Home > Broken Things (Lost and Found #4)

Broken Things (Lost and Found #4)
Author: Barbara Elsborg

 


Broken Things

An ancient book of faerie magic. A renegade who will stop at nothing to possess it. And the two boys who stand in his way.

 

When fifteen-year-old Tar, part vampire, part something else, helps his father break into a remote house, he doesn’t care about the book his father is looking for. What he does care about is the little locked-up faerie kid. Merrick is alone, vulnerable and deaf.

The break-in goes wrong, but Tar refuses to leave the eight-year-old even though it means facing his father’s fury. Events spiral from bad, to worse, to out of control: the book disappears, and Tar and Merrick are wrenched apart.

 

The boys grow into men, one living in the light and one in darkness, yet neither has forgotten the other. As powerful forces rise, the search for the missing book gains momentum, and Tar and Merrick’s paths collide once more.

Merrick is the key to the missing book and Tar is faced with a near impossible task: to keep the man he cares for safe, and do everything he can to stop the book and its secrets from falling into the wrong hands. And maybe, just maybe, save the world as we know it.

 

 

Past

 

 

1

 

It’s my birthday. Tar wondered if his father would remember. Since it was already the middle of the afternoon and he’d said nothing, probably not. No cake, then. Almost as if his stomach heard him thinking about food, it gave a loud rumble. He didn’t want to go downstairs to get something to eat because one of his father’s so-called friends had arrived half an hour ago, and Tar didn’t like the way Bill Samson looked at him. Though he didn’t like the way any of his father’s visitors looked at him, as if he was a pest, or food, or tasty in some other sort of way.

Tar went over to his wardrobe and pulled out his treasure box from under his shoes. He did the slide-and-twist trick to unlock it, lifted the lid and looked through the contents until he found the last birthday card his mother had given him. Tar ran his finger around the embossed silver number 5. The picture was of a boy talking to an alien and the alien was saying ‘For your birthday, I bought you the moon.’ Inside, his mother had written Happy Birthday, Star! All our love, Mummy and Daddy xxxxx

Less than a month later, he’d seen his mother for the last time. He’d never been called Star again. For years he’d felt as if his story had come to an abrupt halt that day, his life brought to a stop because she’d gone. All the atoms and molecules of his body had been sucked out with her departure and he was still waiting for someone to put them back in place.

Pointless trying to convince himself he didn’t miss her. He did. But life was easier if you didn’t allow yourself to feel sad about things you could do nothing to change. Accept and adapt. Life is what it is. Phrases he actually detested. Why should you just accept? Why was there no point in pushing for change, for something better? An easier life wasn’t necessarily a better one. Life was what you made it. And his life was sad. Had he made it sad? If so, he didn’t know how to fix it.

Sometimes he wondered why he’d kept any of the stuff in his box: the glow-in-the-dark stars, the rigged dice, the ammonite… Why hang onto reminders of the life he’d once had, especially when it hadn’t been that great anyway? But memories hurt as much as mementos, sometimes more, and all the things he’d kept were linked to some sort of happiness even if those moments had been fleeting. And any fragments of happiness needed to be treasured because they were treasures.

Life was what you made it was fine if you were an adult, and in a position to change things, but he wasn’t. The moments of joy he could recall from his early years had dimmed and blurred as time had passed. Being held in someone’s arms, being comforted when he’d scraped his knees, making either of his parents smile… Smiling himself… His chest tightened. He shoved the card inside the box, secured the lid in place, and returned it to the wardrobe. One day he’d throw everything away.

But not today.

Tar dropped down on his bed and picked up Lord of the Flies. Another chapter to read before his schoolwork was done. Not that he went to school. Almost everything he knew, he’d taught himself, sometimes with the help of the nearest library, but this year by using a laptop his father had stolen. Every January, Tar made a list of what he hoped to learn, then drew up a timetable. He didn’t always stick to it, but it gave his life structure, a reason to get up in the morning, especially when his father was off on one of his long trips.

Once his studying was done for the day, Tar mended things, and in a way also mended himself. One of his few pleasures lay in bringing abandoned, broken items back to life, returning them to usefulness, even if only as something good to look at. His room was a bit of an Aladdin’s cave, full of what his father called crap, though not in an unkind way, but was treasure to Tar. A violin—that he was teaching himself to play, a model of a whale he’d made from driftwood, a train lamp he’d restored, an old-fashioned record player he’d mended, an ornate fireguard he’d stripped and painted… He’d picked up items from all sorts of places: skips, abandoned buildings, the rear of shops, the gutter…

He could never make something exactly like new, but he did his best. Much of the furniture in the house was second-hand, and had been repaired, repainted or stained by Tar. He’d even managed to sell a few things that he’d restored. Well, his father had sold them and given him the money. Tar wondered if he could make a living as a repair guy, how that might be made to happen. He’d need a bank account and…

The bedroom door swung open. Bill stood on the threshold and Tar tensed. The guy filled almost the entire doorway. The wolf that Bill could shift into was probably huge too. Tar hoped he never found out how huge.

“Bathroom is the next one along,” Tar said.

“Maybe I didn’t want the bathroom, Delilah.”

Bill sniffed, then smiled as if he could feel Tar’s increased heart rate.

Tar swallowed to moisten his mouth. “You do know that Delilah cut Samson’s hair while he was sleeping, then handed him over to his enemies who gouged out his eyes?”

“He fucked her first and do you seriously think you could get the better of me?”

Tar put down his book and picked up a craft knife from his bedside table, pushing up the sharp blade. “Do you need all your fingers to hold your cock, or is it tiny?”

Bill laughed. “You are so worth waiting for.”

As he left, closing the door behind him, Tar heard him still chuckling. That was the first time Bill had opened his door. Even if Tar attached bolts, they wouldn’t be enough to keep out an adult shifter. One strong kick and the door would give way. How much protection would or could his father offer? Probably very little.

He went back to his book, the message of which was clear: that humans needed rules and authority to live safely. Take those away, leave them to their own devices and they reverted to savagery and self-destructive behaviour. He wasn’t sure that a group of young boys on a desert island would behave as the ones in the book had done. If a group of supernaturals had been trapped together on a desert island, they’d be at each other’s throats within a day, even if they were the same species.

Survival of the fittest and natural selection would surge into play. Supernaturals were supposed to follow rules for their species, the biggest one being keep under the radar, but they still didn’t live safely whether they chose to conform or not. Though some lived more safely than others. There was a lot to be said for being part of a pack, having family around you. Tar didn’t have anyone other than his father. No relations and no friends. Even his father’s friends weren’t really friends.

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