I became a Titan on the day London transformed into a city of islands.
A city-wide siren sounded the start of destruction. My dad was working from home, just a ten-minute drive from school; I was one of the first kids to be picked up. He must have left as soon as the siren started, which was lucky, as the traffic had yet to fully form.
The journey home… not so lucky. From the moment we left the car park, it was jam-packed with panicked drivers. An hour later and we weren’t even half way home.
The sky was eerily unnatural; going from a clear sunny day to a black overcast in moments. Clouds moved in a torrent, so dark I couldn’t tell if the sun was still up. Rain pelted us, even with the windscreen wipers on it was difficult to make out the car in front. Not that it mattered, we were hardly moving anyway.
“We might be stuck here for a while, Mav,” my dad said, his voice oddly calm.
His face was stern and serious, it wasn’t like him. He was always happy, even on the rainy days. But looking at him now, drumming the steering wheel and gazing into the darkness, I could tell he was worried.
“We could walk.”
He ruffled my hair. “I’m not sure we can. Do you think we can go out in rain like that?”
“No,” I scrunched up my nose.
“Didn’t think so,” he smiled. “Let’s just sit tight for a while. Mum would make me sleep on the sofa for a week if I took you out in that.”
“If you’re lucky!”
He fiddled with the radio, searching for a station that didn’t sound like static, before giving up and turning it off altogether. He took out his phone, glanced at it, then sighed before slipping it back into his pocket.
He hadn’t taken his wrist supports off. Years on the computer had given him a serious case of RSI that had never quite gone away. He must have forgotten about them when he left the house. At least he remembered my coat, it was starting to get cold, even with the heating on.
I took my seatbelt off tucked my legs underneath me so that I could see over the dashboard. I liked to watch the shadows of people running for the underground. Most didn’t have umbrellas. I smiled, watching them cover their heads with their bags, trying to keep the rain of their faces.
Everyone was dressed for summer, it was hard to believe that just over an hour ago there hadn’t been a cloud in the sky.
I enjoyed the rain. It made it so much easier to think. Despite the sirens in the background, the ambient pitter-patter made everything seem distant. It was so loud, yet made the world feel so quiet. Watching the rain trail down the window, one droplet to the next, was mesmerising.
Somewhere out there was Sunlancer, with him on our side, I knew everything would be okay. If only I could catch a glimpse of him. A flash of light in a window, or a lance piercing through the clouds. That would be awesome.
I startled as the sky flashed blue and thunder boomed.
“You’re alright,” my dad said, putting an arm around my shoulder and pulling me towards him.
I nodded timidly, a sinking feeling growing in my chest. Would it really be okay? The more I thought about it the more my heart raced.
“Is Mum alright?”
“Of course she’s fine! I bet she’s tucked up somewhere safely in her office, probably wondering how her little man is doing,” he gave me a squeeze. “She’s a way outside London so it might still be sunny for her.”
“Good, she shouldn’t come home in this.”
“Agreed. It’s absolutely abysmal!”
“Have you tried calling her?”
He nodded. “No signal.”
“I bet it’s a Hellraiser,” I said, gluing my eyes to the window and gazing up at the sky.
There had only ever been two: one in Tokyo and the other the Caribbean. They had attacked shortly after the first Titans appeared in the world, without them we wouldn’t have been equipped to resist. The military could only watch as heroes like Sunlancer fought back the monsters.
“I hope not. I don’t want you near any fighting.”
“You don’t need to be worried,” I laughed. “Sunlancer will protect us.”
“Well I hope he protects us from somewhere else. Somewhere you aren’t close enough to watch!”
“What do you mean why, you goofball? You think I want you even close to anything so dangerous?”
“You’re just scared.”
“Sure am! Hellraisers are scary.”
He was worried. He tried to sound cheerful, but I could tell.
A black cab pulled up in the lane next to us. The driver smoked a cigarette with the window partially rolled down. I sat up, trying to see if the traffic was moving again but there was no such luck.
We were down one of the wide, four lane roads, with towering buildings well over one-hundred years old mixed up with ones that looked brand new. Somehow the designs seemed to work together. Through the windows I could see shadows. Everyone was watching the sky, watching the endless lines of cars. What could they see from there that I couldn’t?
“Can you keep a secret, Mav?”
I nodded quickly.
“Look what I got for Mum’s birthday,” he said, opening the glove box and handing me three bits of paper.
I looked at them. “We’re going on holiday!”
“Yep,” he smiled. “Do you think Mum will like it?”
“I do, I do. Where are we going?”
“Read the ticket.”
“Florida… We’re going to Disney Land?”
“Yep. Sound good?”
“It sounds awesome. Mum will love it.”
“I’m glad you think so,” he looked out the window. “You know what? I think you should hold onto those tickets for now. We don’t want anything to happen to them, do we?”
“Fold them up and keep them in your pocket. You look after them for us while I focus on driving.”
“Okay,” I unzipped my coat, putting them inside the inner pocket and carefully velcroing it shut. “I’ll be extra careful with them. You know you should have brought a coat too, it’s getting really cold.”
“Good lad. And I’m bigger than you, I don’t feel the cold so much.”
He was wearing his indoor clothes. The stuff my mum wouldn’t let him wear in public. She hated the fact that he wouldn’t change the same baggy jeans for a week, and a Star Wars t-shirt so faded that the original colour was impossible to guess. Though I was pretty sure it was meant to be the Deathstar on the front.
However, I did agree that he needed a haircut. He had the habit of going months without one. Supposedly because he was stingy, but I knew that wasn’t really the case. He was just lazy.
I noticed the cab driver drop his cigarette, strangely he didn’t seem to care. He leant forwards, turning his head sideways to look out the top of his front window. I put my face up against the glass—the cold, icy against my cheek—and tried to find what he was looking at. A shadow passed over us.
I climbed forwards, putting my elbows onto the dashboard and searching for whatever it was. A giant, scaled tail whipped over us.
“Something’s out there,” I whispered, climbing onto my dad’s lap to look out of the window on his side.
It hung on a building, less than ten metres away; one of its claws dug into the wall for support. Green scales covered its body, its claws so massive just one of them was as long as a car. Windows shattered as it dragged its claw along the wall, falling onto all fours and pouncing further down the street, away from us. It was like a cross between Godzilla and King Kong.
Its tail thrashed behind it, flinging cars across the road and shredding through the buildings in an explosion of rubble and glass.
My dad wrapped his arm around my waist and tore me away, pushing me back into my chair. “Stay away from the windows,” he ordered, gripping my arm.
I was too stunned to respond, I just stared blankly after the creature as it pranced down the road.
The ground tremored with the impact of the debris, setting off car alarms and knocking those outside to the ground. The creature barrelled across the street, hurdling cars out of its path like they were feathers. It clambered up a rooftop with a leap and a single pull of its arms.
A clear space had opened beneath it where it had swept cars to the side, where they were piled up into a makeshift wall. The creature was close enough that I could see the glee in its eyes as it gazed down at its work.
The creature was giant, as tall as the building it stood on. It lifted its lizard like snout and sniffed, its tongue whipped out like a snake, tasting the air. People scrambled for safety and it watched them, a predator choosing its prey.
It hopped down with a crash, cars crumbling beneath its feet. The ground quaked, setting off the rest of the car alarms. My eyes widened as it pranced our way, the rain shivered with screams.
I was frozen. I couldn’t speak or turn away. There was so much noise. The clouds were growing darker and more violent. Lightning flashed, and thunder boomed, the rain so heavy I could feel the vibrations. Everything was happening so fast I could hardly breathe. My heart twisted, pounding against my ribs as if it was trying to break free.
Only when my dad clasped my knee did I break from my daze. Up ahead, people fled their cars. The ones closest to the creature crouched low, trying to make themselves as small as possible. They had nowhere to hide. I couldn’t make out their faces, but I was sure they were of wide-eyed terror, much like my own.
The braver ones sprinted for nearby buildings or shelter. From the moment they moved the creature followed them like a cat chases a mouse. It lowered its body, coiling its legs beneath it, and then it pounced.
It bounded across the street, cars crunched as its tail whipped them into a whirlwind of metal and terror. Each car shook the ground with a bang. Its tail swept through everything, slicing through metal like tearing through tin foil.
Then it found blood.
It started targeting people. Its tail cleaved them in two, its claws smashed cars in every direction, crushing anything that moved. It clawed at everything in reach in an outburst of aggression.
The creature grabbed a woman as she crawled from the topped remains of her car. It lifted her up and gazed into her eyes, snarling as it licked the blood from her face. She struggled, tearing at its claw with her hands, flailing with her legs, kicking whatever she could. It tossed her over its shoulder, I didn’t see where she landed.
My dad’s grip tightened, only five cars were between us and the Hellraiser. I could feel his fear for me as I could feel the power of his grip.
The creature stood on its hind legs, ripping its claw through a building and flinging rubble across the road like shrapnel. I flinched, but my dad was faster. Covering me with his body as a piece banged into our windscreen. Screams of agony pierced the air.
I peeked out from beneath him to see a large crack where we’d been hit. Beyond it the Hellraiser kicked off, leapfrogging across cars into the middle of the road.
It dragged its arms through the road behind it, tearing a fissure through it, then pulled them up, catapulting two cars across the street where they smashed into an old office building. They tumbled to the ground, shattering the road beneath them. Debris fell from the building, covering them in dust.
I ducked down again as a car flew towards us, hitting the one just ahead of us and pushing it back into the bonnet of ours. It drove us back until we banged into the car behind us, jolting me.
My dad got off me, keeping low and observing the creature. I glanced out the window and noticed the black cab was gone, a fissure in the tarmac left in its place. I tried to find it, but it was nowhere in sight. There were so many toppled and piled cars, unrecognisable as the road from earlier. It was a warzone.
A man crawled out of an upturned car, close enough for me to hear his cries for help. I gaped, his left leg was missing. There was more blood than I had ever seen, more than I thought possible. It sprouted from the wound like a fountain. The Hellraiser’s head twitched, it spotted him.
I didn’t register my father’s voice. My eyes were fixed on the man as the creature stalked towards him. It gleefully admired his struggle.
“Mav,” his voice came again. Even further away. I felt a jerk on my chin and I startled. He pulled me to face him, away from the creature, away from the man. His eyes were firm, his face stern and confident. Was he confident? “Don’t look, son. Focus on me.”
I tried to speak but could only manage a jumbled stutter. My dad pulled me towards his chest, shielding me from the horror outside.
“They’re dead,” I stammered. Tears poured down my cheeks, wetting my dad’s t-shirt. My heart pounded so hard I could feel it in my ears, the pressure so much I struggled to think. “It’s going to kill us.”
“I won’t let it,” he hushed, pushing me back and looking into my eyes. “We’re going to make it through this. Be strong, Mav. We can do this together, we just have to be brave. We still need to take Mum to Florida, remember?”
“I can’t,” I trembled.
“You can. The heroes will be here soon. They’ll take care of the Hellraiser, we just have to take care of ourselves. Just a little bit more and we’ll be back home with Mum.”
“Sunlancer will protect us?”
“Of course he will,” he pulled me into a hug.
I nodded, wiping the tears from my eyes.
The man’s screams had stopped. I peeked out from my dad’s hold, unable keep my eyes from the window. It was still out there; slowly, methodically, moving through blood, bodies and cars. It tasted the fear, and it thrilled it.
Its head was close enough that I could see its nostrils, I could see the rain run down its face in murky streams of red. It twisted, and its eyes met mine.
I froze, not even breathing. They were florescent green, with lined pupils like a cat. In that moment, I knew what it felt like to stare into the eyes of a predator. Every fibre in my body itched for me to flee but my mind was blank. I just stared, wide eyed. I could swear that it grinned.
Its tongue flickered, and it stalked closer. The world around me seemed to go dark, I could only see the creature. I could hear its every movement as it carefully picked its way towards us on all fours. Quietly pushing through the cars like long grass. Never taking its eyes off me.
“It’s coming,” I whispered.
My dad hushed me. He held me tightly, not moving an inch.
“Dad, it’s looking at me.”
“Don’t speak, don’t move,” he whispered.
I trembled silently, gripping his shirt so tightly that it hurt. There was only one car left between us and the creature. It was playing with us. It hadn’t eaten anyone, this was all just a game to it.
My teeth chattered, I tried to speak but I couldn’t. I tried to get away, struggling in my dad’s grip, every bit of me wanted to flee. It took its time getting closer, its eyes never left me.
A light flared in the black. The Hellraiser turned away as a blinding beam split the clouds and blew away darkness; piercing straight towards the Hellraiser.
I squinted, as the sun shone through the parted sky, a ray of hope amidst destruction.
It’s not the sun!
“I have come,” Sunlancer’s voice boomed.
The Hellraiser spun towards him, then roared. The ear-piercing screech shaking whatever breath I had left from my lungs.
Light gathered around Sunlancer’s hand, forming into a lance. He drew it back, muscles bulging beneath his gold, skin tight costume. Golden light radiated around him, his cape billowed in the storm. He was the sun amidst the black, whirling clouds.
He threw. The beam moved too fast to follow, leaving just a black line in my vision.
It blasted the creature back, sending it rolling uncontrollably past our car, crashing through everything in its path. Our car was blown to the right as another banged into the side, banging me into the door.
My body collapsed, my taught muscles all failing at once. Sunlancer would save us, it would all be okay. Every part of me felt strained. I gasped for breath, my heart pounded in my chest, but I felt relief. I could hear my father breathing deeply. He had leant back but held onto my shoulder.
“You’re doing so well, Mav. A little more and we’ll be through this,” he leant over me, peering out of my window, then back to his side, scanning the area around us.
I could hardly make anything out, the rain was growing heavier. Even with the light the world was too different now. Everything was damaged, hardly any windows were left. There were so many bodies.
“Do you see that building?” he pointed.
I followed his finger towards an old-fashioned office on his side of the road. There was a clear path to the doors, though the two lanes between us and it looked like a mile. It was a few buildings down from us, but away from the creature.
“I see it.”
I spun my head as I heard metal minced behind us, the ground tremored as the creature climbed to its feet.
“Focus on me, Mav,” he pulled me back. “Leave the monster to Sunlancer. Remember we just need to look after ourselves. Got that?”
“Got it,” I mumbled.
“Good lad,” he lifted me onto his lap. “We’re going to wait for it to be distracted, then run for the building. When I open the door, run. Got that?”
“Say it to me.”
“Run to the building.”
I pointed. A maze of wrecked cars between us and the undamaged doorway. A layer of water flooded the entire road like a giant puddle.
“I’ll be right behind you, get ready. We have to be fast.”
How could anyone be ready? Let alone an eight-year-old. I was shaking, more terrified than I had ever been, I wasn’t even sure I could run. I could smell blood in the air. The outside blared from inside the car; the car alarms alone, louder than the sirens.
The creature roared, and the ground shuddered as it barrelled past us without even a glance.
Light gathered around Sunlancer’s hand. He took a stance like a javelin thrower. The Hellraiser was prepared. Its tail whipped, flinging a car towards him.
Sunlancer threw, the beam piercing straight through the car, so cleanly that it didn’t slow it down. He dodged it with a swift, effortless movement and readied another beam.
The creature didn’t stop. The rain gathered around it, coating its scales and forming a membrane that shimmered in the light.
My dad flung the door open and helped me to the ground, the rain stung against my face.
I was off at a sprint, not hesitating for a moment. I didn’t think; my body just moved on its own.
The creature roared, but I kept my eyes forward. I knew that if I stopped I might never move again. I felt heavy, my clothes completely drenched. I had no energy left. Just a moment and I would be on the ground, too scared to flee. Momentum carried me onward. I heard my dad’s footsteps splash behind me.
A bright flash overwhelmed my vision and I stumbled. My dad caught me before I hit the ground, carrying me underarm so that my arms and legs dangled below me.
The creature was blown back into the side of a building, caving in the wall. Sunlancer didn’t give it a chance to recover. He generated beam after beam, tossing them down at it in a hailstorm of light.
The creature screeched, and the rain disappeared. I looked up at the sky as the water gathered into tornado-like-jets that surged towards the Hellraiser. The putrid stench of sewers grew stronger by the second. I gagged as water came up the drains, flooding the street up to my dad’s knees in seconds.
He tripped, losing his grip around my waist, dropping me.
Water submerged me. I panicked, breathed deeply, choking on a lungful. The current kept me under, dragging me with it. I kicked at the ground trying to escape the water, my lungs screaming for air. I felt a sharp pain in my arm, but I ignored it, adrenaline dulling the throb.
I hit something hard and felt for anything that I could latch on to. My hands found something, and I grabbed it, pulling myself from the water. I was clinging to the windowsill of a car, the few bits of glass left pierced at my hand, but I couldn’t let go.
“Dad!” I choked, searching for him before a flash of light forced my eyes shut.
I turned to the voice behind me, he was drenched from head to toe. He swiped hair from his eyes then charged through the waist deep water, horror on his face so clear it might as well have been written.
My head was clear. Adrenaline pumped through me and I burnt it like fuel. The pain felt distant, like I wasn’t fully connected to my body. My shins and knees burnt with pain and my sides resisted every breath I took, but somehow, I could ignore it.
He reached me, wrapped an arm around my waist, then wrenched upwards, out of the water and onto the roof of the car. I panted as my dad climbed up beside me, the wind pounded us like a hurricane. From that height we could see the extent of the destruction. The water level was still rising, it had to be coming from the Thames.
The cars were a scattered mess, piled up against the nearby buildings or crushed into the road. It was a battlefield. Scraps of metal shot through the water like daggers. I clung to the frame of the car as the current slammed it into another before we came to a stop. Pain stung at my hands, but I didn’t let go.
My dad held me so tightly I could have mistaken it for super strength. I’ll never forget the agony on his face, a look more afraid than any I have ever seen, even to this day. He thought he had lost me.
I couldn’t bear to look. I turned away as he checked me over for injuries. I was starting to feel the pain. There was a large gash on my arm. Any movement triggered it to flare sharply and not moving it just felt like burning.
I stared towards the golden figure hovering high up in the sky, surrounded by a storm.
You will save us, right?
His light reached me, but I didn’t feel warm. I just felt tired.
“I’ve got you, Mav,” my dad said, gripping me tightly. “We’ll make it through this, together. Just hold on tightly and don’t let go.”
I looked at him and he gave me a weak smile. His eyes were bloodshot, his face drained of all colour. He was bleeding through a wound on his shoulder, staining his white shirt red. I smiled back.
Another flash lit up the sky as Sunlancer threw an attack. The creature was faster, faster than anything that size should have been. It dodged out the way, using a blast of water to propel it and leaving a mirage in its wake that exploded into a hiss of steam.
It channelled the water in the street into a jet and fired it towards Sunlancer. The tornadoes waterspouts whirled, targeting him from all directions, the creature seemed to be able to control them at will.
There was so much water around the Hellraiser now I could hardly make out its body. It was just a dark silhouette. Only when Sunlancer fired off a beam would it light up, its green scales glinting for a moment. In those flashes I could see its claws, its teeth, its animalistic ferocity like a lion in a corner.
The creature propelled itself into the air, shooting straight past Sunlancer. It shifted the jets, blasting itself backwards. Firing itself at Sunlancer like a cannon ball, again and again.
The current beneath us picked up, waves shifting the car and splattering my body. I gripped on tight, splinters of glass dug deeper into my hands. The car shook with each wave, if it wasn’t for my dad’s grip there was no way I could have held on.
Other cars rolled past us. There was nowhere for us to escape to, we were trapped. The building that had been so close was now so far out of reach.
Two figures caught my eye as they leapt across the rooftops towards the battle. I recognised Ironskin immediately for his black metallic skin, his legs were like springs, allowing him to jump despite his weight. Hardstuck was on his back. They were two of the members in Sunlancer’s team.
They came to a stop and Hardstuck got off. He knelt and slammed his palms into the roof, causing a pillar of stone to erupt beneath Ironskin’s feet, elevating him into the air.
Sunlancer dodged the Hellraiser as it launched for him, following up with a beam of light as it passed him. The creature wailed as it reached its peak in the sky. its ascent slowed and for a moment it seemed to hover. Water fell from its body, then it plummeted.
Ironskin soared from the pillar, jumping with a speed that could match the Hellraiser’s, intercepting it mid-fall. He barrelled into its face, grabbing for its eyes. They slammed into the road like a meteorite, sending debris and cars flying in a wave of water and metal.
Waves erupted in every direction. The unguided tornado water spouts lost their momentum and fell like buckets. The waves dragged everything with them, approaching us in a matter of heartbeats. They struck me like a truck.
I lost my grip on the car, immediately getting swept under the wave. My dad still clung to me tightly, but any movement was beyond our control.
My arm seared with more pain than I had ever imagined. Everything was dark and agony. Water filled my lungs, and something tore at my leg.
I was pulled to the surface for enough time to catch a glimpse of Sunlancer above. I choked out water and gasped for air, only to inhale another lungful of water. I could taste the dirt. Did they not know we were there? Why weren’t they helping us?
Desperate for breath I scrambled for the surface. I could feel the current calming and the water level decreased a fraction. My dad pulled against me, dragging me from the water as it continued to drain. We were in the middle of the road; my dad leant up against a lamppost, using one arm to support himself and the other hugging me to his chest.
I gasped for breath, my lungs seared with pain. The air had never tasted so sweet. I was alive.
I opened my eyes and could hardly believe what I saw. The buildings were melting around Hardstuck, the concrete flowing into ribbon like structures towards where Ironskin and the Hellraiser wrestled. The ground shook with their ferocity. The creature barraged Ironskin with its claws. He might have been the only hero in the world that could endure so many of the blows.
He didn’t try to hit back, he focused on defending himself. Sunlancer was the big hitter, Ironskin just had to buy time.
Sunlancer fired another beam, the light so bright and painful I had to close my eyes.
I covered my ears as the creature screeched. The blow had landed.
“They’re winning, Dad!” I panted.
The water drained completely, there was so much red in the sludge left behind. Bodies rested on the surface, many in pieces. I gazed around, stunned, at the dead. There were so many. I couldn’t spot another living person.
Hardstuck manipulated the liquid concrete around the Hellraiser, burying it. Just as the Hellraiser became entrapped, Ironskin leapt out, leaving the Hellraiser flailing after him. The concrete restricted it, keeping it in place.
It struggled onto its hindlegs, trying to use its claws to drag itself out, but the concrete hadn’t hardened. It was in a semi-liquid state, sort of like lava. It clung to the creature, slowing its movements until it was completely covered. Then it hardened.
A solid block of grey concrete covered the street, with cars protruding from the base. Around it the buildings were gone, only the bare supports remained. I could see people inside, scrambling away from the openings and searching for a new place to hide. There was no sign of the Hellraiser.
There was no sense of relief, just tiredness. I felt like I could sleep for a week. There was a rush in the distance, like engines. Help was coming.
No, it was water. As it drew closer it became indistinguishable.
“It’s still fighting,” I said. “There’s more water. We have to hide.”
My dad struggled to stand upright, using the lamppost to support himself. There was a long slash on his brow, bleeding over his eyes. His legs gave out under him and he slid down the light and hit the ground.
“Dad? Dad are you okay?”
“I’m alright, Mav, just tired. Can you walk?”
I shook my head. “I’m not leaving you.”
He hugged me tightly, then let go. “You have to hide. Don’t worry about me, go, quickly.”
Tears streamed down my face and I shook my head. I wasn’t leaving him. I looked behind me, easily able to track the water by the movement of cars. It was getting close. It rose, forming waves as tall as the rooftops. There was no limit to the water so close to the Thames, the Hellraiser could use it all.
White water rolled at the top as the wave collapsed. I huddled down into my dad’s chest and he wrapped an arm around me tightly, gripping the lamppost with his other arm.
The wave didn’t come. I peeked out, glancing up above me. It flew over our heads like a floating river, funnelling into a single jet as it reached the concrete block.
The concrete cracked all over as jets struck from every direction, a spider web of cracks forming across it. For a moment I thought it had failed, I thought we had won. Then the block exploded sending chunks out in every direction. Through the dust and water, I could make out the silhouette of the creature standing from the rubble. Its roar shook every bit of my body, shattering whatever windows remained and banishing any fight left in me. Its body vanished into the water flowing around it.
My dad hugged me to him, tucking my head under his and covering it with his arms.
The concrete crashed into the ground, turning everything around me into a mist of white dust. Each breath I took triggered a flurry of coughs, there was no clear air.
I kept my breathing slow and shallow, using my t-shirt to try and keep as much of the dust out as I could. I could still see Sunlancer’s light flash through the dust, but they were getting more distant. The Hellraiser’s tremors were getting weaker. It was moving away from us.
Slowly the air cleared. My dad didn’t move, still sheltering me, his presence the only comfort I had in the dark, misty world.
The battle moved further, I could no longer see any sign of Sunlancer, but I could hear the creature’s roars in the distance. It was as black as night.
My dad didn’t move, so neither did I. We huddled in silence. I struggled to keep my eyes open, I was so tired I just wanted sleep. I just wanted the pain to end. Minute by minute it grew worse as the last of my adrenaline wore off.
“I’m scared, Dad,” I whispered. There was no answer.