By Jessica Bowman
The next chapter that is important to our story is far in the future from the last one. And only weeks ago from where we are now. Its fitting isn’t it, Damien? How far we went before we reached the end, I mean.
Dad always said we were survivors. I guess that was true until today. For six years Daisy and I withstood the scorn of the neighborhood. And the scorn of London when we took to being gypsies in favor of chasing you down.
“Those Evans boys were always trouble!” they cried. Could you imagine the gossip that flew around our heads anytime we stepped outside the door of that bloody house? Have you ever even tried? You know we couldn’t just say we’d been harboring a deserter for months, and you made things complicated when you got his blood on your hands.
Do you know what that means? What you’ve done, Damien? His blood. Dad’sblood. He may not have been our birth father but we treated him as one. I pondered for years why you did it. Even if something snapped inside of you, which I knew it had, why would you desecrate the only good man we’ve ever known?
I never got an answer. Daisy was…quiet. I don’t think she knew how to react. And neither did I for the first few months. We stayed in London, as long as we could stand the insults. It’s almost laughable, you’d think the murder of a family’s beloved father would illicit more sympathy than we got. But instead the only thing people seemed to be able to focus on was the fact that we were blood to a traitor.
But ultimately, it wasn’t just the gossip mongers that drove us out of the city. The bobbies were looking everywhere for you. Said you were high priority. Even I didn’t believe that. They just wanted you to pay for the money you cost them after deserting.
But you played a dangerous game. And your trap had been set. The minute that brown nosed Kegan from next door started poking into things, using the friendly guise that he was “here for tea and a chat”, he found items he shouldn’t have.
A letter. From you. Addressed to Daisy. In it, you told of the “mistakes” you’d made and the horror you’d seen that drove you into reclusion. As if that was enough of an excuse for us to forgive you. But it was enough to land us a trial.
You didn’t know that did you? That after all you’ve done you not only cost the government millions, you cost us our livelihood…and most importantly our father. Well, the trial never happened. If there was one thing I learned from Evans Senior it was how to disappear.
There was nothing left for Daisy and I and it was rather easy to just leave. Drop your possessions, don’t leave a paper trail, and never look back. We didn’t know where you had disappeared to. But the earth is only so big ya know? At least that’s what we thought back then.
Daisy immediately ruled out the rest of the world. She assured me that after Normandy you were too scared of ships to even think about leaving England. She talked about you like you were someone completely different. I suppose by then you had become a stranger to us. When a man has fallen for so fast and so long, you stop remembering what up feels like.
The world becomes a dangerous place, every new face another hunter on the prowl. And soon you begin to think of only yourself. Because as soon as you stop, as soon as you drop your guard, those hunters are waiting to take you down. So the answer has to be “I’ll kill them before they kill me.”
After the thick of it all, you really had dragged me down to your level. And without even trying. I’m still not sure you truly meant for it to be this way but no matter. You committed the crime and made us all associates. It doesn’t really matter now what happened, brother. Or why you did it. We are both in this sordid tale together. So I’m going to make sure we end it together.
I remember so clearly, perhaps more clearly than the night you killed Abe, the day Daisy and I finally caught up to you. The police gave up long before. Private eyes would only go so far with the little money we had. And on the off chance they went further they would stop once they discovered who we were. No man in his right mind would willingly be caught in the maelstrom you made of our lives.
Nomads have no friends where murderers are concerned. But Daisy was determined to find you. Almost more than I was. Maybe determined is the wrong choice of words though. She didn’t want you to hurt anymore. I can’t count how many times a day I’d catch her praying. After the third week I stopped asking why she prayed for you so much. Her answer was always the same.
“He’s lost, Rog. He needs to come back home.”
I admired Daisy more in those days than I ever had before. How could such a delicate thing express so much strength and compassion? Forgive me, Daisy. I know you wanted us to find Damien together…but it was easier this way. Something as precious as you shouldn’t get caught up in criminals and broken things.
It took a lot longer to find you than I ever would have expected, brother. I know your tactics, we’d grown up learning the same ways to disappear off a map or erase your name. But you also knew I was looking for you, didn’t you? That’s why you stayed one step ahead every time.
All those years in the streets of Manchester’s poor district left us with scars, but more importantly, with people who wanted us tracked down. People with connections. After so long, I decided to use my trump card. Daisy warned me against it years before when I told her what my last resort was. She said she never wanted to see me deal with thugs and gangs and murders again.
But I still had one connection who owed me a favor. And I was getting impatient. It led me to you at least. Holed up in Bristol in some drug dealers attic. I hardly recognized you. You were tweaking on whatever you ingested this go around. Daisy despised my methods, I knew, though she never reprimanded me for it. She took what she could get because nothing was going to keep us from you.
I wonder now, Damien, why you did what you did to her. Was it the drugs controlling you this time? Or was your distance from her too much to bare that you couldn’t control yourself when we met again?
Neither is an excuse I hope you realize. I told Daisy to stay away today, that I would make things right. And believe me making things right wasn’t supposed to lead to this. I hear the house crumbling around me now. I can only hope the flames reach me before the fire trucks do.
This is what you’ve done to us, brother. This is the hellhole of your making. And I bet you Daisy is laying on the cold ground in the back alley we were camping out in, crying and cursing her own existence because she’s too good to wish harm on anyone else. I can see her waiting patiently for me. Hanging onto hope despite the agony of waiting when you know nothing is ok.
I know she’ll wail my name after a while. And maybe once a few more hours pass she’ll stand up on wobbling legs and hobble her way through unforgiving streets to look for me. But I won’t be there tonight. Or any other night to come. This is where we end, brother. It’s about time too.