Terry swam back up into consciousness. At first all he could do was lie still with his eyes tight closed, smells of musty wood and dampness, yellowing paper and old cardboard filled his head and he started to retch. Eyes still closed he pushed himself up onto his knees and instinctively turned his head away as he was violently sick. His head pulsed whilst he sank back down onto all fours.
He couldn’t comprehend what had happened. He rubbed the back of his head and slowly opened his eyes. He had a cut, his hair was matted with blood and a slow thick trickle was spreading around the sore lump he could feel nestling underneath, throbbing slowly and perceptibly swelling as he sat up, head down. Dave.
He ducked again. Avoiding perhaps another blow. The chair was upturned by his side. The room was almost dark, lights off, storm battering at the front windows, blocking out the white grey sky. Dave was gone.
The smell of his own vomit almost made him throw up again. His thoughts pieced together the last few moments. Not all of them made sense until he realised that he was piecing together not just the last few moments but the moments from years and years ago, forgotten, hidden, unknown. He moved away, slumped up against the front of the counter dislodging some of the magazines.
Somewhere someone was yelling his name.
Sometime someone was yelling his name.
He crawled to the end of the counter and curled up, wanting to be left alone. To sink into complete oblivion. His stomach was churning and it had nothing to do with the blow to the head. His eyes were watering and his fists clenched hard enough to hurt. The tightness meant to cause enough physical pain to stop that sickening inside – but it was never enough and it never had been.
The yelling moved. It was somewhere behind him. He could hear the sound of kicks and cursing. Somewhere a long way away the sound of wood splintering invaded his attempt to disappear, to shrink small and be left alone.
Behind him he heard the sound of a door crunch against the wall as it swung back and he felt the blast of wet air as the wind pushed past and flicked the pages of books, stirring dust from shelves and raising sweat on Terry’s forehead.
He was aware of the people standing over him and could see the two pairs of feet, one in boots and the other in beach shoes. A hand reached down to hold his shoulder gently but with tension. It was cold and shaking.
Slowly he looked up – Jaz and Crush, it was Jaz’s hand on his shoulder. “What happened mate ?” he said almost gently.
Terry couldn’t answer, but struggled to pull himself up using Jaz as a lever. Jaz didn’t try to help, just let him work at it for himself. Crush flicked on the lights.
“Shit ” He just pointed at the pool of blood and vomit on the bare wood floor.
“It’s OK……..I’m OK” Terry managed to speak at last. “I’m not, you know, OK, not really. But that…” he pointed at the blood, “Looks worse than it is…..got smacked over the head with something….Dave……..I….”
“Easy mate – come on – you need anything….?”
“We came down when you didn’t come back; saw Dave driving off like a lunatic and no sign of you. So we been bangin’ on the windows ever since, couldn’t really see in but thought that was you on the floor. Jaz kicked the old back door in. What the hell happened?” The words just fell out of Crush’s mouth, he looked at Terry, open mouthed and waited.
“Dave, oh Christ Dave….!”
“Terry, you’re not making any sense, he just smacked you round the head…”
“No – leave that…” Terry was on his feet lurching and agitated now, holding the back of his head and walking up and down, round in circles, looking like he was trying to clear his thoughts simply by walking away from them and refusing to let them catch up.
“Dave – Dave’s going to do something really bad…..” Terry stopped – stared at Jaz and Crush. “Where was he going ?”
“Cliff road I guess…”
“He’s going to go in off the rocks…”
“In this fuckin’ weather, he’s not that fuckin’ crazy…”
“He bloody is, isn’t he?” said Crush, looking directly atTerry.
“Yeah, he is – and he isn’t coming out again.”
They all looked at the window where the storm was driving great sheets of rain in blasts. Terry pulled himself up straight, “And you know what – the poor bastard doesn’t even need to. It wasn’t how he thinks…” his voice cracked, he shook himself.
“Get us up there – come on – get us some sort of transport – we need to get there too….”
Crush pulled out a set of keys from his jacket,