It was as if we had been plunged into an unbreakable silence, the air stilling to nothing.
An array of colorful words flew from Jett’s lips, and I flinched at each one.
“Those fucking EDO twats have been here, I knew it. I swear one day they are going to get what's coming for them...”
“Jett please.” I reached out for his shoulder but he pulled away, turning his cold eyes on me.
“Don’t 'Jett please' me Amity,” he snarled, “if it wasn’t for your EDO obsessed family, they wouldn’t keep sticking their noses in our business.” Jett looked as if he was biting back tears, and I shook under his harsh words.
“C’mon Jett, it ain’t her fault,” Brianna spoke up, blue eyes awash in moonlight.
“We don’t even know if it was the EDO...” Lorenzo spoke up.
Jett span on him almost immediately. “Then who else would it be smartass?” He spat, “The tooth fairy?”
“Everyone knows the tooth fairy doesn’t exist Jett,” Lorenzo gave a throaty laugh, trying to lighten the mood. His attempt was a failed one.
“If you really think this is the right time to start firing off some jokes you can fuck off Lorenzo.” Jett’s eyes screamed anger, and it scared me to see him like this.
“Whoah, Jett you need to calm down,” Brianna stood between the two boys, “I don’t understand why you are getting so worked up about this anyway.”
That did it.
“Because I'm fed up Brianna!” he shouted. Brianna took a step back, eyes wide. “fed up of them thinking they can take everything,” a sob racked his chest, “Wasn't my mum enough?” his knees crumbled as he fell to the floor.
I sighed. He broke to pieces in front of us, unfolding like the pages of a book.
Lorenzo gave me a desperate look and I answered with sad eyes. Brianna just stood motionless as I made my way over to the broken boy on the floor.
“Jett Howard,” I whispered, kneeling down beside him, “you’re stronger than this.”
A gentle hand on his shoulder. A shudder.
“I’m fed up with being strong,” he cried, “they took all my strength away.”
The very words he spoke took handfuls of my heart, and a feeling of unease settled in my stomach and tightened my chest.
I felt guilty. Guilty because the very people that took his mum were what I was supposed to call my family now. And how could I not take responsibility for that?
His mum...he never spoke about her anymore.
Two years ago now, she was lost to a life of forever.
Jett had told me the story. The story of how she’d gone out one night looking for him when we were out in The Cabin. She’d come across an Eternal, and it wasn’t a friendly one. With no knowledge of fighting them, and fear her weakness, the Eternal sunk its teeth into her neck.
We all knew what happened if you were bitten by an Eternal. You became one yourself. And as soon as the EDO gained knowledge of that they took you hostage, born human or not.
Jett was there to see his mum change, he was there to watch her suffer. He became fearful of her, and he blamed himself because he was the reason she went outside after hours. I keep telling him he can’t blame himself and that he couldn't have known, but no amount of words could change things now.
He was there when the EDO raided his house, too. And he saw the bullet land in her skull, saw them drag her out like last nights trash. I haven’t asked for the details, I didn’t want to know. Because every time he spoke of it you could see the grief and sorrow gnawing at his eyes, drowning him slowly. And I didn’t want to be the rock that dragged him under.
“I’ve had enough” Jett spoke again, “of this world we live in. Of living in fear.” The tears continued to stain his cheeks even when I'd taken his hand in mine.
"I can protect you now Jett. I promise you." I tried to reassure him, but his eyes just grew even more distant, palms of his hands smeared with dirt from the ground.
"Don't kid yourself, Astrid," he sat up slowly, gently pushing my hand away, "You hate them just as much as I do. You're not meant for the EDO."
I stood up from where I was kneeling, breaking eye contact with Jett and focusing back on the cabin.
"C'mon," I ignored what he said, a feeling of unease settling in my stomach, "Let's go in and see if anything has been taken."
Maybe I could fight for not only my closure but for Jett’s too.
Maybe the EDO is right and The Eternals are the bad guys. Or maybe they blame everything on their species because there's no-one else to point a finger at.
One thing was for sure though, The Eternals took my brother and they took Jett’s mum. The EDO took Jett’s strength away. They were both as bad as each other.