“What’s his name?” one of the paramedic asks.
“It’s Matt,” I swallow.
She nods and turns to him. “Matt, can you hear me?”
I close my eyes and rise from the floor. I dash out of the room and lean against the wall in the hallway. Allowing tears to slip from underneath my eyelids, I cup my hand over my mouth and descend to the floor. The familiar warmth of Lucy’s skin touches against my hand. In silence, she takes a seat beside me and looks me in the eye. Tears are welling in hers too. She shifts her body towards me and places her hand over my shoulder, firmly holding her hand to the back of my neck. I sink further and further into her clasp, burying my face in her jumper. She ruffles the back of my hair as I sob into her.
“I’m so sorry Tommy,” she snivels. “The paramedics can’t find a pulse either. He’s gone.”
“Lucy, it’s all my fault,” I bawl.
Her lip wobbling, she pushes my face away from her, and looks to me. “This is not your fault, Thomas. It’s tragic, but it’s not your fault. Matt, Lenny and Cole all wanted to help you. You did try steer them away but they chose to get involved. It’s the Reaper’s fault. He chose to come after--”
“But only because of my gre--“, I trail off.
“What?” she asks.
“Nothing,” I dismiss, rising from the floor.
Cole and Lenny shuffle from the room. They both look shaken. Cole is still trembling slightly. “I’m so sorry, Thomas,” he says. “You asked me to watch him and make sure I--”
I give him a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. “It’s not your fault, mate. He barged in and held the knife to his throat and told you to back off or he’d slit his throat. There’s nothing you could’ve done.”
He nods. “Thomas,” Lenny says. “We need to leave. He knows we’re here. So, he’s going to be back.”
“You need to leave,” I choke. “Anyway I’d go with you, he’d be able to track all of us. He can see inside my mind. And I’m not having a repeat of what happened to Matt. So, I think it’s best if you--”
“No way,” Cole objects. “He killed him. He’s going to keep killing until he’s stopped.”
“Thomas started hunting the Reaper. You’re not going to abandon me and your friends to carry on, are you?” Lucy turns to me.
“We’re not giving up, Thomas. So, neither are you. I’ll stay here and tell the police what happened, while you three get out of here and find somewhere else to stay where you won’t be found. I’ll catch up with you later, okay?”
“No, Luc, I--”
“Thomas,” she says. “Don’t pick an argument with me, because I always win. You should know that by now.”
I swallow. “If you need anything, ring Cole and I’ll be right here for you.”
“Thomas,” she smiles, placing her hand to my face. I take hold of her wrist. “How many times? I don’t need protecting. I can take care of myself, okay?”
I nod. “Okay.” With my other hand, I pull her towards me and brush my lips against hers. “See you later.”
I flash Lucy a weak smile as Cole grabs my arm. “Come on. We’ve got to go, before the cops get here.”
Standing in between Lenny and Matt, I dash down the stairs with them.