Behind the city, at the foot of the mountains there's a fissure that splits the hills in two, an ugly battle scar from the land's war with nature. Yet nature's hand, gentle having won that battle has created beauty in the form of wide, wild white water rapids flowing through its depths. And more recently man has added his own touch of aesthetic efficiency, a winged suspension bridge that brings tourists to admire from near and far.
But on this dark afternoon, there is nothing beautiful or even aesthetically pleasing about the scene. The bridge is stark black, it's wings spiked and arches gaping maws across the scar that stands pale grey in the gloom, the water below a rabid frothing as if the very earth were raging. Wind howling, channelled down the fissure to bounce off the craggy bends and overhangs to create miniature cyclones that toss the streaming rain in chaotic spirals, smashing torrents against limestone and iron with equal ferocity.
And any sign of life was safely tucked away, out of the cold and the wet.
Except the stolen motorbike abandoned in the middle of the bridge.
Two feet planted squarely on a railing that's wide enough to stand on comfortably, one hand holds a support strut, bracing against the gales that try to force him off.
Two eyes, grey, staring down at the foaming anger a thousand feet below. Eyes as angry and full of hate as the wind and water.
Lightning cracks the dark sky, sharp and violent and the eyes look up for one instant blue and hopeful, before the grey madness slams back down.
It was Beverly who'd told them it was a mutant and, needing someone or something to blame, Adam blamed her. This was the second time she'd fouled up and it was the same person that had suffered for it. If he didn't know better, he might have almost thought she'd had a vendetta.
Eleven suicides in eleven days.
And it was because they were suicides that it had taken so long for anyone to question them. But one of Beverly's people had. Eleven individuals of varying descriptions with just one thing in common; they'd committed suicide within twenty-four hours of partying at Club Dawn.
Each victim had been seen necking with a stranger, some witnesses said a boy, some said a girl, but all were consisted in the stranger's penchant for licking and sucking the throat.
Vampire. Or possible mutant, said Beverly.
So Adam had sent his team in.
Lost his son and heir. If not in blood, then certainly in spirit.
And never had he felt so guilty and angry in his entire life.
Arms spreading wide, feeling the wind and rain lashing, buffeting, hair and clothes fluttering wildly, drenched through, streaming across his face as he grimaces, wondering why he's here, why it's all welling up tonight.
After all, tonight's no different to any other night.
Tonight he's being honest with him self instead of suppressing it all in that dark place.
Tonight, all the demons are coming out to play.
You give, and you give and you give. And then one day, you wake up to find you've given away your soul and no one noticed. No one ever says words to you that matter.
You're empty, there's nothing left, and still they want more. Still, it's not good enough.
It's your own fault for giving so much, because they've gotten so used to taking, they don't see that inside as you're translucent as you are on the outside.
They don't see the slow bleed inside as it dawns on you that not only is there nothing left, but there's no one left either.
And tonight he's bled dry.
Fingers bleeding on sharp metal as he holds on to the strut.
They'd spent virtually all night at Club Dawn, getting there early, sticking to the sodas and keeping a wary eye out for each other through the smoke and dry ice that swirled around the loud thumping music. In hindsight, Brennan guessed that both he and Jesse had both been watching the girls. And the girls had been watching each other.
Something that at the time Brennan had been both happy and disappointed at. That Shalimar wasn't keeping an eye Jesse was a good thing, the green-eyed monster had said. But then again, she hadn't been keeping an eye on him either. And then he'd kicked himself. They were on a job. No time for petty jealousies.
And anyhow, the boyish looking girl in front of him with the cut away lycra top she was falling out of had been much more interesting. Or so he tried to convince himself.
Then he'd seen Jesse trying to fend off some girl who was trying real hard to get her tongue down his throat.
A flash of something in her hand and Brennan yelled out across the club, into his com ring. But it was all too loud. Jesse, hadn't, couldn't have seen, not until she'd plunged the needle in. The way she fell, Brennan guessed he must have phased his arm, but the way he slumped against the wall, he guessed it hadn't been in time.
Struggling through the crowd, he'd watched Jesse tripping out there and people only laughed as he staggered towards the bathroom, just one of many drunks.
They'd picked up the girl who was lucky to be in one piece by the time Shalimar had done with her. Brennan had never been so afraid of the feral as he'd been then. Apparently the girl swung both ways and found a mark every night trying to find the perfect chemical combo of her new designer drug. The licking thing had been her own private fetish.
No matter their differences, they were just petty internal squabbles. He'd never tell a soul, but Jess was one of only three people he'd ever trust to watch his back. But he'd failed to return the favour.
For Jess and for Shalimar he'd go to hell and back to make sure Jess was brought home safe.
In complete contrast to the speed and ferocity of the wind and rain and water, the river spinning is low, lazy and lethargic.
Like his blood.
Like the long, long wait for someone to say words that would give him value.
He could feel the elements battering at exposed skin, but if the elements reflected his mind then that slow lazy spinning reflected the his corporeal body, which was heavy, lethargic, and warmly numb.
The support his fingers held were now only a faint sensation of pressure.
Emma was still having difficulty holding in the tears.
She'd never felt such empty despair before.
She'd known that the drug was making him feel that way, but it wasn't a hallucinogen as they'd first thought.
It sliced through the mind's natural defences against itself.
Let loose all the fears and insecurities and helped them along with a good dose of despair.
So everything he was feeling was real. Only distilled.
Since that first unexpected boost of her powers so long ago, she'd known he was repressing too much, had a small dark streak of hate and resentment he kept hidden and controlled with and overabundance of compassion and a lack of self of confidence.
But never having gone in and looked, she'd never guessed it ran so deep.
And she didn't need the gift of precognition to know that he was going to be suicide number twelve.
The river's still spinning and his thoughts chaotic but starting to coalesce into a dark, dark ball.
They shouldn't have said those things.
They weren't the words he wanted.
Brennan had said he was sick, needed taking care of. He meant weak. Brennan had always thought he was weak. He'd put his own life on the line for Brennan, more than once. And for the life of him couldn't think why.
Emma had told him to try and get control over his feelings. He must have been projecting them. Bitch didn't like him having feelings, too inconvenient for her. So he'd tried hard not to. And still she was yelling at him to stop. Tough shit, for tonight she can feel everything I feel in all its foul glory.
Shalimar had begged him to stop. Told him he was hurting her. She didn't understand that everything was always about her. Time she learnt. If he was hurting her now then he'd twist the knife deeper, teach her what it was like to suffer for somebody else.
Even Adam got in on the act. Lecturing him like he was a child over the com. Of course he knew he'd been drugged, knew it was the drugs bringing out these thoughts, but it's not like they haven't always been there. Just one word of praise, Adam. That's all I ever wanted from you.
And he's not entirely certain he can feel the support any more.
Shalimar couldn't stop toying with the mangled metal with her fingers.
They'd cornered him in the men's room, sweating and cowering in the corner, eyes wide and terrified.
She'd been terrified that he'd phase through the wall and run away, so they'd tried to coax him out.
She'd thought he'd listened. Was certain he'd respond to her entreaties. She needed him, needed the brotherly love she showed him, the firm shoulder to cry on and the one person who could keep her grounded.
He'd let them all have their say, then his face had screwed up in a terrible agony, head shaking in denial as a harsh, dry sob tore from his throat and he'd faded away anyway.
They'd tracked him a short way.
Only until they'd found his ring in the gutter.
Mangled almost beyond recognition by a massed fist.
The howling wind and rain was outside him now, his skin so numbed it no longer affected him, the river far below roaring out its claim on him.
They'd been his family once.
His big brother.
His big sister.
His kid sister.
Not in blood, but in spirit.
His spirit, his soul was gone.
And so was he.
He couldn't feel anything anymore. Not even the support strut.
They'd been monitoring the police bands aboard the Helix amongst other sources.
A jumper had been reported up on the old Wyvern Chasm Bridge.
A long shot, maybe.
The wind was brutal and fast as the river came towards him, the feeling as the wind ripped through the widespread fragments of his being indescribable.
It hurt. A slicing red-hot agony that screeched out the pain of life.
And the river slamming upwards roaring out the agony of release.
No! You bastard! You can't!
Oh god no please no I can't watch I can't not watch I can't bear it oh god it hurts so much I can't deal with it too many emotions why couldn't we have been in time…
You can't leave me! What am I going to do without you?
Oh my god. I never told you how proud of you, how proud I always will be. Forgive me.
High up there, the bridge spins lazily against the black sky breaking blue. A little warmth from the burgeoning sun on his face as he lies jammed between two rocks in the rushing water, cold, clear and pure as it washes away sweat grime and tears. The wind has died, the remaining rain a soft drizzle.
Shadows break up the view as his family vie for the small space close to him.
His face, tired and drawn, eyes reflecting the ever-expanding blue above, breaks into a smile.
"I can fly," he says.