Part of me felt as though I should be relieved. Like maybe my family were at the hospital or something now instead, but the unease didn’t lift. I padded back downstairs to where Maxxie was stood with a cigarette poking out from between his lips, smoke creeping up to hug the ceiling.

“I think you’ve got the right idea there,” I muttered, pulling the packet from his shirt pocket and stealing one. He opened his mouth to protest, but one glance at my face told him enough to shut him up.

“What did you find up there?” he whispered, as though whatever had been here before was still hanging around waiting to pounce. I inhaled a big lungful of smoke, resisting the urge to cough before I answered.

“A lot of blood,” I said, breathing out the smoke as I spoke, “nothing else. I should call the hospital and see if they know anything.” Maxxie nodded dumbly, opening the front door.

“I’m just gonna...” he trailed off, gesturing outside. I shrugged. There was no reason for him to stick around. I don’t really remember the conversation I had with the nurse on the phone, but the long and short of it was that they hadn’t had any casualties in with the name Daly, so I just sort of thanked her and hung up, feeling kind of lost. Remembering the cigarette clamped between my fingers, I had another long drag before joining Maxxie outside. He shot me a questioning look, silently asking if there was any news. I just shook my head. Biting his lip a little, he threw his arms around me. The silent hug was more appreciated than I thought it might be. The situation wasn’t good, but I was by no means alone in it. I hugged back, trying not to crush him, or betray just how scared I was beginning to feel. 

The End

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