Thanks for the reviews guys!! They really get me motivated. Anyhoo! Here you go!
Huey re-entered the room carrying a small first aid kit. One quick sweep of the kitchen showed him where his brother was – sitting on a stool pulled up to the kitchen counter. The large seat dwarfed him, and the even bigger sweatshirt he'd put on didn't help. Riley looked so pale to Huey's eyes. Maybe it was the lighting…
"Here," He said, coming to stand beside Riley, and taking the younger boy's hand. "I'm just going to put some peroxide on it and a band aid."
"But it ain't bleedin' no more." Riley said, sounding oddly defensive.
"That doesn't matter. It will help keep germs from getting near it and it'll help it heal faster.
"Mhm." Riley mumbled, obviously disinterested. "Can I just go fix the wall?"
"Why don't you let it wait until tomorrow?" Huey asked, just wanting to go to bed, but not entirely sure he should leave Riley alone again.
"No way! Grandad won't let me eat tomorrow if I wait, and besides, I'm wide awake." Riley said, but didn't pay any attention to Huey. He just kept his eyes glued to the window. Maybe he didn't want to look at the cut that was getting cleaned. Huey held back a laugh. Yeah right. Riley jumped at the chance to show off a new scar. Why would this be any different?
"You do know that it's almost 1 in the morning. Grandad is gonna kill you if he hears someone hammering down here." Huey said, trying to hide his fatigue. He'd often stayed up late battling insomnia, but this night felt promising. Sleep was in his immediate future.
"I'll just do it outside. I got everything I need. I'm gonna do it no matter what you say." The rebellious side of Riley was poking its ugly head.
"Whatever." Huey groaned as he finished and cleaned up all of the trash. Riley didn't bother with anything else; he just grabbed the necessary tools and went out the back door.
Riley didn't wait to let his eyes adjust this time. He knew every obstacle in the back yard and could dodge them easily. When he got to the hole, he sighed and dropped the tools. It wasn't easy hiding the pain from Huey – especially when he was looking right at him. Riley had resorted to just looking out the window and focusing on something else, hoping that his brother wouldn't see.
Riley sat down on the damp grass and held back a moan. The pain in his arm was growing close to unbearable. The stunt in the basement was nothing compared to this. Another sigh and Riley looked up, thanking anyone who cared enough to listen. It was a close call, but Huey didn't seem to notice. Maybe it was the dim lighting of the basement. The real wound Riley was trying to hide was not an easy thing to miss. Just above his wrist – red, raw, and swelling, was what was really causing him all the pain.
He'd gotten it earlier – before dinner. At first he wasn't sure what it was, but as time passed he settled on it being a bite of some sort.
The night drug on and Riley did the best he could at fixing the hole. Two things made it particularly difficult. One was the constant throbbing in his right arm, and the other was that the whole neighborhood was sleeping. It was hard to hammer something on a street so quiet. As time passed, Riley added a third thing to the list. Sickness.
It started with a slight bout of dizziness, and soon escaladed.
Huey laid completely still, trying to calm his mind. Sleep was never easy for him. He let his thoughts wonder through the day and what tomorrow would be like. Just when he could feel sleep beckoning, the door creaking open – jarring his mind and waking his whole body up. Damnit. He knew it was Riley, but still his body was alert. He'd never be able to sleep now.
"H-huey?" Normally Huey would've ignored Riley. Normally he would've willed himself to forget his brother was even there. Waking him up was never a nice thing to do. But this time was different. Huey grew up with Riley – grew up with Riley's voice, and he could hear a stutter from a mile away.
Huey sat up quickly, turning toward Riley and taking his brother's appearance in. He was slumped over, gripping the bed sheets. His whole face looked tired, and the way he kept blinking his eyes tightly made him seem drugged. So many things ran through Huey's mind, and yet he could not bring himself to even speak.
"I'm sorry." Riley was breaking down. Huey could see the sparkle of tears beginning to form in his eyes – and still he couldn't say anything. A few moments passed and the younger boy seemed to compose himself.
"What's wrong?" Huey was surprised to hear his own voice. It was deeper… strange sounding. Riley didn't answer. He just looked down and gripped his arm – his arm! "Is it your cut?" Huey would be shocked if that were it. Riley wasn't a baby, and a small wound like that would never faze him, at least not enough to cry.
"Sorta…" Riley answered but still didn't make eye-contact. Huey was about to press for more information when, for the second time that night, he heard a loud crash.
"God damnit!" Grandad's voice, although slightly muffled, was loud and easy to understand. "Who left all of these tools in the middle of the hallway!?" The door swung open before either boy could move and Grandad stumbled into the room holding a hammer. "And what the hell are you two still doing up! I set a bedtime for a reason!"
Huey took a sideways glance at Riley and noted how the younger boy looked… better. The original tiredness he'd seen was gone and now replaced with a wry smile.
"How do you know when we go to bed, Grandad? You never come in here to check." Riley said. Grandad looked furious.
"Now ain't the time to be questioning me, boy!" Grandad shouted, but his face changed immediately to confusion. "Why're you wearing my favorite sweatshirt? And what did you get all over the sleeve!" Grandad advanced forward. Huey could feel Riley press against the bed.
"I didn't do nothin'! I just put it on 'cause it was cold! I m-must'a got d-dirt on the sleeve." Riley was shaking. Why?
"He put it on to go out and fix the wall, Grandad. That's all." Huey tried to help.
"Yeah, yeah," Grandad backed off, taking the excuse. "But you'd better wash that tomorrow, boy. I want it to be spotless. AND GO TO BED!" he added as he stepped out of the room. He continued mumbling things but Huey already turned to Riley.
"What was that all about?"
"I… I…," But Huey interrupted him after taking one look at the sleeve.
"That's not dirt." He said, squinting at Riley's arm. It wasn't a question, but still Huey expected an answer. Riley only backed away from him.
"Wh-what else could it be, huh? Man, Huey, you gotta get your eyes checked or somethin'." Huey didn't waste any time. He had to catch Riley by surprise. With a quick leap off the bed, he tackled the boy before he could move any farther away. "Get off!!" Riley cried out. His voice was high with desperation, and yet he hardly struggled to get Huey off. In one quick motion, Huey pulled the sleeve up and gasped.
"What happened? Is this from the basement?" Huey asked, ignoring Riley's command. The only thing that he showed interest in was the awful looking wound on his younger brother's arm. It was red, swollen, and so big that it was taking up nearly his entire arm. A small trickle of blood was oozing from the center point. Huey cringed.
"Where did you get this, Riley!?" Huey didn't even bother to lower his voice. He was angry.
"I d-don't know!" Riley stuttered back.
"Lying! Stop lying!" He didn't mean to be so angry – it just hurt him that Riley didn't show him this before. There was no logic at all in hiding it, so why had he?
"I don't –"
"Yes you do!!" Huey was surprised Grandad wasn't coming storming in with all of the noise.
"Something bit me!" It got quiet. Huey managed to calm himself ever so slightly. He shifted himself, still on top of Riley, into a more comfortable position.
"What bit you?" Huey asked quietly.
"I don't –" Riley stopped at Huey's gaze. The anger was flaring up again. "I really don't know! I didn't even think it was a bite at first." Huey sighed and pulled himself up, but left his little brother on the floor.
"How do you feel?" He asked.
"Riley…" Huey said, trying as hard as he could not to grind his teeth. The boy infuriated him.
"Okay, not so good. But I ain't goin' to no hospital, Huey, and you can't make me."
"Well I'm gonna go get Grandad." Riley's expression immediately changed.
"No! Please don't!" He was panicking.
"Riley, I have to. This bite looks serious. You need to go to the hospital." Huey watched Riley's face fall. At least he was accepting it. "Now can I trust you to stay here, or are you going to disappear?" Riley didn't answer and again Huey sighed.
He stepped over to his bedside table and opened the drawer. After a moment of rummaging around, and found what he was looking for and pulled away – a pair of handcuffs dangled from his finger. "Come here."
Riley reluctantly stood. He wobbled at first, and for a second Huey thought he'd fall back down, but he managed to get his balance and walk over to him. Huey clicked one cuff into place around Riley's wrist – his left one to not make his bite hurt even more - and made sure it was secure. He then put the other one around a pipe on the radiator. "I'll be right back."
Riley held back a scream as Huey left the room. He didn't want to go to the hospital. He hated them, but he knew when he needed help. He sighed and looked down. Blood rushed to his head and for a brief second that felt like an eternity everything went black.
When the world came back into focus, he first noticed he was on the floor. He tried to sit up, but felt an awful pain shoot through his handcuffed arm. He looked up. The pipe was so high up that his arm was nearly bent backwards it was so straight up. He tried putting some of the weight on his other arm, but found that to be even worse. He hissed and started to position himself better with his knees.
Working through the pain, Riley managed to sit up, but it proved to be not the best move when everything went black again. This time, however, the world didn't come back.
Not the longest chapter, but meh. I think maybe two more chapters, so get ready. WOO. Lol. Bye.