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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317600
In which Silo welcomes visitors, and Kam reveals part of his past
“The hell happened?”

As promised, Silo left the gate open so they could drive straight through. The car only stopped long enough for Nina to get out and shut the gate behind them before parking Kam’s Range Rover next to the one already in the carport. Now the three of them—Nina, Kam and Bel—are standing in front of an open mouthed Silo. Well, Nina and Kam are standing. Bel would fall over if Kam didn’t have one arm wrapped tight around his waist.

“Long story.” Nina is already pushing past Silo to get into the house, giving Silo no choice but to step back and allow them in. But then, he was going to allow them to come in anyway. When Nina said she needed him, there must be a serious problem.

He just didn’t expect that serious problem to include her bloodied little brother and Silo’s white-faced best friend.


“I’m fine.”

“You’re pushing me away again.”

“Just look after Bel, please.” She shakes him off. “Where’s the USB? Did you make any progress?”

“It’s still plugged into my laptop, and no, there’s been no progress yet.” Before Silo can say anything else, Nina goes in the direction of the library without saying another word.

Silo steps forward, looping one of Bel’s arms around his head so that Kam doesn’t have to bear the boy’s full weight.

“You look like shit.”

Kam looks at him. “Who?”

“Both of you.” Silo’s telling the truth. Bel’s condition is the most obvious, but Silo’s best friend looks like he hasn’t slept, or eaten, or anything, in days. If I say that out loud, will Kam give me the bird or an answer? “You all right?”

“Just get Bel inside.”

Kam’s voice makes it clear he doesn’t want to talk, so Silo doesn’t talk. Instead, he helps get Bel upstairs and into bed. It’s one of the bedrooms no one uses, so the sheets are fresh, and the drawers are empty(well, except the top drawer of the nightstand, but Silo doesn’t think Kam needs to know about that right now).

“How much of that blood is Bel’s?” He asks instead.

“All of it.”

“Really?” Silo can see a couple of scratches and shallow cuts running along Kam’s arms, but he won’t force Kam to say anything if he doesn’t want to.

But he does.

“It’s just a couple of cuts,” Kam says. “He shot up Bel’s car, so we had to take mine. I’m assuming he’s male, but I didn’t see his face. I don't think Bel did either.”

Kam changes Bel’s clothes himself, cleaning the dried dirt and blood from Bel’s skin before putting him in the pajamas Silo provides. He won’t let Silo help, so Silo leaves the room and makes a couple of calls. When he goes back to the bedroom, Kam is sitting on the edge of the bed, holding Bel’s hand.

“You want a change of clothes?”


“That wasn’t a rhetorical question.” Silo tosses a fresh set of clothes and a towel onto Kam’s lap. “Shower, change, now. ”

Kam doesn’t move. “You made phone calls.”



“Trusted People. People we both know, actually.” Silo moves across the room, so that he’s standing right next to Kam. “You don’t have to worry. Go take a shower.”

“I’m not worried.” But Kam’s eyes are still on Bel’s still body.

“You can get in the shower yourself or I’ll drag you in.” Silo is pushing because it’s the only way to help Kam get a grip, and they both know it. “You know I’ll do it. Up to you.”

Kam finally stands, grabbing the fresh clothes and towel, and goes in the direction of the bathroom. He stops at the door, turning long enough to flip Silo a halfhearted bird, which Silo flips back.

When Kam is gone, Silo turns back to the bed. The people he called are trustworthy—Em and Talay will bring meds and double check to make sure Bel’s injuries are properly treated without the need to go to the hospital. But they’ll only do it once. Silo won’t ask them to take this kind of risk again. Well, maybe Talay, but not Em.

Next time…

“You poor kid.” Silo brushes Bel’s hair back, flinching a little as Bel’s body temperature burns his fingertips. “What the hell did your sister get you into?”

Getting no response, and knowing he won’t anyway, Silo closes the bedroom door and goes down to his library, where Nina is seated at his desk, with his laptop open, and the USB files filling the screen.

“Didn’t even wait for me?”

“You shouldn’t have shared your password with me.” Nina doesn’t look up from the screen. Her fingers click, click, click on the mouse, scanning through the files one by one. This isn’t the first time she’s done this so the movements are almost automatic. “Where’s my brother?”

“Upstairs, sleeping. Kam’s in the shower. I made some calls, so Bel can be well looked after.” Silo answers all of Nina’s questions without her asking. He pulls up a chair and sits next to her as her fingers freeze. The locked file taunts them from the screen.

“Do you know the password yet?” Nina already knows the answer, but Silo’s silence doesn’t help.“I told you to call me when you figured it out.”

“And did I call you?”

Nina says nothing, and Silo scoots closer. “You’re wearing my glasses.”

Nina pushes the blue light lenses higher up on her nose. “You left them on the desk, and there’s five hundred files on this thing.”

“I know. I’ve scanned them myself, remember?” Silo moves closer, pushing Nina out of the way. She doesn’t push back. “They’re all about your dad, right? Half these reports are redacted, but I get the gist. And these pictures—”

“Are my dad and Kam’s.” Nina confirms. “They used to meet at this hotel. Not just to exchange information, but as friends, you know?”

“That’s what got him killed.” Kam is standing in the doorway. His hair is still wet, he’s wearing fresh clothes, and a death glare.

A death glare aimed at Nina.

“You took a quick shower.” Silo’s words are light, but the death glare on his face rivals Kam’s.

“The hot water ran out.” Kam comes the rest of the way into the room.

Silo is still glaring. “Don’t put your dad’s death on Nina’s head.”

Kam shrugs. “I was stating a fact. I told Nina when she hired me I was doing this for answers, and that’s still the case.You didn’t answer my question.”

“No,” Nina says before Silo can snap Kam’s head off. “We don’t know what’s on the file. Do you want me to apologize again?”

“Wouldn’t do any good.”

“The hell is that supposed to mean?” Nina’s voice is rising and so does Kam’s.

“What it means is that whoever wants that damn file you’re ‘looking into’ sent masked bastards to blow a hole in your brother’s head! ”

“Those ‘masked bastards’ weren’t just coming after Bel—”

“No, but he’s the one bleeding out upstairs and you’re sitting here without a mark on you!”

“You think I don’t know that?”

“I don’t give a shit—”

“You should give a shit, because I’m worried about Bel as you are! He’s my brother—”

“And you’ve taken such fucking great care of him—”

“Enough.” Silo’s voice is low, but it cuts effectively though the argument before the fighting words turn to flying fists. “If you think screaming at each other like four-year-olds is going to solve anything at all, go do it somewhere else.”

“Who’s screaming?” It’s a stupid question, but it pops out of Kam’s mouth anyway. Nina says nothing. She just glares.

Silo resumes his seat at his desk, clicking on the password cracker software on the laptop. “I have work to do. There’s a pool outside, so go cool off there. Nina, give me my glasses back.”

Nina takes off Silo’s blue light glasses, drops them on the desk and leaves the room without another word. Kam doesn’t move. Silo picks up the glasses and puts them on as the password cracker software opens. “Your dad dying isn’t Nina’s fault.”

“I know.” Kam looks only a little bit ashamed. “I’m not four years old.”

“You were acting like it. Maybe you should talk to her instead of accusing her all the time.” Silo turns away from Kam, pointing to the door. “I was serious about the pool.”

“I just took a shower.”

“And you’re planning on going back up to Bel now that you’ve torn a hole in his sister. Don’t do the Eyebrow Thing; I’ve known you since you were a sophomore in high school; I know how you think. Let Bel sleep and go calm the hell down. Or find Nina and have a decent conversation with her. Let me figure this out and I’ll tell the both of you what I find.” Silo’s voice says Kam shouldn’t argue, and this time Kam listens and leaves the room.

There is indeed a pool outside. Kam sees it through the window, but doesn’t feel much like swimming, so he goes back to Bel’s room instead. Bel hasn’t moved from the position Kam left him. He’s not tossing and turning anymore, just lying on his back, his face matching the color of the sheets, but no longer sweating. Kam puts a hand to Bel’s face and his temperature’s gone down, so that’s something. He sits on the edge of the bed.

Maybe if he hadn’t acted like a four-year-old, Silo would have let him see the pictures on the laptop. Even if they didn’t give any clues as to who was trying to kill Bel and Nina and why, it felt kind of nice for Kam to see his dad’s face again, blurry as it was. He hadn’t thought about the accident in detail for years, but he thought about it now.

The dark haired man in the golf shirt who approached his dad out of nowhere but greeted him like they knew each other.

The new phone and laptop that Kam hadn’t been allowed to touch.

His dad getting home late and leaving early more than usual.

Kam getting a call from him That Day and what he heard.

Running, running down the street near his house.

Those flashing blue and red lights—

“I’m sorry.”

Nina has come into the room, and now she sits on the opposite side of Bel’s bed, giving Kam space, but wanting to be near Bel all the same. Wanting to be next to her little brother when he wakes up. They sit in silence for a minute, then:

“Sorry for what?”

“Making you behave like a four-year-old, and acting like one in return. And trying to kill you when Bel sent you to find me, and bribing you to look after my brat of a little brother in the first place.” Her eyes are looking at Bel, not at Kam. Just in case Kam doesn’t feel like talking. But Silo is right. They should talk. But only if he wants to.

“Apology accepted…and extended.” Kam turns his gaze to Nina. He knows what she’s asking, and he agrees. It’s time. “It was supposed to be a one off. Dad knew some people Wolf was looking into. Well, knew some people who knew some people.”

It was actually a lot more complicated than that, but Nina didn’t need to know all the details, did she?

“That’s usually how this kind of thing works.” Nina understands what Kam isn’t saying, and she doesn’t press him. “It’s why they’re called Contacts.”

“Is that what Silo is? One of your contacts?” Kam leans just a little bit closer. “Or is the word ‘liaison’ a better fit?”

The tips of Nina’s ears are pink. “Don’t change the subject.”


They sit in silence for another minute, before Nina speaks again. "I was nineteen when my dad died. They found him in his car with a bullet hole in his head. He and Bel were here, and I was in Langley finishing my internship. They wouldn't let me fly out at first—no idea why since Bel was only fourteen and all by himself. But when they finally did let me fly out, Bel was a complete mess."

“Yeah. He mentioned that.” What Bel didn’t mention,—and what Kam is certain Nina knows—is what “complete mess” actually meant. Kam had heard it, almost every night since Nina hired him. How Bel tossed and turned in his bed, how he cried, and that terrible night when Bel screamed loud enough to tear Kam’s heart into pieces. Kam doesn’t have to say it though. He knows Nina witnessed it as many times as he had. Probably more.

“What about Wolf?”

The name slips out again, but it’s the only name Kam ever heard when referring to Bel’s dad, so he uses it.

“Dad had already been cremated.” Nina’s voice is flat. She’s back to stating facts. “I guess he wanted to be buried here, rather than in the US.”

“That doesn’t make you angry?”

Nina shakes her head. “He thought of Thailand as home, so why wouldn’t he want to be buried here? Bel thinks the same. I’m the only one in the family who thinks of this as a vacation spot.”

“Bel told me that, too.” Kam moves his fingers along the bedsheets, creating little dips in the fabric. “He told me about you, and about his dad. But he never mentioned your mom.”

“She died when Bel was four.” Nina says it matter of factly, but there’s still a note of loss in her voice. Losing a parent always hurts, no matter how long ago it happened. Kam knows this all too well.

“They said it was an accident.” Kam knows it’s his turn to say something, but that’s not what he expected to come out. Although, now he’s said it, why not go on? “What happened to my dad.”

“You don’t believe that.” Nina’s question is rhetorical, and they both know it.

Kam looks down at Bel. It’s easier to talk to someone who probably can’t hear what he’s saying, but he knows Nina hears. He tries to keep his voice flat, like Nina’s, but he’s not very good at this emotionless shit. “He got a call from Wolf, and told me he’d be home late and not to worry, so I didn’t. At least, not at first.”

The second call had come later that night, when Kam was on his way home, and he’d said as much when he answered the phone.

“Don’t come home, Kam.”


“Don’t come home. I need you to go to the Mandarin Oriental. I need you to go there right now, do you hear me?”

“Dad, where are you?” Kam is frozen on the street. There’s something in his dad’s voice that makes his spine tingle, and not in a good way. It’s tense, and slightly out of breath. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Not a thing.” Dad is lying and they both know it, but there’s nothing either of them can do about it. “Just go to the hotel, ok? There’s something there I need you to pick up. Can you do that?”

“You can’t get it yourself?” That’s usually something Kam says when his dad asks him to do something, but it feels flat when Kam says it now. Like they’re both pretending to have a normal phone conversation

“Go to the hotel, Kam.” Dad is breathing hard, like he’s running. Running from what? “Stay there until I call you. Can you do that? Kam, tell me you can do that!”


A startled yell, and the sound of falling. Is it falling? Kam can’t tell. But he doesn’t have to wonder for very long because the next sound he hears turns his spinal column to ice.



Footsteps. Muffled through the phone, but still footsteps.

“Dad?” Kam can’t move, can’t think. Around him, people are still moving, shoving him out of the way, shouting words at him that Kam can’t hear, because of what he’s hearing through the phone.

*scuffle* *scuffle*

A shout.




*crunch* *grunt* *crunch*



*crunch* *squish* *crunch* *squish*






*dial tone.*


Kam is running, running faster than he’s run in his life. Running until his leg muscles scream in protest and his lungs are about to explode from his chest. He doesn’t care who he crashes into; he doesn’t hear the honking of the horns or the curse words spat after him. All he hears is his own pounding feet and the *crunch, squish* from the phone call.

*crunch, squish* Reverberating in his head.

There are lights on the street outside his house. Lights and cars. Flashing blue and red lights. Police cars. Kam skids to a halt when he sees it.




The body doesn’t look human.

One arm has been sliced from shoulder to elbow, and one side has been slashed to the bone, like someone had stabbed first and then stuck the knife in again, again, again.

There’s holes, too.

Bullet holes—one in the head and one in the shoulder.

And blood.

So much blood.

So damn much blood.

Staining the street like an oil slick. Spreading, spreading, spreading…


Kam stood there while they put a sheet over that—thing in front of his house. Stood there while the police picked up his dad’s phone, his car keys, whatever the hell else he had dropped. Kam had no idea but there were a lot of bags. He stood there while they combed his house for fingerprints, for other evidence. Stood there while they found the laptop and the burner phones and the pictures of his dad and Wolf.

Stood there and shook his head no while they asked him question after question. Stood in the police station while they showed him pictures of Wolf in his car with the bullet hole in the back of his head; and then showed him pictures of a girl and a boy and asked did he know them.

And when they finally sent him home, he sat. Sat and hated Wolf. Hated him seeking out his dad in the first place. Hated him for dying without any answers. Hated him for turning his dad into someone secretive.

Someone who ended up a bloody mess on the street in front of his house.

Kam started to shake, praying with every fiber of his being that he’d never see a sight like that again.

And he hadn’t.

Until two days ago.

Nina has scooted closer to him as he’s talked. She hasn’t asked questions, hasn’t pushed, just let him talk. Let him talk until he can’t speak anymore.

“I’m so sorry, Kam.” Her arms come around him, pulling him close.

“I didn’t know what to do.” Kam hates crying in front of people, but he doesn’t care anymore. “When I saw Bel—”

He chokes.

Bel had looked that way.

He still looked that way.

Semi-conscious in the car, telling Kam no hospital, just drive.

Bleeding out in that warehouse.

Lying white and motionless on this bed.

If Kam hadn’t come home when he did, he could have lost Bel, just like he’d lost his dad.

Nina doesn’t say anything.

She just holds him.

She understands.

Movement behind him.

The rustling of sheets, and then a tiny thumb is stroking the back of his hand.


Kam turns, and sees the tears streaming down Bel’s face. Bel’s fingers intertwine with his.

“It’s ok.”

"22. Recovery

read from beginning "1. Phone Calls in the Dark
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