Thursday, 12 March 2015

Orange Sky: Part Fifteen

[Just a warning for those of you who need one...It's about to get rough. Really rough. I know, I know, it hasn't exactly been all cupcakes and rainbows up until now, but given there was no blurb again, I need to warn you. It. Gets. Rough. Brace yourselves.

And please don't stop talking to me...My betas did when they read what is coming. My own mother threatened to throw my laptop out the window. So yeah...Be prepared. Hoping for the best but expecting the worst...

Friendly reminder that the *** are music links. Seriously, you should be following the music links. Like for realz.

Thank you so much for reading Xo]

For a moment, James is suspended. His arms automatically tighten around Alexander. A gust of wind works its way under his clothing. He shivers.

And hits the ground.

Pain radiates through his tailbone and into his spine, but before it can fully register, he is thrown forward and caught in the wave of snow cascading down the slope. He thinks he screams Alexander’s name, Michael’s name, but he can’t hear anything over the deafening roar of the mountain crumbling all around him. He is tossed about like a rag doll, powerless against the icy force of nature threatening to crush them and bury them alive under fifty feet of snow. With one hand he desperately tries to find something to cling to, something to stop the wall of ice from sending him and Alexander plunging to their deaths, but all he can feel are shards of ice which slice into his hand and send rivers of warm blood into the snow. He clings to Alexander and prays that his body is enough to cushion the fall, that he is enough to protect Alexander from whatever is coming, that if one of them has to die God answers the prayers he’s been whispering every night for the last year, ever since Alexander…He squeezes his eyes closed.

That is not the last thought you want you to have in this life.

He tries to tell Alexander he loves him. He’s not sure if the words leave his lips.

He tumbles over and over again, unable to stop and unable to fight against the momentum propelling him forward. Pain alights every one of his nerve endings until he is sure that the entire world is on fire; that the ground has opened up and hurled him into the lava bubbling in the Earth’s core.

The roaring stops.

He tumbles forward a few more times before skidding to a halt.

He tentatively opens his eyes. He is on his back, staring up at the night sky. Through the breaks in the clouds, he can see a thin sliver of moonlight.

He is acutely aware of the weight against his chest. He is almost afraid to say it, almost afraid to know, but the word leaves lips before he has a chance to stop it.

“Alexander?” His voice trembles.


He tries to sit up, to move his fingers to Alexander’s neck and find his pulse, but none of his limbs will co-operate. His heart thuds erratically in his chest. He tries again, louder this time.


Soft snowflakes float down from the sky, landing on his face. Some small part of his brain registers that the blizzard has stopped.

“Alexander?” he says again. “Alexander! ALEXANDER!!”

The weight shifts. A dark shadow looms over him. It takes his eyes a moment to place the familiar contours of Alexander’s face.


He is trembling.


James tries to touch his face to convince himself he is really there. His arm refuses to budge.

“I’m here, buddy,” he whispers, “I’m here.”

Alexander bursts into tears and drops his head into James’ chest.

“It’s okay,” James says quietly, willing his left arm to move. It doesn’t. “It’s alright. We’re okay.” He tries his right arm. His fingers twitch. He closes his eyes in relief. “We’re okay,” he repeats, commanding his arm to work. “We’re okay. We’re okay. We’re okay, buddy. We’re okay.”

Finally his right arm breaks free of the invisible force holding it in place. He sloppily runs his hand all over Alexander’s body, feeling for injuries. As his hand glides over Alexander’s arm, Alexander screams and cries harder, gripping James’ sweater with one hand and pushing his face into James’ neck. Something worse than fear creeps over James.

“I’m sorry,” he says, snatching his hand away. “I’m sorry, buddy, I’m sorry. Can you move your arm?” 

Alexander doesn’t answer, but he sobs louder.

“Alexander, buddy, I need you to tell me exactly what you’re feeling. What hurts?”

Alexander’s tears run down James’ neck, freezing within seconds. James tries to sit up.

He can’t.

Violent tremors begin to shoot through Alexander’s body. James summons every ounce of strength he has and forces himself to sit up. The movement causes Alexander to scream again.

“I’m sorry,” James says. “I’m sorry, buddy, I’m so sorry.”

The clouds shift, allowing more moonlight to shine through. It is enough for James to see what is making Alexander scream. His right arm looks deflated, like a balloon that has popped. Even in the dim moonlight, James can see that it is bent at a ninety degree angle. In the middle.

James’ breath freezes in his chest. He tries to remain calm.

A sling, he thinks, staring at the break. He needs a sling.

He tries to take his sweater off to make a sling, but pain radiates through his own left shoulder, causing him to cry out. He turns to look at it. His arm is hanging a few inches lower than it should be.


Alexander sobs in his lap.

James closes his eyes and puts his hand on his left shoulder. The pain is enough to make him want to jerk away, but he doesn’t. Alexander needs him.

Alexander needs him.

He grits his teeth and squeezes his eyes shut tighter. He bites his tongue to keep from screaming. He curls his fingers around his shoulder and takes a deep breath before yanking it forward with all his strength. The pain is almost enough to send him spiraling into the darkness, but he pushes past it. His arm pops back into place with a sickening crack.

He allows himself a few seconds of recovery before clumsily taking off his sweater, gritting his teeth against the white-hot pain shooting through him with his every move. He wipes his bloody hand on the snow, cleaning it. He can’t see how deep the cuts are in the dark, but they’ve mostly stopped bleeding. He takes an unsteady breath and looks at Alexander, who is huddled against his stomach, still sobbing. He is cradling his broken arm.

“Alexander,” James says hoarsely. He clears his throat. “Buddy, I’ve got to…Your arm is broken. I need to strap it against your chest. It will make you feel better, but first…” He hesitates, wondering if he should say it.

Tell him, he thinks. Tell him or he’ll never trust you again. 

He clears his throat again. “But first, it’s going to hurt.”

Alexander shakes his head, crying louder.

“No,” he whimpers. “No.”

James fights against the wave of nausea washing over him at the thought of causing Alexander any pain. He knows he has to do it.

“Yes, buddy,” he says, trying to keep his voice steady. “It will only hurt for a minute and then you’ll feel better. But you have to let me do it so we can get up and go find help. We have to find…”


James’ feels like he is going to pass out. He grits his teeth.

“You have to be brave, Alexander,” he says, scanning their surroundings for any sign of Michael. There isn’t one. “You have to be my brave boy.” He wonders if his heart is even still beating. “You can do it, Alexander,” he says, turning his attention back to him. “You can do this. I know you can. I just need you to take a deep breath and close your eyes. Can you do that?”

Alexander looks up at him. He swallows and nods his head. Tears roll down his cheeks.

“Okay,” James says, trying not to show his fear. “Alright. Close your eyes. This will be over in a minute. Just close your eyes, buddy.”

Alexander does.

James whispers a silent prayer inside his head.


“Okay, buddy,” he says. “Here we go.”

As soon as he touches Alexander’s arm, Alexander starts to scream. It takes everything James has not to stop. Stopping would be worse. Stopping would just prolong the pain.

“It’s okay, buddy,” he says, swallowing the bile rising in his throat and wrapping his sweater around Alexander’s arm in a make-shift sling. “We’re nearly there.”

Alexander’s screams turn into loud, uncontrollable sobs. James ties the arms of his sweater around Alexander’s neck and secures it against his chest. His broken arm is nestled inside.

“There we go,” James says, gingerly drawing Alexander into his arms. “We’re all done now. It’s okay. We’re done. You did great, buddy.” James’ voice cracks. “I’m so proud of you.”

Alexander’s sobs slow down until they become uneven shuddering breaths. James pulls away enough to see him.

“Are you okay?” he asks, afraid of the answer. “Do you think you can stand up?”

Alexander’s face is contorted in pain, but he nods.

“Okay,” James says, praying his own legs work. “Okay. We’re going to stand up and find Uncle Michael, then we’ll go find someone to take us home. Are you ready?”

Alexander nods again.

“Okay. On the count of three. One…Two…Three.”

Together they awkwardly stand, though with the way James’ legs tremble, he wonders how long it will last. He takes a few tentative steps forward. The pain in his spine takes his breath away, but he remains standing. Alexander slips his good hand into James’.

“Where’s Uncle Michael?” he whispers. He’s still trembling. James squeezes his hand and looks around at the expanse of white surrounding them. He prays to see Michael walking towards them, to see him huddled somewhere trying to keep warm, or even to see him lying in the snow. Just to see him. Just to know he is okay.

But he doesn’t.

No matter how far he looks, all he can see is snow.