We Must Go With Courage

A Classic Mosaic Story

by Alyssa G., JoAnn Baca, and Debbie H. Bluerose


PART TWO

Vincent pounded his way through the city streets. Blood pumped through his veins and rushed in his ears. He couldn't think, just had to keep moving. All the warnings of a lifetime came back to haunt him. Memories of every time the Beast was unleashed taunted his sanity. Once safe inside the tunnels with the grating of the stone door closed, he fell to his knees; then came the tears.

"Vincent?" Mouse had been on his way up top to find some new parts for his latest gizmo when he heard the wrenching sobs. "What wrong, Vincent?"

"Mouse, please just leave me be." Vincent fought for control over his emotions and was ill-prepared to deal with the childlike thinker.

"Vincent Mouse's friend. Want to help. Why cry?" The young man meant well. There was only one thing that Mouse knew of that could upset Vincent this much. "Catherine OK?"

The words were innocent enough, but tonight they felt like a dagger in Vincent's heart. "Yes, Mouse. Catherine is fine." Vincent had tightened control on the chaos within and had stopped the tears by numbing out all feeling.

"You be OK?" Mouse really wanted to get looking for those parts, but he had a good heart and needed to know that his friend was all right.

"I will be all right. Go." Vincent wouldn't meet the young lad's eyes in case the truth still shown there.

"Okay good…okay fine." Mouse's voice didn't sound like he believed the words, but Vincent didn't lie, so the blond-haired boy darted off on his errands.

As Mouse slipped out of the confines of the large pipe that opened into the park, his heart was heavy. His friend's assurances and his friend's posture were at odds. He couldn't put the feeling into words, but a `something's wrong' feeling continued to tickle at his mind. Catherine would know what was wrong, he felt sure. She was Vincent's love; she knew him better than anyone, even Father…even Mouse.

His reason for coming Above would have to wait. Right now he needed to talk to Catherine. After the incident with the security guard at Elliot Burch's construction site, Mouse had memorized Catherine's information, including her address and phone number. He knew better now than to get caught, but just in case.

*             *              *

Catherine was still huddled on the couch. Her red eyes burned, but for now the tears had run dry. She sat motionlessness, inside and out. There was a noise, but her numbed mind could not identify it. Her first hope was that Vincent had returned, but a quick look to the balcony showed no signs of moving shadows against the darkness. Maybe she had only imagined it because she wished for him to return so badly. There it was again. Her muddled mind finally realized someone was knocking at the door. Vincent at the door? No, that couldn't be right. `You're losing it, Chandler,' she chided herself. There wasn't anyone who could possibly be in the hallway that she really wanted to talk to right now. But the knock came a third time, along with a familiar voice calling her name.

"Catherine?" Mouse fidgeted from foot to foot. He didn't like being inside up top. Made him nervous. Too many people could pop out at him. Stairs took too long, and he could be trapped in elevators by topsiders.

She forced herself off the couch to open the door. Before Catherine got a good look at her visitor, he had ducked into her apartment. "Mouse?" Confusion quickly turned to fear. What if something had happened to Vincent? Catherine would never forgive herself. "Is Vincent OK? Is he hurt?"

Mouse hovered in the finely decorated apartment, not sure where was the proper place to sit. He looked at Catherine and could tell she had been crying too. Vincent cry. Catherine cry. Not good. Not good.

"Yes. No." Mouse shook his head in frustration. "Not way you mean. Not in Hospital Chamber kind of way, but...still hurt. Mouse thinks you're hurt, too."

Catherine wiped at her eyes and turned away from the young man before her. She tried to get herself under control, to stem the flow of her tears, to offer some words of reassurance to him, but all she could manage was a barely suppressed sob.

Catherine felt a warm hand gently squeeze her shoulder. "Told you once, Vincent my friend, too. Vincent hurt, Catherine hurt. Friends hurt, have to do something to make them stop hurting." Mouse turned Catherine around to face him and gave her a determined look. "Good at fixing things. Even Father says. Maybe can fix this, too."

Tears flowed anew at the earnest hope found in the sandy-haired youth's expression. "I don't think this is so easy to fix, Mouse." Catherine gave him a sad half-smile. "It's late. Come on, I'll walk you back." She grabbed her coat and gave her face one last quick swipe before leading Mouse back to the threshold entrance. Mouse paused, waiting for Catherine to follow, but instead she turned and closed up the door that led to the secret ladder.

"Mouse can fix. Good as done." His friend's refusal to accept his help did not deter Mouse from starting to think of a plan to help Catherine and Vincent. Mouse scampered back to his chamber to confer with Arthur.

 

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