Companion to Sinking and Falling.
Trouble and I fly together through the skies of Ireland. He smiles, actually smiles, for the first time in three months. Three months since his brother died. God I pity him. I wouldn’t have been able to go on if he or Foaly died, and yet he can when his second to last family member dies in front of him. I smile back, a joy like to other building in my chest. He’s fine again. Just another weight off my shoulders.
We’re over deep blue sea, simply hovering, enjoying each others company. He smiles again, although this time theirs a bitter sadness behind it. Tears are welling in the mud brown eyes I’ve come to know so well. “Sorry.” He says, and suddenly, I’m terrified. He drops like a stone from view.
It takes me a moment to realise what just happened. A moment that could have saved his life.
I go after him as fast as I can. I’m catching up with him! Thank the gods, I’m catching up with him! He’s a mere meter from the cold, unforgiving water now. I’m a meter behind him. No. No. This can not be happening! Not today!
His body hits the surface. He lands on his back and I can see the smile on his face. He wanted this. He did this on purpose. But why today? Why not tomorrow? I stare for a second, noting how various limbs are broken. He is broken. Broken beyond repair. But that’s what they said about Butler, wasn’t it? Doesn’t he still have a chance?
No. He doesn’t. He might as well be in a million pieces right now like Julius. There is no returning from this grave.
I feel something hot and wet streaming down my cheeks. Am I crying? Yes, I think I am. Wouldn’t you? Watching your best friend die, wouldn’t you?
He’s starting to sink now. First his head is beneath the waves, and it goes down from there. He’s lost now, with no way to return. Gone with the Wind, that’s a Mud Man book, right? Well I think I have the title for the sequel.
Gone with the Sea.