In time, Burt came to think that his stay at the hostel was for the best, but the nightmares never stopped, nor did they let him get some clarity to the situation that he had put himself in.
Burt Harper was a man on the edge. His life had ended on October 4th 2011 at precisely two-thirteen pm when his wife and daughter were killed in a crash on the M62. The police had handled the situation carefully, and matters were made worse when he was not allowed to see the bodies because they were too badly burned. Marie and Jenny, his girls, his life, had been taken by a drunk driver, who, in the mystery of life, had not only survived the crash but had got out of his car unscathed.
That was what pushed Burt over the edge. It was one thing that he would never see his wife or daughter again, but it was another that the bastard that had murdered (was that too strong a word? Burt thought) his family got away without a scratch. That angered him. It picked at him and ate away at his sanity, and he turned to the bottle. Burt didn’t do irony, but irony it was because it was drink that had got his wife and daughter killed. He didn’t care, what mattered was that they were lying in a cold grave and he had nothing to live for, save for his immediate family, who had rallied around Burt in the weeks following the accident.
There was the stay in hospital. About three weeks after he had buried Jenny and Marie, Burt tried to commit suicide. It was something he thought about a lot; he couldn’t imagine his life without them, and the thought of his own death satisfied him. He thought dying was a way back to them.
It was his brother who found him, lying in a pool of vomit and urine, the box of Tylenol beside him and the empty bottle of Jack Daniels lying askew between his legs. It was an upsetting scene, Hal would later tell Burt, to find your brother in that state was horrifying. They had been sat on Hal’s porch, drinking coffee. Hal turned to Burt and said; ‘look, there’s a place I know. It’s a good place, far away from here and all your troubles. You should stay there a while, you know? Just to get your thoughts back in order.’
He offered Burt a little yellow card. It had a number on it, and nothing else. He looked at Hal with enticing eyes.
‘Just ring that number,’ Hal said with a smile. He took a sip of his beer. From the radio in the house, Depeche Mode sang ‘Enjoy the Silence.’
The ringing seemed to last for an hour. It seemed that nobody wanted to answer. Burt sighed and and went to place the receiver down when a voice, almost hoarse, said ‘Hello?’ It was a mans voice, and he sounded old. And ill.