The Vanishing Brother

Somewhere amidst the chaos of the early chapters, Daniel Campbell is being stalked by some less than friendly individuals. Having sought refuge with his brother for an evening, the brother subsequently vanishes from the story. It is something of an omission and not one that I even really noticed until recently.

So anyway, for those readers wondering what happened to Luke Campbell, the following passage should shed some light on the mystery. For those yet to read it, this should serve as a small taster of the narrative to whet your appetite. I hope you enjoy…

Chapter 24.5 – Tuesday, 10.30pm.

‘You going to tell me what’s up then, or are you just a bit menstrual?’ Luke’s standard approach to any kind of potential awkwardness, as Campbell knows, is to confront it in a belligerent and insensitive manner.

‘Nice,’ Campbell replies as he slides hot pizza from the box.

‘Well fuck, Dan. You forgot to bring beer, you’ve been buried in the laptop for hours and it’s not even porn. Either it’s a girl, a job hunt or you’ve found some weird online forum to indulge your inner nerd. Something is up.’

‘None of the above actually. Actually, perhaps a tiny bit of each of the first two.’

‘You need a new job because you shagged some girl at work and you’re afraid she’s going to tell everyone about your tiny weiner?’ There it was, thought Campbell. Imagine if I had an actual problem to talk to you about.

‘Nothing major really. Just a bit cooped up in the flat after all the shit of the last few days.’
‘Yeah, you now how to throw a party,’ Luke smiled and shook his. Equal parts sympathy and morbid fascination.

Campbell couldn’t help but smile back. His brother may be employing bravado in the face of all the things he had told him about the gatecrasher and the burglary and the police, but maybe a little false courage and nonchalance was what was required here. Campbell had scarcely switched off thinking about things and as much headway as he was making with the research this evening, what he’d most like was a bit of a mental block, something to numb.

He had been surprised how edgy he had been at the sharp incessant ringing of the doorbell. There could surely be no way that anyone could know where he was, but they new where he lived and Campbell harboured dark thoughts of being trailed and watched, stalked from the shadows by determined, malevolent figures.

‘So when are you off then?’ Campbell said through a mouthful of garlic bread.

‘Two days and then it is wall to wall sunshine, food and booze. And when I’m finished burning and bingeing it is back to the room with the missus.’ A broad grin and an entirely unnecessary wink.

‘She excited?’

‘She has no idea. I sorted the time off with her boss, and as far as she is concerned we’re off to her parents for the weekend.’

‘So they’re in on the big surprise too?’ Campbell looked quizzically at his smiling brother, obviously pleased at the smooth planning of a surprise holiday trip for his girlfriend of a year.

‘So won’t they be disappointed when you come back and she isn’t any more engaged than when you left?’

‘I’m not proposing. Why would they think I’m proposing?’ Luke replied, the grin dropping a little.

Campbell’s smile moved in the other direction.

‘I never said anything about that. I’m fucking miles away from any of that…’ he said and after a moment more of Campbell’s broadening grin, added ‘Fuck off.’

‘You’ve paid for and organised a surprise holiday for their only daughter and you have involved them in the deception. The thought won’t have crossed their mind that you have a plan here of some kind?’ He was enjoying this, particularly the slowly dawning realisation of the corner that Luke may have painted himself into.

‘I’ve got one very simple plan which involves a pool, a bar, an all-you-can-eat-buffet and copious nudity.’

‘You might want to keep those relatively separate. There’s a limit to what “all-inclusive” means at these paces. Bringing your own sausage to breakfast is considered poor form.’

But Luke wasn’t playing along and the look on his face was getting sourer by the moment.

‘I was just trying to do a good thing,’ Luke protested to nobody in particular. ‘Now I’m right in the shit.’

Daniel Campbell felt the smile fade from his own face.

‘Well that backfired on me,’ Luke said. ‘How the hell do I get out of this?’

Campbell shrugged at him. ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’

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