheless, his swings hoped to knock some sense into Phillip.
“Phillip! Argh! Please! I was only suggesting that maybe the real Aidelle is only in your mind. Argh! Plea-please consider that what we saw was only an image.”
This only made Phillip more emotionally hurt and furious.
“An image would not react to me the way my Aidelle did. Don’t make out that she is gone. Do you really think that I can’t feel her love burning for me somewhere in the world? I’m not going crazy, that I promise you, Brother. Oh, and don’t take your anger about Beth out on me.”
Peter stopped, and, for his lack on concentration, received a graze on the cheek from a particularly sharp piece of jutting rubble. The words had dug into his consciousness more than Phillip’s blows ever had, but that was not what had made him look away from the fight.
A bubble of light seemed to grow from the centre of the room, from the same place as Aidelle had appeared from the last time. It opened out until it lit the room with artificial glow, mimicking daylight, albeit from a day when the sky refused to shine, and when storms pushed their clouds out as banners flickering across the heavy canvas of life.
As the light began to lift and position the furniture back into its original places, the fuzzy images of two people began to be clear through the wide mist. Their voices also spilt out into Phillip and Peter’s life, and they finally became known to be young women.
“Wow…” gasped Peter, through his bleeding lip.