The Teddy Bears' Picnic

Chapter 6

One hour. Or had it been more? Tyrell was gone. Again. But this time it had been Elliot’s doing.

Elliot took a slow drag on his cigarette as he stared into Qwerty’s fishbowl. Tyrell had once told him that he liked Qwerty. He’d likened his own life to that of a fish, swimming round in circles with only ever one thought, one singular outlook on life. He seemed sad, Elliot remembered, and told him that he wished he could free Qwerty. Elliot at this point had hurriedly changed the subject, sending Qwerty a reassuring glace, while mentally making a note to move his bowl to the windowsill to give him a change of scenery.

When did this conversation happen? Elliot couldn’t remember. Thrown by Darlene’s comments about having met Tyrell several times before, Elliot had been busying himself trying to put together a timeline of recent events. At first this had been a good distraction from the deafening silence of his apartment, but he was now starting to feel disturbed by how many gaps he had in his memories.

Loneliness began to swell inside him, rotting his insides and making him feel sick. Darlene and Tyrell had both told him to get on with his life, but he didn’t know how.

As crazy and messed up as Tyrell’s family life was likely to be, Elliot felt jealous of it. He could be a husband couldn’t he? Buy flowers, and remember anniversaries. Maybe even have children. He could take them to see movies, and teach them about computers. He would always be there for them. Yes, he thought, he could be a good dad. He wondered what Darlene had planned for her life, whether she wanted the same things he did. He wondered what would be left of the world when the dust settled. He wondered if he would ever see Tyrell again.

He wondered what he even thought about Tyrell. He used to find him controlled and intimidating, but recently Elliot felt like he’d watched him unravel in front of his eyes. It had been unsettling. Tyrell had come to him and confessed murder, Elliot recalled with a shudder. He should feel disgust, hatred even, but somehow he couldn’t. Elliot hadn’t believed Tyrell’s words about not feeling guilty for a second. Whether it was intuition, or some shared experience that Elliot was forgetting, he had a feeling deep down inside him that Tyrell, at his core, wasn’t a bad person.

He had wild ambition, and an unhinged determination that drove him to do things that were outside of himself. Things he regretted, things he probably despised. He was confused by the intensity of his own impulses, and the motives that drove him in the first place. But then, couldn’t the same be said about Elliot?

Yes, there was no doubt in Elliot’s mind that Tyrell had lost sight of himself. That his actions were those of a man who was pushing himself desperately towards a fate he could no longer remember his reasons for wanting.

Elliot honestly didn’t know if Tyrell’s presence in his life was a good thing. Tyrell brought chaos and danger, and swept Elliot up in his tornado of self-destruction. But Elliot was certain that the same could not be said about his own presence in Tyrell’s life.

He had given Tyrell focus, and a cause he could believe in. He had helped him to channel his untamed energy into bettering the world. He had provided the clarity Tyrell so desperately craved, and taken away the fear and doubt he felt towards himself. And now Tyrell was gone. What would happen to him?

Tyrell was flawed, but to Elliot he represented strength and power. He was sharp, quick and intuitive. While others (and at one point, Elliot himself) manipulated Tyrell’s weaknesses, Elliot understood how to harness his strengths. While others saw Tyrell as a puppet, Elliot saw him as an ally. A magnetic force (serendipity, as Tyrell would like to say) kept bringing them together, and Elliot could see with increasing clarity that in this world they had created together, they were going to need each other.

Before he even had the chance to contemplate his next actions his phone started to ring. Seeing it was an unknown number he picked up warily.

‘Elliot, you need to come to my house.’ His accent was stronger than usual. Elliot noticed that when his control started to slip, his clipped, precise tones went with it. Elliot liked to hear it; it reminded him of the real Tyrell that existed under the mask he wore (and if he was honest, Elliot found the natural lilting quality of his voice quite pleasant).

‘Elliot, please, come now.’ Something was wrong. Tyrell was taking quick, shallow breaths, and was now saying something in Swedish. Elliot had no idea what it meant, but something about the rhythm and repetition of his words sounded to him like prayer.

‘Tyrell, are you hurt?’

‘No, just come. They’re gone.’

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