Undercurrent – A Merfolk Myth
~ Extras ~
Extra scene: Revenge
This scene is set after Chapter 8, the day after Wallace met with Scott at the restaurant. Trying to find Wallace and justice is all consuming to Scott, and not even Chris seems to be able to break through these thoughts.
No matter how much he tried, Scott couldn’t sleep. It was mid-afternoon, and although he hadn’t slept since yesterday, he couldn’t stop his brain from obsessing about Wallace, about his childhood memories, and about some dead merman who had been caught in this tangled mess.
Every time he started to drift, he was back at his house in Florida, the clear sky of early morning reflecting over his bed. He’d been an early riser back then, and he’d been awake and down at the kitchen when Wallace had thrown the door open, and had stood there, right there, with that knife—that impossibly long knife that dripped blood all over his dreams.
He woke up once more, his body tired of this restless routine of micro-nightmares.
He lay sideways on his bed and stared at the wall. His room was scarcely decorated, maybe a statement of how uncommitted he was about staying here. He’d had a room once, but it was hard to believe this place could be home when there was a murdered trying to kidnap him if not worse.
“Hey Scott,” Chris said from the door. In a house full of telepaths—muted and untrained as they were—it was hard to keep anxiety hidden. “I brought you something to eat.”
“I’m not hungry,” he murmured evasively, still looking at the wall.
“I know. But it might help you sleep better.”
“It won’t,” he deadpanned. If he looked a little to his left, he could see through the window the gray skies of winter, a contrast with his memories of blue days in Florida.
Undeterred, Christopher came in anyway. Before the accident—before his attempted murder, really—Chris had been living on his own apartment, some six blocks away from here. But with the order of no young merfolk allowed alone, he’d moved back to his home, which meant he was around a lot. Sure, he spent half the day at the gym trying to get his muscles back into shape, and all the younger Brooks still attended school, but the thing with Chris was that he wouldn’t go away if he thought he could help.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” Scott said, resigned to the fact that his oldest brother was a pain to live with. Alex and Matt wouldn’t even dare to come into the room, much less drag him into conversation.
“I know you’re not used to having anyone to trust or to talk about what bothers you, but Scott, you’re part of this family now. You’re a Brooks forever and always.”
“Aren’t you going to leave for The City and never come back?” Scott shot back, which came out all muffled anyway because he really had no energy to talk.
“And I’d still be a Brooks down there. I’m here right now, though.”
He walked into Scott’s room and sat beside him on the bed. The smell of pizza reached him. If he couldn’t fall asleep, maybe eating something wasn’t such a bad idea.
Moving slowly, he sat up against the wall and took one slice off of Chris’s plate.
“I’ve already told you everything that happened yesterday,” Scott said, chewing without any cheer. New York could say all it wanted about the best pizza in the world, it would never taste as good as his mom’s.
“Yeah, I’m not talking about yesterday. I mean, if you want to talk about it, that’s cool. Anything that’s keeping you awake… Anything you want to say, really.”
“What are you going to do if you can’t swim back to the City?”
Stunned silence followed that. Good, maybe you’ll leave now.
“You don’t hold back, do you?” Chris said after a minute went by. Scott shrugged. “If I can’t swim back then you’ll be stuck with me forever and ever.”
Scott choked on that.
“But, we’re still looking at a five or six hundred year lifespan, then chances are, I will find a way to make it down there. Unless they find a way of coming up here. I doubt very much my parents would accept defeat that easily.”
The pizza slice was gone, and Scott went for the next.
“What about you? Would you like to see the City som—?”
“He called me S’kot,” he interrupted Chris. “I hadn’t heard anyone calling me that since I left my home.”
“Oh. Do you—”
“Everyone always assumed I was Scott. When I was growing up, that they would mispronounce it was a given, so it was a home thing. And Wallace knew that. He said it right. Why would my parents trust him?”
“No, hear me out here. I always knew him as my parents’ partner. I never knew he was one of us. My parents didn’t want me to know he was one of us. He didn’t want me to know. I mean, what were they doing that they didn’t want me to know?”
Chris put his hand on his shoulder. “Listen, you were the one who told me Julian holds us back. That he keeps things from us—”
“—but that’s not a Julian-thing. That’s a parent-thing. I know your parents mean a lot to you, the same way mine do. But maybe you’re looking into this too hard. Maybe your parents had a good reason for keeping you out of the loop. Maybe they didn’t even realize you weren’t aware Wallace was one of us.”
“My parents would never—” Scott started, and then chocked unexpectedly on his own words. “They told me so many things about us, and the City, and freedom.” Tears filled his eyes, and he blinked them away. “It makes absolutely no sense they wouldn’t tell me. What if—what if I’ve been wrong all this time about them? About what happened?”
Chris looked at him for a moment, taking him seriously. He could be a pain, sure, but the best thing about Christopher was that he listened.
“Scott, it doesn’t matter. They were your parents and you loved them and they loved you back. That’s the only memory worth remembering.”
Scott shook his head. “I need to know what he did, Chris. I need to know what he wants with me.”
“Look, the Council is after the same answers. So don’t worry, okay? You’ll get justice.”
Slowly, Scott nodded, his thoughts lost in ten different ways to find Wallace. He hadn’t been able to do that before, but Christopher had a point: he was a Brooks now. Suddenly, he had all the resources he could need in a lifetime or two.
Wherever you are, I’m coming for you.