Chapter Forty

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Dear Diary,

It took some time for me to latch on to what Leo had said. I saw his lips move but it was as though my ears would not allow the words in. Eventually it stuck. Leo knew it wasn't the guy I thought it was. He got me to point out the guy in the blue top to Cheryl in the crowd. Not the guy who had cornered me the other night. No, not him, but Farley, my love.

As we both kneeled next to Farley's limp body, I stared back at Leo. He lifted his eyes to mine, bloodshot and stained with shame. I fell completely still, I don’t know for how long. I stayed exactly where I was, holding onto Farley’s shirt so tight my knuckles were white. Eventually Leo spoke.

‘We just have to help him now, that’s all we can do.’

His face was grim in the darkness. He looked so much older, so much like the photos of Dad.

‘Go and get us a taxi,’ he said, swiping his hair back and rolling up his sleeves.

I remained next to Farley, looking down at his quiet face.

Leo grabbed hold of my shoulders.

‘Go. Now,’ he said.

I caught his eyes. He really meant it but I couldn't move. His right hand pointed at the street below as his left hand pulled me up from my knees.

‘Stand up. Run down there. Find us a taxi,’ he said.

I took one last look at Farley on the ground, seeing the swirls of blood streaming from his body, then turned my head towards the street below and somehow made my legs move. The walls of the alleyway span past as I headed towards the street; I could see the cars flying along.

I turned to look behind me. There was Leo, carrying Farley in his arms. Farley’s head hung off the side of his arm as blood dripped onto the ground. Even from where I was with just a trickle of light from the street, I could see Leo’s muscles straining under the weight. He saw me.

‘Run,’ is all he said.

The sound echoed across the alleyway. I turned back to the street, feeling tears I didn’t know I was crying running down my neck, onto my chest. I moved as fast as I could and got to the street, stumbling through the hoards of people wandering along.

‘Please, please,’ I heard myself mumble.

I faltered out onto the edge of the road. Cars zoomed past in an unforgiving stream.

‘Please,’ I said again.

I forced out my arm into the air.

‘Taxi,' I said, ‘I need a taxi.’

I saw blood on my arms running along the gold leaves of my dress. I stood there, keeping my arm out, searching the road with my eyes. A yellow taxi swooped off to the side and parked in front of me.

‘Get in, kid,’ said the driver.

‘It’s, it’s not just me,’ I said, seeing Leo come out onto the sidewalk, Farley still in his arms.

‘What the…?’ said the taxi driver.

I almost fell down onto his car door, holding onto the side and leaning right in.

‘We need to go to the hospital,’ I said.

The driver looked at me, doubtful.

‘It’s the three of us,’ I said. ‘Please.’

He looked me up and down then watched Leo and Farley coming up to the car. He shook his head but I swear I saw a flash of concern in his face.

‘Oh God, just get in will you?’ he said.

I crawled into the back and held open the door. Leo lifted Farley into the back seat.

‘Hold his head,’ he said.

I sat back and helped ease Farley’s head and shoulders onto my lap. It didn’t look like him anymore. The rest of him lay across the back seat. Leo crawled into the car as well and laid the rest of Farley over his lap. Just before Leo closed the door I heard a few voices.

‘It’s them, it’s those two from The Dovetails.’

Leo slammed the door shut.

‘I’m guessing emergency room,’ said the taxi driver, accelerating straight away.

‘Yes,’ said Leo. ‘Put your foot down.’

‘Just don't tell me whatever the hell you people have been doing,’ said the taxi driver, clamping down the dividing window, leaving the three of us in silence.

I put my hand to Farley’s forehead. It felt as cold and clammy as a mossy stone after rainfall. Leo kept his arms across Farley’s body holding onto it to make sure he stayed as still as possible as the car swooped along at high speed.

I cupped my hands around Farley’s face and willed him to come back to me as the streets of Manhatten whizzed by in the windows. At one point it looked like he were trying to open his eyes but he didn’t quite manage. He opened his lips as though he were trying to speak. I held my ear closer to his mouth but all I heard were quiet sounds.

It didn’t take long to arrive at the hospital. Leo gave the taxi driver some dollars and got out of the taxi, leaning down straight away to lift Farley out of the car. I got out too and walked alongside helping to hold Farley in Leo’s arms as best I could on the way into the emergency room.

We were met with a cold light and the smell of plastic and medicine. Within seconds some people appeared dressed in hospital blue. A stretcher turned up and they lifted Farley onto it. All of a sudden we were all in motion as they swooped along the corridor. They started asking Leo questions as we went along. What happened? How old is he? Where was he injured?

Leo looked as though he were gathering together all he left just to concentrate on what they said to him. He told them he was a friend of ours and that we had no idea what had happened to him. I followed behind in a hazy world of my own.

By now the numbers had multiplied around the side of the stretcher. All I heard was ‘he’s losing blood’ and ‘definite rib fractures’.  Eventually we came to a large set of double doors. Just before taking Farley through one of them, a man who I presumed was a doctor said to us:

‘We’re going to operate immediately.’

‘Ok,’ said Leo. ‘Is there anything we can do?’

‘No, nothing. We may be some hours, his injuries look to be extensive. Just hang in there. We’ll take care of your friend, try not to worry,’ he said.

With that the doctor, the rest of the hospital people, the stretcher and Farley disappeared into the doors. Leo and I looked at each other. I saw the beads of sweat along his forehead. It felt as though he wanted to hold me but he didn’t dare.

‘Are you ok?’ he said.

I looked back at him, sensing the faint taste of dried salt on my lips. Still, I couldn’t answer.

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