The Teddy Bears' Picnic

Chapter 16

Elliot leant over Tyrell in a state of complete panic, pleading with him to wake up.

He was scared to ring an ambulance in case something weird had been done to Tyrell that they wouldn’t be able to explain. However, the more time passed with no response from Tyrell, the less Elliot started to care. Nothing really mattered unless Tyrell was okay.

He fumbled for his phone with shaking hands and let out a strangled sob when he saw the battery was dead.

Shit! Shit! Shit! He punched the floor next to him with frustration.

Tyrell had fallen forwards when he fainted, so Elliot wasn’t able to reach into the pockets of his jeans very easily. He shifted positions, trying to wriggle his hand far enough into the pocket to reach Tyrell’s phone, but he couldn’t quite grip it with his shaking fingers.

‘Shit!’ he shouted out loud this time, as his tears began to fall.

‘Come on Ty, I just need you to wake up!’ he choked. He was pushing at Tyrell’s body, trying to roll him over so he could get better access to the phone, but the man was like a dead weight.

Frustrated and scared, Elliot fisted Tyrell’s shirt in both hands and started to shake him. He felt Tyrell twitch, and he jumped back.

Slowly, as if each part of his body was rebooting one by one, Tyrell started to shift. Elliot saw his fingers twitch, and with a groan he tried to slowly move himself into a kneeling position.

‘Oh thank God!’ Elliot darted forwards, and supported him under the arms. Once Elliot had gotten him into a sitting position he took a good look at Tyrell’s face. His eyes looked hazy, and he was still cold and clammy to the touch.

‘Elliot?’ he slurred. ‘What h-?’

‘You passed out,’ Elliot started to cry again, as the fear he’d felt overwhelmed him a second time.

‘You’re crying,’ Tyrell stated with a puzzled look on his face.

‘I was worried about you!’ he scooted forwards to pull Tyrell into a hug, which the other man sluggishly reciprocated.

Elliot got Tyrell back onto the bed and covered him over with the duvet to stop him from shivering.

‘Do you need a doctor?’

Tyrell shook his head. ‘I’ll be alright in a minute.’

‘Did they do something to hurt you?’

The older man looked confused for a second, and then it was as if everything came flooding back to him. He squeezed his eyes shut and took a deep breath, but shook his head, much to Elliot’s relief.

‘Do you remember what happened?’ Elliot asked gently.

Tyrell nodded.

‘Do you want to talk about it?’

He shook his head, eyes wide with fear. Fear of what, Elliot didn’t know. Had he been threatened? Or was he simply afraid that if he said the words out loud it would make everything real? Elliot dreaded both possibilities.

They sat together on the bed, side-by-side, for quite some time. Elliot looked on with concern as Tyrell sat perfectly still, unseeing eyes fixed on the wall, until exhaustion overcame him.

The next morning Tyrell got showered and dressed as if nothing had happened. They had breakfast together and went to Elliot’s shortly after. Tyrell seemed to be quietly going through the motions of life, and Elliot found it unsettling. He desperately wanted Tyrell to explain what had happened, but he was having trouble even getting small-talk out of him. Tyrell gave one word answers, and avoided eye-contact, instead fixing his gaze on a spot somewhere over Elliot’s shoulder. He seemed to need to keep his hands occupied, always toying with a loose thread on his clothes, or drumming out little rhythms on the furniture.

He understood that Tyrell needed time to process whatever the fuck had gone on, but at this point, Elliot just wanted some sort of reassurance that he was okay.

He didn’t want to leave Tyrell alone just yet, so he persuaded him to join him on his walk with Flipper. Tyrell didn’t want to hold the leash, but he showed more interest in the dog than usual, talking to him and ruffling his fur playfully. It seemed to cheer him up a bit, and when they got back to the apartment Tyrell had Flipper sit on his lap. He’d closed his eyes and was running his hand through Flipper’s fur absent-mindedly when Elliot came over with a sandwich for him.

The sandwich remained untouched, and within half an hour Tyrell was asleep. Elliot covered him with a blanket, and let Flipper stay curled up next to him.

He slept solidly, right through to the following evening. Elliot suspected there were times when he might have woken up briefly, but pretended to still be asleep to avoid having to talk. Flipper hardly left his side the entire time.

By the time night had fallen, Elliot felt restless and impossibly lonely. He considered calling Darlene, but didn’t think she’d be too pleased to find Tyrell on his sofa. Angela was also not an option; he didn’t fancy explaining what was going on to her. He laughed bitterly to himself. That was assuming he actually could explain even if he wanted to. Where would he even start? He wondered why Angela hadn’t tried to contact him. He hoped she was okay. Was she happy that Evil Corp had been taken down? She must be. The thought warmed Elliot slightly.

It struck him that he didn’t even know what the world looked like now, which was ludicrous given that he’d created it. Of course, he’d been outside, and even now he could still hear the sounds of revolution; distant cheers, glass smashing, nervous murmurs in the air. But he couldn’t actually comprehend what life was going to be like, not really. Not the minutiae, the day-to-day drudgery. He’d been so wrapped up in the crazy whirlwind of the last few days that it was almost as if he and Tyrell existed in a bubble. But Elliot knew that couldn’t last forever.

He thought of Gideon next, and felt sad. He was a good man, whose business meant everything to him, and now that was probably all gone. At least he had a partner who loved him though, someone to care for him, and get him through this time of uncertainty.

Elliot had no-one.

Up until now, Elliot had been distracted by helping Tyrell. Distracted by red balloons, teddy bears, and strange clues. Now the mind games were over (he hoped), and Tyrell had shut him out completely, he had nothing to channel his energy into, and no-one to talk to. As he felt the cogs inside him grind to a halt, he heard the voices in his head creeping back into the gaps and silences.

He curled up in a ball and rocked against the wall behind him, trying to cry as quietly as possible so Tyrell wouldn’t hear. Normally Flipper would bring him comfort, but even she’d abandoned him. Elliot tried very hard not to feel betrayed. Or jealous.

What hurt him most of all was the thought that Tyrell would soon go back to his life, leaving them as… what, exactly? Friends? They were no longer co-workers. Acquaintances? Would they catch up every now and then, go for a beer? What would they even talk about? They’d been brought together by this strange series of events, but it wasn’t like they had any other common ground. Actually, that wasn’t strictly true. Elliot recalled from their first conversation that Tyrell was a programmer at heart; it was where his passion lay. All those years ago- before he was sucked into a world of business lunches, expensive suits and all that pretension and bullshit- it was just him, a computer and lines of code at his fingertips. Elliot could relate to that.

Maybe Tyrell could join him as a vigilante hacker. The Robin to his Batman. Elliot actually snorted out loud at that. He palmed at his eyes roughly; he was starting to feel better.

He dragged himself up, poured a glass of water and flopped onto the bed. He’d given up on speaking to Tyrell tonight, hoping that by tomorrow he’d be well-rested and in a better place to finally talk to him. Still feeling somewhat uneasy he drifted off to sleep.

Elliot woke up sluggishly about two hours later. He blinked slowly and looked around in confusion, unsure of what had woken him up.

‘Tyrell?’ No answer. He was no longer on the sofa. Elliot’s stomach clenched with nervousness.

‘Tyrell?’ he called out again. Frantically he searched the rest of the apartment, but Tyrell was nowhere to be found.

Putting on his hoodie, he ran out of the door and almost tripped over his own legs trying to get down the stairs.

Out on the street he swung round wildly, calling out Tyrell’s name. This felt sickeningly familiar, and his heart pounded with dread.

He stumbled into a passer-by who swore at him, but he didn’t even care. He was starting to get some strange looks as he paced around madly, but again, it was the least of his worries. He just needed a minute to gather his thoughts and think about this calmly, so he stopped and took a deep breath.

Tyrell had probably just gone back to his place. Why hadn’t he left a note though? Something about this didn’t feel right.

Oh God, oh God, oh God. Where’s Tyrell?

He ran his hands anxiously through his hair and looked up at the sky for some kind of guidance.

His heart stuttered and he felt his blood turn to ice as something caught his eye.

It was hard to make out in the dark, but dangerously close to the edge, there stood a man on the roof of Elliot’s building.


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